It was only three months from proposal to marriage for today’s blissed-out newlyweds, Sarah & Tom. “It was in August 2020 when I was talking to my Nan and she was telling me how she proposed to our Pop (who was also a plumber), on a leap year and I couldn’t believe it” laughs Sarah. “From then I would joke to Tom that I wouldn’t ask him until the day when I actually decided I would. It was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made, we knew and had talked about marriage and our whole relationship spoke about our future babies calling them by names we had already picked out. I felt Tom was so deserving of a special proposal and wanted to give him the most romantic proposal he was so worthy of to make him feel how incredible I think he is.”
Deciding she wanted to take after her grandparent’s own sweet story, asking her grandmother to tell her grandfather (unable to tell him herself, due to COVID restrictions). “Within a couple of days of Nan telling Pop, he passed away. The first thing nan said to me was “I told him and he knew, I know he did”. I asked Nan if I could have one of her rings to wear and she gave me the most stunning pearl ring that she said, “Wear until Tom and you get your own”. I felt comfort with his passing knowing he knew, and like Nan I was asking my plumber to marry me.”
On November 27th, the scene was set, Sarah organising a beautiful picnic at a stunning location, along with a photographer, and enlisting Tom’s father to get the unsuspecting groom to be to the location. “Fast forward three months (one month of which was spent deciding when we should get married – so with 2 months to go) on the 26th of February 2021 we said ‘I do’ ” laughs Sarah.
And so, the scene was set, Dream Cave invited along to capture a wedding day that was, in Sarah’s words “Minimalist, beachy, elegant with a hint of vintage. Love was definitely in the air.”
The groom wore pieces from Politix and Aquila. Says Sarah “Tom’s attire was simplistic yet so him – handsome and understated. Black chinos, white crisp shirt, linen jacket with a white linen pocket square, black belt and tan leather boat shoes.
He had a favourite pair of black Politix chinos so we just ordered a new pair of those, went into a Gazman as we just happened to walk past and saw in the window a gorgeous linen blazer – and that was the one he ended up buying. Tom’s one thing was no tie or anything – he just wanted a pocket square which suited our whole vibe. Tom was working away, one of his groomsmen was living in QLD and the other in Horsham (where we live that has limited shop selection of any type). So at times, it was a little challenging for the boys but they got there and boy, did they pull this look off.”
Sarah even lent her hand with the groom and groomsmen’s pocketsquares! ” The boys’ pocket squares, where actually my bridesmaid’s white linen hair scarves they’d gotten with their dresses which I just cut down and sewed accordingly to make pocket squares for the boys. I loved this as it really tied in having the exact colour/fabric for the girls as the boys to feature.”
The bride found her dreamy gown at Ivory Bride. “It was another meant to be moment of our story” she tells. “On Friday 11th December I was able to get a last-minute booking at a shop 2 1/2 hrs from home, ‘Ivory Bride’.
I called Kayla and asked what were the chances of me getting in as they were having a trunk show and I thought why not go and have a look, try on some styles and start getting a bit of an idea on what sort of look I wanted, she was so lovely and opened a little earlier to fit me in. My sister Angie and I travelled to Warrnambool and had the most amazing morning. I tried on probably five or so dresses and kept going back to this pearl tulle ‘jacket’ overlay. The dress it went with however didn’t do anything for me.
Kayla went away and came back with a stunning Oui The Label dress to put underneath. We put the two together and I was liking the look but we could all just see it was missing something and then Kayla asked “do you mind if I just am a little creative?”, I said of course and she brought back a veil that was the same pearl tulle as the jacket, she wrapped the veil from my waist to my back and let it drop to the ground. With that, Ang had her hands over her mouth and we were all close to tears – this was it.
Although such mixed emotions came over me, I always thought I’d have my mum and other sister with me and this was the only shop we’d been in. But it was just so unique and we were able to buy the Oui The Label dress then and there, and three metres of the pearl tulle from which I had a seamstress make my entire tulle dress overlay. It honestly was just the most fun and happy experience, Kayla is so incredible at what she does and her passion oozes out of her in such a subtle and humbling way. I will always cherish this memory.”
But with all the modern touches, Sarah made sure to add some special, sentimental details. “I wore not only my grandmother’s ring that had been my initial engagement ring, but she also gave my two sisters/bridesmaids a ring each (so we all had our ‘Nans’ ring on). She also gave me her silk robe that pop had gotten her before their wedding, something now my sisters and our children can continue as an heirloom and is so memorable.”
Blooming Sanzi was chosen to create the floral details for the day – using plenty of dried foliage. Sarah noting “Flowers were such an easy decision for us, a local girl (Shae-Lee from Blooming Sanzi) and I had previously been collaborating with vases I’d been up-cycling and her dried arrangements.
I knew 100% I wanted dried arrangements and for her to do them. I kept to my simplistic and neutral theme and she made our arbour piece, buttonholes and bouquets. Lots of palms, bunny tails, scabby pods, ruscus, hydrangea, and the most stunning white roses. She was so easy to work with and kept me involved through the whole process, making it so much more enjoyable. The rest of my florals (bar a couple big palms) I sourced for free, which I used as table, ceremony and reception decor.”
“I walked down the aisle to “I’m with you” by Vance Joy covered by Chesca (youtube acoustic version)” remembers Sarah. “We chose this song as the lyrics had so much relevance to our story and every time it says “I saw you standing there sandy blonde hair, the way it came tumbling down” I just instantly see Tom’s face the very first time I met him and just thinking of seeing that same dreamy face at the end of the aisle melts my heart. Tom also just absolutely loves this song and said whenever he hears it, it just instantly calms him – so that’s what we chose. I had both my mum and dad walk with me from the car until the ‘start’ of our aisle and then just dad walked the final way with me. It was so special and am so glad I chose to have them both as they are both such huge role models and muses in my life- love them beyond belief.”
The couple chose Ruth Cameron to officiate their day, Sarah recalling “Our ceremony was honestly all I could have ever dreamed of, my one wish was I wanted Tom and I to write and read our own vows to each other- and it will be something that stays with me forever, it was so heartfelt and just such a pivotal and special moment for our relationship.
I am a person who ‘loves love’, I love being loved, feeling love and loving others. I wanted that to be felt by all our nearest and dearest. I wanted everyone to feel how much love I have for this man and how special he makes me feel internally – be felt. Our celebrant Ruth Cameron – was amazing, she tailored our ceremony perfectly to us as a couple. We had Tom’s youngest sister Sophie do a reading “I Promise” by Dorothy R. Colgan.”
Sarah and Tom chose the historic homestead venue of Moorakyne House for their ceremony. “Moorakyne is a privately owned stunning 1853 limestone heritage building, which it’s current owners are repairing. My family for all of my life have holidayed every year in Robe SA and I have been past this house many times, always looking in awe of its beauty and historic intricacy. I reached out and approached the owners to see whether it was possible to have our ceremony there in which the answer was yes. We were so unbelievably happy, I had pictured being married on this property for many years so it was just perfect.”
Planning their wedding right during COVID lockdowns, these two managed to pull it off! “Planning a wedding in a global pandemic is a lot of things, predictable is not one. We were lucky enough to only have to plan once, although our wedding was interstate (in SA – we’re from VIC).
The week before our wedding, VIC went into complete lockdown for 5 days. Coincidentally on that first day of the announcement, I and my family were already on our way over to Robe to have our annual holiday – a quick call to the fiancé to tell him to leave his job and travel what would be an 8hr trip to get over the border before it shut, with his ute breaking down halfway there was definitely testing.
For that week before and leading up to the wedding, we weren’t able to really do anything. All our guests were from all over Victoria. We weren’t going to find out further restrictions/lifting restrictions until the day before the wedding. ‘What will be, will be’ was a phrase used a lot in this period and thankfully we had understanding and accommodating vendors. Just took a few re-prints and alterations the day before and everything worked out really. We had made our guest list comprise of 50 people (a significantly hard decision) allow this decision early made a huge difference for us, that we didn’t have the hard task of cutting back or losing money on anything.
Although we still had the wedding of our dreams, it is a difficult emotional and mental experience. For me, weddings are one of the most special days for you and your loved one and to share it with your nearest and dearest is all you can ask to have fate allow once again for it to all fall into place for us, makes our special story all the more ‘us’.”
“I was so proud and humbled with how our day came together and that at the end of it I got to marry the man I couldn’t adore more. My favourite part was hearing his vows to me and getting to tell him mine back, it is such a surreal moment and something we will cherish and drive us in our marriage forever and that to me is so significant.”
And of course, we need to share the story of how Sarah and Tom met – it was as teens! “In 2013 when Tom was 16 (I was 15) he was completing his Plumbing apprenticeship and started attending trade school in Ballarat VIC where he found himself needing somewhere to stay when he was going down there. His friend had a friend who actually lived with my sister Angie.
Tom ended up living on/off with Angie in Ballarat for about two years. All the while I was also travelling down in school holidays to work at a clothes shop and would also stay with Ang. I remember her saying ‘when you get home there might be a boy there but that’s just Tom’ – yet I never saw or met him for the two years.
It wasn’t until the 2nd of January 2016 when Angie and I were in Robe SA at the Robe Hotel (the pub across the road from the foreshore where we had our reception). We were standing at the bar and Angie suddenly grabbed her phone and was going through searching this boy on Facebook. She said I think that’s Tom Winfield I used to live with years ago. She went over and sure enough, it was him, within five minutes I was getting waved over to come and meet the infamous Tom. I remember walking over and looking at Tom and just knowing.
As the night proceeded and we talked and looked at each other from across the room my heart felt like it never had before and I remember walking into the bathroom thinking “I’m going to marry that guy”. From there the next morning we were texting and Ang, Tom and I went out for tea, ice-cream and then spent the entire night talking to each other, I remember thinking how crazy it was that I felt like I’d known him my entire life although only meeting the day before. I remember talking to mum when she arrived at camp the next day and just babbling how unbelievable this connection was and that I couldn’t even put into words how much I just knew and why had our fates hadn’t crossed years ago. Writing this out I feel the cliché yet can’t reiterate how ‘meant to be’ it all felt and all was.
From then on Tom and I spoke constantly although I was moving to Glenelg SA the following month so we spent as much time together as we could. I moved away to study Art Therapy for 12 months and came back and visited when I could. The following year I moved back to Horsham as I knew I wanted to make things work with Tom above all else so I completed my placement back home and travelled to Adelaide when needed. Tom and I pretty much lived at Dean’s (his Dad’s house) together until I then moved in with a friend and then we still lived there together. Until in mid-2017, Angie bought a house that (our other sister) Nicole, Angie, myself and Tom all moved in together and have lived altogether in it since. I was only breaking from our family briefly in 2019 when Tom and I bought a caravan, packed up, and travelled the East coast of Australia for 6 months.”
Sarah has this golden advice for you, if you’ve yet to tie the knot. “You have to just stay true to what you want your wedding to be, don’t get caught up in social media and what other people’ weddings look like, or what society says. It’s you and your partner’s day, which means at the end of the day it is only your two opinions that matter – don’t let anything or one sway you. You are getting married because you want to spend your life with this person you love to your core and that is what it is all about.”
These two adored working with their photographer. “Justine and Nev had been with us from the beginning, they captured our proposal and I think this just made our entire experience more personal and special. They knew us, our story and how we were around the camera. Nothing is ever an issue with Justine, she is so easy-going and it just rubs off so no matter how flustered or uncomfortable you could be feeling she just immediately calms you with her genuine persona. She just goes above and beyond with all she does, it is a true credit to her- she’s incredible and such a talent.”
Sarah and Tom celebrated with their guests in a marquee reception on the Robe foreshore. “Our reception was just the most ideal ‘venue’ for us, a clear top marquee set up on the gorgeous lawned area overlooking the ocean – how much better can you get. I loved the creative freedom the marquee gave and knew I could bring my vision to life.”
Sarah and Tom honoured their grandparents, who were both significant in the couple’s lives, tells Sarah. “The special details we included was hugely revolving around our beloved grandparents, those with us now and those in spirit. In our ceremony, we made mention of my pop which had a part in our engagement who had passed, and also a mention to where we had chosen to get married at Moorakyne, which actually means ‘the place of winds’ and Tom’s grandma who has passed and was an enormous influence on both of us, and was a huge lover of wind so it was so special to have that correlation.
My grandmother’s pearl ring that she had given me to wear after our proposal was also a massive part of my attire.”
“Our first dance song was ‘Everywhere’ by Fleetwood Mac, sung by our musician (Mark Block) in an acoustic version – it was unbelievable” remembers the bride. “We chose this song many years ago as for some reason it just became ‘our’ song. The amount of times we’d dance around in our kitchen like lunatics to it – put it on when we were going through rough times and needed comfort, or sway to it whilst live at ‘The Australian Fleetwood Mac Tribute Show’. We just had so many various memories throughout our relationship to this song and when our musician Mark started singing it and I was dancing with my now-husband to this song. I started to cry thinking how many times this song had been a part of ‘us’.”
Loving the decor of Sarah and Tom’s wedding? Most of what you see is the amazing handiwork of Sarah herself! “My favourite part of wedding planning was seeing all my little ideas and creations come together in the end and help create the aesthetic of our beautiful day. The fact that I had just become a certified wedding planner myself and that my own would be the first wedding I had executed and to do it all in two months was a pretty special experience and to have it look how I dreamed was even extra satisfying.
Many op shop bargains featured throughout our day, all vases I used were thrifted and I’d just painted white with paint mixed with bicarb powder. All mini vases used as table decor were filled with bunny tails and little dried flowers I’d diyed/found road side.
I bought x 3 rattan baskets, removed their handles, bought $2 battery operated lights from Kmart and a hula hoop (which I also painted white). Joined them all together with some fishing line and wire and voila, hanging rattan pendant lights as our feature in the marquee which we will be able to use again either as baskets or lights. I loved how this turned out!
I had seen so many beautiful ways to incorporate the ‘beachy’ theme into a wedding via table decor. I found these $10 beautiful big shells on stands from Kmart. I sourced some glass off cuts, a white paint pen and some double-sided tape, stuck the glass to the stands and wrote our table numbers on them. They then became the focal points on each table and added to our beachy/elegant vibe.
I made all our stationery including save the dates, invitations, menus, seating chart (mum and I made a wooden frame, strung twine from one side to the other and attached mini white pegs to it to hold the seating charts I’d designed and printed) and all signage. The table runners were also just one piece of material I had sourced from the Spotlight which I cut down/altered accordingly to get our desired look. Tom’s brother Sam made our ‘bar’ at our reception and also our wooden arbour for the ceremony – they were complete perfection.”
If you need a videographer, then Sarah and Tom give rave reviews to Lightwise. “We can’t go past our videographer Sam Nicholson (Lightwise). I had admired Sam’s work for many years and had always known regardless of where I got married I would have him as my videographer – his work is truly something else. He has such a rare talent at capturing people’s unique love so naturally and effortlessly. Add on his humour and outgoing nature and you’re in for a very fun time.
Tom, myself and our whole wedding party just couldn’t believe how much fun we were having and how natural we could be, especially in a situation we would usually nervous or uncomfortable in having our every move videoed. I will forever fan girl Sam and his ability to capture and make you genuinely ‘feel’ the emotion portrayed in his videos.”
A big congratulations to you both Sarah and Tom! What a joy it was to share your day Thank you both and thank you to Dream Cave for sharing today’s beautiful celebration