What do you get when you mix Mexican madness with Bali bliss? Bianca Bailey and Troy McDougall’s dream wedding at The Istana, Uluwatu. Knowing this wild couple, it’s not hard to understand how they pulled it off – and the pictures are worth a thousand words.
What was your vision for the wedding?
Our vision for the wedding was an intimate wedding with close friends and family, on one long table. We shared the same passion to know and love everyone on that table. We had 48 guests and it was just perfect. We had friends travel from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Rome, New York. My brother was my MC and I think he made the night – Troy and I weren’t very good with all the wedding protocol and structure, so he helped so much with that as he’s been MC a few times, he loves the mic, and he’s just so entertaining.
The day was so much fun, a dream come true!
Where in Bali did you hold the wedding and why did you choose the venue?
Our wedding was at The Istana, Uluwatu. The ceremony was on the lawn overlooking the ocean, sunset cocktails on the lawn and bale, dinner on one long table by the pool, dance floor next to the bale, then the party migrated to the pool!
We chose the Istana for a few reasons, Troy had surfed at Uluwatu with his dad on many family holidays while growing up, and we love to stay in Ulu/Ungasan when we are in Bali. We knew we wanted to get married at a villa, so we had the place to ourselves, and control over the styling and food. We looked at lots of other villas in the area, but The Istana made sense for the number of rooms and the price – I guess it was also the front runner as our friends in our bridal party, Kate and Justin, had stayed there when it first opened, and I always dreamed of our wedding on that lawn, with the sun setting literally on The Istana. It is such a breathtaking location.
My parents did not want to go to Bali, it took months to convince them, and it was not until the evening before the wedding that my dad understood why we were there. He pulled me aside at the rehearsal, and said, ok I get it…this is breathtaking and I understand your dream. It was the best feeling to have his blessing and acknowledge the beauty of the location.
Any help from a professional wedding planner?
We did have a wedding planner. It was one of the toughest choices of the whole wedding and honeymoon, and I think it’s one of the most important – the person you choose can add or remove stress! The villa management recommended the wedding planner as I mentioned the theme for our wedding was ‘Mexican madness in Bali bliss’, and one wedding planner had previously done a taco bar. She helped recommend and coordinate the suppliers. On the day, one of my best friends and bridesmaids, Claire Delmar – who is a brilliant stylist in Sydney, helped me with all the styling and bringing my crazy vision (and many Pinterest ‘pins’) to life!
What was the biggest challenge planning at long distance?
The distance. We know Bali so well, so found it really challenging to receive quotes for various things that were more expensive than Sydney prices. If we were there, we would have hunted around, haggled and saved hundreds, probably thousands of dollars. I work for Google and know my way around a search engine, but it was frustrating not being on the ground! The other challenge was our wedding planner had back to back weddings leading up to ours, so it was hard to get hold of her in the final, and most stressful weeks. We also had never been to The Istana, and we only checked in at 2pm the day before the wedding, so it was a huge leap of faith, particularly for someone like me who is a bit of a planning and control freak!
Tell us about your inspiration for the theme?
Beach holidays (surfing) and food! We toyed with the idea of getting married on the beach in Tulum, Mexico – toasting with margaritas and eating guacamole and tacos for dinner, but it was too much to ask everyone to fly to Mexico, especially as we only gave everyone 6 months notice for the wedding. We love Mexico, the food and all the craziness and bright colours, and we love Bali – so decided to combine them with ‘Mexican madness in Bali bliss’. Claire helped me source lots of the pieces locally, and I remember the looks when I boarded a flight back from a work trip in Melbourne, trying to stuff two pink flamingos in my laptop bag! My mum, a few other friends and I all packed pineapples, flamingos and personalised bunting in our bags to Bali. Claire raced around in between hair and makeup to create magic on the day. When I saw the photo wall she had created and how amazing the table setting looked and all the lights, I was blown away.
Spill the deets on the day’s looks please!
The biggest drama surrounding the wedding was the dress. I love fashion and just assumed I’d love the process of finding a wedding dress. The day after getting engaged, one of my bridesmaids gave me a gift of a stack of bridal magazines. I poured over them, marking all the ones I liked, and started developing an idea of what I wanted. My brief was structured, lace humidity friendly….and some drama! I found the entire process of wedding dress shopping an absolute nightmare.
As we were engaged in January, and wanted to get married in June/July, I attempted to make appointments at boutiques and designers, and struggled to get in, then came the judgment about the date (‘Oh no, we could not possibly make that by June!’). I went to about eight appointments and was so frustrated about their attitude and the process. After seeing a dress I liked on a friend of a friend, I Googled the designer (Monique Lhuillier) and the first result on Google was an ad for a 48-hour sale on Shopbop.com. After heavy consultation with my best friend Prue in New York, I decided to buy it and send to her and had a colleague bring it back for me. It arrived and I tried, but I just didn’t love it. Long story short, I decided about four weeks before the wedding to send the dress back (Shopbop gave me a refund, such amazing customer service) and the amazing Madeline Carnus created my dream dress. She was my fairy godmother.
I knew I wanted the girls to all be in white/ off white, but not necessarily the same dress. I felt like we were beyond the matching dress, shoes, hair look, and wanted them to all feel great, and Claire was pregnant, so we all thought it would be easy – oh God it was sooo hard! We got there in the end and the girls decided to do 2 and 2, 1 dress from Willow and the other was Joie from the US. To bring it together I found the necklaces from a gorgeous jewellery designer from the Northern Beaches in Sydney who I have a few pieces from, Alexandra Redmond – my mum wore one as well which I love.
How did you prep for the wedding? Did you have to travel to Bali often?
We got engaged on 31st December, 2013 and married on the 9th June 2014, so not much time! We have been to Bali so many times, but as we were married fairly quickly we didn’t have time to go over to plan. A bit of a regret, but we decided that $2000 on flights and accommodation was well spent on the day, dress, honeymoon…
Favourite part of the day?
Aside from seeing my amazing husband’s face and his reaction when he saw me, it would be giving my wedding speech. It was surreal looking around seeing everyone I love kicking back enjoying ‘our Bali’, and also having the opportunity to say just how much I loved and appreciated Troy, my family, friends and new family.
Any Bridezilla moments?
The one meltdown I had was the night before the wedding, before I went to bed. I checked with the villa manager what time the yoga instructor was arriving in the morning as it was one of the first things I arranged with the wedding planner, and found out it had not been booked. I was fixated on doing yoga, and completely lost it. Thankfully they managed to get someone in!
Top three tips for brides-to-be?
1. Work out your budget – tell this amount to your wedding planner, narrow down your most important elements (ie flowers or food or styling) and get them to make it happen – push them to find alternative options to the ones they know to achieve your budget – Enjoy all the planning and creating the day, it all goes so quickly.
2. Stick to your dream. It’s your day and everyone will have an opinion and advice but fulfilling your dream is incredible. We almost ended up with 100 people in Sydney, but we dreamed of 50 in Bali and it was a dream come true!
3. Ask your guests to bring in a bottle of Champagne duty free, it was lovely to be able to serve Champagne at sunset and for the toasts, and not stress about the expensive alcohol in Bali – we didn’t have a wedding registry as everyone was travelling, but we did ask for Champagne!
Would you have done anything differently?
Not a thing. Well maybe been a bit more strict with the budget, and pushed the wedding planner to find alternatives to save money! Oh and definitely get a video, I want to watch it over and over again and I can’t!!!
The nitty gritty
Brides dress: Madeline Carnus
Brides shoes: Christian Louboutin
Bridesmaids dresses: Willow, Joie
Engagement and Wedding rings: Cerrone
Groom and groomsmen: Country Road and a shirt from the wardrobe!
Celebrant: Kim, who was amazing and made our day!
Hair and Make up: Yeanne
Stationary: Avie Designs
Wedding planner: Libby Doherty
Furniture: We went with Supply and Demand for the chairs and Bali Event Hire for the cocktail area
Catering: M&M Concepts – They were excellent, quite expensive, but it depends what you want. We love food so this was really important. We also did the alcohol package with them, which was good value, but you need to push them to serve the wine, as they stopped serving wine over dinner.
Photographer: Terralogiocal – They were great too, but we’ve really struggled to get them to finalise the edited photos, so I recommend you request upfront for them to select the top 300 photos. It literally took me months to go through all 4800 of the photos and choose the top 300.
DJ: Kevin Kloer was amazing, and had everyone dancing all night
Aisle: Here Comes the Sun, Nina Simone
Post ceremony: Tonight, Rufus
Bridal party entrance: Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
First dance: Fade Into You, Mazzy Star
Thanks Bianca and Troy!
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