An Enchanted, Luxe Wedding in a Rainforest inspired by A Cinderella Story

Kristina Wild

April 1, 2019

Believe it or not, the 2004 rom-com A Cinderella Story was the starting point for the inspiration behind Gary and Amy’s August 2018 wedding day. “I’ve always loved the scene where he takes her for a dance in a gorgeous rotunda,” said Amy. “It’s filled with fairy lights and white roses and looks so magical, so that was the starting point for the vision for our day!”

Combined with Amy’s minimalist yet luxurious style, no expense was spared in making sure everything was perfect for their day. “I wanted luxury,” said Amy, “and Gary was more than happy for me to take lead with style. I wanted a day that looked modern, sleek and luxe. We spared no expense when it came to florals, personal touches and keeping everything stylish. I think the attention to detail really made the wedding what it was.”

As both Amy and Gary are lovers of the rainforest, holding their day at Bundaleer Rainforest Gardens, Queensland was a dream come true. Their ceremony, held in the lush tropical gardens of the venue, was framed by white draping, an incredible chandelier and a white rose petal covered aisle. It was performed by a local celebrant, who worked with the couple to create a personalised ceremony bespoke for them.

They had readings of well-wishes performed by close friends, and then each performed the vows they had written for one another. “There were so many tears, from Gary and our guests,” said Amy, “but as I had to protect my makeup, I happy-cried on the inside like a winner!” A particular highlight from the ceremony was asking their DJ to play soft piano music in the background throughout. “It was the best idea we had,” said Amy, “it really felt like a movie.”

The couple’s fairytale continued with their luck with the weather on their day. “I had to dodge torrential downpours to walk up the grass hill to the aisle,” said Amy. “It had been pouring rain for the entire week in the lead up to the wedding, seriously not a bit of sun had been seen, but as we kissed, the clouds parted right on top of us and the sun shined on us from above. You cant plan things like that, it was absolutely fate.”

After being showered in rose petals during their walk back down the aisle, the couple threw a party to end all parties. “By far my favourite part of the day was the reception,” said Amy, “it was wild, wonderful and absolutely insane.” They had an open-bar all night to allow their friends and family to really let their hair down and have a fantastic time. The groomsmen speeches were all hilarious and amazingly inappropriate, exactly how we wanted it. During the bridal toss, my group of friends surprised me by pulling out war paint and boxing gloves and having a full on female fight club behind me. One girl slipped and fell to the ground, but at least she managed to catch the bouquet! The whole day was so emotionally charged. If I could re-do any party of my life, it would be that one. All the guests would agree!

Amy and Gary credit the success of their day to hiring one vendor in particular – their wedding planner. “Although we were ready for anything thrown our way with wedding planning, I wish I’d known just how many details there were and I could’ve started earlier. But having a planner did so much for my wedding stress – the day just would not have felt as magical without her expertise at hand. Don’t just think about getting a planner – just do it!”

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45 comments

  1. Good on them – their wedding day is about them and I think they did something that was consistent with that.

    Great post Kat, I think it’s great that you’re not scared of pushing the boundaries to encourage more open mindedness from people.

  2. Ang

    Oh sweet baby Jesus…this is just 50 shades of wrong! I’m all for getting your freak on, but this just looks too staged, inauthentic and different for the sake of being different. I’m cringing for the hubby!

  3. This is a great post. I believe every couple should have the wedding they want. I had an unusual wedding and had some comments before hand. However on the day(s)- (as we had ceremony and a meal and then a reception a week later) everyone had to agree it was just very us, and concede that it worked. Sometimes you just have to go with your true desires. Well done to them xx

  4. Toomanytigers

    Not exactly my cup of tea, but hey they look incredibly happy doing it their way on a day that looks amazingly well thought out and beautifully styled. Loving the beautiful burnt orange, the scrumptious hair, the happy hound and the Mummy DIY! Congratulations Kristen & Jo… thanks for sharing with us.

  5. SashaCat

    Wow… just wow – this bride is the ultimate Rock N Roll Bride!!

    Not that I agree with the coffin or cemetery but I totally agree that they wanted to do something and did it. That rocks. This wedding rocks. This day belonged to this couple and nobody can ever take that away from them no matter how prudish they are or how offended they got from not being supplied with sugared almonds upon arrival.

    Congrats guys! And I am super impressed that you pulled the entrance off keeping it a secret from the groom! Very theatrical.

  6. SPFXChic

    I think it is great to see couples step out of the traditional box and really bring parts of themselves into their weddings, whether their guests or the rest of the world like it, or not. They stayed true to themselves and I applaud that. I also applaud you for posting this article, because I am sure that there are more couples out there who do this, but we simply don’t get to share in it because it isn’t the wedding “standard.” So, thank you, Kat!

  7. Nitewish

    Stunning yet different!! Weddings are about the couple and I think its awesome!!!

  8. Not sure about the coffin – it could have just been used as a prop for photos, so it was brave of the bride to actually use it for her entrance. Everything else is really cool and love the bold colours. They’ve certainly given their guests something unique to remember!

  9. I don’t agree with Ang (not that everyone isn’t entitled to their opinion of course), it’s really not that staged I’ve seen far less dramatic weddings alot more staged and fake than that! Plus if you watch the film you can totally see they are genuine people, just a little eccentric! It’s their day and if she wants to rock up in a coffin then why shouldn’t she! I love the fact that she still did and totally made the day about her and her new hubby getting married in a unique way. The photography compliments the day so well and that dress is da bomb! Love!

  10. I don’t have this in my personality, but I love the fact that they did their wedding their way. What a brave woman. The styling of the dress and flowers is stunning. They look like they had a blast and that is what it should be about. This post is inspiring and so glad you put it out there Kat.

  11. Wow! I think Kristen looks amazing and how imaginative she is! I don’t see anything wrong with being controversial if that is who they are and it suits their personalities. I guess in a cemetery, it’s likely that there will be people visiting who are mourning the loss of a loved one. I think as long as the cemetery was sensitive to this and kept the area closed for the wedding then I don’t see how anyone would see this as bad taste.
    I love the photos, the light looks beautiful. And their dog! How gorgeous to have her as the maid of honour. 🙂
    Well done Kat for sticking to your principals and continuing to show weddings which are imaginative, different – and not necessarily to everyone’s taste. (cos that would just be plain old boring)

  12. Sam

    I am in awe of this wonderful couples attitude. To have your wedding your way seems absolutely impossible to me. I am currently planning mine and it is just not at all how I want it. If you want to arrive in a coffin, then why the hell not! And the idea of getting married in a cemetery.. its sweet, to me, we give so much time to mourning at cemetery’s and only going to them to grieve and reflect on loss, cemetery’s are such beautiful places! to celebrate the most special day of your life and with the ’till death do us part’ theme is incredible. I hope people understand that it was THEIR wedding and they did it how THEY wanted too, I so wish I could do it my way! x

  13. Ashley Scattergood

    If you can’t have a bit of theatre at a wedding then when can you! Fantastic idea and good on them for going with a theme that suits them, what a lovely sentiment 🙂

  14. Sarah B

    Wow that crypt is so beautiful! Loving the photos, especially the dog with the rings on it’s nose! Congrats x x

  15. The Littlest Hobo

    I also think the ’till death do us part’ theme is a sweet idea and really quite touching. (Not what I would chose, but if everyone was the same the world would be such a boring place…) For me marriage is, at is core, about the spiritual joining of two souls (or three, let’s not forget the dog!) and the wedding an expression of that. The beauty of the circle of life, but also its transience and regeneration – an apposite backdrop in many ways. And the dog ROCKS!

  16. Could have been unintentionally gloomy if it’d rained, but cemeteries in sunshine can be beautiful and I guess, for these two, romantic.
    Well done to them for doing it their way, anyway. Lots of people bend to convention and end up pleasing everyone else, instead of thinking about what’s right for them- good on Kristen and Joe.

  17. When I saw the sneek peak I think I stated that I would like if the backstory and meaning behind it was right, and I’m glad to say after reading the brides words that they didn’t do it just for shock factor. a true love story of till death us do part. I don’t just like it I love it

  18. Maike

    I have some trouble with the cementry-location. If the couple and their guests are ok with the location it is their choice. But people who come there to mourn the dead might be irritated by a happy wedding (with even a bride in a coffin). Just imagine having the burial of a loved one just beforehand – I think I would not appreciate that. Its somehow a matter of respect to me.

  19. WOW, that really is a ‘ROCKNROLLBRIDE’ sort of wedding. Well done, it’s really refreshing to see something different from the ‘norm’

  20. Wow. I think it’s awesome that they did exactly what they wanted. So many times during my planning process I’ve said ‘but what will everyone think about that?’ and luckily my boy has been there to say ‘screw everyone else!’ Clearly this couple had the same idea.

    However I do think it’s terribly sad that some people didn’t turn up because they were uncomfortable with the setting. I’m pretty sure that, even if I had my heart set on something, I would have to rethink if guests were genuinely uncomfortable – the thought of my friends or family not being there on the day because of a decision I made kills me.

    That’s not to say that Kristen should have done things differently at all. If anything, it’s the guests’ loss for saying no and a sign that they were being closed minded.

  21. Cheryl Yearwood

    Guess what,people get married in a church where you have funerals and no one bats an eyelid!This couple are right to do what they like,well done.Death is a part of life,embrace it,accept it.The only sure thing about LIFE is DEATH.ROCK ON!!!!

  22. Hayley

    The venue is stunning, how is a cemetry any different to a church where funerals are held? Or a castle where there would inevitably have been a dungeon or jousting or torture? Or a register office, where births, marriages… and inevitibly deaths, are registered? Its awesome. Especially the photo of the dog with the rings on its nose! I find the entrance of the bride a bit Lady GaGaesque, but clearly it is them doing it their way.

  23. Blimey talk about arrive with a bang! I hope they didn’t have any guests with pacemakers fitted lol. This is not my style of a Wedding but I will give it to them for their wild originality, I’m sure there isn’t another Wedding quite like this one and never will be ha ha. Best Wishes to the newly weds x

  24. Joe

    @Ang as the “hubby”, I felt I should respond. While I respect that you may not understand my or my wife’s personality, style or love for one another, your “cringe” comment rubbed me the wrong way. Our day wasn’t “staged” or “inauthentic”, but a true representation of the end of one life and the commitment to a new one until the end of time. I “cringe” at those who are too afraid to be themselves and follow a basic and unoriginal path in life. I have one piece of advice for you as well as those brides-to-be and that is to have fun, be yourself and don’t ever be too scared to do whatever makes YOU happy.

  25. Great I say each to their own… but what I will never understand as a florist is how someone so unique could have a hand tied bouquet, a beautiful one but oh the possibilities in this world!

  26. Kevin

    Haha! I had never even HEARD of anything like this before the groom, ya I work with him, told me about the wedding. Awesome looking event. Congrats again to both of them.

  27. Kristen

    “The Bride”
    I enjoy reading all your comments and understand how this wedding is not for everyone. It was not meant for everyone, but for us as a couple. I am so happy that there are so many open minds in the world. My hope is that plenty of future brides see this and say to themselves “Yeah, I don’t have to do what people want me to do. I can do what is perfect for my groom and I”
    My utmost respect and gratitude to Kat for sharing our wedding with the world!
    PS @Hayley, your comment couldn’t have said it better: “The venue is stunning, how is a cemetery any different to a church where funerals are held? Or a castle where there would inevitably have been a dungeon or jousting or torture? Or a register office, where births, marriages… and inevitably deaths, are registered? Its awesome. Especially the photo of the dog with the rings on its nose”

  28. Abe

    This wedding ROCKED! I was very lucky to be part of it and will always remember the unique location, the awesome entrance, and the happiness Kristen and Joe had for each other that day. Plus the guests were treated to a big shock/eye-opener!

    Now, if I was a buried dead person in that cemetery, and I could see what’s happening (assuming the worms hadn’t eaten my eyes), I would be like…’I’ve been buried here for a 108 years…It’s about damn time someone came and had a kick-ass event instead of all the crying/sorrow/sadness. Umm..I hope the reception is here, too! Can I have some Cake?’

    Just saying…

  29. I am all for weddings being different and original, but I feel that a death theme is just wrong. I feel it is insensitive to those who have passed away. Perhaps if this couple had experienced grief, they may have felt differently. If it had happened in a cemetary where my loved ones were buried, I’d have been extremely upset.

    It also seems that this wedding was more about shocking people, than about being in love.

  30. Joe

    Emma, to say “if this couple had experienced grief” is a bit ridiculous. Everyone has experienced grief. I as well as my wife have experiences grief in our lives. Our theme wasn’t “Death”, it was a symbol of committing out lives together until death. In no way was our wedding about shocking people. It was about our love and commitment to each other for the rest of our lives. I understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but you were way off.

  31. Annette

    Funny, I thought I had commented on here before but I can’t see it now.

    Anyway I just wanted to say that I understand wanting to have a wedding in a cemetery. There are beautiful monuments and statues, and can be wonderfully peaceful and spiritual places. Arriving in a coffin could be seen as amusingly symbolic – the bride’s old life has died and she will now be starting a new life.

    It’s a pity that so many people have attached so much disgust and horror to death. To me, death is peace after suffering.

    Oh and I especially love the black belt the bride’s mum made. I wish I could get her to make me one too!

  32. incredible wedding theme, never did it cross my mind to have a wedding in a cemetery, hehehe,can’t blame you, the venue is so aristocratic and you’re entrance is soooo amazing, and you’re really brave to lie down on a coffin i’m really lost with words, so i’ll just congratulate you and your husband and best wishes 🙂

  33. Shotgun Susie

    Almost 8 years ago, my first fiance was killed in a motorcycle accident just as we were planning our wedding.

    I say this not to shame, or upset, but to illustrate that, obviously, due to that event, I saw this and was immediately conflicted about the whole thing.

    Then I took a step back.

    In the end, I love it. This was their style and what they wanted, the symbolism is great too, on a couple levels, til death do us part being obvious, but also a life in reverse, not so much “i was dead til i found you” but that a part of them both that may have been dormant before this relationship comes into being, comes to life from this day forward. It’s also a great reminder to cherish their relationship as finite on this earth.

    As for being upset if this happened in a cemetery where my loved ones were buried – I wouldn’t be for a myriad of reasons. I personally don’t believe the spirit stays with the body, it’s clear that the wedding party was respectful of the property. Why can’t something joyous happen on a piece of land so marked by sorrow? I’d by far prefer a wedding to underage drinking and vandalism. My family takes photos after each marriage in the column barium behind the family church because my mother’s parents’ ashes are resting there, so I may be more accustomed to seeing wedding pictures in graveyards than most.

    It’s just struck me that I will be the first of 4 grandchildren not to have her photos taken there as I will be getting married well out of town.

    And the belt is AWESOME – I had to check out that detail shot to get a good sense of it – it looks great up close and from a distance, it’s a great “final touch” for your dress!

    Congrats – and wishing you multiple lifetimes of happiness together!!!

    (please don’t worry about me – I’m on a wedding website because I’m newly engaged to a wonderful man – things really do “get better” in this life)

  34. Well it sure beats looking at any more vintage china!

    As others have already said, it’s not my thing but it’s refreshing to see couples embracing the reality about who they are and what floats their boat rather than weddings contrived to create a false impression. Too many brides are planning weddings to convey who they want to be rather than who they actually are.

  35. Kristen B

    I can’t believe tomorrow marks one year since I “rolled” down the aisle. I wanted to thank everyone who has shared the joy and creativity that went into our special day. I also understand that our wedding was not perfect for everyone, but most importantly it was perfect for us! Thank you Kat for sharing our story.
    -Kristen

  36. Totally spiritual and there is this sense of deep fulfilling love that makes life worthwhile. Congrats! I totally love the rhythm and mood of the wedding that is like a poem to me.

  37. Lizzy Rox

    Ive always wanted a cemetery wedding and my bf always wanted one so we decided that when we get married, we’re gonna have a cemetery wedding. Ive always loved cemeteries and have felt a strong bond with the dead. Im a very spiritual person so it be nice to have spirits all around. the coffin idea she chose was amazing but id do something different. Id do nightmare before Christmas theme cuz its my favorite movie and Jack & Sally were always my 2 favorite lovers

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