Emily + Ash by Alex Jack Photography

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

We live on the sunny Gold Coast and both appreciate the outdoors – I love to surf, Ash loves four-wheel-driving and we both enjoy camping and a good David Attenborough doco! Ash is a carpenter-turned-director of an addiction-recovery program, and I’m a Paediatric Nurse.

Ash is a carpenter-turned-director of an addiction-recovery program, and I’m a Paediatric Nurse.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

Our relationship is the result of a set-up, which actually worked!

We were living 5 hours apart when we met and were introduced by Ash’s brother in law, Jared, who is Emily’s long-term school friend.

E: I was at birthday party and had a brief conversation with my friend Jared, who I hadn’t seen in years and who happens to be Ash’s brother-in-law. I had caught him up on a recent romance-gone-bad and mentioned how I was ready for something new – I’d been looking into options to work overseas. The following week Jared called me pitching a blind date with his brother-in-law. I certainly didn’t think it would result in anything long-term but I was up for the date! We ended up meeting halfway at Jared and Amelia’s place (Ash’s sister) for dinner and spent the next morning hiking and brunching just the two of us. My first impression of Ash was how tall and how nervous he was! It was a pretty unusual scenario, having a first date set up and at your friend/sisters house haha, but it made for a more relaxed first encounter and getting to see Ash interact with his family allowed me to see a special dimension of him early on. 

A: I was on my way to the gym when my sister Amelia called asking if I was interested in a blind date with a girl she knew. I looked her up on Facebook in the carpark and immediately said no – she was a fox and I was scared of getting rejected! I changed my mind after an intense gym workout. The night we met I was very nervous. My first impression of Em was that she was glowing, and maybe a bit apprehensive haha. Back at work on Monday all I could think about was that I had talked way too much! I thought I’d never see her again, but after a very long month – she messaged me. We were both in Brisbane for the weekend and I took her for a motorbike ride before challenging her to a game of tennis…the rest is history!

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with? 

A: I felt the connection from the start and that feeling kept building. I saw so many beautiful qualities in Em  – she’s kind, generous, smart, hard working, adventurous – and she challenges me and makes me want to continue growing. I knew I wanted to build a life with her.

E: I was getting skeptical about men and marriage when I met Ash so finding someone I wholeheartedly want to spend the rest of my life with has been a lovely surprise! I knew he was a good guy from the start (a perk of being set up by someone you trust) and the sparks started for me on the second date, but it was Ash’s sturdiness and the consistency of the little-but-important things over time which convinced me that he and our connection was something really special –  his thoughtfulness, respect, clear communication, the ease of our interactions, the fun, the regular belly-laughs. About 10 months in he had my full trust and deep respect.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

E: I thought we were meeting Ash’s sister in Byron to walk the lighthouse and grab coffee but we ended up at SkyDive Byron Bay! I was pretty suspicious the proposal was coming at that point but one should never assume haha. I’d always wanted to go sky-diving but I was pretty terrified when that dream was being realised! I was the last in the plane to jump and as I came in to land, Ash was kneeling on a giant red sign that read ‘MARRY ME’. It was all a bit overwhelming and I couldn’t speak because of the adrenaline when I first landed, but by brunchtime I’d recovered and Ash got his ‘yes’. 

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…

E: I wanted to get married on my parents property in northern NSW and ended up buying a dress which was quite formal – these were our starting points and we merged formal attire with a casual country setting. I wanted our guests to feel relaxed and our different groups of friends and family to mingle. After the ceremony Ash’s cousins served local-made gelato and our friends served hot coffee, which were both a hit with our guests. A family friend made our cake as a gift to us, and two of my bridesmaids are the talented florists behind ‘Floral & Mineral’, and amazingly managed to pull off flowers that had everyone talking, and be incredibly helpful bridesmaids! The original plan for our reception dinner was informal seating with couches and standing tables in an open courtyard under a big jacaranda tree at my parents church, however it was a rainy weekend so we squeezed everyone under the patio, which was decorated with festoon lights and a stack of indoor plants which a friends dad brought in at the last minute. It certainly made for an intimate evening and we still got the open-air feel we wanted. 

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

E: It rained so much in the days before our wedding that we almost had to can the dream of getting married on my family property. Thankfully, it stopped raining an hour before our ceremony and we didn’t feel a drop the rest of the day (so happy!!), but the patch of property we had reserved for our guests to park was a swamp. Everyone had to park in our neighbours sugar-cane paddock down the road and be shuttled up the hill in four-wheel-drives! It was an adventurous start to our celebration!

Location: Bride’s parents property / Photographer: Alex Jack Photography / Entertainment: Fonoti Brothers / Hire: Memorable Moments Hire / Flora: Floral & Mineral Catering: Byron Bay Crusta Woodfired Pizza / Cake: made by family friend / Gift Registry: Easy registry / Stationery: With Joy / Bride’s Gown: Pronovias from White Lily Couture / Veil: White Lily Couture / Groom’s Attire: Edge Suits / Earrings: Ruby & Sage / Makeup: Glow Getter by Taylor / Hair: Anita Bauer / Fragrance: Marrakech by Aesop / Bridesmaids dresses: Zimmerman, Forever New + Asos / Groomsmen: hired from Edge Suits