“Matt is kind-hearted, talented and adventurous. He is very easy to talk to and share silence with. He can fill serious moments with laughter. He can play a mean bluesy guitar. He can visualize and draw anything. He can build anything. He can cook steak. He can record and sell nature sounds. He goes on runs with me even though he does not want to! I admire his simplicity – food, footy, and beer. That’s all you need to make him happy! He is a loving brother, uncle, son and friend. His care and devotion to the one’s he loves is why he will make a great husband.”
Courtney and Matt’s Belmond El Encanto Wedding was the perfect intimate gathering for the joining of their Californian and Australian families. It was simple and chic, and filled with the couple’s favorite things–good food, good views, and good company. Their love story began with a chance encounter and led to this beautiful Belmond El Encanto wedding ceremony and reception at the Oak Tree Suite, with many adventures yet to come!
“Last July, Matt visited California and surprised me with a getaway to San Diego. The day before he proposed he told me he had a surprise. The following day we were getting ready for this surprise and I continued to guess what it was. He did not budge.
Before the proposal we went to our hotel bar for a champagne toast. We then ventured all the way to Coronado island in our Uber. Matt was now quiet as ever and a bit restless! We arrived right on time and he surprised me with a beautiful gondola ride on the Coronado Cays. Once we gained a little speed, he read me a poem he wrote. As the bay opened into the ocean, he asked me to marry him, I said yes, stuck out the wrong hand, the ring did not fit, laughed, cried, smiled and then stuck out the left hand and the ring fit perfectly. We spent the rest of the evening celebrating at the Coronado Hotel over dinner, wine and watching the sunset.”The two had their First Look for their Belmond El Encanto wedding at the beautiful lilly pond area.“One of my favorite special details that our alterations expert helped us create was adding a piece of my mom’s wedding dress to my dress. I was a bit too tall for my dress and we brainstormed many ideas on how to make the dress longer. My mom pulled out her dress and the fabric matched perfectly to the end of my dress. It made the day so special to know I had a piece of my mother with me the whole time.”So how did the two meet? From Courtney…
“I met Matt’s friend at a festival in California. When I moved to Australia for a work & holiday visa, my friend, Maggie, and I, arranged a meetup with Tim. Tim brought Matt along as his “wing man.” Matt had recently moved to Bondi from the Central Coast. We become good friends and shared the common interest of exploring our new homes in the eastern suburbs. We went on lots of dates like the footy, camping at the Ruins, which later became a yearly tradition, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef and explored the city.”From Matt, “I made it my personal endeavor to show Courtney around Sydney and Australia and to help her have the best time she possibly could whilst in my country. It was almost like I was her own personal tour-guide, although I hadn’t yet explored most of the places we would visit yet either, so every day was an adventure for both of us.”“We incorporated small touches of Australia into our wedding. My dress was from a small boutique store in Byron Bay called Spell & Gypsy. Jen Nally from Twisted Twigs also include native Australian flowers in our décor.”“Our wedding was very intimate, 17 guests in total! Our guest were our two families and close friends. This was so special. The wedding truly brought two families together.” What does Matt love most about Courtney? From Matt…
“Courtney is adventurous, funny, generous and reliable. She is stunningly beautiful with bright blue eyes and a smile that lights up a room. People feel her warmth when they meet her. She has an ability to make people feel at ease with her funny and sometimes quirky sense of humour. She is caring and charitable and loves to help everyone. I love that she lives a healthy and active lifestyle and will choose a hiking trail over Netflix, every time. She is also extremely intelligent, productive and professional. I am in awe of her kick-ass computer skills and often think to myself, ‘Man I wish I could lay down some awesome sentences on a key pad like she does!’ The best way for me to describe her is, ‘She’s a good egg’.”The blue butterfly wall at the Belmond is one of my favorite things about this venue! So, of course, I had to take photos of Matt and Courtney here during their Belmond El Encanto wedding.“I fell in love with Matt when I woke up next to my friend, Maggie, and in the corner of our room was the most vicious Huntsman spider ready to eat us alive. It was 4:00 in the morning. After many failed attempts at capturing the villain, rather than lose any more beauty sleep, I decided to text Matt. At 4:30am, on a workday, Matt came over with his little shoe box and captured what he called, “the little fella.” That is when I fell in love!”“I think I really knew I loved Courtney when we went on our first trip away together to Port Douglas. We hired electric bikes to ride in to town. We walked along the beach hand-in-hand. The soccer World Cup was on so it was playing everywhere we went, and we watched the NSW Blues finally beat QLD after 11 series losses in a row. Courtney made a cheese platter and decorated our hotel room with Blues colours.
But it was the day we took a boat ride out to the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling that was the icing on the cake. I have shared many great and happy moments with Courtney since then. But still to this day painted vividly in my mind is the smile I saw on her face when we both emerged to the surface of the reef below. It was a look of pure joy and happiness.
I think we returned from that trip knowing we were on a path to something special.”
Rumor has it that a visit from the property’s cat is a sign of good luck at any Belmond El Encanto Wedding–so in case Matt and Courtney weren’t already set on their road to happily-ever-after, this good luck charm came by to say hello!
“There is a very relaxed and chic feel to the Belmond. The Oak Tree Suite was the perfect fit for our intimate Belmond El Encanto wedding. The team at Belmond went well beyond exceeding our expectations in planning and executing the event. The view was not too shabby, as well. I am from California and Matt is from Sydney–we love a good ocean view.”The decor at this Oak Tree Suite intimate wedding was really on-point! So elegant and sophisticated, yet simple, with just the right touches.“Our themes and inspirations for the big day was togetherness. Everyone at our wedding made sacrifices for us to be together. We wanted it close knit, simple and elegant not to take away from the meaningfulness of bringing two people and families together.”“Both of us loved the dinner portion of the night. It was the point in the day when we could relax and really enjoy the time with the ones we love.”“For the past five years we have spent our time exploring Australia. Now as a married couple we are excited to travel California and the States. We are also looking forward to working towards buying our first home together.”
Congratulations, Courtney and Matt! Cheers to many more years of travel, adventures, family and love!
Venue: Belmond El Encanto
Photographer: Karen D Photography
Florist: The Twisted Twig
Hair & Makeup: Brianna Stewart-Olcese
Musician: Matt Commerce
Rentals: The Tent Merchant
Bridal Shop: Spell & The Gypsy
Bride’s Shoes: Anthropologie