Warren and Skye

Warren and I met in London in March 2008. We’d both only been in London for 2 months of our working holiday. When we met we were living in different cities, so there was lots of train rides across the UK and looking forward to weekends at the start of our relationship. I visited Warren’s home in South Africa for Christmas in 2008, our relationship continued to blossom from then on, with lots of travel and new experiences in South Africa, Australia and all over the world.

Warren proposed at my parent’s tropical fruit farm near Mission Beach. He told me my horse Oakey had escaped from his paddock, so we put on our gumboots and ventured out into the drizzly July evening. We approached a paddock, only to see Oakey tied up to a star picket in the middle of the paddock. Warren fumbled his way through explaining why he was there. Then he went on to tell me he’d picked some pomello (citrus fruit on the farm) and then proceeded to drop onto one knee and open a pomello, with an engagement ring in it’s box, perfectly set inside. We laughed, I cried, we drank champagne. Then both realised it was time to return Oakey to his paddock. It was a special fairytale moment that I’ll always cherish.

We wanted a relaxed wedding that showcased beautiful Far North Queensland. With family travelling from South Africa and Finland for the wedding, we wanted to embrace all of Mission Beach’s natural beauty. So, we opted for a beach ceremony and an open air reception, right on the beach. There’s not many back drops more beautiful than Dunk Island and the neighbouring islands.

I chose a bright colour palette, with corals and pinks featuring throughout. My colour choice was also guided by my favourite flowers – proteas, heliconias and gingers. The protea is South Africa’s national flower and heliconias and gingers flourish in Mission Beach. The roses were a soft touch which set the king proteas off beautifully. Jenny Rick (Flowers by Jenny) did a sensational job of our flowers.

I also have a love affair with butterflies, so they were featured throughout the wedding. Our save the date and invitation featured coral butterflies and pearls. We had a butterfly release as the ceremony which was very special. They were a bit hesitant to fly away at first (which kept every one in suspense – especially my bridesmaid Sunny, who was my ‘butterfly carer’). However, they made their way out, and hung around for photos too, which was very special. I also had butterfly favour boxes filled with my favourite South African sweets, speckled eggs. (Warren’s Mom brought these over by the kilo for my favours!).

My Dad utilised black bamboo from our farm to make vases for the tropical flowers adorning the isle and also built a spectacular arch which we were married beneath. He also created a may pole like palm tree for our reception. His creations exceeded my expectations (they were left to the last minute, so I wasn’t sure what to expect until the wedding day!) and captured his created talents.

We had pina colada coconut cocktails on the beach after the ceremony which set the mood for the rest of the day. Coconuts for the cocktails were also home grown, straight from our farm.

It was a chilly evening, and being open air, our guests needed to rug up! I was just grateful it didn’t rain. It encouraged everyone to drink more red wine, and the dance floor was full the entire night.

We had dance lessons (Mel from Bridal Blitz is amazing), and had a choreographed first dance. (I needed lessons to keep up with the quick footed South Africans!). Our first dance was a reinactment of how we met, to the song that was playing when I asked Warren to ‘spin me’ on that fateful night – Amy Winehouse, Valerie will always be ‘our song!’

I loved the planning process – it was so much fun! Brides-to-be, make sure you have fun planning, don’t get too snowed under, but do what ever makes you happy and is a reflection of you and your other half. My Mum was a huge help and my bridesmaids kept me organised and calm in the days leading up to and morning of the wedding.  My favourite moment of the day was walking down the isle and seeing Warren smiling back at me.

Our hair and make up was provided at the fabulous Wet Hairdressing,  Mission Beach. The day started with lots of laughing, thanks to our hairdresser and salon owner, Philip Jon.

My dress was ‘Jacqueline’ by Bella Donna Bridal. Bridesmaids dresses by Love Affair. Shoes by Novo and Suna Shoes. Jewellery from Myer & Michael Hill Jewellers.

Reception was held at Mission Beach Surf Club. Fabulous food was served by Reef Catering, Cairns. DJ who had the floor full all night was Millennium Weddings, Cairns. Suits by Roger David. Our bright cotton robes were from Silk and More on Etsy.

Photography by Natural Images by Susan Kelly

Ms Gingham says: There’s such a gorgeous relaxed vibe coming from beach weddings. Especially those from far north Queensland. Love the coconut Pina Coladas too!

Skye says: “I’m 26, work in marketing and live in a Queenslander in sunny North Queensland with my husband Warren, our beautiful black lab Meisie, cat Peppa and two chickens, Henrietta & LuLu.”