Lani & Mark's Byron Bay Wedding

When my beautiful friend Lani asked me to design her dress, I couldn't have been happier! I have known Lani and Mark for a number of years now and it was so special to be apart of their day not only by being at the wedding but also having the privilege of making the brides gown. 

I’m so excited to share all of these beautiful photographs taken by the very talented Amelia Fullarton with beautiful florals by The French Petal and plenty of inspirational DIY details for brides to be!

Wedding Date: April 2016

What was your wedding venue (ceremony & reception) and why did you choose there?

We fell in love with my uncle and aunties property on a visit to Byron Bay to see family – they live in the hinterland about 20 minutes away from Byron and purchased this block a few years ago. It’s located just 5 minutes out of town, and is an expanse of green paddock, palm trees and other beautiful trees. We automatically were drawn to the huge fig tree, which ended up being the centerpiece of our wedding ceremony. It was so special getting married there. We had our florist The French Petal do flower garlands to hang from the tree where we got married. And had simple white wooden chairs for our guests.

Did you have a wedding theme/style? If so, tell me about it please.

The inspiration for our wedding would be a chilled, bohemian, fun festival of love! We wanted something outdoors, with non-allocated seating (cocktail style) with great music, great fresh food, plenty of drinks and a relaxed party atmosphere. I love bohemian styling, which was the look I was going for – from my dress, to the decorations, it’s just a style that I have always loved. Something we could plan and style ourselves and that wasn’t like any other wedding we had been to was what we wanted. We fell in love with the tipi tents at a food festival we went to, so knew straight away that we would have one at our wedding, and it really did look amazing.


How did you and your now Husband meet?

Mark and I have been together a long time, 12 years now (we met at 18), we were actually set up by some family members who knew each other. Although we were together for a long time we weren’t too fussed on getting married. I didn’t see it as a necessity in my life, but when he did ask me to marry him, I just felt an overwhelming sense of love and connectedness between us. We are truly each other’s for life - best friends! I think it’s so amazing to know that we have both chosen each other, out of everyone in the whole world, to be together for life. 

What is your proposal story?

Mark proposed to me. We were just starting our 3 month trip travelling Europe and were in our first stop, Ireland. We had a beautiful day exploring the sites of Galway, and were out at a pub in the evening having a few drinks. Mark went to the bar at one point, and turned around with a bottle of champagne in his hand and a ring in the other. I was so unbelievably shocked, as marriage isn’t something we really discussed all that often (even though we had been together 11 years!) and it was such an amazing moment. The whole pub clapped and cheered and we then partied the night away with local Irish folk.


About the dress: My dress was made by my very talented friend Prea James and I couldn’t have been happier with it. 

I initially went looking around a few bridal stores with my mum and tried on lots of dresses. After ruling out a lot of styles, I knew that I wanted a long sleeve dress, as I’ve always loved long sleeved wedding dresses. I found some that I liked, but they always had an element I wasn’t sure of, like a high neck or a really low back etc, so I chatted to Prea and we decided to design my perfect dress together. And it was exactly that – Prea gave great advice and the end result was literally my perfect dress. I’m so grateful for her efforts in creating my dress for me.

Brides Hair piece: The French Petal  

Brides Shoes: Portmans

Bridesmaids dresses: Zimmerman 

Groom & Groomsmen: Suits & shirts from Politix

Tie / Bow tie: Focus Ties 

Are there any special details about your wedding that you would like to share? 

I created all the food and bar signage, my sister painted all of the signs around the property (welcome sign etc), we collected jars, vases, candle holders and lanterns over time, I borrowed the crochet throws from my mum, and my mum arranged all of the flower vases herself for us (flowers were sourced from the French petal), I made the confetti cones with our bridal procession song on them (Not with Haste – Mumford and Sons), my brothers hung the fairy lights for me around the property, we landscaped the property ourselves (and nearly killed ourselves in the process!), we sourced all of the photo booth props and decorations, my sister set up the “beauty bar” which looked amazing. It was a mammoth task but it seriously paid off – we loved every detail.

The week leading up to the wedding was an extremely stressful one though. We arrived at my uncles property, which is normally very green and beautiful, to a muddy, brown mess that needed so much work. We had the property slashed a week prior but the rain had caused the dead grass to create a layer which meant the green couldn’t get through. We spent the Monday – Wednesday before the wedding raking from literally dawn until dusk, mowing, then raking some more. We hired 2 Irish backpackers to help and I had blisters covering my hands and feet – not very pretty for a bride! There were a lot of tears on my part, and a lot of stress from mark and our friends who were helping. But somehow, by Thursday, the property began to look as I had envisaged and it got better each day. The wedding was such an amazing day, and even more so knowing the effort we put into the property itself!

Finally, Do you have any words of wisdom for couples planning their big day?

If you do a DIY wedding, definitely pay someone to “set up and run” the day of the wedding – it was so amazing having Rachael (stylist) there to make sure everything ran smoothly – she set up all decorative elements, styling and signage, ensuring little things were looked after like the candles all being lit, she cued the MC for his announcements, and she even drove back to my apartment at one point to pick up my garter that I had forgotten!

I’m so glad we had our wedding outdoors – it was risky with the byron bay weather but it paid off, it was so amazing! The bars were also fantastic (we had a feature Gin and Whisky bar which was Marks idea) so we were really glad we did the two separate bars.

We loved our Beauty area for our guests to fix makeup etc as we had portaloos there wasn’t much space for anyone to freshen up, so we found a vintage dressing table at the markets and dressed that up with flowers, a lamp and fairy lights, which ended up looking amazing.

I do however wish we had hired landscapers to fix up the property the week leading up! However I suppose it does make for a good story.


Wedding Vendors

Photographer: Amelia Fullarton - I fell in love with her photographs after seeing them on Instagram, she has such a natural light style. We knew we wanted her straight away.

Hair: Jarrah Hustler Hair

Makeup: Alexis Mahoney (Instagram @spicymelons)

Stylist/Wedding Co-ordinator: Rachel Peachey

Florist: Estelle, The French Petal - who also did hanging garlands from the fig tree we had the ceremony under. Estelle did such a great job!

Stationery: Bride designed (Lani is a Graphic Designer) Printed at Snap 

Celebrant: Skai Ceremonies

Cake: no cake – we had churros for dessert instead

Alcohol: Dan Murphys

Caterer: Open Table - Our caterers we found by chance when we were up in Byron meeting other caterers – we weren’t particularly happy with either that we had booked in to see. They were both too typical “wedding-ish” (we knew what we meant ). We stumbled across Open Table when we were doing some googling over lunch. We met Ronit the next day at her farm out of Byron Bay, and she made us the most amazing fresh Mexican food we had ever eaten, I could have eaten the entire bowl of guacamole. So after our initial taste, we were sold. And we were so happy that we chose them to cater our wedding.

Prop hire: 

All main furniture items were sourced from Frank and Joy

Tipi: Samikata Tipi Events - the tipi set up was magical. I remember just looking around at one point, with the fairy lights cascading through the canopy and all of the tea light candles lit, watching all of my favourite people dancing and having fun, and just thinking how perfect it all was.

Catering Equipment ovens/fryers, glassware: Mullum Hire 

Generator and Toilets: Byron Hire

Music: Local byron artist Nick Cunningham  did the ceremony/cocktail hour entertainment, followed by Jake and Andy for the reception party


Lots of love Prea x x

Prea JamesComment