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Roxanne & Luke

If you ever wondered if a black tie wedding on a tropical island could really be a good idea, then this  Black tie Bali wedding is going to answer the question with a big fat yes! High school sweethearts (the bride’s brother and groom were best friends!) Roxanne and Luke wanted a classic sophisticated wedding and every detail worked together to create their beautiful clifftop occasion that overlooked the stunning Bali scenery with all the sense of occasion they desired.

Their celebration was beautifully captured by  Terralogical the culmination of many months planning after Luke popped the question at a beautiful Melbourne Estate.

Roxanne remembers “I’m really terrible at surprises and always guess them (or snoop until I find out) so Luke had to be very careful. He told me he was getting help with a tutor at uni one night (which I was so impressed by) but really he was out celebrating and drinking tequila with my parents after asking for my hand in marriage, I had no idea.

A few months later he organised my best friend to organise a Christmas breakfast together. She convinced me that we were going somewhere nice and that I shouldn’t wear active wear and said her car was getting serviced so I had to pick her up. I was a bit suspicious at this point but then she started send me photos of her getting ready so I believed her. I got to her house and the door was locked but there was a note on the door. It was from Luke and said to turn around and get in the car that was waiting for me. He had organised a driver to be there right on time and the driver wouldn’t tell us where I was going.

Finally, I arrived at Ripponlea Estate and Luke was waiting out the front for me with roses and looking very lovely. We walked into the estate and we had set up a picnic under a tree and then popped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. In true form, I giggled instead of crying and then we spent the day eating and drinking champagne, it was really magical.”

Roxanne chose Craig Braybrook Couture  to make her long sleeve lace ballgown. She explains “Craig and I worked together to come up with a unique design. He was absolutely fantastic to work with, my favourite part of the fittings was going to his studio and playing with his two pugs who love to nestle between the dresses and get cuddles from brides. The dress was a pale blush, something I’d never thought of having until seeing Craig’s design, the colour was light enough that it wasn’t pink but still wasn’t cream. It was huge, but in a great way, long train with an even longer veil, beautiful soft lace on the top and on the sleeves, buttons on the sleeves and down the back. It was just a dream. The moment I met Craig I knew he was going to make my dress and I didn’t have to look anymore, he was very accommodating and never pushed his own opinion but always had fantastic ideas.”

Roxanne and Luke chose the beautiful clifftop venue of Pandawa Cliff Estate for their wedding, “I’d never been to Bali before and hadn’t seen the venue until the day before, so I was very nervous, but in the end it was just perfect” tells Roxanne. “We chose Bali as a lot of my family live overseas so they’d be travelling anyway. It was amazing to have 80 of your closest friends and family on holiday with you, it’s something that will never happen again and we really will cherish it. We stayed with our bridal party and their partners for three days at Pandawa Cliff Estate, it was so lovely to have that time together. Pandawa itself is a beautiful venue, we had two of the villas on the property, both overlooking the ocean, we had the ceremony in the Pala and the guests could see the reception venue so afterward they opened the fence between Pala and the Rose and everyone moved into the second villa, which was so magically set up, it was just a dream. The staff at Pandawa were so lovely, we feel very lucky and privileged to have gotten married there.”

Guests were welcomed with handmade fans that doubled as programs. A slight regret for the bride and her non-crafty skills. She explains “We made fans that doubled as programs for the guests to help with the Bali heat. Being a scientist I absolutely loath craft, it should have taken a few hours but with multiple printer issues, lots of glue trouble and my general un-craftiness it took two days. Craft is the devil. I also hand wrote thank you notes for our guests for travelling across the globe for us, but that was more love and feelings than craft, so not so bad.”

The bride walked down the aisle to “Open” by Rhye, noting “I love this song because she says ‘I’m in love with your belly’ and I always joke with luke that I love his little belly or power paunch as we call it. The moment I walked out and saw Luke I actually couldn’t stop smiling, it was like it was just the two of us, I didn’t look at the guests, just him and kept thinking how lucky I am to be spending the rest of my life with my best friend and the best man that I have ever met.”

“I said to Luke that if he cried during the ceremony I’d laugh at him (I’m not one for happy crying) but about two minutes into the wedding I was the one sobbing like a baby, I couldn’t believe it” remembers the bride. “My mum did a beautiful reading of the song, “At Last” – it was very pretty special, she hadn’t told me what reading she was doing so it was a beautiful surprise. My wonderful bridesmaid Frances read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, she chose it and I think it really summed up Luke and me perfectly. The ceremony was my favourite part of our day, we’ll never declare our love for another in front of the people we love probably ever again, it was just magical.”

The couple worked with Global Weddings to plan their day from afar. “My motto with the whole wedding was, I’m not a designer/wedding planner/caterer/etc so I should just trust the experts and it worked out perfectly” tells Roxanne.

“There is one simple photo of Luke and I after the ceremony of us holding hands, he’s looking at me and I’m just smiling from ear to ear, I think it sums up our whole day perfectly” says the bride of her favourite photo.

 WIB Flowers  styled softly toned bouquets for the day, “The flowers were beautiful.” remembers the bride “Originally I wanted peonies, for their soft and beautifulness but that just isn’t an option in Bali (like many things in Bali it’s just too hot for them) but our florist was lovely and organised to have some David Austin roses put in the bouquets for a similar feel.”

“Our bridal party are our nearest and dearest friends, they went above and beyond to be in Bali and make it all so magical, Luke and I couldn’t be more grateful to have them in our lives.”

Roxanne notes “Our photographer was great. We asked for natural shots and nothing too posed or stiff and they really followed the brief.”

Guests gathered on the grass, overlooking the ocean, for an evening reception. “My absolute favourite detail was the setup, very broad I know but I loved it all, lots of planning paid off. We had beautiful white and green flowers throughout, on the pergola, a white petal aisle, a real greenery photo wall for the photo booth, white and green flowers on white tables. Beautiful gold cutlery and crystal glasses. Because my dress was blush I had put hints of blush throughout, with a blush watercolour stripe at the top of the gold handwritten name cards, I attached personal notes to the chairs for each guest that were in blush envelopes. We had blush David Austin roses in the white bouquets, tiny hints throughout that tied it all together.”

In lieu of a cake, the newlyweds poured a champagne tower.

The first dance was a highlight for the couple, who surprised their guests! Says the bride
Luke and I had had professional wedding dance lessons, we danced to “Let’s stay together” by Al Green, my dress got in the way a lot which was funny because Luke had no idea it was going to be so big, we ended our first dance in a long beautiful dip and then suddenly the music changed and our bridal party joined in and we had a surprise dance that we had all been practicing. It was meant to be funny and cheesy and loads of fun and it was all that and more. Our guests were screaming in shock and loved it, we danced to mash-up of Men in Black, Wanna Be by the Spice Girls and ended it in “let’s get married” by Jagged Edge. The ending was Luke picking me up and holding me in the air whilst our bridal party formed a circle and did spirit fingers. The absolute best.”

The couple chose Point One Design to capture this beautiful film of their day (including all the action of the aforementioned first dance!)

A big congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! Thank you also to Terralogical for sharing today’s celebration!

Photographer: Terralogical / Cinematographer: Point One Design / Wedding Planner: Global Weddings / Bride's Dress: Craig Braybrook Couture / Bride's Veil/Hair Accessories: Jennifer Behr / Bride's Veil/Hair Accessories: Craig Braybrook Couture / Bride's Shoes: Tony Bianco / Groom's Attire: Calibre / Groomsmen Attire: Bell and Barnett / Bridesmaid Dresses: The Reformation / Bridesmaid Accessories: Gooseberry Intimates / Calligraphy: Ink Berry / Invitations & Stationery: Paper Minx / Flowers: WIB Flowers / Makeup Artist: Catriona Speirs / Hairstylist: Kathleen Sheehan / Venue: Pandawa Cliff Estate / Ceremony Officiant: Kim Durieux / Catering: Bali Catering Company / Signage: Global Weddings / Lighting: Bali Event Hire / DJ: Dj Loco Hero / Dance Lessons: The Next Step Dance Co / Photo Booth: Bali Photobooths / Engagement Ring: Sol Diamonds / Wedding Ring: Sol Diamonds
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Rooms Hotel, Kazbegi. Image by Design Hotels

Georgia

Earlier this year, my husband and I booked a trip to Georgia – the country, not the US state – for our wedding anniversary. Before we went, we were the picture of Homer Simpson’s ignorance when he hilariously discovered Uruguay. We knew it was a former Soviet state. We knew that Joseph Stalin was born there, as was Katie Melua. We’d heard fantastic stories about awesome wine and giant pork dumplings called khinkali. After consultation with an atlas, we found out the Caucasus Mountains formed the Northern border and the Black Sea the Western. We knew very little else.

Our trip was for a little over a week and we decided to stay in two places: the capitol city Tbilisi and a little mountain town called Kazbegi during European winter.

Tbilisi

Located smack bang on the border between Asia and Europe, Tbilisi is an extraordinarily vibrant and eclectic city populated by peoples of diverse backgrounds living peacefully side by side. It really is a place where East meets West. The history is unreal and immediately apparent during the drive from the airport into town: giant, soulless Soviet apartments soon give way to mazes of cobblestone streets and centuries old buildings, which in turn give way to ultra-modern architecture and public artworks on the river. It seems almost like a child of Singapore and Prague. But the youngest, least pretentious child. The cool one with nothing to prove and that all the cousins like most.

Image by Caz Pringle

We checked into our AirBnb near Liberty Square (or Freedom Square depending on the map), just outside the Old Town – the place to be for tourists and locals alike – and walked the streets. The Old Town is an unintelligible tangle of old buildings and narrow, winding streets chock-full of wine bars, pubs, quaint restaurants, art galleries, hotels and guesthouses.

In Tbilisi, one figures out pretty quickly that Georgian beer, wine and vodka – a happy remnant of the country’s Soviet past – are quite simply delicious. The wine (both white and red) comes in either sweet or dry and is made using the Georgian technique, whereby large clay pots of wine are buried underground during the fermentation process. All of the wine bars, pubs and restaurants in town have a good selection of each and many also have great food. Having said that, everybody has favourites: Ours were Café Le Toit – great cocktails, awesome balcony, weird and wonderful décor; Kakha Bakuradze’s Movement Theatre – good food, good booze, great music and live performances in one place; and Zoestan – the friendly lounge room you wish you had, but with much better bartenders!

The quality (and quantity) of the food is also a source of great pride for Georgians and something to truly savour for visitors. Ridiculous amounts of soups (in particular kharcho, khashlama and chikhirtma), stews (try the chanakhi, chakhokhbili and chashushuli), salads, breads (especially khachapuri), the aforementioned khinkali and deserts (mmmm gozinaki) are washed down with Georgian wine, good local beer and vodka. Our favourite eateries were Sakhli N11 – a classy and somewhat high-end affair a street away from Liberty Square; Ezo – simple, home-cooked, “farm to table” local food in a beautiful courtyard; and Pur Pur – cosy, quaint and traditional with live music and grandma’s décor.

View from Mother of Tblisi. Image credit: Caz Pringle

Image by Caz Pringle

Tbilisi also has plenty to offer besides eating and drinking. Walking through the Old Town or along the river and seeing and feeling the history is worth the trip alone. There are loads of old buildings and churches to see, including The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi (or Sameba) – a massive Georgian Orthodox church that towers over most city structures – and Narikala Fortress, the ruins of a 4th century castle high on a ridge overlooking the city. We recommend walking the Narikala tourist route: starting at the Mother of Georgia statue on top of the ridge, exploring the nooks and crannies of the wonderful Narikala Fortress (free entry) and finishing at the entrance to both the Old Town and the wonderful Tbilisi Botanical Gardens. Also, check out the Flea Market in the park next to the Dry Bridge for an extraordinary collection of trash and treasure – jewellery, old maps, rugs, Soviet relics, electronics, chess boards, artworks and even Joseph Stalin fridge magnets.

Image by Caz Pringle

Kazbegi

After a few days of culinary and sensory delight in Tbilisi, we headed deep into the Caucasus Mountains to Kazbegi, a small town about 5km from the Russian border. The official name of the town is Stepantsminda, although most call it Kazbegi after Mt Kazbek, the 5000-metre-high mountain that dominates the landscape. The drive was three and a half hours of incredible mountain scenery (and some white knuckled wet roads) and included a few stops: at a lake, a monastery and at a ski resort (called Gudauri). We hired a driver in Tbilisi through our AirBnB host for 150 Lari – dozens of travel offices in Tbilisi can arrange this at short notice.

Image by Caz Pringle

Kazbegi was simply breathtaking: a beautiful, valley town on a rushing river surrounded by high, steep, snow-capped mountains (including the impressive Mt Kazbek). Restaurants, cafes and bars litter the town and livestock – sheep, goats, horses and cattle – seem to roam the streets free of any concerns.

Gergeti Trinity Church in Summer. Image by Transfers Georgia

The main attractions are skiing, horse-riding, white-water rafting and hiking, the latter of which we couldn’t recommend highly enough. One particular hike up to Gergeti Trinity Church – a frighteningly isolated, 14th century monastery (complete with solitary monk and monk’s dog) on top of a mountain that overlooks both the town and Mt. Kazbek – is a bucket-list, must-do kind of adventure.

Image by Caz Pringle

The church itself is stunning, the views are otherworldly and the feeling of being on top of the world is indescribable. Cars can take you there from town for around 20 lari, but the walk is well worth it. One can take the long (9 kms) trail along a stream, follow the winding road through a forest (6 kms), or bush-bash (3.5 kms) straight up the mountain amongst the trees and the snow. We chose the latter and had an absolute ball.

Locals on the road. Image credit: Caz Pringle

Image by Caz Pringle

We stayed in a guest house run by a friendly, energetic and interesting lady called Ketino that included breakfast and dinner – enough to feed a small army – for 60 lari a night. It was awesome, but if you want to something a little more luxurious, check out Rooms Hotel – a luxury, five-star hotel with the best views in town. Even if you can’t stay there, head there in the afternoon for a cocktail on the enormous deck or some soup by the fireplace. The drinks are great, the food is delicious, the vibe is warm and friendly, and the views will knock even the thickest of socks off.

View from inside Rooms Hotel, Kazbegi. Image by Ski Georgia

Elsewhere

Georgia is a small country, but has an unrivalled variety of different terrain and climate zones. Everywhere is within about eight hours of Tbilisi and you can easily organise a car and a driver from any of the travel offices in town for a modest fee. Below is a short list of a few places we plan to check out next time we’re there:

Vardzia – a 12th century cave monastery that was definitely built by fairies in the South of Georgia, about 4.5 hours from Tbilisi.

Martvili Canyons – located approximately 4.5 hours to the West of Tbilisi, caves, canyons, waterfalls, clear-blue water and epic greenery await.

Batumi – a stylish city on the Black Sea right near the border of Turkey. Batumi is about 6 hours West of Tbilisi and is Georgia’s second largest city. It is warm, sunny and beachy for most of the year (apart from the winter months).

Tusheti – in the Northeast of Georgia, 4 hours away from Tbilisi lives Tusheti, where trekkers, horses and adventurers go to frolic in glorious mountain meadows.

Svaneti – a collection of small, medieval towns in the North West of Georgia, right in the heart of the Caucasus Mountains. About 8 hours from Tbilisi you’ll find quaint villages, alpine meadows and really, really ridiculously good-looking mountains.

Ms Zigzag says: Happy anniversary to our resident world adventurers Caz and Louis. Thanks for (virtually) taking us to Georgia, a country at the intersection of Europe and Asia, that many of us have not had the pleasure of visiting in person! 

About the author Caz Pringle: Caz has been in the Event Management industry for the last decade, producing events for the likes of Rolex, Revlon, New Balance, Jeep, The Australian Open, Peroni and Alfa Romeo. After running her own events company for three years, she now lives in Antalya, Turkey with her husband where she remotely works as a copywriter and digital content producer and teaches Boxing and Yoga. She also writes the blog www.shecanpunch.com about boxing and women’s empowerment, you can follow it on Insta @SheCanPunch.

Our journey together

We met 15 years ago in Auckland, when our mutual friend ‘Abi’ spontaneously decided to set us up, we connected immediately and have been inseparable from day one. We will always be grateful for her matchmaking skills so we had a wooden sign made which we brought with us to show our gratitude.

During a trip to Europe Jamie booked a weekend getaway to Rome, we spent the day exploring the sights, before returning to our hotel room. We were stood by the shutter windows when Jamie dropped to one knee and popped the question, it was completely unexpected and a beautiful moment.

We married 5 years from the date we met, on a secluded beach in Australia, on an island off the coast of Brisbane.

With an intimate gathering of 32 close friends and family, most of whom travelled all the way from the UK and New Zealand to celebrate our day with us.

For our vow renewals, we envisioned a relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable day to celebrate 10 years of marriage surrounded by the crystal-clear sea.

Attire

When it came to what to wear, after seeing how good Jamie’s looked in his Urbbana suit jacket and chinos, I decided I needed something a little more special than what I had originally planned.

As this wasn’t an actual wedding, I decided against wearing white, and instead opted for a long sparkling champagne sequin gown, with a small train. Vanessa from When Freddie Met Lilly was fantastic, combining 2 of her dresses to custom make my gown all in a very tight time frame, I am so grateful to her and love my dress which was so comfortable to wear.

As our vow renewals took place in the Maldives, we went with the venues recommended Photographers, Digital Photography & Video Maldives. We followed each other on Instagram a year earlier so we got to know their style, and they got to know us a little too so when we met for the first time on the day of the wedding, we all felt so familiar with each other and we were instantly relaxed and at ease around them.

We had so much fun making our way to the ceremony together on a golf buggy with clattering coconut shells tied to the back.

En-route to renew our vows

When we arrived we walked through arches of plaited palm leaves, which was completely unexpected and we felt so special.


Our ceremony took place at the over-water wedding pavilion at Four Season Landaa Giraavaru, it truly was a dream destination wedding location! We sailed to the over water pavilion in a traditional Maldivian Dhoni boat, it was such a picturesque way to arrive and we were giggly with excitement by the time we arrived at the stunning over-water pavilion.

Our Vow Renewal Ceremony

On arrival the island’s band played the drums and sung a traditional song. We felt so special as we made our way up the clear glass aisle together which beautifully showcased the sparkling ocean beneath, then we turned to each other and joined hands.

Admittedly, our Celebrant hats went on for a moment as we both ensured we were perfectly centred before the ceremony commenced.

Our fantastic Wedding Coordinator Raneesh, did such an amazing job with styling the over-water wedding pavilion with white vendella roses and orchid arrangements throughout the pavilion shipped in from Sri Lanka especially for us. We brought our own custom-made sign for our wedding backdrop with the words ‘We Still Do’ which was placed with the ceremony backdrop floral arrangement and tied in with the ceremony wording, that being Celebrants, we authored.

Our ceremony wasn’t so much about renewing our original vows, it was more about celebrating our relationship and our marriage, recognising the challenges we’ve faced together over the past decade and celebrating the triumphs and how we’ve continued to grow together.

Being a Celebrant, I (Cara) couldn’t resist writing our own ceremony which reflected on our journey together and how we’ve continued to grow both individually and as a couple. I managed to keep this a surprise from Jamie who heard the entire script for the first time on the day, which made our ceremony even more special and a little fun too, with giggles, and spontaneous fist pumps!

For our vows, we agreed on 8 ‘sentence starters’ which we completed separately and shared for the first time during the ceremony. Needless to say our words to each other were very much in tune, we spoke each vow in turn and aww’d and giggled at the similarity of the words we’d each written.

The ceremony was both meaningful and at some points pretty damn hilarious, we looked in to each other’s eyes with love, we laughed, we fist pumped and we didn’t stop smiling. It was such a special moment. As we had no personal guests attending, we kept our ceremony fairly short and sweet and once we were re-pronounced as husband and wife, we had a Champagne toast, which was perfect.

Here is an extract from our ceremony:

“Cara and Jamie, 15 years ago today you met when you were introduced through a mutual friend Abi, who ‘spur of the moment’ decided it would be a good idea to set you up with each other.

You instantly connected and became an item, quickly becoming inseparable, falling more in love with each other, each day that you spent together.

During a visit to Europe, Jamie proposed in Rome and 5 years from the day you met, you married on a secluded beach on an island off the coast of Australia on a perfect summers day, surrounded by a small group of family and close friends.

You have experienced challenges and hard times, but your strength and support for each other has made those challenging times easier.

You describe your marriage as being about laughing together, sharing new experiences, creating beautiful memories, like today, and supporting each other as you smash your goals and chase your dreams.“

Following the ceremony we danced to the beat of the traditional island band.

Our Wedding Dance

10 years of love

After our ceremony we headed to the sand spit beach for sunset photos, the team of Photographers asked us to stand facing them and walk backwards towards the sea, walking backwards felt really unnatural, so I began to politely protest saying “this feels weird, isn’t it going to look funny” and the Photographer insisted, “No it won’t” so we just rolled with it.

With a drone hovering above us, we took a few steps backwards as instructed, then the Photographers all yelled “turn around now’, thinking they were just giving us direction, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we turned to see huge words dug out in the sand reading ’10 years of love’! It was such a special moment! We love how beautifully the drone footage in our highlights film captures this special memory.

Brisbane City Celebrants Wedding Vow Renewal Highlights Film

 

Jamie had briefly crossed paths with one of the beach staff earlier that day and had mentioned our vow renewal ceremony, and he subsequently spent much of his afternoon digging out the words to surprise us! We absolutely loved it and we just couldn’t believe how all the staff on the island would consistently go above and beyond like this to make our time even more memorable.

Reception

Four Season Landaa Giraavaru went above and beyond arranging for a boat to take us to a floating wooden deck in the sparkling lagoon. It felt so romantic and private and it was just amazing to watch the sun slowly set in it’s breath taking dramatic Maldivian style, lighting up the sky. We knew this was a once in a lifetime experience and we consciously savoured every moment. Our mid ocean dining experience included a delicious 4 course meal accompanied by chilled champagne, with the waiter returning by boat to serve each course.

A new tradition

We loved this experience so much and we would love to continue the tradition and renew our vows every 10 years, which I guess means we have 10 years to start planning our next vow renewals! We feel our own first-hand experience of renewing our vows has really equipped us better for writing genuine and authentic vow renewal ceremonies. It also allowed us to explore new ways of writing ‘vow renewal vows’ which we are so excited to share with our vow renewing couples.

Ms Zigzag says: We are so thrilled to share this wonderful occasion with our readers! Thank you to our special friends at Brisbane City Celebrants, Cara and Jamie, for sharing your “We Still Do” vow renewal ceremony with us. Congratulations on 10 years of love and we wish you many, many more! 

About Brisbane City Celebrants: Brisbane’s most highly recommended Marriage Celebrant duo specialising in modern, simple, meaningful, sweet, happy weddings. With a choice of an experienced and passionate female or male celebrant, our couples describe us as warm, friendly and calming. You can find Brisbane City Celebrants on the Polka Dot Bride directory here.

 

Photographer: Digital Studio Maldives / Guest Writer: Brisbane City Celebrants / Ceremony Design & Wording: Brisbane City Celebrants / Bride's Dress: When Freddie Met Lilly / Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Groom's Attire: Urbanna / Venue: Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru / Signage: Brisbane Wedding Decorators