The History of Botanica Weddings

When A 30 Year Foundation Crumbled - They Rebuilt It From The Ground Up

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It was 2007 when the Global Financial Crisis ripped through the Australian economy leaving Janet and Ralph Hogan running in the red after years of running profitable restaurants and even a successful advertising firm. Until then life had been going incredibly well, but slowly, as the markets continued to dive, they saw the spoils of 30 years of work crumble before their eyes. Though they lived in an exquisite seaside villa in the Whitsundays, their investment losses in the GFC pulled the financial rug out from under them. There was no way to sugar coat it; they were at rock bottom.

But the crash fundamentally changed something between them. Instead of wallowing in pity and despair, Janet and Ralph were positive - they knew recovery was the only option and they also knew they could rely on each other to make it happen. Their marriage was built on a strong foundation which made hope and optimism a given as they ran through their options and brainstormed plans for new streams of income. This struggle not only brought them closer, it became the birth of Botanica Weddings. Read on or meet Janet and Ralph in this video.

When Dreams Become Reality

It all began with a dream. One night, Janet envisioned a woman in a white gown walking through her gardens. Upon awakening, she realised that the woman was a bride. Janet felt a strong connection to the dream and trusting her instincts she was inspired to suggest that they host weddings in the tropical gardens of their villa. At first, Ralph met the idea with slight bewilderment. But after some discussion, the pair decided to give it a try and set about preparing the villa gardens for their first event.

It was an exciting time, full of firsts and new experiences. After a last minute decision to upgrade the aisle to the ceremony pavilion, Janet recalls being on her hands and knees setting pretty pebbles in rapid-set cement the night before their first wedding. They were worried the bride would find herself stuck by her stiletto heels to the ground, but luckily the cement dried in time and the perfection Janet was after was achieved.

Tuning their estate into a wedding venue required major landscaping work and the couple wondered if they were getting in over their heads, but the following day, when Janet and Ralph’s garden was filled with 80 strangers having the time of their lives, they acknowledged an awakening joy within themselves. Weddings were to be the way forward and Botanica Weddings was born.

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Connecting With The Spirit Of Nature

The most poignant moment for Janet came when the bride said she had initially grieved that her late father was missing from the day, but then experienced a mystical moment with a butterfly in the garden, which made her feel her dad was unmistakably there in spirit. Janet and Ralph enjoyed every moment they spent hosting that first wedding. They planned to throw that special first couple the type of wedding that they would have wanted themselves - and they achieved it! The beautiful space and seamless service meant the bride and groom could enjoy every moment.

They decided to call the company Botanica Weddings because of Ralph's love for plants. Janet jokingly calls him the St Francis of Assisi of the plant world and since the very beginning; luscious gardens have been the main feature in almost all Botanica Wedding venues. You see, Janet and Ralph believe that being immersed in nature has a powerful effect on us, enabling us to connect with our souls either consciously or subconsciously. In this open and connected state, we tend to be more in touch with our authentic selves. And this allows us to connect with others on a deeper level. This has become their tried and tested recipe for joyous wedding celebrations.

A Recommitment To Each Other As Partners And Friends

Janet and Ralph recently celebrated thirty years of marriage with a recommitment ceremony at Villa Botanica. The celebration represented not just love but all the beautiful things born of the three decades they had spent together, including their three funny, gorgeous and intelligent daughters. Still, as much in love as ever, Janet recalled the time they first met and how much infatuation and attraction had played a part in the initial stages of their relationship. While Ralph reflected on the deep connection that happens when well-worn friends and partners invest such deep love and commitment towards one another.

The Dynamic Duo Share Their Views On Marriage, Self-Love and Communication

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In a wonderfully refreshing article and video on relationships, Ralph discusses the importance of having built the right communication channels throughout your marriage. When the sexual energy and romance has died down, which it inevitably does for most, couples have to re-evaluate the foundations of their relationship and approach the union with a joint goal for continued growth. Ralph suggests that this later stage is, in fact, the most rewarding leg of a marriage, and urges couples to recognise early on that a strong foundation and good communication are key.

They say it takes two to tango, so naturally, Janet has her own ideas and contemplations on the secrets to a good marriage and everlasting love. Janet has the perfect recipe for lifelong marital bliss, and it’s really quite simple. She says that in our life, we have three key relationships:

1.    One with our significant other

2.    One with our career

3.    And that with ourselves.

Of all three, Janet maintains that the relationship we have with ourselves is the most important. You may have heard this cliché before, but Janet has devised a multi-step approach to improving your levels of self-love and your relationship with yourself. You can read more about that here.

Helping Couples Launch Their Own Marriage Journey With Stunning Celebrations


Since 2007, Janet and Ralph have built a wonderful, successful and unique company together. Today, Botanica Weddings has planned and hosted over 1000 spectacular weddings in both Australia and Bali. While it’s hard work running a company, they are committed to providing couples with breathtaking wedding experiences and the feedback from brides continues to bring them such joy.

They specialise in planning seamless celebrations of love and securing the most stunning venues. So if you’re a newly engaged couple looking for help with your big day, don’t hesitate to contact Botanica Weddings. You’ll be blown away by the level of commitment and guidance you’ll receive from the wedding planners and entire staff.