We’re giving you a prior warning – have tissues handy for this one! We certainly welled up just choosing images for today’s stunning wedding feature. As the newlyweds, Luke & Laura, explain, “It was a backyard wedding. There was no theme, and it was very casual. Laura’s parents are both artists, and her dad built a lovely bespoke stage with a cane archway. It was a winter wedding, so everyone was rugged up, packed together in the garden, and cosy. It felt very informal, fun, and celebratory. Despite the time of year, the sun was shining so the garden looked beautiful!” Captured by Georgia Wiggs, the couple tells us all about their intimate & laidback lantern parade wedding…

We met at Falls Festival in Tassie eight years ago. We were both working behind the bar and camping with mutual friends. Seven years later, on a trip in Tassie together, we decided that we wanted to get married. It was the perfect setting! Initially, we didn’t think that we wanted to get married. We had talked about it and agreed that it wasn’t really what we wanted. But on the trip to Tassie, we talked again and decided that we wanted to join our families together more formally and symbolically. We also wanted to have an event that shared and celebrated our love with friends and family. We were sitting in the sun in Strahan sharing a beer together, and it was a quite casual and totally mutual decision.

The wedding was held at Laura’s parents’ house in Williamstown. Our reception was at a local bar called The Pirate’s Tavern. The whole day felt very DIY, to be honest. Having the ceremony at Laura’s parents’ place allowed us to design the day ourselves. We couldn’t have done it without the support of friends and family helping us along the way. For example, Luke’s mum made grazing plates, Laura’s sister MC’d the wedding, our brother-in-law made Gluhwein for us, we decorated the place ourselves, etc.

Our friend Madi works for a florist called Flowers by Brett Matthew John. We know she is a beautiful florist and trusted her to choose and design flowers to adorn our cane archway and decorate the house. Madi used lots of in-season native flowers and foliage and the decorated archway was the centerpiece. Laura also threaded babies’ breath flowers into her hair, which matched the arch beautifully.

Laura did not walk down the aisle. We did not want to participate in some of the more gendered traditions. We were in the backyard together as everyone arrived, drinking champagne, catching up with old friends, and having fun.

We also didn’t have a wedding party. Again we didn’t really connect with the more gendered traditions, so chose to skip out on this one. We had friends and family support us beautifully in the lead-up and on the day but did not feel the need to formally designate bridesmaids or groomsmen.

Music is very important to us and lots of our close friends play music. We asked our friends to sing a song for us, and this is how we started the ceremony. It was awesome. The song was ‘Only You’ by Yazoo, but we changed a few words to make it less of a sad break-up song and more of a fun, upbeat love song.

We both love the song ‘Dark Art’ by Jen Cloher. A close friend of Luke’s flew down from Canada for the wedding with his wife. As they are both beautiful singers, we asked them to play the song for us live when we had our first dance. It was a really beautiful and connected moment for us.

Laura wore a sheer black dress with embroidered flowers that she found at an op shop. She also wore a beautiful coat with embroidered flowers over the top. It was very flowery! Laura wanted her outfit to stand out, suit the backyard environment, and feel cosy, warm, and comfortable.

Luke wore a sky-blue two-piece suit with a white shirt. He had the suit custom-made at InStitchu and chose the colour in the store, as it looked lovely, and he also wanted to stand out – hence the colour. He wanted a tailored suit that fit well and was comfortable to wear. Luke also wore his late grandfather’s watch as a nod to the family members who were not able to be there with us.

Our ceremony was very casual. We wanted to run it ourselves. This allowed us to share a bit of our story and explain why we were all gathered and why we decided to get married. It was very natural and informal. We had a celebrant who was a friend of a friend, as it was very important to us to officially marry then and there, with everyone present. He jumped up on stage for the formal stuff. We absolutely loved exchanging vows that we had written for each other.

We didn’t do rings, so we decided to plant an olive tree to acknowledge the union that rings traditionally symbolise. All of our guests wrote on the pot before the ceremony, so it felt like a collective act.

Georgia Wiggs took photos for us during the ceremony and lantern parade. Luke met Georgia at work, and she kindly agreed to help us out. She was just exceptional. She is an artist and took such beautiful snaps. Her ability to communicate with people, and pick the right moments while staying under the radar at the right times, made for a seamless experience!

We deliberately chose to get married around the winter solstice. Growing up, Laura would make lanterns with her family for winter parades. We decided that a lantern parade would be a fun way to walk from the ceremony to the reception venue, all together. We booked a live jazz band called Orlando Combo, who kindly agreed to play music and process with us while we walked. Every guest had a hand-made lantern in one hand, and a hot cup of gluhwein in the other as we walked at dusk from the house to the Pirate’s Tavern. The marching band, the beautiful sunset, and the child-like joy of it all made it the most special moment of the day for us.

It was really important to us to have a live band, and we couldn’t have asked for a better band than Orlando Combo. They took on our requests and had everyone dancing all night to big-band jazz and swing when we arrived at our reception. It was amazing!

The shot of the group all gathered together at dusk with handmade lanterns lighting the sky was very special and is probably our favourite photo of the day. Our amazing photographer Georgia took a big group shot at the local rotunda with all of our lanterns and it has left us with such a special memory from the day!

The Pirate’s Tavern is a local bar tucked away by the water in Williamstown. It is pirate themed! That’s not why we chose the venue (we aren’t pirate fanatics) but we have known this venue for a long time as it is local to Laura’s family, and it is very chill and down to earth. We wanted a venue that was fun, relaxed and had plenty of room for dancing. Being a local place, the booze and venue hire was very cheap and that suited our budget perfectly.

We loved our venue. They were so chill and so lovely to work with. We honestly did not stress at all in the lead-up to the wedding, we had such great people to work with and so much support from family and friends. From the outset, we didn’t want to do this wedding unless we could plan it ourselves and have the day of celebration that we wanted without being tied to traditions or conventions. So planning the wedding was so fun and freeing!

Our advice would be – don’t partake in traditions just because you feel like you have to. And try not to take other people’s expectations to heart. It is your wedding, not anyone else’s, and (other than a few legally mandated sentences) your wedding can be whatever you want it to be!

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Thank you so much for sharing your heartwarming wedding, Laura & Luke. And to Georgia Wiggs for sharing their gorgeous photos from the day!