Nestled amongst Margaret River’s illustrious vineyards is Howard Park, a venue chic in its contemporary allure. It was here Ash & Rohan exchanged their vows before the property’s asymmetrical exterior, the ceremonial space minimally styled with black wire chairs, white roses and rectangular plinths.
Ash stunned in a modern silhouette with sheer details by Dan Jones, complementing the wedding’s aesthetic of raw textures, linear design and monochromatic tones. Forever drawn to the color black, this palette played a central role in the decor and florals throughout the day, evoking a refined yet moody ambiance from the ceremony through to the reception.
Dinner was hosted beneath a grand marquee, featuring a simple tablescape adorned with black and gold accents and scattered pontoon lights strung from above. It was a modern and sophisticated affair, from the three long-stemmed black roses that encompassed the bride’s elegant bouquet to the Australian epicurean delights that indulged their guests late into the evening…
Photography by Teneil Kable.
Names / Ashleigh & Rohan
Wedding Date / 22nd February 2020
Guest Numbers / 80
How We Met
We used to tell a pretend story to explain how we met because the actual story was totally embarrassing at the time, but now we find it funny. We met on Myspace 13 years ago, when Myspace was cool, of course. We’re from opposite sides of Australia – I’m from Perth and Rohan is from Brisbane, so if it wasn’t for the social platform, we probably wouldn’t have ever met. We spoke on Myspace for a few months before he had a trip to Perth planned to visit his friend, who I knew of through friends of friends. We hung out for a few days, fell in love, did a few years long distance while we were both studying in our respective cities, and the rest is history.
Our Engagement Story
Just before all the Christmas craziness in 2017, we decided to spend a weekend away in Margaret River, something we tried to do a few times a year to escape the city. I needed to take some photos for a brand I was working with and thought it would be nice to shoot in the beautiful rose gardens of one of our favorite wineries, Voyager Estate. After we took the photos, Rohan wanted to go for a walk through the gardens and it was only until about ten minutes into wandering, me continually asking if we can just get onto the “drinking wine” part and him uncharacteristically insisting we keep wandering, did I realise what was about to happen. He got down on one knee, I cried like a baby, then we got to enjoy some of our favorite wine and a beautiful lunch. We designed my engagement ring together so I knew it was coming at some point, but it was so special that he was able to surprise me (the person who can never be surprised). It was perfect.
Marriage To Us Means…
Cementing a forever partnership. Nothing really changes and for us, we’re just in the next phase of life together. We’ve been together for so long that we were practically married anyway – this is just a title and means he can’t get rid of me easily when I annoy him.
Both our ceremony and reception were at Howard Park Wines in the Margaret River wine region of Western Australia. The ceremony was held on the grounds of the winery, and the reception outside on the beautiful concrete structure that is the Howard Park Wine Chapel. Margaret River is one of our favorite places in the world and being only a three hour drive from Perth, it was a place we would always go either for a romantic getaway or a weekend with friends. It was also special because it is where Rohan proposed, and a place we miss now that we are living overseas. Howard Park came as a recommendation from a friend who knew it was our style and as soon as we saw the concrete structure combined with the rolling greens of the vineyard – it was love at first sight.
As it was a destination wedding, Rohan and I rented a beautiful house for our families and our bridal party to stay in, so we spent the morning of the wedding getting ready with everyone there. It was definitely a memorable way to spend the lead-up to the ceremony. I was also incredibly anxious with anticipation and don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have Rohan and my family around.
Overall Aesthetic / Style
Our overall vision for the day was something that was truly us – different from the norm, nothing over the top, and lots of fun. For the overall vibe of the styling, we wanted the day to be modern and sophisticated, but with an edgy touch. I’m known for having a wardrobe that only contains black, so we knew black was going to be the base colour of the styling. Bringing in the concrete elements of the venue, alongside pops of white and gold, it all came together as the perfect modern, edgy but still classic combination.
We wanted to keep our ceremony decor minimalistic but with a standout feature as to not take away from the beautiful gardens of Howard Park. To achieve this, we chose black wire chairs that blended in seamlessly with the green grass of the venue. At the start and end of the aisle, we had black and white roses with black spray-painted leaves surrounding and atop four black and concrete plinths as features.
We held a sit down reception under a clear top, open side marquee adorned with drop black pendant lights. Guests were seated on three long tables with grey tablecloths and minimal but powerful gold, white and black floral arrangements and black candles. Of course, we went with black cutlery, grey napkins, and muted white plates to match. Rather than have a separate bridal table, our best man, maid of honour, Rohan and I sat in the centre of the middle table, opposite our parents.
Wedding Planner / Stylist
The incredible Branka from Blonde & Blue Styling appeared like a fairy godmother at the beginning of my wedding planning journey. From the get-go, Branka understood our vision, our budget, and most importantly, our vibe for the day. We made a great pair, as I knew what I wanted from a styling perspective (black, concrete, all the non-traditional wedding things!) and she knew how to execute it. She never took no for an answer from suppliers, helped me make all the decisions I didn’t even know I needed to make (even from the other side of the world) and ensured our wedding day was the best day of our lives.
I was lucky enough to meet Teneil in 2017 when she photographed my best friends wedding and I was blown away by her photographs. Not only is her work classic and timeless, but she is just a wonderful person to be around and feeling comfortable with our wedding photographer was crucial. Rohan and I are terrible at taking photos together, so the most important captures to us were the candid moments – they mean the most – alongside some beautiful, timeless, editorial-style portraits, and we got all this and more.
Duane from Orriss Films has a way of capturing moments in a style that is both classic and modern. The most important thing to us was that our video was something we would actually want to watch over and over again – the best moments and words from the day presented in a video that didn’t feel like a wedding video. From the style of video editing to the voiceovers from the perfect moments of the day, our video is above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. Duane also buzzes around on the day capturing everything and you don’t even know he’s there – wizardry.
I’m a major perfectionist, so I was really nervous and intimidated to go wedding dress shopping. On a trip to New York shortly after we had moved to Boston, I visited Spina Bride (whose dresses I had lusted after on Instagram) with one of my best friends and fell in love with two of their dresses – the complete opposites of each other, of course, just to make things difficult. A few months later my mum flew over from Australia and we went back to try them on, and there was a clear favorite for the both of us by Australian designer Dan Jones. I’m a minimal person at heart and wanted to wear something classic but with an edgy detail, so this classic silhouette with sheer details felt very me. Pockets were non-negotiable, so I added them to the original design. For the reception, I changed up my dress by making two additions – a leather belt by Lee Grebenau and sheer sleeves that the incredible Loui Col Designs whipped up for me with less than 24 hours notice upon my arrival in Perth.
Maid of Honour
I wanted my sister to feel comfortable in whatever she wore on the day, so I was happy for her to choose a dress she felt amazing in. The only brief was black and formal. She chose a beautiful long, black, silk slip dress with an asymmetrical strap detail by Natalie Rolt. It was so gorgeous on her – the perfect mix of classic and edgy which matched my dress perfectly.
For as long as I can remember, I had dreamt of a pear solitaire with a thin diamond band for my engagement ring. There was something so simple but different that really resonated with me about that design. I always envisaged a band of round diamonds for my wedding band that contrasted in diamond size with my engagement ring. I love how my wedding band can stand alone as a statement, too. Rohan chose a classic round gold band from Cartier.
Jewelry / Accessories
Enesea Jewellery custom made the most incredible 3-drop pearl earrings for me which paired so perfectly with the strapless neckline of my dress. I also wore a dainty gold ‘R’ bracelet from Sarah & Sebastian that I now wear every day. I wanted to keep my jewelry quite simple, so these pieces were perfect.
Rohan wore a custom suit by P Johnson and was lucky enough to have a few fittings with the team in their Soho studio when we were visiting New York. Rohan’s best man had a custom suit made in Australia to match.
I wanted my hair to reflect how I would usually wear it, so opted to wear it out and in structured waves. An elevated version of my everyday hair. I am so lucky that one of my close friends is an amazing hairdresser at Harper Hair in Perth, I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else.
My usual makeup looks are pretty simple, so I wanted to make sure this was reflected in my wedding makeup and that I looked like myself. Elicia Rudd has done my makeup before and always does an incredible job, and she nailed the brief of glowy bronze.
Stationery / Invitations
Our invitations and stationery reflected the same minimal, grey and black style of our wedding day. We chose classic, structure typography on card that mimicked the concrete vibes of our venue. To add some detail, our designer created a logo for us that incorporated our initials and the date, which we blind embossed and printed on different pieces of stationary. We definitely also played on the date – 22.02.20 – as much as we could.
Flowers & Bouquets
As soon as we got engaged, I messaged Sheridan Tjhung to do our wedding florals. She creates the edgiest left-of-centre floral arrangements for events and brands, perfect for the style of wedding we wanted. I didn’t have any particular flowers in mind but more of a concept, so I gave Sheridan the brief of edgy, different, and sophisticated, using black, white and a touch of gold, and let her run free, knowing she would nail the brief.
I had always wanted three long stemmed roses for my bouquet – nothing too overpowering against my dress, but still a statement. The concept of black roses came up when I was trying on my wedding dress, my Mum suggested that black roses would be perfect and it was a total natural fit, both for the vibe of the wedding and an element that was very me, given its the only colour I wear. To match, my Maid of Honour held one black rose as her bouquet.
For venue florals, Sheridan lined the staircase with varied heights of black and white roses, white hydrangeas, gold branches, grey moss and babies breath, the perfect reception feature and a great photo spot for guests. We kept things simple for the ceremony, black and white roses with gold and black spray painted leaves surrounding and atop black and concrete plinths. As our food would be lining the middle of our long reception tables, Sheridan created full but minimal scattered arrangements, using tall vases and drooping floral concepts combined with candles. Everything came together so perfectly.
I have such a sweet tooth, so the hardest part when it came to the cake was narrowing down the flavours. We chose a three tier Chocolate Mud and White Chocolate Vanilla Bean cake with Swiss meringue buttercream and it was absolutely incredible. I wanted the cake style to stay simple and match seamlessly into the decor, so we went with a square tiered concrete look style cake. A few guests mentioned they didn’t realize it was a cake until we cut into it – mission accomplished.
Food & Beverages
Having incredible food for our guests (and an abundance of it) was really important to us. Between our ceremony and reception we hosted a cocktail hour, serving roaming canapés and drinks amongst the beautiful gardens of Howard Park. The reception was a two-course, sit down meal with shared plates – instead of one specific meal, we wanted everyone to have multiple options and share banquet-style within sections of each table.
Supper Road customised the perfect selection of dishes for our menu using fresh, local produce, and everything was absolutely delicious. We curated our menu to feature lots of our favourite foods, for entree, there were shared platters of fresh Margaret River wood fire bread, charcuterie boards featuring local cured meats, dips and char-grilled vegetables, and for Mains, crispy roast pork belly, slow-roasted grass-fed beef, grilled Kimberley barramundi, and an assortment of fresh salads. As our venue was one of our favourite wineries, we put together a delicious selection of Howard Park whites, reds and sparkling – including their famous Jeté which was definitely the show stopper. As Rohan is from Queensland, somehow XXXX Gold snuck its way into the beer selection, alongside local WA Single Fin and Great Northern. Later in the evening, we surprised guests with Mojitos and Whiskey, which went down a treat.
Mercedes Benz WA loaned us a brand new 2020 black SUV for our wedding week, which we used as my wedding transport on the day. Driving to the ceremony with my Dad, Mum and sister was a memorable part of the day. We kept the wedding venue a secret from our guests and had them meet at specific locations in Margaret River to get picked up and transported to an unknown venue on the day. I loved that this added an extra layer of excitement and anticipation. At the end of the night, we jumped on the buses that were transporting our wedding guests back to their accommodations, which was such a fun way to extend the night with our guests into the early hours of the morning.
I walked down the aisle with my Dad to “The One” by Kodaline, and Rohan and I walked back down the aisle after the ceremony to “With Me” by Sum 41 – a fun little addition we added to our ceremony kiss moment and an ode to the pop punk days of our youth!
We entered our reception to “I Like Me Better” by Lauv and went into cutting the cake to New Found Glory’s cover of the iconic “Kiss Me“. Finally, our first dance was to Augustana’s “On The Other Side” – one of our favorite songs by one of our favorite bands, and a song that we chose years before getting engaged.
Music is something Rohan and I particularly love, so curating the perfect music for each moment throughout our wedding day was really important to us. We chose to put together our playlists for pre and post-ceremony, and during the reception, we had the incredible Claire from DJ Fadj play. My favourite music moment (besides the first kiss song), was the last hour on the dance floor. Claire played all our favorite pop-punk songs and everyone had the best time dancing and singing along.
Our celebrant was Kellie Ryan aka The Perth Wedding Fairy. From our first conversation, I knew Kellie was not only the perfect personality fit for us but that she would make our ceremony so much fun, which was something that was important to us.
Rohan and I chose to write our own vows, and we loved the personal touch that gave to our ceremony. Rohan is incredible with words so I was very excited to hear him say his vows – of course, I sobbed like a baby and our friends and family still talk about them.
Sources of Inspiration
I spend way too much of my life on Instagram, so obviously that was a go-to during the process, particularly when looking for vendors in Perth. If I wasn’t trawling through Instagram, I was definitely browsing Pinterest, the top online wedding publications (of course including The Lane as the top of that list), and generally looking at the styling of events beyond just weddings.
A Memorable Moment
Two moments spring to mind – the moment Rohan and I locked eyes as I walked down the aisle and the party vibes on the dance floor at the reception. Other memorable moments from the day were spending the morning getting ready with each other and our families, somehow managing to keep the venue secret from our guests, our first kiss to Sum 41 blasting on the speakers at the end of our ceremony to start the party in our own way, and seeing our reception for the first time and how it all came together.
One Thing I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Wedding Plans…
Wedding planning is even more stressful than you think it is!
If I Could Give Brides to be One Piece of Advice…
Everyone told me not to stress in the lead-up to the day, but I think that just comes with the territory. So for what I think is more practical advice – hire an amazing wedding planner but also be involved closely in all the fun, creative planning. That way, you get to enjoy the process but you also have a professional helping you. There are so many things you don’t even know you need to do and if you have someone working with you to put the day together, it all just comes together seamlessly.
Photography / Teneil Kable
Bride’s Shoes / Tony Bianco
Bridesmaids Dresses / Natalie Rolt
Grooms Formal Wear / P Johnson
Hair / Harper Hair
Makeup / Elicia Rose Makeup
Stationery & Invitations / Grey Rabbit Design
Florist / Sheridan Tjhung
Cake / Bake the Cake Margaret River
Catering / Supper Road
Wedding Stylist & Planner / Blonde & Blue Styling
Celebrant / Kellie Ryan, Perth Wedding Fairy
Venue / Howard Park
Entertainment / DJ Fadj
Videographer / Orriss Films
Futrniture / Event Artillery
Lighting / Cape Events
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