Romantic ‘old world glamour’, with a touch of fun, was how Rod and Brianna described their stunning wedding experience hosted this year in Autumn at Gabbinbar Homestead. Extravagant floral arrangements, designer gowns, customised wedding favours and a fireworks farewell in a vintage 1930’s dodge made this an unforgettable celebration for the couple and guests alike.
After nearly 10 years of being together, Rod took Brianna out for what she believed was just another ‘casual drive and hike’ in his beat-up 4wd known as ‘Red’ with their beloved German Shepherd, Tex. Stopping to admire a roadside lookout on ‘Mt Worth’ near her hometown of Cloverlea, Brianna felt Rod was ‘acting somewhat nervous and suspicious’ but also admits she was totally taken by surprise with the proposal.
‘ He then opened the box and showed me the ring, but didn’t say anything (in typical Rod fashion). I was very surprised and shocked. I said ‘Are you going to say anything’ and his first words were ‘well, will you?’ Meanwhile, Tex ran off and entered someone’s property up the hill so the next 10 minutes were spent trying to retrieve the dog from the back of their house. It was a funny proposal, but was iconic Rod, so I wouldn’t have had it any other way.’
Early in her planning process, while scrolling through Instagram, Brianna by chance happened upon a photo of Gabbinbar Homestead’s night garden and was instantly drawn to the magic of the estate.
‘We chose Gabbinbar Homestead for our wedding venue after coming across it randomly on Instagram one day. The first thing we noticed was the beautiful fairy lights strewn all throughout the gardens in the photos posted online. We also loved the historical element of the homestead and the beautiful old gardens. We decided to fly up to QLD from Victoria for the day to have a look at the venue in person and once we did we knew we absolutely HAD to book it. It perfectly suited the style we were after and the large glass ceiling conservatory was exactly what we had in mind for the reception. We loved that the ceremony and reception were all able to be held at the one venue to make it easier for our guests. The professionalism from the initial enquiry through to the first site inspection from the team was amazing and we loved the overall relaxing, charming vibe of the venue and grounds.'
Residing in Victoria, being able to choose exceptional local vendors was a huge priority to the couple who found Gabbinbar’s ‘Recommended Vendors’ and MyGabbinbar planning portal instrumental in the process.
‘ Wedding planning during the middle of a pandemic certainly had its challenges but it also meant there was a lot more spare time throughout lockdowns to conduct research and make enquiries online. Gabbinbar Homestead has an online portal called ‘MyGabbinbar’ which made the planning process a lot easier as it had checklists, important documents such as menus, price lists, inspiration, a communication channel, and most importantly recommended vendors. We used this supplier list to research our suppliers and know they were definitely able to service the Toowoomba area.’
With the unseasonal event of rain on their wedding day Brianna found this local expertise and experience invaluable, especially when the magic of her and Rod’s day was being captured.
‘ One of our standout vendors was our photographer ‘Leah Cruikshank Photography.’ From the initial enquiry right through until after the wedding day she had fantastic communication and answered any questions we had professionally and promptly. Leah was so great to work with as she stopped at nothing to get the perfect shots, even though most of our photos were in the rain. She also sent us little thankyou cards and a beautiful kit with some photos and a USB after the wedding. We can’t wait to receive our full printed album. The images turned out amazing.’
"It was so amazing to be a little part of Rod and Brianna's wedding day, I am so grateful to all the wonderful people who trust me to capture their wedding memories! Rod and Brianna were so easy-going and fantastic to work with. It made my job so, so enjoyable and effortless. Their wedding day was a magical, Toowoomba autumn days - it was a little bit fresh, it happened to be a little bit wet and a with a whole lot of (beautiful) fog! I was all sorts of happy and probably totally over the top with my enthusiasm for it! We all worked with the weather and as you can see, we got some stunning photos with a bit of magic fog. Thank you Brianna and Rod for having me and a massive congratulations to you both!"
For the couple, another important priority on the wedding day was wanting to show guests their thankfulness and appreciation by creating and providing thoughtful and customised wedding favours.
‘ We spent a lot of time on our wedding favours as we wanted to impress our guests and come up with an original and thoughtful wedding favour for them to take home and remember the wedding by, instead of something generic. For our female guests, we hand made our own candles using the finest coconut-soy wax and carefully selected the scent from hundreds of oils to really complement our theme.
We had custom pink arched labels made up for these that incorporated our wedding logo and secured the white candle box with custom labelled burgundy ribbon that tied in with our colour theme. Our wedding logo was used on the ribbon in gold font. For our male guests we had custom labelled miniature Jack Daniels bottles and with this accompanied by an authentic Montecristo Cuban cigar to go with each whiskey bottle- all placed neatly in a matching white box to the candles along with the same custom ribbon we used for the candles.'
In curating a day that evoked a sense of ‘old world glamour’ the couple focussed their attention around romantic details fused with extravagant finishing touches. For their ceremony, hosted in the pavilion, the arbour was laden with moody florals composed primarily of Colombian roses in white, pink and red hues. Pillar candles in glass hurricanes created an ambient glow and adorned the aisle. Brianna carried a loosely structured bouquet of roses, ranunculus and seasonal foliage in rich tones tied up with a cascading dusty pink tulle ribbon. Rod’s boutonniere matched the bouquet, with a single ivory flower and seasonal foliage.
In a continuation of the day’s theme, guests were treated to a visual spectacular in the homestead’s conservatory with fairy lights, magnificent hanging floral installations, elevated floral centrepieces and wooden tablescapes layered with textured and romantic details.
‘ We chose to have fireworks at both our cake cutting ceremony above the glass conservatory roof and for our final goodbye with the fireworks lining the driveway, we felt this was unique and memorable for our guests. We were also really glad we went over the top with our florals and styling, especially in the conservatory, as it really contributed to the look we were going for.’
For her wedding day, Brianna chose the Remi gown designed by Jack Sullivan Bridal. Gathering ideas from her dress online and then initially visiting boutiques in Melbourne she found the perfect dress within the hour from the beautiful designs offered at Twelve South Bridal, her local boutique in Yarragon.
‘ I loved the fit of the dress and how it felt comfortable and well made. The design was simple but effective and it had the 'old world glamour' with the full skirt and slight embellishment with beading. The full skirt and flowy fabric from the waist down meant I didn’t have to feel insecure at all about my body. The dress was paired with a New Phrenology salt crystals veil, and I wore crystal-embellished Badgley Mischka heels, a gold floral pin, earrings also purchased from Twelve South Bridal and to add something borrowed and something blue I wore my mother’s grandma’s vintage sapphire ring.’
Brianna’s bridal party consisting of her three sisters as bridesmaids, her soon to be stepdaughter as junior bridesmaids and her niece as flower girl who all wore stunning Oleg Cassini gowns. Along with Brianna’s mother, they spent the morning being pampered and getting ready in the luxurious Bride’s Retreat.
‘We arrived at Gabbinbar Homestead at 8am and spent the day getting ready in the bride's retreat. It was a special and fun day as we were served champagne along with a beautiful breakfast and lunch. We all chose the bridesmaids dresses together. The bridesmaids’ dresses were a unique burgundy colour and looked stunning. The neckline sat slightly off the shoulder and they were cinched at the waist. The skirt was flowy and had a slit on the left-hand side. The bridesmaids paired them with stunning gold heels, featuring gold chandelier earrings and a gold floral hairpin.
My junior bridesmaid also wore an Oleg Cassini dress but in a light pink colour with a strapless neckline. We paired this with pearl earrings, nude coloured heels and a gold floral hairpin. My flower girl's dress complimented my wedding dress, paired with ivory and pink sandals.’
Initially getting ready at nearby ‘Wisteria Cottage,’ Rod and the groomsmen captured their finishing touches photos onsite in the homestead:
‘ Rod and the groomsmen wore a classic black suit with a black vest and bow ties, all designed by Milano workshop. The classic black suits made for amazing pictures in the drawing-room of Gabbinbar Homestead with the mahogany features, leather couches and crackling fireplace, along with the classic 1930’s black dodge they arrived in.’
With the acoustic soloist playing ‘love of my love’ both Brianna and Rod list seeing each other at the aisle for the first time as one of their favourite moments of their wedding day.
‘My most memorable moment was first walking down the aisle at the ceremony in the pavilion and also the fireworks that went off during our cake cutting ceremony over the glass conservatory ceiling above us. Rod's most memorable moment was the whole day, but he says his favourite moment was when I walked down the aisle towards him.’
Looking back on the day and the planning process Rod and Brianna have some valuable advice to share with other couples.
1. My first piece of advice would be to finalize the guest list early for budgetary purposes. When we were struggling with compiling our guest list and how many people to invite, somebody said to us ‘if you wouldn’t go out for dinner with someone on your list then you're probably not required to have them at your wedding.’ This gave us a fresh perspective and helped narrow down our list from there.
2. My second piece of advice would be to get the invitations out early in order to allow enough time to collect RSVP's, dietary requirements and to provide guests with information.
3. Lastly, I would recommend having a spreadsheet to track all of your expenses to make sure your budget doesn't blow out with last-minute expenses and that you account for everything. This spreadsheet also came in handy as a 'to do’ list as I had listed the due dates for all payments and if I hadn't yet allocated a cost to something I was able to clearly see that it still needed to be booked/taken care of.
‘ We would like to thank the team at Gabbinbar Homestead and all of our vendors for helping us host a beautiful, memorable wedding for the ages. We would like to thank our guests for going out of their way to celebrate with us. We also encourage all couples to enjoy the moment as it is over in the blink of an eye’
Planning: Gabbinbar Homestead Team Photographer: Leah Cruikshank Photography Videographer: Michael Kelly Films Hair: Sarah Neill Hair Makeup: Sheridan Meyers Makeup Artist Florist: Poppies for Willow Celebrant: Married by Jake Wedding Cake: Jillicious Band: Baker Boys Band Bride's dress: Jack Sullivan Bridal Veil: New Phreonology | Twelve South Bridal Bride's shoes: Badgley Mischka Bridesmaid dress: Oleg Cassini Groom suit: Milano Workshop