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Wedspiration > Real Weddings > REAL WEDDING: Amy + Chris – Mudgee hayshed
Real Weddings
REAL WEDDING: Amy + Chris – Mudgee hayshed
Four years after the day, one of our co-founders finally blogged their wedding. It was a long weekend country bonanza with a school bus-sized wine tour the day before, a wedding held in a transformed hayshed, finished up with a recovery session and many a Panadol.
Words by Amy Parfett
25 January 2019

Today’s wedding is a bit of an oldie. Four years old today, in fact. Happy wedding anniversary to me.

I (Amy, one of the co-founders of WedShed, here) figured it might be nice if we shared some of the team’s own experiences getting married on the blog. Because while Mel, our other co-founder, and I were already deep into the development of WedShed (we launched the site in March of 2015, just a couple of months after my wedding) the process of planning our own celebrations shaped what we wanted this platform to be. And that was a resource to help other like-minded people create a deeply personal day somewhere amazing.

So, I’ve decided to take a dose of our own medicine and answer our real wedding questionnaire. Here goes.

Tell us about how you and your partner met and the proposal?

Chris and I met in a pub we were both working at while studying at uni. Initial takeaway for me was that he was the tallest person I’d probably ever seen in real life. Takeaway for him was that I was wearing a low-cut top. Fortunately, we moved past these observations and after a couple of years of working joint-shifts, a sneaky kiss at a Christmas party and a steady build of chemistry, the timing was right and things became official.

The proposal happened in Tassie on a holiday. Chris had booked a really beautiful property that sat on its own peninsula. When we arrived he seemed keen – too keen – to go for a bushwalk (which is more my jam than his), so something told me to go along with it. I was perhaps also a little twigged because he’d zipped up one of his jacket pockets in front of me and not the other one (proposers, be careful – we ladies are pretty observant once we’ve been in a relationship for seven years).

Toward the end of the walk, we came upon a table that had flowers, champagne and a card ready, which he framed as a “belated birthday present”. I opened the card, turned around and he’d taken a knee. It was a surreal and incredibly happy moment, made all the more joyous by the champers that we quickly drank in the bush to celebrate.

How did you find your venue and what sort of vibe did you want to bring to it? 

We’ve long loved the Mudgee region of NSW so we were pretty lucky in knowing that was where we wanted to get married. We took a scouting trip and visited several different venues which, while lovely, weren’t quite the raw, blank canvas we were after.

On a drive down one country road, we spotted an enormous empty hayshed in the distance. So we wandered (some might call it trespassing, we definitely prefer wandered) onto the property, found the farm owner and consequently gave him the fright of his life – two randoms appearing out of nowhere while you’re tending to your garden isn’t fortunately commonplace. We explained that we’d love to get married in the outbuilding. As you’d expect, he was rather hesitant but let us go and take a closer look. It was instant love.

We left our contact details and asked if he’d have a think about it and let us know in a few days. Thankfully, he and his wife were up for it and they ended up being the most kind and generous people in helping us pull off a massive transformation of the 66 year-old structure. None of us could’ve foreseen how big a job it was going to be – we were so naive. But I think we did a pretty good job of respecting its history and bringing it back to life with bits and pieces of historic inventory from the farm (old carts, used fencing that we suspended and adorned with eucalypt leaves, skulls from the paddock, and more).

In terms of vibe, we just wanted to create a space that was relaxed but inspiring and fun for everyone that had taken the time to come out to Mudgee and celebrate with us.

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What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their big day?

Support local businesses where you can. For example, we opted for a local catering and hire company and asked the local Country Women’s Association to bake us a bunch of cakes and slices in lieu of one traditional wedding cake. And in the days in the lead-up, we organised for a local bus to take us wine-touring, which ends up being a decent trade for the wineries involved (think 80 excited drinkers ready to descend on the cellar door). A lot of regional towns rely on tourism and the service you’ll receive from these businesses will deliver more value than you anticipated because they can bring you local produce/connect you to the right people/are just generous by nature.

It’s so commonly said but it’s true so I’ll repeat it – don’t get too caught up in all the little things. No wedding is “perfect” – you’re more than likely to need to change some plans along the way. An event that typically has such a long lead-time will mirror  life: stuff happens and you just need to be ready to adapt. Know that when the day eventually arrives, it’ll all shrink into oblivion and you’ll have fun regardless of whatever is thrown at you.

I can also share some advice on what not to do too, and that’s leave your seating chart until the night before the wedding and your wedding speech until the morning of the day. Probably could’ve done without that extra bit of pressure. But for more comprehensive tried-and-tested guidance, check out this blog post that we wrote where we answered many of your questions.

Did you take on any DIY projects for the day?

Yes – and we roped in all our poor family and friends too who were incredibly generous in helping us out in the weeks and days leading up to the wedding  (sorry and thanks again, gang. Love you.).

All the bunting, signage, and decorations were done ourselves. We hand-sprayed horse shoes as favours after gurney-ing all the horse poo out of them (they came pre-used from a horse farm).

The worst DIY job was the bleaching and scrubbing of the cattle skulls. We sourced a good collection of them from the farm’s paddocks, put them in massive bins of bleach and watched hundreds of spiders, centipedes, weevils and bugs float to the surface like a death soup from hell.

We also collected all the vintage furniture, as well as all the cutlery, plates, port glasses and most of the styling items. This was great in one sense in that we could pass it on to friends that were getting married afterwards but also would’ve been easier to hire logistically (it meant several trips up to Mudgee to drop off a couch here, a couple of chairs there…).

What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?

The ceremony was definitely up there and remains one of the most memorable moments of my life. Nothing prepares you for how powerful that moment is when you’re standing in front of each other. It feels like all outside distractions just melt away. Chris and I had written our own vows and sharing them with each other in front of all our nearest and dearest was incredible.

My dad had passed away several years before the wedding and to honour him we made a toast of white port during the ceremony which was an emotional memory I’ll hold close.

Watching my bridesmaids do beer bongs off the back of big hay bales was a special moment. Don’t ask me where the beer bong came from because I couldn’t tell you.

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Ceremony song?

‘Somersault’ – Zero 7.

First dance song?

‘You give me something’ – Jamiroquai.

CREDITS: Photos Mitch Pohl // Flowers and styling Wilderness Flowers // Ceremony and reception – Private Property called Wilgowrah // Catering Mudgee Catering Co // Stationery – DIY // Favours – DIY // Bridal gown Nightcap Clothing // Bride’s shoes Tony Bianco  // Groom and groomsmen outfits Uniqlo, William Teddington, Mrs Bow Tie // Groom’s shoes Calibre // Hair and makeup Georgia Hull // Music Press Club Band // Event hire Domayn Events // Celebrant Sophie Coombes

SEARCH: Looking for a country wedding venue yourself? Start the search here. 

PLAN: The $33 p/mo membership that will change your wedding: We Do Crew.

DO: More than 800 couples have loved this speech-writing workshop.

GIFTING: Gravy is the online wishing well that allows you to ask for money with zero awks.

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