March 13, 2010


In 2007 we worked with an amazing Olympic Swimmer, Elka Graham on several fitness magazine cover shoots. A great rapport was just one of the obvious outcomes of the day between Elka & Photographer, Bradley Patrick. Beautiful photographs was of course the ultimate result and sealed the choice of Elka's wedding photographer to fellow Olympian Thomas Whalan which took place in September 2008 on a magnificent rural property in Cootamundra, rural NSW.
We hope you enjoy the behind the scenes look at their wedding & the exclusive interview online from their current home in Spain.
SL: How did you first meet? E&T: We met in the computer room at the Athens 2004 Olympics. Thomas & I sat down next to each other and the conversation started. As soon as we saw each other there was a spark and an interest. From that moment on whenever we passed each other around the village we would always smile and acknowledge each other. Once back at home in Australia we organised the after party for the hundreds of Aussie atheletes and in doing so became the best of friends and a romance grew from there. We didnt start dating until mid 2005 and finally had our first kiss. We laid a brilliant foundation of friendship before we started a relationship.
The property was the perfect canvas with simple white timber cladding exterior which worked perfectly with the couples theme for the day.
SL: Where and when did you get engaged? E&T: The Maldives, 27th December 2007 on the daybed outside our villa, right on the water. It was perfect and a total surprise. The ring was chosen by Thomas and the moment was divine. We want to re-live it every day over and over again.
Elka wore a stunning gown by Pallas Bride and got ready with her two bridesmaids at the private property.
The couple chose a theme of white and sunny orange which was perfect for the 27degree spring day. The 4 flowergirls wore orange sashes and carried baskets of vibrant orange rose petals.
Loving the privacy & intimacy of their wedding, chosing the perfect spot on 17,000 acres allowed the freedom to create a long aisle, an outside reception area for drinks (complete with canape service and lounge chairs) and a dinner marquee right beside it.
SL: The big day - location, location, location; why, where and when? E&T: 13th September 2008, Private Farm, Cootamundra. It is our favourite place and so secluded and intimate, we always went there for holidays to get away from everything and just relax with nature. No phone, front desk reception, nothing!! Simply just a beautiful 4hour drive out of Sydney and the place we most connected and really had time for "us".
The couple say "i do" in front of family & friends under a simple white arch.
Bridesmaids wore charcoal gowns designed by friend, Matthew Eager.
Weddings rings with their names engraved on the outside were designed by Percy Marks, Flowers were by Enchanted Rose and included a single white calla lily for the groom and many short stemmed lilies & tulips.
The guests enjoyed canapes right after the ceremony on the lawn. The catering was created by the Long Track Pantry.
Thomas & Elka steal a kiss before celebrating with their family & friends.
The house and surrounding gardens & driveway provided ample areas for stunning photography which meant "no leaving the guests for extensive photo sessions"... something SugarLove encourage wherever possible.
A backyard swing provided the perfect play area for the flowergirls as the sun was disappearing over the valley.
A pre-dinner dance rehearsal? A private stroll through the countryside
The marquee was lit with 4 huge chinese lanterns & tea lights and large sweeping silk chiffon lined the ceiling. The wedding cake by Planet Cake featured the bride in orange gumboots with a microphone and groom in his water polo cap & swimmers.
Guests were treated to a buffet dinner followed by a chocolate fountain. Most returned to the farm the next morning to finish off the wedding cake.
Each table was decorated with a bowl filled with white pebbles, water and a single orange goldfish - simply perfect for the wedding of a swimmer & a water polo player.
The bomboniere included a personalised CD of the couples favorite songs, an orange-vanilla cupcake topped with the initials T&E and a handwritten card to each guest explaining why they are so special in their lives (the notes were also used as placecards).
SL: The most special memories of the day? E&T: The surprise speeches we did for each other. Elka made a DVD of all my funny moments which was hilarious. Thomas sang Frank Sinatra's "My Way" but with his own words of how we got together and the room gave him a standing ovation. To not be a natural singer & do this in front of 97 of your closest family & friends was amazing. Thomas took me away to serenade me on guitar & we always snuck off for moments by ourselves. It was absolutely perfect.
The couples first dance was to Barry White's "You're My First, My Last, My Everything".
At night the property came alive with twinkling fairy lights and candles.
The bouquet throw was an exciting moment shared by the female guests.
Thank you to Elka & Thomas for sharing their thoughts with SugarLove from their day, to Bride to Be Magazine for featuring our photographs in their 2009 Your Day Annual & Feb 2009 editions and to the wonderful Kate Fitzpatrick for bringing us together in the first place.

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