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Kara & Bart

Recently I spent some time  at a beautiful Western Australian place called Eco Beach Resort, and as a prelude to my stories of my time there I wanted to share this amazing Eco Beach Resort wedding captured by Lakshal Perera. To me it captures the heart and soul of this beautiful place – the incredible scenery and the magic of a love story that unfolded on its shores. Destination weddings are often thought of as international affairs, but there are so many amazing places right here in Australia that can set the scene for a weekend of fun.

Kara tells the story of how she and Bart came to be. “We met via a mutual friend at a pub in Cairns. I moved to Brisbane a few weeks after that initial meeting and while we stayed in touch, it wasn’t until I moved back to north Queensland 18 months later that we realised we had something special. Still, we lived 4 hours from one another, me in Townsville, Bart in Cairns and most weekends one of us would make the drive to spend it with one another. A further 18 months of doing this saw us pack up and drive across the country to Broome where we discovered that this was a once in a lifetime kind of love.

Bart proposed one afternoon at a little coastal creek just north of Broome. My sister was living with us at the time and we’d spent the afternoon showing her how to hook for mud crabs. While we had no luck with the crabs, we did take the time to enjoy a sunset drink while overlooking the Indian Ocean. My sister was on the phone to my brother (completely unaware of what was about to unfold) when Bart got down on one knee and asked the big question.”

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Of their decision to hold their wedding celebrations at Eco Beach Resort, Kara tells, “Eco Beach Resort was the perfect location as it enabled us to have a three day celebration in one of the most magical places in Australia. Having everyone there the day before and the day after meant the wedding day was stress free. Seriously! We did what we wanted, when we wanted, knowing we could catch up with individuals the following day if we didn’t get the chance on the wedding day.

Eco Beach Resort is a little over an hour from Broome. As most of our guests travelled from interstate to celebrate with us, choosing a venue that enabled them to enjoy not just the wedding but their time in the Kimberley was essential. When beginning our hunt for a venue we knew we really wanted a bonfire, a beach and a never ending party (the worst part of weddings is when they end!). Eco Beach Resort offered us all of that, plus it meant that we got to spend a long weekend with most of our guests. Seriously; BEST DECISION EVER!”

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Guests arrived the day before the wedding and celebrated on the beach – the girls enjoyed “mud and bubbles” a treatment where after taking to the beach, your skin is slathered in mangrove mud from Jack’s Creek. Champagne optional (but in my mind, required). The boys celebrated with a sunset cricket match. Kara explains, “We organized as much as we could to ensure that our guests’ weekend was as hassle free as possible. Seeing everyone else relaxed and enjoying themselves meant we could do the same.”

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Of the wedding day, Kara tells, “We started our day like any other. We enjoyed breakfast together and took some time to appreciate what the day would bring. We had to do a lot of the set up ourselves so we borrowed the man power of many of our guests. They were all seriously awesome and the venue looked amazing.”

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The couple hired one of the ocean view villas to get ready in, Kara explaining, “I started getting ready at lunchtime and had family and girlfriends come and go throughout this time. Bart got ready with his folks.”

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Kara chose a gown by Carla Zampatti . She tells, “I’d purchased two dresses and I didn’t know which I was going to wear until the morning of the wedding. In the end, I chose the Carla Zampatti gown.

Living in Broome made it incredibly difficult to shop for a dress. During a trip to visit family in Melbourne I took my mum and Aunty dress shopping on High Steet, Armadale. This was the first dress I tried on that morning. I decided to keep looking however after walking through the next shop went straight back to Carla Zampatti and placed my order. The most outstanding customer service imaginable!

I loved the simplicity yet amazing lace-like detail. It was different to anything I’d seen elsewhere, and I knew from the outset I didn’t want a typical wedding gown. It was perfect for the beach setting.”

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Bart and Kara met before the ceremony for a first look, Kara remarking, “We had a first look prior to the ceremony which allowed me to rid myself of much nervousness.”

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Broome Florist created a hairpiece of white blooms for the bride, Kara telling, “I knew early on I didn’t want formal arrangements of the flowers. I wanted something neutral and rustic. Rather than carry a bouquet, I wore a garland made of white snap dragons, hyacinth, chincherinchee, wax flower, delphinium and ranunculus. The same flowers were purchased in bulk and our Aunty’s had a lovely time arranging them for us on the day.”

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Kara walked down the aisle with her parents to “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles.

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Kara’s sisters gave a reading during the ceremony which was performed by Bea Mead (0420 946 117). Kara remembers her favourite memory. “I loved looking out at our guests during the ceremony and seeing such love and happiness on their faces. It was a truly beautiful moment realizing that all of these people were there to support us and our relationship. The vows were also pretty special. We each wrote our own and they were very heartfelt and emotional.”

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One long table was set up on the beach, Kara telling “The beach in itself was enough of a backdrop – we really didn’t need to do much to create the feel we were after. I’d wanted a long table on the beach from the outset but it seemed near impossible to achieve. However, after showing Eco Beach Resort my inspiration, they were sold on the idea.”

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The couple made sure their family was very involved in the day – the bride’s parents walked her down the aisle, her sisters gave readings during the ceremony, Bart’s best friend and cousin signed the marriage certificate along with Kara’s brother who also acted as DJ on the night. Bart’s dad was the MC for the evening and Kara’s brother and sisters gave a speech as did Bart’s pseudo best man. Kara notes, “We’d tossed up the need to get married for a long time. Our discussions kept coming back to the fact that it would be the only opportunity in our lives when we get the chance to have a massive celebration with all of our love ones. I grew up in Melbourne, Bart in Cairns. Between us, we have lived all over Australia and many of our family and friends have heard stories of one another but never had the chance to meet. Even our parents! With that in mind, we planned a wedding that not only celebrated our love but that of all those that were special to us.”

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“While decorations were minimal, I did want to create a special feel for the reception area. For the table setting I collected blue / green vintage bottles that were used as vases, the place mats were a neutral ‘beachy’ addition, I spray painted fish and other marine animals gold to use as place settings (this was an homage to our careers – we both studies marine science and work in the field), as well as lots of candlelight. We also set up the fairy light stands that we strung across the table.”

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Kara notes, “Initially, when people asked me my theme, I had no answer for them. To describe our style seemed impossible. In the end, I thought ‘chillaxed’ suited us best. All we really wanted to achieve from the day was an awesome celebration of love and friendship where everyone was relaxed (including us) and felt comfortable enough to be themselves. Minimal formalities, bare feet, lots of food and drink, a massive dancefloor, and it just so happened that we professed ‘forever’ to each other on the day.

We shied away from a number of wedding traditions which I think helped with the relaxed feel of the day. We didn’t have a bridal party, we each wrote our own vows, we had photos taken before the ceremony, my mum and dad both walked me down the aisle, we didn’t have a wedding cake, we had a no gifts policy…”

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Eco Beach Resort catered the sit down dinner, the bride noting, “The food was important to us and we wanted the meal to feel as though were sharing it with friends on our balcony at home – delicious shared platters of food, plenty of beer and wine, music to set the mood (Gurrumul and The Pigram Brothers) as well as plenty of laughs and conversation.”

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The couple served a tiered “cheese” cake from Blue Cow Cheese and handmade chocolates from Lady Bea as dessert.

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The dance floor literally lasted until the wee hours, kicking off with the newlywed’s first dances, You and Me by Penny and the Quarters and  Your Love by Saskwatch.

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The party continued until 4.30am, though the bride and groom made their exit at 2.30 am, Kara remembering, “We took some time to sit at the top of the sand dune, looking back over the reception venue and taking some time to watch and reflect. We felt an amazing sense of love and achievement.”

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Congratulations on your marriage Kara and Bart! Thank you for allowing us to share it today! Thank you also to Lakshal Perera for sharing today’s wedding with us!