7 April 2018
So, before we start I will fill you in on a bit of background. I was so nervous before this wedding! Why? Hilary (the bride) wasn’t keen on having a photographer. as they were planning a low key wedding plus she wasn’t a fan of having her photo taken. I totally understood, I’m not a fan of having my photo taken either.
Thankfully, Vinny (the groom) booked me and surprised Hilary with the news. Thankfully she took the news well!
Thankfully for me because I got to hang out with this amazing couple and their friends and family during this one-of-kind wedding.
Hilary and Vinny met in the French Alps and have since travelled the world together. They share a love of life, family and food (Vinny being a chef and Hilary working in the hospitality industry). Most people have a ‘bucket-list’ of places to see and things to do, this couple have a ‘bucket-list’ of finding the perfect dumpling and exploring tastes around the globe. So it was no doubt that family, food and having a good time were priorities when it came to planning their wedding.
They considered returning to the French Alps for their nuptials and even a favourite destination of theirs, Sri Lanka (FYI I would have made either work) but in the end it was where Hilary grew up that had their heart.
Hilary’s family have called ‘Condamine Plains’, Brookstead home for 110 years and was where her parents, brothers, sister-in-law, 2 beautiful nieces and a one extremely handsome nephew continue to call home. It was actually Vinny, an Englishman that convinced Hilary that ‘Condamine Plains’ was the place where they could incorporate all their loves for their big day and also share this incredible part of the world with his family and friends from abroad.
There is no doubt that they made the right decision. Their guests drove up to the homestead past paddocks of white cotton as far as the eye can see before arriving at the sprawling gardens which is straight from the pages of a ‘Country Style’ magazine. Beyond the wide open spaces, natural beauty and sentiment of being home; the magic of this place is undeniable.
I openly admit that I get emotional at weddings, it is the connections between people that get me every time and this wedding was no different. One of these moments was watching a stunning Hilary walk down the garden path on the arm of her father, Harley beaming with pride to an adoring Vinny who stood hand in hand with his two nieces Chloe and Lizzie. Cue the waterworks!
Despite the distance, Vinny’s visiting family and friends were reminded of home when following their ceremony a recording of family members ringing the church bells back in England echoed through the gum trees here in Australia; a touching symbol of two families coming together.
Everyone knows that a wedding at home always come with a huge workload and this was no different but it was definitely a labour of love. Hilary’s mum, Min had worked tirelessly in the months leading up to the event showcasing a lifetime of tending to her glorious garden. A gorgeous group of local ladies came together to create effortlessly beautiful floral arrangements, button holes, flower crowns and bouquet which blended seamlessly into the magnificent surroundings.
Food is a huge part of this couples life and it was essential that their day and night was filled with drinks flowing and mouthwatering food not to mention the most incredible wedding cake made entirely of cheese. Yes, that’s right I said cheese, huge wheels of cheese. With a team of friends on board who just so happen to be highly respected chef’s and event staff; the result was perfection. But this menu wasn’t about fancy cuisine; once again the menu reflected a simple approach using locally sourced and the freshest produce, prepared with love and serving up an array of full-bodied flavours. This was the kind of food that you closed your eyes as you ate it in the hope that the experience lasted a little longer, the kind of food that still today as I am typing this I am craving and the kind of food that brings home the importance of where your food comes from.
Mouthwatering legs of lamb from Hilary’s mothers family farm in Armidale were cooked over a homemade open wood fire with the aromas teasing guests.
The styling of the clear marquee ensured that the surrounding greenery and blooms of the garden and the blanket of stars above were visible at all times. A single guinea fowl feather (a token of the flock of guinea fowl that roamed the expansive gardens) and their handwritten name tag invited guests into the reception space. They took their seats at tables layered with crisp white tablecloths, silver tableware and glassware enticing guests to indulge in good company, food and wine.
Despite the heartfelt and entertaining speeches, this crowd was busting to get on the dance floor and when they did; they definitely did not disappoint. A few standouts were Vinny’s Grandfather and his light-footed Tango, Hilary’s brother, Fraser and his epic dance-off moves and thank god for the power of internet shopping resulting in the patent gold hi-tops with multi-coloured flashing soles that the bride nearly wore a hole in.
After meeting these two for the first time, I was blown away by their connection. With a simple glance, it is evident that there is such a deep respect, friendship and love that they share.
At times I would find them sitting back soaking up the ambience of their day, a smile sweeping over their faces as they watched friends and family enjoying themselves although other times they could be surrounded by a dance floor full of people, noise and lighting yet be completely lost in each others gaze like they were they only two people in existence.
A love that thrives amongst silence and chaos, is surely a love that will endure all the ups and downs of life.
And, what a beautiful life you have created together. I cannot thank you both enough for trusting me to capture this very special day in your lives. It will be one that I remember for years to come.