Johnny and Julianne

Our journey to marriage has certainly been an interesting one; I waited for Johnny for six months while he deployed as a soldier to Iraq, then again just two years later, when he was sent to Afghanistan for nine months. Our journey really began though, when a week before we were due to move to the UK, he whisked me away for a surprise trip to New Zealand. It was there, after a short helicopter ride to the top of the Remarkables mountain peaks, that he proposed, knee-deep in snow.

From the day we got engaged, we decided on a destination wedding in Thailand. We loved to travel; our wedding was an opportunity to combine all our favourite parts of life: our love for each other, our favourite country, and time with our family and friends. With friends spread across the country and overseas, Thailand was a central location and the place that we shared our first overseas holiday together. Having been there several times, we knew that wherever we held our wedding, the service would be second to none, the views simply breathtaking and the food incredibly fresh.

Googling lead us to Paresa Resort and Australian wedding planners, Marry me Thailand. Whilst we hadn’t seen the resort, we booked immediately without considering any others – the views from the pictures alone took our breath away.

While my mum was visiting us in London, I found my wedding dress. It has been on enough planes to earn its own frequent flyers – from London to Singapore, Singapore to Brisbane, Brisbane to Bangkok, and finally to Phuket!


My something borrowed, blue and old – a silk garter worn by my mother on her own wedding day, my something new – a pair of diamond earrings delivered to me from my husband on the morning of the wedding.

During the two years between our engagement and wedding, Johnny and I lost a number of family members. I was especially close to my grandmother, who passed away following a short battle with cancer. Whilst she couldn’t be there on the day, I incorporated her into our wedding in as many ways as possible; I carried a brooch of hers on my bouquet (my something blue – the first present my grandfather gave her), we incorporated a memory candle during our ceremony and I placed a picture of her on her own wedding day on my reception table. My grandfather and her had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary the year prior – their marriage and love for each other was inspiring, and it was particularly touching that my grandfather still made the journey to Thailand to be part of our day.

We chose not to have a wedding party, as we couldn’t decide! We felt so honoured that our friends had made the journey to be with us – some saving diligently to do so – that we didn’t want to place any additional pressure on them. Instead, we each had a friend help us to get dressed and Johnny was also joined by his brother. With just our closest friends and immediate family, the day was perfect.

The highly professional team from Paresa and Andrea, my wonderful wedding planner who answered countless emails across a two-year period, ensured the afternoon and evening ran smoothly.  I couldn’t stop smiling – Paresa means ‘heaven’, and our wedding day on top of the cliffs of Thailand, certainly made it feel like we were there.

Our day was marked by a number of other special touches. On arrival, our guests listened to instrumental versions of our favourite songs, and later in the evening, were treated to a magnificent display of fireworks – a must in Thailand! An abundance of fresh orchids was also a prerequisite, but we wanted minimal decoration. The views and glistening stars above us spoke for themselves.

Having spent a week holidaying with our friends and family, we all felt very close. Everyone that was there was so special to us – some we had known forever, others only a short time. We are certain though, that all who were there with us, will be in our lives forever.

Ms Gingham says: A true holiday vibe emanates from destination weddings. Everyone looks so relaxed and happy it’s positively joyous! Congratulations Julianne and Johnny!

Julianne says: “I try to cram as much into my life and days as possible, which really began when I met Johnny, my now husband, at the age of 18! Having been a teacher in Singapore, Australia and the UK, I sought new adventures and am now an officer in the Australian Army. This move was partially inspired by Johnny, who I supported whilst he embarked on a number of overseas deployments to the Middle East as a soldier in the army also. The little spare time we have together, we spend traveling – we have a preference for locations known for their sun-drenched warmth, stunning sunsets and exotic cocktails!”