Date: 07 October 2023 Location: Gordon Country, Goomburra Photography: Jessica Turich Photography
We love an elegant take on a Queensland country wedding (almost as much as we love an Uluru sunrise proposal, more on that below!). For Taleasha and Ashley, finding their perfect venue in Gordon Country, an expansive rural estate south of Toowoomba, set the tone for their wedding weekend. Then, contrasting those glorious bush backdrops with a ‘glam country’ brief was the icing on the cake. Make that three cakes as this couple knows how to get creative when planning a timeless celebration with a personal twist.
We asked Taleasha for all the tea on making ‘we do’ their own — from an Acknowledgment of Country and bride reveal to flower men, cake displays and fun activities for 89 cherished friends and family. There are so many nuggets, so let’s get into it …
QB: All good love stories start somewhere; tell us how you met …
In late January of 2016, we met through mutual friends at a rodeo at the Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton. I pulled up and, whilst parking my Jeep Wrangler, reversed into a pole. After figuring the parking out, that’s when we first locked eyes. Throughout the rodeo, I spent most of the night at the bar with Ashley and the rest of our friends. Then a group of us went out the next morning for breakfast …
Almost two months passed when Ashley popped his head up through a Facebook message.
We met for a pub feed with mutual friends, followed by a drunken late-night skinny dip which led to Ashley scrambling to find last-minute tickets to CMC Rocks (country music festival) that weekend, which I had already planned to attend. CMC was our pivotal moment. The rest, as they always say, is history.
QB: Tell us about your lives together …
Ashley is a third-generation farmer and I work in the mining industry in the Bowen Basin. We live in the Wide Bay Region of Queensland where we own a Macadamia Orchard as well as grazing land. Together we enjoy road trips and new adventures, music festivals, spending time with friends and family, camping/4WD, having a good old pub sesh, cooking/BBQing and baking together, spending time with our dogs, and attending and watching sporting events. We’ve also achieved so much together: Paying off two cars, buying a farm, lots of travel and holidays, a healthier lifestyle, and always growing together as individuals and as a couple.
QB: Make us laugh, make us cry: who proposed to whom, and how?
Ashley proposed on the early (very cold) morning of 19 May 2021 in front of an Uluru sunrise. We had booked a trip to visit Uluru and surrounds which happened to be around my birthday, and Ashley disguised the ring as a wrapped birthday present. Unfortunately, my birthday fell while we were still in Alice Springs, and there were four days with me wondering why I couldn’t open my final present until Uluru. Next came the bigger challenge of trying to convince me to get up at 4 am on holiday to watch the sunrise!
We walked along the path in the dark to the perfect spot. Uluru was glowing as the sun started to rise when Ashley dropped and got his knee dirty, asking me to be his wife.
QB: How and why did you choose your venue?
We saw four venues (throughout Toowoomba & Sunshine Coast) before viewing Gordon Country. When we arrived, we just knew it was the place we wanted to get married. It was so us, being out in the bush camping with our friends and family. From the ceremony location choices to the modern-day barn, it was the perfect blank canvas for our wedding theme.
We’d always wanted to make our wedding into a weekend with family and friends, so Gordon Country was very appealing as it could accommodate most of our guests as well as having the ‘getting ready’ ceremony and reception all at the one venue.
QB: What was the inspiration behind your wedding style?
We called it Glam Country (no hay bales or hessian bags!). Pearls, sparkles, beautiful flowers, class, whites, and natural colours were the inspiration.
QB: How did you celebrate your hens and bucks?
Ashley, his groomsmen, brothers, and other mates spent a weekend in Brisbane/Gold Coast. They got a corporate box to an NRL game at Suncorp Stadium, played Top Golf, went on a sunset boat cruise, bar-hopped and did some banking at the casino. I also went to the Gold Coast for the weekend with my bridesmaids and a few other close friends. We rented a house in Broadbeach and enjoyed cooking classes, cocktail lessons, a pink flamingo show, high tea at the Q1, a sunset boat cruise and limo rides. A great opportunity for guests to get to know the bridesmaids and other guests before the wedding day.
I also celebrated a bridal brunch in my future mother-in-law’s garden. It was a beautiful morning catching up with my bridesmaids, family (aunties & grandparents) and friends. Highlights included games, cake, food, recipe sharing, and a mimosa bar, and it was a great opportunity for guests to get to know each other before the big day. In the afternoon, we had a few of the ladies’ partners come around for a BBQ which topped off a perfect day.
QB: Tell us about your dress/suit choices …
We were going for a classy, timeless look. We didn’t want to look at our photos in ten years and have regrets about colours etc.
Wedding dress: I wanted something slim-fitting and comfortable with a little bit of cleavage: sexy but classy. I knew I didn’t want anything puffy (Cinderella-looking). I didn’t think I would go for a dress with such a long train but after trying on my dream dress, that no longer mattered.
Bridesmaid dresses: I wanted my bridesmaids to be comfortable and to wear something that suited each of their different body shapes — I wanted them to feel just as confident in their dresses as I did. We chose an elegant pearl/Champagne colour that was easy to match and helped the bridesmaids stand out against the beautiful colours of the bush.
Groom & groomsmen: To follow the wedding theme and cocktail reception, Ashley chose a classic tuxedo. The only difference between Ashley’s tux and the groomsmen was that he wore a textured shirt. The groomsmen wore plain shirts but all with the same buttons. Ashley did not want to stand out against some of his closest mates who helped shape him into the person he is.
QB: Did you incorporate any traditions or perhaps do something a little different?
- A ‘bride reveal’ at the ceremony using the car to reveal me as it drove away Flower/drinks men walked the aisle before the bridesmaids
- Acknowledgment to Country and memorial candle lighting at the start of the ceremony
- My little brother presented the rings
- No Maid of Honour or Best Man. We didn’t want to ‘label’ our bridal party and make one feel less valued to another. Everyone in our bridal party has been there for us through the good, bad and ugly … and they have all supported and grown with us as a couple and as individuals.
- A Champagne tower when we entered the reception
- A cake display instead of the traditional cake. We had three separate cakes on plinths, surrounded by candles and flowers
- A large white wooden letter E (the first letter of our surname) for guests to sign instead of a traditional guest book
- An activities table for guests with date night ideas, personalised tattoos, disposable cameras, and heart sunglasses
- Instead of a bridal party table, we had a dry bar with two bar stools
- Our first dance was outside amongst guests with sparklers
- Guests were encouraged to create their own bouquets from our wedding flower arrangements the morning after to take home with them.
QB: What was your First Dance song?
This Is It – Scotty McCreery
QB: What was your favourite/most memorable moment of the day?
The morning of the wedding, getting ready with my bridesmaids, was so memorable — good music, good food and great company. Some of the girls even agreed to have a small amount of their hair cut to ensure their hairstyles were as close to my inspiration photos as possible.
My favourite moment would definitely be seeing Ashley for the first time when I arrived at the ceremony. It’s hard to explain but in that moment, it was like no one else was there or existed, it was so surreal and after 2.5 years of planning was better than I’d ever dreamed or imagined. I wish I could re-live that exact two minutes of my life again!
Generally, making it a four-day event to spend time with our family and bridal party. Golf with the groomsmen, my dad and father-in-law-to-be on Thursday and kicking around doing the final touches and a fire on the Friday night with the groomsmen.
Nothing will top the moment the car drove away, revealing my soon-to-be wife: time froze as a wave of happiness took over me. I remember my jaw being sore from smiling so much by the end of the ceremony.
As a gift for my groomsmen, I had custom budgie smugglers made, hot-pink with my face plastered all over them, and I had a pair with all their faces across the back. This worked well for the reception as in our family and friends’ group when Eagle Rock comes on, the pants come off!
QB: Any special vendor shout-outs?
- Kate Totman our celebrant / MC – For keeping everything organised and running like a well-oiled machine. She took the time to work with us, building an amazing connection through our coffee catch-ups. Kate’s bubbly personality really helped ease our nerves too.
- Tamara Stafford our florist/stylist – Amazing! Our beautiful florals and styling were exactly what we envisioned. Tamara was very accommodating with all our little extras, including re-purposing our ceremony florals for the reception.
- Tileah from Gordon Country – Tileah went above and beyond! Staying back late on Friday to catch up with us and run through our timeline (even sourcing a tray for our Champagne tower at the last minute). On the day, she was on site from well before the ceremony until late into the reception and ensured everything was running smoothly.
- Jess & Mitch (photographer and videographer) – They put us at ease being in front of the cameras and worked in so well with all the other vendors. And their work is absolutely amazing!
QB: How did you honeymoon?
We wanted to do something different, special and memorable for our honeymoon, so we chose Africa — visiting Cape Town (South Africa), Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe). We had the best time enjoying everything we love doing together: wine tasting, adventuring (safari game drives, shark diving), dining, cultural experiences, and entertainment (dinner with shows).
QB: Any words of wisdom for other couples
The 6 P’s (Prior planning prevents piss poor performance)!! You do not want to do unnecessary jobs on the day of your wedding: dedicate someone to be the go-to if there are questions or issues to resolve. BE ORGANISED! Ensure everyone knows their tasks/jobs, and ensure the bridal party knows what/when they are required. Don’t forget to arrange good hearty meals for your bridal party — it’s a big day, you need to eat well and stay hydrated!
We would also 100% recommend booking a videographer. We’ve spoken to several couples who didn’t and wish they did. It’s a great way to look back on how the day unfolded, what your partner was getting up to, their reactions to gifts or cards, and to capture footage of friends and family having fun. It’s also a memorable way to see/listen to anyone who sadly may no longer be with you.
Everyone will tell you: “the day goes by so quickly.” Let us tell you, it really does! Soak it all in and enjoy every minute. I stressed myself out so much leading up to our wedding day, and when the day came around, it was like nothing else mattered. Truly, as long as you marry your person, have your family and friends around you and enjoy yourself, it’s not worth wasting your energy on anything else because the day goes by way too fast!
Photography: Jessica Turich Photography // Videography: Mitch Birchall Studios // Ceremony location: Gordon Country, Goomburra (Banshee Junction) // Reception venue: Gordon Country (Rivergums Barn) // Celebrant: Kate Totman Celebrant MC // Gown: Jane Hill, Sphere Bridal Gallery // Shoes: Harlo AU (bride) & Julius Marlow (groom) // Groom’s outfit: Varce Suits // Groomsmen outfits: Varce Suits // Hair: Love is in the Hair // Make-up: Erin Fedele Beauty MUA // Wedding Rings: Ritchies Jewellers, Bundaberg // Flowers: Toowoomba White Weddings // Cake: Pepperberry Cakes// Catering: Soul Kitchen // Stylist: Toowoomba White Weddings // Music: McGee Entertainment // Stationery: Laura Stanbury // Entertainment: Andino Magician // Decoration: The Whole Bride (confetti, sparklers & ring box) // Bride/bridesmaid pyjamas: Le Rose Stories