A shared appreciation for friends and family was one of the connections that Tahni Picking and Andrew Magee felt when they met.
Ironically, the pair had attended the same high school but didn’t meet until a mutual friend introduced them at the races 10 years ago.
“We had been together eight years when Andrew proposed. Our love story is slow and steady,” Tahni laughs.
“We had discussed getting married but the way he proposed was a surprise.
“We were down at the Rocks in Sydney. It was 2020 between lockdowns. I remember how quiet it was. We had lunch near the Opera House at Circular Quay. It was such a lovely day so Andrew suggested we go for a walk. We were standing on the grass looking out at the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and Andrew suggested we take a photo of ourselves. Looking back, that was weird because he doesn’t like to take photos.
“He held up a box and it had my diamond in it. He had brought the diamond knowing that we would go and design it together.”
The couple knew exactly what they wanted their wedding to be – a celebration not just for them, but for all of those people they value and love.
“The inspiration behind our wedding was a backyard barbecue,” Tahni says.
As she recalls the celebration, you can’t help but feel the excitement and hear the pure joy in her voice.
“We wanted there to be lots of food and lots of drinks. We didn’t want anyone to go hungry. We wanted to share the love.
“We only had 52 people. We didn’t have speeches, we took all of the formalities out of it.
“Having only 52 people, I was able to hang out with everyone at some point during the night. That was one of the most special things to me. It just felt like everyone had come for a party and we were all there together. All of our favourite people were together in the one place.”
Originally from the Sunshine Coast but now residing on the Gold Coast, and with guests travelling from around the country, Tahni and Andrew wanted to find a central location for their wedding. They stumbled across The Secret Garden Estate while day tripping through Tamborine Mountain.
“The beautiful gardens caught our eye,” Tahni says.
“We walked in hoping they would allow us to come back for an appointment, but they happened to be setting up for a wedding. It was stunning and we were able to have a look around. They were so friendly and so helpful.”
The private property is nestled on two hectares of land and features a number of beautiful highlights including a sprawling outdoor deck and a rustic stable function space. There are also hidden garden paths, willowy maple trees, green lawns, and a pretty agapanthus garden that is a popular ceremony location. Wedding coordinator Nikki worked with Tahni and Andrew to create their perfect day.
“Elegant yet simple” was the direction, and Tahni’s chosen colour palette of earthy orange, green and merlot tones worked perfectly with her chosen native florals.
She wore a soft and feminine white slimline dress with a halter cowl neck and cut-out back.
“It was the first dress I tried on and it was everything I wanted. I loved the simplicity.”
The ceremony was intimate and the guests were treated to a heart-warming surprise.
“We announced our pregnancy at the end of the ceremony,” Tahni reveals.
“I was 13 weeks pregnant at the time. The reaction of my grandparents was so special. My nan and pop were both bawling. It was so special.”
The celebrations flowed from the garden ceremony to the stable where canapés were served as guests mingled, playing lawn games. An acoustic guitarist strummed in the background.
In keeping with the couple’s wishes to maximise their time with the wedding guests, they chose to buck tradition and have their photo shoot prior to the ceremony.
“The concept of the ‘first look’ trend was suggested to us and we liked it,” Tahni tells salt.
“The photographer loved the idea. We didn’t like the idea of the bride and groom leaving after the ceremony to take photos. We wanted to avoid that and spend as much time as we could with our guests.
“The photographer set Andrew up so he faced away from where I walked from. Rather than the groom seeing you for the first time at the ceremony, he sees you here. We also shared our own vows to each other then. It was a nice intimate moment for the two of us.
“It was really beautiful when Andrew saw me. He had slightly watery eyes and grabbed my hand. He said, “I knew you would have a dress like this”, and we had a laugh.
“It was special after all these years of being together. After the ceremony we had a couple more photos together during sunset, but other than that most of the time we were with our guests, playing lawn games and enjoying the musician.”
Following the afternoon fun, the wedding party moved to the large deck, which was covered in twinkling fairy lights, for a three-course sit down meal. “We wanted casual elegance for our wedding and that’s what it was,’’ Tahni says.
“We had no speeches but a friend of ours and his wife are Maori and they performed the haka for us. It was so special.
“We were so lucky. On the day, the clouds disappeared and we had the most beautiful sunset. It was the most beautiful night.”
WEDDING DAY ROLL CALL
The Secret Garden Estate,
Ferrari Formalwear & Bridal, ferrariformal.com.au
Wedding coordinator and stylist
Nikki at Enchanting Love
Cupcakes and a single-tier mud cake with passion fruit by The Groom’s Sister, @the_grooms_sister
ABOUT THE RINGS
A jewellery designer herself, Tahni was excited to play a role in designing the rings. The couple settled on a trilogy ring featuring a one-carat white diamond at the centre with half-carat diamonds on either side. Created by NY2K, the ring has an 18-carat yellow gold band with the diamonds set in white gold. Tahni’s wedding ring features diamonds set in yellow gold.
NY2K is located at Cotton Tree and is family-owned and operated by jeweller Paul New and his wife Kristen. The team specialises in the design and creation of engagement, wedding and eternity rings.