Caitlin and Dave were engaged for erm…well, it’s a touch complicated! You see, these two lovers were already technically married before their wedding day even commenced.Whilst planning our wedding, we had realised that the best way for us to live and work in the US was to be legally married”, explains Caitlin. “Initially I was so worried about the fact that we were already legally married taking away from the importance of celebrating our wedding with our nearest and dearest, but this ended up being more meaningful and heartfelt than I think a traditional ceremony would have felt.”

After keeping their secret for 18 months, the couple finally got to share their personal vows in front of their friends and fam back home in Australia. Even the bridal party were kept in the dark until two days prior! But when the day came, it was well worth the surprise. “We’re so happy to look back and say that we don’t think there’s anything we would have changed on the day, it really was the happiest, most memorable and fun day of our lives,” says Caitlin, who had a little help from Nicola Lemmon Photography capturing the day on film. “We are so lucky that we had so many amazing people that helped us make it all happen!”

THE VENUE “We started looking around at venues on the Gold Coast in Byron Bay, and after a day spend checking out various venues we headed to Harvest Newrybar, last on our list. We knew the moment we walked in that it was perfect. Tucked away in a quiet little one-street town, with a Garden, Bakery and Restaurant all in one spot, it fit our vision of having our entire day at a single venue without having to worry about transport and timing and multiple venues.”

FAVE DETAILS “For us, it was all about the personal touches – from the homemade cake by Dave’s mum Deborah, and decorated by my sisters, to the amazing stationery by my sister Madonna. With a venue as amazing as Harvest Newrybar there wasn’t much we needed to add on the day, but the flowers from Beautiflora were the perfect touch and complemented the venue perfectly!”

REFERENCES “I had been following Hello May on Instagram for some time and had a couple of the magazines, and this was much more our style. So I started enlisting any friends or family who visited me to bring over whatever Hello May magazine was on sale at the time, and this formed the inspiration for so much of our day. Seeing so many different weddings and people embracing their own traditions really helped give us the confidence to do things a little differently given our circumstances.”

MEMORABLE MOMENT “Our first dance was a special moment – neither of us are dancers, so we decided to get some lessons while we were in LA. We found a lovely dance teacher who taught us a fun little dance that really kicked off the dance floor, which didn’t stop pumping until the last song of the night!”

A WORD OF ADVICE “Personalise your day, add your touch to the ceremony script and pick readings and words that speak to you. It’s the one day of your lives that everybody who you know and love comes together in the same place to celebrate you, so make the most of it! 

WE’RE GLAD WE… “We are so glad we decided to do a first look before the ceremony and then have our parents join us for photos. It gave us a chance to spend some precious moments with them, take photos without being rushed and then meant that our post-ceremony photos with the bridal party were completed so fast, enabling us to get back to the party and spent time mingling with all our guests before dinner. We also made the decision, given it was a destination wedding, that we would get ready together in the same house. Our bridal party came from five cities in four countries just to be there with us for this day, so we decided to all stay together and spend as much time together as a group as we could. There was a bit of rowdiness with the boys drinking champagne in the spa whilst the girls had to get ready, but it meant that we were able to spend some quality time before the rest of the guests arrived and really set a relaxed tone for the rest of the day!”

STANDOUT VENDORS “The Harvest Newrybar team were simply amazing, I can’t praise them enough – from the moment we booked the venue I felt that everything was so easy, both in the leadup and on the day, they worked so hard to make our day effortless and stress free. Beautiflora was also amazing – whilst we had a minimalist floral setup, they went above and beyond to create incredible flowers and co-ordinate with Harvest for the setup. Nicola Lemmon, our photographer, went above and beyond to take the most amazing photos. She captured our day exactly how we pictured it.”

 Love this wedding? Us, too! It was first published in our latest Real Wedding Special, and you can pick up a copy for even more inspo over at our online shop

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Nicola Lemmon Photography Florist Beautiflora Stationery Madonna Locke (family), Recycledideas (place cards made from plantable flower seed paper) Ceremony, Reception & Catering Harvest Newrybar Cake Family Desserts Noosa Chocolate Factory Entertainment Sarah Archer Music Celebrant Madonna Locke & Kate Forgan-Smith (friend/family) Rings Robert White Jewellers THE BRIDE Gown Zimmermann Robe Kiyomii Home via Etsy Shoes Alice & Olivia Earrings Natasha Schweitzer Bracelet Gift from Caitlin’s older sister Hair & Makeup Phoebe Barrett & Krystle Rose via The Future Mrs Bridesmaid dresses Zimmermann Bridesmaid shoes Nine West THE GROOM Jacket ASOS Shirt InStitchu Pants Marcs Shoes Kurt Geiger Groomsmen suits ASOS, InStitchu, Marcs