These two melt my heart because while some of us talk about doing something to help rescue animals, these two have dedicated their lives to it.
For Katie her love of animals took her on a journey to help care for the Sun Bears, and then meeting her love Mark through working with fur seals and sea lions on the Sunshine Coast – now who has the best job on the planet!
For the past 3 months Mark has been in China helping save the Beluga Whales that are on the extinction list. All while Katie has been here at home planning their wedding with the help of her beautiful mum. Mark was just home for a couple of weeks for their wedding, before he headed back overseas for another 3 month stint.
To put their lives on hold for their love of animals is one of the most selfless acts in my opinion. I actually got to witness it during their shoot, when a bug landed on Katie and she so delicately placed it back into the forest.
As I mentioned Katie & her mum planned most of the wedding together, with Katie’s mum also responsible for on-the-day floral arrangements in the Pavilion for the ceremony and throughout the Conservatory reception room and lounge areas. The style of the wedding was if they had foraged through the forest collecting branches, twigs and foliage along with a collection of large shells and orchids scattered around Gabbinbar Homestead, to reflect the couple’s love of nature with old world charm. Even drying out some vines then twisting them together to create the serviette rings. All the guests received a orchid bonbonniere to take home.
Katie looked absolutely breathtaking in her gown as she walked down the aisle on Dad’s arm to a piano version of Canon in D.
It was such a pleasure to watch Katie & Mark’s love for each other unfold in front of my camera. The grounds of the Gabbinbar estate was the perfect backdrop for their nature inspired wedding. We utilised the bamboo forest, the wood forest, the pebbled driveway and the Old School House for their wedding photos.
Katie & Mark danced their first dance as Mr & Mrs Ryan to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud.
A big thank you to Katie & Mark, their families and friends for making me feel included as part of their special day. Congratulations and I hope the weeks go very fast where you are back in each others arms.
To read a little more about Katie & Mark’s beautiful love story …
What is the story behind the proposal ? : Katie: I came home from work and there were candles all over the house, and Mark had cooked me dinner and dessert. Later Mark put on one of his favourite songs, and half way through a recording of Mark asking for my dads blessing to ask me suddenly cut into the song (Mark had recorded their conversation) and Mark got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Why did you choose the ceremony location ? Katie: We always knew we wanted to be married outside surrounded by big woody trees (Mark says I remind him of an elvish princess) ;) The Pavilion looks out into the most beautiful trees just like we love, and is also perfect for all weather.
Why did you choose the wedding venue ? Katie: My parents had long loved and visited Gabbinbar, and suggested it to me when we first got engaged, but I was too busy looking for my own place to pay attention. I searched high and low and couldn’t find anywhere that felt right for us. So my dad took me for a drive out to Gabbinbar one day, and I instantly knew it felt right. Mark and I both love old properties and nature and Gabbinbar has both. Mark was away oversees during the planning of the entire wedding, he saw Gabbinbar online, but didn’t see it in person until the day! (And he absolutely loved it too). I have always loved glass houses. Gabbinbar has it’s own glass conservatory that we were able to give the feel of a glass house with our orchids and ferns. It had everything we wanted – an old house, woody trees and a glass room.
List any DIY projects: Katie: My mum’s creative touch was everywhere at our wedding. She is so clever and did so much. She planted brightly coloured flowers in her garden to be picked and scattered in the aisle in the Pavilion (we picked them together the day before the wedding), she scattered them with tiny sprigs of thyme for the aroma. She made the leafy bauer that hung in Pavilion for us to be married under (she and dad hung it together); she put together the greenery that hung on the chairs in the aisle. She made my bouquet, and the flower girl’s bouquet, and a velvet wrap for me to wear if it got cold. She pressed ferns from her garden and attached them to hair pins for my hair. She hand twisted 72 serviette rings out of jasmine vine from her garden and tied them with green silk ribbon. She collected beautiful twisted sticks from near the creek where I used to play as a child, which she cleaned, varnished and wired to arrange down the middle of the tables with ferns, orchids, peppercorn and miniature bud lights. She made the cake stand from her crystal bowl and antique walnut tray. She styled the bridal table with an antique clam shell and a pair of antique white marble lovebirds. We also styled the homestead with orchids and vintage specimens of shells, gems and crystals belonging to members of our family. Countless people have said my mum missed her calling as a wedding stylist! My brother and his girlfriend designed and made the seating plan, and the cake topper was a vintage Poole pottery seal lion that was a gift from a dear friend. Mark and I collected Native Hawthorne petals to use as confetti. I left a little crystal or gem at the place of my special ‘gem’ friends who had been especially supportive to me leading up to the wedding.
Where did you get your wedding inspiration from (ie. a particular wedding blog/magazine) ? Katie: Our inspiration was the natural world. We drew a lot of inspiration from Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’ painting. The forest. And of course the sea because Mark and I are connected by sea creatures.
What part of your wedding was your top priority ? Katie: Keeping things simple and natural. We foraged lots of greenery, flowers, vines and sticks ourselves for styling. We also used our own items (shells/corals/gems/cushions/vases) for styling. Instead of spending lots of money on flower arrangements and centre pieces, we bought some large orchid specimens from a local business that were not only stunning but (unlike flowers) we can re-use them and will have them forever. We also used small orchids and these served as both centre pieces as well as gifts for the guests. We used cellophane and rubber bands to wrap the orchids (which are compostable/re-usable). There was very little waste with our wedding. We also had a mostly vegetarian menu to reflect our ethos.
Best memory from your wedding day ? Katie: Locking eyes with Mark as I walked down the aisle.
Best ‘funny’ moment from your wedding day ? Katie: When I got the the end of the aisle and Mark got a little ahead of himself and tried to kiss me before he was supposed too.
What did you do for your honeymoon ? Katie: We only had a few days before Mark had to leave again. He hired us a house on the lake at Montville.
What advice would you give other bride or groom’s to-be? Katie: Choose your vendors carefully – they can make or break your day – in our case they absolutely made it :) And keep things simple.
Anything else you would like to share about your wedding experience, standout moments, planning advice, other wedding suppliers or any other special mentions : Katie: I have to mention how exceptional the Gabbinbar team were – their incredible support, attention to detail genuine care really made our day. It is so rare for quality and service to exceed expectations, but they did at every moment. I felt genuinely looked after from beginning to end and our guests adored the staff, the food and the service and the setting. A special mention to Elizabeth who was everything you could want in a person on your wedding day – calm, in control and so caring, and to Kali and Alision who helped my mum set up all her styling so beautifully. They even packed up every last item on the night and stored it for us to pick up. It’s those extra touches that mean so much. Also of course our wonderful photographer – she fit right in, felt like one of the family, made us laugh and feel so comfortable. We are so glad we found her! And my dad for all his incredible support, kindness and strength.