GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
"We believe that we only get one life and so there is no time for the things that don’t make life better."

Kara and Chris say they met in perhaps the most boring place possible - the Australian Taxation Office where we were both working at the time!

Chris: The first time I met Kara she blew me away, I hope that everyone gets to experience one of those moments when time stands still for a heartbeat, your breath disappears and you just know that something special is there, something more than the moment itself. This happened for me that time, when I first saw this beautiful woman with a spark in her eye. Even though at that time our paths were pointed in different directions, it was a moment that would completely change our lives, we just didn’t know it yet. Five years later I found her in my thoughts again. Reached out to her and soon enough we were finding any excuse to spend every spare moment together. It quickly became apparent how well we worked together, in both friendship and romance we were a fantastic team.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
Kara: I don’t remember the first time I met Chris, when I stretch my memory back as far back as our acquaintance he was just there. This is most likely because when his team of 60 was inducted at work during our busiest time of year, I was the teams floor support and spent my days running between all 60 of them very quickly to help with enquiries. But I do remember the second “first” time we met five years later. He contacted me out of the blue and we met for breakfast. When it was over I walked back to my car full of adrenalin and the with biggest smile on my face because I knew then and there, that my life’s next big adventure had just begun.

Chris tells the story of the proposal:

It was Sunday the 28th of January 2018, Kara and I were very much in love, and she had no idea it was coming.

We had just moved house the week before, and I had planted the seed that, “If we weren’t so exhausted”, it would be lovely to go and sit down in “our spot” by the Brisbane river at Kangaroo Point. Kara agreed, so I suggested we do it the following Sunday.

It had been an anxious week, as the engagement ring was delayed in Melbourne where stones were being set and I was told it wouldn’t make it in time for the proposal on Sunday due to the unfortunately placed public holiday. This could not happen as I had something very special planned, so I called every courier I could find, and was even looking at tickets to fly down myself, but luckily I found a courier willing to fly on the public holiday and I collected the ring Saturday morning.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
Sunday finally arrived. I checked in with Kara around mid-morning about our predetermined arrangement.

She had forgotten, and had made plans with friends…

“Oh awesome, I love those guys! Ok, let’s do that instead!” I lied. “Sounds good... only”, dramatic pause, “I was actually looking forward to tonight.”

Kara confesses she forgot all about it, but she catches the hint that this was something I cared about. She’s good like that. She calls the troops, and arranges to make it lunch instead, so we can still go do our thing.

I begin breathing again.

Ok, so the day trundles and ambles by as only a day with so much anticipation can, but finally it is time to go.

It’s all very hectic - we arrive quite early so I’m worried “everyone” won’t be ready, there is an issue with a microphone which the camera guy was going to plant on me but couldn’t get away from his gear to meet me at the loo block, and we forgot Aerogard so I ran back for it while Kara went ahead.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
I find her at the bottom of the cliff stairs, beaming up at me and looking incredible in her blue satin dress with huge red blooms on it.

We arrive at the spot, but another dilemma: there is a photographer and a guy modelling on the entrance to the little spit of rock where we once sat, looking out across the river, and thinking out loud about our possible future together. Kara takes pause.

“We can’t go out there now! We’ll ruin his shot!”, she observes, thoughtfully.

“Oh,” I reply, “no wonder it is empty!”.

“You’re a photographer - why don’t you talk to them and see if we will be ok to sit low down out of their way?”

“Good thinking, sweetheart! I’ll see what they say”.

And so, I climb up and ask the photographer whom I have arranged to mind the spot for us, if it is ok that we go and sit down on the rock. He is quite friendly, it turns out, and is glad for us to enjoy the sunset in the perfect position, so I help Kara up, and we assume our vantage point, ready for whatever lies ahead.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
ACT TWO - The Question

Thanks mostly to my tendency to pick up new jobs when we really should be leaving the house, Kara and I had, to date, never witnessed a full sunset from the intended vantage point.

Not this day. And it was spectacular. Terrifyingly, it had actually rained through the day, but that had cleared up, meaning we had a brilliant sky of streaky clouds for the sunset.

We sit down on our little jut of rock, and are just getting comfortable, when someone comes to us from behind, to ask if we mind him continuing to fly his drone. Kara says of course that’s no trouble, and remarks how polite he was. I agreed, though I realise immediately it was actually a ruse for the camera man to hide the mic behind us. The last piece falls into place.

Then began the longest fifteen minutes of my life. It honestly felt like three full hours which I somehow filled with romantic small-talk. Until finally, something wonderful happened.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
A guy in a white shirt arrived. Then another one. Two more, and they all came together just across the little cove our rock-wall made, talking and pointing all around them. One of them had a lady with him, who had a video camera.

“What are these guys up to?”, I mused.

Kara’s good at this game. “Any minute, they’re going to break out into, ‘Wooah, wo-oh-oh, for the longest time’…” She joked.

“Oh, wouldn’t that be awesome,” I chimed.

This was amazing. It was working so perfectly, and still no hint, what so ever, of recognition in Kara.

So they actually DID break out into song - nothing too obvious to start with; a nice little barber shop a cappella rendition of ‘Under the Boardwalk’, directed at the camera-lady - how convenient.

We sat and listened and thoroughly enjoyed the delightful coincidence as Kara even said things like, “how serendipitous is this”, and “You couldn’t have planned this better if you tried”, to which I heartily agreed.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
Finally after two more l songs which we applauded and even an adjustment of position based apparently on our enthusiasm, I told Kara that now they actually were going to sing “For the longest time”, which was the first song we used to sing together, and as such un officially became “our song”. Of course, she laughed along and it was her turn to say that would be awesome.

But then they did. And the penny dropped. In this moment Kara forget what day it was, what her name was, and how limbs worked - months of planning into action, it all came together. The song came to a close, and I confessed, that of course I had planned the whole thing.

Then I stood her up on her feet, got down on one knee, and asked her the question I had truly believed I would never ask anyone. Well, I tried to, but she said yes by the time I had said, “will you make me the happiest….”
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
What led you to decide on your Wedding venue?
We were initially drawn to the venue for a number of reasons. We liked that we had exclusive use for the whole day. The wedding brochure and website was absolutely stunning which to us communicated that they were very professional and had fantastic attention to detail. A big draw card was their mid-week price. The staff were very responsive to enquires, and made Chris and I feel very special and that they were as excited about our day as we were. The biggest draw card was the venue itself, we had a number lined up to see, but once we walked around the grounds, there was no other option for us. It took our breath away, and we knew for us, it was without a doubt it was where we wanted to get married.

What was the inspiration behind your Wedding theme?
The unofficial theme behind our wedding day gave a nod to a Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, which paid homage to my (Kara) life time love of Shakespeare. This was reflected in the spring garden ceremony setting, the two long tables (rather than several round ones) decorated with foliage table runners and lots of flowers, hurricane lanterns and stunning bird shaped candle holders sitting on wood rounds, and the beautiful glass ceiling of the reception room.
Your most favourite moment/s of the day:

Chris and I stole away for half an hour before the reception, we hid from all our guests, to be alone with our new spouse on our big day. We both agree this was one of the best parts of our day where we did not have to share one another with anyone else and we could truly enjoy the new feeling of being husband and wife.

The maid of honour and my bridesman started their speech with a satire interpretative dance, which they had been joking about doing for years

Our wedding dance. I used to be a dancer in a Latin dance company. Chris really wanted to learn a Latin style and do a wedding dance to surprise his friends and family. The principal dancers of my old company (who were also in our bridal party) choreographed us a beautiful Zouk routine as a wedding present. It was really beautiful the whole dance company embraced Chris’s goal and we all banded together again to teach Chris how to dance Zouk. Chris practised the routine for an hour a day, for 12 weeks straight and he absolutely nailed the routine. Everyone was so impressed his performance, and I was absolutely blown away with what he achieved and everyone’s support.

Something I imagine everyone goes through with their weddings, but which really stood out for me, was just how lovely it was to be surrounded by people we really love, who were just having a fantastic time and were clearly so happy for both of us. It made every extra expense and extravagance worthwhile, to see all of our favourites just having a ball with us.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
What was your favourite detail/s about the day?
We really wanted to find a creative way to incorporate our personalities into our day. A few of our favourite ways we did this was:

· We both asked our mothers to be our witnesses.

· Ensuring everything we hired or bought for the wedding was both eco-friendly and ethically made

· the elephant dung paper we used for our invitations. (As well as looking beautiful, these where such a fun conversation topic without guests, many of them had commented that invitations looked lovely but the paper was a bit shit, or they could not believe the crap we put on their fridge..

· Having our own hand drawn artwork printed on the invitations

· Writing all of our own statements for the ceremony, to move away from traditional and outdated views on marriage

· Having mix gendered bridal parties, choosing the people closest to us and disregarding convention. We are friends with people, not their genders.

· The Paleo wedding cake and menu selection
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
How long did it take for you to find your dress/suit?
I (Kara) was very lucky, I didn’t have to go dress shopping at all. My sister in law is a wedding dress designer, and she designed my dress as a wedding present. It was really exciting to see what she had in mind, and though, had circumstance been different, and left completely to my own devices, I would have chosen something safer, I was completely in love with my dress, it was romantic, and highlighted the body I didn’t know had perfectly. I felt absolutely stunning in it.

Chris has always wanted to have a suit tailor made, and when we got engaged this seemed like the perfect time to tick that off his bucket list. We attended a wedding fair in Brisbane and fell in love with a midnight blue tuxedo from inStichu. This was excellently made to a very high quality, the suit was embroidered with a lovely white paisley lining, which held a personal significance for Chris. The staff were lovely, very easy to deal with and he found that the experience was both affordable and enjoyable.

What does marriage mean to you?
Chris and I do not believe in the conventional idea of marriage, and for that reason we did not say to death do us part during our ceremony. We believe that we only get one life and so there is no time for the things that don’t make life better. Chris makes my life better; I knew he was the one for me when I was willing to share my cheese with him (cheese is my most favourite thing on the planet!). We define our marriage as two individual people living their lives parallel, we maintain our separate identities and chase our own dreams alongside one another. We support the other when needed and contribute to the goals in life we set together. We are open, honest and try our best. While we don’t see marriage to be a promise to be together for ever it is a commitment to maintain openness and honesty in the interest of living a happy life together.

Any classic stories you want to share from the day?
The weather had been threatening to thunderstorm for the days leading up to the wedding. The weather the day before was raining cats and dogs and it looked like it was set to be a pretty awful day on the day itself. I checked the weather app more times that I would like to admit and was disheartened to see that right when our ceremony was due to start, a large amount of rain was predicted to fall. My Dad very sweetly told me not to worry, because he would not let it rain on my wedding day. Luckily Gabbinbar had lovely wet weather options, in case it did. Chris and I were both putting on a brave face and masking our disappointment, having both envisioned our ceremony outdoors in the garden.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
On the day itself, though it rained quite heavily five minutes down the road, not one drop fell on our wedding venue, instead we had beautiful grey clouds, which looked fantastic in all our wedding photos. As my dad walked me down the aisle, he leaned in, and said, see I told you I was not going to allow it to rain here today, and we had a laugh together as I thanked him for the weather. It was a really nice moment just between he and I.

Chris had to be whisked off to both the dentist as he broke a tooth the day before the wedding, and then had to be whisked to the physio as he injured his neck in the car after he had been to the dentist.

Chris lost the tie to his wedding suit, and had to find a new one the morning of the wedding.
What advice would you offer to other couples planning a Wedding?
You cannot please everyone, so make sure you please yourself. Everyone has their own ideas about how they want your day to go, they sometimes forget that they are not the protagonist of this particular story. I found that once I explained openly and kindly how their vision meant that I would not be able to realise my own, they backed off and supported what I wanted.

Everybody is going through their own stuff; we live in a world that induces a lot of stress and it is difficult for some to put that all aside and to be there for you. If on the day some of your family or friends act strangely or are not there for you in the way you hoped they would be, try to remember they showed up for you, and gave as much as they could.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
Any stand out vendors for the day?
We were so lucky, almost all of our vendors went above and beyond. I was ruthless in choosing my vendors. I was crazily busy at work and it was very important to me that I would not have to chase my vendors for reponses to questions or emails so, when I sent my initial request, any vendors who did not respond to me within 24 business hours were automatically cut. Every one of the vendors I went with responded to me within hours of an email or question I sent them all the way through.

Jarrad Bayliss our celebrant and MC was absolutely incredible! He called us within half an hour of our initial enquiry, and we spoke on the phone for two hours. He got excited with us and loved our ideas for the non-traditional wedding ceremony. During the ceremony, he wrote a beautiful story about our relationship history and the events that took place that led us up to standing up in front of all of them on our wedding day. He made everyone feel welcome and every one of our guests loved him, so they all asked where he was when they got married, and my mum and dad want to hire him to officiate their vow renewal next year.

Mitchell Carlin was incredible. Chris and I have very different taste in photos; I wanted more candid shots and Chris wanted more artistic and dramatic shots and Mitchell fulfilled both of our desires wonderfully. He went outside his normal package brief and really worked with us to be able to provide our vision. He was also understanding of our personal circumstance and accommodated accordingly. He captured just how excited we felt the whole way through and we are absolutely over the moon with his work. Mitchell captured the day so wonderfully and completely that when you look at our photos, you are surprised that there was only one of him there on the day. Most people we have spoken to thought it looked like there were multiple photographers. He was also quite invisible, Chris and I did not notice him moving about at all. We were particularly grateful that when there was a little tension around timing on the day, Mitchell was super calm, understanding, and helped both of us to feel relaxed and that everything would work out. Not only do we love the photographs he has provided us with of our special day, but he was a true asset to have nearby throughout the experience.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
Fable House Films were amazing. These guys fit us in almost at last minute even though they were at capacity, we told them our story, and they wanted to help bring it to life. The girls from Fable House were such a delight to deal with, they listened to everything we said we wanted and delivered that and so much more. From the little details like assisting with neck ties, to major support like keeping Chris and I laughing after the ceremony when we were starting to feel fatigued we enjoyed all the time we spent with these ladies on our day. They provided us with a cinema quality video of our day, and we have already watched it dozens of times with family and loved ones who have all commented on its quality.

Deane’s Wedding flowers went above and beyond for us and we were truly impressed with the effort she put in, especially with all my changes the weeks leading up to the wedding, the day before, and the day itself.

Abbolou Cakes sent us samples to try to Brisbane from Toowoomba. They made a paleo cake for us and froze the berries and figs we wanted so they could provide exactly the look we wanted. We were beyond thrilled with the results!!
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
Adone event hire after discussing what we wanted, measured out our table size, put the decorations out & sent me photos of what I had planned so I could see what worked, knowing that I am more of a visual person, to help me feel comfortable with my selections, she put together a beautiful seating chart on a mirror for us, even though this type of job was not one she usually completed the way we wanted it to look, but as she wanted our vision to come to life for us on our day she went the extra mile. 

Our DJ Shaun Simmons, took us on 4 days before the wedding and in that extremely short amount of time, perfectly created a lovely atmosphere that was very personal to us, and also perfectly captured what our guests loved too. Also on the day itself, very quickly helped my bridal party musically craft a surprise for Chris and I.


GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY

GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY


Kara + Chris // Highlight Video from Fable House Films on Vimeo.
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
GABBINBAR HOMESTEAD TOOWOOMBA WEDDING MJ CARLING PHOTOGRAPHY
Wedding songs 
I walked down the aisle to Sleeping At Lasts' cover of It’s Gonna Be (500 Miles). When I heard this song years ago, I knew that if I ever got married this would be the song I walked down the aisle to, which was surprising as I am not a fan of the original version pub anthem. 

The recessional song was Billy Joel’s The Longest Time, which as you know from the proposal story is very special to us. 

Our first dance song was trickier to find as we wanted to find something that we connected to lyrically, that also had a Zouk beat. Ella Henderson’s song Yours did this beautifully. 

Wedding date 26 September 2018 
80 guests 
Mitchell Carlin Wedding Photography
Fable House Films
Celebrant Jarrad Bayliss
Gown The GC Bridal Lounge
Rings Rock Couture
Deane’s Wedding Flowers
Abbolou Cakes
Adorn Event Hire
Suits InStitchu
MUA Marley Hammond
DJ Shawn Simmons