Friends, there is boundless romance for today’s stars and newlyweds Johanna and Ashley, and it couldn’t be more romantic than the story of how Ashley proposed – in front of the Eiffel Tower! “Luckily for him, the security metal detectors at the Arc de Triumph we visited just beforehand didn’t ruin his plan” laughs Johanna. “We had walked around Paris the morning of the proposal and sat down on a park bench in the nearby gardens overlooking the Eiffel Tower. He said some really beautiful words before getting down on one knee and proposing.”
And of course, with that in mind, is it any surprise that their beautiful country wedding day, held on their property in country Victoria was equally as romantic? Filled with beautifully elegant touches, and plenty of handmade details, Johanna and Ashley really took hold of their day and crafted and created details that were truly theirs. “Your wedding is about celebrating you as a couple” advises Johanna, “so try your best to make sure it represents the love you have for one another.”
The pair pitched a tent, (well many,) and incited their favourite people and photographer, Jana Woodhouse, along for a day in the country, which was every bit as blissful as it sounds. “We were incredibly grateful and lucky to have most of our friends and family join us, particularly after all the lockdowns and restrictions in place.”
And before we get stuck right on in, let’s dive into the tale of how the pair met – in their own words “We met as any romantic couple does: on the dance floor of the local night club. Our mutual friend introduced us by repeatedly pushing me into Ash on the dance floor. Once we finally got talking, Ash pulled out his phone and proceeded to tell me that he had swiped right on my dating profile whereas I had left his profile hanging. The night ended in a cheeky smooch. It turns out the date that we met was his late mother’s birthday, so we like to think that she played a part in our meeting.”
Alana Kate Films captured this film of the day that completely cements this day as especially fun and especially love-filled.
Johanna wore a stunning tulle gown, designed and made by Twelve South Bridal. “Grace from Twelve South Bridal is the most patient, caring stylist that fosters a warm, comfortable and supportive environment for brides.
I wore my paternal grandmother’s wedding band and had a blue wren pin on my bouquet, to signify my maternal grandmother.”
The couple chose to get married at home. “After many setbacks due to COVID-19, we decided to have our wedding on our property. It was the best decision we made! The property is surrounded by magnificent gum trees that created the most stunning backdrop for our ceremony. We hired a sailcloth marquee from Twilight Glamping as well as glamping tents, which created a fun festival vibe. We were able to make the day exactly how we wanted it with the help of family and friends and seeing it all come together was a dream come true.
The benefit of having our wedding on our property was that we could celebrate well into the night. This resulted in the father of the bride tearing up the dance floor till 5 am.”
The beautiful arbour that framed the couple during their vows, was made by Ash himself. Johanna walked down the aisle to “How Long Will I Love You” by Elle Goulding with both her mother and her father, “it was important to me that they both accompany me as they are the ones who made me who I am.”
Kellie Eddy officiated the ceremony, an occasion that even honoured the couple’s favourite four-legged friend. “Our ceremony was written and delivered by the most incredible celebrant, Kellie Eddy. She ensured our ceremony was personalised to us and was a beautiful balance of romance and humour.
Our dog, Essy, was part of our day. She walked down the aisle, accompanied by our dog-loving friend, Deb, wearing a bandana that read ‘I do too!’.
Our celebrant also honoured guests who were no longer with us in person. We also had a metal blue wren, representing my late maternal grandmother, placed in a tree behind us for our ceremony as well as a Tree of Life macrame hanging from another tree opposite out reception, that represented my late cousin, Daniel.”
“Jana Woodhouse was our photographer and she did a magnificent job” raves Johanna, “we really love her natural, candid approach to photographing weddings. She captured the emotion in an authentic way and it really shows through the photos.”
The flowers were beautifully simple and tied back with the elegant romantic vibes shares by Johanna. “We had white and pastel flowers from Style Lush, which is owned by a very talented friend and florist, Rachael.”
This was well and truly a day full of handmade touches. “We loved the endless possibilities that came with doing a DIY wedding. As well as the ceremony backdrop, Ash also made as well as some light posts with planter boxes at the base that hung festoon lights at night. Instead of name-place card holders on the tables, we printed a photo of us with each guest that doubled as wedding favours. Our table numbers were photos of each of us at that age as children. We also had a personalised wooden sign of our names encased in a circle, made by Ash’s brother-in-law, that hung behind us at our reception.”
The reception included shots of vodka – a nod to Ashley’s Polish heritage. “Ash is Polish, so we incorporated some Polish traditions. One of which is that the couple takes a shot: one is water and one is vodka. Traditionally, the person who gets the vodka shot is the more dominant partner in the relationship (Ash got the vodka, much to my disappointment). At the reception, to end our speech, our guests were invited to do a shot of vodka with us and Ash led the “Na Zdrowie!”.”
The couple made their dance floor debut to “You’re In My Heart” by Rod Stewart. Explains Johanna “A few years before our wedding, Ash put the record on (he loves vinyl) and we slow danced to it at home. It is a special memory for us. Our friends, Rita and Arvind, are incredible dancers and they kindly choreographed our first dance for us.”
A big beautiful congratulations to you both Johanna and Ashley! Thank you for telling us all about the details of your day. And a big thank you to Jana Woodhouse for sharing this beautiful day with us.