For Ellen Richards, her wedding to teenage sweetheart Carl Elliss was a union of elegance and country charm. Telling like a tale as old as time, the pair met at age 18 in a Brisbane bar when Carl spied Ellen and asked her to dance. Little did the twosome know boogying the night away would flourish into an eight-year relationship. As a young couple, Ellen and Carl helped shape one another, their bond growing stronger by overcoming life’s little obstacles. “Through all those years we couldn’t get enough of one another,” confesses Ellen. “We knew this was a forever thing.”

Carl proposed to Ellen on Fiji’s Vomo Island during a romantic getaway. On the third day Carl organised a boat trip to a private island, complete with roses, a table for two and a bottle of Champagne, Ellen’s favourite, on arrival. Carl took Ellen for a walk around the island, distracting her momentarily before dropping to one knee to pop the question. The engagement ring, an aquamarine square cut stone set in a halo of diamonds on a diamond encrusted band, mesmerised Ellen. With the ring glinting in the tropical sunlight, the bride-to-be exclaimed “yes!” without skipping a beat.

A year-long engagement afforded a well planned wedding. The young couple married on 25 November 2017. Enlisting the help of wedding planner Decinda from Sugar and Spice rendered the preparation almost effortless, with Ellen’s already married sisters offering sage advice. It was a Catholic wedding; Ellen joining her fiance’s faith after being baptised in the months leading to the wedding, with the family priest travelling to be part of the nuptials.

Carl and Ellen married at family property Braeside Homestead, a state heritage listed estate nestled in the town of Rosenthal between Warwick and Stanthorpe. Ninety guests flowed through the homestead’s gates to celebrate the joining of the two families. The theme, Ellen says, was a fusion of the couple’s favourite things. Carl’s love of live music and cuisine were met with a roaring band and grazing tables of chow. Ellen lusted after romance, crafting a clear marquee laden with fairy lights to match the star-studded night sky. Greenery filled the reception, with fire pits warming the setting and hay bales embracing the farm-style look.

The bride wore a timeless gown by Darb Bridal Couture, inspired by grand couture of the past, but with a distinct contemporary edge. A deep V neck wrapped in a full lace skirt suited the bride’s elegance, with her bridesmaids donning eggplant Babushka Ballerina dresses. The boys wore navy and grey Politix suits.

The day “was beautiful” with a cool breeze and glowing sun welcoming the day’s proceedings. With nieces and nephews frolicking around the homestead, Ellen recalls, “getting ready surrounded by my entire family made me truly relaxed and excited at the same time. Seeing Carl as I walked down the aisle really was the happiest moment of my life so far.”

Honeymooning first to a beachside villa in Fiji’s Likuliku, then to Queenstown in New Zealand to explore wineries and sight see, adventuring together was a mere taste of an effervescent life ahead.

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