Jess and Brad

I love when I spy a new venue in my wedding submissions, especially when it’s been so carefully tuned to the couple’s own personal style like Jess and Brad did. They found an old, lovingly cared for hall and turned it into the location for their wedding extravaganza. Filled with handmade details, the couple’s doors and plenty of fairy lights, the scene was set for their story to unfold.

Of how they came to be, Jess tells, “There is 15 years between Brad and I, so everyone always asks this question. They met through mutual friends just as Brad had returned from a stint living in Melbourne – at first he thought Jess was “just some kid” and palmed her off as best he could (and at every occasion). Jess said before she met Brad she didn’t believe in the “love at first sight” palaver – but when she met Brad she knew he was a special kind of guy. So after six months of Jess chasing Brad – he finally gave in and the rest is history. Brad had been married before and as such Jess never discussed getting married and thought they would just live happily as they were doing, until Brad popped the question (stark naked too!).”

The Itchy Eyes captured the fun and festive wedding photographs for Jess and Brad’s celebration.

Jess had a custom made gown made by her friend Alison Carr. Her bridesmaids wore floral gowns from Alannah Hill My beautiful life clip.

Guests traveled on a bus provided by the couple to the wedding location.

Jess and Brad held their wedding at Waterloo Hall. Jess explains, “Waterloo Hall has a long history and with that history comes lovely stories of community, togetherness, gatherings and celebrations – although ours was the first wedding in it’s 100 year history. Brad through his work came to know the Waterloo Hall Community and committee members (Jenny and Shirley to name a few) and when we got engaged he couldn’t wait to take me out there to see it. I was a bit apprehensive as we had guests coming mostly from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and I thought a 30 minute trip extra past Bundaberg would be a bit too much, but as soon as I saw the hall, the bush setting and thought of all of the lovely things that 100 year old hall had seen inside it’s walls it was an easy decision.”

Jess walked down the aisle to Cat Power – Sea of Love (cover of a John Phillip Baptiste 1959 release).

“We got married out the back of the hall, Brad constructed an aisle of found branches and twigs and the hall had these beautiful wooden benches that we arranged for our guests. I will never forget getting out of the car, the winter sun setting amongst the gum trees and the warm light that shone down on our ceremony setting.”

“One of the most memorable moments for many guests was when Brad was pooped on by a bird during our ceremony! We had a bit of a laugh and continued on but lots of people drew little drawings for our guestbook of this event, as well as the dancing! Everyone just danced and danced – it was so fun! I remember thinking at one point I hope the 100-year-old floor holds up!

“Just a special mention to Jody Timms Designs – Jody is the most amazing jeweller. I had seen many girlfriends before me be bestowed with a very special Jody-made ring and was astounded at the beautiful one I received. I had no idea that Brad was going to propose and as such the ring was entirely made between him and Jody and I honestly could not have envisaged something so perfect. Jody made our wedding bands as well and her vision with rings and special attention to detail and creativity makes every ring very unique. Brad wanted Bunnykins bunny’s on his wedding band and she made it happen!”

Of their photographer, Jess says “The Itchy Eyes (aka the awesome Tricia King) is a good friend of ours and we knew that her distinct and creative style was for us as soon as conversations turned to finding a photographer. She was awesome to have around on the day, was relaxed, made all of us feel comfortable and sometimes you didn’t even know she was snapping away. I love the way that Tricia captured our day – there are many candid moments of our family, friends and us that we get to re-live through our photographs. The way that she packaged our photographs when they were posted was just so special and personal and very Tricia! I love that she made a 50-photograph slideshow with the music from our ceremony and reception behind it to share, popped a few teasers on Facebook and then left the rest up to us. She is very committed and has amazing attention to detail so she gets everything just right. I have recommended her to many brides since.”

“We used inside and the surrounding areas around the hall for the reception – which required some alterations but looked absolutely beautiful! The other thing I should mention about this venue is that we could have our beloved dog Darling join in and that was very important to both of us. She was by our side as we said our vows, sat at my feet as our friends and family made speeches and was around to lap up any of the extra roast meat lying on the ground!”

“When I think about our wedding, I can’t help but smile at how amazing it really was. Right from the very start everything just seemed to fall into place. We decided to get married within 6 months of getting engaged so decisions were made quickly and without deliberation or hesitation (which personally made things so much easier!). I took a lot of inspiration of this very blog! My dressmaker was recommended through a friend, the caterers we found were through the Waterloo Hall and their community, the band we had met through art shows in Bundaberg, Paradise Nights is Brad’s best friend and makes the best party mixes, the artwork we used for our invites was something Brad and I had purchased together…things were just meant to be. I had seen lots of different flower arrangements in the lead up to the wedding and decided that a mix of flowers in various jars would be the best way to go and suit the venue. Brad and I are mad op-shoppers and vintage obsessed so I guess that is where lots of the inspiration came from. The hall had so much furniture in it already so we just utilised that – the old cinema chairs, long tables and just jazzed it up a bit.”

The DIY list goes on, Jess telling, “I made chutney (along with my Step-Grandmother Robyn) as the guest favours and as such was collecting every single jar we used in our household in the lead up to the wedding for this, I also used these jars for the tea light candles which my friend helped me put tissue and string on.The jar collecting drove Brad mad! I made bunting for the front of the buses and inside the hall, my mum and I spent hours sewing the checkered tablecloths, I made melting moments, caramel slice and red velvet cupcakes for the dessert table and my mum and her sister made the wedding cakes (there was a Victoria Sponge, Chocolate Mud, Traditional Fruitcake and Lemon Cake) my dad printed the menu and signs based on a local artwork by a Woodgate artist Jennifer McDuff, we made our own invitations, a dear friend lent me the doilies for inside the hall, we made our own flower arrangements with bunches of bought flowers and recycled vases, my sister made a key mobile for inside the outside marquee, my mum made a photo wall and curtain, I made the guest book – the list goes on!”

For their first dance, Jess remembers, “We didn’t prepare anything really for our first dance – Brad is a bit of a dorky dancer, so we thought let’s dance to a lovely tune we both dig and just make it special for us that way. We danced to “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding and Tricia our photographer really captured one of my favourite photos from our whole wedding while we were dancing and it was very special. I felt totally filled happiness and excitement for the man I had just married and the lovely life we are going to have together.”

Congratulations Brad and Jess! Thank you for sharing your stories with us! Thank you also to The Itchy Eyes for sharing today’s imagery!