In the midst of planning their wedding, Penny’s father was given the devastating diagnosis of bladder cancer (having just recovered from throat cancer) and was told by the Urologist that he wouldn’t live to see Penny get married later on that year. After an incredibly difficult time, her father’s prognosis had improved and he responded brilliantly to treatment. So in early July, they took good fortune and luck by the horns and booked and planned their entire wedding in only 8 weeks. And what an amazing wedding they created in such a short time!
Penny: The planning was hectic, but in many ways, I truly believe that it all came together in the way it did for a reason. All the right people had availability when we needed them, it was like it was meant to be.
All we wanted on the day was for my Dad to be with us, and to be healthy – and we feel so incredibly blessed that he was.
He bought his first new suit and shoes in about 30 years and he looked so handsome.
His speech didn’t leave a dry eye in the house and to see him laughing and having the most wonderful time with friends and family made all the chaos worthwhile.
The other part of our day which made everyone there smile was the surprise appearance of our dogs, Baxter the pug and Ollie the Cavoodle.
I’d told guests that our boys wouldn’t be coming as it was too difficult, but when they made their entrance, escorted by my mum and cousin down the aisle, in their adorable suits and buttonholes (which matched their daddy!) it was awesome.
Our dogs honestly thought everyone was there to see them. Despite Ollie having a little coughing fit mid-ceremony (too many treats!) – they were so well behaved and definitely stole the show!
HOW DID YOU MEET?
We worked together during our university days at the local cinema. My first impressions of Andy were that he was actually a little irritating to work with because he was rather lazy! However, I was intrigued by his unusual surname and wondered if he was related to a girl I went to high school with who had the same last name. It turned out it was his sister! From there, we started talking, hanging out as a group and eventually, I decided he wasn’t quite so irritating anymore, the rest is history!
DESCRIBE THE PROPOSAL
Andy had actually designed and purchased the ring almost 12 months before he proposed.
Unbeknown to me, he actually carted it on holidays with us to New Zealand, The Great Ocean Road and Tasmania, but he never felt the time was right (he says it’s because I was cranky when he’d planned to ask me, but I dispute that! LOL).
One night I went to the hairdresser after work and Andy asked me to stop and get some Thai takeaway on the way home. When I got home, I noticed that there weren’t any lights on in the house, but the front door was open. When I got inside, I was amazed to see there was a trail of fairy lights along the floor, that led me out to our back deck.
Here I found Andy waiting for me looking very nervous, he’d decorated our whole deck in candles and lights, the candles spelt ‘MARRY ME’.
He’d pre-prepared a little speech outlining the reasons why I should marry him, why he’d be a good husband and hilariously, the reasons why he’d understand if I said no (e.g. his ear hair). Then he called our pug Baxter over who had the ring on his collar and proposed. I laughed nervously the whole time but of course, I said YES!!!
WHO HELPED YOU CREATE YOUR PERFECT WEDDING
PHOTOGRAPHY: Marcus Bell, Studio Impressions Photography. The man is a genius and a true gentleman. The preview session with wine and cheese of your photographs after the wedding was such an unexpected treat and it brought back all the fuzzies of the day.
INVITATIONS: We used a design off Vista Print to create the invitations, envelopes, return address stickers and thank you cards. It was so easy, affordable and they looked great. Invitations can be beautiful, but I’m also mindful they end up in the bin, so it wasn’t a ‘thing’ we were prepared to spend a lot of money on. My best friend Marissa used her photography/editing skills to create signage on the day such as our ‘Welcome’ sign, Menu Cards, Drinks Lists etc.
CEREMONY: We hired 2 lawns at Lower River Terrace just adjacent to the reception, one for the ceremony, the other for post-ceremony cocktail hour drinks, nibbles and lawn games. We also had an amazing long table and arbour set up with the most exquisite hanging fresh florals and décor created by Brisbane Wedding Decorators. We couldn’t have been happier!
CELEBRANT: Jamie Eastgate from Brisbane City Celebrants was an awesome Celebrant! So helpful both before and on the day.
CATERING: Riverlife catered for the reception meal which was a ‘Fork and Walk’ style.
RECEPTION: Riverlife, Kangaroo Point
BRIDE’S DRESS: “Aster” from Karen Willis Holmes, Paddington, Brisbane.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: No bridal party, but my best friends who were front and centre all wore dresses from Review.
SUITS: George and King, Brisbane CBD.
DESSERT: Instead of having a cake, my mum cooked up a storm of her well-known favourites (e.g. magic slice, caramel slice) and my best friend Kim made her world famous choc chip cookies for dessert. I was disappointed there weren’t any leftovers the next day! Guests were also given a Donut Time doughnut to take away as their ‘bonbonnerie’ / dessert for the trip home. Marissa made custom stickers for each of the boxes.
Guests were also given a Donut Time doughnut to take away as their ‘bonbonnerie’ / dessert for the trip home. Marissa made custom stickers for each of the boxes.
We also surprised our guests with Ruby the Red Ice Cream Van who made her arrival at about 9 pm. Our guests loved being able to go and get an ‘old school’ ice cream on the night, even though it was a cold and windy evening!
THEMING/DECORATIONS: We both chose the venue for its beautiful backdrop and view. We didn’t want to be inside – but instead a special but casual outdoor affair, hence the ‘City Lights Marquee’ at Riverlife was perfect with the backdrop of Brisbane’s CBD by night.
Gavin from Through the Looking Glass hoisted 400m of fairy lights into the ceiling which was amazing, Innovative Hiring provided us with some extra pieces such as couches, coffee tables and chairs to keep the furniture type looking consistent.
The Tolix style bar tables and stools we hired through Brisbane Wedding Decorators for the post-ceremony nibbles and drinks, were relocated to the reception area and the tables were decorated by Madam Bloom with small vases of flowers in pinks and whites, accompanied by long stemmed pink candles. The whole look was candle lit without being too soft. We loved it.
WHICH SONG DID YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR FIRST DANCE, AND WHY? “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” by Michael Buble. I’m an ‘old soul’ when it comes to music and I love anything by Frank Sinatra.
Andy wasn’t very keen on the dancing idea so was happy for me to choose the music – but I think the sentiment of the song was important, it’s a song about being reminded to say how much you mean to each other – something we strive to do every day – even if we’re cranky with each other! We did learn a dance routine for the night, it didn’t go quite as planned, but it was better than turning around in a circle on the spot!
TRANSPORT: My neighbour, Candice is a member of the Mini Club. Mini’s have always been a favourite of mine and was our way of having a piece of my “Pa” on the day, as he loved his yellow mini and is always fondly remembered for it. Two members kindly volunteered their time and car to us (including a very sporty yellow mini, Pa would’ve loved it) to ferry us around on the day. We were so lucky!
DJ/ ENTERTAINMENT: The Baker Boys Band, who are the best wedding band ever, seriously! Callum and his team were simply outstanding – people still talk about how much they loved them. Having a live band on the night created an atmosphere that had everyone dancing, everyone singing along and even a few joining the band on the tambourine – haha.
ANY OTHER SERVICES? Our rings were from Diamonds International, Carindale and the dog suits were from Nadine at Fluppies.
ANY TRENDS WHICH INFLUENCED THE STYLE OF YOUR WEDDING?
I was keen to find a dress that wasn’t overly traditional. I loved the sequined ‘evening gown’ look immediately and knew it was for me after trying it on. Andy too took his suit inspiration from Ryan Gosling and I loved seeing him really own that process – he scrubbed up so well! In terms of an overall theme, we didn’t really have one.
The important elements to us were that it was spacious, standing affair, preferably outdoors or with a view and live music, all to create an amazing atmosphere.
The rest just came together. I didn’t have time in 8 weeks to do Pinterest or get overly caught up in the details!
WHERE DID YOU SPEND YOUR HONEYMOON, AND WHY?
We spent our honeymoon in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. We have both been to NZ’s South Island and were keen to explore the north. We didn’t have a lot of time off from work so it was easy to get there, so relaxing, affordable and the scenery was breathtaking. We had a wonderful time.
Set a budget and stick to it. It is so easy to go over and above on things. Andy was much better than I was at this! Also, remember, it’s a day to celebrate so choose things that mean something to you and if it doesn’t add to the vibe or atmosphere you’re hoping for, then ditch it. More isn’t necessarily better! Oh and stay away from Pinterest!
WHAT WAS THE BRIDE’S HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY?
Penny: So many! I loved seeing my dad’s face when he saw me all dressed for the first time, getting goosebumps when we were announced as husband and wife, seeing Brisbane Wedding Decorators beautiful long floral adorned table set up in the park, dancing with my dad (it was quite the scene and involved all sorts of shoulder shimmying!), standing at the back of the deck watching all our guests jumping around dancing to the band and the amazing gondola my parents hired to pick us up at the end of the night and take us for a beautiful ride down the river and to our accommodation at Stamford Plaza.
We had about an hour, just the two of us on the gondola, watching the city go by – it was our first chance to really ‘catch up’ with one another about the day.
WHAT WAS THE GROOM’S HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY?
Andy: It’s really hard for me to narrow it down to just one highlight. The moment when I first set eyes on Penny in her wedding dress at the end of the aisle definitely sticks into my mind. I was blown away by her dress and how beautiful she looked. Other parts of the day were The Baker Boys Band who absolutely rocked, Penny’s speech, Ruby the Red Ice Cream Van, and the gondola ride night-cap.