Dannii and Ben
Traditional, classic black and white always an an element of elegance to a wedding day and Dannii and Ben’s Toowoomba day is beautifully classic, with their own special touches. From the bride’s gown purchased in London, to wearing the special bracelet her husband had gifted her years earlier. I love taking a wedding, shaking it up and changing things to suit how you and your beloved want to celebrate your love. That? That’s what drives me.
Dannii tells of how they met. “We met nine years ago (!) at our local Woolworths were we both worked while we studied at university. I wasn’t really a fan of Ben when we first met but we got properly introduced at a friend’s party where I decided I liked him because of his shoes! At that party, I was interested because of his shoes and I’m SURE the only reason he chatted me up was because I got the last beer and he was trying to sweet talk me into swapping with his West Coast Cooler. He didn’t get his way! After this though, we discovered we really make each other laugh. We were 18 when we met and even at that age, we fell in love so quickly because we just have so much fun together.”
Photographs today are by Sheila Higgins Photography. Beautiful, uncomplicated and classic in themselves!
Dannii notes, “Having the boys photos taken before the ceremony at his parents property in country Clifton was really special. It shows beautifully where Ben grew up and his family’s property is gorgeous in the photos. I love the photo of the boys with XXXX Gold cans, standing in front of the tractor! Sums up his Queensland heritage beautifully!”
Of her wedding gown, the ‘Savannah’ design by Ronald Joyce from House of Fraser, London, Danni recalls, ” I absolutely LOVED my wedding dress. We nicknamed it ‘the slug’ so that we could talk about it around Ben without him having any idea what we were on about! Two special things were the clip in my hair as my ‘something borrowed’ from my Nanna Willis and the brooch on my flowers as my ‘something old’ from my late Nanna Garratt. My favourite colour is pink and I love anything sparkly so my shoes (hot pink with diamante crystals all over the heel) were my dream shoes. When Ben saw them, he said, “That’s you in a shoe!” My nail polish matched my shoes too.” Dannii’s mother made her birdcage veil.
Danni’s hair was styled by, “Justin McNab Hairdressing, London – yes, my hairdresser did come all the way from the UK to do my hair but in my defense, he’s originally from Brisbane so took it as a chance to catch up with his family at the same time.”
Brisbane Market Flowers created the bouquets. Dannii remembers, “The bridesmaids and groomsmen had baby’s breath (or gypsophila if you want the proper term!) bride and groom had ivory carnations. They also did my sister’s wedding nine years earlier and were absolutely wonderful.”
Dannii and Ben were married at Preston Village Chapel and Manor. Dannii remembers, “I fell in love with Preston Village Chapel about six years ago when we drove past it, before any work had been done on it. It was this tiny little chapel in the middle of a field, all worn and shabby. I decided then and there that that’s where I wanted to get married. After we got engaged, I looked up the chapel and it had been re-furbished to its former glory with beautiful manicured gardens in an idyllic setting. I fell in love with it all over again! It was so sweet, perfect for our small-ish wedding. Planning a wedding overseas had its challenges when it came to selecting reception venues! Not all the wedding venues in Toowoomba have websites so we really relied on friends and family to give us tips and information on what was available. We chose Preston Manor because of the beautiful location (right next door to the chapel and situated on the edge of the range so the views were gorgeous) and the food! I’m a bit of a foodie and wanted amazing food at our wedding and this is something the Manor definitely delivered.”
Dannii walked down the aisle to, “‘Come what may’ by Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. My original choice of song just didn’t really work because I had five bridesmaids and there wasn’t enough time in the introduction of the song to get them all down the aisle! ‘Come what may’ is just such a pretty song, it has special memories for me from when I was younger.”
Dannii says, “Our vows were individually written and neither of us knew what they said until we heard them at the ceremony. Ben even included some quotes from my favourite movie, Anchorman which was absolutely hilarious! We had a big bridal party of 12 but each and every one of them was incredible. We had SO much fun, the whole day was filled with nothing but laughter!”
For transport, the couple did a little borrowing, Dannii explains. “Our cars were vintage Valiants, borrowed from my Uncle’s next door neighbour. I absolutely loved them – again, they didn’t match but as we were planning our wedding, we realised as a couple we’re not matchy-matchy, so why should our wedding be like that?”
The bridesmaids were asked to wear black gowns, Dannii remembers, “My five bridesmaids live in five different cities across the world so for their dresses, I asked them to choose their own, as long as it was black. They each chose a dress to suit their figure and style perfectly and they looked amazing! I bought each girl an individual bracelet, earrings and nail polish colour to keep the mismatched theme going!”
“I think my favourite part of the day was our wedding photos. We had our photos in Queens Park, where my parents had their wedding photos done all those years ago. We replicated some of the photos they did in front of the canon and what makes it even more special is that it was their 40th wedding anniversary the day after our wedding!”
Of her wedding day jewels, Dannii recalls, “Ben bought me a Tiffany & Co bracelet about six years ago for a, ‘Thank you for moving to Canberra for me’ present so for his wedding present, I bought him a pair of matching Tiffany cufflinks.”
The reception too, was filled with personal touches. Says Dannii, “As a wedding gift, Ben’s parents gave us a beautiful Vera Wang for Wedgewood cake knife that they had engraved with not only our names and wedding date, but the ‘d&b’ monogram that we had used across all our wedding stationery. Also on our cake table, we had a photo of both sets of our parents which was a lovely touch as they are all so special to us.
As for the reception, it was DIY central! We collected coffee jars for our table vases (thank you to my brother-in-law and my Aunty for drinking loads of coffee in the lead up to the wedding!) wrapped them in twine (that we used from our ‘save the date cards’ and our invites and as part of our place cards) and had a wooden heart stamped with ‘D&B’ hanging from each vase. My friend (who recommended Sheila as our photographer!) handmade and stamped the wooden hearts. My Mum made the black mats we used to go under the vases on the tables and painted individual mismatched photo frames white with blackboard centres so we could chalk on our table numbers. She also designed and created our seating chart, making large luggage tags to match the little luggage tags we used as name cards. My sister (who designed all our wedding stationery, hand drawn menus, save the dates AND thank you cards) made what I think was one of my favourite wedding decorations… the bunting we had on our lolly table which said, ‘I love you more than beer… just’ which sums up Ben and perfectly! The same sister also handmade, iced and decorated our incredible wedding cake! Chocolate Guinness mudcake for two layers and champagne mudcake for the other – amazing! I organised for everyone to have an individual lolly bag on their place to fill up with lollies from the lolly table. Taking a lolly bag home from a kids party was always one of my favourite things so I knew this is what I wanted our guests to take away from our wedding. It seemed to go down a treat! My Mum did a huge amount of work on our wedding which was amazing – planning a wedding from another country was no easy task but she and so many others made it a dream!”
For their first dance, Dannii recalls, “Choosing this song was hard! I have notoriously bad taste in music (so I’m told!) and Ben and I have completely opposite tastes in music. We were watching a music video show on TV one day when ‘Wherever you will go’ by Charlene Soraia came on. I said it was a nice song, Ben agreed and when he suggested it for our first dance song, that was that!”
Congratulations on your marriage Dannii and Ben! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Sheila Higgins Photography for sharing today’s wedding!