It’s safe to say this couple certainly didn’t skimp on the details. This wedding proves that all you need is a beautiful blank-canvas space and a bit of vision to pull off one seriously amazing wedding. Scroll on to check out the details of this real wedding at one of our favourite and totally unique NSW wedding venues, Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park.
Beautifully captured by the talented team at Willow & Co.
In a nutshell, how would you describe your wedding guys?
A late-summer dinner party in a big shed tucked away in the Blue Mountains, with all of our favourite people.
What did you expect was going to be your favourite thing in the lead-up? What did it end up being?
Our wedding was as much a celebration of our family and friends as it was about our marriage so in the lead up to the day, we were most looking forward to having all our favourite people together in one room – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Definitely one of the most overwhelming, special moments in our lives seeing everyone there.
Also really enjoyed watching everyone get up and dancing before the dance floor had even officially opened and the whole room joining in on a rowdy mid-dinner sing-a-long to “Sweet Caroline”. Prior to the wedding, it was also super special to have all sides of the family participate in the traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what made you decide to do that?
Yep, we ended up writing our own vows. Our first attempts involved copying and pasting lines from vows that we liked, but it ended up sounding super awkward and contrived, so at the end of the day, we decided to write our own – which ended up being way less time consuming than reading 100+ vow examples online. We also kept them as a surprise for one another which made them extra special.
What was it about your wedding venue that made you choose it?
We loved the idea of an industrial setting in an area of NSW that meant something to us. Location-wise, we narrowed it down to the Blue Mountains as it has been the backdrop to countless camping trips during our six years together, and when we came across the State Mine on the WedShed directory, we fell in love with it before we even went to visit the venue. The Bathhouse was perfect for the dinner party vibe that we were envisioning and it was set in a valley with sweeping views of the mountains.
We also liked the fact that it was 100% DIY – a huge commitment on our part but it provided us with the flexibility and choice that we wanted. As a bonus, the managers, Ray and Jenni were the loveliest people who gave us the option of hiring the venue for a full week so that we could use a few days to set up and pack down on either side of the wedding.
Now that you’re married, what’s your best piece of wedding-planning advice you can share?
If you’re planning to do a DIY wedding without a wedding planner definitely have a good think about cost and time before you commit to it. Cost-wise, it ends up being comparable to going with a package at a hosted wedding venue as there’s so many things you need to hire which all add up.
At the outset, we found this article on Wedshed really useful as it gave us a good baseline in terms of prices as well as an idea of what kind of things we needed to consider hiring.
Time-wise, it ends up taking up a good majority of your life in the lead-up because you have to research, liaise and track payments for all the vendors involved. If you do decide to go down the DIY route, definitely hire a wedding coordinator for the day of – having a professional there on the day to ensure that all your hard work pays off is reassuring and takes the stress off your family and friends who I’m sure would rather be celebrating with you than doing your errands.
If you had your time again, is there anything you’d do differently?
We would have hired a van to transport all our stuff from Sydney to the Blue Mountains rather than relying on a trailer that we borrowed from family. We didn’t realise how much space booze for 130 people would take up, so we were constantly playing Tetris trying to fit everything in.
Finish these sentences: The best thing we did at our wedding was…
Staying true to ourselves and not caving into pressure from people telling us what should or shouldn’t be done at a wedding – we didn’t have bridesmaids and groomsmen, food was served buffet style, we didn’t have a fancy cake, and all speeches were done before dinner. All of this made for a super relaxed evening that we could truly enjoy with family and friends. Runner up was having disposable cameras on each table – when we got them developed, we had so much fun looking through 300 candid photos of our guests partying and doing generally stupid things (some even X-rated haha).
We splurged on…
The booze. We wanted to serve wine and beer that we actually liked and would be happy to take to a friend’s dinner party. We were lucky that we had a good friend help us order the wine from a boutique wholesaler which brought the cost down but even then, it was still one of our more exxier items – but well worth it.
We saved on…
Floristry – we DIY’d the floral arrangements for the four ladders hanging from the roof, the arbour, and the table decorations. That being said, we got professionals in to install the ladders up on the 5 metre high rafters and we’re so grateful for the work they did cos we would have had no idea and I’m sure it would have ended in tears.
CREDITS: Photographer Willow & Co // Bouquet, Buttonholes and Corsages Lily Baxter // Chinese Tea Ceremony Location Jemby-Rinjah Eco Lodge // Ceremony and Reception Venue Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park and Railway // Catering Smoking Brothers Catering // Cake Flour and Stone // Styling Crab Apple Hire and Style // Stationery Print Together and DIY illustration by bride // Western Ceremony Gown Ulla Johnson // Brides Shoes Zara // Accessories Natasha Schweitzer // Grooms Suit M.J. Bale // Rings Natalie Marie Jewellery // Hair and Makeup Brides by Kristin Brett // Music Michael Duchesne and Howard Peterson // Celebrant Alice Harvey // Guest Transport Lithgow Buslines Family Transport and Majestic Mini Bus Hire // Wedding Coordinator Samantha Burke Events // Wine Supplier CellarHand Wine Wholesalers // Staffing Peters Party Helpers // Tableware Supplier Rell and Co.