Married on dramatic Balinese cliff top, Courtenay & Ashlon exchanged vows framed between a breathtaking, architecturally designed arbor suffused with David Austin's. A fusion of luxe modern styling and a love of rustic natural elements, their oceanside ceremony was followed with an ambient lit marquee reception adorned with decadent floral installations…
Beautifully capturing every detail & a mood of timeless romance, was Courtney Illfield (handpicked for The LANE Brands)
NAMES: Courtenay Jade Salter and Ashlon Rhys Chue
WEDDING DATE: 27th May 2015
GUEST NUMBERS: 175
HOW WE MET: We met at pre-school and have been best friends for years. We rekindled our relationship over many big events in our lives, boarding school, then living in China together in 2009, during our working careers, and finally 2 years ago a bulb went on and we knew we couldn’t live without each other!
OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: Ash took me to Bali for my birthday on the 26th March 2014, it was a busy time for us so I was quite reluctant to go! More so, he had been acting very strangely for the past 4 months so our relationship had been strained, and I was questioning our relationship.
He mentioned he had planned dinner and had a taxi waiting outside our villa to depart at 5:00pm on the dot, claiming he didn’t want to miss the sunset. He also tried to convince me it would be windy and cold so I should wear a jacket. I didn’t listen of course, and mentioned it would be fine, I'd just borrow his if need be. I was thrilled just get some time alone with him, and it all turned out to be a beautiful day as we drove toward our mystery location. I put my hand on his knee and he pushed it away and took a deep breath, I assumed he was stressed we wouldn’t make it in time for the sunset. I assured him it would be ok.
The taxi pulled out the front of Ayana resort and Ash rushed off, yelling run! I was surprised, and ran after him, he navigated confidently through the resort with me trailing behind yelling “how do you know where to go?” he yelled “Iv'e been here before!” I followed with “when!?” he shouted.. “um... with family” – we stop at a long cue of tourists waiting to take the travelator down to the Rock Bar. Ash makes his way confidently to the front and they greet him “Good evening Mr. Chue, wonderful to see you! Please follow me” In shock I whisper ..”Mr. Chue huh?” it was the most magnificent view I have ever seen!
We stopped for a few drinks, before Ash mentioned we should make our way to dinner. As we head toward the sandy cliff side restaurant, Ash said, “see those flames in the distance.. they are for you!” I pat him on the back and laughed saying yeah right.. but then seconds later we are greeted by a gentleman who placed frangipani lays over our heads and guided us down a path to our own private jetty. As we approached there was a Balinese xylophone being played, torches and big palms covering the entrance to the jetty. I was amazed when the palms parted, as there was the most spectacular view of waves crashing up the front of the jetty, and a candle lit table for two sitting on a bed of rose petals.
Sitting at the table I noticed the menu even had our names on it. I was truly embarrassed at my behavior over the past few months at this point and said it was the most beautiful evening and truly wasn’t a place you brought someone for their birthday, but rather so romantic that you would bring someone to propose! (little did I know..)
After dessert Ash said to me, “I haven’t been entirely honest with you over the last couple of months, I have something I need to tell you” (hence the uneasy feeling i had), " When I said I had to go to Brisbane to settle on a property, I lied, I went to see someone else”… long pause “ When I said I went to look for a restaurant yesterday for my sister's birthday, I didn’t” another long pause “ And when I said I invested all that money into those shares, I didn’t... I spent it on something else”...
At this point, my eyes had welled up and my heart felt it was going to burst out of my chest.. I thought the worst! Then he got down on one knee and said “I went to see your parents to ask for their blessing, I came here yesterday to make sure everything was perfect and I invested that money in this ring for you…. Will you marry me?”
(Interview continued under photo gallery...)
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: First and foremost friendship, teamwork, love, trust, support, hard work and honesty.
WEDDING LOCATION: Alila Villa Soori, Bali Tabanan, Indonesia, We have so many family and friends in Papua New Guinea and Australia, so Bali was the perfect in-between for us. Not only was it where we got engaged but also Alila Villa Soori being a eco friendly villa estate felt like the perfect place to start our life with the purest of intentions. We are also of mixed heritage, and have Asian and Western Influences, Bali really captured that, it has Asian culture with strong international (Australian) influence, and also has similarities to Papua New Guinea which feels like home.
THEME/STYLE: We began to draw inspiration from looking at kitchen designs for our new home, and then of course our own personal style and looking at wedding stylists (my favourite sources of inspiration being houzz and style and co). We had fallen in love with a colour palette of soft grey marble tones contrasted with the wood and copper. With further research came across marble basics and Bliss and Bone, beautiful stone marble trays and divine cotton card stationary. Then One and Only Bali brought us to Alila Villa Soori which was the perfect combination of natural textures and palettes. This is where it all started to form. Another form of inspiration was Italy. We have always wanted to visit and took some of our romantic, coastal and rustic inspiration from the Italian countryside and fresh Amalfi coast. Infact Inbal Drors 2015 collection was shot in Venice, Italy! All in all, we wanted to create luxury, with a rustic elegance and timelessness!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Courtney Illfield , Long story short, the fact that she used to do a lot of water sport photography captured our hearts (as we are both keen wake boarders and water skiers) but I was looking for someone that took beautiful black and white artistic images, and whilst not just capturing people, capturing details, moments, and of course nature. (it wasn’t just because her name was Courtney too!) she was honestly so fun and enthusiastic to work with, you would be interacting naturally and not even notice she was taking your picture!
BRIDE’S DRESS: My gown was a made to measure from Inbal Dror haute couture gown ordered from Helen Rodrigues in Sydney. The bodice was strapless with a fine lace backing, the cut of the dress hugged my body and finished with a long voluminous train. I love it because it was modern, elegant and feminine, and really outlined a woman’s figure.
BRIDE’S SHOES: Christian Louboutin white Martha T-strap sandals, shoes I will wear over and over again.
WEDDING RINGS: Ash designed my engagement ring, it is a platinum band with scallop setting diamonds all around, and a princess cut diamond.Our wedding bands were custom made by BCB jewellry Bryan Braunberger , the ring box is a clear acrylic custom ordered from Wedding Star. my wedding band is platinum with scallop set diamonds to match my engagement ring, Ashlon’s ring is a 24kt yellow gold signet ring with engraving of our initals ARCCJC may 27th 2015 (It stands for Ashlon Rhys Chue/Courtenay Jade Chue) he’ll never forget our anniversary!
JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: I wore a rose gold Claire Aristides 14kt heart bracelet which was the first birthday present Ash bough for me. The earrings were my own and my lingerie was from Gooseberry Intimates. My garter was white lace from Agent Provocateur which my bridesmaids gave me on the day. The bridesmaids wore 14kt gold personalised bar necklaces from Jewellery Blues which I gave them on the morning of the wedding. My veil was an ivory tulle cathedral length from Strictly Bridal at Marina Mirage on the Gold Coast.
GROOMS ATTIRE: Ashlon’s best friend Brendan is the director of The Black Label, so customised the complete look. The outfits were crafted with the comfort of light tailoring in mind, but with no compromise to the sharper silhouettes you see in luxury brands. The jackets were made for warmer climates - softly structured shoulders and unlined construction, with a hand-sewn canvas that is designed to conform to the body to create the perfect fit.
Ash was dressed in a blue hounds tooth cloth made from a luxurious lightweight S150’s wool, blended with a black silk lapel and trim for a more formal look. His jacket was paired with a cropped black trouser worn with a black leather penny loafer. For a touch of difference he had a customised panel under the collar with “Ash & Coco 27.05.15 embroidered. The inside pocket also had the grooms initials and the white dinner shirt had his initials on the cuff.
Ash’s wore a black sick textured bow tie by Saint Laurent and a Silk navy and white polka dot Pocket square, by Paul Smith. Sunglasses, black clubmasters by Rayban. The groomsmen wore a more casual look with a plain blue housds tooth jacket,cropped blue hounds tooth trousers and black penny loafers and bow ties all by The Black Label.
HAIR: Had to be up! I wore a messy long pony tail with loose strands around my face. My Inspiration was Olivia Palermo.
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: We chose to create a personalized black and white Riley and Grey wedding website to invite our 175 guests. We loved that we could upload a video, we could feature all our pre-wedding events and that it had a live Instagram feed that has now collected everyone’s hash tagged photos from our wedding. It was also a great way to manage the communication of important updates through a mass email and collect and export important information such as RSVP's, food allergies and travel details.
The Menus were Bliss and Bone, designed and printed our marble print menus with copper foil bombshell calligraphy, 100% cotton Crane Lettra paper. Tree free. It is a really nice thickness and makes you feel like you’re holding something substantial.
Sofia invitations made our personalised laser cut bamboo calligraphy names (in bombshell font) with a light wood stain. They were about 2cm high and sat on every single side plate. One & only Bali printed and designed our guest maps which helped everyone navigate to each wedding location, it also included an event schedules for our guests, they also designed our customised marble prints for the reception, wooden menus and signs with laser cut calligraphy in white. Courtney Illfield designed our artsy postcard style thank you cards.
Rather than a guest signing book, we had an interactive video guestbook where guests could leave us messages, which we watched on our honeymoon. Its called Wedding Kiosk from the apple store. Also less for us to bring back from Bali.
FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: We wanted to give our guests gifts that were useful and that they could use to add to their wedding vacation experience, as well as something they could take away, reminding them of their travel to Bali. We created a custom bath gel and sunscreen for them to use whilst staying at the serene Alila Villa Estate, the bath gel was coffee and chocolate in an amber glass bottle with cork lid, the sunscreen was coconut and vanilla in a black tube. Both significant flavours and aromas which we love and remind us of both Papua New Guinea and Bali. We packaged them in eco friendly paper bags and placed them in everyone's rooms before they arrived. We also had customised leather luggage tags made in tan, embossed with guests initials, organised by The Black Label, delivered to guests upon arrival.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: To keep with our rustic elegance, we kept to a neutral palette, and white is my favourite to add a classic glamour. The dense white floral displays, kept it luxurious, romantic and elegant whilst the foliage gave it an edge of rustic earthy elements. More so the palette complemented Alila Soori’s surrounding decor' and kept everything looking natural. It was beautiful seeing the white flowers illuminated by bulbs and candle light as the day turned to night and the aroma was incredible.
The Bali event styling team started the floral installation at 12:00pm the day before the event, ready by 3:00pm day of the wedding. They used in total throughout the day, 35 bunches of Lisianthus, ruscus leaf and green berries, 2350 stems of Anastasia roses, 100 stems of David Austin roses, 100 stems of baby Rose, 85 bunches of Chrysanthemums, 45 stems of White hydrangea, 300 stems Tuberose, 680 stems of Queen Annes Lace, 600 stems of White Phalaenopsis Orchids at the dinner reception table & cocktail area, 180 stems on the marquee installation and 72 stems on the ceremony arbor and 50 stems of White Dendrobium Orchids!
Clusters of foliage trailed along the ceiling of the marquee, cascading with white blooms and exposed pendant bulbs. The marquee installation, bridal tables and bridal table garden wall included 696 bunches of Gardenia leaf, 398 bunches of leather leaf, 607 bunches of trailing ivy, 100 bunches of vines and 137 bunches of kemuning leaf. And a total of two trucks of foliage and 28 frames, 66m in length were constructed to create the enclosed garden wall and arbors for the ceremony. The team also constructed a total of 4 archways, draped with soft white chiffon. The ceremony arch was covered in dark green foliage and white seasonal flowers, with large white ceramic urns filled with green foliage and baby roses either side.
My Bridal bouquet was a loose bunch of white Peonies, white Anastasia roses, Queen Anne’s lace, Lisantheus and trailing similar vines. The bridesmaids bouquet was a collection of a small bunch of David Austin Roses, baby roses, Lisantheus, Queen Annes Lace and dark green foilage and the groom wore a boutonnieres of Baby Roses and green berries
VIDEOGRAPHY: Our pre wedding video was filmed by Ari in our favourite little ‘bistro’ in seminyak. Our wedding video was captured by Yoseph of Axioo. We love their ability to capture detail and loved the use of the drone, which was a prerequisite.
PREPARATION: Our bridesmaids, parents and the groom, stayed in the 10 bedroom Aila Villa Soori estate The rooms were very separate so the groom and I did not cross paths. The boys spent most of the day out and then moved to another private villa to get ready.
I woke up early that morning and put on my bridal robe and collected all the gifts wrapped in white woven boxes and placed them on the white sofa in the lounge room. I delivered both parents a small card, advising they would be treated to a foot massage at 10:00am. I also had a card and goodie bag of all Ash’s favourite things, which was delivered by the butler to his room, for him to open before the wedding.
By about 9:00am all the girls came out in their robes and made there way to the lounge where we exchanged a few cheeky gifts before sitting down to a champagne breakfast. The girls gave me bottle of my favourite perfume (opium black by YSL, an Agent Provocateur garter, a Marble and Copper note book to write my vows and a few pampering beauty products) I gave the girls a little white woven box of treats and a card. Inside were 14kt bar necklaces engraved with their initials, and a bit of a survival pack of chocolate to keep them going throughout the day, seamless Calvin Klein underwear, personliased champagne glasses, heal stoppers and mini Andrea Mack perfume to put in their clutches. By this time the boys were having breakfast privately in the library.
The boys went quad riding through the rice paddies and along the volcanic beach to let of some steam before the big day. The girls naturally, started getting ready and had a few sneaky pic’s before the day got to hectic.
CEREMONY DÉCOR/ RECEPTION DÉCOR: In the lead up to the wedding, I started collecting all our marble accent pieces from all over the world. The Bliss and Bone marble menu’s from Los Angeles, marble trays and marble and wood cheese boards from Marble Basics and Coastal Luxe Home. And then our wooden and copper elements such as Copper candles from Coco Lux, our 175 sets of copper cutlery from Gold Wedding hire and wooden laser calligraphy place names from California - all to bring to Bali! I even had the wedding aisle runner customised and clear acrylic ring box ordered from the US.
I worked furiously with Diana and Lee of the One and Only bali weddings team to create a completely customized event, from the branded coconuts, to the sprinkle me calico confetti bags, down to the paper bag packaging and messages on the amber glass bottle of coffee bath gel and coconut sunscreen. We also printed a marble seating chart, personalized marble typographic prints with quotes Ash and I have shared with each other, to the giant A+C lettering that stood 1.5m tall on the library lawn.
The Ceremony The ceremony was held on the the Alila heli pad cliff, with a garden wall enclosure 66m in length 2.2 meter high, constructed by the bali event styling team. An opening faced the ocean, creating the backdrop for the altar. A Floating wooden stage, extended over the edge of the cliff and ceremony arch standing 2.4 meters tall, enveloped in dense foliage and white local blooms. Glistening in the center hung a glass chandelier, and two large white ceramic urns with ruckus foliage and roses stood either side.
Reception: Guests were then ushered into the reception, under an open marquee with a stunning roof installation created by Bali Event Styling & Bali Event Hire an unstructured mass of delicate foliage and Dendrobium Orchids, Roses and Chrysanthum, trailing along the ceiling and cascaded down over the white tables. With clusters of bare hanging bulbs carefully placed in-between.
Amongst the nine long uniformed tables, were rows of white bentwood chairs and a dense floral display of white blooms and foliage, which sat above a wooden plank which ran through the center of every table. The tea lights illuminating the copper cutlery and marble menus and every side plate was decorated with a sprig of rosemary and a wooden calligraphy place name to complement the tables natural textures.
We had our first dance under the stars, with hanging bulbs draped above our heads, complimented by sparklers and a stunning firework display organised by my mother, Monica.
WEDDING PLANNER/ WEDDING STYLIST: One and Only Bali did a wonderful job at capturing our vision, by turning our ideas into a visual perspective and then sourcing us the best vendours- Bali Event Hire,caterers, florists, and coordinating the many guests, their bookings, and the vendours.
CAKE: We chose a three tier naked rum cake with a cream cheese filling, with trailing Anastasia roses and foliage.
WEDDING SONGS: A string trio played 'Kissing You', by Beyonce, as our parents and the groomsmen entered the ceremony. Jackson Thomas played our favourite rendition of the song 'Latch' by Disclosure on the piano and sung as my father walked me down the aisle. Jackson also played 'Love me like you do' by Ellie Goulding as we signed the registry and ‘Higher Love' as we exited and jumped the broom. (A Welsh tradition)
Our first dance song was 'Thinking Out Loud' by Ed Sheeran, as it was one of the first songs we listened to when we started officially dating and in fact had one of our first dates, it captures our long love history and the next 40 years!
ENTERTAINMENT: We had a string trio during the pre-reception drinks, which touched on classics by Frank Sinatra and Quincy Jones.
FOOD & BEVERAGES: Our menu was prepared by the fantastic M&M team, lead by head chef Michael Szarata and pastry chef Francois Seurin both present on the day to ensure the menu was delivered to perfection.
RECEPTION: We had a four course sit down dinner.
LATE NIGHT CHEESE & DESSERT BAR- Variety of cheese – blue, brie camembert apricot walnut bread, olive gelee and grape jam, Duo chocolate mousses with coated popcorn, Apple Tatin, Chocolate Mango crumble, Mix berry tart, Macaroons: chocolate orange, almond, raspberry, green apple, Cream Brule lychee-nutella, & Kinta Mani grape gelee with coconut sago cream and black rice crust.
TRANSPORT: Because all our guests stayed at Alila Villa Soori, They provided the transport of guests on the day of the wedding .
HONEYMOON: It has always been our dream to visit Italy! Our favourite stay was in Tuscany, at Castello la Leccia, a restored medieval castle amongst a Chianti winery. It was just the most wonderful experience, from the room, to the view, to the activities, the owner Francesco and the wine! We plan to take our parents back next year!
GIFT REGISTRY: We chose Mildred and Co as our gift registry provider, because they had such an amazing range of quality home wares, allowed you to add customised gifts, are really attentive and helpful and they have a beautifully designed website, it was so much fun selecting items.
CELEBRANT: Greg Egli was our celebrant. He made us feel very relaxed and prepared. He is Australian and has lived in Bali and conducted ceremonies for 5-6years. He was as a pleasure to work with.
READINGS: We wrote our own vow's, it was quite difficult being short and concise because all you want to do is tell the world how much you love this person!
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: The most memorable moments…. When Courtney Illfield gave me a sneak peak of the ceremony and reception set up on her camera, it was at that moment I felt I had nothing to worry about.
Getting my hair done, whilst the bridesmaids and my mother fluttered around me, I sat looking out towards the ocean out the large glass doors of Soori estate and watched waves crashing and the sun glistening behind my dress hanging from the door frame. At that moment everything around me was silent and I felt a sense of serenity, thankfulness, love and certainty.
Lastly my most memorable moment was of course when I stepped out onto the aisle and I saw all our family and friends looking toward me and Ash looking so handsome at the end of the aisle. I remember the butterflies and emotion that flooded my chest, and was so proud having my dad (due to his health) be able to walk me down the aisle – all I could here was our favourite song Latch being played on the piano by Jackson Thomas.
ONE THING I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY WEDDING PLANS… How much things cost!!
IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE…Plan ahead, give yourself lots of time.
-Couture gowns need at least 6 months to be custom made, so look early
-If you’re having a destination wedding, check all taxes (especially alcohol), religious events, rules and regulations of venues, weather during particular months etc before committing.
-If you have the budget invite “everyone” important to you, people always cancel at the last minute. If you have a big guest list, or big bridal party a wedding planner is magic in assisting the co-ordination, scheduling and overall assistance of the wedding preparations and event on the day.
-Book your photographer early, so you don’t miss out. Photos are so important. (Plan your photos so you get all the pictures of people you want – if you have a exceptional photographer, she will capture them all) get a second photographer if you have a large group.
-Don’t compromise for something you really want, if its achievable. Be true to yourself and don’t try to please everyone. You’ll regret it later!
COURTENAY & ASHLON'S CONTACTS:
BRIDE'S DRESS: Inbal Dror
BRIDE’S SHOES: Christian Louboutin
GROOMSMEN - The Black Label
WEDDING RINGS: Bryan Braunberger
HAIR: Yeanne make up artist
MAKEUP: Yeanne make up artist
CATERING: M&M Innovative concepts
WEDDING PLANNER: One & Only Bali Wedding & Events
LIGHTING & SOUND: Westside Sound and Lighting
CELEBRANT: Greg Egli
WEDDING VENUE: Alila Villa Soori
HONEMOON DESTINATION: Europe
TRANSPORT: Alila Villa Soori