Jess & Joseph

Ever dreamt of a beachside wedding under palm trees and a starlit night sky? That is exactly the dream today’s newlyweds, Jess and Jopseh brought to life. “We are both really laid back kinda people. Our wedding really reflected that” explains Jess. “We didn’t really have a “theme” as such; we love being outdoors and near water so it was a no brainier that we chose the beach and tied it with big beautiful timber tables and lots of green and tropical foliage.”

And with the duo inviting photographer The Raw Photographer to capture their day as it unfolded, this is a day that commands you to kick off your shoes and grab a cocktail, a party that embraces a beautiful love story and the warm and beauty of seaside Cairns,

One piece of advice we so need to pass on from Jess? The way these two chose to plan their day. “In the planning process, I wrote down three dot points – close to the water – chilled vibes – lots of green foliage and timber for decor that was the extent of our planning, haha and it all came together perfectly. We only had about 40 guests and I think that number included us and our wedding party. It was just a perfect small wedding with our closest friends and family.”

After meeting on a night out at a pub in Brisbane, Jess and Joseph’s story culminated in a water top proposal right over the reef. Jess fills us in. “It’s a cute one; Joseph is not a huge romantic! Sorry babe when you read this.

It was about two months after the birth of our second daughter. He had said to me he had organised a day out on the reef for us to go out on one of the local dive boats and organised my mum to watch the girls for the day. I was so excited, I absolutely love being out on the reef (Joseph not so much out in the open water where all the animals can get him) so it was a pretty big deal he had planned this I thought it was just a nice day out to spend some quality time together as we had just had a new baby, we snorkelled and just hung out, it was so nice. Then he was like, let’s go out the front of the boat (me being my stubborn self kept saying no I just want to go back in the water) he was like no I really want to go check out the front of the boat so we made our way out to the front of the boat and sat on some seating out there.

He started his little speech, I can’t remember exactly what he was saying but he started welling up. Then he tried going down on one knee (he had just busted his knee at football literally like a week before, so he was having trouble getting down haha) I realised what he was trying to do and was like OMG it’s ok just sit there and I moved to stand in front of him, he continued with his speech then asked the big question.”

Jess chose a lace Grace Loves Lace gown, sharing “I was flicking through Facebook one night before we were even engaged and a Grace Loves Lace dress ad popped up and I instantly fell in love. After we got engaged I remember one of my bridesmaids asked: “When are we going to book an appointment to go try on dresses?” I said we weren’t, I was going to fly to the Gold Coast and visit the Grace Loves Lace store and buy my dress. I flew down with my mum, eldest daughter and my maid of honour came up from Brisbane. I tried “Edie” and knew it was the one.”


“We searched for ages for a jacket for Joseph” tells Jess of the groom’s choice of attire. “He is very picky and particular in what he wears so it had to be perfect!
We had no luck in Cairns and flew to Melbourne for his birthday last year. While celebrating his birthday weekend, he found the perfect jacket in a little suit store. He matched his look with beige pants and a white shirt as my dress had a beige underlay.”

Ellis Beach Yacht Club, right by the sea, played host to both the ceremony and reception tells the bride. “We had our ceremony on one side of the property under a big beautiful tree overlooking the beach and our reception was just beside it. It was convenient having it all in one spot!”

Jess walked down the aisle with her dad to Beyonce’s rendition of “Ava Maria”.

Of the ceremony officiated by Anna Soltwedel, Jess tells “We just wanted everything super chilled; it was our nearest and dearest all under a beautiful big gum tree looking out over the ocean. Our celebrant shared funny little stories along the way from how we met. There were lots of laughs.”

Let’s talk tropical blooms! jess and Joseph worked with Florist Gardens on floral arrangements filled with tropical greenery. Jess noting “I walked into the florist with really no idea what I wanted flower wise. I did wish for lots of green foliage, ferns and palms for the table centres and arbour. However, I still had no idea for a bouquet. Kailee our florist was an absolute champ, she made me the most beautiful bouquet of tropical foliage, pampas grass and native flowers. It was honestly the best!”


There was much to rave about for Jess and Joseph when it came to their choice of a photographer “Where do I start? Jason is the best!” remarks the bride. “I was following his page on Instagram before he even started doing wedding photography. Then I started to notice he was documenting weddings, I said to Joseph “This guy is going to be our photographer!”. Jason is so popular, I knew he would be hard to book. Our original wedding date was actually during the week, and we worked our whole wedding date around his availability. Originally we booked a mid-week wedding… then Jason emailed me saying he had a Saturday open up! We took the opportunity and changed our wedding date.”

The outdoor reception was packed with tropical details, many of which were styled by the bride’s friend Amy, Jess explaining “My awesome friend Amy (she’s so talented) did so much for our wedding! She made stools and a day bed for people to sit on in a little chill-out area. We organised timber yard games for the kids to keep them busy and occupied. Made a beautiful photo board with pictures of Joseph and me with our families as kids. Thinking about it, she made so much or organised so much for our wedding.”

There was one very special guest present, notes Jess. “The most special thing on our day was that Joseph’s dad was with us. Joseph’s parents live in Samoa and Joseph hasn’t seen them since he was 16 years old. His brother and sisters organised to get his dad over here for our wedding.”

For the first dance, Jess and Joseph chose “Differences” by Ginuwine.

The biggest of congratulations to you both Jess and Joseph! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thanks also to The Raw Photographer for sharing today’s celebration with us.