After deciding to return from their new life in Townsville and marry in Brisbane, Laura and Ashley had just one venue on their look list. With its fresh country-club feel, Victoria Park delivered on the couple’s classic and uncomplicated aesthetic, setting the tone for a beautiful day.
Not so easy? Laura’s lengthy search for the dress that she could call The One saw her in and out of change rooms before swapping her vision of a ‘simple slip dress’ for something out of her comfort zone. Cue those dressing room happy tears!
A few emotional surprises from the other side of the world gave this celebration special gravitas while the newlyweds nominate their fun-filled reception among the day’s many highlights. Special shoutout to Laura’s day-to-night style segue — the bride had her hair stylist on hand to create the perfect party-ready look.
All good love stories start somewhere; tell us how and when you met …
Technically, we first interacted with each other at a Leagues Club we worked at in Brisbane, however Ash doesn’t remember this. A few weeks later, we met on a night out, and that’s where it all started. We were friends for quite a while before accepting the inevitable and dating. I was in love with Ash and started planning our future wedding the minute I saw him, and Ash was oblivious for at least six months. Nevertheless, our adventure together continued and has been ongoing for the last six years.
Tell us about your lives together …
About two years ago we moved our lives from Brisbane to Townsville. Within a few months we’d bought a block of land and started building our dream home. We then got engaged another month later, added another fur baby to our little family, and got married that September. We have now been fortunate enough to fall pregnant with our first child and can’t wait for an even bigger adventure to begin.
Make us laugh, make us cry: who proposed to who, and how?
Our proposal story is quite simple, but exactly what I wanted. We’d spoken about getting married for quite some time and agreed we’d get engaged after moving to Townsville. One afternoon we went to a jeweller and I picked out a ring. Ash brought it home a few weeks later, popping the bag on the dining table. I told him I wouldn’t say yes unless he was on one knee — which, after turning around, I realised Ash was! It was perfect for us: with our dog at home, in our pyjamas.
How and why did you choose your venue?
I used to work for a Brisbane magazine and had created content for Victoria Park. After deciding to get married in Brisbane and not Townsville, it was the first and only place we contacted. Victoria Park was easy to work with, had many inclusions, and was a stunning venue.
Tell us about your dress …
Originally, I wanted a slip dress and something very simple. However, after trying them on, I was underwhelmed and a little disheartened. I also tried on about ten dresses and didn’t have that ‘walking out and making everyone cry’ moment you see in movies. So, I booked to go to Brides of Brisbane and decided to step out of my comfort zone. The first dress I tried on had a train, sequins, beading, and a full skirt. All things I’d originally refused. However, when I stepped out in it, both my mum and mother-in-law cried, and I realised I loved it too.
What was your style aesthetic?
We definitely wanted to keep everything simple. Our venue was so beautiful on its own, so we didn’t want to overdo it with styling. We stuck to a white and green theme for our florals and traditional white table styling. Our favourite was definitely the arbour we were married under, decorated with a gorgeous floral installation.
Did you incorporate any traditions or perhaps do something a little different?
I had both my mum and dad walk me down the aisle and had one less bridesmaid as my Maid of Honour was stuck in Melbourne due to Covid restrictions.
Something we didn’t plan, which was one of the best parts of the wedding, was being surprised by my husband’s parents. His extended family are from England and France, so couldn’t attend our wedding. His parents put together a video wishing us a happy wedding day, which played during speeches.
The part that really got us was my husband’s grandfather wishing us a happy wedding day, despite having quite severe dementia. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room, and it was the first time I’d ever seen Ash cry!
Care to name any standout suppliers?
Definitely our venue Victoria Park, our photographer Lauren Olivia, my hairdresser, MUA Haus of Jools, and Michelle Wicklandt.
What does marriage mean to you?
While being married doesn’t change how we see our relationship, it does mean that we can continue our lives together and embark on even more adventures. We are so excited to be expanding our family and starting the journey of becoming parents (I am also excited to no longer have to spell out my last name).
Any advice for other couples?
Don’t stress over the little things. It can be so easy to get caught up in table settings, seating charts, nail colours and lipstick shades, but you really won’t remember them. You’ll remember how much fun you had, the people you danced with, and speeches. Forget the little things!
Did you have a honeymoon (and if so, where)?
We planned a very last-minute honeymoon to Cairns. We stayed at the Shangri-la for four nights, ate a lot of food, took the train up to Kuranda and went out to the reef. It was the perfect mini break before heading back to Townsville to move into our new home.
What are you most looking forward to, now that you’re married?
We are very excited to be expanding our family from two fur babies to adding a real baby! Our son is due in September, and we can’t wait!
Photographer: Lauren Olivia // Ceremony & reception venue: Victoria Park, Brisbane // Bridal gown: Zavana Bridal
Reception dress: Winona Australia // Suits: MJ Bale // Bridesmaids: Bec + Bridge // Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Victoria Park Team // Wedding Stylist: Victoria Park // Rings: Michael Hill // Florist: My Little Flower Shoppe // Cake: Bella & Tortie // Accessories: A’el Este // Celebrant: Zoe Partimer // Hair: Haus of Jools // Make Up: Michelle Wicklandt