Sarah & Tom

Today’s gorgeous couple, Sarah and Tom had a very specific vision in mind for their wedding day “We didn’t want the classic wedding, instead we wanted to hold a party for our friends and family outdoors in a beautiful garden setting somewhere where people could relax and enjoy the whole day together and then party on into the night at. We were hoping to find a venue like this that would also let us organise and bring in everything ourselves, bonus points if it could also be booked for multiple days. We didn’t think it would exist, yet somehow we managed to find the perfect venue after stumbling across it in a Polka Dot Bride article”

The beautiful lakeside venue Redbrow Garden setting the scene for their luncheon wedding day – a decision which allowed the pair to spend maximum time with their guests in utter garden party style. “The whole afternoon was spent drinking and grazing as people chatted and played games and it allowed us to spend so much time with all of our guests.” They chose All Grown Up Weddings to capture their day (a wise decision, you’ll agree once you check out these photos!). “We had a coffee cart in the afternoon with a table laden with cakes and sweets. As the evening rolled around we had dinner with delicious Peruvian street food canapes and as it turned dark the fairy lights strung through the trees lit up and the dance floor took off. We loved that we had so much time throughout the day to spend together with all of our friends and family and despite it still flying by, we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it”

Can you believe these two first met in high school? Sarah says “We first met back in high school when Sarah was the new girl at Tom’s school. There was lots of nervous flirting back and forth until we finally got together at none other than Sarah’s bridesmaid’s sweet 16th birthday party!”

Tom and his groomsmen wore classic MJ Bale and coloured bowties from Dressed for Sunday

Sarah and Tom kicked off their day with a first look, the bride reminiscing “We both got ready at our parents’ places and then met up before the wedding in New Acton. It was lovely to see each other in the morning beforehand and to spend some time wandering around together with our bridal party, having some fun and a few drinks, all while our awesome photographer managed to blend in with us and get some amazing shots.”

We need to talk about Sarah’s gown! She found the beauty of Okstyle, telling “I’d always wanted to get married in a coloured dress. I searched in stores in both Canberra and Sydney but struggled to find one that felt bridal, everything seemed to be either bridesmaid dresses or ball gowns. Determined, I turned to the internet and found a company in Hong Kong that enabled me to custom design both the style and colour of a dress and so I ended up ordering my dream dress from them in a dark green lace and tulle. It turned out really well and was definitely a surprise for most people, plus I can now crop it to a tea length and wear it again!”

Sarah and Tom’s choice of photography was a well-researched decision, tells the bride. “I really appreciate good photography and so I did a huge amount of research into different companies (you should see the Excel sheets) but quickly found that hands down, All Grown Up Weddings had the most natural, artistically interesting, and overall stunning photos of everyone we looked at. They had a super cool team that supported us in the lead up to the wedding and Thommo was the best photographer we could have asked for. He was funny, relaxed, able to wrangle a crowd, came up with great ideas on the spot and was surprisingly nimble slipping into rooms unnoticed despite his massive 6ft6 height. He was so good that my brother went ahead and booked him for his own wedding 6 months later! Thommo and All Grown Up Weddings gave us photos that we’ll hang in our home and admire for a lifetime.”

Sarah and Tom chose the beautiful garden venue Redbrow Garden.  “Both the ceremony and the reception were held at Redbrow Gardens Guesthouse out near Murrumbateman. We were able to book Redbrow for a whole weekend which enabled us to spend the day before out there setting everything up with the help of friends and family and the day after packing it all away. We could also bring in all of our own food, drinks and catering options, and a group of us were able to stay the night in the guesthouse rooms and wake up and do a recovery breakfast together the next day.”

“I didn’t have much of a plan for flowers,” shares Sarah, who did the flowers herself. “I just knew that I wanted bright florals all around the place and it didn’t particularly matter what they were. I went to a wholesale florist in Canberra with this distinct lack of a plan a few days before the wedding and spent a few hundred dollars on some lovely bunches of natives and yellow Billy Buttons, and my bridesmaid and I went and collected a carload of eucalyptus leaves and greenery from the trees on her farm. I’m lucky that I have a super talented auntie who was able to wrangle this mass of flowers and greenery into a range of bouquets, buttonholes, corsages, my hairpiece, an arbour decoration and table vases for around the venue, and they looked incredible!”

Sarah and Tom were lucky enough to have bridesmaid Zoe officiate the wedding. “Our ceremony was really special as we were able to write it together with one of our best friends Zoe, who was going to be both a bridesmaid and our celebrant! She had the guests both laughing and awwing, exactly what we wanted in our ceremony. We also had our fathers read a funny but lovely poem called “Love Me When I’m Old and Shocking”. The highlight though was listening to the personalised vows that we had written for each other which made us both well up (I’m a sucker for the romantic stuff).”

Being a lunchtime wedding, Sarah and Tom were able to treat their guests to a multitude of feasting treats, beginning right after they said “I Do”. “We didn’t think the perfect venue would exist yet somehow we managed to find the perfect venue after stumbling across it in a Polka Dot Bride article. Redbrow Gardens Guesthouse has a beautiful open garden that looks out over the nearby lake. We held our ceremony here and afterwards, everyone helped us set up the tables and chairs around all the trees and we covered them with candles, flowers, and cheese platters. We had a bar and music set up, and we organised for a coffee van to arrive mid-afternoon to keep everyone going and to accompany the massive table of cakes and desserts that our families and friends had made for us for the day.

The best thing we did was organise our wedding at lunchtime so that we were able to enjoy spending the whole day with our guests, and it still flew by! We loved hanging out together with the wedding party in the morning beforehand, the beautiful ceremony in front of the lake underneath the cherry trees, the afternoon eating cake and playing games with the guests, and of course the dance floor once it got dark and the party really kicked off. We were so glad we could spend so much time with everyone and enjoy the whole day together.”

“Our parents both made the most hilarious and lovely speeches,” remembers the bride,” but the most memorable part was the poem that Tom’s mum wrote about him growing up that brought tears to his eyes.”

“The wedding planning was really intensive since we were organising it all ourselves with limited vendors involved,” admits Sarah. “Luckily I love my spreadsheets and sunk my teeth right in. Doing it this way enabled us to choose exactly what we wanted and also save a huge amount of money on things we were happy doing ourselves, like stocking the bar, picking and arranging the flowers and decorations, ensuring everything ran to schedule on the day, and doing the whole venue’s set up and pack down. It required a huge amount of planning and organisation, as well as a lot of hands-on help from those close to us. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and would happily do it all again, but planning a wedding like this is not for the faint-hearted.”

The decadent lunch was catered by Mr Papa.  “We wanted something casual but delicious for the food and we couldn’t have asked for a better caterer than Mr Papa. When we first went to meet Carlos to discuss what Mr Papa could do for our wedding he asked us to sit down and then presented us with a platter full of Peruvian canapes which we quickly devoured. From that moment we were sold but our whole experience with Mr Papa was amazing. Carlos was incredibly helpful with adapting a menu to fit both what we really wanted as well as our budget and the whole Mr Papa team absolutely delivered on the night with guests raving about the tacos and chanchitos!”

Sarah’s favourite photos are from the impromptu afternoon photo session. “It was late in the afternoon, our photographer had grabbed the bridal party to take a few shots together as the light was good, and we were standing on the edge of the lake laughing away as our wedding party joked around together. We can’t wait to put that one up on the wall when we buy our first home.”

When we say this wedding was fun and games – we mean it! “We played a twist on the classic shoe game where we stood on chairs on opposite sides of the garden and instead got our guests to answer the “Who is…” questions which led to a lot of laughs and drinks for everyone.”

For their first dance, Sarah and Tom chose “Rain” by Sekai No Owari. “We fell in love with their music while living in Japan and had the best night going to one of their concerts together after somehow managing to score tickets in a lottery system.”

Congratulations Sarah and Tom! it was such an utter joy to share your wedding. Thank you both and thank you to All Grown Up Weddings for today’s beautiful imagery!