Real Wedding: Emily & Tim in Cotton Tree

Emily was off on her London adventure five years ago, expecting all the typical things you would in a work/travel/play around the UK and Europe – Pimms in Hyde Park in summer, weekend trips to Morroco for winter sun, a culture and music feast all year round. What she didn’t expect was to meet her future husband a mere four weeks after landing at Heathrow. A fellow Aussie, Tim took this Sunshine Coast girl’s fancy good and proper. 


Considering most of their family and friends were back home in the prettiest of all the lands, Emily and Tim planned a destination wedding to this sunburnt country, and brought a few of their English chums along with them for the holiday of a lifetime. 

The travellers were treated to a perfect beach wedding at Cotton Tree, and Trang from Styl In Images was there to capture each splendid moment. In the bride’s own words, here are all the details about their special day. 

Destination Wedding Logistics

I planned everything via the internet. Because I was in the UK, I had to really place my trust in the suppliers I chose.. and thankfully they were all fantastic! No one let me down, everything was done on time and all expectations exceeded! Highly recommend everyone. 

Attire Bargains

The groomsmen already had dark grey suits from other weddings/work, so we asked them to BYO suit! The logistics of hiring suits was too hard as all the groomsmen were from Perth and the wedding was in QLD. Not to mention the groom being in London!

My wedding dress was not a “traditional wedding dress”, I got it from a London high street and I bargained it down to £400 ($650). It actually cost less than Tim’s suit (which he had handmade in the UK).

Choreographed First Dance

Neither Tim nor I are good dancers so we had many lessons and our instructor even choreographed our dance. It included spins and a lift at the end. The crowd went wild. 

Organic and Natural 

The venue made a huge impact to the wedding day, it set the tone of the whole experience. We were married under the beautiful cotton tree, amazing water views, grass lawn overlooking the water for nibbles, old boat shed for dinner. It was perfect.

We didn’t really follow a theme. It was very organic to our personalities, simple and not overdone. The venue was beautiful enough and we did not want to detract from the natural environment. Location and quality of food were the two most important priorities. We also wanted the ceremony and reception at the same place so that guests did not have to travel.

The Happy Couple

We met through my housemate four weeks after arriving in London.We have the same opinions and sense of humour. But most importantly Tim isn’t afraid to share domestic duties, he does all the cooking and grocery shopping and I do all the cleaning and manage our bills.

Fabulous Florals

All correspondence with my florist, Julia (Ginger Lily & Rose Floral Studio) was via email and we didn’t meet until the wedding day! I described the colour and type of flower I wanted, andJulia emailed straight back with some pictures examples and types she recommended that would be in season and then she had complete discretion to make whatever she wanted! Julia even included a throwing bouquet for free which I hadn’t even thought of. 

Timing is Everything! 

My cousin, Rena, came from the UK and she was responsible for project managing the big day. We only had 45 minutes to set up the venue due to The Boat Shed not finishing their lunch service until 3 o’clock (the ceremony started at 4 o’clock.) There is no way things would have gotten done without her!

My two aunties and uncle assisted Rena with cleaning up The Boat Shed (including trimming the big cotton tree so we wouldn’t hit our heads on the branches!) and setting the tables (i.e. putting the flowers out and our favours, which were “Spread the Love” jam. My bridesmaid Caet’s husband along with two of my close squash friends strung the bunting up perfectly. All the above happened within 45min!

Proposal-themed Cakes

I asked  Skye (Sunny Girl Cakes) for Eiffel tower pictures on our cupcakes (Tim proposed to me overlooking the Eiffel Tower in Paris), Skye sent me a pic, then we agreed on white chocolate cake with lemon butter icing. The cake was delicious!

Wedding Secrets

Biggest splurge: The flowers, they were so beautiful, I loved them. 

Best bargain: A graphic designer from my work designed the invitations, then I used SnapFish to print them. All up they cost £100 ($150).

Bridal gown: Non-designer gown from Coast (UK high street store)

Accessories: Didn’t wear any apart from earrings, found them in Prouds (nothing special)

Shoes: Blue strappy heals found on the internet for £10 ($15)

Bridesmaid dresses: Cooper Street

Bridesmaids’ accessories: Only wore earrings, one of the bridesmaids found them.

Groom’s suit and shoes: Custom made suit in the UK.

Groomsmens’ suits and shoes: BYO suits

Jewellery/rings: Rings from the UK, engagement ring was designed by the bride. 

DIY: Because it was a destination wedding we had to keep the DIY to a minimum. I made the seating plan, it was a joint effort on the jam jar favours (bridesmaid Caet made the jam, while I designed the labels), Tim’s mum made the bunting decoration. 

Number of guests: 85

Wedding Budget:  £25,000

A-List Vendors

Florist: Ginger Lily & Rose Florial Studio

Cake: Sunny Girl Cakes

Makeup Artist: Sally Townsend Makeup Artistry

Photographer: Styl in Images / Caterer: The Boat Shed  / Hair Stylist: Taryn Smith Hair & Makeup / Entertainment: Matthew Barker Music / Stationery Supplier: Snapfish / Gift registry: John Lewis department store in the UK / Celebranty: Groom’s family friend from Perth / Wedding Night Accommodation: The Rovera, Cotton Tree

Take a peek through Emily and Tim’s full Wedding Album

Hi, I’m Sally, Founder and Editor of The Bride’s Tree. Over the past 13 years I’ve written thousands of articles about all things wedding from tips and trends to etiquette and ideas. On this blog I bring you the best of Sunshine Coast and Brisbane weddings.