Justin Wilcox and Ashleigh Keep

We met at Randwick Racecourse but we were surprised to discover that we had actually grown up around the corner from one another for most of our lives.

Justin had spent lots of time on Hamilton Island with his family growing up. He had also spent some time working there in his early adulthood landscaping the gardens around some of the holiday properties. When he took me there for the first time nine years ago I fell in love and it was my dream wedding destination ever since.

Hamilton Island was also the location of our proposal. We were on the top of Passage Peak when Justin asked me to marry him. Justin had ordered the ring which arrived the morning before we flew out from Sydney.

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We love the balance between activity and relaxation on Hamilton Island – it is our happy place and we wanted to share it with our family and friends. Sun, sand and relaxation. It meant all of our guests were on holiday with us too.

Planning

The planning process was seamless. The team at Hamilton Island weddings are flawless. Our wedding co-ordinator was so attentive to any questions, throughout the entire process and followed up with any queries I had in such a timely manner. Their timeline made sure all necessities were covered. Our planner arranged all of our meetings with styling, photography and florals. No matter what stage of the planning process, each supplier was more than happy to speak with us to ensure our vision was achieved.

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The Big Day arrives…

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I spent the morning with my family and bridesmaids at The Edge apartments. We all had breakfast and lunch together as our hair and make up was getting done. The girls at Island Beauty did our hair and were amazing – we all had different hairstyles and they managed to pull them off perfectly and so quick!

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I actually made our wedding cake. So, I iced that in the morning and then topped it with flowers I had collected the day before from Floral Collections. Our co-ordinator stopped by with our celebrant mid-way through the morning to touch base and pick up the cake to deliver to the venue. She was so calm and let me know everything was running to schedule. It made the entire morning stress free. Then our photographer arrived at our place at 2pm and was everything we could asked for in a photographer – he captured the best moments throughout the day and memories we will cherish forever.

Ceremony

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All up we had 90 guests join us for our wedding celebrations. We wanted an outdoor wedding and choose the Chapel Gardens. It is the perfect balance of what we wanted with the greenery and the beautiful blue ocean in the background. It was nice to have the element of the chapel next to our ceremony but not have to be indoors. A nice touch for us was that from this venue, you could also see Passage Peak in the background and that linked back to where we got engaged.

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Reception

Lovers of good food, we have always loved the island restaurant coca chu and would often visit multiple times when we came to the island on holiday. We wanted to share this with our family and friends and it was the perfect choice. We are still getting positive comments to this day from guests! Not only is the food absolutely delicious, but the staff were also so attentive and made our guests feel so looked after.

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When we visited in the lead up to the wedding we met with the manager and head chef of coca chu. We were able to personalize our wedding menu based off the banquet menus at the restaurant. coca chu were so flexible and were able to make some great suggestions on dishes which would work well together, including the canapés we started the evening with.

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The venue itself is beautiful – it did not require over-styling, as it speaks for itself with the polished concrete, timber beams, high white ceilings and bird cage lighting. Not to mention the beautiful views across Catseye beach. We worked with AV partners for our styling needs. We spoke over the phone, emailed photos of themes and a made a vision board to make sure they knew exactly what I wanted the venue to look like.

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It was surreal when I walked into coca chu. It was so amazing to walk into something you have envisioned for so long and see it in real life. AV Partners nailed our vision on the day and I would not have changed a thing.

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Overall

Not only were we away from the stressors of everyday life, so were all of our guests, who got to be on holidays as well. Everyone was relaxed, in such a good mood and happy to be in a beautiful destination.

We were able to hang out with our guests before and after the wedding. This took the pressure off trying to get around to everyone on the wedding day. It was so great being able to catch up with our friends either bush walking to South East Head, or poolside on the days after the wedding. We were also able to have everyone meet for afternoon drinks the day before the wedding and get celebrations started.

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Fast five:

1)In three words how would you describe the vision for your wedding?

Tropical, luxe and simplicity.

 

2)Tell us about the dress:

Spell Bride. It is the one and only dress I tried on. I saw it and knew it was the one. It fit perfectly (did not even need to be taken up – and I am a short person!). The best part – it was super comfortable which made it easy to dance in later on in the night.

 

3)What were the stand out moments of the day?

When I said “I do” too early! A little too excited?! But made for some perfect pictures of us laughing which Simon (our photographer) captured so beautifully.

Justin’s parents decorated our golf buggy with ribbon, tin cans and a ‘just married’ sign which was super cute!

 

4)Any advice for couples looking to plan their wedding on Hamilton Island too?

Do it! You will not regret it.  Trust your co-ordinator and the team at HI weddings – they are so professional and have absolutely everything under control. I had all my trust in them and they helped to deliver the most perfect day for our guests and us.

 

5)Anything else you’d like to share?

I would just like to thank everyone involved in helping with our wedding – it really was the best day, and the best week, of our lives.

 

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