April 29, 2016
Happily Ever After
When Kelly and David Tilse stumbled upon a run-down Queenslander home, perched high in the majestic Sunshine Coast Hinterland, they knew they had found the perfect place to sow the seeds of their new business.
The blushing bride’s heart races as she looks down at her bouquet peppered with peach avalanche roses, blue hydrangea and ivory snapdragons and takes a deep breath.
“Are you ready?” Kelly Tilse says, catching the bride’s gaze, and slowly opens the polished hardwood door to the chapel.
This is the moment Kelly and her family work tirelessly for, creating perfect moments for couples on their wedding day.
But Kelly’s love of weddings stems from her background in floristry, which started at a very young age having been surrounded by a family of florists, who owned and operated the exclusive Patricia’s florists in Sydney’s North Shore, catering to many famous and well known socialites.
Keen to follow in her family’s footsteps, Kelly went on to train at a private floristry school in Stockholm, Sweden, where she perfected her techniques and fed her interest in the profession.
In 2007, Kelly opened the doors of her hinterland-based wedding floral design studio, Wedding Flowers in Maleny, which was a huge success. But as she met with brides before their wedding day, Kelly became increasingly aware that something was missing.
The night before we were handed the keys, I happened to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s and thought, ‘wow Audrey Hepburn is so elegant! That’s exactly what I want for this business.’”
“I kept hearing the same concerns from the brides, such as, ‘What happens if it rains, there’s no undercover area’, or ‘I really don’t like the décor, but I can’t change it’. And I realised there was a big gap in the market,” she says.
So the search began for the perfect wedding location. And when Kelly and husband David happened upon a dilapidated Queenslander home in the picture-postcard Maleny hills, they knew their lives were about to change.
“The views were to die for, but the building and grounds were extremely run down and in need of some serious TLC. But the decision was easy; we knew this was the place,” she says.
And Weddings at Tiffany’s was born.
Wanting to encapsulate a classic and timeless brand, the name was a chance occurrence.
“The night before we were handed the keys, I happened to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s and thought, ‘wow Audrey Hepburn is so elegant! That’s exactly what I want for this business’,” says Kelly.
“From that we quickly came up with Weddings at Tiffany’s: it truly evokes all things exquisite, which is what our brand is all about.”
A full service wedding location, Weddings at Tiffany’s caters to all aspects of the day including venue styling and wedding flowers, and offers three ceremony locations and elegantly-presented reception and dining areas, with perfectly manicured gardens and stunning views.
Kelly’s passion for floristry has become an integral part of the business’ success, with award-winning Tiffany’s Flowers operating on-site to create customised floral arrangements.
Now, five years on, Weddings at Tiffany’s is a bustling family-run business, with Mum, Colleen, affectionately known as ‘Mumma Bear’ going the extra mile to make sure every wedding runs smoothly, she also oversees the gardening and landscaping team; Dad, David, looks after finance and administration; and husband, David, manages the maintenance and beverage teams. Even sons
Jack, aged nine, and Harry, aged six, pitch in!
“Although Harry is only six, he is set on being a chef and always heads straight into the kitchen to catch up with our kitchen team,” Kelly says, “and Jack loves coming to Tiffany’s, he even has his own little name badge.”
But Weddings at Tiffany’s has grown to encompass much more than this tight-knit family, with over 40 staff complementing the family business, including their talented kitchen team under the leadership of Executive Chef Lee Montague.
But what makes the food really sing is the fresh and sustainably-sourced produce they use – Weddings at Tiffany’s is 100 per cent accredited as a free-range workplace, which means all of the animal products they use come from higher welfare farming systems where the animals are raised and live outdoors in a natural environment, instead of within metal stalls.
They also source as much of their produce as possible within a 50km radius.
This passion for animal welfare and commitment to local farming has also led to them becoming part of the Make it Possible campaign, which works towards a world without factory farming.
“I believe in respect for all animals and for the integrity of the food we eat; the energy and morals associated with its origins,” says Lee.
“Sustainable food is for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. If we don’t protect the amazing array of produce available in Australia it won’t be there in the generations to come. So I operate my kitchen with as little negative effect on our environment as possible and maximum contribution to the local community. This allows me to produce food in which customers undoubtedly see the difference in the quality, the freshness and the flavour.”
Creating a sustainable and locally-integrated business is important to Kelly and David, who hope to keep Weddings at Tiffany’s in the family for generations to come.
“Our goal is to ensure we hand over Tiffany’s to Jack and Harry and keep it in the family,” Kelly says with a warm smile. “Who knows one day it may even be our grandchildren at the helm!”
MEET THE CHEF
Executive Chef: Lee Montague
“I always knew I was destined to make people happy through my cooking! I joined the British Royal Navy at the age of 17 and, after several years I was appointed as the Captain’s personal chef. Moving to the Sunshine Coast in 2010 I was lucky enough to join the Tiffany’s team.”