Bride of the Year 2018 - Winner

Ashlea Oakley Nicholls , WA




Ashlea Oakley Nicholls from WA,
married 17 March 2018


Bride of the Year 2017 - Winner

There were twenty two gorgeous finalists in the 2018 Bride of the Year Competition, True Bride's eighteenth annual competition. Each of the twenty two entrants had become finalists from hundreds of contestants throughout the year, each deserving a chance to win. But there can only be one winner and in the end Ashlea Oakley Nicholls received the highest amount of votes, and was crowned 'Bride of the Year' 2018. Congratulations Ashlea!


The Romance

Jarrad and I first met back in 2010 at the Perth NAIDOC Ball. Jarrad will try and say it was love at first sight for him however we were both in different stages in our lives back then and our love story wasn’t meant to begin straight away. It was actually our work place that made us cross paths again back in 2012 but it still took us another 3 years for our friendship to escalate in to something more. In 2015 my family and I went through the most tragic time due to the loss of my sister and it was actually during this time that I realised I was truely in love with Jarrad. He was there for me through it all and never left my side and I will be forever grateful for that. I also owe it to Jarrad for always believing we weren’t only meant to be friends and he really did fight for what he believed was meant to be. Our love story has been an absolute rollercoaster ride but we wouldn't have it any other way. Everyone has their own love story and I love that ours is very unique and different to your everyday "boy meets girl" story. I truely believe we are soul mates and I feel so lucky to have him in my life. Jarrad has changed my life for the better and we now have two beautiful boys who are the greatest achievements in both of our lives. I just love my little family and don't know where I would be without them.

Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls   Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls

The Proposal

Jarrad proposed to me on Saturday the 3rd September 2016. The day started with us taking our son Noel who was only 2 months old at the time out for a drive to Serpentine Falls. It was my idea to go see the waterfalls for the day and Jarrad said that was his sign that it was meant to be that day that he proposed to me because he said he had always pictured himself proposing to me at a particular park which had a waterfall in it. When we got to Serpentine Falls it was very busy and Jarrad said his mind was ticking over time because he didn't want there to be anyone around when he proposed so he suggested we take a drive in to Perth City to John Oldham park which has a waterfall in it. When we got to this park we spent most of our time at the waterfall and Jarrad was setting up his phone on a rock because he told me he wanted to get some photos of us and our son Noel standing in front of the waterfall. Little did I know he was setting his phone up to record the proposal. Once he finished setting us his phone he came up to where Noel and I were standing and started talking to me about how happy I make him and how lucky he feels to have me and our son in our lives. I still had no idea what he was about to do. He also kept kissing me and seemed very restless. Then before I knew he was down on one knee and there was this beautiful engagement ring in front of me. And then he asked me to marry him and of course I said yes! It was such a beautiful day and was so amazing to be able to watch it back on Jarrad’s phone.


Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls   Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls

The Planning

I absolutely LOVED planning our wedding day. I was a stay at home Mum to our sons Noel and Jakoby, so I had a lot of time to sit at home and send emails and gather quotes and look around at all of the wedding suppliers etc. Jarrad was so amazing with wanting to be a part of all the decision making and came along to all of our wedding appointments which really meant a lot because it showed he really cared about what our special day was going to look like. Nothing was stressful and I think that's because we really made sure we chose our suppliers wisely and gave ourselves plenty of time to really look around and not rush in to any decisions. When our wedding day was over I actually missed checking my emails everyday and was having serious wedding planning withdrawals haha!

The Wedding Day

I know everyone says this but our wedding day was truly the best day ever (apart from the birth of our two sons of course haha!). The weather was close to perfect, the sun was out when it needed to be but there was also a few clouds in the sky which actually made it perfect for our photos. It was a little windy, more than we would have liked, but we didn’t let it ruin anything. Jarrad and his groomsmen got ready at our wedding venue Mandoon Estate in the accommodation we were staying in that night and my bridesmaids and I got ready at my Aunty's house in Mt Lawley. We kept it traditional and spent the night before our wedding apart from each other and didn't see each other until I was walking down the aisle. I felt so relaxed for the entire day as well as extremely excited! And from what Jarrad tells me he felt the exact same! It was amazing to have my closest girls by my side getting ready with me and helping me out throughout the day as well as my Mum who is honestly so amazing and helped out so much with taking care of our boys on the day! Our sons got ready with Jarrad and his groomsmen which worked out perfectly and I was so excited to see them when I arrived at the venue. Jarrad and I wouldn’t change anything from our wedding day, it was just perfect and we feel so lucky to have been able to share our special day with our family and friends who also have all said it was the most amazing day! Made it even more worth while when you know your guests enjoyed it just as much as we did!


Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls   Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls


The Ceremony

Our ceremony was held at Mandoon Estate on their wedding ceremony lawn area. We had seating for our guests and everyone else stood who didn't get a seat. With the decorations we had included a beautiful arbour with white draping flowers, a white aisle runner, signing table and chairs with flowers, a beautiful welcome sign, white Tiffany chairs and styling down the aisle. The song that played while I walked down the aisle was Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk. My sons were carried down the aisle by two of our nephews first and my bridesmaids followed behind in single file before my Dad walked me down the aisle. My Uncle Richard Walley then played the didgeridoo and walked in front of Dad and I, as I was coming down the aisle with the song playing quietly in the background which was just perfect and sounded amazing!! The atmosphere and mood was just full of love and emotion. There were some tears as we remembered certain family members who are no longer with us but mostly it was filled with happy tears. Our vows complimented each other perfectly and overall we were just so happy with how the ceremony ran.


Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls   Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls


The Reception

Our wedding reception was held at Mandoon Estate in their function amazing centre which has stunning views overlooking the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River). The best word to describe our reception is FUN! From the way our bridal party entered the room, to my Uncle being our MC, to the music being played throughout the night and the speeches that were given everything was just full of so much laughter and fun! Everyone in the room had the best time and we had no dramas at all. Our first dance was to the song How Would You Feel by one of our favourite artists Ed Sheeran and was very romantic and full of love. I also had a dance with my Dad to one of our favourite songs and had Jarrad join in with his Mum. One of the highlights from the night was when my Dad, Jarrad, his groomsmen, our son Noel and many other family and friends from the wedding performed an Aboriginal cultural dance for everyone. Nothing was rehearsed and they just put on an amazing performance while my Uncle Richard Walley played the didgeridoo for them. Overall our wedding reception was just the absolute best and the video footage we have proves it haha!


Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls   Ashlea and Jarrad Oakley Nicholls


The Honeymoon

So we had decided we were going to have a familymoon as we wanted to have our sons with us if we were to go anywhere. We have not yet gone on our familymoon due to having a really big year and other things coming up but we still plan to take our familymoon and we are thinking we want to try Fiji!!


Wedding Advice ...

My advice would be to just enjoy every single moment of your wedding including all of the planning and getting ready on the day and then of course when it actually happens! It does go quickly but just make sure you really take it all in and remember all of the special moments because you only get it once! I just want to also share that there were 3 very important people in our lives who were not at our wedding due to no longer being with us but not a second went by on our special day that we didn’t think of them and wished they were there to celebrate with us. We had a special table set up at our reception to acknowledge them and I know they would have been watching us from above and making sure we had the most perfect day.


Wedding Suppliers used by Ashlea include:


Wedding Photography : Jillian McHugh Photography

Wedding Flowers : Isle of Flora

Wedding Decorator : A Flamingo Surprise

Wedding Video : Mandoon Estate