“In 2014, Peter surprised me with the opportunity to move to Australia and live there for 8 months while doing some field work on the Great Barrier Reef. We spent the next year getting engaged, planning our trip and our wedding, and packing up our belongings. In December of 2015, we packed up our suitcases, pulled my daughter out of Kindergarten and hopped on a plane to Sydney, Australia.
For my gown, I wanted something that would be easy to carry onto our 16-hour flight from Canada to Australia. The gown was still heavy but it was manageable and it fit in the overhead compartment! We also had four large suitcases with us that somehow had to fit into our newly purchased 2003 Nissan X-Trail, so space was at a premium. My gown was Sophia Tolli’s Joanne, which I purchased at home in Calgary, Canada. Since my friends would be unable to attend the wedding, I wanted to make sure they were a part of the experience of shopping for my gown. I didn’t intentionally mean to choose an Australian designer for our Australian wedding, but the dress suited the tropical atmosphere of Palm Cove, Queensland.
Our wedding guest list consisted of immediate family only and they started to arrive a couple days before the wedding. Peter and I both have kids from previous relationships and we wanted to make them a part of our wedding as much as possible. Peter’s son and daughter both made the long trip from their homes in the United States to be there. We had discussed having a theme for our wedding, but with the beautiful tropical background, it didn’t seem necessary. So our theme became ‘Joining our Lives Together’, which was perfect because we were two families who were about to become one blended family.
Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating that week, but we tried to not let it put a damper on such a special week with the people we hadn’t seen since we left Canada. When we woke up on our wedding day, the weather continued to be unpredictable. We were grateful to have South Pacific Bridal in constant contact with us, and planning for worst-case scenarios. As a part of our ceremony, we had looked into hiring a helicopter to transport myself and our three children to the ceremony location. With the rain, they were predicting that we would be unable to fly out that day. We couldn’t decide whether it would be a good idea to cancel or wait to see if the rain stopped. Knowing that it would be a costly gamble, we decided to not cancel the helicopter. Thankfully, it paid off and the rain subsided enough that we were able to fly from Cairns Airport to Palm Cove and land on the beach just past the chapel where we were to be married. Thanks to the rain, we couldn’t have the beach wedding or reception that we had been dreaming of. We instead were married in the chapel at Alamanda Resort and we had our dinner on the patio of Nu Nu Restaurant. Neither of these places failed to disappoint. Even though it wasn’t what we had originally wanted, it was still absolutely beautiful and the staff went out of their way to make sure that we were happy. We timed the dinner service so that we were eating during the sunset. At the end of the evening, we were rewarded with the biggest, brightest full moon that we had ever seen. It was quite spectacular.
During our time in Australia, we drove from Sydney to Cape Tribulation – TWICE – and we clocked over 30,000kms on our car (which we nicknamed the Roo-Buster after a close encounter with a kangaroo just outside of Charters Towers) from when we bought it in December 2015 to when we sold it in August 2016. Our tropical wedding in Palm Cove was just a beautiful end to that journey, and having our children and our families there to support us made it so special.”
Dress: Sophia Tolli Joanne – Style Y21435 / Bridal Boutique: Ethos Bridal / Photography: Posh Photography / Celebrant: Melanie Serafin / Wedding Coordinator: South Pacific Bridal / Reception: Nu Nu Restaurant / Ceremony: Alamanda Resort / Helicopter: GBR Helicopter / Violinist: Francine Maas / Makeup & Hair: Cairns Wedding Hair and Makeup / Flowers: Flowers N Lace / Alterations: PQ Fashions / Groom’s Attire: Tommy Bahamas (Gold Coast)