Kara and Matthew have been lovebirds for a lifetime. They have almost been together longer than they haven't; having met at 14 years old. They fell in love and are now getting married after 12 years together. The couple got engaged in the Tiffany and Co store in New York where unbeknown to Kara, Matthew had been planning the moment for 10 months - she thought she was there to look at engagement rings for Matt's sister.
Their wedding planner Rachael from The Events Lounge scouted a beautiful private property in the Gold Coast hinterland where they exchanged vows in a laid back, backyard style wedding. Two things stole the limelight on the day- one being the stunning Kara who wore the Blake/Alexia gown with a beaded art deco 'Webb' cape, all by Karen Willis Holmes. The second was the impressively decadent 6-metre long grazing table complete with a cheese wheel cake by Your Platter Matters which has gone viral online. The wedding also featured intimate garden party Morrocan inspired floor cushions and rugs, providing a tranquil haven for guests to relax at before and after the sit-down dinner. The love filled day was emotionally topped off with Kara's good friend Yves performing a traditional Cook Island dance which beautifully connected Kara and Matthews Islander roots.
How did you meet your (now) husband? We went to school together, Primary right through to High. It wasn’t until the 9th grade we started hanging out in the same social groups and took an interest in each other.
How long have you been together? We have been together for 12 years; we were 14 when we first started dating.
Do you have a proposal story? We were traveling around the US with Matt’s sister and her (now) husband and had an 8-day stop in New York. Nicole had told me she and her husband had planned to buy their wedding bands from Tiffany and Co at the Fifth Ave store and asked if Matt and I wanted to go along and enjoy the experience with them. Once we were there Nicole kept me busy by fussing over wedding bands while the guys went and met with Nikki, the lady Matt had been working with for 10 months to plan the proposal. Nikki then came and asked me if I’d like to see a new collection of jewelry that had just come in so I rushed over to the cabinet and when I got there I saw an open Tiffany’s box with this amazing ring sitting in it, and a note from Matt asking me to marry him. When I turned around I saw Matt getting down on one knee. With a shaky voice, he told me how much he loved me and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I was in shock and I don’t think I even managed to say anything but the tears started flowing; I was a bundle of nerves and happiness. We went into a private room and had champagne and cake while a parade marched outside the window and down the Avenue. Afterward, we all went for burgers and beers at a diner around the corner.
What was your wedding date? 5 November 2016
Location (Ceremony and Reception)
Where? Private venue, Currumbin Valley
What made you choose there? We viewed two venues initially and fell in love with Currumbin Valley instantly. Unfortunately, the venue we wanted wasn’t available for the dates we were looking at and so we ended up going with a venue in Tweed Valley. The venue in Tweed Valley then underwent a few changes which we didn’t like the look of so Rachael, our wedding planner showed us a property back in Currumbin Valley which had just opened up to hosting weddings and we fell in love all over again. We decided without even visiting that we had to have it. The bridal party spent three days there, including the wedding day, relaxing and enjoying the valley. We found out just before our big day that Cate Blanchett had stayed there too only a few weeks prior while filming was happening on the Gold Coast, that was exciting.
How did you find it? Our Wedding Planner, Rachael (The Events Lounge) found it after a couple other venues not working out.
How was the weather on the day? Hot!
What made you decide to get married on this particular date? It was the date we’d chosen for the Tweed Valley venue so decided just to stick with it seeing as we’d already begun booking suppliers. Turns out November 5th is also the birth date of an Aunty of mine and an Aunty of Matt’s so it was a nice day to celebrate marriage and birthdays.
The Wedding Details
Theme? From the beginning, we knew we wanted the day to be relaxed and fairly casual, and for the look of it all to be romantic and whimsical. My only real “must haves” were fairly lights, beautiful coloured flowers, hanging foliage, good food and plenty of drinks.
Being from the NT we wanted the experience to be a new one for our guests which is why we chose to have a large grazing table during the cocktail hour and share platters during the reception, rugs and cushions and live acoustic music; it’s not something that I’ve seen happen up here at a wedding so it was really important our guests experience that difference.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? Lots of bridal magazines, I visited Hello May and The Lane religiously, I had a Pinterest board going and browsed Instagram too for some inspiration.
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What? No DIY, we left all the planning in Rachael’s brilliant hands.
Bridesmaids – who/relationship?
Lilian Boocock- cousin. (Maid of Honour) Lilian is my sister from another mister, my go to for good laughs and a shoulder to cry on. She’s one of my favourite people in the whole world.
Nicole Civitarese- sister in law. Nicole is practically my sister and one of the most important people in my life, we’ve been through so much together and I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
Nadine Bourchier- friend. Nadine is one of those people I feel I can be completely and authentically my whole self with and for that I adore her, she’s amazing.
Ashleigh McLellan- friend. Ashleigh is one of my most reliable and loyal friends, without fail we are there for each other 100% and without question, I love her to bits.
Groomsmen – who/relationship?
Kris Civitarese, brother in law. (Best Man) Matt and Kris have been friends for years and when Kris and Nicole became an item it brought their friendship closer. They’re brothers and friends, where one is you’re sure to find the other.
Lauchlan Lake, brother in law. Mischief makers when they’re together; Matt has been a part of Lauchlan’s life since Lauchlan was 12 so Matt is very much a big brother figure in his life. Without question if Matt asks Lauchlan for help Lauchlan is there 100% and vice versa, we use to tease Matt saying that he only started dating me so he could be better friends with my brother.
Des Green, friend. Des is a top guy; he’s a role model and a great friend. He’s the kind of guy to drop whatever he’s doing to help someone in need, he’s so laid back and optimistic it’s hard not to enjoy his company.
Flower girls/Page boys – who/relationship?
Flower girl - Cheynijane James, cousin.
Page boy - Alex Lake, nephew.
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
Kara wore the 'Blake/Alexia' combination gown in heavy twill. She finished this stunning look off by adding the 'Webb Cape'.
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I had looked online at some Karen Willis Holmes dresses and thought they were just beautiful. I loved that although the designs are classic they have modern twists to them which was what I was looking for.
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? Only online and in magazines, living in the Northern Territory means we’re pretty limited and have to travel thousands of kilometers to try on designer gowns.
How many gowns did you try? At Karen Willis Holmes I tried on 3 dresses. Prior to that I had tried on about 6 between two other stores.
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? Karen Willis Holmes, SydneyWhat did you especially like about your gown? I felt so feminine wearing this gown; it hugged my body just right and made me feel somewhat sexy, although that was far from what I was trying to do! It was everything I hadn’t wanted my dress to look like and yet when I tried it on I just didn’t want to take it off. It was so comfortable and supportive. I loved the art deco vibe from the sequin capelet and that it added an extra element to the simplicity of the gown, I had so many compliments about it!
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? Two Birds Bridesmaid
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? Black Jacket Suiting
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party? My earrings were from Samantha Wills. I purchased the earrings for my bridesmaids from a boutique store in Fortitude Valley called Chrissa Alexion.
Where did you get your shoes from? Wittner
Did you wear a veil/headpiece? Where did you get this from? My veil was from Karen Willis Holmes & hair piece was from Jennifer Behr. My flower crown was made by Elyssium Blooms
Other: The flower girl’s dress was from Tutu du Monde and the page boy’s outfit was a combination of Seed Heritage kids and Bardot Junior.
What advice would you give brides organising their wedding? It’s natural to want to make the day as memorable and enjoyable as possible for everyone, but not everyone is going to love what you love or agree with every single one of your choices. Don’t let the pressure get to you, just remember they’re your choices and the day is about you two, so as long as you’re happy with your decisions leading up to the day it will all be perfect and your guests will just enjoy celebrating the special occasion with you both.
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Don’t take too many people with you when you go for trials. Two or maybe three people max is enough otherwise there are far too many opinions and what you thought you wanted becomes clouded, I had 6 people! It was hard. Also, be open to trying on dresses you normally wouldn’t look twice at, you’ll get a feel for what silhouettes look good and what styles you thought you’d like but just don’t seem to fit.
Anything extra that is special or you would like to share about your big day?
Special moment for Kara: As part of the Hen’s Day celebrations the girls took me to Libertine perfumery in Fortitude Valley, we had champagne and tried different kinds of amazing perfumes, it was really beautiful. The girls had me pick out a perfume and bought it for me as a bridal gift, it was really special and I felt very spoilt!
And, the moment my Dad walked in the door and saw me for the first time, he got so choked up I’d never seen him like that before. He told me I looked beautiful and so grown-up, he said he hadn’t recognised me at first and then the tears came, he gave me the tightest hug and couldn’t stop smiling.
Favourite moment for Matt: Seeing Kara at the top of the aisle was my perfect moment. Up to that point I’d been staring at my feet, I couldn’t look up, not even to watch the bridesmaids come down the aisle. I told my Best Man to tell me when Kara was coming down and when she did, I couldn’t control my emotions. She looked perfect.
Florist - Elyssium Blooms
I found Elyssium Blooms on Instagram and they were also suggested by Rachael; I loved the style of their work. Elise went above and beyond setting up on the day, heavily pregnant and working in 40+ degree heat, she and her team did such an amazing job!
Photographer - Heart and Colour
I first came across Heart and Colour on The Lane website and after browsing their blog I fell in love with their work. I knew from the moment I found their page I’d found our photographers; Bek and Phil were so friendly and welcoming from the get go, I just loved working with them.
Music - Acoustic musician during guest arrival, ceremony and cocktail hour was Sarah Archer Music
Sarah was a suggested artist by Rachael; I did some browsing on youtube and Instagram and instantly loved her smooth vocals and vibe. She was so lovely to work with!
DJ: Chris Parker (friend): Matt and Chris were neighbours right throughout their childhood and I’d gotten to know him better during High School. Chris used to DJ locally, he’s a super cool guy with great music taste so we asked him if he’d like to DJ at our wedding and he said yes!
First Dance - Nothing can change this Love by Sam Cooke
Event Planner/ Stylist- The Events Lounge – Rachael Romijn
The first time we met Rachael we just clicked; we found so much common ground between us all and that made everything about the process so easy. During our first meeting, Rach told us she didn’t work in the areas we were originally looking at for our wedding, and we wanted her to plan our wedding so badly we actually changed the locations we were looking at just so we could work with her. She is super talented and really is one of the loveliest and most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, we adore Rach.
MC: Chris Helmond (friend):
Chris is one of our oldest and most musically talented friends; he plays in a band, DJ’s and has such a vibrant personality there was no one else we had even considered asking to MC our night. He made everyone feel so relaxed, he’s a legend.
Celebrant - Paul Voge
Paul is just brilliant. I’d first come across Paul while browsing the internet and when Rach suggested him it just confirmed we were looking in the right places for people who could make our day super special. Paul was so easy going and fun; he made the whole process so easy. We’ve heard nothing but the best feedback about Paul from our guests, they’ve said he was interactive and playful and just downright cool!
Stationery - Cass Deller Design
I’d first come across Cass Deller on The Lane, her portfolio was so gorgeous and I was in love from the moment I saw her work. Cass was so accommodating and friendly, she was lovely to work with.
Menu - Graze Catering
Graze was a catering company I’d also found via The Lane. We’d always known that we wanted share plates to make the dinner more intimate and so people were comfortable and well fed throughout the night. They went above and beyond and our guests loved that they were able to eat as little or as much as they wanted.
Grazing Table- Your Platter Matters
I knew from the beginning that canapes weren’t for us, I wanted a visual feast and for our guests to be able to help themselves to food whenever they pleased, I wanted it to be as relaxed as possible. My sister in law tagged me in a post on Facebook as a joke but when I saw the platters I just knew they were exactly what I was after. Megan was a dream to work with, we threw some ideas around but I basically asked her to be free with whatever she felt would make the grazing table look and taste amazing and as long as there was cheese and plenty of it, I’d be happy! When I saw the cheese tower and the fantastic colours, I was completely blown away, Megan went above and beyond my expectations! (Our platter has gone viral! on social media!) She was a dream to work with; I can’t speak highly enough of her.
Drinks service- Anise Catering
Anise Catering was also a suggested supplier from The Lane and Rachael had mentioned asking them to do the drinks service which proved to be one of the best choices for the day. Our guests could not stop talking about the amazing staff and service that Anise provided and I agree with them. Every person catering to our guests was so friendly and attentive they remembered guest’s names and certain drinks and were just a dream team of lovely people.
Cake - Tome
I found Tome early on in the planning stages while scrolling Instagram for some inspiration. As soon as I saw their cakes and doughnuts I was hooked! For our cake we had layers of white chocolate and raspberry, vanilla, and coconut. Our desserts were a mixture of lemon meringue tarts, Oreo cheesecakes, caramel brownies and Nutella brownies, Nutella cheesecake doughnuts, salted caramel doughnuts and Oreo doughnuts. We let Alita go free with decorating the desserts and the amazing-ness she came back with left us speechless!
Hair & make-up- Avia Beauty
I’d come across Avia Beauty while browsing the internet, and again when I saw Georga’s portfolio I knew I’d found the person who I’d like to have help me on the day. Georga is one of the nicest and genuinely lovely people I’ve met, she offered so much helpful advice and made us all feel so relaxed.
Wedding Bands - Tiffany and Co
Extra features - Elyssium Lighting
Elise and her husband Steve also do Elyssium Lighting alongside Elyssium Blooms so it was only natural they did our lighting too. It was such a hot day and Steve and his team did such a fabulous job, the twinkling lights were one of my favourite details of the wedding. I took a minute during the night to just look around and let it all sink in and I’ll never forget the lights or the pink glow under the marquee, it was so beautiful!
Other – We feel so incredibly fortunate to have met so many wonderful people during the wedding experience. We were so lucky to have had their talents contributed to making our day so perfect. There was so much kindness and passion all around us, we are so grateful to every single person that played a part in pulling it all together.