Handmade Backyard Australian Wedding: Harriet + Mat

backyard wedding

Today’s wedding is full of SO much love + joy – exactly the way a wedding should be. I just adore this couple + their approach to their wedding. Harriet is a woven lighting installation artist + Mat is an organic garlic farmer. They were married on Harriet’s Dad’s property in Australia, amongst Australian gum trees and with 120 guests. The reception was held in a hidden forest with outdoor table settings with bush flowers. Every single detail of this wedding was handled personally by the couple. Not a single flower was purchased – instead, the women of the family took a bush walk, or multiple, and returned with arms full of Australian flora. Harriet made her own dress and her head piece was made in a matter of minutes by a family friend, just moments before it was placed on her head. A bit more about their wedding from Harriet:

This wedding had been a long time coming. We were engaged years ago, set the date, then Dad was diagnosed with an agressive cancer so we cancelled the wedding and eventually decided to have our first baby instead. After years of treatment, and four grandchildren later, Dad has officially survived so the wedding had a little extra kick. Nature was our inspiration all the way. We’re country kids so our first choice was to have a non-traditional wedding outdoors. I am an event manager turned fibre artist so I really loved every minute of organizing the wedding with my Mum – we both wish we could do it all again :)

Big thanks to the ultra talented Tim Coulson for letting me share his gorgeous photos.

backyard wedding

ring bearer with parosal

backyard ceremony

backyard ceremony

Processional: Be Here Now by Mason Jennings

Recessional: Home by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

First Dance: Love Serenade by The Waifs

backyard ceremony

backyard ceremony

backyard ceremony

backyard ceremony

backyard ceremony

There are so many. Cheering triumphantly as we walked out after the ceremony while everyone threw spinning sycamore seeds (I think I may have jubilantly cried "We love you all" at some point in my delirium). Mat's speech was extraordinary from someone who was supposedly nervous. Quite a few guests have said it was the best groom's speech they'd heard. I was so proud to be marrying him. The frenzied rush to the dancefloor after the sparklers were handed out. The warm-fuzzy loved-up feeling late in the evening as all our friends danced happily around a fire under the stars. Everyone joyfully refusing to get on the bus to go home!

bcakyard reception with lake

backyard reception

vintage tablescape, mixed bottle vases

vintage china

backyard bbq wedding

backyard bbq wedding

handmade wedding dress

I tried on dresses by designers but I didn’t like myself in any of them so I printed the fabric for my dress using leaves from the garden and places of significance to us and had a local dressmaker make it to my design.  I hand embroidered the invitation and did all the graphic design, I op-shopped for plates, and did menu planning etc. with my Mum. Mat is a garlic farmer and we grow a lot of our own meat and vegetables so finding someone who could help us put our home-grown food on 120 plates was also important to us.

We used our friends’ abundant talents in as many areas as we could. The planets were in alignment for us because we had so many lucky breaks. For example, I met a woman poring over silks in the fabric store who seemed lovely and knowledgeable, she was just studying dress-making but I thought it was fateful so I rang and it turned out she lived 3 minutes from my parents house. She ended up being perfect for me. Another: one of our close friends knew we were planning sashimi for one of our canapés and the week before just happened to go deep-sea fishing and catch masses of beautiful Kingfish which he gifted to us. Everything at the wedding was home-grown, hand-made, made or gifted by friends and it was in my parents garden. It couldn’t have been more personal.

backyard lunch wedding

backyard lunch wedding

backyard lunch wedding

first dance

1. Start a pinterest pinboard referencing images you like (colours, lighting, food, clothing etc) as a style-guide (click here to go to mine – and you can follow GWS on pinterest here) which I found invaluable for explaining aspects of the event design to people.

2. I think a great wedding is primarily about celebrating with the ones you love and those people want you to be yourself, not to look like the most perfect couple that ever walked the earth. If you are on a budget, your best investment is giving your guests a good time not wowing them with your amazing transformation into a text-book bride.

3. Find a beautiful venue then half your work is done - there are lots of free places to have amazing outdoor weddings. That way you don't need to spend money on decorations or flowers. Expensive options are not necessarily better. We found booking the local hall was a way better investment than a marquee because for literally 5% of the cost we had a wet weather venue and used the lovely old trestle tables, urns and china that came with the hall.

4. Think about what your friends talents are (baking, crafting, flowers, music etc) and give them special jobs.

5. If you have a creative idea that you like (within reason) stick to your guns. Some of the ideas I had people thought were weird or a bit unnecessary, but they were the most loved on the day. And a shout out to Alice for coming to the waterfall to shovel moss into boxes with me :)

6. If you are planning to have children, managing them as well makes wedding planning a whole lot harder. So maybe wait until after you're married if you can!

7. If you are planning a wedding via this site you are in a privileged position and you're in love - don't over dramatize, enjoy it.

photography: Tim Coulson (see lots more photos from the day here) // venue: Bride’s parent’s garden Wilde’s Meadow // event design: Harriet – the bride (I have kept a lot of my collected wedding props and am happy to rent out) // wedding dress: Harriet + Belinda Stafford // groom suit: The Gentleman’s Emporium // catering: Homegrown meat + vegetables – Anne Geddes from The Hospital Shop in Bowral pulled it all together for us // music: Sascha Klave – solo singing, guitar. Bellyache Ben & the Steamgrass Boys, DJ Millie Munro

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  1. i love the mis-matched plates and unique style of the couple. such an adorable wedding.

    <3 http://dlezr.blogspot.com

  2. This is such a unique wedding! Love the bride’s dress and the vintage style table decor…so beautiful!

  3. I love everything about this wedding. Love the beard too haha

  4. I love the theme. It is like a fantasy wedding.

  5. WOW! this is an amazing wedding! everything about it is perfect! xx

  6. Just goes to show you how beautiful a wedding can be when you infuse your personality into it!

  7. lovely wedding, very 70’s !!!

  8. I’m pretty sure this is my most favorite wedding ever!

  9. Excellent post, I love the advice at the bottom. The whole wedding is so gorgeous and what an adorable couple!

  10. Oooh!!! Such an Australian wedding! I can just feel the lushness off the rainforest. And the steamgrass band looks like SO much fun! Yeeha!

  11. This is the wedding of my dreams! Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures.

  12. What a whimsical wedding! :)

  13. I have over the years seen every kind of wedding imaginable. This is the most extravagantly beautiful one i have ever seen. I almost cried looking over the pics. I think it’s all the little loving details that were brought together so beautifully in such harmony with each other….breathtaking.

  14. Just stumbled upon this wedding and HAD TO comment!

    Everything about this day is adorable!!

    Weddings are all about showcasing the couple’s style and taste, which has been done perfectly here! :)

    A massive congratulations to the wonderful couple!

    Jessica – Soirée de Luxe xx


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