Jody Wilson has a special connection to the Coffs Coast, having grown up and lived here until moving to Perth to live with her now husband, Peter. So it was only natural that they chose to come back to Coffs for their wedding recently. We caught up with Jody, to find out more about how they celebrated their special day.
Tell us about your connection to (and upbringing on) the Coffs Coast.
I was born and bred in Coffs Harbour. My nan and pop, Beryl and Bill Ross, live(d) in the Sawtell/Toormina area for over 60 years and my mum, Linda, and all of my family are still there, so there was no other place to get married. Pete’s parents are in Perth but the majority of his relatives are in Brisbane, so it made sense to have it in Coffs – plus, we both love the natural beauty of the Coffs Coast and wanted to share it with our friends.
How did you and Peter first meet? Was the attraction instant?
Jody: Peter and I were put in contact through a mutual friend while I was in NSW and Peter in WA. We chatted via email and phone and met while I was on a holiday to WA to visit friends a few months later. I would have to say the attraction was not instant, but he became my best friend, and I think maybe Pete needed a little bit of encouragement – because I was a great catch and all ha ha ha!
Pete: When I first met Jody, I thought straightaway that she was friendly and easy to talk to, but at the same time a little shy – much the same as myself. Jody was staying with friends while in WA, and I managed to get away with her to show her some of my favourite places around Perth.
While it started out as friends, I enjoyed sharing things with her, and over time our relationship grew from there – with me visiting Coffs Harbour, as well as Jody visiting Perth.
Tell us about the proposal (and how long you’d been together for before he popped the question).
We were ‘officially’ together 18 months before Pete proposed, but we had been ‘friends’ since the beginning of 2007. Peter and I were travelling around California and Hawaii for 6 weeks in April/May last year, and on the trip home we spent some time on the lesser populated and more laid-back islands of Hawaii, after visiting Oahu on the way to California.
Pete proposed under a Frangipani tree overlooking the beautiful Hamoa Beach near a small town called Hana, in Maui. The narrow 84 km road to Hana is famous for its amazing coastal ocean and rainforest scenery and its 620 bends and 59 bridges! I was a bit strung out after the drive there, but the trip home was a lot better!
Why did you decide to come back to Coffs to get married?
There are plenty of exquisite places in WA to get married, but there were a few reasons why we chose Coffs Harbour. One was the location and surrounding areas, two was consideration of my rather large family, and lastly, we knew a lot of guests that had to travel would see it as a great excuse to combine a holiday with our wedding.
How did you plan your special day, and tell us about the local businesses that helped make your wedding day perfect.
I travelled back to Coffs Harbour in August last year to look at venues and start the wedding process.
I was in Coffs Harbour for roughly one week and went around and visited venues and shops with my mum, twin sister (Buffy) and my niece, Kira (both of whom were my bridesmaids).
Pete and I had a discussion about where we would like to get married, and the only important thing for both of us was that we wanted to control the weather (i.e. indoors) and for everything to run smoothly. Once our venue was booked, I handled the majority of the details back in Perth and if I was ever caught with anything, I could call my mum and Buffy to go and check on things for me.
It was important for me to support local businesses in Coffs Harbour.
I selected a beautiful Alfred Angelo dress from RSVP Bridal, where Tracey Hickson and her team were amazing. Our beautiful bridesmaid dresses were from Spurlings, with the lovely help from Donna.
My friend, Deidre, asked if I had a celebrant in mind, as her good friend, Samantha Dawson at Married by Sam, was starting in the business. What an amazing recommendation that was; Sam is truly a professional and so bright and bubbly (that is just her gorgeous pink clothes, not to mention the car!) On a serious note, I would recommend Sam to anyone; she helped keep my mind at ease, because I was on the other side of the country planning a wedding and she truly is an amazing and beautiful person – the sort of person you want overseeing the most important day of your life.
Pete and I got married in the chapel at Aanuka Beach Resort, and our reception was held in the Lagoon room at Aanuka.
Scott Carle was our photographer – what a funny, amazing man is he! Our pictures were absolutely beautiful – we put our complete faith and trust in Scott, and he certainly delivered. Also, our family and friends really enjoyed his “Yeeeewwww!”
There was no other person to do our hair than my hairdresser, Lisa Bohringer; she did such an amazing job. I just told Lisa to turn up do what she does best, and she did.
Gaye Hardcastle did our makeup, and she is truly a professional and does an amazing job.
Michael from Saltwater Productions was our videographer; he is such a nice, funny man, and I can’t wait to see what our video looks like.
Modern Cake Creations did our wedding cake. Kerry Sullivan and his team are true artists! I showed Kerry a picture of the cake I wanted and his reply was, “No problem”. When I saw the cake when we walked into the reception, I thought it looked better than the original picture I showed Kerry.
Freelance Flowers did our flowers; Di and team also did an amazing job.
Did you have a theme for your wedding (e.g. for decorations, colours, etc)?
There wasn’t a set theme for our wedding, but I wanted to keep the colour scheme to that of the bridesmaid dresses: silver, black and metallic grey. Special Occasions decorated our reception venue and did a fantastic job.
What advice would you give brides planning their wedding?
Plan ahead and commit early with regard to evaluating and selecting your options for all aspects of the wedding. It was surprising how ‘in-demand’ certain venues or service providers were more than 6 months away from the big day!
It was also important for me to have at least one visual inspection of the venue, and actually meeting with people and businesses involved in my wedding was critical with regard to ironing out little details that seem to come to mind at the last minute.
The devil is in detail; pay attention to what level of service and followup is provided with regard to aspects of your wedding. Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you are satisfied with the response; you are the client.
Finally, on your wedding day nominate a trusted, talented co-ordinator to be the point of contact with all your service providers, leaving you, your husband and bridal party to enjoy the event.
What was the highlight of your day?
Pete: Walking up Muttonbird Island with my father in the morning rain – a sign of clarity and new beginnings for me.
Getting caught in a rainstorm while getting photos and the entire bridal party having to do a sprint across the lawns at Aanuka while our wedding guests watched on and enjoyed the chaos and finally, a lovely relaxing BBQ the following afternoon down at the Jetty Foreshore with family and friends.
Oh, and getting married!
Jody: There were so many highlights on my wedding day, that I am finding it very hard to pin point a few.
I would have to say that the highlight for me was having our family and close friends gathered to watch Pete and I say, “I do”! Also as Pete said, running across the lawn was a hilarious moment for all of us … everyone except my poor hairdresser, Lisa.
What are your plans for the future?
Pete and I have no immediate plans other than to do a bit more travelling, working less and eventually a family. I am sure our families would like us to have children sooner, rather than later.
I’m still working for the Department of Education with international students; this is the job that I was offered before moving to Perth back in 2009.
Pete is a mining engineer and there is scope in the future for working overseas, and it would be exciting to see what interesting and challenging locations we may find ourselves in.
Pete loves spearfishing, and he has told me that we can visit the Coffs Coast anytime to visit family – which is really code for diving!
Thank you Peter and Jody.