Real Weddings // Location: Brisbane // by QB

real wedding cara gerard

Wedding date: 5 December 2020 // Guests: 90 

Seriously: we are bending at the knees in admiration of Cara-Lee and Gerard’s chic Brisbane wedding. From the awe-inspiring backdrop of St John’s Cathedral and that S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G couture-designed dress by Pina Fiorenza (with that to-die-for cape!) to the lavish sit-down affair at the riverside location of Customs House, this wedding has all the hallmarks of a stylish and elegant celebration.

QB: All good love stories start somewhere; tell us how and when you met …
A mutual friend connected us, and we decided to meet up in Surfers Paradise for a pleasant beach stroll. As corny as it sounds, I knew as soon as I saw Gerard that he was something special. Hitting it off instantly, we decided to follow up our walk with dinner – the best idea ever; my cheeks were hurting from smiling and laughing so much! The next day we took my younger brother to Timezone, and while I’ve heard people say that it’s best to keep dates short and sweet, ours easily went on for hours and hours at a time. It was only a couple of weeks later when I told my mum that I had completely lost my appetite that she laughed and said, ‘you’re lovesick!’. It turns out that my feelings for Gerard were so strong that I had manifested physical signs of falling in love! Wow!

QB: Tell us about your lives together …
We dated for about two years before Gerard proposed. We decided to wait until marriage before we moved in together and so we were both excited and nervous to see what married life had in store for us. Four months before the wedding, Gerard was sent to Sydney for work during the COVID-19 border closures. It was disappointing not having Gerard here in the lead-up to the wedding and made learning our first dance quite challenging. Still, my beautiful friend Alex organised a dance school on the Gold Coast called Le Step and a sister school in Sydney to teach us our first dance separately. When Gerard arrived back on the Gold Coast two weeks before the wedding, we practised our first dance together, and it went – surprisingly – well!

QB: What does marriage mean to you?
Marriage is significant to us both. While it is a public declaration of love and commitment, marriage has an extra dimension for us as Christians. We believe that the binding partnership of the marriage is a powerful symbol of the relationship between Christ and the Church. When at its best, this union can show a glimpse of the faithful, enduring love God has towards his people.

QB: Make us laugh, make us cry: who proposed to who, and how?
For our second anniversary, Gerard booked a beach apartment in Kingscliff. When he additionally planned an early-morning picnic for us at the beach on one morning, I knew something was up because:

  1. I am not a morning person;
  2. We stayed on the beach; however, we drove 20 minutes to the “picnic spot on the beach.”
  3. And, I saw the ring box sticking out of his tight jeans.

He romantically proposed at sunrise and had arranged for Nathan Lapham to take our engagement photos which was a real treat! 

QB: How and why did you choose your venues?
We knew we wanted to marry in a Church, and being in absolute awe of St John’s Cathedral, we immediately booked it for our ceremony. We wanted our reception venue to be within walking distance of our ceremony, and when we came across Customs House, we knew that it was a perfect fit. We loved that both venues had a formal flair about them. Additionally, the riverside location of Customs House was so beautiful, and we knew our guests would enjoy this aspect.

QB: What was the inspiration behind your wedding style?
Classic elegance. As a little girl, I marvelled at Royal Weddings, and I feel that The St John’s Cathedral provided a royal-esque and opulent setting; I truly felt like a princess walking down the aisle. We kept venue styling to a minimum for our formal sit-down dinner at Customs House, allowing the venue to shine in its own right.

QB: Did you incorporate any traditions or perhaps do something a little different?
We had a candle ceremony in our wedding ceremony. I organised three candles, representing my family, representing Gerard’s family, and finally, our newly formed family. Our mothers lit their respective family candles and used the same flame from the family candles to light our candle. We loved the symbolism of the candle ceremony.

QB: Were there any standout suppliers?
Our photographers did an AMAZING job (and we paid them with Qoin, a new cryptocurrency). We also thought Bouquet Boutique did an outstanding job with the flowers for the day. I showed Geraldine some inspirational photos, and her flowers exceeded my expectations. She is so professional and made everything super easy. Then, of course, there is Pina from Fiorenza Bridal! We worked collaboratively on my wedding dress, and I trusted her knowledge and expertise. She comes from an authentic Italian family, and her handiwork is honestly world-class; I feel so privileged that Pina made my dress.

QB: Do you have any words of wisdom to offer other couples?
We tried to involve our family in the wedding process wherever we could. For example, we asked our family to help choose our cake flavours and do the readings and prayers during the ceremony. I didn’t have a wedding planner, and if you decide to go without as well, then I think it’s vital that you surround yourself with friends and family who will support you through the process. Involve them in your wedding journey; it will make them feel special and help lighten the load.

QB: Did you (or will you) enjoy a honeymoon? If so, how and why did you choose your destination?
We had initially planned to travel to the Caribbean, but … (looking at you, COVID-19!). And so, instead, we went to Hamilton Island, Hayman Island and South Australia. We loved the idea of having an island getaway but then also longed to dabble in some wine-tasting and the delicious food culture of South Australia. We had the best of both worlds! We feel so lucky and grateful that we were able to travel in 2020. We often forget all the fantastic Australian locations that we have right here in our backyard. 

Dress: Pina Fiorenza  // Photography: Allume  // Ceremony: St Johns Cathedral // Reception: Customs House  // Florals: Boutique Boutique

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