What do you do when a few weeks after getting engaged you get offered a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity in Amsterdam commencing in three months time?
With an exciting international move closing in fast, Mitch and Rosie chose to fast-track their wedding plans and host their special day at Gabbinbar Homestead booking their wedding only three months before the big day. They combined their wedding as both a celebration of their union and a 'bon voyage' of sorts with their nearest and dearest. Rosie began her day in the bride’s retreat with her bride tribe before saying her vows in a beautiful and personality filled Pavilion ceremony.
The couple then chose to celebrate with family and friends by hosting an elegant summer garden party featuring live cooking by the Gabbinbar Homestead award winning chefs. Upon sunset, guests entered the Gabbinbar conservatory and after dinner were invited to join Rosie and Mitch in ‘The Woods’ for their first dance beneath the stars, surrounded by fairy lights and festoon lit trees..
‘We decided that rather than waiting to get married in 18 months time like we'd originally thought, we wanted to get married before we moved away. Despite the tight time frame, we both felt in our gut that it was the right thing to do with all the uncertainty with COVID and it also meant that our wedding could double as our farewell party before leaving Australia. Our entire wedding was to be planned within 3 months and we had a lot on our plates with an upcoming move.
‘We wanted a venue that had an experienced team that could help us throughout the process, and where the ceremony, photos and reception could happen within the same venue. After chatting to the team, it was clear to us that Gabbinbar absolutely ticked all of these boxes.’
Hosting a summer wedding, they wanted the vibe to be natural, elegant, timeless, Australian and not overly ‘done’.
‘Mitch and I love nature, the outdoors and the environment. Our liking for outdoor adventures like hiking and camping is something that first brought us together as a couple. Gabbinbar was the first venue we inspected and we were blown away by the natural, classic beauty of the venue. 13 acres of gardens, options for a beautiful outdoor ceremony under the trees, as well as the 150 year old historic homestead for our reception really appealed to us. Gabbinbar also had great options for wet weather and the ancient fig trees provide shade for guests in the summer heat - both things we had to carefully think about planning a January wedding in Queensland!’
With three months to curate the day of their dreams Mitch and Rosie strategically approached the task at hand working closely with the Gabbinbar Homestead planning team.
‘True to both our personalities we had a couple of spreadsheets that we used to track our budget, our options for vendors and so on. We planned out all the major things we needed to have done, and by when, so that we kept on track and didn't accidentally overlook anything. In addition, it goes without saying that having wedding planners that were available to us through Gabbinbar was absolutely instrumental in making sure this was a smooth process!'
Prioritising having a great connection with their vendors, outside of just being avid admirers of their work, was also important to Mitch and Rosie when planning their wedding day.
‘One thing that we did do was try and meet for a coffee in person or at least do a video call with some of our key vendors prior to choosing them - mainly photographer, florist, videographer and celebrant. This really helped us get to know them a little and make sure that our vendors were a right fit for our day and our personalities. This really helped, and as a result, on the day our vendors were incredible.’
Surrounded by incredibly supportive bridesmaids who were on hand to offer sage advice, kind words of wisdom and help with the myriad of decision to be made, Rosie's wonderful long term friends Carryn, Katie, Julia and Mitch’s younger sister Bella wore elegant, black floor length one-shoulder gowns by Bec & Bridge.
‘We had a pamper night in our AirBnB the night before the wedding which really set the tone for the day ahead! We spent the morning all together getting ready in the bridal retreat along with Mitch's mum Judy and my mum Julie. I wasn't sure how I would go emotionally - I'd barely slept the night before and thought I might be a bit teary but I was just really excited. We had an awesome time, enjoyed a beautiful breakfast, lunch and champagne together and really soaked it all in. I had always wanted black bridesmaids dresses and the girls helped me pick from a range of different styles. I absolutely loved how my bride tribe looked on the day. I thought they looked simply stunning and very elegant!’
After much deliberation and trying on ‘lots of lace and beaded dresses that were stunning but just didn’t feel right’ a teary-eyed Rosie chose to walk down the aisle of the Gabbinbar Pavilion towards an equally teary-eyed Mitch wearing the Ballina Gown by Melbourne designer Chosen by KYHA.
‘Mitch’s most memorable moment is the ceremony, specifically when the musician started playing ‘Flume’ by Bon Iver and the bridesmaids started walking in followed by me and my dad. He was overcome with emotion.’
And the gorgeous gown….
‘I loved this gown because of its neckline, low back with delicate straps and the gorgeous thick crepe fabric that it was made from. I felt like the dress was modern, elegant and its design suited my personality. It felt fantastic to wear and the low back made this an excellent dress for a summer wedding.
I paired my dress with a handmade single tier veil by Sydney designer Madame Tulle. The veil was scattered lightly with small pearls and I feel that it complimented the style and silhouette of my dress perfectly. I wore pearl and rose gold jewellery from Amelia George and Kristin Ash on the day to tie in with my veil and dress.’
Mitch and the groomsmen who had arrived pre-ceremony for their ‘finishing touches’ photos in the Gabbinbar library also worked with a monochrome palette with Mitch wearing a white tux jacket by Calibre and the groomsmen in all black suits by MJ Bale.
For the florals they enlisted the talents of Sonya from the Organic Florist who was instrumental in building upon the vision that Rosie and Mitch had articulated. For the ceremony a stunning elevated arbor was adorned with white flowers, proteas and a decadent abundance of native foliage and greenery.
Alongside breathtakingly beautiful styling, the choice to write their own vows (with the assistance of their celebrant Jake) was undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments of the day for the couple and guests alike:
‘We wrote our own vows and it was one of the best decisions we've made. Our celebrant Jake had given us a guide that really helped us put pen to paper! We took some time apart to write them but we coordinated our last line: "I promise to love you forever, because life is better when the team is together" . This was so special to us both as we've always referred to each other as a team.
‘I think that us writing our own vows really made the ceremony more personal. Jake absolutely nailed the perfect blend of humour, personal anecdotes and really meaningful content for our ceremony that suited our personalities perfectly. There wasn't a dry eye in the house! We never thought we'd say it but the ceremony was one of the biggest highlights of the day.
Since the wedding, we've seen our wedding film and our vows feature over the top of it which is beautiful. I've also kept our original printed vows from the day and added them into our polaroid guest book, along with a few other cute memory things so that we can always look back on those beautiful words.’
At the conclusion of the ceremony the couple and their guests flowed into the Garden Party beneath the shade of the towering trees on the estate and were treated to a ‘live cooking’ station with Asian infused dishes being created by the Gabbinbar Homestead chefs.
For the wedding party photos the couple and friends popped a magnum of champagne together in the gardens before moving to the tennis courts and pavilion, with Mitch and Rosie then continuing to catch moments alone together throughout the estate.
The reception featured minimalist eucalyptus flatlays and white pillar candles teamed with wooden tabletops and crossback-chairs. A styling ensemble that Rosie envisioned which was then brought to life by the planning team.
‘We were working with Sonya from The Organic Florist but came up with the concept for the reception styling ourselves and the Gabbinbar team helped execute it on the day. I hired large pillar candles from Prop It Pretty and purchased small tealight candles in bulk through a wholesaler online. I came up with the concept of the natives, the eucalyptus flatlays on the tables and the sprigs of gum for each guest's setting and worked with our florist to create these.
I marked up the reception seating plan provided by Gabbinbar with the ideas for styling, including how to have the tables set, guest name cards, the polaroid guest book station and where the candles and foliage would go. The Gabbinbar team organised setting things out on the day and the whole vision came to life really well!
Throughout their wedding planning process Rosie and Mitch kept receiving the same piece of great advice from family and friends, which they followed on their wedding day:
‘We were given the same advice by multiple family members on our wedding day. They said, make sure you take time out every hour to go off alone for a second and take it all in. Have a drink together, watch on, observe your guests enjoying themselves and soak it all up because otherwise it will all just be a memory before you know it!
We definitely took this advice and took a few moments to ourselves throughout the day. We were also lucky that our bridal party was able to use Gabbinbar's bridal retreat to have some drinks together, play some music and freshen up for 15 minutes before we entered the reception. It was heaps of fun!’
When the end of the evening came Mitch and Rosie departed the Homestead farewelled by a sea of family and friends waving sparklers and wishing them well, a moment Rosie says she will never forget:
‘My most memorable moment was actually our departure in our vintage car, a 1955 Buick. We left the reception and our guests lined the driveway in the gardens at Gabbinbar, holding sparklers and some were singing Kylie Minogue to us as we walked through (a classic song amongst our uni friends!). The trees at Gabbinbar were all lit up with beautiful fairy lights as we said our goodbyes and departed as a married couple. We had a 15 minute ride in the Buick back to our accomodation and it was a gorgeous summer night. We had the windows down, were chatting and laughing with our car driver and we simply could not get over how incredible our day had just been. We were both so ecstatic.’