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Skip to the big day: couple surprise guests at country wedding

“Surprise! Paul and Gabrielle are getting married!”

That was the sign guests were welcomed with when they attended what they thought was Gabrielle Lavars and Paul Jones’ engagement party in Buninyong, Victoria.

The pair set their sights on a surprise country wedding after Paul had spent some time away over in the USA. “In the space of two months we planned, countries apart, for a ceremony and reception to take place,” explains Gabrielle, 28. “While Paul focused on his sporting career, I worked furiously to plan and execute our dream wedding!”

But there almost wasn’t a wedding at all – Paul was due to return to Australia a week before the wedding, but bad weather threw a spanner in the works. “He finally found a flight that would have him back the Friday before the wedding,” says Gabrielle.

The bride took on the responsibility of organising the wedding décor. “I, with the help of my bridal party, dressed the tables with bird cages, jars, bottles and tins decorated in pastel adornments.”

The January 11, 2014 wedding was what Gabrielle describes as her “fairy tale ending”. “It was a wonderful surprise for all, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect start to their marriage.”

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Bike championships were taking place in Buninyong the same weekend as the pair’s wedding. “All staff at the gardens and town hall were very accommodating and helpful, to ensure their day ran as smoothly as possible!” says Gabrielle.

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Gabrielle sourced her accessories from Forever New.

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Gabrielle, a teacher, worked hard to craft her own event.

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“Our wedding was perfect despite all obstacles, especially the potential disaster of not having the groom in the country!”

Photos courtesy of Chris Murgatroyd and Sharon Lapkin.

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Loss leads to love and bohemian garden wedding for Ashlea & Scott

The loss of a close friend finally brought together Ashlea Lyall and Scott Bailey, who had been in and out of touch since they were teenagers.

They rekindled their connection at their friend’s wake and have been an item ever since. “A while later Scott [30] told me that his late best mate had always hoped Scott and I would get together,” recalls 26-year-old Ashlea.

The pair were married on March 22, 2014 at their garden wedding at Al-Ru Farm, South Australia. “Scott and I wanted our wedding to be relaxed and laid back just like us,” says Ashlea. ”We love our family, we love to have a drink and a laugh, and we wanted our wedding day to be full of that kind of vibe.”

Just one small hitch of a cold autumn day meant their outdoor wedding was taken indoors, but not to the disappointment of the bride and groom. “It went seamlessly and everybody loved the indoor venue and also the lovely outdoor fireplace area.”

Ashlea says friendship is the key to their loving relationship. “It gets said a lot, but Scott and I really are best friends. We are just idiots together,” she laughs. “We have also been through a lot of hard times and loss in our time together and Scott has been my rock.”

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“Poppies Flowers made me my amazing flower crown and I wish I could have kept it forever!” says Ashlea.

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“Nobody knows me better than he does and I am so happy I get to go through this life with someone I love so much and makes me laugh like he does,” says Ashlea of her new husband, Scott.

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Al Ru Farm was the  only venue Ashlea looked at – she knew immediately it was the ideal setting.

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Photos courtesy of Nicole Cordeiro Photography.

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Young lovers fall fast: the tropical wedding of Messina & Jose

“Jose and I prove that love can be found anywhere…the planets aligned for us to meet.” – Messina

Messina Guevara and Jose Leon-Socamia, both 22, met at a café where Messina worked. And although Jose from Colombia didn’t always speak fluent English, the language barrier was no issue in Messina’s mind!

“I tried talking to him as I am quite a chatter-box but I was completely oblivious to the fact he didn’t understand a word of my fast-paced English,” she explains. “He’d just politely smile and nod – I assumed he was enthralled with my intriguing conversation.”

Ultimately, it was Messina who taught Jose English – and Jose returned the favour teaching her some Spanish. “Jose would come to buy coffee after coffee just to sit and speak with me.”

The loved-up pair planned their tropical wedding on November 30, 2013 in just six short weeks. “Although I’d always hoped for a gorgeously opulent princess wedding, the end result was luxury without pretence,” says Messina. “Even though the raindrops fell outside, our family and guests became better acquainted inside the reception venue and there was a sense of unity.”

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Messina was dressed by Luv Bridal, located at Slacks Creek, QLD.

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The pair hosted their wedding day at Mon Komo Resort in Redcliff.

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“It was warm and cosy, and as the candles burned we enjoyed a beautiful champagne breakfast coupled with a stunning ocean view,” Messina says of her wedding day.

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“I’m glad that life allowed Jose and I to cross paths somewhere in the world because he is everything in a man that I could have ever asked for,” praises Messina.

Photos courtesy of KCL Photography.

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Rustic wedding the last stop for long-distance couple

Distance challenges the mind but never the heart…

And by that I mean for true love, the obstacle of separation can be overcome. Chayel Skeates of Brisbane and Brazilian-born Caue Klein know this too well.

The pair fell in love with while Caue, 29, was studying English in Australia, but after a few years together visa issues meant Caue had to head back to his homeland. “I visited Caue in Brazil, where he proposed in Rio de Janeiro,” says 28-year-old Chayel. “We then spent the next two years desperately trying to get him back home.”

During that time Caue moved to New Zealand the pair were able to see each other once a month for a year. “This was an extremely difficult time, being kept apart,” explains Chayel. But in March 2013, Caul could finally return to Australia and he was married to his fiancé on January 11, 2014.

Chayel’s parents worked hard to prepare their property for the rustic wedding in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland town of Montville. “They built a retaining wall and planted countless white rose bushes that were in full bloom on the day,” smiles the bride. “We had a surprise horse and carriage, organised by mum which was a magical moment as Caue had jokingly wanted a white horse on his wedding day.”

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Gorman and Jeff Banks dressed the groom and his team of groomsmen.

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Chayel’s gown was by Elizabeth De Varga.

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The couple said their wedding day was a “perfect day full of love, laughter and happily ever after.”

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“We never let the distance affect us, and we continued to strive for what we ultimately wanted, to be together,” smiles Chayel.

Photos courtesy of Brad Townsend Photography.

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Musical matrimony: The upbeat rustic wedding of Vanessa & Mark

Surprise trumpets and a live jazz band were key notes in the symphony that was Vanessa Bucca and Mark Cremona’s rustic wedding getaway on NSW’s south coast.

Twenty-six-year-old Vanessa wed Mark, 30, on March 15, 2014 and put total trust in her musician aunty, uncle and two cousins to perform during the Catholic ceremony at St Mary’s Star of the Sea church in Gerringong.

“My aunty sang and my uncle played flute as my dad walked me down the aisle,” says Vanessa, who wore a Brides Closet custom gown. “At the end, they surprised us with trumpets and guitars and an upbeat song to see us out.”

The Sydney couple made a weekend out of the celebrations, escaping the city to the lush pastures of Silos Estate, a vineyard in Berry, two hours down the coast.

Shoalhaven Party Hire provided a marquee to create a semi-outdoor reception space where live jazz band The Aston Martinis entertained the 130-strong crowd.

The band was a chance find by the father-of-the-bride, and the involvement of family was a strong theme in what was largely a DIY event. “I was very lucky as I had a lot of support and help from my family and friends,” praises Vanessa.

It was this trust in others that saw the bride and groom enjoy a stress free day. With regard to wedding suppliers, particularly smaller vendors, Vanessa’s biggest tip is “listen to their advice because this is their passion and they know what they’re talking about. Let them worry about the small things.”

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Vanessa describes, “St Mary’s Star of the Sea is a cute little church located on top of the hill in the main street of Gerringong. It overlooks the ocean and has a lovely large green field behind it for photos.”

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As an event planner, Vanessa called on many contacts to assist with the wedding, including high school pal Mark Mead who photographed the country celebrations.

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“Mark was in charge of the transport and didn’t tell me what it was until a day before the wedding,” recalls Vanessa. “He hired a gorgeous navy and ivory Kombi.”

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Photos courtesy of Matthew Mead Photography.

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