You Australian bride and grooms always have soooo much fun. And not just any type of fun; the type of fun where the smiles are ear to ear wide, the laughter is booming and every moment is more joyous than the last. Yep… you have “the happiest day of your life” and love-filled weddings down pat. And this darling duo? Well, they’re not only filled with pure, unadulterated happy, they also happen to know how to throw a perfect wedding (they do own Epic Empire Furniture Hire, after all). See every glee-filled moment captured by Stewart Ross in the full gallery.
And a beautiful film from Samantha Fletcher for even more pretty.
Pete and I met after a friends wedding in September 2011 in Sydney. We arrived to the post-wedding destination that evening and soon after arriving, I pointed out a cute guy at the bar to a girlfriend of mine and proceeded to head back to our group of friends. Soon after I was being led by my girlfriend to go and meet this handsome mystery man. Who knew that evening in the most unlikely circumstance, I would meet the man who would alter the course of my life forever. Twelve months and one week later, Pete took me down to our spot at McMahons Point on Sydney Harbour, tied a piece of ribbon around my finger and asked me to marry him. After many yeses from me, tears and laughter, my family came around the corner with champagne to celebrate. Little did I know Pete had organized for them to fly from interstate to share the momentous occasion with us.
When we envisioned our wedding, we wanted it to be completely us. Pete was living in Sydney and I was living in Brisbane, but we didn’t want to get married in either of those cities. We decided on my hometown of Toowoomba, to allow all our guests a weekend getaway in the country. I concepted the wedding style, with the help of my dear friend and business partner, who also has a styling business, Amini Concepts. The Hamptons-inspired preppy botanical style with white, green and natural tones was just perfect for our long lunch wedding reception.
All our guests had delivered to their various accommodations, a welcome bag that consisted of handmade wheat bags (done in the same material as the table runners at the reception; thank you Mum!), local soft drinks and local biscuits, along with tourist information. The festivities started on the Thursday evening with an intimate family dinner in the private dining room at Veraison. There was much work to be done setting up on the Friday. We own a furniture hire company and so were so fortunate to have our great team assisting with the set up. Two trucks full of beautiful items and hours later, we were done! On Friday afternoon Pete and I parted ways and that evening Pete’s side of the family and friends had dinner at one of the Irish pubs in town, while my side dined at another famous pub, The Spotted Cow.
As we chose not to have a wedding party, my dearest girlfriends and their respective partners were all staying with me at the iconic Vacy Hall Homestead in Toowoomba, we booked the twelve rooms out. After a room mix up however, I even had one of my dearest friends bunking in with me the night before the wedding; what fun!
The morning of the wedding was just unforgettable and so much fun, we all had breakfast together in the sun out on the back verandah and then everyone had their hair and make up done in my room, so there was a flurry of activity all morning long with the girls coming and going I just loved it!
Being in the wedding industry, I feel like we had such a carefree lead-up to the wedding. My only concern was that it would feel like work, but it rarely did. When it’s your own wedding it is just something so special and truly magical. If I could encourage any couples who are looking to get married, outsource what you don’t know and trust people who do this week in week out. (They know what they are doing and do it oh so well!) I just called the amazing suppliers we work with all the time and asked if they would be part of our wedding. Thankfully they all said yes and helped create a day that was truly Pete & me.
We chose our venue first and then wanted to choose the church where we would be married next as this was very important to us. The choice was made very easy for us as we happened to pull up to St. Lukes Anglican Church just as the priest opened the doors, we met and had an instant connection. On our wedding day, both our mothers wrote family prayers and read them during the service. It was such a special touch to have our Mums play a special role on the day. Both Mum and Dad walked me down the aisle and I will forever have the look on Petes face when he first saw me coming towards him etched in my memory. It was a short but heartfelt service overflowing with love and joy. We chose not to do any styling at the ceremony, but kept it traditional and simple.
The reception, however was another story, the styling was detailed and yet simple. Guests arrived to the grounds at Gabbinbar Homestead in the early afternoon and we had drinks and canapes on the lawn before heading into the conservatory for lunch. Cocktails on arrival were Pimms No 1 punch, my absolute all time favourite afternoon ladies drink. It was made famous at Wimbeldon, but I think its appropriate at any afternoon soiree. My favourite detail outside on the lawn was the personalised directions signpost that we made with the places that all our guests travelled from (both interstate and overseas) as well as the place where we first met, a bar on Sydneys lower North Shore, Minskys. I had also hand-sewn some hessian bunting with our initials on it, that Pete swiftly ripped up while we were having our photos taken so it would reflect our new initials.
We just loved the two separate sitting areas as you walked into the homestead, one styled as more of a gentlemans lounge and the other a more feminine room with a marshmallow roasting station. The port and whisky bar was a hit with the gents and were all hand selected. The botanical styling was accented by the foliage chandelier we constructed, the fig trees at the end of the conservatory, the name place tags hanging from the back of each guests chair, as well as the maidenhair ferns which made up the main element of the table styling. Green and white striped table runners were accented with rattan charger plates and sat on A-frame trestle tables with white Bentwood chairs. It looked beautiful in the day and as the sun started to go down and the candles started to glimmer, it really was exactly as I had envisaged.
One of the best parts of the reception were the speeches so heartfelt and genuine there were tears all round, coupled with much laughter. My eldest brother was our MC and he did the most fabulous job of it. The last formal part of the evening was the first dance where I whipped out the mic and surprised Pete by singing the first verse to him of Youre Just Too Good To Be True his face was priceless, such fun! Because we had a lunch but danced on into the night, we wanted to make sure that our guests didnt go hungry. There was a chef carving ham with condiments and rolls throughout the evening and the marshmallow roasting station by the fireplace was a hit (I guess it was my take on a lolly buffet). As guests were leaving we had slider burgers that were amazing. The staff at the venue even came out and delivered them to us as we got on the bus to head back into town!
We wouldnt change a thing about our wedding day it was simply the most wonderful joy-filled day where we made beautiful promises to each other and were blessed enough to share it with our family and friends who we love so dearly.
Photography: Stewart Ross Photography | Cinematography: Wedding Films by Samantha Fletcher | Wedding Dress: The Babushka Ballerina | Invitations: Urban Weddings | Ceremony Venue: St Luke's Anglican Church | Reception Venue: Gabbinbar Homestead | Styling: Amini Concepts Event Styling | Furniture Hire: Epic Empire Furniture Hire | Suit: MJ Bale