Brisbane high-school sweethearts, Hayley Rankin and Drew Wilson were married in a rustic country wedding on a beautiful old property QLD’s wine region last spring.
They’d been together nine years when Drew proposed at dinner one night. “What do you think about this?” he said, pulling a ring from his pocket. Hayley was ecstatic and she of course said yes.
The timing was not a coincidence. They knew marriage was on the cards – Hayley had already purchased a gorgeous wedding dress (a bargain too good to refuse – even without a ring!) But when her dear nanna Betty became ill, Drew took it as a sign and went to visit her with the exciting news – he was going to propose.
Hayley tells, “We were going to rush the wedding so that my nanna could attend and we’d planned to get married in just three months. The morning after Drew proposed, we went to the hospital to show her the ring. But she’d gotten worse overnight and wasn’t very coherent, and then four days later she passed away.”
Hayley and Betty shared a special bond – Hayley was one of Betty’s only two grandchildren – and so naturally she was devastated. With his new fiancé grieving, Drew suggested that they postpone the wedding to the following year. “There was no need to rush anymore,” explains Hayley, “and I had been stressed trying to plan it so quickly.”
As it turns out, the bargain Hayley had spotted months before happened for a reason. In the final days before Betty passed away, Hayley said to her, “I want to show you something,” and when she came out wearing her beautiful wedding gown, Betty was overwhelmed and Hayley, moved to tears.
“She said I would make a lovely bride,” recalls Hayley. “I think in her heart she new that she wouldn’t be there for the wedding and, deep down, I think I did too. But I thought if I started planning it and told her when it was that she may have been strong enough to hold on a bit longer.”
Hayley kindly shares with us a photo of of that special moment. Despite growing more and more frail during those final hours, you can still see pride and love for her granddaughter all over Betty’s face. It’s a pretty special photo. A reminder of a time that Hayley will still cherish in years to come.
Hayley tries on her wedding gown in the hospital for her dying grandmother.
Former events manager Hayley put her skills to use in planning much of the wedding but handed over the creative reins to her sister for the flowers, styling and even the bridesmaids’ jewellery. “She has a passion for that sort of thing and I knew I could trust her with it,” says Hayley.
The bride’s pleated tulle gown was a Hills in Hollywood design that she snapped up for a steal at the RNA Bridal Expo in Brisbane. She wore it with a vintage-inspired birdcage veil and her grandmother’s pearls.
The wedding was held on Hayley’s mum’s partner’s property, ‘Glen Nevis’ in the Granite Belt of QLD. “We had the ceremony on one side of the house and the reception on the other,” explains Hayley.
The reception was held outdoors, cocktail style, and guests were entertained by live blues singer, Ross Williams. Their first dance was to the Michael Bublé song, “Home”, and being the apple and grape region of QLD, guests were given toffee apples for favours.
“It was so surreal to think that after 10 years we were finally getting married,” says Hayley. “I wrote my own vows and it was very emotional to say them to Drew out loud.”
Photos courtesy of Yoori Rose Photography.
Bomboniere: Toffeeland / Brides Accessories: Bride's nanna / Brides Gown: Hills in Hollywood / Brides Shoes: Spendless / Bridesmaid Shoes: Spendless / Bridesmaids Accessories: Handmade by bride and sister / Bridesmaids Dresses: Private dressmaker / Celebrant: Minister Jack Teeper / Ceremony Music: Ross Williams / Entertainment: Own playlist / Flowers: Rocklea Markets - arranged by sister / Gift Registry: Wishing well / Grooms Attire: Spurling Formalwear / Groomsmen Attire: Spurling Formalwear / Hair: Cuts & Curls / Honeymoon: Canada / Invitations: Designed by bridesmaid / Makeup: Did their own / Rings: Wallace Bishop, Argyle Jewellers / Venue: Family property / Venue Decor: DIY / Wedding Night Accommodation: Honeysuckle Cottages