Margot & Tom wed on a perfect day in Forster, and I got to photograph it all.
First of all, I am deeply honored to have been part of this wedding. I hope my perspective of the day does it justice for those who are just experiencing it now. I’m going to try to tell the story with a few words and then of course many pictures.
From the beginning I was very gently but encouragingly welcomed into Margot & Tom’s families. Tom’s sister helped show me around when I arrived at the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat in Forster, which is where Margot and some of the family were preparing for the day. Ronald McDonald Family Retreat is a beautiful charity that provides (as the website states) an experience for families whose child has been diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness, or have lost a child to illness in the past 12 months. It’s a wonderful charity and you can make a donation here.
Straight away everyone was incredibly warm, but especially Margot & Tom’s children Sophie & Jed who always included me in what was going on. Jed kicked our friendship off by immediately tackle hugging me! He proceeded to pull up a chair beside his sister so he could also get his hair styled. Sophia took a moment to show me her dress and her Mum’s dress. ‘I just can’t wait to see her in it! She exclaimed as she hung off the bunk bed’. ‘Mum’ watched on from her chair and seemed to savor the moments in the most special way.
When it was nearly time for Margot to get into her gown Sophia brought a teddy bear over to show me. She pointed out the name on the bear’s foot ‘Toby’. She gave it a cuddle and let me take a picture of them together. Jed came over to me and pointed at a book on the table. He gently started reading through it, tenderly touching and turning the pages. Sophia came over to me and said ‘This is Teddy Toby. My brother, Toby is up there’. She looked up. Jed pointed to the book and two kids looked through it lovingly. Margot had explained to me previously that she and Tom had lost their beautiful baby son Toby nearly a year before. She’d even said that they would have a teddy bear to represent him at the wedding. But Sophia and Jed took the time to explain things to me in the most perfect way, perhaps as only children who understand things well beyond their years can.
Sophia gently buttoned mummy up and I think she and Jed were both so proud of how Margot looked. Sophia exclaimed ‘Mummy! You look amazing!’ Then we were off to the ceremony!
Waiting at Pebbly Beach were Tom, their guests and their beautiful celebrant Lorraine Wafer who greeted me with a marvelous hug. It had been cloudy skies the day before, but Lorraine said she had ‘put it to the universe’ and, since she’s magic that way, there was not only beautiful sunshine for the wedding but also whales or dolphins jumping straight out in front of us. Thanks Lorraine!
An understandably emotional Tom stood bravely as he watched his loves walk toward him. Sophia and Jed and Teddy Toby had cameos throughout the ceremony. Rings were exchanged, vows made, kisses sealed and Tom and Margot were married! Love surrounded them throughout.
After photos we all went back to Reef Bar and Grill where everyone celebrated over lunch and cake. The time had come to share this surprise wedding with family and friends who hadn’t known about the wedding – I hope you all enjoy the photos that follow and feel how much love was present on that special day.
I want to say something about Margot, who is such a beautiful soul and who has such a kind calmness about her. All day she watched everyone else, loving them in the most caring way, enjoying every moment, every reaction and every personality. Margot, I see you holding all the hearts, and they love you so much for it. Your strength is part of your beauty and your love for others is so rich. I can’t imagine what the last year has been like for you. I can’t imagine how, amongst your grief, you came to the idea to plan a beautiful surprise wedding for everyone to focus on as Toby’s birthday approached, but I can imagine it was for all of those hearts that you hold as well as your own. I’m incredibly grateful to have been part of it, and forever grateful to have met you all.
Love Jen x
Hair: Carmel @ Hairborn Forster
Makeup: Vanity Skin & Beauty Forster
Florals: Gingermegs Styling
Celebrant: Lorraine Wafer
Dress: Elaine McKay, Tumut
Restaurant: The Reef Bar and Grill Forster