“Your wedding day will reflect you, but it does not define you. Let it be yours, but also let it be a time for your friends and family”.
Well, damn. These wise words come from Hannah, a bride who admits to being a bit ambitious in the lead up to their big day.
Along with the help of friends and family, almost every element of their wedding day was DIY – place settings, lighting, arbour, bar, signage – the lot. Luckily, it paid off in spades.
Check out this special celebration below, featuring a gorgeous custom-made wedding gown by Pearl Button, and one of the most beautifully-styled clear marquees from South Coast Party Hire that we’ve laid eyes on.
Can you tell us about how you met and the proposal?
We met through our church community, which is fitting as our faith is such a pivotal part of our life and relationship. We fell for each other through coinciding passions for people, community, justice and peace. I had already planned to spend six months abroad in Europe by the time we began to see each other, so Nathan followed me and we got engaged on a hot August day in Paris, under the Eiffel Tower.
What DIY projects did you get stuck into for the wedding?
Rather ambitious, almost every aspect of our wedding was DIY, handpicked or constructed by us alongside friends and family. My uncle built the bar and Nathan handpicked the alcohol selection, including craft beers, ciders, gin, vodka, and whiskey.
I hand-painted toy animals for place settings and hand wrote place tags, with a short-personalised affirmation for each guest on the back. Collectively, my bridesmaids and I managed to handwrite any signs or seating charts and programs.
My father, an electrician, put together all the lights. Nathan gathered wood and built the arbour alongside friends. And the interior décor was styled and put together by friends.
What sort of vibe were you aiming to create?
Rustic, warm, eclectic and natural. We wanted the wedding to reflect us and our love for people, beautiful things and the world around us.
What traditions did you involve during your big day?
We included traditions that we felt brought value to our day. As we had an outdoor ceremony, we felt it was particularly important to include a recognition of the traditional owners of the land. True to our faith, we included bible readings, prayer, and singing in the ceremony. We also incorporated the traditional grace, toasts, speeches, dancing and cake cutting in the reception.
We created new traditions by writing our own vows during which the bridal party lay hands on us as a gesture of the commitment our community also makes to uphold us in our marriage. I walked down the aisle solo, meeting Nathan halfway. We walked to the altar together as a symbol of independence and togetherness.
What advice would you give to other couples leading up to their wedding?
Your wedding day will reflect you, but it does not define you. Don’t sweat the little things, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support. Let it be yours, but also let it be a time for your friends and family.
What does marriage mean to you?
Unwavering commitment to each other, bound in love and peace, partnership and support, sacrifice. One unit, one family, moving to reach out and help others with our combined strengths, gifts and skills.
What was your favourite moment on your wedding day?
There were so many moments that meant so much to both of us and in the weeks following, we made an effort to hold onto and remember as many as possible. We were so eager to spend so much time with our guests who had come together to celebrate with us and support us. I don’t think we realised how treasured the few moments we spent together would be.
We had the most beautiful location for our sunset photos on a neighbouring hill to the farm and it was so peaceful being together, running through knee high grass, laughing and sharing a few quiet words and moments. It’s also a gift that these moments were caught on camera.
There was also an incredible intimacy to sharing personal handwritten vows with one another that neither of us will forget. And our reception just felt so filled with joviality. We loved eating alongside all our friends and family, laughing, drinking and dancing together.
Any funny stories that surrounded your wedding?
We thought it would be easy, simple and cheap to find spare fallen tree branches and put them together to make a ‘tepee’ style arbour. This was not necessarily so, as after hunting for one such branch, Nathan slashed open his eye trying to fit it in the car. We frantically assessed the need to get stitches and a tetanus shot and Nathan ended up with a scar above his eye. Luckily, his eyebrow concealed it for the wedding.
Your wedding was held on your family’s farm – how was that?
We knew our wedding would be on the South Coast due to its personal meaning for both of us. Milton is the most significant place in the world for Hannah and for both of us it’s a constant connection to home, family, childhood, growth and creation. We looked at a range of venues but knew it fitted us the most to have it on Hannah’s family’s property, ‘Englemere’.
It’s beautiful and has such a significance to Hannah’s family. We loved having our wedding by the ocean, whilst still being in the country surrounded by farmland and natural bush. It is our special place and was made more so by our ability to share it with our friends and family for the weekend.
CREDITS: Photography Joshua K Photography // Flowers Floristik // Ceremony Narrawallee Beach Reserve // Reception private property // Catering Robbie’s Kitchen // Cake Occasional Cakes Canberra // Bridal gown Pearl Button // Veil Tania Maras // Grooms suit Ben Sherman (jacket), Country Road (shirt) and Industrie (pants) // Rings Embr and Natalie Marie Jewellery // Hair Amy Fowler Hair // Makeup Nicole McCann Makeup Artist // Pastor Rob Ellis // Marquee South Coast Party Hire.