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If you ask us, the secret to a next-level wedding often lies in finding a spectacular venue (plus killer tunes and sell-your-soul-for-one-more-bite kind of food). So when we came across the incredible wedding of Hope and Jeremy in country Queensland, we were instantly won over! Saying “I do” on a scenic private property in the Goondiwindi region, these two sweethearts threw one heck of a party with plenty of heartfelt touches.

After meeting at a friend’s barbecue in 2011 (how else do you meet your future spouse in Australia?) and going on to date for four years, Hope and Jeremy became engaged while taking a romantic starlit stroll on the beach. “We sat down on the sand and there was a little bit of space between us,” remembers Hope. “Jeremy wrote in the sand, ‘Do you love me?’ I crossed it out and wrote, ‘Yes’. He then wrote, ‘Will you always?’ My answer was, ‘Yes’. Then Jeremy wrote, ‘Will you marry me?’” Of course, the answer was yes! Sweet and simple – well played, Jeremy.

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After travelling to the US and Canada together, the two began to plan a fabulous celebration centring around three crucial things: family, a relaxed atmosphere and a very special venue. “We wanted something laidback, without a curfew,” says Hope. “It was important to us that we could party until the sun came up!”

The couple were committed to the idea of marrying on the bride’s family’s private property in the little country town of Weengallon. “Windamore (the property) was in my dad’s family for three generations until it was sold, right before I started school,” explains Hope. “My cousin purchased it in early 2016, so we were able to tie the knot somewhere that held so much history for me.”

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With the ‘where’ sorted, everything else fell into place and soon the couple’s wedding day (8 April, 2017) was around the corner. Escaping to Weengallon on the Wednesday before the special day, Hope and Jeremy and their bridal party joined forces to transform the property into a wedding wonderland.

“It was such a big job because we had a beautiful blank canvas to work with,” says Hope. Everything came down to the love and care of the talented bridal party: the bridesmaids crafted gorgeous wreath table decorations, handwrote place cards and even whipped up post-ceremony platters. “Every detail was handmade,” says Hope.

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Meanwhile, back on the ranch, Jeremy and his dad got to work building a gorgeous rustic ceremony arbour from large pieces of timber they found on the property. “It was a total surprise,” says Hope. “It was completely their idea and it was just perfect!”

With the decorations made, food prepared, plenty of laughs shared and still not one meltdown to speak of, it was clear this would be a relaxed event. Far from a bridezilla, Hope kept the chilled vibes flowing while getting ready for the afternoon ceremony. “My bridesmaids and I actually watched a movie in between getting our hair and makeup done and leaving for the ceremony,” laughs Hope. Goals, right?

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Dressed in a dreamy When Freddie Met Lilly dress, the bride was getting excited to join Jeremy at the altar when she was treated to a touching surprise. “My father passed away in 2012, so my younger brother walked me down the aisle in my dad’s old boots,” remembers Hope. “I didn’t know he was going to wear them! He told me that he wanted dad to be with me when we were walking down the aisle.”

The emotions were still strong when Hope and Jeremy exchanged self-written vows, surrounded by 146 loved ones and those sigh-inducing country views. “We carefully chose every single word,” Hope says.

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Pronounced ‘husband and wife’, the two were treated to a magical sunset as they wandered through the fields hand-in-hand in a post-ceremony photo shoot. “The skies were glorious,” says Hope. “Jeremy likes to say that my dad was putting on a show for us.” Hope and Jeremy’s choice of photographer ensured the special moment was both personal and intimate. “I’ve known our photographer, Jessica, since we were 12!” Hope says. “She actually took the first photo of us as a couple when Jeremy and I first got together.”

When the newlyweds joined guests for a reception in a fairy light-lit marquee, the party really started. Indulging in share platters of country-style comfort food (think mini rosemary beef roasts with smashed chat potatoes, honey carrots and beans, and baked leg ham with pearl couscous, sundried tomato and rocket salad with a honey orange dressing), Hope and Jeremy later had everyone in fits of laughter with a slightly unconventional game. “The best man, Jeremy’s oldest brother, made us play ‘Groom’s Butt’,” says Hope. “Basically, I had to feel the groomsmen’s backsides and guess which one was Jeremy! I failed miserably and ended up asking one of the groomsmen “Where is it?!” Well, that’s one way to get to know your husband’s family…

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Capping off a sensational day, the couple were cutting into their wedding cake (made by the bride’s grandmother, no less) when disaster struck. “One of our guests was talking to Jeremy and imitating a bad dance move when they knocked the barrel that the cake was on,” laughs Hope. “The cake came tumbling down and was completely smashed! Grandma went home that night and baked another angel cake, and we all had it for morning tea the next day.” What a legend.

Cake smash included, Hope and Jeremy’s wedding couldn’t have been more perfect. “The day was completely relaxed and sentimental,” says Hope. “We had the best time with our closest friends and family.”

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LITTLE BLACK BOOK:
Photography: Jessica Turich Photography // Ceremony and reception: Private property // Wedding dress: When Freddie Met Lilly // Bride’s shoes: Betts // Bridesmaids’ dresses: White Runway // Hair: Blue Rose Designs // Makeup: Indulge Beaute Salon // Suits: Ferrari Formalwear Toowoomba // Rings: Hogans Family Jewellers // Equipment and marquee hire: North West Events // Catering: Neen’s Café Goondiwindi // Cake: Made by the bride’s grandmother // Celebrant: Samantha O’Toole // Honeymoon: Mooloolaba, Queensland

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