real wedding ellie james

This couple is proof that science and romance do mix.

A chance seating arrangement in a high-school science class sparked this couple’s slow-burning chemical reaction, which (eventually) grew into a lifetime love.

“I’d like to say we hit it off, but we didn’t,” laughs Ellie, who admits to pestering her new class companion for extra stationery and pencils – items she regularly misplaced and James guarded dearly. Furthermore, she would try to peek at his beloved artwork (while James wasn’t looking), declaring that “he always carried an art book with him and I used to steal it and look at all his drawings, which made him hate me even more.”

However, what started as antagonising antics from Ellie ultimately proved the turning point in their blossoming relationship: once James began to share his art, they connected and began to spend even more time together.

When Ellie struck up the nerve to ask James out the following year, he quickly said no – but purely out of shock. Unbeknown to Ellie, she had trumped James, who had been working up the nerve to ask her on a date. Further consideration of his rejection (and a little ribbing from Ellie’s friends) saw James ask Ellie out the following Monday – and the rest, as they say, is history!

With 2020 being a leap year, Ellie decided to embrace the tradition of women proposing and beat James to the punch again! After doing the maths, she realised that she and James had been dating for 14 years – exactly half their lives – and their anniversary conveniently synced with an already planned cruise holiday. Instead of proposing with a ring (as James is allergic to metals), Ellie prepared to present him with a gorgeous sterling-silver pocket watch, with the date of their to-be engagement – 4/2/20 – engraved on the back. “I had no choice but to propose on the fourth!” Ellie jokes.

Thanks to the quick thinking of the onboard spa staff to secure a quiet, secluded place, Ellie proposed to James with a spectacular view of the sea (and lots of dolphins!) in the background. “Lucky for me, this time he didn’t say no,” says Ellie. When the time came to plan their big day, the two made the decision to host their celebration at Gabbinbar Homestead in Toowoomba. It was an easy choice for many reasons: its beauty and historical significance (Ellie works in heritage conservation); its ability to provide delicious food that fit their strict allergy and vegan restrictions; and the opportunity to marry in a location that held meaning for them as a couple. “I looked at so many historic sites across Queensland and none came close to the beauty and character of Gabbinbar Homestead,” Ellie remarks. And the location significance? Well, Toowoomba had not once, but twice caused a temporary separation in their relationship. James had a six-month stint working there while Ellie resided in Brisbane, and just months after James returned, Ellie secured her own work position there, forcing her to leave James behind in Brisbane. “Toowoomba was always the place that separated us,” explains Ellie, “but if we married there, it would be the place that united us.”

With the location settled, a healthy dose of glitter brought their picture-perfect celebration to life. “I love fireworks, fairy lights and anything that sparkles,” says Ellie. Ellie instructed her bride tribe to wear whatever they wanted as long as they felt beautiful, so they opted for a mix-and-match ensemble of jewel-toned dresses in autumnal colours, beautifully complementing Ellie’s shimmering sequinned Chosen by KYHA gown and James’ brocade suit jacket.

Creative, personal touches, like the vegan watermelon wedding cake made by Ellie’s flatmate and a string quartet that played contemporary music, ensured that Ellie and James’ event was truly theirs.

“Our wedding was a luxurious garden party,” says Ellie. “We got married under a beautiful old Moreton Bay fig in a stunningly landscaped, sprawling garden, enjoyed a romantic candlelit dinner and finished it off with a spectacular fireworks display before getting behind the wheel of a classic red MG to make our sparkling exit.”

Their advice to other couples? “When planning the wedding, make sure you surround yourself with people who love you and are excited about your big day as much as you are,” reflects Ellie. “If you find people like that, you won’t just have a great wedding, you will have a support network that will stay with you long after the wedding day.”

Ellie and James are now excited for the next adventure of their relationship: revamping a tiny retro caravan to travel around Australia!

 – Dream Team –

Photography and videography Wander & Follow Images // Venue and planning Gabbinbar Homestead // Dress Chosen by KYHA // Suits ASOS // Florist Garden Graffiti // Cake supplied by a close friend // Celebrant Caitlyn Healy // Photobooth Euphoria Booth // Makeup Holly Smith // Hair Bianca at Hair by LadiiBe // Fireworks Ace Fireworks // Hire items Mother of Weddings

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