I am pretty sure if I could choose any place to elope, it’d be Tasmania’s amazing Cradle Mountain. And it seems today’s sunshine state residers Chantel and James are on my side – the pair choosing a Tasmanian winter and just a handful of their closest family as witnesses as they tied the knot. Winter in Tasmania is something utterly special – snow, mist and moodiness, all coming to life for the bride’s dream of an outdoor wedding. There were bushwalks in the morning, intimate dinner receptions after dark. This relaxed sense of purpose, the focus on what is most important and beautiful imagery by Astrid Simone Photography rounds out a story that is utterly romantic.
The tying of the knot has been a long time coming for these two, Chantel explains why. “We met through mutual friends whilst at university in 2008 and began dating later that year. As it turned out quite a number of our friends already knew each other, so I like to think we would have eventually met regardless of our circumstances.”
Chantel and James, with the help of Pop Up Weddings Tasmania, planned their day at Cradle Mountain Lodge . “We chose Tracey with Pop up Weddings and she made it into a simple streamlined process, which was amazing considering we were on the other side of the country!”
The bride skipped a song for the walk down the aisle. Instead walking along the boardwalk with her father to the sounds of nature. The couple standing together against the forest backdrop for their ceremony officiated by Janelle Wilson. Chantel sharing “We had a heartfelt civil ceremony with each declaration and vow chosen for its meaning to us and my sister read us the poem ‘Benediction of the Apache’.”
Even the rings were carefully considered. The groom making them himself! Chantel explains “We were quite uncertain when deciding on the wedding bands, with no particular designs appealing to us. James taught himself a simple jewellery making technique and created two simple gold bands for us. Each ring its own unique imperfections which we love and they mean so much more to me that James made them.”
Chantel made sure to honour her family in her own unique way. “I included ‘something old’ from both of our families. With my bouquet, I carried a small chimney sweep ornament which had been carried by both my mother and maternal grandmother at their weddings. The chimney sweep is supposed to bring luck based upon an old English legend. I also wore a beautiful pearl ring which was James’ maternal grandmother’s engagement ring.”
Chantel went for something simple for her look with a gown from The Gown House and a tailored emerald green jacket from Xiaolizi Handmade. “I am someone who has always loved long, flowing dresses and Grecian style wedding dresses suited me perfectly” she explains. “I am also a very practical person, and knowing the lovely cold Tasmania winter I knew I needed a good coat and shoes. I went with the Infinity Gown from Gown House, a green wool trench coat from Xiaolizi on Etsy and am wearing a comfy pair of boots and underneath it all.”
The groom chose his look from Peter Jackson. “The sales assistant at Peter Jackson, he actually made it a pleasure to go suit shopping (a task James would not enjoy otherwise)” remembers the bride. “When we were browsing for ideas for James’ suit this assistant (the name of whom escapes me) sat with us to discuss the theme, my dress and colouring, before selecting a broad range of options for James to try. It wasn’t until a month later that we returned having decided to purchase from this store. The assistant not only remembered us, the suit and colouring, but also James’ sizes.”
Of their photographer, Chantel shares “On the day she was wonderful. She is a lovely person, with a perfect mix of professionalism and fun. Despite our wedding location requiring us to be in close quarters, she and her assistant managed to stay complete unobtrusive, whilst still perfectly capturing the moment. Even during our ‘posed’ photography session at Dove Lake, she captured our candid moments and was able to portray our personalities in each photo.”
“It being an outdoor wedding meant the wildlife was also involved! We had a pademelon at the ceremony, another come up to us while we were getting photographs at Dove Lake, and a wombat came along as well.”
“I absolutely love Tasmania and to be able to get married in such a gorgeous location was a dream come true,” tells Chantel. “Whilst we had unfortunately missed the snow, the cool overcast day created a beautiful misty surround that perfectly suited the style of the day.”
And the newlyweds continued their day with their family – just as they’d begun it. Celebrating with cocktails and dinner at Cradle Mountain Lodge. “We loved that staying on site and having a small wedding meant we got to spend more time with each other and our families” says the bride.
Making the decision to celebrate with intimate family was a big one for Tess and Scott. However, they truly nailed the eco-friendly and low impact day of their dreams – and made it about the love they share for one another. Not only was Jesse of All the Love in the World Photography there to capture the day, but Tess’ sister, Fornax Photography (budding photography herself) was able to share in capturing the magic! From sourcing styling elements in op shops to including multiple DIY elements, the weather turned to idyllic as Tess and Scott said ‘I do’. Tess tells us their story.
We met through friends who met online way back in 2006. My best friend met one of Scott’s close friends in a chat room. When they decided to meet for the first time I agreed to go with my bestie as her support, Scott agreed to be his friend’s wingman.
There was literally chemistry from the moment we shook hands, we became fast friends and chatted all night and haven’t stopped since!
Scott had organised a romantic dinner a week before my birthday in 2015. Everything was going well and according to plan until a day before – we were discussing our plans and he suggested going for a walk on the beach after dinner. Being the middle of winter i protested a little, thinking it may be too cold, but he was unusually insistent which piqued my curiosity and suspicions. I stayed quiet & agreed to the plans.
The night arrived and I had spent the whole day at work talking myself out of my suspicions, but chose to wear something special – just in case! When we arrived, he had made a special picnic with all my favourite things from around town. He chose a beautiful spot overlooking the Noosa River which was lit by the full moon and had made a playlist with all our favourite romantic songs. It was perfect! But the whole time I couldn’t stop wondering if he was going to propose now, later, or if it was all in my head.
Dinner finished and my heart was in my throat. We packed up and started our walk on the beach. The moon was so bright and the beach was lit up. We walked down to the shoreline and then we stood there for what felt like ages. My mind was so preoccupied that I didn’t notice the only other people on the beach had come quite close by…he was waiting for privacy.
When he got down on his knee I blurted out ‘I knew it!’ then bit my tongue and let him continue with his beautiful proposal to which I replied ‘of course!’.
Our wedding was an Intimate Vintage Bohemian Wedding. We really wanted the day to just be about us and our love. We had an engagement party with 70 odd guests and barely saw each other all night as we were busy hosting and entertaining. We didn’t want the same for our wedding so we only had our immediate families attend, a guest list of 11 in total.
I walked down the aisle to Video Games by Lana Del Ray.
We really wanted a ceremony that was whole heartedly just us. Our celebrant gave us licence to write our ceremony script, which we enjoyed doing together. Because we have been together for a long time, we saw it more as a celebration of our continual love and a milestone in our love story.
We didn’t have any readings but we each wrote our own, very different, vows. There was not a dry eye in the house. I don’t think either of us expected it to be as emotional as it was.
During the ceremony, Scott was only just keeping it together, silent tears were streaming down his face. I was nervous walking down the aisle and definitely walked too quickly, almost dragging my parents behind me, but I was somewhat keeping it together.
When I got to the end of that aisle and looked up at Scott’s face, the tears started falling down mine. Many of our family members, including my Dad, jokingly accused Scott of making them cry. It was very moving.
We were married on Kingfisher Bay’s Sunset Beach at 9 in the morning. After the ceremony we excitedly celebrated with our families over a champagne brunch. We then left our families at about 10.45 and went on an island adventure with Jesse our photographer and Ranger Annie our driver. It was important to us to have alone time and to really celebrate our day of love together.
We called it our 4WD adventure. First stopping at Lake McKenzie for photos and a picnic lunch which Scott and my brother prepared the night before. We then ventured to Central Station for some rainforest vistas. It was exciting for us when we realised that Jesse our photographer hadn’t been to those spots before, we loved sharing those special places with him.
We got back to Sunset beach at about 3.30pm to enjoy drinks and our homemade platters with our families around a bespoke picnic area that Scott’s sister created for us. Over the past year we had gathered a collection of pillows, blankets, chairs and wooden tables which were used to create the beautiful area, many hours were spent op shopping and even making some of those pieces.
At about 6pm we headed to Seabelle restaurant at the resort for our little reception. The ladies from the events team had created a magical setting for us with our flower arrangements, my own collection of amethyst crystals, my op shop sourced candlesticks and our beautiful macrame hanging as a backdrop. After dinner we feasted on our beautiful wedding cake which was made and decorated by my Mum. We then went back to sunset beach with the last few family members that were still standing and continued our celebrations through the night and into the next morning.
I chose to wear the Paloma gown by Grace Loves Lace. Scott and I have been together a long time and I always knew we’d get married one day. My favourite way to procrastinate when I was at uni was to scroll through the GLL website! As soon as I saw the Paloma gown, I fell in love and pinned it on my Pinterest.
I chose Grace Loves Lace because I have always loved their beautiful lace and the fact that they hand make the gown to your exact measurements.
I took my Mum with me to try on a selection of gowns at the beautiful Grace Loves Lace HQ on the Gold Coast. We had such a great time with Tina our stylist, sipping on rose tea, nibbling on biscotti and marvelling at all the gorgeous gowns surrounding us. As soon as I put on the Paloma, we both knew it was ‘the one’.
My something blue was a pair of baby blue sandals with ankle ties. My something old was a beautiful beaded coin purse that was my Grandmothers on Mum’s side, I had never seen it before the wedding, so that was really special for me. My something borrowed was a silver bangle that Dad had once gifted Mum. My something new was a veil from Grace Loves Lace that my 3 best friends had bought me for my last birthday.
We had a very intimate wedding with only our immediate family involved, so we chose not to have a bridal party. We each chose a sibling to be our witnesses, my only brother and Scott’s only sister.
We knew we were going to Lake McKenzie for photos on our wedding day, the beautiful blue hues of the lake influenced our colour palette heavily as well as the fact that blue really is Scott’s colour.
We chose all different shades of blue for him to wear; a light blue shirt, navy blue pants and a royal blue blazer. Set off nicely with a wooden bow tie and brown boat shoes, very beachy as we were married on the beach! We sourced all his clothes (bar the bow tie) from Connor.
K’gari Fraser Island holds a very special place in both our hearts. For me, it was my playground growing up and it is also now where I work. We stayed and got married at Kingfisher Bay Resort on the western side of the island. For us as a couple, it was where we celebrated our first 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 11th anniversaries. So it seemed like the perfect place to tie the knot.
Even though we live in Hervey Bay, Scott is a Sunny Coast boy so we had a fair bit of Sunshine Coast influence in our vendors. We met lovely Nat from Heavenly Blooms at a Hinterland Wedding Expo in 2017 and we just fell in love with her style.
I requested different textures and colours of green foliage, a selection of white flowers, all with a bit of native flair, as we were spending the day outside surrounded by native flora. Nat also included a few pink flowers to complement our blue colour palette.
We haven’t seen many of our photos from All the Love in the World Photography yet but we are very excited! We have seen one drone shot at Lake McKenzie which we love.
My sister from Fornax Photography stepped in later in the day, she took the most beautiful portrait of me! Instead of a guest book, we had a polaroid camera, a small scrap book and an array of stickers for our guests to create lasting memories of our day from their perspectives. It has been so nice for us to look back at that photo book and we will enjoy it for years to come.
Jesse from All the Love in the World Photography was with us all day. He is a really lovely, down to earth person and we truly enjoyed his company. The fact that we were showing him some of our favourite places, trees and features of the island made it even more special for us. Our families loved him as well and raved about him for days after.
When Jesse finished for the day my younger sister Bronte stepped in. A budding photographer herself, she owns a little company called Fornax Photography. She took some sunset shots of us and our families as well as other bits and pieces during the day.
Of their favourite part of the wedding planning, Tess shares, Making the playlists together. We made a playlist for each part of our day. We love music and we put in a lot of time and effort in the months before the wedding to get it just right.
Tess shares about the DIY elements of their romantic day.
I ordered a beautiful macrame hanging but the rest of the arbour was created by my dad and brother. It was made from paperbark trees from home. The night before the wedding, I enlisted the help of my Mum, my sisters and Scott’s sister to do some flower arranging. Apart from the bouquet Nat made me, I had just ordered 3 buckets of florals for us to arrange into a collection of vases I had been gathering for over a year from op shops. These vases were used to dress the tables at the ceremony location, the reception and we also made the arrangements that were on the arbour.
I also enlisted their help to make sweet brunch platters, which we enjoyed after the ceremony, and savoury sunset platters which we enjoyed on the beach before heading to dinner. All the platters were vegan, we were also lucky enough to have some little vegan cake canapés from Rosebed & Finch as part of our platters. Needless to say we were VERY busy the night before.
Mum also made our wedding cake. She put in a lot of love and many hours of time to perfect her recipe for a vegan carrot cake with cream ‘cheeze’ icing. I also made some roasted macadamia date balls for a little chocolate hit at dessert.
Our first dance was probably quite different to most. After our reception dinner, only a few of us went back to the beach to continue the celebrations. We each settled around the area chatting, stargazing and drinking.
We shared our first dance off to the side away from the others. We had been star gazing when our favourite song, Marinade by Dope Lemon, came on. We sung to each other, danced, laughed and shared a kiss, it was very romantic and private.
No matter what type of wedding you have, take some time for just the two of you. The day goes really quick and we are so glad we spent so much of it together.
Don’t be afraid to have a small wedding if that’s what you want. We were so worried about offending family and friends that it took us a while to take the plunge and make the decision. If your friends and extended family really care about you, they will understand.
Ms Zebra Says: Sending a big congratulations to these two love birds, who nailed an incredible and intimate eco-friendly wedding! Thank you for sharing your day with us and we wish you all the happiness in your life together!
Polka Dot Dream Team...
The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!
This months destination is Hawaii! We are so ready for palm trees, beach scenes and being immersed in such a beautiful culture. Pack your bags and come and explore with us what’s on offer in Hawaii.
Just 35 minutes from Honolulu’s international airport is one of Waikiki’s finest, Halekulani. Perfectly positioned with views of the Pacific Ocean and Diamond Head you’ll find this incredible backdrop to be nothing but relaxing!
Whilst you might feel in a world of your own at the hotel, only a short stroll away is the vibrant shops and excitement of Luxury Row in Waikiki.
About the photo
At almost 25 meters long and heated to the perfect temperature, the Halekulani pool is not to be missed. Over 1.2 million pieces of glass tiles were used to create the artistic orchid mosaic that only adds to the pools grandeur.
About the accommodation
With 453 rooms and suites on offer you’ll be spoilt for choice at Halekulani. Each room has a modern aesthetic, featuring contemporary furnishings and most offer ocean views.
Features of the guest rooms include but are not limited to, Kohler deep soaking tub, 24-hour in room dining and an Inncom system which allows you to control the room temperature, lighting, and direct services including maid service, in-room dining and luggage pick-up.
You’ll also enjoy some additional services including daily laundry and dry cleaning, full concierge and special arrangements for transportation or recreational activities.
Whilst the rooms are immaculate, what we also love is all the extras this honeymoon destination has to offer. The staff have a strong dedication to service offering nothing but the finest through not only the hotel itself but the dining options available, as well as the packages on offer.
You could celebrate being in love with a sunrise breakfast package or a SpaHalekulani package, where you can indulge in a signature massage or PT session followed by daily breakfast.
There are several dining options available within the hotel, each offering a distinct style of cuisine and of course, showcasing that beautiful seaside view. With so much on offer and delicious food to keep you satisfied, Halekulani has everything you need for a relaxing honeymoon getaway.
Ms Zebra Says: Now THIS is a hotel! The perfect place to relax and unwind with your partner – especially after all that goes into planning a wedding. Enjoy this beautiful destination and soak in the sea breeze!