Lucinda & Johno
This is the story of For Love & Living couple Lucinda and Johno, a country pub, a bag of prawns and a thoughtfully planned private property wedding just outside Toowoomba, QLD. We sat down with bride Lucinda who shared her frank wedding advice (like where to spend and splurge and the conversation all couples should have post-engagement) and why she leaned on professional guidance to bring their wedding vision to life.
We would love to hear how your story began. Please share how you met and your proposal story.
We met at the notorious country pub, The Spotted Cow, in Toowoomba while at uni. A few years later, we took a trip to the beach and mysteriously, among a bag of prawns, I found a ring.
Tell us about your wedding planning process following your engagement. Where did you start?
We started with the guest numbers, and then Mum and I took off on a girl’s trip to find the perfect venue.
What came next: the dress, the date or the budget?
Funny you ask. Before discussing the budget, we decided on a set wedding venue in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. We realised not long after that not all parties were on board the same budget train. So, we got creative and took advantage of my in-law’s beautiful property a short distance from Toowoomba. Enter the DIY wedding.
What drew you to your in-law’s property?
The garden was large and had been designed by a former owner of the property but then left to dry out over the years as new owners came and went. The wedding was the perfect time to bring it back to life and allow us to host a wedding at a venue where no one had been before. Also, we are both country kids, so we are partial to a party in the bush with a never-ending curfew!
What were the most important elements of your wedding day? How did you choose what to prioritise?
It had to be romantic, and it had to be fun. So, the right styling was essential to me and the bar placement.
Many of the private property weddings I have been to have one bar across the entire venue, which can sometimes mean a lot of walking and separation from the dance floor. So, we bit the bullet and hired two bars to ensure drinks were easy to get to wherever you were at the venue.
How did you personalise your wedding day?
We included a water-coloured map on our invitations that illustrated the features of the property, including the horses and my father-in-law’s helicopter. We chose to serve my late grandfather’s favourite red wine, and we listed this as ‘Pa Neil’s’ red on the drink’s menu. My siblings chose the same for their wedding day. We also ensured all our siblings played a role in the day.
How would you describe your wedding day aesthetic? Where did you find your inspiration?
Pinterest, Instagram and my mum’s garden. I would describe it as modern, natural and elegant. I wanted the styling across the bars, signage and tables to be modern and reflect the surrounding garden’s nature. The garden wasn’t the manicured one you usually see at wedding venues. It was beautiful but imperfect – like a typical home garden. So, we styled it with earthy colours (nuts and fruits, some ripe, some not) and utilised the old flower pots and fruit trees to pair with the signage.
What was the highlight of your wedding day? Can you share your favourite moments from the day?
Prior to my speech, I stood at the lectern and looked up at everyone waiting for me to speak. It was lovely to see our loved ones there, nicely drunk with full bellies. They were so happy and emotional, and my nerves from the day settled at that moment. And when I saw my friends on the dance floor before the speeches had ended, I realised we had put on a good party.
How did you remain present while letting go and enjoying the moment?
I noticed little things that weren’t supposed to happen, but then I would quickly look at a group of guests and realise I was the only one who noticed. That might have been the trick to letting go and enjoying myself.
Someone once told me it feels like you are just sitting on a cloud all day. I can vouch for it; it feels exactly like that!
Did you have a bridal party? How did you each spend the morning of your wedding?
Yes, I had four girls. We spent the day with my mum and another friend as you usually do; eating, drinking and getting dressed up. It went by so fast.
What advice would you offer other couples in the lead-up to their wedding day?
Before planning anything, sit down and discuss your current workload, your emotions towards planning a wedding and how you wish to plan the wedding. Then, set some boundaries.
We didn’t do this ourselves, and the miscommunication showed across the year. Johno was happy to involve as many people as possible in the planning process. In contrast, I wanted to work privately with my coordinator (Emma) to get it off the ground, as I found that to be most efficient. You can save a lot of unnecessary conversations, heartache and stress when you communicate your expectations and set some boundaries from the beginning.
How would you describe your day in a few words?
The best day of our lives.
Can you share your top beauty tip/hack for pre-wedding skincare?
If you value glowing skin, facials before a wedding are perfect. However, as a facialist, no facial in the world will stop you from breaking out the week or two before your wedding due to stress. Manage your stress first, skincare second.
Spend vs. Splurge. In your opinion, what was worth the price tag and what wasn’t?
Worth every penny:
- An on the day coordinator – to keep you sane.
- 2 x bars – so drinks are easily accessible should you have a large venue.
- Spirits and espresso martinis – so the party goes on!
- Lots of seating – so the guests are comfortable from beginning to end.
- Glassware – glassware coming from the bar doesn’t have to be fancy, and you can minimise the number of glasses on the table. We found a number of glasses abandoned across the property and lots of breakages. If we had splurged on fancy glassware behind the bar, we would be up for a lot of money!
- The second dress – if you have two dresses, this one is the one that’s most likely going to have a few drink stains. Ensure it’s easy to get into, keeps you warm and is worth the worry that already comes with having one dress.
Unsolicited Wedding Advice: what’s your unpopular wedding opinion?
Firstly, you don’t need to have a slow song for your first dance. An upbeat crowd-pleaser suited us and our guests, who were busting to get on the dance floor ASAP. Despite what most people say, the details and styling are remembered and not forgotten as long as you value it and put the time and effort in. If you don’t value the details and styling personally, then, of course, they won’t be remembered by your guests. Lastly, DIY/private property weddings are not the cheaper option.
Most thoughtful wedding gift you received?
Johno’s Grandmother was gifted a silver platter on her wedding day. She had it re-dipped in silver and gifted it to us for our day. Also, a group of friends gifted us a weekend at the Calile Hotel, which is so generous and exciting!
You selected For Love & Living’s Partial Planning Package. What advice would you offer other couples if they are unsure whether to seek professional guidance for their own wedding?
Be honest with yourselves and note your time constraints and heavy workloads outside of the wedding. If you want the lead-up and the day to be enjoyable but have other responsibilities, then the partial planning package is the answer. You are least likely to forget an important detail or forget to pay an invoice when a planner is by your side.
The only way to allow yourself to enjoy all of your planning and hard work is to ensure someone else is taking care of everything on the day. If you want to be stressed on your wedding day, don’t hire an on the day coordinator.
How did having an On the Day Coordinator help to put your mind at ease in the lead-up and on the day of your wedding?
The best feeling was knowing that if something ever did go wrong, I could still sit down and enjoy champagne while Emma and her team fixed it. I also loved arriving at my wedding and seeing everything set up in all its glory without having lifted a finger that day. An on-the-day coordinator allows you to enjoy your wedding day without regret.
Tell us about your dream list of suppliers you worked with. How did you choose your team of experts?
For Love and Living was on my list of suppliers before anyone else. The styles of the wedding listed on Emma’s page were exactly how I had pictured my wedding, and I couldn’t find anyone else styling like this in the area.
Leah Cruikshank - She captures pictures in a way that makes them look like they are straight out of a Vogue magazine! But more importantly, she is a really lovely person. Leah made everyone feel at ease in front of the camera.
Belle Bouquets – I’ve followed Lisel for a few years and loved watching her grow her flowers. Because she’s not just a florist but also a gardener, I knew her florals would suit our day in the garden nicely. With all of her farming connections across the Toowoomba region, she also helped source the impossible-to-find fruits and nuts for the styling of the tables, which took so much time off the to-do list!
How did you use our wedding planning platform in the lead-up to your wedding day?
Despite seeming overwhelming at first, as we got into the planning further, the platform was a lifesaver! Thanks to this app, there was nothing we could forget. We used it for absolutely everything and said goodbye to the Excel spreadsheet.
Why did you choose to have your wedding styled by a professional?
I knew I needed an on-the-day coordinator first. But the question was whether anyone could set it up the way I pictured it. Seeing the styling work by For Love and Living from other weddings made me realise that having a coordinator who is also a stylist is an absolute must, especially if you are a bride who cares for the finer details but also wants to relax on the day.
What styling elements were non-negotiable?
- The trees in the marquee
- Highlighting the fruits and florals on the tables rather than keeping the silverware and napkins simple.
- I wanted the signage to be cohesive with the invitations, map and menus.
How did having a professionally designed mood board help you to envision your day?
It stopped the distraction from all the other beautifully styled weddings on Instagram and allowed us to return to what we wanted. It ensured cohesiveness across all aspects.
What did you enjoy most about the styling process?
I knew I could show Emma what I loved and that she would just ‘get it’ and then go on her merry way and create magic with it. I enjoyed having full trust in my coordinator, which I think is a rare thing to come by in the wedding industry right now.
How do you plan to celebrate your wedding anniversaries in the future?
Eat the wedding cake that’s in the freezer and have a few drinks while reflecting on how we can continue to do better as a couple.
Planner & Stylist - For Love & Living
Photographer - Leah Cruikshank
Videography - Lemon Tree Film House
Celebrant - Amber Gillam Celebrant
Dress - Sphere Bridal Gallery x Lola Varma
Florist - Belle Bouquets
Cake - Cake House By Katrina Allan
Catering - Jo Jesse Catering
Bar - The Barmen
Stationery & Signage - Paper Paper Co
Furniture - Hampton Event Hire
Glassware - Table For Louis
Decor - For Love & Living
Sperry Tent & Lighting - Event Marquees
Hair Artist - Jdolls
Makeup artist - Paula Maree Hair