If there is one thing COVID affected, throughout the past few years when it comes to weddings, it’s guest lists. Katie and Luke, who have plenty of interstate and international family and friends, ended up with only 21 guests able to attend their big day. And although it wasn’t their original plan, it was, indeed perfect. “The atmosphere was intimate and joyful” explains Katie, “Meeting the vendors for the first time and speaking to them about our plans – it made it all feel more real and exciting! We didn’t have a theme as such, but both wanted our colour scheme to be natural muted tones.”

And one of those special witnesses? Wedding photographer Stone & Wool Photography. Matt joining this intimate gathering for a ceremony in the sunshine, and an intimate dinner at a local restaurant filled with good food, cocktails and all the memories.

After meeting while attending church together way back in 2015, Katie and Luke took a year before they connected, remembers Katie,  “Luke and I had a similar friend group but had minimal interactions for the first year of knowing each other. In May 2016 after a group dinner with joint friends, Luke and I started to talk and hit it off very quickly!”

And a weekend away, by the beach, was the perfect time for Luke to decide to ask Katie to marry him. “Luke  went up to the Sunshine Coast for a weekend away to celebrate his birthday at the end of March 2020. We were staying at this cute little Air BnB near Peregian Beach, due to COVID-19 many restaurants and shops were closed so it ended up being quite a quiet weekend. Luke suggested we go for a sunrise hike one of the mornings, which I was surprised at him for suggesting because he doesn’t love difficult hikes. I figured since he knew I loved hiking this is why he suggested it, so I was happy to go along with it – hoping he wouldn’t change his mind!”

Luke’s look was tonal and earthy, he explains “When shopping for my outfit I went in with the intention of an ‘earthy’ colour palette. I didn’t have anything specific in mind and wanted an outfit with colours that suit my skin tone and body shape. A forest green blazer and sand-coloured chino combination from Politix was the first and only outfit I tried on. It had a reserved sense of class but maintained the laid-back vibe I wanted.

Katie purchased the”River Crepe” gown from Made With Love to wear. “When looking at dresses online this is one of the first dresses which caught my eye. I tried on many dresses at multiple bridal boutiques but knew this was my dress as soon as I tried it on. I loved the classy but sexy look of the dress, and the bead detail on the top was just absolutely stunning!”

With so many family and friends unable to attend, Katie and Luke set up video calls all day long. “As all of my family couldn’t make it out to the wedding due to travel restrictions, it was a given that we could have them in a combined video call for the ceremony. I had a video call of about 10 family members, many of whom were dressed up for the occasion despite being on the other side of the world. We also made sure to have someone film the ceremony in its entirety so that we could send it to those who were unable to join the video chat.”

Katie and Luke held their wedding at Sunshine Coast venue Yandina Station. “When we first started looking for a venue we knew we wanted to get married on the Sunshine Coast, and Yandina Station was one of the first venues we went to see” remembers Katie. “After speaking with Neil and Sally, who run the venue, as well as seeing how gorgeous the venue was we just knew this was the spot for us. Yandina Station is a heritage-listed homestead, and the views are absolutely stunning. We loved the natural laid back feel of the venue.”

With Katie’s parents locked out of the country thanks to COVID, Katie walked herself down the aisle. She shares “Some of our favourite photos are of the moment Luke turned around to see me walking down the aisle. He started crying immediately and the emotion in the photograph is as genuine as it gets.”

The intimacy of their guest list made Katie and Luke’s ceremony, performed by Sommer Saunder Celebrancy personal and special. Says Katie  “Both of our personalities and expectations are so in tune, that we both knew we wanted an intimate ceremony. Having 20 of our closest family and friends huddled around us while we said our “I do’s” meant that we could be in the moment and not have to worry about what was coming next.

A beautiful arbour overlooking the lush greenery of the QLD countryside gave us a setting in which we were truly immersed with our guests. We didn’t have any chairs or layout (we checked with everyone that they would be okay standing prior), so that meant all of our guests got front-row views for the entire ceremony. All of our friends would describe us as ‘laid back’ so we opted to truly embrace that when organising our ceremony.”

This was a day, very much about the memories made. “Enjoy the small moments, because when you eventually look back on the day those will be some of your most fond memories” says Katie “and make each other laugh at least once per day!”

“My maid of honour, my twin sister Sara, and my bridesmaid, Lauren, were both unable to attend our wedding in person due to Covid and living in the US. My other two bridesmaids were Emily and Olivia. Emily and Olivia had matching multi-way wrap dresses, Emily wore mauve and Olivia wore forest green.
Luke had two best men, Ryan and Tim. Luke’s two other groomsmen were Huy and Caleb. All of the groomsmen wore mismatched pants and jackets, all in natural colours of greens, browns, and tans.”

The peach and blush floral details were stunning, as I am sure you will agree, and styled by floral designer  Willow Bud. Says Katie “The amazing Sandi from Willowbud Wedding Flowers put together my bouquet. During our initial talks, I let her know that I love muted green, pink and brown colours – as well as native Australian flora. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted for my bouquet, and Sandy took my thoughts and put them together in the most amazing way.
My bouquet was made up of eucalyptus, cappuccino roses, banksia, bunny tails, wax flowers, tetragonal nuts, magnolia leaves, and camellia foliage.”

If you love the look of Katie and Luke’s photographs, wait until you hear their golden review of Matt! “From our initial contact with Matt, we knew that he would be perfect for our day. His laid-back attitude and a keen eye for those special ‘in between’ moments resonated with us and we were pretty much sold from the get-go. He made sure to keep in contact with us in the months leading up to the wedding to see how we were going and to get a feel for what we wanted out of the day.

On the actual day of the wedding, Matt showed up and immediately blended in. He was charismatic and got along with everybody, which meant he could get some great candid shots throughout the first half of the day. He also knew how to strike the fine balance between knowing exactly what needed to be done and going with the flow. When it came time to get portrait photos and bridal party photos, he was able to wrangle us all together and get a vibe of how we all interacted with each other, allowing him to capture all of our personalities.”

“There were so many great memories captured throughout the day that it makes it impossible to narrow it down to a single photograph. One of our favourites is a photo that was taken on a dirt road with a light fog descending over a large paddock behind us. We thought we would find it awkward posing for portraits, however, Matt made us feel so comfortable and genuine throughout the entire day. Luke has his arm around my shoulder and I am looking off into the sugar cane fields in the distance. The atmosphere in this photograph captured the atmosphere perfectly.”

With such a small guest list, it was easy for Katie and Luke to make their wedding a full weekend celebration, including a reception dinner at Sum Yung Guys.  “We decided to rent out a very large house for all of our friends to stay at over those few days. This meant that we were able to spend as much time as possible with our friends and family. The vibe over those few days was so relaxed that the day of the ceremony just felt like another regular day (up until walking down the aisle of course). We were surrounded by our loved ones at no point did Luke or I feel the pressure of the big day.”

The biggest of congratulations to you both Katie and Luke! Thank you for taking the time to share your beautiful stories with us and thank you to Stone & Wool Photography for sharing today’s magnificent imagery.