A Chic Coastal Wedding at Smoky Cape Lighthouse


Romantic and understated, this coastal wedding is like taking in a fresh breath of salty ocean air. With simple decor and local harvest, Smoky Cape Lighthouse provided the most astounding views for this sweet coastal wedding (just take look at the gorgeous ceremony backdrop!!). We love the personal elements Madeline + Doug included from their home to make it cozy and inviting, like their chic pillows and Persian rug. Keep reading to get to know this fun couple and see more from their day!


Tell us about your proposal. It was Summer 2017, there was no surf so Doug suggested we go to one of our favourite spots Tea Tree Bay to swim. Knowing I’m a bit of a bower bird Doug placed an old bookmark near my towel to distract me, which worked a treat. By the time I looked up from admiring the bookmark he was on one salty knee. Little did we know a crowd of tourists had formed on the walking track to watch the moment – as we kissed and cried they clapped and cheered – it was perfect.

How did you know your partner was the one? I think there are a lot of moments along the way that you piece together as you discover each other. At first you’re just two strangers, clumsily and awkwardly sharing and baring your souls, then little by little you discover just how perfectly you fit together. With that understanding grows a bigger purpose in your love and I think that’s when you know.

What do you love most about your partner? Doug is a very kind and gentle man. He lives simply, is resoundingly positive and doesn’t let the nonsenses of society into his world. There is a Frances De Sales quote, ”Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.” , this is very true about Doug, I love this about him.

What was your favourite part of the wedding day? We stayed at the lighthouse for a week before the wedding so there were some very special moments leading up to it. The locals were all so happy for us and we really felt our joy was shared with them. A few old salty surfers even tried to recruit us to town as permanent residents! The kindness of strangers is a remarkable thing.

The day before the wedding we surfed at the nearby village Scotts Head and visited a native flower farmer and bee keeper to pick our flowers. In the evening a few girlfriends and I sat around the living room assembling flowers…within minutes their husbands came in wanting to help too – I will always remember that.

The wedding day itself was a beautiful blur. We woke up together to what felt a bit like the adult version of a child’s Christmas morning – Doug went adventuring with a few friends in the National Park and the girls got busy setting up. Both of our families stayed at the lighthouse with us, so having them near and seeing them together was heartwarming; decorating cheese boards, filling ice buckets, making tea and toast or just watching the whales swimming past. Family brings an energy when they’re together, and you can’t help but feel loved.

The ceremony was hand on heart my favourite part of the day. Looking into Doug’s eyes for those few minutes was genuinely transcending. The colour of his eyes, the look of happiness and pride on his face and the sound of the ocean behind us… the feeling was like nothing else, a pure and humbling moment.

We had a sign at the entrance that said, ‘There are no Strangers here; only friends you’ve not yet met’, and this was a sentiment our guests really embraced. Seeing them all celebrating together was such a good feeling. Our worlds literally collided that night, which was more than we could have hoped for.

Describe your wedding theme/style. Initially, I had been pitching for an elopement, but on a road trip from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney I (thankfully) lost my case to a lighthouse. Meandering through seaside towns we decided to look at the Smoky Cape Lighthouse and after not 10 minutes, it was decided. Doug is a very easy going soul but when he knows what he wants, it’s with laser precision. As we drove away from the lighthouse he just smiled and said; ‘That’s it Mads!’.

In planning, what was most important to us was that the ceremony was personal and that the celebration was relaxed. The venue created the perfect canvas for styling because with such a breathtaking location you don’t need much. We bought a lot of items from home, which I think made it feel like ‘us’… pillows, blankets, candles, crystals, shells, trinkets. The little Persian rug we stood on for the ceremony has now made it’s way to our bedroom – we both think that’s pretty special.

My Dad and Doug are both quite handy so they worked on a little 70’s bar and other bits and pieces for the day, nothing was overly done and we used brown packing paper for a handwritten bar menu. Sourcing locally was something we desperately wanted to do and while it’s not easy when planning from a distance, its very worthwhile. The oyster farmer shucked the oysters the day before the wedding and the flower grower hand picked our king proteas and redgum blossoms and sent us off with his blessing.

When asking people to travel hours to a cliff-top for one night, it’s a given that you ensure they’re well fed, so we selected the food and wines with care! Doug’s Mother and sister made the most amazing jalapeño popper dips as well as charcuterie boards and for dinner we served seafood paella, lamb tagine and vegetable curry with loads of colourful salads.

The dance floor really was centre stage for the night and many lasting memories and a few minor injuries were created there. Music is a big part of both of our lives so the playlist was fun to create and it brings back a lot of laughs whenever it gets a spin!

What is marriage to you? Marriage to me is a willing union of two soul where each stands as a committed supporter and advocate of the other and of their shares dreams and beliefs. I believe marriage isn’t about two people being everything to one another, but rather about two people being their fullest and truest selves, on a journey together, side by side.

When I asked Doug, he very articulately replied; ‘it’s a bond that is eternal’. See what I mean?!


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