Ashley & Julian

The height of winter is not everyone’s first choice for a wedding and yet, when you look at a wedding like today’s, a beautiful mountaintop occasion in the Blue Mountains, one does wonder why. Captured beautifully by Folk + Follow, the day was filled with stunning moody hues, the beautiful tones a cosy contrast against the grey skies (and beautifully inviting as the sunset!) and reflected the very stars of the show – the newlyweds! Ashley and Julian choosing carefully to make sure only the details that mattered to them, that honoured both their relationship and their beloved friends and family were included.

For a couple that fell (literally) in love, at first sight, it was a beautiful next step. Ashley filling us in on how the pair came to be. “You’ve all heard the phrase that describes falling in love as “falling head over heels”. Well, that is exactly what happened here. I had just joined the gym and was attending my first ever class that a cute trainer named Julian was running. Flustered and bewildered, I somehow managed to trip over while doing box jumps on a step that would have been no taller than 30cm. Julian, ever the professional, laughed. I said “I don’t think you’re supposed to laugh”, to which he replied, “I don’t think you’re supposed to fall”. This sassy banter turned in to a friendship which quickly blossomed into a romance. Two months later I was on a six week trip to South America with his family.”

Ashley worked with Collezione Santina on her gown – a beautiful bespoke bodysuit and a stunning skirt. “Having seen Santina’s handiwork before, she was the first (and only) stop when wedding dress shopping” tells Ashley. “Things started off a little rocky, being draped in fabrics in the middle of summer, but Santina refused to admit defeat until she had come up with a vision for a dress that suited my body and personality. She created the most beautiful wedding outfit I could have ever imagined wearing and every visit to her store was filled with love and laughter.”

Ashley and Julian met before their ceremony for a first look. “Apart from the ceremony, I really enjoyed doing a ‘first look’. It took a lot of pressure off the day and it was nice just to take some time and hang out with Julian and Stella and breathe a little easier. Afterwards (and pre-ceremony) we went and had family photos together and it was just really special.”

When it came to choosing a wedding venue, Ashley and Julian wanted something all in one, Chapel Hill Retreat fit the bill beautifully. Ashley says “We love the Blue Mountains and we wanted to get married at a place that we go to a lot and is special to us. I googled ‘pet-friendly wedding venues – Blue Mountains’ and Chapel Hill Retreat came up. I also wanted to get married somewhere we could do the ceremony and reception at the same place and somewhere that had accommodation on site so that we could all have a weekend-long slumber party.”

Ashley chose to ask both her parents to accompany her down the aisle. They walked to the sound of Vera Blue’s “Hold”. Ashley tells “It was really important for my mum to walk me down the aisle. She hadn’t done that with either of my sisters so I think it was really special to have such a strong and loving woman by my side at such an important moment. And my dad was cool with sharing the walk for his youngest daughter.”

Andrea Calodolce performed the mountain top ceremony. “Andrea Calodolce has a real talent for telling love stories” explains the bride. “I was so nervous about the ceremony leading up to the day and at one point just wanted to elope but I am so glad we had Andrea with us on the day. She read out bios for our bridal party (including Stella) and I just feel she really captured our story and who we are as people. It will forever be one of my favourite memories. My sister did a reading, a quote from Wild Awake by Hilary T Smith.”

The couple can’t speak highly enough of their vendors, including their chosen photographers. “Ellen and Phu are as funny and kind as they are talented. The whole day was chilled and easy, despite Ellen being super pregnant! They were just like friends taking photos. Nothing felt forced or uncomfortable.”

The deep moody blooms for the day were styled by Wild Blue Studio, who also styled the day, the bride sharing “My mum and I met Maddy and Jacqui from Wild Blue Studio on our first visit to Chapel Hill Retreat while they were setting up for another wedding. They had created this magical backdrop for the bridal table and I knew right then they were the ones for me. Up until that moment I had deluded myself into thinking I would do the flowers and styling myself, but after that, I knew I needed Jacqui and Maddy in my life! I wanted flowers that were beautiful and interesting. Going with the romantic/ moody vibe we had a lot of deep burgundies and greens.”

The bride got her handmade skills on and made the reception backdrop herself, sharing “Inspired by the Wild Blue girls, I made a macrame backdrop to stand behind us at the reception. Maddy and Jacqui added details on to either side of the backdrop for that ‘wow’ effect and it made me feel like I was a part of something really special. It is currently hanging in our bedroom with little details added by the girls and it will forever bind us and remind us of the love and passion they put into making our wedding day special.”

From their chosen cake designer (The Half Baked Moose) to their musicians (Sydney Acoustic Duo) these two credit their amazing vendor team for every amazing part of their day. Ashley tells “We got really lucky. I found amazing people to help out with the most expensive day of our lives. I could not recommend them enough. Ellen and I bonded instantly over a phone call in my work kitchen and agreed to come on a wild ride with us from a backyard wedding in April to a mountains wedding in July. Jacqui and Maddy became some of my closest confidants in the wedding planning process and referred me to the most amazing mountain-based cake baker in the world Rebecca from The Half Baked Moose. And Andrea… if I was half as talented as her I’d be able to give her description justice. But I’m not… so I can’t… I will just forever love and admire her. Ali and Alana sang beautifully at the ceremony and I think about them every time I hear the songs. I wish I could have a recording of them! Chantelle made me feel beautiful on the day and got up at the crack of dawn to meet us in the mountains for a morning of hair makeup and champagne.”

After dark, the reception got underway inside, Ashley changing to a strapless Kookai dress.

A big congratulations to you both Ashley and Julian! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! Thank you also to Folk + Follow for sharing today’s celebration with us!