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Sophia and Andrew’s Botanical Southern Highlands Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings


Sophia Bailey


Sophia and Andrew

Andrew proposed on my birthday! It was a cold Monday night in August and after a lovely dinner and bottle of our favourite wine, Andrew suggested we go for one more drink before heading home. He suggested we go to the bar where we first met at a mutual friend’s birthday. We were the only people left and they were just about to close up. We started to get ready to leave and I walked up the stairs –  the very same stairs that Andrew first saw me on. I turned around and there he was on one knee, holding a gorgeous ring, asking me to be his wife. All I remember is bursting into tears and saying “are you kidding.. YES!” as he picked me up and kissed me. It was very Hollywood and I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

Andrew and I got married in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales at Montrose Berry Farm; we spent the months leading up to the wedding doing loads of fun DIY jobs, which all came together beautifully on the day, thanks to many hands and a ‘blank slate’ venue. We planned the wedding together as we both wanted the day to reflect our combined tastes and interests. Your wedding should be about you both as a couple, not just one person.







I decided to go dress shopping with my Mum. I didn’t want it to be a big ‘all-in thing’ so I just kept it intimate and knew that if anyone was going to tell me the truth about what looked good (or bad!) it would be my Mum. I also wanted to keep my dress a surprise for my hubby, girlfriends and guests. We went to a few boutiques but it wasn’t until I found myself in Savvy Brides that I felt happy and enjoyed the experience. It was there I found a Steven Khalil gown with my name on it.



I wasn’t going to wear a veil, but then, I’m sure like many women before me, I realised it’s not a complete wedding dress until you put it on with a veil. It was the first time I officially felt like a bride. I ended up wearing my Mum’s veil from her wedding. It was really special to have something that belonged to Mum with me.



My gorgeous bridesmaids wore Pia Gladys Perey dresses in emerald green; they all looked so beautiful!




Andrew and his groomsmen wore three-piece suits with crisp white shirts and contrasting blue ties; I loved their waistcoats – they really completed their outfits.






Starting with our stationery designed by Dear Little Darling, our wedding followed a botanical theme. It was everything we hoped for and more.


We found that finding a florist was one of the harder things to tick off our list. It was also something that was looking to be surprisingly costly! We hit the jack pot though and went with a fantastically vibrant, creative florist – Tanya Shaw from Oh Flora. She was amazing, accommodating and took the time to work with us to understand what we wanted. The flowers looked incredible on the day, including my floral crown which was so pretty.



With sunlight streaming through, our ceremony took place in a corner of the garden under large, willowy trees; it was beautiful, romantic, heart-felt and included both tears and laughter!









After the ceremony, guests were escorted to an enchanting outdoor area which we had set up with games, seating, music and drinks. It was a great way to serve the entrée (standing canapés) as our guests really got a chance to mingle before taking their seats for dinner. Weddings are about love and laughter and it was so nice to see everyone getting along and making new friends.






Meanwhile, with our photographer, The White Tree, we were off with our bridal party to take some piccies and have a well-deserved drink!









Before we re-joined our guests, we stole a moment just the two of us to go into our reception venue – a stunning barn we had spent the day before decorating with our friends and family –  to share a kiss and just take it all in as husband and wife. This was one of my favourite memories of the day; our botanical theme had come together perfectly!





After the cocktails and canapés our guests were seated (by way of our pot plant seating chart!) and the fun really kicked in. We had shared platters, prepared by Chef In Your Kitchen, along three long tables. The whole day was about mixing and socialising so why stop for the reception?!






For the reception, we really wanted our guests to have a fabulous night with some great food, drinks and an awesome band. The White Tree also rocked the dance floor and everyone from our youngest to oldest guests boogied all night. I have a great memory of an impromptu conga line that had almost the whole wedding on board. We wouldn’t have changed a thing!





The speeches were brilliant and at times down right hysterical. I wasn’t sure if I was going to speak but I should have known myself better than that; maybe it was the fact I’ve always been a chatter box, or that I’m a lawyer, or that I just had so much to say that I couldn’t let the day go by without speaking (or more likely all of the above!) It was so wonderful to be able to declare my love again and express my gratitude to all our friends and family for their part in our story.





Naturally, Andrew followed my speech up strongly and reduced me to tears (again!) He then smoothly walked over, took my hand and before I knew it, the first dance was in full swing –  including the archetypal ‘dip kiss’. The rest of the night was a glorious blur.




Weddings never go off without a hitch and nothing is ever “perfect” (whatever that is), but I can honestly say that our day felt perfect in every way, and that’s even better.


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Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a truly happy and beautiful wedding Sophia and Andrew; such a wonderful day to remember! I love all your DIY details, particularly the pot plant seating chart!

About Sophia: Hi I’m Sophia, former Events Manager turned Lawyer. I’m madly in love with my husband and our two fluffy Cavoodles, Parsley and Chester. I loved combining the skills and talents of great suppliers and also DIY-ing for our big day.

Bride’s Dress: Steven Khalil / Bridal Salon: Savvy Brides / Bridesmaid Dresses: Pia Gladys Perey / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Montrose Berry farm / Photographer: The White Tree / Flowers & Decor: Oh Flora / Catering: Chef in Your Kitchen / Cake Baker: All Things Sweet By Carissa / Band: The White Tree / Invitations & Stationery: Dear Little Darling / Rentals: Vintage Patina / : Yes Your Event Solution

Inspired Words – Nat

by | Inspired Words, Weddings


Ms Chinoiserie

We love hearing from our beautiful brides about what really made their wedding days memorable. Nat shares her inspired words of advice after her Sunlit Winery Wedding to Andrew.

‘Your friends and family are at your wedding because they care about you as a couple, not the finer details of your wedding. If you enjoy your day, so will they.”









Images by Carla Atley


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Renee and Christopher’s Tropical Palm Cove Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Renee Lovelady Tomas

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Renee and Christopher

Christopher and I grew up living two streets away. I would spy him in the park and make a point of saying “Hey” as you do when you are 15 years old! We eventually started dating years later after we ran into each other at a night club. He agreed to go for a run with me in exchange for taking me to the movies and the rest is history. Christopher proposed on Christmas Eve. As we were both sitting under the Christmas tree enjoying a glass of red listening to a CD of ‘our songs’ that he had made, he asked me to marry him. His parents always hold a special Christmas Eve dinner so he organised for my family to come over after dinner and we celebrated the news together.

My sister actually picked my dress! I had made a few selections, none of which seemed to be the ‘one’. I told my sister “no” at first and she forced me (as sisters do!) to try it on. As soon as it was on I knew it was the one. It was a beautiful design by Wendy Makin which I purchased from Bella Donna Bridal North Qld.

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My bridesmaids were gorgeous in pink; the design of their dresses was so flattering and they looked just beautiful!

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Christopher and his groomsmen wore suits from Newpark Menswear.

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I wanted old English roses with pops of green in my bouquet. The perfume of the roses was just sensational. Rainflowers Florist provided the flowers for the day; they were just what I wanted!

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We were married at the Alamanda Great Barrier Reef Chapel which is managed by South Pacific Bridal. It is a purpose built chapel located right on the beach. When we originally decided to hold our wedding in Palm Cove I had booked two chapels to inspect. We attended the Alamanda Chapel first and I immediately cancelled the second appointment. Christopher said I couldn’t take the smile off my face when we arrived. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s ‘Canon’ played on a harp by Joy Zahner. The sound of the harp was just enchanting.


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Together for our vows, we wrote a list of promises that we agreed to make to each other. It was really fun making the list together. My favourite promise was “when you can’t fight anymore, I will fight for us”. It meant so much reading the promises to each other.

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We were married by a local celebrant Wayne Rees. Wayne was a character! The best part of the ceremony was at the conclusion when he pronounced us as husband and wife. He told us to brace ourselves (which thankfully we did) and it made my Nanas jump!

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After our ceremony we joined our guests for canapes and drinks under the palm trees on Palm Cove beach. The post-ceremony soiree was catered by Nu Nu and the food was exquisite. It was so wonderful to spend time with our guests that had travelled to celebrate with us immediately following our ceremony.

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Ian Stone from Posh Photography captured our day. We felt very comfortable with Ian. We hired a limo from Cairns Luxury Limousines and Ian took us to a number of locations including an old saw mill, the Pier, train tracks and a creek surrounded by sugar cane. Our ceremony was filmed by Visibility Video. I am so happy we decided to film our ceremony and post ceremony celebrations. We will make a point of watching it every year!

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Catered by Nu Nu once again, our reception was held on Sunset Terrace at the Sarayi Boutique Hotel.  Our guests enjoyed canapés on arrival, pink sangria and a three course meal followed by wedding cake. The food was just exquisite and we received so many compliments about it from our guests. Our evening entertainment was provided by Andrea Mullens of Cairns Premier Entertainment. Andrea firstly sang throughout dinner and then played all our favourites as a great DJ.

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Rather than a traditional bridal table, Christopher and I sat at a table ‘just for two’. Decorated in a gold cloth, it was so romantic!

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My favourite part of the evening was Christopher’s speech. He delivered a beautiful speech and brought a lot of people to tears. At the conclusion of his speech he looked at me and said “And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you”. It was just perfect.

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a beautiful wedding Renee and Christopher; a perfect day with family and friends – completed by Christopher’s heartfelt speech!

About Renee: My name is Renee Lovelady Tomas (yes I have kept my maiden name!). I am a lawyer in Townsville, Queensland and I am 27 years old. I drink lots of coffee and I love Minnie Mouse.

Photographer: Posh Photography / Bride’s Dress: Wendy Makin / Purchased from: Bella Donna Bridal North Qld / Groom's and Groomsmen's Attire: Newpark Menswear / Catering: Nu Nu / Flowers & Decor: Rainflowers Florist / Ceremony Venue: Alamanda Great Barrier Reef Chapel / Ceremony Officiant: Wayne Rees / Reception Venue: Sarayi Boutique Hotel / DJ: Cairns Premier Entertainment / Ceremony Musicians: Joy Zahner / Transport: Cairns Luxury Limousines / Videography: Visibility Video
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