Real Wedding: Jennifer & Thomas


We love the obvious delight of Jennifer O’Neil and Thomas Dawe captured in their gorgeous winter wedding. We suspect this pair didn’t stop smiling all day! Pops of red and vintage/retro-inspired touches give the celebration warmth and personality while the location itself (a much-visited destination for the pair) proved a charismatic backdrop.


 Date: 26 July 2014

The Couple: Jennifer Lee O’Neil and Thomas Michael Dawe

No. of Guests: 65

Budget: $15,000

First Dance Song: I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney, sung by Norah Jones and Dave Grohl

Photography: Christopher Thomas Photography























How did you meet? 

We went to different schools and they joined for a high-school trip to Canberra. We lost touch afterwards, but we always thought the other was special.  Many years later, I popped up on Tom’s Facebook page as ‘someone you may know’.  He messaged me and asked me out for coffee.  I was about to go overseas for the first time and said maybe when I returned. And we did, never looking back.

Tell us about the proposal…

I was returning from an overseas trip with my best friend (maid of honour), and Tom had organised to fly to Sydney to surprise me, propose, and then fly back beside me to Brisbane where my parents met us at the arrival gate.  He had asked my best friend and father for permission before doing so!

Why did you choose Old Petrie Town for your wedding? 

It’s a spot we visit often, and it’s a great location for photos, and guests didn’t have to travel between ceremony and the reception!

What did you do for your hens and bucks? 

We both turned our celebrations into a weekend event.  My hen’s began Saturday morning with a bridal shower (with a vintage tea party theme!) at my parent’ house. After lunch we headed into the apartment my friends had booked, got ready and then headed to the valley for a burlesque dance class at the Fringe Bar which was brilliant.  Afterwards, we headed to Caxton St for dinner and dancing!

The boys had Friday night drinks, Saturday morning began with a round of golf, followed by indoor go-karting, a jam session in a music studio hired by the boys for three hours of music, dinner and more drinks!

DIY Details

Almost everything! I made the veil with my mother and mother-in-law two days before the wedding (stressful, do not recommend that time frame!).  We also made the seating chart and stand, ceremony sign, printed the order of ceremonies, handmade our table numbers, and had two of our closest friends make us a ‘thank-you tree’, instead of having a book.

Key Styling Inspiration 

Everything we chose, we made sure it tied back to ourselves somehow.  We wanted the wedding to be very ‘us’, and it was.

What gifts did you give your guests? 

We made CDs of songs that kind of told our story.

Where did you splurge and where did you save? 

 Splurged on photography, food and wine.  We saved anywhere we could.  A lot of our friends helped out with things like stationery, decorating, the cars, music and Tom even made our signs and seating chart!

Do you have a special memory from the day?

For me, it was walking down the aisle, and not only seeing Tom, but looking around and noticing each person who was there to celebrate our special moment with us.|

Special thanks to…

Our parents and the bridal party.  Without their help, and ongoing support the wedding would not have happened!  I cannot emphasise how great Chris and Michelle are.  We had a ball from the first meeting, to the time we finished!  He was relaxed, and made all of us laugh.  We felt so comfortable with him and any special photos we wanted, he made sure we got. Chris made us feel at home on every meeting leading up to the big day. His professionalism and passion was second to none.

What advice do you have for future brides-to-be? 

Stop and enjoy the planning process.  I know it’s hard, but having nightmares about dresses and the weather is not the way to lead up to your wedding! Also, pick a theme. It’s the only way to make decisions on what colours, which cake top, etc.  Lastly, don’t stress on the day.  Whats done is done, and if it isn’t, it’s probably too late, so relax and enjoy every moment.

Ceremony: Old Petrie Town
Reception: Old Petrie Town
Gown: Hills on Hollywood
Flowers: Art of Floristry, Toni
Hair: Bernece (friend)
Makeup: Megan Dent, Makeup Artist
Cake: One Stop Wedding Shop
Transport: XP Falcon + Ford Capri GT
Stationery: DIY
Music: Dave “Pianoman” Johnson
Photographer: Christopher Thomas Photography
Celebrant: Tony Hennessey
Engagement Ring: Michael Hill
Bride's Wedding Ring: Michael Hill
Groom's Wedding Ring: Michael Hill

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