A twist of fate with an accidental, but seemingly serendipitous, swipe right on Bumble first brought Sally and Anthony together. After a relaxed and fun first date over a few drinks, it was evident that fate had smiled favourably upon both of them. A special surprise proposal by Anthony on the eve of his birthday accompanied by "lots and lots of tears of joy" from Sally marked the start of their engagement.
Planning when time is of the essence
Focussed on finding an exceptional venue with stunning garden surrounds, Anthony and Sally began planning their wedding only six months out from their August date.
With cancer and radiation treatments, working full-time, studying for her masters and not to mention a global pandemic thrown in on top, it was important for Sally to have a venue and vendors that could thoroughly support her in the planning process and execute the vision she had for her wedding celebrations. Choosing to pick a Thursday date also proved vital as it meant that even with a compressed planning timeline, they were able to achieve this.
An emphasis on creating an atmosphere of relaxation and connection
With the desire to have a 'hopefully relaxed, simple and elegant wedding' with a focus on 'spending as much quality time with family and friends as possible' Sally and Anthony's August wedding was a wonderful celebration brimming with paired back elegance, restrained glamour and beautifully rich winter tones and hues.
'We had the perfect day, the beautiful setting was only exceeded by the exceptional service and mouthwatering food. We had so many comments throughout the day on what a wonderful venue it was, the attention to detail from the staff and the plentiful, delicious food. Everyone was relaxed and forgot the outside world for a day, it was wonderful. Gabbinbar Homestead was truly exceptional.'
A breathtaking pavilion ceremony
With a distinctive and captivating colour palette featuring rich, jewelled winter tones Sally wanted styling and florals that weren't 'over the top' but instead 'complemented the natural beauty and surrounds of the homestead gardens'.
Choosing to have the ceremony in the picturesque pavilion they called upon the talents of Kate Dawes Flower Design to craft an arbour that combined elegant lines with relaxed and romantic florals resulting in a creative blend of texture, colour, and detail. Arrangements featuring natives, crimson orchids, burnt orange ranunculus, peach roses, textural greens and accented foliage adorned the arbour and rustic wine barrels at the entrance of the pavilion.
Celebrating with those near and afar
Walking down the aisle with her father to 'bluebird' by Alex French, not a moment was missed by friends and family who because of restrictions still in place were unable to make it on the day:
'We absolutely loved Gabbinbar's complimentary live streaming of the ceremony as it helped guests who couldn't make it because of restrictions feel a part of our day, even our colleagues stopped work to watch it which was really special.'
Sally looked breathtaking in her Ella Moda gown which featured a sequin embellished fitted bodice and skirt which gently sparkled as it caught the light. The finishing touches to the dress were the sheer cinched shoulder overlays which were also highlighted by delicately placed sequins.
Early on in the planning process, Sally fell in love with her bridesmaids crimson coloured velvet gowns from Jenny Yoo NYC. With a daring deep v-neck and luxurious soft velvet, they were the perfect accompaniment for the moody winter's afternoon festivities.
Not to be outdone or left behind in the styling stakes, Anthony chose a midnight coloured suit for himself and his groomsmen from Instichu and paired it with a maroon velvet bow tie and gold floral boutonnieres:
'It was all Anthony, he knew what he wanted, and I didn't get a say! He did a wonderful job, the guys looked so smart and polished, very dapper. They matched the bridesmaids perfectly.'
For Sally and Anthony, one of the main highlights of their day was getting to spend the afternoon with their guests in the garden party after their ceremony:
'It has been a tough year for everyone in many ways, and the chance for everyone to come to a beautiful venue, to relax, catch up and celebrate meant that everyone had the best day.'
Sunset canapes and champagne in the gardens
After an afternoon of mingling and indulging in canapes (including three cheese & quince tartlets,arancini with pumpkin chorizo, spinach, pine nuts, feta and tomato relish and smoky BBQ pork belly with smooth parsnip puree & green apple) Sally and Anthony capitalised on golden hour with 'Stories by Ash' who captured their magic in locations all across the estate:
'Ash was the best!! I loved her style of capturing the real moments of the day and guests without being overly staged. We got in touch early in the process to discuss the possibility of her capturing our day and just hit it off. She made us look so relaxed, natural and at ease.'
"A wedding isn't a big photoshoot and shouldn't feel like one! So I help my couples focus on each other instead of me, and create a relaxed atmosphere where they feel they can be themselves. We chat, laugh and connect a whole lot too, which means I can capture real personalities and emotion, and their time spent on photos becomes its own special memory of the day. This was very much my approach for Sally and Anthony!
These beautiful souls had two main wishes when it came to their photography: 1. That we keep it relaxed, fun and candid, and 2. That I pay special attention to capturing their dear guests throughout the whole day. So after their fun and loved filled ceremony we took a chilled stroll through the Gabbinbar gardens. Instead of racing between many locations we followed some of the gorgeous golden light of late winter. It turned on a beautiful show for us and perfectly highlighted their total joy. Our time together for portraits was short and sweet, and they joined their guests for some garden party fun before the dinner reception and more good times.
Seeing Sally and Anthony relaxed and enjoying their time together really was wonderful. Especially with all the stress and uncertainty Covid-19 delivered leading up to the big day. Thankfully they didn't need to reschedule, and they were in such good hands with the Gabbinbar team as plans were adapted to suit the changing restrictions. The day ended up being seamless, Covid-safe and oh so beautiful. That definitely contributed to how relaxed Sally and Anthony were!
And I must give a special hat tip to the bride for having so many candles scattered along the length of their tables. What a dream it was to photograph that gorgeous reception"
Stunning styling created the perfect atmosphere for the evenings celebrations
Entering the reception area in the Gabbinbar conservatory, guests were in awe of the effortlessly relaxed elegance with the long tressled wooden tables adorned with white pillar candles, green garlands and crisp white linen. The simple, yet sophisticated, styling set the stage for a wonderful evening of laughter, heartfelt speeches, fine dining and celebration.
With Covid-19 restrictions still placing a restraint on dancing, Sally and Anthony again chose to delight in quality time with their guests and used their ‘dancefloor’ as an added space for guests to continue to mingle and socialize. Selfies in front of their neon sign ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ were the order of the evening which was styled with decadent florals, ballooons and garlands.
‘The sign was originally supposed to say “shut up and dance” which wouldn’t have worked (thanks Covid), so we changed it a week or two before. I loved the flower and party decorations Kate and Julia did for it. It was stunning, and so fun!!! I think it made the ballroom a fun break out room for the guests to relax in after dinner.’
Moments to take your breath away
A romantic first dance by fireworks (which was a total surprise for guests) was the stand-out moment of the day for Sally, with the sky and courtyard lighting up behind them as ‘these arms of mine’ by Otis Redding played.
Lighting provided by Impact Lighting Co went on to play a central role in the evenings celebrations with light up letters S heart A creating a dynamic photo prop in front of the hedged greenery in the courtyard. As the night ended and the festivities came to an end Sally and Anthony departed the estate with a sparkler exit and well-wishes from friends and family. And their guests verdict???
“ The best wedding ever” was said to us a lot!!!’
Special moments that made this day extra memorable
Loving the opportunity to make the Gabbinbar estate their ‘home for the day’ Sally and Anthony especially enjoyed being able to add personal touches to their morning preparations.
‘To spend the morning getting ready with my Mum, sisters and bridesmaids whilst being spoiled by Gabbinbar was just the best. Anthony, being able to spend the day with his Groomsmen and having the picture of his brother Gerard (who passed away) in the library with him was pretty special.’