Date: 02/04/22 // Guests: 47 // Location: Villa Botanica, The Whitsundays
From life on the farm to a dreamy Whitsundays wedding, Gabriella & Matthew cherish their journey together, complete with three adorable children! Planning a wedding had an important caveat for the pair: it had to be stress-free. Turns out their vision hinged on finding venue perfection at Villa Botanica (a private estate with the most glorious sea views) and being “ruthless” with their guest list. Between the classic palette, just-married picnic, and magical open-air reception, there is so much to love about this tropical soirée. We chat wedding highlights with Gabriella, including the bride’s reception surprise and a very relatable honeymoon treat.
QB: All good love stories start somewhere; how did you meet?
We met five years ago at a rodeo — which, looking back now, is completely random considering that Matt is no cowboy. From the time we met we have never spent a day off apart — and between our very busy lives have always made each other our priority.
QB: Tell us about your lives together …
We have three small children and a farm, which keeps us completely busy and juggling day to day and week to week. We wouldn’t have it any other way though and love having a full and loud house to enjoy together.
QB: Make us laugh, make us cry: who proposed and how?
I had just had our son and was emotional and tired and lounging out in our house when Matt walked in with flowers and our daughters. He got down on one knee with our eldest daughter to ask me the big question — which he proceeded to ask again twice before I remembered how to answer and said yes through some tears. Everyone was happy and laughing when I said to Matt: ‘What do we do now?’.
QB: Why did you choose your Whitsundays venue?
Villa Botanica was a simple choice as everything was included, organisation was done for us, and we only needed to make a few decisions and that was all. We have such a busy life and didn’t need any more stress planning a wedding. Villa Botanica is a magical place, and what they have to offer is a massive bonus.
QB: What was the inspiration behind your wedding style?
We spent a lot of time on Pinterest for inspiration but, ultimately, we both loved white and simple. Villa Botanica is beautiful already, and the mix between garden and beach was the perfect style we were looking for.
QB: Did you incorporate any traditions or perhaps do something a little different?
I kept a big secret from everyone (including Matt) that I had a second dress to change into for the reception. It was so much fun walking out and seeing everyone’s shocked faces.
QB: What was your most memorable moment of the day?
When Matt and I got to sit and have our picnic together between having our photos taken. It was a beautiful time to check in and have a conversation with each other.
QB: Tell us about your dress/suit choices …
I had always loved the brand Grace Loves Lace and was convinced I needed a dress from there. It was perfect! But I also fell in love with my second/party dress, so that was not planned at all (but I couldn’t imagine not wearing it). Matt was happy to wear any suit that I requested to match my dress, he was a good sport.
QB: Any special vendor shout-outs?
Honestly, everyone was absolutely amazing. All the vendors were incredible, produced an amazing day, and presented exactly what we had in mind. Would highly recommend Lovelenscapes Photography who made our day spectacular and are amazing people to work with. They just brought so much joy and stress-free love to our perfect day.
QB: Any words of wisdom for other couples?
Our advice that we give everyone is to be ruthless with the guest list. We made difficult decisions, but ultimately, we had an amazing day which had no hiccups or problems arise.
QB: How did you honeymoon?
We enjoyed our first-ever trip away together without kids! We went to qualia on Hamilton Island, had an amazing time together, and hopefully will be able to do it again one day.
QB: What does marriage mean to you?
Neither Matt or I were overly concerned about a wedding, but we both cherish the meaning and commitment of a marriage. The ultimate goal is to look back and be able to say, “We have been married 40 years”. That’s what marriage means to us: between the ups and downs and everything in between, we keep moving forward together.
Photography & Videography: Lovelenscapes // Ceremony & reception venue: Villa Botanica, The Whitsundays // Celebrant: Ceremonies Out of the Blue // Gown: Grace Loves Lace // Accessories: Anastasia Marie the label collection // Groom & groomsmen suits: Stuarts Suits // Hair: Amanda Fearn Hairdressing // Make Up: Airlie Beach Makeup // Wedding Rings: Michael Hill // Flowers: Sofi & Flora // Cake: Sweet Ideas // Catering: Aquava Boutique Catering // Stylist: TP Events & Styling // Music: Brian La Chance // Babysitting: Airlie Beach Babysitting by Danielle
More on why The Whitsundays is perfect for a destination wedding