Say the vows, exchange the rings, sign the piece of paper and let’s celebrate – this was the simple, stress-free mantra that guided Sam and Dylan in planning their laid-back Brisbane wedding. The couple saw their nuptials as a fabulous excuse to throw a big, loved-up party with good food and amazing styling for their friends and family. The result? A relaxed, informal celebration with plenty of heart.
It all started one Christmas Eve with a proposal that caught Sam totally off-guard. “Dylan and I exchanged Christmas gifts the night before and he said he felt so bad that I had written him such a nice card while he had forgotten to get me one,” Sam recalls. “He went on to say some really beautiful words that he had written and I was still unaware that he was about to propose! It wasn’t until he pulled out a small box from his back pocket and dropped to one knee that I realised what was going on. It was the best Christmas present ever!”
Organising their version of a perfect wedding over the next two years, the couple had one main wish for their day. “One of our only must-haves was to make the day feel more like a party than a formal occasion,” says Sam. To complement their relaxed vibe, Sam and Dylan found their dream industrial- style venue in Brisbane’s West End. “It was important that our wedding felt like ‘us’ and The Joinery was the ideal place to make that happen. It was the perfect blank canvas!”
Filling the venue with masses of greenery and huge hanging installations of tropical foliage, the couple’s stylists, Main Event Weddings, helped create a magnificent setting for the celebration on March 25, 2017.
Keeping with their chilled approach, Sam and Dylan met that morning for a ‘first-look’ photo-session where they explored Brisbane’s streets hand in hand. “We were a little nervous about the ceremony, so we decided to meet up, have our photos taken first and relax a little before making things official,” explains Sam of their decision to forgo tradition and see each other before the ceremony. “There were many hugs, kisses and happy tears – we were just so excited!”
While Sam and Dylan shared laughs and calmed their nerves, their 96 guests started arriving for the ceremony – and got into the celebratory spirit with a delicious cocktail. “Our guests were greeted with our signature cocktail, Moscow Mules, to keep the vibe totally relaxed,” says Sam.
Joining their friends and family not long after, the couple were all smiles as they exchanged personal vows. “One of the most special memories from the day was when we said our vows. Dylan and I wrote our own and it was so lovely to share them with each other and our closest loved ones,” says Sam.
With the business part of the wedding done and the photos already in the bag, the newlyweds got straight into party mode as promised, spoiling guests with an indulgent grazing board and canapés. “The food was amazing,” says Sam. “It was so great to have all the formalities out of the way early and to stay with our guests the entire time.”
As the night went on and the lush hanging installations lit up, everyone gathered around long tables for a feast. The menu included share plates of slow-roasted rib fillet with red wine jus, organic roast chicken and grilled Tasmanian salmon with quinoa salad. “We had all the meals in the middle of the table so everyone could just help themselves,” says Sam. “It was all so delicious!”
Adding just one touch of formality to the day, the couple’s long-time friend donned his dapper army dress uniform to play compère and get the speeches happening. “Each speech was special in its own way, but the one Dylan’s brother (and best man) made was a standout,” says Sam. “It was very emotional and so heartfelt. He had the whole reception in tears!” Best man’s speech: crushed it.
Wiping away the happy tears, Sam and Dylan then cut into their indulgent wedding cake, which was made by the groom’s sister and featured three incredible flavours. “The top tier was a chocolate devil’s food cake with pistachio buttercream and sea salt caramel; the middle tier was a coconut cake with lime buttercream and pineapple and passionfruit chia seed jam; and the bottom tier was a vanilla sponge cake with fresh strawberry buttercream and Nutella, all covered in Italian meringue buttercream,” says Sam. “It was very extravagant!”
The dance floor quickly filled up as a live band played a pumping list of party anthems. “Everyone was singing along and everywhere I looked there were big smiles,” says Sam. Deciding to take part in one tradition at the last minute, Sam and Dylan came together for an impromptu first dance that couldn’t have been more perfect. “Dylan and I didn’t have a dance planned, so we just danced like we were in our living room. We were just so, so happy in that moment.”
Clearly swept up in the moment, Sam finished the night on a high note (pun intended), with some surprise karaoke, belting out Daryl Braithwaite’s classic hit The Horses on the mic! “It was an amazing way to end the festivities,” laughs Sam.
A celebration both relaxed and chock-full of meaning, Sam and Dylan’s wedding may have been unconventional, but it was brimming with joy from beginning to end. “To see everyone we loved in one place was something that happens so rarely,” says Sam. “It was such a special day for Dylan and I, filled with memories we’ll cherish forever.”
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LITTLE BLACK BOOK:
Photography: Lover of Mine / Ceremony and reception: The Joinery, Brisbane // Wedding dress: Jane Hill Bridal // Bride’s shoes: Zomp // Bridesmaids’ dresses: Shona Joy // Hair: Pelo Style // Makeup: The Beauty Case // Suits: Tony Barlow // Rings: AG Designer Jeweller // Flowers and styling: Main Event Weddings // Cake: Made by the groom’s sister // Entertainment: Rush Entertainment // Honeymoon: The Maldives