Open hearts, radiant souls
Meila & Dat got married at Coolibah Downs Private Estate, a gorgeous venue nestled in rainforest in Nerang. When I think back to their day, I think about their open hearts and radiant souls - the type of people who bring nothing but goodness to everyone around them. By the time their wedding rolled along, we had known Meila & Dat for a while from our engagement session with them at Banks Street Reserve in Ashgrove that we shot earlier this year and from pizza- and beer-fuelled wedding consultations at one of our favourites, Newstead Brewery in Milton. Legends Tanya & Bruce from White Lace Films were by our side for all of it and even Amber the husky came to the pub to keep everyone company. To be honest, it was all just a big fun ride for all of us to get to know each other, get organised for the wedding and then just enjoy the day once it came along.
Ceremony & reception at Coolibah Downs
The crew at Coolibah Downs provided the perfect setting for a relaxed day that effortlessly flowed along, from getting ready to the chapel ceremony and into the reception. If you don’t have to drive from A to B on a wedding day, there is a lot of extra time for drinkies, photos and little moments in-between just to take a breather, enjoy the surroundings and take it all in.
As usual, Doruk spent the morning with the gents and I was at the ladies quarters for the getting ready time. Meila’s suite had perfect light and gorgeous historic stone walls in the background, which made for extra stunning shots. After getting ready, which included a whiskey or two and the reading of a letter from his wife-to-be, Dat and the gents went over to the chapel to greet their guests. One of our favourite moments was when Dat and his entourage took a moment with the Pastor to breathe and send prayers and blessings for their day together, heads touching, eyes closed… weddings are all about those special moments in amongst all the excitement… when time stands still for a minute. Their Pastor had known these two for many years and you could tell how proud he was to conduct the ceremony that would mark the beginning of their married life together.
Meila and the ladies arrived in style in a golf buggy and when Meila walked into the chapel, you can see so much love in her eyes, which makes me tear up every time I see the shot with her dad just before he is giving her hand over to Dat. During their wedding ceremony, Meila & Dat’s beautiful friends were performing songs and everyone, including the couple, were singing first thing after the Pastor’s introduction, which was so, so magical. After the ceremony and after all the hugs, Doruk climbed onto a bench to get the 150 guests all into a group shot. As usual, we did one civilised group shot and one ecstatic one with everyone going WOOOHOOOOOO and me jumping up and down next to Doruk to make everyone laugh. Those of you who have seen it know what I mean. I have little scruples in making a fool of myself if it helps to get the shot.
As a surprise for their guests, an alpaca and his little piggy, goat and other friends were waiting for the guests on the beautiful lawns at the venue afterwards. The kids loved the petting zoo and so did the grown ups. I would have loved to take that cute baby alpaca for a walk and for some photos with the couple to tick that off our bucket list, but the animals had to stay inside the fence, so we made the best of it there and it was amazing.
After that, the Coolibah Downs crew had organised a little picnic in the pavilion by the pond for the bridal party. After some drinks and snacks, it was time to wander around a bit and make the most out of the lush surroundings for the cinematographers and us for romantic photo/film time. With minimal roaming efforts required, we had such a beautiful variety of locations at our fingertips. It was so easy and lovely to just walk a few metres here and there to get completely different perspectives… a majestic yellow tree in full bloom, lush foliage, Birds of Paradise blooms, a big swing and, my favourite - a moody forest overlooking the pond. We saved the forest shot for the last light of day. When Doruk saw me editing the shot on the computer, he said it looks a bit like a thriller movie set and I said ‘PERFECT’.
All about the tea
Meila has a Chinese background and Dat’s background is Vietnamese, so we knew there would be tea… or Hennessey whiskey in a tea cup as it’s done now in a modern twist. During the early stages of their wedding planning process, Meila & Dat thought they would hold the two traditional tea ceremonies in the morning at each of the parents’ houses, but together with their parents they decided that it would be more relaxed to still honour the tradition, but to incorporate it into the day at Coolibah Downs rather than having all family members drive around for the tea ceremonies in the morning. After they entered their reception, they held the tea ceremony in front of all guests, offering their parents and grandma Hennessey with gratitude, love and respect before starting the party. We loved how they put their spin on this and found a way to incorporate this precious gesture into their day in their own way.
Another beautiful memory of their day was when the music suddenly changed around dinner time when everyone was seated and their auntie started to dance through the reception to the rhythm. I don’t know if this was planned or if she was simply overcome by joy and by the music, but others got up, including Meila, and joined her. It was a slow tap-like traditional song and she moved her hands in what I would describe as flamenco meets ballet. And she smiled such a big, wise smile while her hands and feet didn’t miss a tap. She made the whole energy in the room change completely for a moment there before others got up and joined her. A little bit of magic and of time standing still, which we love so much. It was one of those days where the vibes linger long after it’s gone.
Meila & Dat, thank you for all your love and for treating us like friends on your day. We look forward to staying in touch and can’t wait to see what magic the future holds for you both.
All our love,
xx Tina & Doruk
Wedding Cinematography: White Lace Films
Wedding Photography: Lovelenscapes Photography
Wedding Ceremony Venue: Coolibah Downs Private Estate
Wedding Reception Venue: Coolibah Downs Private Estate
Makeup Artist: SA Beauty Parlour
Hair Stylist: Rachel Mack Hair
Petting Zoo: Old Mack Farms
Photobooth: One Mustard Seed Photography
Celebrant: Pastor Kevin Bird of The Gap Anglican Church
Florals: Shelia Chan Flora Design
Entertainment: Party Sound DJ
If you’re currently planning your wedding or if you have any questions, drop us a line via the button below.