Tharindu and I met in High School when we were 15. Four years later we were accepted into the same university to study medicine. We got engaged the year we moved to university, and five years later we finally tied the knot. We were married at Villa Botanica, Airlie Beach, June 25 2018
We always wanted our wedding to have a really intimate feel. For us, a destination wedding was an excuse to celebrate with our loved ones without the pressure of work and other commitments. We had only 50 guests, and most of them arrived a few days before the wedding.
We arranged a BBQ for everyone to get to know each other and I think this really helped to create a more relaxed feel on the day of the wedding. The biggest thing for us was to be surrounded by family and friends who we love and who love us.
Our wedding styling was simple and romantic with a white, blush, green colour palette. The venue was so beautiful that we wanted to keep the styling to a minimum and let the venue speak for itself.
I had a beautiful unstructured bouquet of white roses, stock, thryptomeme, and green foliage. The bridesmaid bouquets were white polaris chrysanthemums, stock, thryptomeme, and foliage.
I went dress shopping with my mum, sister, and best friend. I finally found the perfect dress at Brides of Sydney after a few weekends of looking. The dress had only just arrived as part of a trunk show and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it on. I fell in love with layered skirt and lace floral appliques and knew it was the one!
Tharindu wore a custom-made suit from Peter Jackson in dark Navy.
My sister Holly and a friend of 11 years, Hannah were my Bridesmaids. While Tharindu’s brother Senura and friend Toby were his Groomsmen. I walked down the aisle to Maestro by Hanz Zimmer.
Our entire wedding was at Villa Botanica in Airlie Beach. It is a private estate with its own wedding pavilion, reception venue, and even a private beach. Villa Botanica has this beautiful and opulent tropical architecture (think dark woods and limestone) and is surrounded by magnificent tropical gardens. It even has its own cactarium!
Our ceremony was personal and relaxed. Peter, our celebrant was fantastic and had all our guests laughing. We didn’t want the ceremony to be too traditional and we wanted our guests to enjoy it. Tharindu and I wrote our own vows together. The one traditional aspect of our ceremony was the reading: my mum read a passage on love from the First Letter of St Paul to Corinthians.
Mel our Photographer from Stories With Mel was absolutely amazing. We honestly can’t recommend her highly enough. From the moment we met her over coffee, photography has been the one aspect of our wedding that we never had to worry about. Mel was able to capture the essence of our wedding perfectly and her antics to get natural looking photos had us in stitches. Mel is just a genuinely lovely person and it was an absolute please to have her photograph our day.
Tharindu’s mum made a traditional Sri Lankan wedding cake for our guests to take home with them. The cake takes weeks to make and we had to fly it up to the Whitsundays with us. The day before the wedding, both our families came together and spent a few hours wrapping and boxing up individual pieces of cake.
Our favourite detail would definitely have to be the fact that we were surrounded by the most beautiful people that day. Our family and friends had travelled so far to celebrate with us and we just felt so loved and blessed.
One of my favourite photos is where we are dancing and I am spinning around. I think that’s probably my favourite – it just looks so dramatic and reminds us of the fun we had learning to dance together. There is also one immediately after the ceremony in front of the wedding pavilion. We have a drink in our hands and the biggest grin on our faces. We were just so happy in that moment and the photo really captures that.
Our first dance was to ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson. Neither Tharindu or I are great dancers (and that’s being generous). I somehow convinced Tharindu into getting dancing lessons in the lead up, in the hope that we would feel less nervous having a routine to follow – and that maybe we wouldn’t look half bad. It was actually so much fun to learn something new together and we’re so glad we did it. Some of our favourite photos were from the first dance.
Villa Botanica has to be our favourite vendor. They organised pretty much everything for us – recommending local vendors and liaising with all of them to make sure Tharindu and I could just relax not only on the day, but also in the lead up. We were both studying full time so this was an absolute godsend. Everything was coordinated down to the minute and so stress-free for us and our guests. Tanya, our wedding co-ordinator, was a life-saver on the day – she even had a pair of scissors in her little magic bag for when the hem of my dress filled up with sand from walking along the beach. Villa Botanica well and truly exceeded our expectations and we wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them to anyone.
There were a few things that made our wedding so special – being surrounded by family and friends was so important. We took some time with each other while on the photo shoot as well where we had a picnic on the beach, just the two of us. It gave us a chance to catch our breath and let things sink in. The speeches were also a hit – I don’t think there was a dry eye at the table!
Having a destination wedding definitely made everything feel more special and more surreal, especially being at Villa Botanica. From the moment we arrived (me at 9 am and Tharindu at 2 pm) to the moment we left the next morning, the staff at Villa Botanica did everything they could to make us feel special. We felt like we were being waited on hand and foot, and that’s not something you get to experience every day. Even when the celebrations had ended, we got back to our room to find some wedding cake and wine waiting for us.
I know everyone says it, but the day goes so quickly. Definitely invest the money in a great photographer and videographer so that you can preserve all amazing memories and small details that you might not have even noticed.