As Melbourne shifted from late Autumn into the early days of winter, the cloud 9 floating thrill of getting engaged also shifted into project “let’s plan a wedding“. My dear friend (and newly appointed bridesmaid) Jody and I barely had to mutter the words ‘Grace Loves Lace’ and ‘girls trip’ before our flights were booked and a little East Coast adventure fell serendipitously into shape.
We hopped on a plane and headed in the direction of sunshine. To us, there seemed only one hotel worthy of such a special occasion for this short but very special trip away to the Gold Coast – the dreamy and inimitable Halcyon House.
Barely a 20 minute drive south from Gold Coast airport, nestled right on the beachfront in the sleepy town of Cabarita, I had been lucky to rest my head at this beautiful and Instagram-famous hotel once before, but returning felt exactly as special I remembered – even more special than I remembered.
First time or not, as soon as you set foot inside this beach-chic destination unto its own, the rest of the world promptly falls away. Cue ocean breeze, instant tranquility and unparalleled luxury – but in a beautifully understated, completely unpretentious, Mediterranean-meets-Aussie kind of way.
Welcomed by the warm reception staff like we were long lost family, we were invited to make our way to our room – with our luggage and welcome drinks to follow shortly. With no two rooms exactly alike, it was exciting to take in the details of our own bespoke home away from home. We delighted in our cornflower blue walls (upholstered in fabric), floral brocade bedhead, eclectic artworks and other miscellaneous paraphernalia, all styled just so (hat tip to the hotel’s lead interior designer Anna Spiro).
With top floor bragging rights and a view of the ocean layered just above the poolside below our feet, we sunk into our private balcony seats and let out a collective sigh of calm. With our welcome fruit platter set between us and gin & tonics in our grasp, we whiled away some hours deep in conversation.
Before long, we noticed the afternoon sky tint towards a soft shade of pink – so we quickly layered up and bundled ourselves down to the ocean, just in time to sink our toes into the sand for a sunset beach walk.
Later in the evening, we were treated to a delicious three course menu and bespoke cocktails at Paper Daisy, the hotel’s own 2 hatted restaurant under the helm of Jason Barratt (previously Head Chef of Raes on Wategos). Driven by an ethos of sophisticated simplicity, local produce shines bright here, with all ingredients sourced within 100km of the hotel. Right from the first bite of house bread (with lashings of butter), we were in foodie heaven.
The next morning, after a leisurely wake up and beautiful breakfast at Paper Daisy, we hopped in our hire car and made our way up back up the coast, bound for sparkling wedding gowns!
I had barely stepped inside the Grace Loves Lace boutique and the idea of forever suddenly felt very real. Before being engaged I had long lusted over the free spirited, wanderlust-soaked, ethereal vibe of this label.
Before visiting I had poured over the bridal collections extensively and been instructed to select up to five gowns to try on for the appointment (not an easy task to narrow them down!) But… two gowns in to trying on the dresses in real time, we had arrived. Stepping out from my little change area, there were instant squeals and much excitement. Jody’s face beamed bright and confirmed what I already knew – “Babes, this is so you. You belong in this dress!” And, the third dress too, as it turns out.
Luckily for me, with much of Charles’ family residing in Indonesia, we will be having both an Australian wedding, and Indonesian wedding. With more than one wedding celebration ahead of us next year, there are multiple celebrations planned and with it, plenty of opportunity for me to wear more than one dress. Which I am very grateful for, because it felt impossible to decide on just the one white dress.
Thank you Cyndi and to the team for the most divine bridal fitting experience. I am too excited for the dress(es) in the works with Grace Loves Lace! I cannot wait to twirl my way into happily ever after… x