As soon as Cara and Grady got engaged, they knew they’d marry at a rustic wedding venue like Quirindi Stables – a spectacular place where they could ditch tradition and instead incorporate their love of music, dirt bikes and being outdoors. With one of our fave wedding duos Lionheart Photography behind the lens, now we all get to enjoy the celebration. Check it out below.
Tell us about how you met and the proposal?
Grady and I met through a mutual friend who I worked with whilst in a FIFO role from Perth at the “Baysie Bar”. I instantly knew somehow he would be a part of my life – I wouldn’t describe it as a love-at-first-sight moment but we had a connection. We shared a love of similar music, dirt bikes and going camping or being outdoors.
I have always loved and ridden horses. In 2016 we were on a four week trip around the USA and I had told Grady I wanted to do a horse ride in Hawaii. Although this is not Grady’s pastime of choice, he agreed. During the horse ride Grady wanted to get off for photos, I thought he was worried about the horse being a bit agitated and proceeded to tell him no – we were nearly back to the stables.
Grady was annoyed initially but it worked out for the better. After our ride we found a secluded beach to enjoy the sunset… I was gushing and emotional about how perfect it was that I’d finally ridden a horse on the beach in Hawaii with him and now this beautiful sunset and when I turned around he was on one knee!
What DIY projects did you tackle for the wedding?
Planning the wedding in a location I had only been to once on a wet Victorian winter’s day was quite challenging but I embraced it with a “it will all work out” mindset. Almost all the styling was a combination of things collected or bought by either my mother-in-law Sue or myself.
We had chalk boards, fairy lights, different sorts of vases filled with copper lights and baubles – anything that was mint green or copper was grabbed and between all my helpers we made it come together the day before (in the rain!).
What sort of vibe were you aiming to create?
I had the intention from the start to create a fun day that felt more like a party than a traditional wedding. Grady and I are not formal people and we like to do things a bit differently – I saw this an opportunity to create a day that was as much fun for us as for our friends and family. ‘Rustic glam’ would be how I describe the styling and setup of the venue but a lot of it was more about creating a different wedding than what people are used to.
What traditions did you involve during your big day?
Very little! I wanted to be different and make our ceremony and reception fun for everyone, so thankfully our beautiful vendors were accommodating and welcomed this. I wasn’t sure how to approach Shannon our celebrant with wanting to do shots as a toast to absent friends and family in the ceremony but she loved the idea! We also had to involve dirt bikes somehow, so we asked Lionheart what they thought about doing some photos with a dirt bike and our boots on – they were as excited as us.
What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?
Know that everything won’t go to plan and accept it before it happens – as an organised person (ahem, control freak!) this can be hard to embrace but I was determined the day would be fun, full of laughter and memorable for the right reasons. It poured with rain the days leading up to the wedding so this was pretty hard to live by but I reminded myself all that mattered was marrying each other and having fun – the rest would take care of itself. And it did, we had no rain and almost everything went as planned!
Any funny stories that surrounded your wedding?
I am always on time, I hate being late and had warned as many people as possible I would be there right on 3.30, however we were so organised I was 15 minutes early and had to wait while some of the guests were still arriving, some had smoking brakes as they pulled in and saw I was there waiting!
As my dad walked me down the aisle, the owner’s cat also joined us and walked behind us all the way to our bridal party. My nana told me afterwards that my late mum loved cats and we are sure that was her way of being there.
What does marriage mean to you?
Marriage to us means cementing your commitment to one another, that you acknowledge it isn’t easy but it is all worth it and that together any challenge can be overcome. It means sharing the highs and the lows, knowing you have each other’s back, no matter what.
What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?
I enjoyed every second, I was not nervous or tense from the moment I woke up until we left the venue – all that mattered was marrying the person who means more to me than anything else in the world. I loved walking down the aisle to Nothing Else Matters (Metallica) because that is exactly how I felt.
I loved being surrounded by horses and people we love who were laughing and happy to be there. Being able to include things we love in different parts of our day was so special; dirt bikes, old holden cars, food trucks, live music, laughter and burnouts!
My sister Annajhay sang ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran as we signed our paperwork, we walked down the aisle as Mr and Mrs Holland to ‘Moments’ by Bliss and Eso.
First dance song?
‘Latch’ by Disclosure.
CREDITS Photos Lionheart Photography // Videographer Once and For All // Flowers and hairpiece Wootton & Nicholls // Ceremony and reception Quirindi Stables // Catering Corny Mexican and Pizza Party Hire // Cake Simply Sweet Cakes // Bridal gown Grace Loves Lace // Brides shoes Betts // Bridesmaid dresses The Gown House // Groom and groomsmen suits yd. (pants) and Tarocash (shirt) // Rings Brilliant Earth and Michael Hill // Hair Hair by Hannah // Makeup The Makeup Hub // Music Quentin Ashfield // Celebrant Shannon Jeans // Transport Organs Coaches.