It was touch and go in the days before Jenny and Daniel tied to tie the knot, as to whether their wedding would go ahead. In true COVID fashion, the pair, who were Melbourne-based at the time, sent an anxious few days awaiting news when Wollongong became a hotspot. But it seems, with ten years of a love story between these two, they just managed to squeak their beachside wedding day through.

Completely apt for The Coastal Issue, Jenny and Daniel chose Matt Ashton Photography and floral stylists Nunu Designs to head up the dream team that brought their day to life. Blush and marsala blooms featuring in a day that had just a few guests, and the beach as the backdrop. It was, as Jenny describes “Beachy theme, relaxed elopement-y style, less traditional, not too formal.”

High school messenger of choice, MSN brought these two together. “We met in high school, Jenny was 14 and Daniel was 15, the same year level. We slowly grew to know each other through MSN (the olden days lol) and then became less shy to speak to each other properly at school – we were so young after all! We literally couldn’t stop talking to each other every day, there was always so much to say, it was never awkward or boring, it was always so comfortable.”

Daniel popping the question on a trip, aptly to the sea. In Jenny’s words “We were going away for the week, we live in Melbourne and my brother and his partner live in Coledale NSW, where we were staying with them. A beautiful, scenic, beachy area where you have the beautiful mountain escarpment and then the stunning coastal beaches below. We had just spent the day at Cronulla, made our way back down and stopped by the Sea Cliff Bridge; then because it was such a beautiful day we thought we should take our little dog Honey to the beach – Little Austi Beach.
We parked at Headlands Hotel, got out and Daniel was like “I need to find my hat, I can’t find my hat!” To which I replied, “What do you mean? You’re wearing a hat?” “No, my other one with the wide brim.” “It’s fine,” I said, “Just wear the hat you’re wearing!!” “No, no, no I must find my other hat – you go ahead with Honey.”

So I walk ahead, thinking, what an absolute weirdo. He catches up, we are walking along the beach and there’s plenty of dogs around for Honey (it’s a doggo beach as well!) and as we make our way to the end of the beach and the rocky area he lets go of my hand and says a blur of words which I can’t quite remember anymore. Then says, “Today marks the day we spend the rest of our lives together” then drops to one knee, and asks to marry me!!! I said yes, of course, we kiss, hug and I shed a few tears.

I later find out he was being so weird with his hat because he had hidden the ring in my car boot with my spare tyre – very creative haha!! So he had to shoo me away.”

The groom dressed in pieces from MenzClub. “Daniel has always loved blue, so a sweet baby blue blazer was perfect – no tie to keep it relaxed. Crisp white shirt, dark navy pants and all deep brown leather to accessorise the outfit. We went to a shop for a groom fitting session and the salesman picked out what he thought would look good, he tried it on and it was perfect! The salesman even commented, “Oh yes, you look hawwwt!” And so it was sold.”

Jenny recounts one of her favourite moments of the day as a private moment before the festivities got going. “I loved spending the morning with Daniel, we grabbed coffee and a toastie to go and drove to a beach and sat and looked out at the beach and had some time together.”

Jenny and Daniel opted out of a wedding party, but still invited close friends to help them get ready.

Jenny found her utterly romantic wedding gown at Luv Bridal & Formal. “I picked my dress because I was scrolling through Instagram and love how relaxed it looked, I always have loved the tightness on the top, the laciness of the dress, the lower back, the beautiful beading and the V necklines. But then it flows so beautifully in a relaxed way, with a little train that feels so elegant but still yet so simplistic, I loved it because it wasn’t ever tight feeling like a dress that is difficult to walk in; still, a really put together dress that felt so comfortable and fitting for a beach wedding that still had a glam side to it.”

The beautiful flower details for the day were handed over entirely to Nunu Designs. “Because we lived in Melbourne and we were currently in lockdown at the time, I had the opportunity to really scour the internet and Instagram to find the best! I probably looked at like 10 different floral/event companies and only decided on the one and emailed one – the lovely Steph from Nunu.
I had screenshotted a bunch of images that I loved the vibe of from her Instagram and the sort of tones. Basically, I wanted some natives, with pops of colours from Roses and I let Steph take free reign – she knows what she’s doing!!!

Bloody hell, the florals were so dreamy. There was beautiful greenery from the Australian natives, mixed with a range of roses, some were a creamy white, others pale creamy pink, pale lilac and pops of deep red roses. There were also these little bluey/purple flowers in there that was so pretty. I could cry thinking about Steph presenting me with the gorgeous bouquet and then just seeing the absolutely STUNNING arbour – soooo beyond beautiful.”

Jenny walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. “I felt like it was a really impactful song that went well with the whole day” remembers Jenny. “My brother Eric walked me down the aisle, the only other male figure I’ve really had in my life. As my Dad had passed away when I was only four years old, so this was a really special moment for me.”

The bride’s arrival at the ceremony was not quite as smooth as she wanted it, but it made for an amazing story for the day! “I can sort of think of one. When it was go time for the ceremony and everyone was meant to be down at the beach, my brother and I had walked out and were waiting to walk down the long flight of stairs to Little Austi. We see our Mum just trying to run in her heels across the grass coming from the opposite way because she had gone to the wrong place – it was actually a hilarious sight. We then see Daniel’s family slowly making their way down and pointing out things from the top of the stairs. You could say everyone was just being chill and taking their time, we thought we should take a moment for everyone to gather themselves and actually get down there – LOL!
At that moment I felt like I was forgetting something – it was my bouquet back in the apartment!!! It was a good thing all of that unfolded because I would’ve forgotten my bouquet otherwise.”

Jenny and Daniel chose Danielle Fleming to officiate their ceremony. “The ceremony with the amazing beach backdrop and arbour and the white chairs, was exactly as I had envisioned. The weather was warm and not windy at all, we got so incredibly lucky. We just wanted ourselves and our guests to feel like it was a really happy day, and it really was.
The ceremony was not too long, we had our lovely celebrant guiding us through the whole time. It was all very magical, I think we both just felt so happy, everything was exactly as it was intended to be.”

“We had to have our dog Honey there, she sat so well at the ceremony the whole time even with all the temptations of some dogs she saw on the beach and the water just moments away. Just sat and watched like such a good girl!”

The couple chose Little Austi Beach for their ceremony- the very spot Daniel popped the question exactly a year earlier!

The newlyweds were showered in bubbles. “Walking back down the aisle after being married was fun though, with the beach being authorised by the council, we weren’t allowed any rose petals to throw or any confetti. So I had improvised – let’s do bubbles!!! So we had our guests with bubbles guns as we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife – it couldn’t have been more me. You can’t NOT be happy when there are bubbles around!!!”

“Matt is so professional!!!” raves the bride of the couple’s chosen photographer. “We had met with him before to see what he was like and he’s just such a chill guy so he completely suits our vibe that we wanted on the day. Not to mention he’s so talented at what he does, he captured every moment that needed to be captured!!! The photos speak for themselves, if you’re not obsessed with your wedding photos then I can’t relate to you!”

Jenny has amazing advice for you if you’re still in the midst of planning your day. “You should do whatever the heck you want on your day. You should sort of Marie Kondo it – does this bring you joy? If yes, go ahead. If no, chuck it out.
The day is about the both of you, and not what other people want.”

“We love the photos of us on the beach just before heading into the reception, we were very happy because we felt so relaxed and to be honest we got to take our shoes off. Our feet were absolutely killing us!!! So we felt content, at the beach where we’re both relaxed and no shoes which were absolutely glorious haha.”

Guests gathered for an intimate feast at Headlands Hotel  Says Jenny “This is where we got ready and also where we chose to stay, our guests all stayed there too. We had our wedding reception here, which was more like a lovely dinner with our closest friends and family :)”

“Our first dance was funny, we hadn’t actually practised it in over a week” laughs Jenny. “Prior we had been practising in our lounge room, and my brother and his partner who actually do ballroom dancing professionally had given us a few tidbits of what we could do.
When it came down to it we didn’t know if we wanted to do it or not because we just hadn’t done it in a while! But just thought, we may as well!!!

The whole start bit was hilarious because Daniel had actually forgotten and was just stepping randomly with all memory of the simple box step had flown out of his brain. So we looked quite uncoordinated for a bit but regained our confidence after, and aced the rest of the routine! A dip and a lift and we had redeemed ourselves. The song was “Only Wanna Be with You” By Samm Henshaw, I found the song on Spotify and loved it. We didn’t want to dance to a song that had already been danced to by so many others!!
There was also a bit in the chorus that sings “do do do do do” and we somehow thought it was fitting because we also nicknamed our dog “Honey do do” and so it was all very fitting!!”

The cake, also was a definite highlight thanks to Georgia Bakes. “The wedding cake was the best cake I’ve ever had in my life” exclaims Jenny. “It was like a caramel mud cake with salted caramel sauce and it had like vanilla buttercream icing. I’m a foodie so it was just the best thing ever.”

The newlyweds worked with Ben Rainford Videography to capture this magic film of the day.

Big congratulations to you Jenny and Daniel! thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day with us and thanks to Matt Ashton Photography for sharing today’s beautiful images.