A love of design brought these two beautiful people together. Meeting 10 years ago, these lovebirds quickly fell into a natural friendship throughout their time at university. But alas, like two ships passing in the night, the perfect time never did quite arrive. No matter how much he did try!
Six long years later, after globe-trotting on their two separate journeys, the winds of change helped guide Ben and Jen together.
Photography by Jess Marks
Jennifer & Benjamin
29th March 2019
How we met
Funnily enough, Ben and I met at Uni during one of our very first design classes together. The coincidence of sitting next to each other led to an instant friendship that lasted throughout the degree and beyond. We both dated other people throughout the years, and whilst there was definitely chemistry between us, timing never really worked out. It wasn’t until our mid-20s (just over 6 years later), after both separately traveling overseas, did the timing finally click. We chose to get married in March 2019 as it was 10 years to the month that we first met!
The Proposal – (December 2017)
Though we had talked about marriage, the proposal and the ring totally took me by surprise!
One afternoon Ben arrived at my work unannounced and thought it would be a great idea to have an early mark, as he had managed to get the afternoon off. Surprisingly, my colleagues encouraged me to go and enjoy the afternoon and we headed out (little did I know Ben had organised my annual leave for the rest of the week!). That’s where the surprises just kept rolling in – we arrived at our apartment with packed bags, we jumped in an Uber instead of driving to our destination, it looked like we were heading to the airport, and BAM, Ben whipped out my passport!
We were heading to my hometown in Wellington (New Zealand) where we spent a wonderful four days together. Ben had orchestrated catching up with friends and family, as well as a lot of lovely romantic surprises along the way. He proposed on the top of Mount Victoria (after a slightly sweaty hike) overlooking Wellington harbour. Looking back on it we were both so nervous neither of us remember exactly what he said – but it was an incredible surprise, very emotional and one of the most happiest days of my life.
Life for us after the wedding
After settling back into the normal day to day (after a whirlwind honeymoon adventure across Iceland and Norway), we’re now pretty keen to start a family of our own (in addition to our two fur babies). We’ve both managed to fall in love with our best friend, our wedding was everything we imagined it would be – and after 10 years of being each other’s lives we’re just excited to continue doing those everyday mundane things together. You would be surprised at how interesting Ben can make grocery shopping.
While all of the team were incredibly helpful and attentive, Shona from Pethers Rainforest Retreat really blew us away with her enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and genuine care – not only on our wedding day but during the entire process. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience! One thing I won’t forget is arriving onsite to Pethers the day before and seeing the entire team buzzing while making preparations – I felt completely at ease knowing they had everything under control. This honestly meant so much to us in the lead up to such a special day.
The reception styling and atmosphere was really key for us. Ultimately this was one of the reasons that we chose Pethers as our venue (how could we say no to the incredible rainforest backdrop and that 8 metre canopy on the balcony!).
Pethers really ticked all our boxes (specifically onsite accommodation for guests, an intimate, private setting and the icing on the cake being the beautiful location and property!). Something we also really valued was the flexibility from Pethers during the planning process. Being a boutique venue, we well and truly felt that they had our best interests at heart and were super accommodating to each and every one of our suggestions and requests (no matter how big or small!). This I felt was absolutely priceless and beyond that of what many other, bigger venues could provide.
I actually loathed dress shopping. By the time I had gone to Babushka Ballerina, I had been to loads of places and felt totally overwhelmed by the process. I ended up booking in an appointment at Babushka Ballerina on my lunch break, during the week and met with Rhiahn for a consult. Rhiahn’s product knowledge and genuine care was incredible and eventually we found separates (from Divine Atelier & Love Found True) that I fell in love with!
Tanya from Sugared Style was also incredible. Locking in a florist was something we struggled with (I had originally planned to DIY all of our flowers, but decided against it as we got closer to the day, ha!), and by the time we met Tanya we didn’t have a lot of time left. Wow, even with a tight deadline Tanya blew us away. On the day of, Ben met Tanya during the morning setup and he knew the moment she stepped out that she hit the nail on the head. It really brought all of our styling ideas together.
Invitations, paper details & styling
While Ben’s a software designer and I’ve moved on from the design space – we have shared love for beautiful, minimal design – so designing our invitations and signage was a big thing for us! We also knew that we wanted minimal design elements (rose gold and white) to contrast with the stunning, natural and lush reception space at Pethers.
Our advice to couples planning their special day
Decide on your big ticket items first off and also what you couldn’t care less about. A wedding cake wasn’t a priority for us (instead opting for a 2 metre grazing table with cheese as well as His and Her’s cocktails after dinner!). Likewise, we ditched favours or bomboniere for guests and donated $5 for every person to our favourite charity. Something that stuck with us was that we wanted a smaller, more intimate wedding which enabled us to spend more per head for our guests – prioritising incredible food and alcohol (which Pethers again were brilliant with!).
Venue – Pethers Rainforest Retreat | Photographer – Jess Marks Photography | Grazing Table – Guilty Pleasure Platters | Lighting Installation – Brisbane Festoon Hire | Flowers – Sugared Style | Celebrant – Julie Weston Celebrant | Bridal Dress – Babushka Ballerina (Brisbane) | Groom & Groomsmen Suits – InStitchu (Brisbane) | Hair & Make up – Amber from Brush & Blush | Furniture hire – Hampton Event Hire & The One Day House | Signage – BM Crafts | Rings: Natalie Marie Jewellery | Bridesmaid Dresses – Sheike