Today I want to share our beautiful intimate Gold Coast Vow Renewal at Bend of The River.
The ceremony was held in an incredible garden with wildlife all around under a cloudless sky on 12th July.
After a tough couple of years with personal illness, two bereavements, redundancy and other issues we decided to celebrate how strong we had been as a couple through everything we faced.
In my mind our vow renewal was abut the celebration of moments we have made and shared together, it was about reaffirming promises and making a new commitment to us and to our family.
We had been planning a family trip to Australia and we had been talking about vow renewal since our 10th Anniversary and we could not think of a better opportunity to solidify what we have built throughout the years.
In planning our trip we wanted to some time with Neills sister Kerry in Sydney at the start and end of our holiday with a stay in the Gold Coast in the middle.
Within this time of planning we came across our Wedding Venue and it blew any other idea out of the water…
I even got a proposal (kind of!).
On the first few days of our holiday we were walking in Sydneys Botanic Gardens and walked as far as Mrs MacQuaries Chair.
This is an exposed sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench, on a peninsula in Sydney Harbour, hand carved by convicts from sandstone in 1810 for Governor Macquarie’s wife Elizabeth.
The peninsula itself is named Mrs Macquarie’s Point.
Here as we overlooked the Opera House and the statesteque Harbour Bridge, he said “So you want to get married again then?”
Very romantic, maybe not BUT it was in a setting that was incredibly beautiful with a view that is especially important to me and that made it perfect.
Our first wedding in 2004 was lovely but it was very structured as weddings can be, and this time we wanted something purely intimate and meaningful and just us and our children.
This led us to make our choice on what we wanted for this time around and that was the Gold Coast in Queensland.
Overlooking a bend in the Tallebudgera River, Bend of the River is a unique “Queenslander” holiday house set amidst 15 acres of gorgeous organic fruit orchards, and the perfect place for a celebration of love.
Centrally located and just a few minutes’ drive to the Gold Coast’s sparkling beaches, but its a world away from the trappings of city life.
There is so much history ingrained into its walls and it gives it so much character.
Just sitting on the beautiful wrap around deck you look out to a view so incredible you could be in paradise.
Justy Rodgers is the owner and one of the original residents of the property.
She is a lovely person with an amazing knowledge of the house and the area and was so welcoming to us.
I knew it would be wonderful before our trip but it surpassed all expectations and I simply couldn’t have considered anywhere else for us to say our vows.
Just a few steps from the house is an amazing knobbly tree and its a really pretty spot with a sheltering and encompassing feel and this was where we chose to recommit ourselves to each other.
Officiating was Josh Withers who along with his lovely wife Britt, runs Married By Josh – an awesome marriage celebrant service who also create epic elopements with The Elopement Collective.
I have had the honour of knowing Josh (allbeit virtually) for the past few years and there is NO-ONE that I would rather have been a part of our celebration.
Josh has an infectious personality and is instantly likeable, and you just know he has passion for marriage.
He makes weddings fun, special and incredibly meaningful and that’s what we really wanted.
He was an intergral part of our day with beautiful words and made our vow renewal something we will never forget.
Our Photographer was the beautiful Kylie of Just for Love Photography and Film.
Since the inception of her business, which is now in it’s 4th year, Kylie has photographed countless weddings, travelled the world to document love, made memories to last a lifetime and fearlessly chased her dreams.
I have been so privileged to share her work on several occasions and love her style so much that I could never have considered anyone else to document our day.
Kylie is a beautifully warm person who makes you feel completely comfortable in front of her lens. That is an incredible thing when you hate having your photo taken.
Her passion is clear in what she does and her works speaks for itself.
Her amazing photos of our vow renewal and of our family are something that we will cherish forever and I am so glad that we chose her to be part of our day.
Suzi Dent is a multi award winning professional Makeup Artist and Hairstylist based in Elanora in the Gold Coast.
Drawing skills from 25 years working in Weddings, television, commercials, fashion, styling, parades, photographic, film and magazines she is one amazing woman, and it doesn’t end there.
Last year crowned Miss Earth Australia and embarking on a career in motivational speaking its her aim to promote physical, mental and emotional awareness whatever age to create a healthy body, mind and spirit.
She is one sassy, fearless lady and she made me feel fabulous both with her amazing spirit and chatty demeanor and also with a stunning curled updo and a flawless natural beauty look and I am so thankful for her incredible skill.
Little White Chair is a Boutique Hire and Styling business with a passion for creating vintage, old school glam and the relaxed rustic French country style.
They have worked on weddings, family events, large and small corporate events, women’s themed events, stage shows, musicals and concerts on and off for the past 20 years.
For our styling we had a gorgeous arbour to the front of our knobbly tree with pretty flowers and draping, a stunning antique table for signing our vow renewal certificate and beautiful furniture, crockery and tableware for our wedding meal set so stylishly on the verandah overlooking our wonderful surroundings.
Haley and her husband Greg are lovely people who love what they do and it shows.
They created a setting so special for both our vows and our celebration dinner that is was beyond anything that I had dreamed of.
Skeleton Leaf is a boutique florist based in Elanora on the Gold Coast, providing floral styling for weddings and special events from Brisbane to Northern NSW.
I wanted a vintage look in white but a smaller bouquet as not to overwhelm the dress.
The bouquet had lots of greenery mainly eucalyptus with flowers such as freesia, roses, Queen Anne’s lace, other white flowers, and this was bound with natural jute twine.
The table arrangement was created with similar flowers in a beautiful wooden crate and was an eye catching centrepiece.
Neill and Leo had some pretty white rose buttonholes too to complete their look.
Our cake was created by SugarLily Cakes and Confectionery, a bespoke cake company on the southern end of the Gold Coast specialising in cakes and confectionery.
We chose a ruffled cake with ombre blue tones with a little blue Love on the top.
It was a white vanilla mud cake with strawberry preserve and white chocoalte ganache. and it was delicious and looked amazing..
The Little Details
Swoon at The Moon took the garden theme and the pretty navy blue colour palette and perfectly created some gorgeous botanical stationery to include some invitations, a tiny table pan, place cards and a certificate to remind us of our special day.
Flipside Bride created an epic Dr Who inspired wand for our daughter and bridesmaid Kathryn to hold as she really isn’t a flower kind of girl.
It perfectly complimented her blue gown and is now an edgy permanent reminder of her role in our day.
Swag Bags created lovely little bath bomb favours for both myself and Kathryn and some other special people involved in the day.
They smelt divine and came in pretty personalised little cotton bags.
For Neill there was a peppermint box in a little navy bag too and a little sketch set for Leo who loves his art.
It was the reading from our 1st wedding and it was important that it had a place in our day as the words still ring true.
The jewellery for myself and Kathryn was created by LHG Designs.
I chose a silver chain with a little something blue and Louise created a simple and elegant yet striking set for us both to compliment our wedding attire and they were perfect.
Lego is very popular in our house and Leo loves building. He created a lovely little blue ring box from bricks he had and carried that for his dad.
He also made up the very lovely little wedding set from the Lego store which we displayed within our wedding styling.
What we wore…
My gown was inspired by the setting. I knew that with our garden venue I wanted a dress that was beautiful and fit for the occasion but not too formal.
Shoes were navy glitter sandals from Pink by Paradox from Elegant Steps which were so comfy as well as pretty.
Nell bought me a new wedding ring for our renewal with an aquamarine which is my birthstone, its stunning and in a celtic style from Orkney based Sheila Fleet
Kathryn wore a gorgeous blue party dress from Dorothy Perkins.
The Wedding Day…
Waking up on the wedding morning I was greeted by the cockerels crowing and the peacocks majestically prancing across the lawn.
There was a clear blue sky and the mornings winter chill quickly evaporated with the rising of the sun.
Everyone was still asleep and it gave me time to consider the events of the day and relax before the busyness began.
Soon everyone was up and Neill took the kids to a nearby nature reserve for a walk as I started my preparations.
Our cake came at 10 and it wasn’t long before our venue stylists, Haley and Greg arrived to begin setting up our ceremony arbour and celebration table on the verandah.
The next 2 and a half hours were taken up with pampering (and taming of my hair) by the awesome Suzi.
We had lovely chats about life and the wedding industry and it was just a lovely relaxing time.
After a quick lunch and some final preening Suzi took her leave..
Neill and the kids started their preps and time floated by as we got the kids ready.
Soon it was 2.30 and Kylie, our photographer arrived and soon set up capturing details and taking some initial images of us getting ready.
Josh our celebrant came soon after and he mingled with Neill and the kids and had some fun with his drone which I can tell you is absolutely amazing for aerial shots.
I continued my preparation and soon the dress, shoes and jewellery were on, the flowers were in hand and it was time…
Our ceremony was beautiful under that big knobbly tree with our children and chickens, kookaburras and peacocks for guests.
We wrote our own vows and Josh with his mix of joviality, joy and zest made the moments incredibly meaningful and the fact that he really gets the giggles with noisy chickens made it especially memorable..
Leo read out the Apache Wedding Blessing which my friend and original Bridesmaid Angie had read out at our 2004 Wedding.
Afterwards we signed our beautiful renewal certificate before having some prosecco and nibbles ( thank you Maryanne Scott) before we had some wonderful family photographs taken.
Josh entertained the kids with his drone and they ran about while we had some more couples shots done about the property in the beautiful winter golden light.
Soon it was just us and time to breathe and take in the day.
The sun had set and we had dinner under the stars and in beautiful candlelight on the verandah and we finished off with cake for dessert.
I want to say the hugest of thank yous to everyone involved in our day and cannot recommend both our vendors or our beautiful venue enough.
They helped to bring together the incredible relaxed and intimate family celebration with no pressure, and made it exactly what we wanted it to be which is so important.
Venue – Bend of the River – Tallebudgera – Gold Coast
Photography – Kylie – Just for Love Photography
Celebrant – Josh Withers – Married by Josh
Venue Dressing – Little White Chair
Flowers – Skeleton Leaf
Hair and Make Up – Suzi Dent
Stationery – Swoon at the Moon
Dr Who Wand – Flipside Bride
Jewellery – LHG Designs
Bible Verse Print – Izzy and Pop
Bridesmaid gown – Dorothy Perkins
Wedding Favours – Swag Bags
Lego Wedding Set – Lego Store – Glasgow Buchanan Galleries and Blue Lego ring box made by Leo
Wedding Ring – Sheila Fleet Jewellery