Couple Real Weddings

Real Wedding: Cara & Nick


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We were smitten with this couple the moment we spotted their theme – Australiana/Glam/Glitter. Intrigued much? It was a classic case of glam city girl meets country boy when Cara and Nick crossed paths and their three-day ‘wedding event’ celebrates the best of both worlds. A little-known rural location (think old railway carriages and a 1900s wagon shed for a chapel) and plenty of DIY detailing are the perfect foil for the bride’s glamorous styling. Look out for the glittering bridesmaid’s gowns and masses of gorgeous native flowers. Beautifully bespoke!


Date: 23 Aug 2014

The Couple: Cara Gillman and Nick Chard

No. of Guests: 110

Location: Adora Downs Mount Tyson

Theme: Australiana/Glam/Gold Glitter

First Dance Song: Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers

Budget: $30,000


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Tell us about the proposal

Nick proposed on my birthday in 2013 (28 November). He gave me some birthday presents and a birthday card, first thing in the morning as I sat in bed. The card told me that he loved me and asked, “Will you be my Mrs Chardy Party?” When I looked up from the card he was kneeling next to the bed with my beautiful ring.

I loved the effort he went to to find my ring – we have a friend from England who used to work with diamonds in the UK. The two of them went on the hunt for the perfect diamond and design, with the final ring making the journey from England to our front door in the middle of Country Queensland. I actually signed for my own ring without knowing! I was home when it arrived in a big package and I left it on the counter for Nick. When he came home that night he said it was accessories for hunting – and I didn’t give it a second thought! Lucky I’m not a snoop.

Why did you choose Adora Downs Mount Tyson for your wedding?

Nick is a VERY Aussie guy so he loved the location straight away. We also loved the country accommodation at Adora Downs – guests stayed in old cottages, railway carriages and an old school house. It was a real experience for our guests and an affordable way for everyone to be able to spend the night at the venue. It meant everyone could really let loose and have a good time. (Adora Downs has beds for up to 120 people – at only $55 a night including a hot buffet breakfast.)

We got married in their ‘chapel’ which is basically an old wagon shed from the early 1900s in which they have placed handmade wooden pews. We are the first couple to ever get married in this chapel and loved its atmosphere and how intimate the wedding was.

I loved that the owners were so relaxed and would let me decorate how I wanted. Also that it is a location that hardly anyone has heard of – they don’t even have a website!

What did you do for your hens and bucks?

Nick went on a 4 day trip to the Sunshine Coast with highlights including paint ball, sky diving and parties in a penthouse suite.

I had my hens in Brisbane with every element being a surprise organised by my bridesmaids – we went to a trampoline park first (I love gymnastics) followed by an Italian lunch with cocktails, then I got my make up done and I had a surprise outfit to wear (1920s style). A bus took us to Boggo Road Jail for a ghost tour and then the hens party (including a murder mystery element) followed after, IN the jail itself. Amazing!!

DIY Details

Everything was DIY with pretty much every decoration being handmade.

I made the programs to tell a fun story of us, and to incorporate our families along with introducing all the other important people in our lives. Each guest was offered a cocktail on arrival to the ceremony, which were decorated with handmade cocktail stirrers.

Confetti bags were given to each guest, and our flower girl Mia tossed confetti as she walked down the aisle.

Most of the table setting decorations were handmade by me, from the glitter candle holders to the wooden name cards and the little gold Aussie animals I painted.

As a gift to my dad I (very poorly) cross stitched him a hanky that said ‘I loved you first’.

Our bridesmaid Linnet did all the flowers including the bouquets, and our friend Anna made and decorated the cake (along with Nick’s mum).

The days leading up to the wedding the bridal party helped to install all the ceiling decorations and set up the tables. It was a very DIY affair.

What was your key styling inspiration?

There was a bit of a mish-mash of themes going on, with it all blending together in a pretty unique style. Nick is from the country, whereas I am a bit more ‘city’ so we decided to have a glam party at a farm. We wanted the wedding to be formal and dressy, but for our guests to feel comfortable and really have an enjoyable country experience. So the wedding became a three day event – with some guests staying at the farm from Friday to Monday.

We had a mostly Australiana theme for the reception, as it is such an Aussie location – native flowers adorned the table runners, and each guest had a little gold Aussie animal to take home.

We both love socialising and having fun with friends, so whenever we host an event at home people say that they are going to a ‘Chardy Party’ (because Nicks surname is Chard). This is the first official Chardy Party, as Cara became a Chard so that is also a theme we carried throughout.

Where did you splurge and where did you save on your wedding?

We splurged on the things that really make memories – a good photographer, the videographers, and the photo booth. We also wanted everyone to always have a drink and a full belly so the bar tab ran from cocktails prior to the ceremony right through to 2am for the big partiers.

What gifts did you give your guests?

Photo booth photos along with the little gold Aussie animals.

What was the funniest moment of the day?

The day was jam packed full of fun! We girls loved running around in our matching onesies. It was also pretty funny when the maid of honour and best man fell off their chairs in the middle of the photo session.

What was the most special memory from the day?

A highlight of the day was taking 15 minutes to ourselves to just get away from everyone and sit together in the chapel, have a drink and soak in the fact that we just got married! It was important to us to actually experience the day and its meaning, and not get overwhelmed with rushing and trying to fit everything in.

What did you do for your honeymoon?

Had an adventurous holiday in New Zealand – with snowboarding, bungee jumping, fishing and more. Loved drinking ciders by the fire after a day full of fun!

Special thanks to…

Too many to list!

What advice would you give other brides-to-be?

Put a lot of thought into making it meaningful to you… don’t do anything just because other people do it for their wedding. I loved having little touches scattered throughout the ceremony that were special (e.g. Nick’s granddad’s old lawn bowls trophies from the 1940s were used as part of the flower displays). We wanted everyone to feel special and involved so made an effort to include our bridal party and family in the preparations and let people help out. We both love a good party, but really tried to focus on what getting married meant and the ceremony, which is the most important part after all. The reception party was really just the bonus – a celebration of that moment.

Ceremony: Adora Downs Chapel // Reception: Adora Downs Barn // Wedding Gown: Pina Fiorenza // Bridesmaid Attire: Whiterunway // Groom’s Suit: Van Heusen // Groomsmen Attire: Van Heusen // Coordinator: My friends // Decorator: Myself and Bridesmaid Linnet Rinaldo // Flowers: Bridesmaid Linnet Rinaldo // Hair: ‘Styles By Casey’ and Emma McManus // Makeup: Mirror Mirror Makeup Artistry // Cake: My friend Anna Hoffmann. Fruitcake portion by Nick’s mum Meryl // Caterer: Adora Downs // Stationery: Jupiter and Juno (invites), Creed and Lang Printers (Menus) // Music: Linda Capewell (live musician) plus DJ Fleur Blissner // Photographer: Justin Ma // Videographer: Lemon Tree Film House // Hens: Boggo Jail, Brisbane // Bucks: Sunshine Coast // Honeymoon: New Zealand // Celebrant: Denise Bennett (bride’s aunt) // Engagement Ring: Samara James // Bride’s Wedding Ring: Samara James // Groom’s Wedding Ring: Dora

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