Marisa and Lachlan can thank a dog for falling in love. Marisa, who was walking guide dog Paddy for her neighbour along Bondi Beach, struck up conversation with Lachlan mid-walk and, in her own words, the rest is history.
Two years later, Lachlan knew it was time to propose. How and when? That was left a little to fate.
During a camping trip to Cape Tribulation in north east Queensland, Lachlan thought he’d picked the perfect spot. Encouraging Marisa on a walk to a secluded beach, Lachlan was foiled for the first time after discovering the beach was a hotspot for the local fauna. “I had struck up the confidence to do it and discreetly hid the ring in my back pocket. We walked down to the beach only to be confronted by large signs warning us of the imminent threat of crocodiles,” he remembers.
His second opportunity came five days later. Sailing through the Whitsundays, Lachlan thought he’d found the perfect spot when the captain announced they would be alighting the ship for Whitehaven Beach. “I heard so much about Whitehaven being so beautiful so wanted to jump at the chance of making this as memorable as possible,” he says.
But he was struck down again when the crew instructed him to leave all big items behind — backpacks included. Quickly thinking, Lachlan found another means to transport the ring off the boat and into the water. “I realised the base of my Go Pro handle had a little water tight compartment so I unscrewed it, wrapped the ring up in some paper and slid the ring inside. I grabbed the towels and the Go Pro and hustled to the boat.”
But his challenges didn’t stop there. Once on the beach, Marisa was exhausted and a little sunburnt, reluctant to follow Lachlan when he asked for one final walk.
“I made the executive decision to walk off in the hope that maybe she might follow. Which she luckily did. We found a private little cove and I finally had her to myself. I got down on one knee and pulled the ring out from the Go Pro handle (much to her shock and excitement). She screamed yes.”
The final hurdle?
“We then discovered we were standing in a pool of blood. In my excitement I didn't realise that when I got down on one knee I had stepped onto a oyster shell cutting my foot from toe to heel.”
The pair were married in Berry, New South Wales, the first of two weddings — as Marisa is from the United States and the couple wanted both summer and wedding celebrations. Choosing Jaspers as the venue, the couple merged their styles — traditional and boho — for a wintery service packed with rich red florals and plenty of character.
“The resident peacock at Jaspers, 'King Richard', featured on our invitations, and inspired the colour scheme for the wedding, consisting of navy and gold, and rich wintery hues in our flowers.”
Spending the night apart the night before the big day, the couple enjoyed time with their family — especially Marisa, whose parents had flown in from the US. “We are both traditionalists, so spent the evening apart before the big day. I rented a house down the road with my parents who flew in from Pennsylvania along with my maid of honour, Natalie and her husband Steve, who are my longest standing friends in Sydney.”
Marisa’s mum, Brenda, played a big part in helping her daughter choose her dress, flying in post-proposal to assist with fittings.
“My mum was in on the engagement secret and planned a trip to visit me a month later in Sydney. She’s a closet wedding addict and has hordes of wedding magazines at home. She was waiting a long time for her chance to go dress shopping with me and wasn't going to miss it for anything!”
Opting for a traditional-style fishtail dress from Pronovias in Sydney, Marisa’s final choice was a reflection of both the wedding seasons she would be getting married in, doing double duty for two big days.
“It was a classic mermaid style, strapless sweetheart neckline, all Spanish lace with floral details that made it perfect for both a winter and summer wedding,” she says.
On the day, Lachlan’s sisters, Brynne and Jessie were tasked with officially marrying the couple. But, just like Lachlan’s first-time proposal, things didn’t all go to plan.
“It was so personal and special to have them marry us and present us for the first time as husband and wife. But in all the excitement Brynne forgot to sign the marriage certificate!”
Remembering back on the last 12 hours at 4am, the couple agree that taking a little time out to enjoy the special moments, the food and each other is key.
“We were still both wide awake at 4am talking about the whole day and recounting the events; giggles during the ceremony, Marisa's dress malfunctioning as she started walking down the aisle, the incredibly cute flower girl and page boy, the band 'losing' their shirts and writhing on their backs on the dance floor, way too many espresso martinis, and all of the laughs,” they remember.
“Really do take 5 minutes out of each hour with your new spouse to just let the day/ night sink in. And make sure you get to enjoy the food and wine that you picked and lusted after during all of those months of planning!”
Venue: Jaspers Berry
Dress: Pronovias (Ilma)
Hair: Michelle at @maeyoube
Make-up: Alex Polverino @alexpolverinomua
Fragrance: Marisa: Burberry. Locky: Creed Himalaya
Shoes: Marisa - Zomp. Locky - Florsheim
Groom’s suit: Custom tux by Argy's Tailors
Bridesmaids outfits: BHLDN
Cake: Jaspers in-house pastry chef
Photographer: Jack Henry
First dance song: Ray Lamontagne, You Are the Best Thing
Invitations and stationery: Designed by Anita Best @abde_design