When Janneke Storm is behind the camera, you know you’re onto a good thing… Just as happy couple Tara and Alex did when they asked the lady herself to shoot their beautiful wedding in Natural Bridge, Queensland, in May 2021. After a dreamy proposal in Florence, Italy, the duo were engaged for almost three years – but had known each other’s families for much longer!

Funnily enough, Alex’s Mum was my eighth grade English teacher and his brother, Nathaniel (we call him Nat), started up at my high school in Year 9,” shares Tara. “In my later years of high school, I befriended Nat and began hanging out at his place on Friday nights. Alex is two years older and had attended a different high school, then moved up to Townsville to study marine biology, so I never had the chance to meet him. A year or so down the road, I found out that the elusive older brother had just moved home, so I was curious to meet him. We eventually met one night at a friend’s house party. After a bit of courting (okay, a lot of courting!) we finally started dating and haven’t looked back!”

Fast-forward to the big day and Tara brought the glamour in her Prea James Bridal gown, with its delicate sheer sleeves and on-trend cut-outs – not to mention that stunning Louise Jean ring, the perfect complement to her modern-classic look. Ready to dip into all details of this delightful day? Let’s go…

THE PROPOSALWe were on our first overseas trip together and we had been saving for it for so long, I didn’t think there would be any cash leftover for a ring. Before we left though, I had a feeling he was up to something because he wouldn’t let me help him pack his suitcase (very out of the ordinary). So fast-forward to halfway through our trip, we were in Florence and decided to head to the stunning Boboli Gardens after lunch – acres upon acres of amazing scenery overlooking the city. He suggested we go get a coffee at this little cafe that’s supposed to have the best view, but it was closed and under construction. We then stumbled upon a pathway leading up to a rooftop terrace covered in roses and overlooking the Tuscan hills. I totally knew what he was up to because I held his hand and it was suddenly all cold and sweaty, and he started breathing weirdly. I wasn’t facing the view, so he turned me around, started to get down on one knee and said some lovely words. Of course, I said a big yes!”

THE VENUEWe were originally planning to get married in Hobart, but COVID had other plans, so we decided to start from scratch and plan our entire wedding again at home in Queensland. We looked at a lot of venues before we stumbled upon The Bower Estate. Located between Springbrook and Lamington National Park (two of our favourite places), we knew it was going to be something special. As soon as we saw the stunning views from our ceremony location, we were sold!”

THE VIBEWe wanted our wedding to feel like one big family gathering. We kept our guest list tight, with only our immediate family and friends in attendance — and we pulled it off! There wasn’t one person who hadn’t met someone before, everyone was connected. And, as it turned out, Alex and I had even met our musicians many years ago!”

THE DRESS “I’m still so in love with my Valentina dress by Prea James Bridal. I knew that I wanted a Prea James dress after seeing her gorgeous designs online, but I had always imagined that I’d choose one of her more modern, sleek styles. I had tried on a few with my bridesmaids and thought I was set but mid-lockdown I went back by myself for a final try on… and I saw the Valentina. It wasn’t in store last time, so had to try it on, and as soon as I did, I knew it was the one.”

RESOURCES “We found our amazing vendors by reading almost every real wedding in Hello May, gathering inspiration from Instagram and good old Google.”

STANDOUT VENDORS “Honestly, we had a dream team when it came to vendors! We were so impressed by each and every one of them. Our photographer Janneke Storm is a genius who captured all of the micro-emotions perfectly, while making us feel so comfortable and at ease. Annie from Lady Love Celebrant put together a killer wedding ceremony that was so uniquely us. Our musicians, husband and wife duo Kristen and Chelsea aka The Famo’s Duo, were incredible — everyone commented on how perfect their voices and the setlist were. And, of course, the team at The Bower Estate and Ridgeway Catering were brilliant and so kind. They made sure everything exceeded our expectations.”

FAVOURITE DETAILSI adored absolutely adored my flowers — Mim from Aurora Floral Studio is so talented! She nailed the brief: moody but romantic. Our guests also really loved the honey pot favours that are from The Bower Estate’s onsite hives. Everyone says it’s the best honey they’ve ever had and still ask if we have any leftovers!”

LITTLE LOLWe ventured into this forest to take a few couple photos and about five minutes in, Alex had somehow lost his wedding ring! We’re talking pine needles and bark galore, so I thought there was absolutely no way we were finding that thing in there (that has to be a new record for the shortest time a wedding band has spent on a finger haha). He was panicked, thinking he’d have to get up to the reception and tell everyone that he’d already lost it. Thankfully, one of our amazing videographers has eagle eyes and managed to find it for us. Phew!”

WE’RE GLAD WE…We were on the fence about a wedding video but ended up hiring our videographer friend, Isaac at Blackslate, to capture our day and we’re so glad we did! Alex’s Nana wasn’t able to attend due to covid, so we were thrilled to be able to have this beautiful video to share and reflect on for years to come. It truly captured the emotions of the day.”

If you’re loving the photographic genius of Janneke Storm, check out her directory listing over here. And for a bridal look as glam as Tara’s, click here for Prea James Bridal and right here for sparkle from Louise Jean. You’re welcome!

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Janneke Storm Videographer Blackslate (Isaac) Florist Aurora Floral Studio Ceremony, Reception, Styling & Event Planning The Bower Estate Catering Ridgeway Catering Wedding Favours The Bower Estate (honey pots from their hives) Entertainment The Famo’s Duo Celebrant Lady Love Celebrant (Annie) Rings Louise Jean Transport Tic Tac Tours THE BRIDE Bridal Gown Prea James Bridal Bridal Boutique & Veil Sphere Bridal Gallery Robes Le Rose Shoes Novo Accessories Bo & Luca (earrings) Hair Isabella Jane Hair & Makeup Makeup JDolls Bridesmaid dresses Shona Joy THE GROOM Suit, Shirt & Bow Tie Peter Jackson Shoes Aquila Grooming The Moustachery Paddington Groomsmen suits Peter Jackson