When two became the Tooheys: Braidwood’s unlikely wedding venue


For Anthony and Lucy, there was one special guest that they couldn’t get married without – Lucy’s grandmother, Thelma! Here, Lucy shares her account of their special day.

“The short version of the story is that my fiancé (now husband!) and I love each other so much we decided to marry twice in two months.

As a marriage celebrant, you’d probably presume I had my own dream day planned to an inch, gathering so much inspiration from the couples I’ve witnessed marry over the years.

But when we started to think about how our day would come together there were too many things we wanted to do, people we wanted to involve and ways that we wanted to share our celebration with others. So, one ceremony, wasn’t going to be enough.

If you’re keen to read on, I’d love to share the details of our first intimate wedding ceremony held in the historic town of Braidwood on 5 November 2023.

Although Braidwood wasn’t an obvious choice for the groom Anthony, who grew up in Eugowra,

I have family that grew up in the Araluen and Braidwood communities, in-fact my parents were also married in the local church in the late 80s.

Braidwood Multi Purpose Service hosted our celebration so that my 98-year-old grandmother,

Thelma, could attend as the VIP guest. I can’t think of a more qualified or respected person to have shared our commitment in front of.

Married for 74 years, my grandparents Thelma and Pring Raynolds demonstrated the absolute commitment to marriage. Pring referred to Thelma as ‘my bride’ for more than seven decades. As the matriarch of our family, Thelma has paved the way, so it was just so special to have her witness our union.

On the afternoon of the wedding, I was able to get changed in Thelma’s room where I introduced her to modern bride accessories like Spanx and dry shampoo, and there was lots of laughter and final words of wisdom.

Unfortunately, Thelma’s sight is not as it was, so it was very important for her to spend time touching all the fabrics and smelling the flowers to visualise everything more clearly. These were such precious moments to share with all three generations in the moments before our ceremony.

Meanwhile, Anthony and his parents were getting changed in the nearby disabled toilet – I’m not sure if his experience was as special, but memorable all the same.

We decided to get married on a Sunday knowing that it is often a very quiet day at the aged care centre, with less visitors.

So, while originally planning a small ceremony to be attended by just our parents and Thelma, we then extended the invitation to all the residents and staff. This meant the average age of our congregation was about 95.

As Dad walked me down the hospital corridor (our aisle), the staff assumed the role of flower girls, forming a guard of honour and throwing confetti above us as we entered the room.

It takes a pretty special person to work in any form of care and the staff went above and beyond to bring the right level of enthusiasm and organisation to bring the day together. Even taking charge of the floral arrangements.

Speaking of stars, our celebrant Teegan Townsend was incredible. Her grace and humour guided the most unique and wholesome ceremony that was equally focused on getting us legally

married, but also bringing joy to the residents.

Teegan had all the residents and staff announce us as husband and wife in unison and then we shared a few dances to some old classic songs, before doing a lap of honour to thank each guest personally for attending with lots of hugs and an opportunity for each guest to throw confetti at Mr and Mrs Toohey.

Finally, a slice of our wedding cake lovingly made by Mum to wrap up the ceremony.

It really was such a privilege to share our celebration with the residents at the aged care centre.

For one of the residents aged in his 90s, this was the first wedding he had ever been to, another lady that was having a rough morning with her health had a spring in her step after the ceremony and even donned her best pearls for the occasion.

To be able to bring joy and laughter to others is the best form of happiness and it’s a day I’m sure they will remember as fondly as we do.

Once the residents returned to their rooms for their well-deserved afternoon nap, Anthony and I, plus our parents, were picked up in the courtesy bus and taken to the Royal Hotel for a celebratory pub dinner and an impromptu dance on the bar.

What a day! The bar has been set incredibly high for when our family and friends gathered for our wedding 2.0 eight weeks later.”

-with thanks to Lucy and Anthony Toohey

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