Bel & Phil by She takes pictures He makes films

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship … We are adventure addicts, sunrise + sunset chasers, nature seekers, foodies and music lovers.

We’ve lived in 4 cities and traveled to 18 countries together, and between the two of us speak 6 languages! Phil’s from the land of chocolates and beer (Belgium) and Bel was born and bred in Australia but has South East Asian roots. We met in Cambodia, where we both lived for almost 10 years, but now call Brisbane, Australia home. 

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…

We were not going to have a wedding celebration initially, because bringing our favourite people together was going to be a logistical nightmare…but the thought of eloping and celebrating “us” without our family and friends didn’t feel right either. In the end, we decided to get married in Byron Bay, (one of our favourite places in the world and where Bel called home for a couple of years). We like to think our loved ones went to lengthy efforts to attend our celebration because they love us, but we know the destination had something to do with it! 

We knew we wanted something simple, intimate, relaxed and nature inspired. A celebration that represented us, and our love, rather than one stuck in traditions and must do’s. So there was no walking down the aisle for Bel, instead, we welcomed our “ohana” meaning family in Hawaiian into our “circle” for our ceremony. We got ready together in the morning, which was really lovely because the day started with us waking up to watch the sunrise together and going for a surf.

In terms of theme and styling, we wanted a fairly casual and relaxed vibe boho/beachy vibe, so went with natural and earthy tones, and we used Australian natives for our florals. We had been looking for a couple of pieces of large driftwood to create the ceremony space, and struggled in the whole lead up to the wedding. But luckily the week before the wedding there were some huge storms in Byron and 2 perfect pieces serendipitously washed up onto shore about 20m from where we had planned to have our ceremony! A dear friend help us bring to life our vision and we were elated with how all the details came together perfectly. 

Tell us about your main outfits:

Bel wanted to wear something that was comfortable, could get sandy and most importantly, easy to dance in, and she found a perfect dress from Spell (a local Byron Bay design label). 

Phil’s outfit was a lot more difficult and time consuming to put together actually! After various shopping trips and some random online purchases, we managed to pull it together. Each piece of his outfit came from different brands. 

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

There were so many! But the most memorable and unique moment of the day was our surprise performance for our guests. Instead of doing a first dance, Phil challenged Bel to learn how to play a song on the drums (Phil is a drummer), and Bel accepted the challenge on the basis that Phil would sing and perform with her. We decided on “Is this love” by the legendary Bob Marley. After a very slow start and thinking she’d never get there, Bel practiced for a couple of months leading up to the wedding and managed to pull it off on the night! Phil did alright singing too 😉 

Another important element of the day for us was having a dear friend as a celebrant, and she had supported us through some very challenging times throughout our relationship, so it made even more special and unique to have her marry us. 

Other special moments on the day included waking up together and watching the sunrise, going for a morning surf and then getting ready for the day together! 

Oh, and of course, the flash mob that Bel and her girlfriends performed at the reception. 

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

In terms of organising a wedding, do what you want to do. It doesn’t matter what other people think. Focus on what really matters – that is your relationship and love and how you want to celebrate that, instead of worrying about the minor details. 

Communication is key to any successful relationship as well as having values that are aligned.  Our joint values in life and what we want in a relationship have helped to guide us through our journey in life together, and helped us to form our vows. 

Love is a daily conscious act, it takes commitment, time and effort, but is so worth it. You get out of it what you’re willing to invest. 

Ceremony location: Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay | Cocktails/Canapes location: Beach, Byron Bay | Reception location & Catering: The Belongil | Videography & Photography: She Takes Pictures He Makes Films | Celebrant: Carrie Herbert (friend) | Entertainment: The Juke Joint | Styling: Carolin Materna (friend) | Flora:  The Nesst | Bride’s Dress: Spell & The Gypsy Collective | Groom’s Outift: Scotch & Soda & OTAA  |Ring/s: Alexandra Dodds | Bride’s Earrings and bracelet: Anthropologie | Makeup & Hair: Phoebe Barrett