For high school sweethearts Aaron and Zaika, their loved-up wedding day was all about dancing to the beat of their own drum. From customised guest attire to intimate vows held in a private and secluded location, the couple ensured their day was a celebration as unique as their love.
Having met 12 years earlier at a school camp, the couple settled in Toowoomba and built their first home together here; so if felt natural to have a hometown wedding that family and friends could easily attend.
'We wanted the vibe to feel like one massive party celebrating our journey and just how far we've come. So it was essential to have our closest family and friends attend, to have those most important to us with us on the day. We could do precisely that, and it was just incredible!'
After viewing a few alternative venues, it wasn't long before they found themselves driving down the clivia-lined driveway of Gabbinbar Homestead. As with all things wedding planning, the 'feel' of the place was essential to their experience, and even before they stepped out of the car, they knew the venue was the one.
‘Gabbinbar is just simply beautiful !!! At the start, Gabbinbar was not on our list to see, initially because I thought it was Brisbane based, and we thought it might be out of our price range. It had so many amazing reviews. But after seeing the first venue and being disappointed, we thought, 'Why not try Gabbinbar. What is there to lose?' and OH MY, are we glad we did !!! As soon as we drove in and parked the car, we had a "THIS IS IT" moment. After walking through the homestead and seeing how elegant and beautiful the spaces were, we just knew. We both fell in love with the pavilion, where we ultimately chose to have our ceremony.'
Choosing a wedding date was easy for Aaron and Zaika. Selecting a date close to their heart, they hosted their wedding in October on their 11th anniversary as a couple. With the gardens in full bloom, the estate's myriad of private spaces, including the breathtaking Jasmine wall, provided the perfect location for golden hour portraits and toasting their newest chapter of life.
When curating her florals and styling palette with Tamara from Toowoomba White Weddings, Zaika kept returning to one word, 'simplicity’.
' Simplicity is what we aimed for - less is more. Gabbinbar is already a statement, so I just wanted a few touches of white and brown.'
Hosting their elegant yet pared-back ceremony in the Pavillion, they draped sheer ivory cloth from the pillars to define the altar and elevate the space. As a point of difference and a non-negotiable when planning, they opted for 'private vows' shared privately in The Woods.
'Being able to have private vows, although a little different to usual, was fundamental to us on our day. As much as we would have loved to share these with our beautiful friends and family, we wanted to slow the pace down and take the time with just the two of us to say our forever vows to one another. We wanted to make sure we could take everything in together and whole-heartedly share the importance and intimacy of that moment together.'
Another essential element when planning the timing for their day was being able to conduct the formalities earlier, rather than later, in the evening. So, making the most of their beautiful October afternoon, they held their speeches during their garden party while guests sipped champagne, toasted to the couple's success and enjoyed the canapes.
' We wanted to host all of the formalities early in the evening, which was great as it made the rest of the night feel much more casual and relaxed. The food at the garden party and reception was excellent. Everyone, and I mean every one of our family and friends, had only great things to say about the food. The quality and the service at Gabbinbar really is like no other!'
Another highlight of their garden party time was the 'group photo' made even more special by the guests who were asked to all dress following Zaika and Aarons ' all shades of brown theme’. Continuing this feel, they festooned their tables with elegant pillar candles and chocolate linen napkins with a magical display of fairy lights strung from the conservatory's French doors.
When asked about her dress, Zaika is the first to admit she didn't find 'the one'. So instead, she opted for a customised creation adapted by Whitelane Textiles from a Luxe Bridal design. She paired it beautifully with jewel-embellished heels and a veil from Luxe Bridal.
Choosing wedding vendors proved easy for Zaika, who leaned heavily on the MyGabbinbar wedding planning portal and the team's curated recommendation list.
'All the vendors we dealt with went above and beyond!! But I must say my cake was more than I ever could have expected. Katrina from Cake House absolutely delivered !!!! I trusted her with the design, and I'm so glad I did. It looked amazing and, importantly, it tasted amazing too!'
When sharing advice for couples who are planning their wedding Zaika looked back to the most memorable moment of their wedding day:
' Remember this is a day for the two of you - as much as you want this day to be absolutely perfect, what matters most at the end of the day is saying 'I do' to the one you love. So try and be present and take every moment in as the day goes very fast. If you can, also try and plan times when you can pop away from everyone and let is soak in that it's your wedding day together. Our favourite moment of the day was when we both went away, just the two of us, after dinner, stood in front of the fountain, shared a kiss, and just stood there hugging each other without saying a word. We were absolutely in awe of how perfect our day turned out.'
Now they are married Zaika and Aaron look forward to 'continuing to do life together and to never stop loving each other’.