Many ancient history books lead us to believe the sparrow symbolises love, and as two of these little birds were perched together on a large timber rafter in the hay shed on farm “Glenellerslie” near Adelong during the wedding celebration of Rebecca Smith and Alex Tobin, this couldn’t have seemed more true as they warmed the hearts of the couple and wedding guests.
As they reminisce on how their love story began, Rebecca and Alex share the tale of many a modern romance, with an online dating website playing a role in connecting the couple who now reside in Wagga.
Rebecca had been based in Sydney and Alex in Wollongong, but it wasn’t long after seeing Rebecca’s profile and making contact through messages, social media and phone calls, and their first date at the local Leagues Club at Kogarah (I’m told chosen purely on convenience), that the two became inseparable.
Then, on Christmas Day 2015, which is an incredibly tough day for Rebecca’s family after tragically losing her brother Lachlan in a farm accident three years prior, Alex drove to the Smith’s Adelong property from Wollongong. After courageously asking her father Ross for Rebecca’s hand in marriage, took her out into the paddock and what Rebecca describes was between the picturesque valley sunset and a septic tank, bent down on one knee and proposed in a “sentimental and poignant way”, also recognising the importance of giving her family something to celebrate on what was always such a difficult time.
Held in late September after nine months of careful planning to achieve Rebecca’s mismatched country charm with a personalised warmth theme – including personal touches on the tables at the reception like the names for the place cards constructed from Scrabble letters in wooden frames, vintage floral dinner plates and silver cutlery, green and blue glass tea light candle holders and glass canning jars holding fresh bulbs and spring blooms sourced from family and friends’ gardens.
The “something borrowed” even had a personal touch, as a large wooden crate filled with “Glenellerslie Herefords” stubby holders were waiting to be put to use at the country celebration.
A canopy of fairy lights adorned the hayshed leading to the large bridal table built by the bride’s brother and featured a lace table runner, Blue Willow dinnerware and behind it was a corrugated iron and wallpapered backdrop displaying the photographs of loved ones on their wedding day and some family images from the bride and groom’s childhoods, the centrepiece an image of the bride’s brother Lachlan.
He was very much a part of the day in many other ways too, with the bride’s father driving the bride and bridesmaids to the ceremony in his Mitsubishi Lancer, and Rebecca’s bouquet of flowers featured a little brooch with his photograph.
The Rev Peter Read who officiated the wedding ceremony was chosen as he had become especially close to the family since the accident.
There was a light breeze as the romantic celebration adorned with hay bales, baskets of lavender and two wooden doors to enter to the aisle, all overlooking deep valleys and the expansive countryside of Yaven Creek got underway.
Rebecca, who is the eldest daughter of Ross and Mandy Smith of Adelong, was supported by head bridesmaid and her sister Alicia Smith, bridesman Shane Dalzell, bridesmaid Caroline Reardon, and bridesman and her brother Blake Smith. Alex, who is the younger son of Michael and Lorraine Tobin of Wollongong, was joined by best man Andrew Francis who had travelled from Canada for the occasion, groomsman Tim Jackson, groomsman and brother Patrick Tobin, and groomsmaid and his sister Gabi Tobin. There were also two adorable little people walking down the aisle – Zachary and Zara Tobin.
Rebecca wore a Stella York gown from Jack and Jill Bridal in Albury, white strappy shoes with block heels, her hair was naturally styled with a flower crown created by Little Triffids Flowers in Wagga and her makeup was applied by Kiarna Preston of Tumut.
She held a bouquet of flowers supplied by Little Triffids and arranged by her aunty, Helen Smith with the bridesmaids and groomsmaid placing the ribbon around them.
The bridesmaids wore pale peach lace dresses designed by Review, and wore nude and gold block heels, while the groom and groomsmen wore blue suits with green/blue/grey/white bowties, from the team at Essentially Suited in Wagga, and they wore tan coloured shoes.
With Alex an award-winning singer/songwriter, music was always going to play a major role in the ceremony and reception. Rebecca walked down the aisle to the groom’s song he wrote for her called “Superman”. Other musical highlights included “Future Days” by Pearl Jam being played for the signing of the register, “We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters chosen for the conclusion of the ceremony, “I Heard the Bluebirds Sing” by The Browns for the couple’s grand entrance to the reception and the bridal waltz was danced to “500 Miles” by Sleeping at Last. The Mighty Yak, featuring lead singer Mark Atkinson, kept all the guests on the dance floor well into the evening with a playlist including a variety of hits.
Marg Bowden of Meet Your Needs Catering at Adelong dished up various antipasto plates to guests as they waited to be seated, before a dinner buffet feast, and then homemade slices and cakes served for dessert.
The wedding cake was created by close family friend Heather Jamieson and featured three tiers, two layers of chocolate mud cake and a traditional fruit cake on the bottom, with pink buttercream icing and fresh pink flowers to decorate the top layer.
The speeches all brought laughter and even a few tears as special moments were reminisced and such a beautiful love story was retold, and as the lights on the dance floor got brighter, there was another light shining on this special occasion – when a special lantern in memory of the bride’s brother Lachlan, was lit and floated into the star-filled dark country sky.
“From start to finish, there is not one particular moment that stands out above the rest. It was all incredibly memorable.”
“Seeing the people we love – friends and family in one place on our family farm. Though it is a place where we have lost so much, it was important to me to create another happy memory in such a special place. Being surrounded by the warmth, love, laughter and happy faces of our guests was an incredible experience. Oh, and Alex’s speech, he completely nailed it – funny, embarrassing, happy, sad, thoughtful and touching, all in one.
When people tell you it goes really quickly, it really does – so take the time to enjoy it and take it all in.”
- Photography: Rosie O’Keeffe of Silk Imagery
- Ceremony: A picturesque hill overlooking the expansive landscape of the bride’s family property
- Celebrant: The Rev Peter Read
- Reception venue: “Glenellerslie” Yaven Creek, Adelong
- Caterer: Marg Bowden of Meet Your Needs Catering
- Hair and Beauty: Bliss Hair Studio, Tumut – Josie Dean, Hair Stylist, Makeup by Kiarna Preston
- Tans and Nails: Tara Thornton of JeanLouise Essential Beauty
- Cake: Heather Jamieson
- Bridal gown: Jack and Jill Bridal, Albury
- Bridesmaids’ gowns: Review
- Groom and groomsmen attire: Essentially Suited, Wagga, and Betts
- Bridal flower crown and flowers for bouquets: Little Triffids
- Reception flowers: Family friend Pat Hartwig
Words & Pictures: Rosie O’Keeffe