Hi, I’m Jamie-Lee. I am a wife, amateur home cook, blog writer, burgeoning knitter of medium sized blankets and enjoyer of eccentric wares and fashion. I have lived in Toowoomba most of my life and do not plan on leaving this beautiful and relaxed treasure of a town any time soon. Before I share my thoughts on weddings and how anyone can achieve their dream day, it might be best for me to tell you all about my wedding.

I can’t properly talk about all the goings on in our wedding planning without acknowledging the COVID of it all and how that shaped how things took place. My husband Henry and I tied the knot in May of 2020, in the height of restrictions and COVID panic for our little town. Amongst all of the craziness of this season of life, we never questioned our wedding date. For us, the most important thing was that we got married. As sad as we would be that we couldn’t have all of our loved ones present, we knew that how our marriage began was not important, at the end of the day we were just keen to be husband and wife.

In March of 2020 Henry and I had to make the heartbreaking decision to cancel the wedding we had spent months planning, however if we had known then how amazing our reimagined iso wedding would be it would have been an easy choice!

After cancelling our wedding, the weeks wore on and the pandemic worsened, and our ceremony became smaller and smaller. We had once planned to have 250 guests however it began to look like we could only have five attendees total, our two mothers, our minister and us.

May drew nearer and all thoughts of wedding planning evaporated from our minds. We decided that it was a problem we would solve when we were just a couple of weeks out as the world was changing so rapidly making any plans further in advance seemed futile. Our patience paid off and just a few weeks before our wedding restrictions were relaxed and we were now able to have ten guests at our wedding, which meant our dads come now come to the ceremony!

This then raised the question of venue. When we were discussing our five-person ceremony we had assumed we would just hold our wedding in our lounge room with our dads peaking in through the windows, but with the option for a few more guests we decided to make it a little more special.

Fortunately for us, Henry’s brother is an amazing property developer and had just finished building the new Oaks hotel in the center of town. We organised an appointment with Kenneth to have a look through, assuming we would just be checking out the conference room and working out a way to transform it into the wedding venue of our dreams.

However, when we got there, we discovered that Kenneth had been cooking up a much better idea! Rather than hide away inside the hotel he took us out to the conference balcony. This beautiful sunlit space was exactly what our ceremony needed, and we instantly fell in love, but little did we know it was about to get a whole lot better!

Overlooking the main balcony was eighteen guest rooms, each with a balcony of their own. Due to the restrictions, we were not able to have more than ten guests physically surrounding us at the wedding, but Kenneth had realised that there was nothing disallowing hotel guests to stand on their balconies and watch our ceremony. This meant we could check in eighteen households of our closest family and friends to watch our ceremony, upgrading it from the five people we had originally planned to a party of fifty! And thus, the mad dash that was our three-week wedding plan period began.

We were so thrilled to be able to treat our local guests to a ‘night away’ (albeit in the same city) prior to our ceremony followed by a big celebration the next day. We were able to check our guests personally into their rooms the day before our wedding, which gave us some much-needed face-to-face time with our loved ones and the chance for some real personal conversation which would not have happened in the mix of and ordinary wedding ceremony.

The fun then continued that afternoon after check-in as all the guests hung out on their balconies while we did our wedding rehearsal. This really boosted the community feel of our wedding and reminded us that it is the people in our lives that have made us who we are, and we could not be more thankful for their individual contributions.

The next day was our wedding. Everyone dressed up in their wedding best and joined us for the ceremony. Our adorable flower girls sprinkled petals down on me as I walked slightly too fast down the aisle (I was a little too eager to cuddle my husband to be), a fitting role for them to play in the ceremony as we could not have all four of them on the balcony with us with the restricted numbers. Additionally, everyone had a part to play, they waved streamers from their balconies during the celebratory portions of the ceremony and a flurry of coloured rose petals were thrown by all guests when we were pronounced husband and wife.

After sharing our ceremony in such a special way with everyone present, as well with our family and friends in other locations via live stream, it was then time for our favourite portion of the day, lunch! Continuing with the hotel holiday theme we had room service delivered to all our guests in the form of adorable little boxes packed to the brim with all the goodies we would be eating down on the main balcony.

Our guests joined us once again on their balconies for lunch, speeches, and cake, which was delivered up to their rooms as well. It was so special being able to spend time with loved ones over a meal as this had been sorely lacking throughout the previous months of isolation and while there was still significant distance between us, we had never felt closer with all of them.

Overall, we are just so thankful that our iso wedding was as spectacular as it was. We never could have dreamed of such a fun and innovative way to conduct our ceremony under the restrictions in place and we will forever be thankful to Kenneth for the amazing idea he came up with. With this in mind, we would encourage all engaged couples to consider getting married still, despite how topsy turvy the world might be at the moment. With a bit of out of the box thinking and some determination we are sure you can still have your dream wedding, that dream may just look slightly different!