James & Fiona’s Coastal Clifftop Wedding

Words by Hannah Pronesti / Images by James Simmons
December 13, 2016

Fiona Vail has been to her fair share of weddings – truth be told, she’s usually the one behind the lens but this wealth of experience put her in good stead when it came to tying the knot with her other half, James. Perched on a clifftop overlooking Tassie’s east coast, Avalon Coastal Retreat was chosen for its panoramic views, and the couple entrusted the talented James Simmons with the ultimate challenge, capturing their coastal affair.

This groom succeeded keeping his proposal plans under-wraps. Whilst on a weekend away James had intended to pop the question at the beach, however after a sleepless first night thanks to nerves, he made the spontaneous decision to do it at 6am – a surprise Fiona never saw coming! “I woke up and turned around to see James standing by the side of our bed looking half terrified/half excited and he told me to look under my pillow.” She tells us. “I am not the best morning person – I sleepily lifted the pillow to find the most beautiful ring. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him – it was the best moment of my life.”

Being in the industry, this bride has seen in at all, so when it came to her own wedding she knew exactly what she wanted, “A big party, nothing too formal and a place to show off the stunning natural beauty of our beloved Tassie.” Avalon Coastal Retreat had just the free-spirited vibe they were after – romantic, wild, natural and raw. The presence of the pair’s playful pup Bowie was a non-negotiable and his antics – including a walk down the aisle – kept everyone entertained!

When asked to impart some words of wedding wisdom, these newlyweds are quite happy to condone a little selfishness, “My best advice is do it your own way,” shares Fiona “stay true to yourself as a couple. Invest in the things that are important to you. Don’t feel that you need to include traditions that don’t resonate with you. Don’t feel the need to please everyone – remember what’s it’s all about.”

long sleeve lace wedding dress – Bo & Luca Paris dress
foliage in amber bottles
labrador ring bearer
green and white bridal bouquet
Letting the natural beauty of the location shine through, Fee and James kept venue styling to a minimum. Gorgeous florals were important however, and Kate Sice of Botanical Hobart crafted the bride's beautifully simple bouquet in muted greens and white.
bride and bridesmaid robes
An A-team of hair and makeup artists worked their magic on this bridal party. “The brilliant Kea Matysek did our hair and my amazing friend Erin Maie came all the way from WA to paint my face," Shares Fiona. "We also had the incredible Sophia Pafitis, a makeup artist from Hobart for my bridesmaids.”
long sleeve lace wedding dress - Bo & Luca Paris dress long sleeve lace wedding dress - Bo & Luca Paris dress green and white bridal bouquet long sleeve lace wedding dress - Bo & Luca Paris dress
Your wedding day comes around but once so why not make the most of being a bride with a few outfit changes? Fiona had three! She started the morning in a relaxed Spell Designs robe before changing into the embellished long sleeved 'Paris' gown by Bo & Luca for the ceremony and then finally switching to a more simple, long sleeved, open back gown for the after party. White all the way, of course.
Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons pre-ceremony drinks with the groomsmen
It ain’t all about the gown - the groom deserves some credit too! James was oh-so-stylish in olive chinos, a black velvet suit jacket by Jack London, matched by his groomsmen.
Avalon Coastal Retreat Tasmania wedding - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat Tasmania wedding - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat Tasmania wedding - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat Tasmania wedding - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons modern classic bridal party modern classic bridal party Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons black bridesmaid dresses by Shona Joy black bridesmaid dresses by Shona Joy Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons
long sleeve lace wedding dress – Bo & Luca Paris dress
simple wedding band
Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons long sleeve lace wedding dress - Bo & Luca Paris dress
A photographer by trade, Fiona was of course going to have high expectations when it came to her own wedding and James Simmons exceeded every one. “We asked our brilliant friend to photograph our wedding and it was the best decision we made. We were absolutely blown away when we received our album. I started crying about five photos in... we look at our wedding photos all the time. Our wedding photos are invaluable - art that we will look back on and cherish for years to come.”
Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons cheese grazing table by Smolt Catering Tasmania rustic dessert table
Guests were treated to a stand-up cocktail style reception featuring incredible food courtesy of Smolt Catering and an endless supply of locally sourced wine, beer and cider served up by the boys from Moo Broo. Friends and family pitched in with a delicious assortment of cakes and treats for dessert.
Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons James Simmons Portrait and Wedding Photography Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons Avalon Coastal Retreat wedding Tasmania - photography by James Simmons

Credits

Images James Simmons | Bride's Dress Bo & Luca | Bridesmaid's Dresses Shona Joy | Groom's Suit Jack London | Celebrant Abbie Pedersen | Flowers Botanical Hobart | Catering Smolt Catering | Stationery/Invitations Lines & Squares | Venue Avalon Coastal Retreat | Videography Zaneta van Zyl | Styling Verity Kingston | Bar Moo Broo | Bride's MUA Erin Maie | Bridesmaid's MUA Sophia Pafitis | Bride's Getting Ready Robe Spell Designs |


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