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Angela and Joel’s Intimate Brisbane Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Angela Murray

Joel&Angela_LolaImages_BlogSubmission-155Angela and Joel

It felt like Joel and I were always on the same page when it came to the pace of our relationship! I moved in with him after a month, then moved out together three months later and before we knew it a year had passed and we were planning our first holiday overseas together!

As the count down to the trip drew closer I had a sneaking suspicion that this holiday might be a little bit more memorable than we first planned. But nothing could have prepared me for what Joel had been secretly organising on the side.

Three weeks into our month-long holiday Joel came over to me and thanked me for organising so many amazing activities and being “totally cool” with him still drafting his fantasy football team from South-East Asia (haha!) And to thank me he had organised a romantic spa day for the two of us!

Before I knew it we were getting whisked off by chauffeur to the most gorgeous spa retreat in Thailand, The Sarojin. Joel had mentioned that since it was low season he was able to get an amazing overnight deal and that it would be crazy not to stay there. I completely agreed – this place was like nothing I had experienced before.

We indulged in activities, massages and glasses of champagne before retiring to our room before dinner by the pool. I was in heaven and never wanted to leave!

As I started to get ready for dinner Joel mentioned that he had forgotten to check with the onsite restaurant that they could cater for gluten free food. Joel is a Celiac and it had become increasingly difficult to find appropriate dining throughout South-East Asia, so off he went down to reception. Fifteen minutes went by and at this stage I was dressed up and ready to eat.

All of a sudden the room phone rang and it was the reception desk. They explained that the pool restaurant didn’t have the correct facilities to prepare Joel’s dinner but if we went to their off-site restaurant (only a couple of hundred metres down the road) would be fine. The lady had assured me that Joel had gone ahead to make sure they had an available booking for us so I didn’t have to walk in heels! What a sweetheart.

Unfortunately for Joel he probably didn’t realise how panicked I would get when the receptionist asked me to get in a car by myself late at night in the middle of Thailand to be driven out to only knows where! I really only started to get nervous when the driver refused to give me any information except for “not long now” and we started pulling into a nature reserve!

I was getting quite worried by now so you can imagine my delight when the car turned a corner and I was confronted with a rainforest filled with tea light candles and a private waterfall!

I hopped out of the car and was guided through trees, over streams and eventually reach the top of the private forest where Joel was waiting in front of a beautiful waterfall. At this stage I was making a noise that could only be described as “wailing” since I had a feeling this wouldn’t be the run of the mill dinner.

After a beautiful exchange of words, sobs and feelings, Joel got down on bended knee and produced the most amazing ring I had ever seen (I later found out he had been zip-lining, hiking and kayaking half way across South-East Asia with that ring! And yes it was the real deal!). We were engaged!


Joel and I were very lucky when it came to our wedding. It seemed like everything has just fell into place! We had originally planned on a May wedding, the weather would be perfect and it would have given us enough time to plan the wedding of our dreams. Unfortunately sometimes life throws you curve balls and we got the biggest one you could get! Joel’s Dad had been diagnosed with stage four  pancreatic cancer a couple of months before Joel and I first started dating. So you can imagine that after two years fighting tooth and nail for good health, it was devastating news to hear the news that one of the most beautiful and strong-willed men I had ever met, Mr Jim Spotswood, would not be long for this world.

After days of deliberation with the Spotswood clan we all decided the most amazing wedding present to both my husband and his father would be to have them both there for a beautiful private ceremony! So we threw caution into the wind and gave ourselves two weeks to plan a wedding which would be held two days before Christmas!

I’m sure most people would be pulling out their hair by now but I saw it as a challenge and Joel saw it as a blessing so we were willing to do what we needed to make it work! It was by pure fate that I had actually already been in contact with an amazing Perth based photographer, Hannah from Lola Images, regarding a couples shoot that she wanted to do over the Christmas holidays for Joel and me, as she was looking for new images and Brisbane based referrals as she was looking at moving to Queensland the following year!

I sent Hannah a couple of messages explaining our situation and asked if she would be willing to change our couple’s shoot to a full wedding shoot and Hannah being the beautiful woman she is sounded more excited than we were about the idea; finally we had somewhere to start!

Before I knew it Hannah was putting me in touch with all these amazing companies that she had worked with in the past that wanted to help out as well as have the chance to collaborate with Hannah again, one of which was Cleo Borrello, an amazing boutique dress label based out of Perth. After a couple of email and photo exchanges all of a sudden I had a dress!!! And not just any dress, a stunning backless, formfitting wedding dress which any girl would be lucky to walk down the aisle in.




So at this stage I had a fiancé, a date, a dress and a photographer and that was about it! It was time to find a venue. Joel and I live in an apartment in Brisbane, not exactly the best backdrop for an intimate wedding. We knew we didn’t want anything too big or out in the open since most of the guests would be close family members.

So we did something a little be out of left field and hired a luxury four bedroom house which came paired with its own real-life zen garden out the back! And where did we find this little gem? Air BnB! The owner was such a sweetheart and loved the idea of his house being used for such a special event  – so with a bit of imagination and furniture hire we were able to turn a sleek stylish house into the perfect intimate wedding and reception venue.





Our original chosen bridal party which consisted of close friends completely understood that under the circumstances we were just going to be inviting family to the ceremony and then they could come afterwards for the drinks and speeches. Although this wasn’t going to be the standard wedding, the bridal party collectively decided that it was still a pretty good reason to celebrate and as a result we got to have an incredible mini hen’s and buck’s night out two nights before the wedding.

Although I didn’t want to do the traditional bridesmaids set up for our wedding I really wanted to take the opportunity to for the women in both of our families to spend some time together before the big day so I invited them along to get ready with me before the big moment!



In our beautiful robes by Cookies and Ry, it was so special to be able to get ready with one of Joel’s sisters and my Mum and little sister (unfortunately Joel’s eldest sister and Mum had to stay with Joel’s Dad). It really gave me a sense of calm throughout the day.



As for my makeup I had always known that no matter where or when I got married I would have Jasmine from Tiara Bridal Artistry do my hair and makeup! She is not only a dear friend of mine but she is also the best in the business and she reminded me of exactly why I love her work so much.  When I looked in the mirror for the first time after she had worked her magic, I knew Joel would love it especially since I was wearing an amazing beading crystal headpiece and matching jewellery from Fletcher and Grace.





My stunning bouquet was courtesy of the Bouquet Boutique who with such short notice were able to create a work of art; they were so friendly and made the whole designing process so easy since I really didn’t have the time to worry about the finer details.


Another fun little idea Hannah had was to do a boudoir shoot before the ceremony as a keep sake for Joel! I loved it; it was very cheeky and very us and I knew it would be a little something exciting to look back and reminisce on. Hannah as always had the inside hook up and I ended up wearing some stunning, handmade lace lingerie for the shoot from Black Lace Designs.



Hannah was honestly a my saving grace when I came to planning our wedding, her years of experience and her connections and ideas really helped me pull together our beautiful wedding. Hannah had some amazing ideas for the finer details such as suggesting we get stationery made up for our vows as a keepsake; we didn’t actually have time to send out invites or save the date cards and this way the amazing team at Pepper and Archie were able to produce one full set of wedding stationery for us to keep with our wedding album.




As for our cake, I was lucky enough to get in contact with a lady named Caitlin that owns a Brisbane based cake making company called A Little Cake Place.  I have honestly never met someone so passionate about what they do than Caitlin. When I went to pick up the cake, she showed me into a room that can only be described as cake heaven!

The room was filled with sample cakes as far as the eye could see, wedding cakes, graduation cakes, baby shower cakes and all so intricately decorated! I was honoured to have her create our perfect little peanut butter and chocolate fudge, gluten free, two tiered cake!


The morning of the wedding was busy and before Hannah came over to help with the styling and decoration, she had great fun photographing Joel and his groomsmen in their hotel room!









So, after the longest two weeks of my life the big moment finally arrived. As I started walking down the stairs to my Dad waiting teary eyed at the bottom, I could hear an acoustic guitar cover of ‘November Rain’ by Guns and Roses being played softly in the background.



I knew then that no matter what we had to overcome to be here and no matter what we would face in the future, we could overcome everything because right at that moment I was about to marry the love of my life in our home town with our entire family around us watching and cheering us on and that’s all that mattered.












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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Angela and Joel on such a beautifully intimate wedding; a very special tribute to your love for your families!

Photographer: Lola Images / Bride’s Dress: Cleo Borrello / Hair and Make-up: Tiara Bridal Artistry / Jewellery: Fletcher and Grace / Bridal Robes: Cookies and Ry / Bouquet: Bouquet Boutique / Invitations & Stationery: Pepper and Archie / Cake Baker: A Little Cake Place

Inspired Words – Sam

by | Inspired Words, Weddings


Ms Chinoiserie

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After the formalities of the ceremony, your day should be a fun celebration of love as Sam remembers about her relaxed autumn wedding to Dave.

“Relax and enjoy yourself; we tried to get most of the traditions completed early so the rest of the night was focused on eating, dancing and having fun.”

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relaxed autumn wedding071

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Images by Eric Ronald Photography

Jade and James’ Sweet Garden Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Jade McCallum

Mr and Mrs McCallum

Jade and James

James and I met in high school, but it wasn’t until after finishing that we slowly became an item. Eventually we moved together from the country town where we grew up in to the big smoke. After six years together and having completed university degrees, travelling and finding jobs we loved, we felt that it was the right time in our lives to think about getting married.

Ours was a beautiful mutual proposal, a champagne picnic with gorgeous words exchanged. Some may have thought this to be a bit odd.. where’s the surprise? The big story of him getting down on one knee? But that suited us. At the end of the day, we just really loved each other equally. Anyway, why should the man have all the pressure (and fun!) in asking the question which will affect you both for the rest of your lives? Plus we like to be original and break the rules a little, and this applied to us throughout the entire wedding process!

We planned a super chilled engagement party for February 2014, hired a pavilion with a park to have a picnic barbecue with lawn games and cider a plenty. Unfortunately, James feel extremely ill a week before and was hospitalised for almost five months with meningoencephalitis (infection around his brain stem). My poor fella deteriorated so quickly he spent weeks in intensive care, in a coma like situation with no solid diagnosis or timeline on recovery, if any.

But he fought hard. His body and brain eventually, with the right medications to help, began to show improvements. The infection started to disappear, allowing him to breathe, eat and speak again –  and with physiotherapy, to walk! As soon as he set foot inside the rehabilitation clinic and we were certain of his 100% recovery I knew I had to marry this man, like now! Life had proven to us how short it could be, so we cancelled the yacht club wedding we had planned which was over 18 months away and instead decided to get married in five months time in his parents’ garden!

The short timeframe and the incredible amounts of love and dedication between us because of the recent events created undoubtedly the best day of our lives. Friends and family following the day spoke of how the wedding was incredibly relaxed, fun and authentic to who we are as a couple.

I tried to do as much DIY decor as possible; designing the stationary, organising all the vendors and all the bits in between. The endless nights tying ribbon, spray painting tin cans and writing out chalkboards resulted in a sweet ceremony in the park behind the home, followed by an intimate reception in the garden.

Our photographer, Jordan Hendy, was totally amazing; he was actually recommended to us through another vendor. Having just done a handful of weddings his rate was well suited to our budget, but his work looked incredible and we were stoked to have him capture our day. Jordan totally delivered all round, his shots were perfect, but it was his easy going attitude that allowed him to slip into the crowd and become one of us!

James and I chose to have three on each side for our bridal party. The guys, close friends Korric and Jason and brother Damian, had a chilled out morning of the wedding, so I’ve been told. Having slept in after a night of beers and XBOX games they headed on over to a barbers where they were spoilt with whisky and head massages.

Following this they headed to his parents’ house to get dressed before the ceremony. With a few inspiration pictures handed to them for reference, they organised their outfits in a day; a group visit to Myer for the pants, Windsor Smith for the shoes, and a tailor for the shirts and belt. The tie, tie clip and socks were given to them the morning of our wedding whilst the cufflinks were a last minute thought, with James’ Dad coming to the rescue with a few extra pairs. James’ cufflinks were part of my engagement gift I had given him at our special picnic.




Together with my close friends Nikki and Sam and sister Leah, I also had a chilled morning of the wedding. Being super excited we were up at 6am and watching Magic Mike on DVD by 7am. The rest of the morning consisted of a Beyonce music video marathon whilst slowly making ourselves look fabulous! Due to budgets, we had the girls do each other’s hair whilst I had mine done by a stylist. I also had my sister do the makeup – she did an amazing job, creating a natural look that suited us all beautifully.

The girls’ dresses were all from ASOS and shoes from a mix of places. My dress from Bridal by Aubrey Rose was probably the 20th one I tried on, and I knew instantly it was the right one; tears rolled down my cheeks as I smiled with so much happiness. My bouquet and the ladies’ flower bracelets were created by a friend of mine who had just started a business in the industry, and what a great job she did; there were a few tears shared when she saw how stoked I was with the result. Oh, and we had James’ cute little sister as the flower girl – she was so adorable!

Bridal gown






Our ceremony was so sweet; the set-up was simple with my added touches of a ribbon backdrop and flowers I had put together to sit in spray painted cans. The furniture was hired in and along with a wheelbarrow that I had totally fallen in love with! My sister’s boyfriend played some of our favourite songs on the acoustic guitar as our guests waited and for my walk down the aisle which added a lovely personal touch. Mum also gave me away which was just perfect; she has been my everything and was so thrilled to be that person for me.






Groomsmen at ceremony


We found our brilliant celebrant, Ketisha from Pure Bliss Celebrations, online, but it turns out we knew each other from the country town we grew up in as my Mum had taught her gymnastics! She conducted a short and sweet ceremony, which included personal vows and lots of giggles with excitement!



Mr and Mrs McCallum

Mr and Mrs McCallum

We had so much fun with our bridal party shots; it was so relaxed and over within in an hour (we desperately wanted to go celebrate with everyone!)

Bridal party




The reception furniture had been set-up the day before by all the family; we even had a dance floor installed over the pool to double the space. The final touches were completed by James’ family, hanging the DIY blackboards, lights and flowers we’d arranged the day before. Our cake was a bit quirky, we had Kermit and Miss Piggy sitting on top (personal joke of ours). We had a great bar and served cocktail food which was followed by an amazing dessert and cheese table my gorgeous girlfriends had put together.



Dessert and cheese

Speeches were pretty darn emotional! Due to the recent events of the year there was an incredible amount of love and heartfelt words spoken by our parents and best friends. It was my sister Leah who succeeded in making sure there was not a dry eye left in the house! Our first dance followed so that we could get the dance floor happening as soon as possible. Music was played through a PA we hired from a Spotify playlist we had created over a few months.



First dance


Cutting the cake was fun; it was actually my birthday too, so I had the loudest ‘Happy Birthday’ sung to me! We partied it out on the dance floor to the last minute, leaving just before midnight to head to our hotel where we spent a couple of nights.





Following the wedding we booked the honeymoon for this year in August; we’re heading to Singapore and Malaysia. We also finally moved into our own place (we had been living with our siblings) and honestly have never been happier and more in love!

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Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations Jade and James – what a beautiful, sweet wedding full of so much love!

Bride’s Dress: Bridal by Aubrey Rose / Hairstylist: Creations by Kassy / Ceremony Venue: Flinders Park / Ceremony Officiant: Pure Bliss Celebrations / Photographer: Jordan Hendy Photography / Ceremony Stylist: The Turtle and the Pelican / Reception Furniture: Hire Society / Catering: Creative Catering / Cake Baker: Sweet Daisy May
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