Date: 16 October 2022 // Guest list: 80
Fact: Your dream location may be closer than you think. Just ask Sydney-based Hannah and Jeremy, whose visions of a tropical destination wedding originally centred around Thailand but actually played out in the North Queensland enclave of Palm Cove.
The couple’s glorious week-long celebration (affectionately dubbed The Festival of Hannah & Jeremy by guests) featured beachfront chapel vows and a glittering poolside reception, with laughter and happy tears in equal measure. The icing on the cake? Having their adorable son Bodhi along for the ride!
“Originally, we planned on getting married in Thailand — Jeremy proposed there during a romantic sunset dinner on the beach,” Hannah explains. “But then Covid descended, and that plan kept getting pushed back and back. During our babymoon in Port Douglas (after resigning ourselves to an Australian wedding), we realised the climate was quite similar to Thailand, and started Googling possibilities.”
It wasn’t long before the pair struck gold. “When pics of the gorgeous Alamanda Chapel came up, we knew we had to visit!” says the bride. “We fell in love immediately and began planning our entire wedding around the chapel.”
The couple turned to wedding planner Louise Harris to help bring their holiday wedding dreams to life. “A well-regarded local wedding planner will always know all the little secrets of your destination, including how to find the best deals and secure the best venues and suppliers capable of meeting your unique needs,” notes Hannah.
With many guests in town for several days before and after the wedding, the couple arranged a few extra mingling events. Choosing venues from afar was challenging, but Louise came through once again. “Our planner visited each venue on our shortlist, and even sampled the food and cocktails too. What a fun job she has!” laughs the bride.
On the day, Cairns-based photographer Matthew Evans was behind the lens to capture the joyful vibe. The funniest moment came courtesy of the couple’s 14-month-old son Bodhi. “When I started my walk down the aisle, Bodhi started running towards me with arms outstretched … then got distracted by a flower halfway and stopped to see what it tasted like,” says Hannah. “Everyone was in tears of laughter while he forgot I existed and munched on rose petals instead!”
The bride nominates “exchanging our vows” as the couple’s most precious moment. “I also surprised Jeremy by rewriting the lyrics to our first dance song, Ed Sheeran’s Perfect duet, which our gorgeous singer Kaweyova sang as we danced” she adds. “Watching my husband’s face as he started to realise the words had been changed was pretty special.” The couple also built in a few ‘alone time’ moments throughout the day, so they could take a few minutes to reconnect, and take it all in together. Great tip!
“It was so much fun,” reflects Hannah of their destination celebration. “By the time the big day arrived, we had also already been able to enjoy quality time with most of our guests. This reduced the pressure during the actual event, allowing us to spend more time relaxing and enjoying each moment.”
The couple prioritised guest experience when planning their wedding, and this hospitality was well appreciated. “We didn’t expect people to pay for flights and accommodation — then constantly fork out for drinks and food as well. So, all the extra events were also catered for,” says Hannah. “On a more personal level, guests absolutely raved about the events being simultaneously ‘tearjerking and joyful’. Our intended vibe was: laughing and bawling your eyes out in the space of minutes throughout the day.”
The vows certainly brought both tears and laughter, as did the reception micro speeches (one-minute max) from guests. A couple’s quiz was also a hit — with shots of a cocktail or green juice for correct answers! — as the newlyweds signed their legal documents. “Overall, guests told us it was a super-fun and light-hearted, yet extremely heartfelt, event,” says Hannah.
While a holiday wedding requires different considerations to a ‘regular’ wedding, the bride has a few words of wisdom so couples can stay in the moment. “Over-plan, but then go with the flow on the day — and trust the people around you,” she says. “Your celebrant will ensure the ceremony goes to plan. Your wedding planner has all your suppliers operating in sync. And your friends and family will help out with any meltdowns or wardrobe malfunctions. Concentrate on your beautiful new spouse and celebrating your love together.”
The celebrations continue for the newlyweds, who postponed their honeymoon until after Christmas. “My husband and I run a business together, and the busiest month of our year always falls in November (right after the wedding),” explains Hannah. “We’ll be travelling to the Thai resort where we had originally planned on getting married (and where Jeremy proposed), visiting Chiang Mai for the Lantern Festival, and Phi Phi Island for a more relaxed vibe with our adventurous little bubba in tow.”
Date: 16 October 2022
Photography: Matthew Evans Photography
Reception: Peppers Beach Club & Spa, Palm Cove
Ceremony: Alamanda Great Barrier Reef Chapel, Palm Cove
Gown: Luv Bridal
Wedding planner: Louise Harris, Palm Cove Weddings
Honeymoon: Thavorn Beach Village Resort & Spa