Katie & Josh
This gorgeous wedding from Katie and Josh is nothing but relaxed and everything warm, cosy and beautiful. The bride and groom arrived at the wedding early, walking with their guests to set up the ceremony. The guests arrived at the hall for the wedding and helped themselves to the couple’s favourite drinks as they listened to the newlyweds favourite tunes. It was a beautiful day and I am so happy I get to share it with you!
Katie tells the story of their relationship. “We met a party through mutual friends in our early twenties. I was driving home from work late one night after waitressing at a wedding and agreed to drive a mutual friend and his mates to a party. Josh was one of those friends, he jumped straight into the front seat and refused to get out of my car. We’ve been inseparable ever since.”
The photos are by Matt and Katie Photographers who have captured such a relaxed, photo-journalistic feeling to the day. Plus, they even shot the wedding on their wedding anniversary! (And really, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a wedding anniversary than to watch two people take the first step in that journey themselves!)
Katie walked down to the ceremony with her parents. She recalls “Instead of an aisle, I walked through the park with my Mum and Dad to “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. When we first met, Josh lived out of town and we both remember this song from one particular car trip around the time we fell in love and it has held special meaning since then.”
Katie and Josh chose Queens Park, Toowoomba for their ceremony. Katie says “We chose a spot under a large tree in the botanical gardens section of Queens Park. We loved that it felt private although it was in such an open and and informal environment. The afternoon sun filtered through the large trees, so we brought chairs and cold refreshments for guests.
Josh and his brothers hung up white paper pom pom decorations in the tree, visible to guests arriving through the park and positioned two white chairs and a small table with white linen off to side for the signing. There was no formal layout, we simply wanted to be surrounded by friends are family. We chose not have a microphone as we wanted to keep it as casual and personal as possible.”
Katie had an little something old and something blue attached to her wedding dress. “The vintage bluebird brooch that held my engagement ring during the ceremony was worn by my mum Jeany on her wedding day in 1978. Mum attached the brooch to my dress as we got ready together with Josh’s mum before the ceremony. That moment meant a lot to me as I always wanted to wear that brooch as a little girl and mum would never let me touch it. It is now mine to pass down to my children.”
The floral arrangements were styled by the bride, her mum & her grandma. The trio sourced flowers from Miller’s Fruit Barn Toowoomba. Katie notes “My Grandma Jean made my bouquet using large, long stem bunches of white Baby’s Breath secured with different types of ribbon in colours featured throughout wedding’s theme. I wanted something big and white that would last all day but didn’t appear too formal.”
Of their photographers, Katie says, “Our aim for the day was to enjoy ourselves and trust that the photographers would capture exactly that. Matt and Katie were perfect for our wedding, as their dual documentary approach allowed them to be in two places at once, capturing the special moments of the day exactly as we saw them.
Their intuitive timing and eye for detail beautifully documented not only the guests and locations but the atmosphere created on the day. We were also happy to find two photographers that are in love with weddings almost as such as they are with photography, and each other for that matter. It also didn’t hurt that our wedding fell on their wedding anniversary, I can’t help but think that influenced their work on the day.”
Katie and Josh held their reception at Biddeston Hall, Biddeston, Katie explains “Guests arrived at the reception and were directed behind the hall where they found a long table set up under the shade of a large gum tree. The table was decorated with white linen and vases of white flowers and provided guests with a spread of all of our favorite cheeses, meats, olives and other deli goodies. Other platters were filled with varieties of cold and warm tartlets, topped up by an assistant of the on site chef who work busily nearby roasting meats for our dinner in large barbecues outside the hall.
The table was also set out with glasses and with the help of my father, guests helped themselves to ice buckets filled with champagne. It was important to Josh and I to spend this time after the ceremony with our guests instead of spending hours taking photos away from our loved ones. We joined them to celebrate as the sun set and our favorite songs played in the background.”
Katie says “Biddeston is approximately thirty minutes drive west of Toowoomba. This area is of no significance to us but was chosen for the reception for it’s surroundings and community hall. The venue is your typical Queensland country hall that hasn’t been renovated since our parents generation used to attend dances there. It’s a very old, slightly leaning building with lemon yellow weatherboard exterior and rusted sheet roof. Across the road from a dairy and surrounded by nothing but grass and gum trees it was the private and relaxed location we were looking for.
As it was very inexpensive and not governed by regulations so we were free to transform it into our own personal dinning hall for the night. The interior is white and light green with high ceilings, basic lighting, stage, kitchen and bar facilities. Old debutant photos line the walls and I’m sure the old bar fridges are the originals from a few decades ago. Most importantly it had solid timber floors and enough space to make the dance floor as big as we wished! The old style of the hall provided the starting point for the style of party we wanted to create.”
The intimate nature of the wedding lent itself to the handmade touches the couple designed. Katie recalls “Most of the details of the ceremony, reception and invitations were handmade. We even made some of the desserts, selected our favorite foods from delis, spent a year collecting our favorite wines, designed our own clothes and arranged the flowers ourselves. Doing almost everything ourselves for the wedding wasn’t just an attempt to cut costs but mostly to create an occasion that was unique to us.”
The couple had a loose schedule that fit the relaxed feel of their day. Katie says “As it got dark, everyone made their way inside the hall. Guests found their name on a seating board and were instructed to grab a drink and find their tables. Due to the casual nature of the wedding, our friends and family helped themselves to the bar that we stocked full of our favorite wines, beers, cider and soft drinks. As they arrived at their table, they were surprised with their custom name badges and were free to sit next to who ever they wish.”
Even the guestbook has a personal touch. Katie remarks “Carrying on with the personalized theme of the wedding, I designed a rubber stamp of the vintage typewriter to be used on all stationary for the wedding. The actual typewriter was also used to create all handcrafted menus, food labels for the finger food, dinner, desserts, wine lists, seating board and signage. Guests were invited to use the typewriter to type messages to the bride and groom during the reception at a writing desk set up with envelopes, flowers, a timber ‘thank you’ box hand crafted by Josh and custom stationary which read “Type us a message so we will remember this day when we are old and grey.”
I wore small pearl earrings given to me by my dad especially for the wedding and Josh wore cufflinks made of vintage typewriter keys in his initials given to him by his new bride.”
Katie remembers “After guests had settled into their table, Josh turned the music down and we made toasts to each other and everyone for helping us celebrate our wedding. Guests were then invited to take to the microphone for informal speeches, or ‘toasts’ as we described it. After a few toasts and a lot of laughs, the music was turned back on and the food was brought out.
We hired one chef to cook on the premisses and his two friends as waitstaff to provide each table with platters of barbecue roast meats, jugs of sauces and large bowls of salads. We designed the menu with the chef and preferred the food to be served by guests at their own table. This meant that they could remain in their seats, control their own portions and everyone ate at the same time.”
“Once all the tables were cleared of dinner, we dimmed the lights and introduced our own first dance. Guests joined us and everyone continued to dance the night away. We loved the informal structure of our reception. We set up the hall and planned the evening so that guests could sit back and relax without having to be concerned with what was happening next. We wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible, even decking out the women’s bathroom with chairs and a small table of cosmetics and other useful goodies.”
The first dance went off with a hitch though that remains one of Katie’s fondest memories of the day. “Controlling almost everything ourselves meant that Josh was in charge of dimming the lights and I was on the mic announcing that we were about to have our first dance. First the moment was hijacked by my new father in law, Josh’s dad, who invited both families to the stage for a spontaneous thirty minute speech. After it ended in a standing ovation Josh quickly retreated behind the curtain, accidentally turn off all the lights, leaving only the backlighting on behind the stage curtain. We did not plan this and sometimes it really pays to test the lighting the night before!”
“As I hit play on our chosen song, our first dance together as husband and wife started in the dark with Josh running from backstage and my face still numb from laughing with our family. It was crazy, unplanned and perfect. Plus the darkness turned out to be an added bonus at that moment as guests threw confetti and weren’t shy to join us on the dance floor.”
The evening ended with plenty of sweet treats, dancing and quiet, beautiful moments. Katie explains “Before the catering staff left, they positioned a tiered stand of sweets onto each table. We opted for this rather than a formal cake cutting ceremony we knew that most guests would be on their feet by this time. It worked out great as guests had a selection of bite sized desserts to choose from, they were sharing amongst themselves and even trading their favorites with other tables.
Taking a break from dancing my new husband and I sat at our table alone, enjoying a little moment tasting each dessert together. The reception was casual, fun but not quite traditional, with Josh and I being the last people to leave the hall in the early hours of the morning.”
Congratulations Katie and Josh! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Matt and Katie Photographers for sharing today’s photographs with us!
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- Handmade with flowers from Miller's Fruit Barn Toowoomba
- Ceremony Venue
- Queens Park Botanical Gardens, Toowoomba
- Reception Venue
- Biddeston Hall, Biddeston