Rae + Shane love winter in Australia and knew that Donnelly River Holiday Village, in Australia would be the perfect venue for them. They love anything vintage – Rae’s gorgeous dress is even vintage! – and keep that for the decor theme. Their wedding was a weekend wedding and they planned their ceremony for the last day. Their guests arrived Friday night, and Saturday was designed as a day to be able to relax and spend time with friends with good food and wine. They began the morning with a BYO bbq breakfast, then after a short midday siesta people re-gathered for a taste of local produce and wine. Not long after the tasting wrapped up, everyone got dressed and drove thirty minutes into the closest town, Bridgetown, for a dinner at one of their favorite cafes. And their wedding day as told by Rae:
Finally Sunday morning arrived. Not being able to sleep in, we woke up early and poked our heads outside to see the threatening rain showers. We were all determined to have the ceremony outside, so the boys set up the chairs regardless of the few drops of rain. Nervous about the weather, I tried to focus my attention away from the window. There was one moment when Leah, our photographer, told me to look out the window. I turned to see an amazing beam of light peak its head around the clouds. It felt like the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
The boys set up the ceremony in a circle with hay bales and old chairs from the Donnelly River Primary School. My mum had sewn bunting and we borrowed old blankets from a friend to pad the chairs and a tree- climbing groomsmen strung an old chandelier from the trees. We had our friends play fun music from Sufjan Stevens, Mumford and Sons, and some Christian worship music while our guests were served hot chocolate. After the ceremony, an amazing gourmet bbq lunch was served by local Bridgetown chef, Pip Mills, and dessert was catered by our mothers. Guests were asked to bring a pie to compliment our desserts, and Shane’s mum made our wedding cake. Our friends made mulled wine and mulled cider, and we featured James Squire beers, Bridgetown ciders by The Cidery, and Margaret River wines by Stella Bella. We had a Perth band, the Big Old Bears, play their folky tunes, and after a few speeches, everyone was ready for a little country jig.
Such a perfect rustic wedding! Big thanks to Leah Kua for the photos and congrats to Rae + Shane!
I got bored pretty quickly of standard wedding dresses. They were all so beautiful but after a few too many wedding blogs I decided I wanted something different. I knew that I wanted sleeves, because that was different, and with my love of old things I decided that I had to start scouring vintage stores. Knowing that there was one on my way home from the gym in Chicago, I quickly ducked in (alone, and slightly sweaty) to see what their range of dresses was like. After trying on a few (amazingly cheap, but requiring imagination and alteration) I hesitatingly put on their 1910 Irish appliqué lace dress. I walked out to the mirror and started crying. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, it fit perfectly, and I was in love. But I wasn’t engaged yet (three months too early), and I was alone. A vintage collector saw me in the dress and gushed, telling me how beautiful it looked. After a good half an hour in the dress, I took photos and told the lovely shop owner I’d be back as soon as I showed my mum some photos. When I left, the collector asked her if he could buy the dress, to which she told him she wouldn’t sell it to him. She said if he came back in a week and I hadn’t bought it he could have it.
I told Shane that I found my dress, and he casually asked why I hadn’t bought it. Green light! I showed my mum and my sister photos, and after the go-ahead from them I returned to the shop first thing in the morning. I couldn’t believe the kindness of the shop owner, who later told me that the collector had come back and was unimpressed to hear I had decided on the dress.
We sat on hay bales for the ceremony, but we were surrounded by hungry kangaroos that the boys had to chase away from the tasty hay! Possums eating welcome packs – not really something we planned for!
The ceremony was the greatest part of the weekend. It was held in the centre of the cottages underneath huge karri trees. As I walked down the aisle, a light rain sprinkled down, but by the time I was handed over to Shane by my dad the sun shone down perfectly through the trees. We sang songs, my brothers read some Bible readings, and after our vows our band broke out in a surprise upbeat song, “She Said Yes,” a side project song by Mumford and Sons. It was a magical feeling, literally surrounded by our closest friends and family, rejoicing, laughing and dancing to celebrate our marriage. Two close friends of ours served communion, our pastor gave a short talk, and we were married! As soon as we walked out of the circle and took a group photograph the rain poured down and our guests scattered – either back to their cottages or onto the reception – giving us the perfect time to run away with our bridal party for some quick photos.
Originally, I found a colour palette and sent it to my bridesmaids and both our mothers. Because my bridesmaids were living all over the world, we started an email chain with photos of dresses we were finding. The colour scheme essentially disappeared and we just began building one colourful dress upon another. My mum bought mountains of vintage fabric and began sewing metres of bunting and signs.
The relationships we developed with our vendors was so unexpected and awesome. We sat for hours in their cafes chatting about marriage and everything under the sun. Our Saturday caterers had wooden trays handcarved to serve the meal on, and then gave them to us as a wedding gift. Soon after my wedding I began working for my florist doing graphic design. Our photographer took it upon herself to travel across country to be part of our wedding. We absolutely loved working with them all, and they all became so much more than just “vendors” – they became our friends who really helped us achieve our vision of the weekend.
One of our favourite parts of our wedding was seeing our talented friends’ touch. Knowing that we hadn’t done it all ourselves was awesome. It was such a joint effort and I loved knowing that friends had put their time and energy into making it happen just for us. Tip: don’t be afraid to ask friends for a helping hand in advance and on the day – most of them really do want to help (see our beautiful “Send Us Love” board for example!!). We could dream up the ideas, but we needed our friends to help up pull it off. It was so special to even have the desserts baked by friends!
A special tip from Shane: I was so frustrated by the small details that Rae fussed over, thinking they would be overlooked. But all I’ve heard since is about the small details that they noticed and loved. People felt appreciated and were moved by the love behind everything. The boys helped me out painting the clubhouse, which was important, but I could understand afterwards how the little things count too. Also, do a weekend wedding!
Finding vendors that we trusted took a lot of stress off us. We met our caterer, loved her and her food, and so gave her free reign on the menu. My florist had done my sister’s wedding, so I gave her very little guidance and let her create to her heart’s content. She designed the most amazing tablescape for our Saturday night dinner, and the best part was that I had nothing to do with it. I had no idea what she was doing for flowers for the wedding and reception, and they were more amazing that I could have even imagined. We went with a photographer that we loved, so we trusted her and gave her freedom on the day and over the weekend. Choosing vendors that we knew were hardworking perfectionists who do quality work allowed us to relax and let them do what they do best. With that freedom I think they created some of the most beautiful work that we would not have been able to dream of ourselves.
photography: Leah Kua // venue name: Donnelly River Holiday Village, Donnelly River, Australia // wedding dress: Silver Moon Vintage // hairpiece: vintage brooch converted to hair pin // bride's shoes: I Love Billy // hair stylist: Tanesha Melhuish // groom attire: Plaid shirt from Jack London, pants and socks from The Fox Hunt, tie and corduroy jacket from Mo Mo's Vintage, shoes from Florsheim Shoes and cufflinks from Foundling // paper goods: Original artwork by friend, printed by Wood Chick Studios. Programs drawn by brother Andie Taylor, printed by Worldwide Online Printing. Other stationery designed by bride, printed at home on paper from Officeworks and Annie P Paperie // catering: Pip Mills and team from Bridgetown Pottery Tearooms // cake: Shane's mum and cake connoisseur, Jackie Fallon // music: Big Old Bears // floral design: Zinnia Floral Designs // make up: Janelle Yeo // cinematography: Joel Stehlik // invitations: Original artwork by friend, printed by Wood Chick Studios. Programs drawn by brother Andie Taylor, printed by Worldwide Online Printing. Other stationery designed by bride, printed at home on paper from Officeworks and Annie P Paperie