A Slice of Villa Botanica Heaven
Lately even more clients have been booking me for destination weddings. I love the opportunity to visit locations and venues I’ve never been to before. When I know very little about a place, complete curiosity becomes my guide on the day. I love shooting on my toes as some of my best images have been created that way.
Recently I travelled to Airlie Beach and visited a place I had no idea existed before July! Clinton and Jocelyn asked if I would come and photograph their wedding after their previous photographer had pulled out due to illness. Thankfully, I was available and jumped at the opportunity to visit this place I hadn’t been to before.
Exactly one month later after the booking had been finalised I hopped on a plane and flew up to the beautiful Whitsundays town.
After arriving in Airlie Beach and settling in to my hotel room I arranged to meet up with Jocelyn for the first time to chat in more detail about her wedding the following day. Initially we were to meet at their hotel room, but somehow, due to logistical reasons and poor phone reception we eventually found ourselves meeting up on a footpath next to an alley beside a bottle shop. It was by far the most unusual place I’ve ever had a pre-ceremony meeting. I’m used to spending an hour or two with my clients before their wedding, but our little chat on the roadside lasted about 10 minutes and before I knew it I was back in my hotel room.
Later that evening while I was preparing my gear for the following day, I took some time out to visit the venue’s site to try and get more of an idea of what the place had installed for us. From what I could see from the images, it looked intriguing, but it still seemed to keep a lot of details close to it’s chest. Why was it so private? Why had no one I’d spoken to heard of the venue? It seemed that the only people who knew about Villa Botanica were the couples and their guests who’d been there before.
The next morning I set off (rather excitedly) to photograph Clinton and Jocelyn’s big day. When I arrived at the very large and very secured gate of the venue the sense that this place takes itself seriously became apparent. As I drove along their very long and very private road it was impossible not to grow more and more curious about what awaited me at the end.
As I pulled into the car park I was greeted by a very lovely lady named Tanya who held out an umbrella over my head as I got out of the car. She then offered to help me with my gear. I was gobsmacked! The only other place I’ve seen do that is Tiffany’s in Maleny.
Tanya then took me into her office and showed me where I could leave my gear and then proceeded to escort me around the property. By the time Tanya had shown me some of the things Villa Botanica has to offer I realised that 12 hours of photography wouldn’t afford me enough time to fully explore all the beauty that the venue enjoys. Everywhere I’d turn there’d be something else to be impressed by. I felt completely spoilt for choice.
After the hour long tour I began covering Clinton and Jocelyn’s very beautiful wedding. Straight away the Villa’s amazing service was evident. Staff do everything they can to ensure both bride and groom feel like superstars. That’s clear in the first image below!
This kind of personal attention and care has a flow-on effect that ensures everyone has an amazing time – including the wedding photographer. I had such a great time capturing every frame and found myself wishing that more venues were like this. Not once did I sense that process line approach that so many venues are guilty of. Throughout the whole it felt like this was the only wedding Villa Botanica cared about. It was very impressive and extremely inspiring.
If things weren’t awesome enough, just as the guests began to arrive the rain stopped and the sun came out shining on what was to be a perfect day.
Later that evening I realised why Villa Botanica is relatively unknown. It’s all about experiencing something few others have. That kind of knowledge brings with it a sense of privilege. If everyone off the street had unrestricted access to this subtropical slice of Villa Botanica heaven then that very special feeling wouldn’t exist for the couples who are lucky enough to marry there.
Here is a sneak peak of just a few images captured on the day. I will be sure to share more in the future.