Gabbinbar Homestead is such a special place to get married. Established in 1863, this historic estate is completely private and secluded, and exclusively yours on you big day. It’s such a picturesque property, and we were itching to find out more about it. Today, Allysha Hannant (the venue’s Wedding and Event Planner) runs us through the ‘Gabbinbar Experience’ and how you can personalise your day to create the wedding of your dreams, You will definitely be as impressed with their professionalism, attention to detail and incredible service as we were. Plus, the stunning imagery of the property will have you longing to wander around and get lost in its expansive grounds. So many fab spots to take photos! If you’re planning a South East Queensland wedding, we highly recommend putting Gabbinbar Homestead on your list of places to check out. Now, over to Allysha…
Where exactly is your venue?
Our estate is located high on a mountain peak in the city of Toowoomba, South East Queensland. Located on 25 acres adjacent to Toowoomba’s escarpment and only one-and-a-half hour drive from Brisbane.
Tell us about the history of Gabbinbar Homestead…
Gabbinbar Homestead was first established in 1863. Initially build by Reverend Nelson, Gabbinbar Homestead was passed to his son Sir Hugh Nelson, the Premier of Queensland (1893-1898), and for many years afterwards served as the summer resort for Queensland’s governors. Barry and Lynda Bernoth started restoring the homestead in 1997 and Isaac and Mel Moody completed the restoration from 2011, before officially opening the doors in 2012.
Images: Leah Cruikshank Photography
Why are Gabbinbar Homestead weddings so memorable?
Gabbinbar Homestead weddings are so memorable because it’s not just a service we provide, it’s an experience. We do weddings differently at Gabbinbar; instead of a function venue we offer an exclusive home for our couple’s special day, complete with award-winning food, exceptional service and breathtaking ceremony and reception locations.
When couples choose your venue for their weddings, you guarantee them the ‘Gabbinbar Experience’. What is this?
The ‘Gabbinbar Experience’ includes all-day use of the estate, a luxurious Bride’s Retreat to get ready in, stunning ceremony locations, magnificent gardens, award winning food finished with a breathtaking reception. We prioritise exceptional service with personalised wedding planning included for all couples.
Does your team offer styling services?
Whilst we don’t offer styling services, our wedding planning team will assist you with every aspect of your wedding that is held at Gabbinbar Homestead. If we ever give our opinion it is usually after great discussion in a team environment for the best possible implementation for your special day, ultimately though we are here to implement your ideas and help you with styling where we can or direct you to one of our recommended stylists.
Images: Leah Cruikshank Photography
Do you still see bridal décor ideas that surprise and delight you – even after being a part of so many weddings?
Definitely! Trends are constantly changing, we love vendors and even couples who are pushing the boundaries and moving forward with new innovative ideas. Currently, I am really loving all of the hanging floral installations and how florists and stylists are coming up with new and exciting way to do this. We are seeing more and more couples go big with statement pieces and keeping everything else simple and I absolutely love it. We do still see many traditionally styled weddings and I love when the occasional white fondant wedding cake pops back up. I think it’s just a really lovely old school touch and it keeps tradition alive.
Is there a particular style of wedding that you mostly host?
We host so many different styled weddings here at Gabbinbar! I think the reason behind this is because the homestead is finished with simple colouring and beautiful furnishings that can really be styled however our couples wish. We have seen many different styled weddings from boho, rustic, classic elegance and even really colourful Indian weddings. The grounds are also so beautiful all year round that you really don’t need to have a lot of styling for it to be beautiful.
Images: Lucy Sheedy
You’re also known for hosting a lot of destination weddings. What makes Gabbinbar popular for destination weddings?
Gabbinbar is located in a fantastic area, which makes us so popular for hosting destination weddings. We are a secluded estate but located conveniently 10 minutes from the Toowoomba CBD where there are 3000 rooms of accommodation catering to every budget. We also have two really fantastic Air BnBs located within a few metres of the front gates. Toowoomba also has a fantastic new airport which makes it really easy for any guests travelling (only 25 minutes from the homestead).
We also make wedding planning really easy for couples who live interstate or even overseas as all of our wedding planning is done via our online platform called MyGabbinbar. This is an online portal that our couples can access to talk to our planning team and see all of their documents (from customised seating plans to quotations) and their personalised wedding details. Via this platform we can schedule appointments, answer questions and make it really easy for couples who don’t have the time to come onsite or those who aren’t available in work hours.
What’s your ceremony space like?
We have six distinctly beautiful ceremony locations at Gabbinbar Homestead. We have four magical outdoor locations and two wet weather options so our beautiful couples can relax with confidence knowing that we have all weather options covered.
Where are the most popular spots at your venue for wedding photos?
There are so many unique locations across the 25 acres the homestead sits on. From the garden to the homestead each location really lends itself to many different styles. One of our most unique photo locations would be the stables. This is a really romantic and moody spot for our couples to get some really fantastic portraits, it has also got some really fantastic lighting installations to make it pop.
What options are there for receptions and how many guests can you cater for?
Our glass roof conservatory is our main reception location, located in the centre of the main homestead building. This beautiful area can seat up to 150 guests on long banquet tables and 120 guests on our round tables. We also offer cocktail receptions for couples who would like something more casual. For larger weddings we can offer an outdoor reception under marquee on our beautiful croquet lawn, and then our couples and their guests can move inside for dancing and a cocktail style set later in the evening. We are very flexible when it comes to receptions, we really love working with each couple.
Images: Leah Cruikshank Photography
Tell us about the food and drinks…
As Queensland’s Caterer of the Year 2018, our food and drinks are exceptional! At Gabbinbar, country hospitality meets fine dining and our head chef does an excellent job at leading the kitchen team. We have so many fantastic and unique menu options for the garden party and reception. We also love to be able to customise the menu for our couples when requested. We have hosted many multicultural weddings and our kitchen team have been able to customise full menus to suit certain menu requests.
What on the menu would you recommend?
This is such a hard question! For me, I love some of the more creative menu items as they are so innovative and very unique to Gabbinbar. The live cooking station is positioned in the gardens so that the guests can enjoy the unique experience of having our chefs grill, prepare and serve a garden feast in front of them. This is one menu item I love recommending. Couples have the choice of Spanish, Italian, Middle Eastern, Asian or Australian. So tasty!
Do you offer advice on local suppliers – e.g. florists, cake, photographers etc?
Definitely! We really love giving back to local suppliers when we can and we love having them onsite as well! We have so many fantastic wedding vendors in Toowoomba and having a great relationship with these vendors also means that we can be assured that they will also give really great service to our couples.
What’s a typical day at work look like for you?
There is no typical work day here at Gabbinbar Homestead for the wedding planning team. When we aren’t setting up and coordinating weddings, we are spending time with our couples, answering questions, conducting planning meetings or brainstorming how we can excel even further.
What do you love about your job?
I love so many elements of my job, it’s really difficult to pick one! I work alongside a really wonderful team of wedding planners and together we find joy in planning couples special days. We spend so much time with each couple and I love to listen to their stories, from the moment they met right through to how they got engaged. It’s so exciting to play such a special role in planning their day and to see if it all come together. I love witnessing the love couples have for each other, there are just no words that can describe that feeling you get as a wedding planner. It’s so great to get to know each couple on a personal level and share in the excitement of piecing together their special day.
Favourite wedding in the past year?
Favourite wedding in the past year! There are too many to name. I have loved so many and our couples are just all so lovely. I do love some of the smaller intimate weddings that we have hosted, they remind me of a big family get together and to see our couples spend time with the ones closest to them. That is always really lovely.
Image courtesy of Gabbinbar Homestead
What kinds of weddings would you like to see at Gabbinbar going forward?
Gabbinbar hosts multiple weddings each week, so we are lucky to be able to see so many wonderful styles and trends through out the year. Every wedding is so unique and we love working with couples to create their dream wedding.
Thank you Allysha for sharing the story of your gorgeous venue. What a magnificent place to work, and it must be an absolute joy to help so many couples achieve their dream weddings. We’ve definitely loved telling the stories of some of these couples here on Polka Dot Bride! Also, your dedication and innovation with the MyGabbinbar online portal is such an asset. Your couples can definitely feel confident in their choice and expect smooth sailing on the big day. To find out more about Gabbinbar Homestead, head on over to their website.
Headshot courtesy of Gabbinbar Homestead