Ellen & Tom’s wedding is a special one. Not least because we’ve also shared the story of Ellen’s sister’s Katie’s big day a few years ago (equally as gorgeous, equally as love-filled).
Captured again, by the talented Cloud Catcher Studio team, this was a wedding that embraced all the beauty of the country. “We wanted a relaxed, fun (day) but with the sophisticated atmosphere which allowed everyone to get glammed up in black tie” explains Ellen. “The restored Woolstore at Goonoo Goonoo Station and surroundings are just so spectacular we didn’t want anything that would take away from the original building and outlook so we went very simplistic on decorations and had just flowers – hydrangeas – lots of them.
But while it’s country in style, it’s modern in nature. The amazing olive green gowns the bridesmaids wore, the hydrangeas that are everywhere, the homemade wedding cake; this wedding is the ultimate in feel good!
What else is feeling good? The story of how these two met! In Ellen’s words “We met at Tom’s year 12 formal back in 2007 thanks to our wonderful wedding MC’s who introduced us on the night. Ed and Dave were Ellen’s very close family friends and Tom’s best mates from boarding school. We grew up in the same region and our parents were friends – however, we had never met until that night.”
Ellen gives a special shout out to the beauty team of Equilibrium. “They made the girl gang look so glamorous and natural. They were so much fun the morning of the wedding – so many laughs were had in the old-school house which Goonoo Goonoo has turned into the beauty room.”
Let’s be real I know you adore Ellen’s Luna Bea gown as much as we do, here’s the story behind it. “I fell in love with it on Instagram, it was one of the first dresses I saw and wanted just that however, I couldn’t get the dress due to time restraints so I ended up with another dress. Due to COVID and postponing our wedding I ended up having a facetime call with Lou, the designer from London… sent my measurements to her through an email, a few months later the dress arrived at my work. Took it to Mum’s house and popped a bottle of champers to celebrate. Lou was the loveliest and is the most incredible designer (Luna Bea). My dress was the La Lune from her collection – it was so comfortable to wear and that silk was just incredible.”
Hydrangeas were a running theme throughout the wedding. Rhubarb and Rosie styling white hydrangea bouquets. Says Ellen “I did get the bouquets done by a florist from Glen Innes – Rhubarb and Rosie. Janey did the most amazing job of our white hydrangea bouquets. Simple, beautiful and they just went perfectly with the bridesmaid’s dresses and the surroundings of Goonoo Goonoo station.”
The perfect country venue for these two? Goonoo Goonoo Station. Says Ellen “We didn’t need much convincing to choose Goonoo Goonoo Station as our wedding venue, it was just what we wanted, Tom was set as he is a country boy and felt at home. Andrea, the event planner was a dream to work with. From planning to postponing, to replanning with COVID restrictions then the wedding day. She was just the ultimate and made our day run so smoothly. Goonoo was the perfect location for our “destination” wedding as the majority of our guests and wedding party could stay at the Goonoo Goonoo village. We originally had an Autumn wedding (May) but thanks to COVID ended up with a December wedding.
We had our ceremony in the “village” in-front of the original chapel, guests just walked up the hill to the Glasshouse Restaurant for canapes and then moved into the Woolstore for the reception.”
The glam factor was not all left to the bride, groom Tom dressed in pieces from MJ Bale and Institchu. “Tom was very keen to have black tie wedding right from day dot of wedding planning – so this determined the dress of the wedding. Tom’s suit was MJ Bale and Institchu shirt with large velvet bow tie to add a little funk to his tuxedo.”
The bride walked down the aisle to “Truly, Madly, Deeply” Savage Garden performed acoustically by Baker Boys Band.
Of the ceremony, officiated by Mel Lindsay, Ellen remembers “We wanted a very relaxed and no fuss ceremony that we could have a few laughs. We didn’t want it to be too long but also wanted it to be very special that we could cherish the time we became husband and wife.
One of my favourite parts was selecting our Mums to do a surprise reading – we both hadn’t heard the reading before the ceremony so it was a very special and memorable moment listening to the readings. We then had a very close friend do our third reading (sorry can’t remember the reading name).”
The hydrangea arrangements at this wedding was honestly what dreams are made of. “They have always been my absolute favourite flower growing up as my Mum has amazing hydrangea bushes in her garden, so they always bring back many happy, summer memories. So, when we had to move our wedding to December – I knew this was a plus… we could have beautiful hydrangeas as our wedding flowers.
We had the most incredible and generous community as the majority of the hydrangeas were from family and friend’s gardens from Glen Innes (where Tom and I live). We had family & friends out picking hydrangeas on the days leading up and then transporting them to Tamworth – we spent the wedding eve afternoon placing buckets of hydrangea in vases ready for them to be placed in the Woolstore for our reception. Our beautiful and very talented friend Steph McIntosh designed and spent endless hours setting up our amazing hydrangea displays. She did the most incredible display using vases upon vases of hydrangeas in the internal windows of the wool store. It just looked amazing with all the different colours of hydrangeas and knowing my friend did them with all local flowers was just so beautiful and special.”
“We did have our wonderful friend, Steph McIntosh decorate the Woolstore and ceremony aisle with our local communitie’s Hydrangeas. As well as my very talented sister (Katie Abdy) did all our incredible stationery from the invites, menus, table seating to the ceremony booklets.
It was so lovely having this part of our wedding day done by such special people. We will always remember the hard work they put in for our wedding day for years and years to come.”
Ellen’s advice to you? “1. Don’t get too highly strung about the small things, talk through options, alternatives then sleep on it and then decide. STICK WITH THAT DECISION…
2. Get a wedding planner – they are a lifesaver on the day and leading up to the day. They know what they are doing and what needs to be done.
3. Set up a wedding bank account – a great way to see what you have paid for and helps with budgeting. Also, getting a spreadsheet with all vendor details from emails, contact names, costs and then each payment you make.”
These two adored their choice of photographers. “OMG – where to start – The Cloud Catcher Girls. They were marvellous and so talented. I knew they were going to be great as they did at my sister’s wedding two years before. I knew they were quick, non-posed photos but captured the most incredible photos. They also keen to join in on the party and don’t mind a boogy on the dance floor.
The sneak peek was so quick and I still remember arriving at our Honeymoon spot – Halcyon House with an email from Alex with the photos. We sat on our deck drinking champagne while scrolling through the photos, For every photo, we passed we “LOVED IT”! Not long after we received our full gallery – it sure did relive our wedding day.”
Ellen has a soft spot for the memories of the speeches that night. “Everyone spoke so incredibly well and throughout the whole speeches there were so many laughs – the photos show all.”
Loving that cake too? It’s a handmade beauty. “I just loved our wedding cake” raves Ellen. “It was made by one of my staff members Mum (Lisa) from Toowoomba – it made an epic 6 hour trip from Toowoomba to Tamworth by George one of the bridesmaids. The cake looked incredible and tasted so delicious. We still have 1 cake in the freezer – we can’t wait to get it out to share with friends.”
One of Tom’s groomsmen was unable to travel to Australia (Thanks COVID!) Instead, the couple had a lifesize cardboard cutout made of him, so he could still join in the festivities. “We were very sad he could not make it but we did have a life-size cut out of him that made it to the reception and many appearances on the dance floor.”
The first dance? All the party vibes! “It was very off the cuff but think we nailed it – Tom led the charge as soon as he heard the Kip More beats of “What ya got on tonight”, and soon after the wedding party joined in and then we were surrounded by all our guests all twisting and shouting.”
And the dance floor? Oh, it continued, thanks to the amazing live band from Baker Boys. “Our band was all time from Chris doing our acoustic for our ceremony and canapes to the whole band for getting the dance floor going at the reception. It was great to be back on the dance floor after a year of very limited dancing.”
A big congratulations to you both Ellen and Tom! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding day with us. Thanks also to Cloud Catcher Studio for sharing today’s celebration with us!