Maddison and James’ Wedding at The Refinery in Brisbane, Australia


When Maddison and James embarked on their journey to plan their dream wedding at The Refinery in Brisbane, Australia, they knew they wanted something special. They envisioned a celebration that was urban, relaxed, chic, and most importantly, fun.

The day itself radiated happiness and relaxation. Maddison and James opted for cocktail-style seating and food service, encouraging their guests to mingle and enjoy themselves. The result was a lively atmosphere with high spirits and smiles all around!

Where did you get married?

The Refinery in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Why did you choose to get married at The Refinery?

It has it all – lovely ceremony space connected to a spacious indoor area, bridal suite, amazing food, and outstanding service.

We wanted somewhere inner-city as we had guests travelling intrastate, interstate, and internationally, so it was important to us that logistics were as easy as possible for us and our guests.

In addition to that, we wanted to get ready and have some photos at our home here in Brisbane – partly because we’re proud renovators, but mostly so we could get some pics with our dog, Cora!

What was the most memorable part of your wedding day?

Hands down our ceremony. We chose to be married by my (Maddison’s) primary school principal who is a close family friend, and both she and Father George honoured us and our families so beautifully and so personally throughout the entire process.

When we arrived at the venue, the outdoor bar service had already commenced and our guests were buzzing with conversation and reunions – it was an amazing vibe to walk into.

I was walked down the aisle by both my Dad and my Mum to a piano cover of ABBA’s Dancing Queen, we shared both official and personal vows (which, let’s be honest, we were still perfecting at 6am that morning) as well as a hand-fasting ritual, and after a kiss or two back down the aisle we kicked off celebrations with a champagne tower pour that our families joined in on.

The ceremony was the part of the day we felt most truly present and I don’t think I wiped the smile off my face the entire time! I didn’t really understand what that ‘just-married’ feeling would be like, but WOW it is all kinds of exhilarating.

Maddison, paint us a picture. What was the theme, style, colors, and overall vibe of your wedding day?

Urban, relaxed, chic, and fun. When we first started planning there were all kinds of words being thrown around such as “cottage garden” and “disco”, but the further into the planning process we got the more we felt comfortable just honouring what we did and didn’t love, and not putting names on anything.
We had black, white, and pops of gold and silver as our focal points, with bright flowers in interesting textures to complement. The venue itself is super chic and understated in its blacks and polished concrete, so it was important to us to work with that. I knew I wanted to wear my Mum’s gold hairpiece from her 80’s wedding, so I let that form part of our inspiration too.

We also took a lot of inspiration from music we love and previous weddings at our venue. It certainly made it easier to visualise what everything would look like against those gorgeous black VJ’s by looking at our venue’s Pinterest and other socials.

The vibe of the day was as happy as it was relaxed. We opted for cocktail style seating and serving of food which kept our guests (who were willing) on their feet mingling, and spirits high.

What was your favorite part of planning your wedding?

Learning to put faith in our vendors was a really freeing experience, and a lesson I will cherish forever. I am typically very Type A when it comes to planning but because we were in the thick of renovating our nearly hundred year old house for the final 6 months of lead-up, it was out of necessity that we took a small step back and just let our vendors do what they do best.

Also, the overall excitement amongst our families and friends in the lead up to our day.

What was the best investment you made for your wedding?

It’s hard to name just one, so I’ll name three: 2nd shooter with our photographer: We had 140 guests attend and it was important to us that we capture as many special moments with them as we could. The 2nd shooter meant we had multiple ceremony angles, guest candids while we were off doing portraits, and the ability to squeeze pre-ceremony photos and detail shots into an 8-hour package. Choosing our photographer was the first thing we did after booking our venue, and was a decision we agonised over for a few weeks – but it was so worth taking that time, as we are beyond stoked with our photos.
DJ: Our dance floor officially started after our first dance at about 8pm and didn’t stop until we left at 11, though many of us had already been dancing prior to that. Easily one of the best investments we made.
Wedsite: Money well spent on the most wonderful organisational tool for managing our guest list, invites, dietaries, and RSVP’s.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

Order more of the margaritas! Other than that, a better shot list for our photographer would have helped in the chaos that was family photos.

What was your favorite part of using WedSites for your wedding?

I loved the ability to import custom graphics I’d made in Canva to match our Save The Dates, as well as our custom URL. WedSites kept us organised and had such a clean, modern interface. Love!

Maddison and James’ custom designed wedding website

Wedding planning is notoriously stressful. Now that you’ve gone through the process, do you have any advice or words of wisdom for couples who are currently in the midst of planning theirs?

Do everything weeks/months earlier than you think you need to, because the last few weeks before the wedding will fly by.

Honour yourselves in the planning process and know that trends will probably have changed before your wedding date arrives – I changed my mind about florals only a week or two out as that was something I had the power to change. Those things we couldn’t change we didn’t waste any energy on.
Say yes to the welcome drinks, or the rehearsal, or the recovery – it makes for a really fun couple of days and it doesn’t have to be anything too special! We had a fire and drinks at my parent’s place on the Thursday and it was the perfect way to ease in to the weekend.

The amazing team of vendors involved with this wedding

Venue: The Refinery
Photographer: Brendan Back
Gown: Chosen by KYHA | Sphere Bridal Gallery
Suit: InStitchu
Hair: Jaala Brinsmead
Make-up: Taylor Kimler
Florals: Foliar
Balloons: Fancy Schmancy Balloon Co.
DJ: Aaron Duncan
Lighting & Ball: Brisbane Event Lighting
Officiants: Fr George & Sr Veronica of The Abbey Church
Gelato: Dolci & Co
Cars: Black Grandeur Chauffeur
Champagne Tower: Bespoke Events Co.
Alterations: Bridal Alterations Brisbane
Dance: Wedding Dance Lessons Brisbane
Wedding Website: WedSites