Elissa and Thomas had an amazing time with close family and loved ones at their Terara Riverside Gardens wedding on the South Coast. This day will hold a lot of memories for me, one being I had an awesome time hanging with the two legends. The other being a ripper of sunset which is pictured below:

The image is like one in a hundred. Why? Because it was overcast all day, which is great for photos, but I wanted that cracking sunset to finish it off. It was like as if someone above listened to me. The heavens opened and produced the goods! I think everyone was in awe.

So, that’s enough about my experience; let’s move on to Elissa and Thomas’:

1. Why did you choose Terara Riverside Gardens?

Terara Riverside Gardens was the second venue we looked at – of a list with about 5 other venues. Once we arrived, we knew it was the one. The water was a big draw card as we love the water (every opportunity we get, whether summer or winter, we’re at the beach). The family who own the property are super lovely, and really welcome you into their space which invited a really comfortable vibe. We loved the grounds and the space. We loved the opportunity to create a wedding of our own – As Terara Riverside Gardens is a DIY venue, it was given to us as a blank canvas and up to us to create the wedding of our dreams!

2. How important was it to have your son at the wedding?

Celebrating with our 2.5 year old son, Luca at our wedding was one of the happiest and proudest times in our lives. Our wedding was, of course, about Tom and I becoming husband and wife, but also about the three of us becoming one big Hughes family. Since Luca was born, we’ve always done it on our own as our family has lived away, so we’ve been honestly been inseparable ever since day one… and it’ has been absolute bliss! So having Luca and celebrating with Luca throughout the ceremony was a no-brainer. The best decision we made though (aside from choosing you as our photographer, of course… hehe) was having a nanny there to take care of Luca from morning to evening, and care for him in the accommodation on site once the reception started. This allowed us to enjoy the day and night, celebrate with our family and friends.

3. Would you do anything different if you had to rewind time and do it all again?

Honestly, not a single thing. The day was perfect from beginning to end (Tom says ‘drink more scotch before hand’). We were so relaxed, chilled and just ready for a good party and a boogie on the DF with our friends and family.

We did have this epic idea planned where we were going to do a full choreographed first dance, but I piked a couple of days before as I worried my dress wouldn’t have allowed it. Little did I know after a couple of drinks, my dress would have allowed me to do anything.

4. After experiencing the whole day, what was the most precious moment of it and why?

The absolute best moment of the day was when we were first announced as Mr & Mrs Hughes! We started dating when we were 15 years old. I was a boarder at Boarding School and Tom was a day student at the same school. Since year 11, I would write ‘Elissa Hughes’ and practice my Elissa Hughes signature on the whiteboard, and that moment made it all real! Totally amazing! Also, having Luca there to walk down the aisle with us when we were introduced as Mr & Mrs Hughes was just deluxe!!

Tom: I loved having all the boys there the morning before the wedding as we all live pretty far away from each other and it’s rare when we’re all together.

Liss: It would have to be having my little brother here from Germany and my big brother here from Wales. We are a family of seven, and having my two brothers living overseas, and here for our wedding was an absolute dream come true. Moments i’ll treasure forever.

5. How important is it to have a good photographer on the day?

In my opinion, a good photographer is at the top of the food chain. These are photos will be treasured for a lifetime; not only our lifetime, but Luca’s lifetime, and maybe even his children’s lifetime. Dan’s photography style really resonated with us and was absolutely what we were after. As soon as we checked out his blog and his pictures on Instagram, I absolutely knew he was THE ONE!!!!!! I think it was only a matter of days between the time I sent Dan an Instagram message and the time we booked and paid. Even three weeks on, I think we’ve looked at our wedding pics on the daily.

On the day, Dan was epic hey. He has a personality; he is funny, cracks awesome Dad jokes (four ex four ex four ex… haha this is only funny for us) and makes the whole experience honestly, AMAZING and so enjoyable… as your day should be! He’s not a “ok, stand here, put your arm here, smile ” kinda guy (BORING!!!). We got some truly incredible pictures taken purely as a result of Dan’s humour and personality; photos I don’t think could ever be achieved without him.

As with every wedding, there’s a hug list of amazing vendors that help make it all work. Here’s the list:

Makeup Artist: Rachel Macintosh

Hair: Zara Blackburn

Venue: Terara Riverside Gardens

Jumping Castle: Heart and Timber

Flowers and Styling: Piccolo and Poppi

Wedding Coordinator: Wedding Event Creators

Brides Dress: Karen Willis Holmes

Elissa and Thomas reminded me of one of my other awesome couples I photographed last year at Peppers Manor House. You can check them out here.