Andrea Killebrew and Dominic Aungles knew they were perfect for each other the moment they met. Hopewood House proved the ideal backdrop for their wedding day. Photographer Amelia Soegijono was there to capture their magic.
When Andrea Killebrew and Dominic Aungles first laid eyes upon each other, it was the stuff of fairy tales.
The couple, who married at historic Hopewood House in Bowral in March, met in a bar in Sydney. Andrea, who is originally from Lake Tahoe, California was celebrating a friend’s birthday. Dom was visiting from Canberra prior to his brother moving overseas.
“Ours was a full-on WOW moment,” recalls Andrea. “A whoosh of some emotion never felt before. From that moment on, we never stopped talking, we were infatuated.”
Infatuation quickly matured into long distance love, says Dom, a commercial property valuer and agent.
“We could only see each other on weekends but the more time we spent together, the more I loved Andrea’s huge heart, her gorgeous smile and the fact she fills every room with happiness.”
His feelings were mirrored by Andrea, who works in Communications, HR and IT for a leading development company.
“I felt I had found my best friend and someone who wanted the same things for me as I wanted for him,” says Andrea. “When Dom asked me to move to Canberra, it was like we had both found that one in a million.”
To celebrate their second anniversary, Dom booked a surprise trip to Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef. He kept Andrea in the dark about their destination until the couple arrived at Cairns airport to transfer to the exclusive resort. And his romantic gestures didn’t stop there. On the second day of their island escape, Dom organised a boat trip with a champagne picnic.
“Dom asked me to marry him on a private beach and at that moment, a small reef shark swam right along the beach next to us,” says Andrea. “So it was certainly memorable.”
Returning home, the couple started looking for a wedding venue in the Southern Highlands, a place they had come to know and love during their commuting relationship between Sydney and Canberra. They settled on Hopewood House, the home of Janet and Tim Storrier, one of Australia’s most renowned artists.
“Hopewood just felt so personal. The estate is very romantic and in such a classic setting,” says Dom. “We were married in autumn because it’s not too hot and because it was incredibly important Andrea’s family, who lives in America, was able to come, especially her youngest sister who was one of her bridesmaids. We planned our wedding around her school break.”
In a beautiful touch, Andrea’s mother made her daughter’s wedding dress by taking apart her own and recreating another.
“It was so sentimental because it suited my style so much more than anything I ever tried on,” says Andrea. “Mum created her dress into two separate pieces because I couldn’t decide on the design. She also made me a custom blush pink skirt to change into for dancing so I didn’t have to carry the long train around. She ensured I got the best of both worlds.”
The couple loved the accommodation choices at Hopewood and Andrea and one of her bridesmaids stayed there the night before the wedding. The new Mr and Mrs also spent their wedding night at Hopewood.
“We also liked that there was room for the ceremony and reception at Hopewood,” says Andrea.
The couple’s wedding morning dawned clear after torrential rain overnight and by afternoon, when they exchanged their vows in front of 100 guests, including 30 from the US, the sun had arrived. Even resident peacock Kevin lent his splendour to the special day.
“We had a formal but short catholic ceremony,” says Andrea. “Dominic’s childhood priest, Father Tony Frey, was granted special permission to marry us outside his parish so it was very special. Dom’s mother and two sisters and my brother also shared in our ceremony with readings.”
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed drinks and canapes on the lawn and wandered through the 1884 estate’s maze and eleven acres of manicured gardens. With the weather turning chillier (that’s the Highlands for you – four seasons in one day), guests moved to a sit-down reception in The Pavilion’s sumptuous Grand Dining Room. Here they feasted on roast duck breast and confit pork belly with blood orange sauce, thanks to Simon Ekas Catering. The couple also had a champagne fountain and a dessert station which included Dom’s favourite gelato ice cream from Limogela in Canberra, which serves its ice cream from a stretch limousine.
Afterwards, the party kicked on into the night with guests dancing and celebrating in the adjoining bar areas. The pair honeymooned in Italy and now live in Canberra. Looking back on their wonderful wedding, Andrea says Hopewood House thought of every detail to make the day fabulous.
“I think a defining moment for me was seeing my Dad cry when he saw me in the dress he married my mum in,” says Andrea. “Also saying our vows as the sun came out.”
Dom happily concurs.
“Seeing Andrea walk around the hedge and down the aisle on the lawn was amazing,” says Dom. “Also seeing both of our families so happy together and finishing the formalities to have a really wonderful time – oh, and the ice cream limo, of course.”
Hopewood House, Bowral
Hair & Makeup
Sax Fifth Avenue (and Andrea’s mother)
Bridesmaids & flower girl’s dresses
Flowers on the Mill
Other historic local wedding venues we love
Links House Hotel, Bowral
Boutique ambience meets cosy charm at this delightful small hotel. Marry on the lawns then hold your champagne reception in the leafy outdoor courtyard or go for a more formal sit down affair in the private dining room or lovely inhouse restaurant. Book out the hotel’s entire 13 rooms for your guests and revel in a truly private and special occasion. linkshouse.com.au
Somerley House, Sutton Forest
A lovely elegant rural venue, this Victorian beauty with its tree lined driveway, was built around 1875 as a country retreat and close neighbour to the governor general’s former country pad just up the road. Marry in the gardens or the enchanting woods, dine in the gracious Garden Room and dance the night away under a thousand night stars. somerleys.com.au
Sylvan Glen, Penrose
An 1870s heritage colonial guesthouse set within 60 acres near Penrose, book out the recently revamped guesthouse with its 15 ensuite rooms and make an entire weekend affair of it, starting with a dinner on Friday and a recovery on Sunday. Marry in the gardens just metres from the bridal suite. sylvanglen.com.au
Milton Park, Bowral
One of the grand dames of historic houses, Milton Park’s gardens are splendid – not many places can boast a bluebell wood. Milton Park’s five star hotel accommodation, spa, a la carte restaurant, tennis courts and art deco indoor swimming pool ensure your bridal party and guests are happy campers.