When I was 13 years old we made a pinkie sworn pact that we would be there for each others weddings - so when Michaela told me she was getting married I made the 36 hours trip to Port Douglas, Australia. 16 years ago I would have never guessed that I would not only have the privilege of being there for her wedding day but also to design for her! Michaela is a stunning, natural beauty inside and out, she made designing for her and James an absolutely pleasure, honor and breeze.
Contrastingly, preparing to move my entire floral operation to Australia was not as simple an act. Hurdles were jumped in communication leading to late night conversations, learning "Aussie" flower names and logistically figuring out where the flowers were coming from, how they would get there and what was available.
One week before their wedding the wholesaler based out of Sydney cancelled our wholesale order. I received a heartbroken Skype call from Michaela and quickly spent a few hours not only finding an amazingly accommodating supplier, but one local to Cairns, Queensland. This was all very humbling - as I was used to the leisure of having just about any flower available any time of year. This hick up was a beautiful accident and an appealing challenge to truly design in season and locally.
Nearly 85% of the flowers for Michaela and James' wedding was forage no more than a few kilometers from their venue. We met many memorable locals eager to help this Yank on her way as well as a few hundred wallabies! Our design station was outdoors, shielded by the over hang of the families infinity pool and lush tropical foliage. Barefoot, dressed in our sarongs, everyone was keen to help fill car loads of bougainvillea, stag horn plants and foliage! One very special handy man built our two-of-a-kind floral chandeliers for the dance floor.
The ceremony was designed to be casual with a natural romance. They were married at St. Marys by The Sea, a historical church that intimately fit in the 120 guests. The idea was to use flowers to denote the space but not over drape it. Colors for the ceremony were left simple and elegant and not to take away from the window showing the ocean scape behind them. White bougainvillea and soft wild roses were casually draped onto and off the alter with swaths of scavenged foliage. As Michaela walked down the aisle a talented close friend played his guitar to the perfect rhythm and mood of the moment.
After, "I dos" guests had a short walk down the pier to Sugar Wharf. Color was introduced in clouds of pink bougainvillea, peonies, ranunculus and roses. The vases were hand painted sangria jugs by Iberica imported from Portugal. The combination of these and the bougainvillea could not have represented the aesthetic Michaela grew up with at home more. Bistro lights strung across the pier as the sun set over cocktail hour. We were then seated to a seamless shared-plate dinner with bottomless champagne glasses served by Kate Erwin and her team at Nunu Restaurants.
Michaela and James' guest definitely knew how to work the dance floor, And as the pictures show the rest of this perfectly stylish and casual day was a whirl or crazy fun and a whole lot of love for each other and the newly weds! The secret to making this wedding day complete was evident in how much those around Michaela and James loved them. All week family and friends worked together to make amazing meals, prepare menus, and even correct a disco LED candle mishap...yes, they do exist.
Designing and attending a wedding certainly has it's challenges. With no time to spare I barely made their ceremony. I was sweaty, filthy and honestly frazzled. Michaela in her effortless kindness repeatedly told me throughout the past 10 months of planning that she knew no matter what I did it would be beautiful and she trusted me. Yet 30 minutes before guests arrived, as I am struggling to install the ceremony decor, I wasn't so sure, I had a melt down. I was running out of time, I wouldn't be able to change or shower before attending the wedding and above all - it had to be perfect. I took a much needed deep breath and then thought, "I can't believe we kept our pinkie promise!" Before I knew it the install problem was solved and set up was complete as first guests arrived. I took a seat in the back, watched my friend get married, snuck out, showered and made it back before the end of cocktail hour! Despite some challenges, this wedding was the most fun, most crazy and love filled week of my life! I am so grateful for the opportunity, promises and love from all my friends and family down under! Congratulations Micki & James!
Last but not least a huge thank you to Richard Greinger for all of these incredible images and for genuinely, thoughtfully and beautifully chronicling Michaela and James wedding day.
Photographer | Richard Greinger
Ceremony Venue | St Marys By The Sea
Reception Venue | Sugar Wharf
Floral Supply | Flower Central
Catering | Nunu Restaurants
Vases | Iberica