Do you take this Women in Digital founder to be your virtually wedded wife?
For Women in Digital CEO Holly Tattersall (Bachelor of Business Management ’10, Graduate Certificate in Business Administration ’19), May 2020 was the month of ‘Wedding Indefeasible’ because, thanks to COVID-19, she and fiancé Matthew Hunt were forced to completely rethink their original matrimonial plans.
‘When COVID-19 struck, we were devastated to realise our original wedding plans couldn’t go ahead,” Tattersall said.
“But with an appreciation for the unconventional, we decided to move forward with a Zoom wedding.
“A very fitting outcome for the founder of Women in Digital, if I do say so myself.”
On becoming engaged at Noosa on Valentine’s Day, Tattersall had visions of a 150-person wedding at Howard Smith Wharves in August. But when the pandemic hit, she realised this was not going to happen – certainly not in August anyway.
“But our love and desire to be husband and wife hadn’t changed, so why would we put our lives on hold?”
The determined couple instead decided to have a digital wedding several months early, on 16 May, with just a few guests plus the celebrant and photographer, and inviting others to attend via Zoom.
For many, this type of event is completely unimaginable, so how did they make it happen? Because despite being a small-scale online event, there were still many details to organise.
“Fortunately, everything came together through luck and a few friendly favours,” Tattersall said.
Walking the eerily quiet Brisbane CBD, I was looking for a modern, long, white dress. My (now) husband spotted a very simple Carla Zampatti in a department store, which ended up being absolutely perfect. I think I’ve had more compliments on the dress than the wedding itself!
My husband also found his suit-shopping quite seamless. The bored sales assistant jumped to help when we entered the store and selected the perfect wedding suit for him. It needed a little adjusting, however, so I called my friend whose tailoring business had been temporarily closed due to the pandemic. She reopened and altered the suit for us within a few hours – we were so grateful for her service.
The bridal party
Because of the limited numbers, we did not have bridesmaids or groomsmen, which meant that our very few guests all became ‘official’ members of the wedding ceremony. Although we did not ask them to, coincidentally they all wore clothes that harmonised well, so our photos looked great. I saw my previously appointed bridesmaids in the morning for a champagne to celebrate the day.
We created a Facebook event, ‘Matt & Holly get married’, inviting all our friends and family to attend online via a Zoom link. We kept in touch with them by posting in the group, and for the big day asked them to post photos of themselves onto the Facebook page – that way we could enjoy seeing them in their wedding best. One of our friends, wearing a suit and tie in his lounge room, complained that he was more formally attired than the (tie-less) groom!
One of my husband’s best friends is a jeweller. She designed and made the engagement and wedding bands for us, pushing tight deadlines as required. It was very special to have her so intimately involved.
Holly with her father Wayne Tattersall on her wedding day.
The hair and make-up
I was lucky that my favourite local hairdresser had reopened their doors for select appointments. I booked in for my ‘wedding hair’, which ended up being a very simple ’do. Fortunately, one of my close friends is a make-up artist and came to the property where we were married to do my make-up on the day.
My (now) mother-in-law has the most beautiful Hamptons-style home and lush tropical garden. This became the obvious choice for our intimate wedding. In keeping with tradition, Matt and I didn’t see each other before the ceremony – so I stayed upstairs and he downstairs. We’re not completely unconventional, I guess.
Following one of the biggest Mother’s Days on record, the local florists didn’t have much stock remaining. I was fortunate to be referred by my mother-in-law to a local event specialist, who sourced flowers to suit the style of event I wanted. As I was quite flexible and he had an eye for design, I was thrilled with the outcome.
I drove myself, as did Matt.
While I was at UQ, I met some great people – including my celebrant. Kate Row (Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Arts '14) is a fellow alumnus and someone whom I stayed in touch with. I noticed that she had become a celebrant, so I reached out and asked her to be ours. As she was self-isolating on the Sunshine Coast, we communicated regularly via Zoom to talk about what we wanted. Having a ‘real’ person officiate us was great, although I have heard that some countries are now contemplating whether to allow completely digital-only weddings to become legally binding.
We picked up seafood, salad, bread and champagne from our favourite suppliers and enjoyed a sumptuous sit-down feast on the day.
I ordered a two-tier wedding cake from a local patisserie.
Holly and Matt cutting their wedding cake.
A favour called in once again – we had a family friend do the honours. She's a sports photographer and, as such, did a great job capturing moments rather than staged pictures.
Carly Shearman, the Community Manager at Women in Digital, kindly organised the camera and computer on-site as well as setting up a webinar in Zoom for us; and Matt’s uncle in Sydney acted as MC, providing a running commentary as the ceremony proceeded. Thanks to Zoom’s automatic recording function, we received ‘Matt & Holly’s Wedding’ via email within an hour of the service finishing – just as we were celebrating with champagne.
Sadly, we haven’t had the chance to get away since the wedding – we went back to work on the Monday and have been busier than ever since then! We plan to take a proper honeymoon when the restrictions ease.
No matter how it’s celebrated, a wedding is a big occasion and we wanted to share our joy with the world. We have posted pics of our special day across Facebook and Instagram to share the moments with our friends. As our social media pages are a self-curated selection of our highlights, the wedding just had to feature there.
Holly Tattersall is an engaged member of UQ's alumni community. Read her thoughts on making the most of mentoring opportunities at UQ.