After their Italian elopement was forced off the cards (thanks, COVID), Ashleigh and Zac tried to book their wedding no less than six times – six! – before they finally locked in the big day just eight weeks out. And guys, it was pretty damn special when it finally rolled around. A florist herself (The Naked Florist), the bride had a trick or two up her sleeve and knew just who to call upon when it came to creating the A-team of vendors for their special day, including photographer extraordinaire House of Lucie

BTW, if you’re stopped in your tracks by the beautiful blooms at Ashleigh and Zac’s ‘I do’s – yes, the bride did create them herself! The talented gal called in a couple of flower-minded pals to give her a hand on the big day itself, but she was the mastermind behind the styling (not to mention the handcrafted leather luggage tags that served as place cards). Amazing.

With a stunning Greek-inspired gown courtesy of The Bridal Atelier, wedding bands crafted by Kate & Kole (“created after the date,” shares the admittedly non-traditional bride) and so bloody much love, this gorg micro wedding is guaranteed to get the inspo juices flowing. Let’s get into it, hmm?

THE VENUEWe were originally going to elope in The Dolomites, flying in by helicopter to a sea of blooms… then COVID hit. Due to the nature of my business, I am always working on weekends and February was the only month I wasn’t fully booked out, so I blocked it out and we hoped for the best. We tried to book NZ, Tasmania and Queensland in that time but couldn’t get there because of COVID. It then took us until December to find a weekend that we both had off. We chose not to do the Hunter Valley initially as I grew up there and every venue feels like work to me, but Zac had said to me that we had to look there as we had no more time left and it was our only option. I did some modelling for Hungry Hearts Co. a little while back and said to Zac if we were to book one place it would be Redleaf Wollombi, so off we went. Zac fell in love, much to my surprise, as he didn’t like anything! We booked it that day and every vendor that night. We also felt it was so beautiful we had to share it, so it went from an elopement to planning a micro wedding in eight weeks.”

THE VIBEThe vibe was Italian Summer. A nod to our planned Italian elopement.”

FAVOURITE DETAILSI loved our place cards. My grandad taught me leather work as a kid so it was really special to share this love with our friends and family. It was also really important for everyone to have a party favour that they would actually use as we tried to have as minimal waste as possible. Another really special detail was having our vows handwritten by Ink and Snow. This was one of my gifts to Zac on the day. We now have these framed in our house. Another special touch was the ring I designed and hand-carved for Zac with a.. The flowers were also so special for me given that I am a florist (The Naked Florist). I spent my morning creating my flowers alongside Holly Howe Florals and Botanica Bird . I love and adore both these gals and to spend my morning sipping coffee and soaking up the process was so beautiful. So many thought I was crazy for doing my own flowers, but it was such a sense of calm for me. No brief, just letting the flowers talk and flow. To then sit amongst our flowers at dinner was something else. I got to see the enjoyment others received when they saw my designs. This is something I often miss, as after I have created, I leave before I get to see everyone’s reactions.”

THE DRESSMy dress is the Aegean Gown by Rue De Seine. I saw it, I wanted it, but I didn’t buy it. Zac couldn’t comprehend that a dress would be that price! I then very casually scrolled the ‘Gram for the next three years to find that it was still the one for me and bought it from The Bridal Atelier a week before it ceased production.” 

THE SUITZac started looking five weeks out from the wedding. He fell in love with a Hugo Boss suit but we wanted to have a tailored chino with the jacket to dress it down, to suit the vibe of the day. We went shopping and a baby blue Saba combo caught his eye. He popped open the door of the change room and said, “What do you think” I was a bit gobsmacked… he looked so good, in baby blue of all colours! It also matched my dress perfectly without him even knowing.” 

MEMORABLE MOMENTThe whole ceremony was my favourite moment. Loz from Hungry Hearts Co. got us to complete a questionnaire separately about our love for each other and life prior. As we stood listening to Loz, we heard a story about our lives we have never even heard before and we were the main characters. This set up the whole vibe for the day. I also loved my moment of calm with my makeup artist, Makeup by Bonnie Lee as I wound down from work mode and got into bride mode (I’d finished my flowers two hours before I walked down the aisle). Bonnie creates all the vibes and is the perfect person to spend your morning with on your wedding day.”

A WORD OF ADVICE… “Create a day that is a complete reflection of you as a couple. You are inviting everyone into one day of your lives to live and love it. Think of how you can do things your way and not just because it’s tradition, your mum said you have to or you got persuaded by Pinterest. Bigger isn’t better. Intimacy and meaning will be far more memorable than money and fancy cars. Sit down with your fiancé and work out what’s most important to you and focus on that. For us, we wanted everyone to enjoy good food and booze and vibes. So that’s what we did! We skipped on other things we didn’t see value in.”

 WE’RE GLAD WE…kept our guest list small. Our rule was, if we felt we had to make conversation with someone then they weren’t to come. We wanted to be fully present on our day and have time to spend quality time with everyone. We weren’t there for chit chat. We were there to soak up the genuine love we have around of us and enjoy every moment.”

STANDOUT VENDORSHungry Hearts Co. were the standout for us and everyone else. We were blown away by what Loz had created for us. We had so many compliments about her and almost everyone had said that was the best wedding ceremony they had been to. Obviously the flowers were pretty good too, haha. Makeup by Bonnie Lee is also so so incredible at what she does. She is not only one of the best in the area for what she does, but also such a beautiful, vibrant human who I love and adore so much. I couldn’t imagine spending my morning with anyone else. Also our photographer, Khara from House of Lucie. Wowsas, this girl has some talent! You can see for yourself why she’s so good. She floats around and brings the vibes all day and is just so easy to be around.”

There’s no question this is a doozy of a day! If you’re keen to get in touch with a phenom team of official wedding-vendor-approved wedding vendors, check out the directory listings for House of Lucie, The Bridal Atelier and Kate & Kole. For now, though, happy scrolling!

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer House of Lucie Stylist The Naked Florist Florist The Naked Florist, Holly Howe Florals, Botanica Bird Stationery By Daphne Studios Printer Peterkin Paper & Printery Ceremony & Reception Redleaf Wollombi Catering Robert Molines Wedding favours Bride, The Naked Florist (leather luggage tag place cards) Hire Items Whimsical Fox Events, Beavis “Your Event Team” Handwritten vows Ink and Snow Entertainment Kylie Jane (soloist), Soul Glo (band),  Timothy Coffey (DJ – friend) Celebrant Hungry Hearts Co. Rings Alexis Russell (engagement ring), Kate & Kole (bride), a. (groom) Candles Southern Lights Candle Co Vases Oh Flora THE BRIDE Gown Rue De Seine Bridal Boutique The Bridal Atelier Shoes Betts Accessories Sarah & Sebastian Hair & Makeup Makeup by Bonnie Lee THE GROOM Suit & Shirt Saba Shoes Florsheim Watch Hugo Boss Barber Room Six Barber Shop