Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
It is said that destiny moves in mysterious ways, as it was when a chance meeting at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2008 brought us together.
For Dylan it was love at first sight, an instant attraction, and on our first meeting we found ourselves talking all night long until sunrise. Sarala originally from Scotland and Dylan Australian many may have doubted the lasting nature of such a romance and yet we quickly grew captivated in each other and our love for one another blossomed.
Both adventurers at heart we set about creating a ‘wish list’ of the places we wanted to explore and our most sought after desires. During our nomadic travel lifestyle we often worked alongside each other in remote and far flung locations. Our skills and expertise learnt in the hospitality industry, however, Dylan working as a chef and Sarala a front of house manager and sommelier meant that we hoped and envisaged running and operating our own destination restaurant one day.
After years globetrotting the time came to return to Australia and we found ourselves on the Granite Belt in the heart of Queensland’s premier wine growing region. We took over the running of a small cellar door and cafe and proved just how well we could work together. After a year of success the winery owner offered us an exciting new opportunity to re-locate to another vineyard in the Gold Coast hinterland. We were to build and set up a brand new cellar door and winery restaurant capable of hosting private events and weddings.
This ambitious project gave us a common goal and our hard work and determination ensured that this destination venue became a complete success within only a short few years. Tamborine Mountain remains our place to call home though without doubt we will always find new ways to grow and challenge ourselves and our perpetual sense of wanderlust promises a lifetime of adventure through worldwide travel.
Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…
We planned a small intimate wedding and invited only 40 guests, our closest family members and dearest friends. Dylan’s family coming from around Australia and Sarala’s travelling from the UK. We saw our special day as a unique opportunity to celebrate our love with loved ones with the chance to share our passion for great food and wine. We wanted to acknowledge the love and support we have received throughout our relationship which has enabled our love to grow.
It was important to both of us to celebrate our special day in a familiar setting so we asked our good friends aka ‘family-by-choice’ at Bent Road winery in Ballandean if they’d be happy for us to host our celebrations on their private vineyard estate. Their rural property set amidst the vines with recently renovated chapel for our reception dinner was the perfect place for us to tie the knot. Indeed in spite of our wanderlust personalities we couldn’t have imagined celebrating our special day in any other place.
The winery is surrounded by a dramatic landscape of granite boulders and the beautiful native Australian bush. With distinct seasons on the granite belt we chose the month of August for our wedding to take advantage of the cooler weather. We wanted to create a unique and personalised space and with the help of loved ones set up everything ourselves. While Dylan prepared the banquet of food Sarala took care of the styling. In line with the setting our wedding style was rustic and old world-y with a touch of vintage and only necessitated the help of a few bespoke suppliers.
To contrast with the dormant vines during winter our floral arrangements were to be a focal point to our styling. The flowers were chosen with nature in mind and arranged in a wild bohemian style using greenery and pampas grass. We had a mix of Australian natives and wildflowers in berry, fuchsia and soft pastel tones. A stunning floral installation was attached to our wooden triangular arbour for our ceremony and additional floral arrangements were set up on vintage boxes beside our small rustic signing table. The arbour was positioned to mirror the natural arbour of the native gum trees and had a breath taking vantage point overlooking the vineyard.
Inside the church we wanted our reception dinner to feel like a family-style banquet or feast. We used harvest style tables for our guests and we had a separate ‘sweetheart’ table just for the two of us. The tables were lined with brass candlesticks and vintage bottles with florals and native gum nuts and we used gold charger plates, burgundy napkins and vintage cut crystal glassware. Outside a bar was set up for celebratory champagne with afternoon canapés and post-dinner Scotch. After dark festoon lighting created an outdoor festival vibe and a bonfire was lit for guests to warm themselves. After the final speeches the scene was set for those with musical talents to take to the stage and for guests to dance the night away under the magical night’s sky.
Tell us about your main outfits:
We opted for simple styled back timeless outfits in fitting with the setting and time of year. Sarala wore a free spirited bohemian style gown with beautiful layers of romantic, delicate lace and embroidery. It was effortless yet striking with a plunging v-neckline front and back worn alongside embossed pointy-toe flats. Dylan had a vintage inspired look. He wore a textured cream blazer with navy suit trousers and a classic navy silk tie. Tan leather dress shoes and belt with brass clipped braces completed the look.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
Many wedding traditions didn’t suit us and instead we tried our best to showcase who we are and what we are passionate about by making the day entirely unique to us. With the scene set in Australia’s rural countryside it was important to us to include different aspects of our heritage. In the morning Sarala had her hands decorated in Indian henna and on arrival guests were serenaded by Scottish inspired music before paying respects to the traditional owners of the land in an ‘Acknowledgement of Country’.
Before our ceremony we chose to share a quiet moment together, a so-called ‘first look’, before we walked through the vineyard to the arbour together. Our guests were then invited to join us alongside our celebrant to commence the ceremony proceedings. For the ceremony we read short personal vows and we included a Scottish wedding blessing. As is tradition in Scotland a Gaelic blessing was read before toasting with a dram of whisky from a quaich a ritual symbolizing our togetherness and lifelong unity.
Perhaps our most memorable part of the day was in the late afternoon when we slipped away from our guests to share in one of our favourite pastimes. We found a secluded spot to sit and enjoy a romantic picnic with grazing board and bubbles. It gave us the chance to pause to reflect on the day and we were able to take pleasure in each others company without any distractions. We watched the sun set and as the light faded everywhere was covered in the most magical golden glow.
When we joined our guests for our reception dinner it was a special feeling not only to have many of our closest relatives together to share such an occasion but to hear their heartfelt words and toasts in our honour. Our choice of harvest style tables allowed our guests to sit wherever they felt most at ease. It was clear that everyone took pleasure in this shared moment in time together reminiscent of the past, grateful for the present and hopeful for the future.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
We have many important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so vital, most often we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with those who are dearest to us. We were warned the day would pass all too quickly and this was certainly our experience but not without celebrating and capturing moments shared with loved ones we will truly cherish for the rest of our lives. We fell in love by chance, but we made a choice to be together and to be with someone who enhances us. For us, getting married was an affirmation of our decade of love. Love, even though this experience is so incredible, words often fail when we try to explain it. That’s just the way it is with love – it’s meant to be felt, not described. Our special day was a chance to reflect on our story so far, our commitment to each other, and the stories yet to be told. A celebration of us, of love, of commitment, of friendship, and of two people who are in it for forever.
Photography: With Love Weddings | Videography: Short Flix Media | Ceremony and Reception location: Bent Road Winery, Ballandean Qld Aus | Celebrant: Bernadette Brushe | Bride’s gown: Jaase | Groom’s outfit: Michael Innis Menswear | Rings: Sophie Janson Jewellery | Bride’s shoes: Julius Marlow | Groom’s shoes: Edward Meller | Necklace: Violet Gray | Fragrance: Issey Miyake and Viktor & Rolf | Entertainment: The Brothers Calling | Styling Hire: Bonnie Blue Vintage & Event Hire | Events hire: DD Event Hire | Flora: Pollen Weddings & Events | Catering and Beverages: La Petit Mort | Cake: Chef Dylan Gittoes | Picnic rug: Wandering Folk | Blankets: The Tartan Blanket Co | Ribbons: Penelope’s Child