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Wedspiration > Real Weddings > REAL WEDDING: Caitlin + Gabriel – Maleny Retreat
Real Weddings
REAL WEDDING: Caitlin + Gabriel – Maleny Retreat
This pair had their priorities straight from day dot – to create the ultimate dance floor. Everything else was just a bonus. And by everything else we’re talking a fire pit, giant tipis, a caravan bar and giant lawn games.
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Words by Karina Lowndes
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6 March 2017
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This pair had their priorities straight from day dot – to create the ultimate dance floor. Everything else was just a bonus.

Held at Maleny Retreat – a jaw-dropping Queensland venue, there were however a few added extras. With help from WedShed faves Gathering Events and catering from The Van Fine Street Food, the celebration also featured a caravan bar, festoon lighting and giant tipis courtesy of TipiLuxe.

The result? A fun-filled wedstival that their guests will never forget.

Tell us about how you met and the proposal.

We met at uni and were friends for four years before deciding it was love. Gabe proposed on our three year anniversary. We were working in Malaysia  but took some time off to treat ourselves at Japamala Resort Tioman Island. Gabe was acting very weird all day and I had a little suspicion/hope that maybe, just maybe…

That night, he had organised a special candlelit meal in a private bungalow on the beach to celebrate the anniversary. At dinner he stood up and said that there was a present under my seat. I immediately started whinging as we had agreed no gifts but reluctantly pulled a piece of paper out from under the cushion I was sitting on. Thinking that this was more likely to be a skydiving adventure and not an engagement ring, I looked at the piece of paper and turned back to Gabe, who was now kneeling, holding the ring box. From there the story is pretty cliche. She starts crying, he asks if she could please answer, she says yes and cries some more. The piece of paper turned out to be the certificate of authenticity and the story behind the ring – an antique made in Brisbane in the 1930s which had been kept in a safe in a jewellery store that burnt down in a fire. Some of the only things that survived the fire were the contents of the safe and so the items in it had been kept together for years. Gabe managed to find my dream ring, an antique with no previous owner or bad relationship karma.

What was your theme/inspiration/vibe for your wedding?

We found the idea of a theme initially very tricky. We kept seeing the words rustic, vintage, boho, Wedstival and agreed that yes, that could describe what we wanted, but it also described many other great weddings we had been to. We wanted our wedding to represent both of us and we really just tried to manifest a day that looked like our love for one another.

We wanted everyone to feel really comfortable and relaxed, to have a great dance, to eat some of the best food they had ever had and in general, have a wonderful time. We let our gut instinct guide our decisions and tried to always find the magic in our choices. But I guess in the end, it was outdoors with two giant tipis, a food van, a caravan bar, festoon lighting, homemade wooden furniture and lots of couches, rugs and cushions, so I think we kind of combined the elements of different themes we liked and created our own.

What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?

We both agree that on a practical level, our advice would be to definitely film the ceremony. It is this crazy moment of adrenaline, love, happiness, greetings, hugging, smiling, laughing and crying and there is no way you can take it all in. If we had our day again, we would get someone to film just so we could re-live the moment afterwards. When everything calmed down and everyone had returned home, we had a moment where we both just wanted to sit down and watch it all.

Early on in our planing stages, we had several discussions and got fairly stressed about the increasing costs. Eventually we realised how much we both wanted this day to be special and memorable and that we shared a very similar ideal of what that was. So we just decided to let it happen, we weren’t going into debt, we accepted that we were going to spend more than we should but that it would all be worth it. From that point on, it was a really fun process (and it was most definitely worth it).

Lastly, hire Jennifer from Gathering Events to help you co-ordinate! Best choice we ever made. If you aren’t in the Brisbane area or can’t get Jen, I guess another planner/coordinator will have to do.

What does marriage mean to you?

In day-to-day business, it just means that we have new titles for each other. Gabe’s my husband and I’m his wife, I have a new last name… so identity crisis for a while there, and if anything really serious happens, legally we are seen and recognised as each other’s significant other. We have many gay and lesbian friends who are denied this very basic legal right and we made sure that we honoured our meaning of marriage in our vows, rather than just those forced into the ceremony for legal purposes.

When we sat down to discuss what marriage meant to us, we discovered that what we really valued was the excuse to call upon all of our loved ones to gather in one place to listen to our general excitement about spending eternity with each other and then partying well into the tomorrow.

What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?

It was all about the dance floor, pretty predictable seeing we are dancers. One of our favourite moments was when everyone got up to do a flashmob dance that we had choreographed and shared through our wedding app. We made up a daggy but wonderfully hilarious dance to Land of 1000 Dancers and everyone came flocking to the dance floor when the song began to play.

There was also a great moment dancing with my Dad (who very rarely dances) and a moment when our very talented dancing guests lifted both Gabe and I into the air and crowd-surfed us around a bit. Final favourite memory was taking a few moments away from the craziness of it all. We setup a mini, two-person tipi away from the main area so that Gabe and I could have some moments of privacy, a place and time to reconnect and let it all soak in.

Ceremony song?

The Mouldy Lovers, covering Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.

First dance song?

Al Green, Let’s Stay Together.

CREDITS Photos Dale Tidy // Ceremony and reception Maleny Retreat, QLD //Planning and co-ordination Gathering Events // Catering The Van Fine Street Food // Flowers DIY // Styling CL Weddings and Events, The Curious Caravan and Brisbane Barrel Hire // Bridal gown and veil Leigh Buchanan // Brides shoes Gucci via Style Tribute // Bridesmaid dresses  Dig for Victory // Bridesmaids shoes Melissa // Groom and groomsmen suit Uberstone // Grooms shoes Milu // Rings Penfold Jewellers //  Cake DIY // Stationery The Print Fairy // Hair Gemma Casinelli Morales // Makeup I Do Make Up Artistry // Entertainment The Mouldy Lovers // Celebrant Gai Lemon // Tipi, dancefloor, firepit and lighting TipiLuxe 

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