Meaghan & Tom’s Relaxed & Loved Up Bush Estate Wedding, captured by Christine Lim Photography and surrounded by their dearest & dearest, was 13 years after they first came to be, and every bit the celebration their love deserved. Meaghan tells us about their proposal story and their romantic wedding day!
We started dating in mid-2008 and formally became ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ on the way to leavers in November. 11 years and a few uni degrees later we were road tripping around Tasmania to celebrate our anniversary, spending two nights in the incredible Cradle Mountain National Park. Tom had planned to propose at a waterfall not far from the resort we were staying at. We headed on the waterfall trail around lunchtime with a backpack filled with food, champagne, and a rug to set up at the waterfall. Unfortunately, the only areas near the waterfalls were wet boardwalks (after days of sunshine this particular day was cold and rainy!), so we decided to continue along the Dove Canyon Track until we found an appropriate place to have a picnic. This did not happen. Almost 4 hours later after traversing narrow slopes, thick forest, exposed roots, a vertical canyon rock face, and constant rain (all at a top of about 5 degrees!), we eventually made it back to the lodge. We had warm showers and removed some leeches that had joined us on the way (!!). Tom lit the fire and set up the picnic and wine while I sat exhausted on the floor of the shower, resting under the warmth (for what seemed like hours according to Tom). When I finally emerged, Tom asked me to check the back door of the cabin where he said he had seen the possum from the night before. As I checked the door, one of my favourite songs started playing and Tom got down on one knee. Turning around I was in complete disbelief, I could not stop crying. Amongst the tears, I managed to say yes!!
We really wanted to enjoy time “being engaged” and with the Covid-19 news starting to make an impact during the early months of our wedding planning and family interstate and overseas we looked to 2022…. I was almost in tears when I saw our “anniversary” was on a Saturday – it was meant to be!
Two years since we got engaged, the day had arrived, classic early 2000 pop music played as the main house at our venue became a stop in for friends and family arriving. I got ready with four of my closest friends and my big family and wandered down to the main lawn ready to marry the love of my life.
I really hate shopping and was just going to order a dress online. Thankfully my best friend talked me out of this, and we visited a few bridal stores before finding a white bridesmaids dress. It wasn’t the ‘omg this is the dress’ moment but was the first dress that felt light, comfortable and ‘bridal’ enough for me. The team The Complete Bridal in Cannington were so helpful, I didn’t have an appointment (only seeing them as we drove past on the way from another appointment), they were busy but still helped me anyway!
My gorgeous cousin (a costume designer) made my veil (wanted something long and full to ‘dress up’ my simple dress) and shipped it over from NSW. It was really special to have her do this for me.
I found a floristry student on Facebook, Creations by Olivia, whose style I really liked. I asked if she would make my bouquet and she accepted. Big and leafy with a native flair. Being a student also saved on the cost of using an established florist.
Tom looked so good! He wore a tailor-made shirt and pant from InStitchu in Perth and suspenders and bow tie from Peggy & Finn. Not having a jacket added to the relaxed vibe too.
I walked down the aisle to the song that played when Tom proposed, “How Long Will I Love You” – Jon Boden, Sam Sweeney and Ben Coleman.
We had a really united vision of how we wanted our wedding day to feel – relaxed, intimate and full of love, not just for ourselves but for our friends and family who had supported and watched our relationship grow.
Having been blessed with so many great friends and my big family (I’m one of six girls!) we had been in our fair share of wedding parties, and in trying to keep the event as relaxed as possible we opted not to have a wedding party. Instead, our inner circle became our “I do crew”, and stepped up for us in every way a traditional wedding party would but without the coordinated outfits. I wish I could express in words how special it felt to have this love and support without titles (or leaving anyone special out).
It felt overwhelming to try and capture 13yrs of ‘us’ in our ceremony but our celebrant, Rebecca Kenworthy, really empowered us to customise and keep it relaxed. It was also so special to be able to live-stream it to our loved ones across the world and country (even if the bush reception was a bit touch and go!). Writing our own vows, while emotional felt really special. The readings we chose were “Marriage Is Not Beautiful” by an unknown author (I edited it slightly to sound more like us) and “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd A. Peterson.
I love so many of our photos – the smiles in all of them (especially after the legal bits were done!). One that we have framed in the house now, is shortly after the ceremony when we were having portraits done. Tom and I, the bush in the background and my veil is caught in the wind. I also love a photo of us walking through the confetti up the aisle (we found eco rice-paper confetti, which was animal and outdoor friendly from The Whole Bride).
Being together for so long and having so many amazing people in our lives we wanted to keep it very relaxed, intimate and ‘no fuss’, knowing how easy it could be to turn into a huge festival and blow our conservative budget! As many experienced over the last two years, we weren’t able to have many of our loved ones with us with family in England and NSW. My sister in Melbourne was unable to attend due to border closures and my grandad in Kempsey NSW, so keeping it ‘smaller’ felt respectful to them too. We managed to pull this off with just over 70 of our nearest and dearest with us.
On my bouquet I carried a ring from each of my late grandmothers, a blue heart with my initials on it (a Valentines gift from Tom many years ago) and a picture of my nephew who passed three years ago, it was hard to have this first big milestone without him but brought me so much happiness to see his face in so many of our photos.
Christine Lim has to be one of my favourite people. I have seen her in action a few times over the last 5 years (being a bridesmaid in a few other weddings she has worked) her relaxed natural style of photos, the way she uses light and the surrounding area is stunning and we were so blessed to have booked her (she was the very first service we booked after the venue!). So friendly, professional, and incredibly knowledgeable of the industry.
With the perfect date for our wedding decided on and a wish list of how we wanted our venue to feel we started booking site visits. So many beautiful places but nothing felt quiet right until we came across a stunning property 90mins south of Perth and it ticked every box – surrounded by nature, space for a ceremony and reception, accommodation for the majority of the guests to stay, and close enough to travel home but far enough to feel “away”.
Tom and I looked at a few venues before we booked a site inspection at Noble River Estate in Dwellingup. It felt special from the moment we arrived and ticked every box we had set. Space for both the ceremony and reception, surrounded by nature, perfect level of DIY but with so much included, close enough for people to drive home if they needed to and with accommodation for most of our guests to stay.
Noble River Estate is a gorgeous (fairly new at the time) wedding venue, with a large homestead and six self-contained chalets for guests. We sat on a bench in the garden while waiting to be shown around and knew it was the place for us.
Our reception was on the homestead purpose built veranda – we had a pizza truck (Cicciobello Pizza Catering), an open bar, and danced, laughed, and cried until 4:00 am!
I am still 6 months later blown away by the special people who stepped up to contribute to our day. An old friend styled and set up everything (the flowers, seating, centrepieces, decorations), and my work colleague made our cake (and dropped it off 2hr round trip!). Our photographer Christine, felt like a friend by the time she photographed our wedding, from engagement shoots to friends’ weddings over the years, she was so familiar and just contributed so much to the feel we wanted. The relationships with vendors and trust built over the booking period to the ‘event day’ were so valuable to me and really made it feel like we were surrounded by friends.
A talking point that was so small but made a big impact was a ‘love that made us’ table. We had photographs of our parents and grandparents on a table at the reception and it was a nice reminder of where we have come from.
We love singing in the car on road trips and one of our favourites is “From Now On” from the movie The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman, so that is what we chose to dance to. Was great fun!
We loved wedding planning. Tom was so hands-on and had a lot of opinions (in a good way) which was annoying at times (haha) but really helped shape it into ‘our day’. Jason (our DJ from Dream Wedding Entertainment) was also a standout and Lia and the team at Noble River, again felt like working with friends and the trust and shared experience were special to have.
We wouldn’t have considered our wedding as budget as we spent money on the things that mattered, supporting small Australian businesses everywhere we could (from accessories to stationery) but having a “no fuss” wedding, was a great budget-friendly approach! This would not have been achieved without amazing offers of support from people in our communities – the list of people we had to thank was endless and incredibly humbling, not to mention saved us a fortune!
Through the entire process we focused on what was important to us and cut out everything we didn’t need, I can see how easily wedding planning can consume you and for visions to be lost, I had to keep reminding myself of the end goal and I am so glad I did.
Stick to your vision, it was so hard to not get caught up in ‘wedding planning’ and others’ expectations. I truly wish I could put into words how special this day was and hope our story can inspire others who want a mix between a tradition and an alternative wedding. A beautifully simple wedding can be achieved without breaking the bank.
We could not have wished it hoped for a better day.
The couple’s wedding was filmed by Merriment Vision!
Thank you to Meaghan & Tom for sharing such a fantastic day with us, with so much fabulous information about how they brought their day together. And to Christine Lim for capturing the whole vibe of their wedding so beautifully.