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Anke & Shan – A Wedding at a Farm, The Woods Farm

Anke & Shan – A Wedding at a Farm, The Woods Farm

Gay couple Jervis Bay New South Wales wedding

After six years engaged, Anke and Shan chose The Woods Farm in Jervis Bay to marry – complete with farm animals and a helicopter.

When did the love story begin?

We met on a dating website in 2014 and have been together for seven years. We chatted for a few weeks, met up in person in a quaint little pub in Windsor, and hit it off straight away. We marched together, dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in a Mardi Gras float for our second date!

Tell us about the proposal.

A: I knew very early on that Shan was my person. I waited until we were together for just over a year to plan a proposal. I took her on a weekend away to Port Stephens, and we hiked up to the top of Tomaree Head. We used to do a lot of geocaching together whenever we traveled, so I had arranged for a friend to go up to Port Stephens a few days before our trip to hide a letter I wrote inside a geocache on top of Tomaree Head. We then hiked up to the top of the headlands on Anzac Day. When Shan found the geocache and opened the letter, she was a little confused and amused. As soon as she finished reading it, I was on one knee holding the engagement ring.

How long was your engagement?

Because of marriage equality taking the time that it did, we decided to start our IVF journey before our wedding. After we welcomed our boy/girl twins in 2018, we took our time to settle into our new life as a family before finally planning the wedding. We had a 6-year engagement. 

What led you to the venue?

Anke: I came across The Woods Farm on one of the wedding websites, and it immediately caught my eye. I have always wanted to celebrate our wedding over an entire weekend with all our family and friends. This venue ticked all the boxes and then some! We also love that it is family-friendly with the farm animals and playground. 

We did stay there the year before just to get a taste of it all. After all, we booked a year and a half in advance and were itching to get out there.

Talk to us about your experience finding the perfect outfits.

A: I wasn’t sure if I wanted a dress or a suit for a long time. I liked the look of some dresses, so I set out to try some on. None of them suited me or fit me comfortably, so I decided to wear a suit. This did not surprise Shan, but she wanted me to figure this out for myself. I ended up getting a burgundy suit from Bentex custom-tailored suits. They were wonderful! We had two male and two female brides’ mates in suits, and Bentex was happy to help us all out. 

Shan took a while to finally organize a day to go dress shopping with her bridesmaids and mum. As the shop assistant was selecting a bunch of dresses Shan had described would be her style, her friend Bec pointed at a dress that didn’t immediately look to be Shan’s style. Nevertheless, Shan said she would try it on. It was actually the first dress she tried on, and it looked perfect. 

Talk to us about the big day! 

A: Everything just seemed to fall into place and flow effortlessly. We were both very relaxed, and once the vendors all started showing up and doing their things, the day went really fast. 

Shan and I had a private ceremony at one of the nearby beaches with just our photographer, videographer, and celebrant. It was truly unique, and we are so glad we did this. We read our vows to each other at the beach instead of at the public ceremony. It felt so special and the killer views made for some fantastic photos. 

We then returned to the farm, and Shan had organized a surprise helicopter flight for me! It took me right around the bay for half an hour, and we landed back at the farm, right on time for the ceremony to start. 

The wedding chapel was completely filled with the most special people in our lives. We kept the ceremony relatively short as we knew there would be a lot of kids there. After that, we had our photos while the guests made their way to the reception space for drinks. 

Dinner was very relaxed as our caterer was a food truck, so it was an informal affair. We kept our speeches short, or at least we tried to. Shan’s dad took about half an hour to perform his speech! 

After our first dance, we got everyone onto the dancefloor, and we even did some spontaneous karaoke. It was so much fun and completely described us as people since Shan used to host karaoke, dragging me along as a roadie. Then, the night kicked on for several more hours at the cottages. It seemed people did not want the night to end. 

Do you have a stand-out wedding vendor?

Shan: We had the DREAM TEAM! Our makeup artist Megan was terrific. Not only was she an absolutely brilliant artist, but she brought a beautiful, calming energy to the day from the second she arrived. Holly, our hair artist, had the unenviable task of taming my unruly curls and just fit in perfectly as part of the family in the morning. Our photographer was the ridiculously talented James Day, who together, with our super chilled, super talented videographers, captured the day from every angle (including from the helicopter with Anke!).

What does marriage mean to you?

Getting to spend the rest of my tomorrows with the person who gets my quirks and matches them with her own. Oh, and of course, coffee on my bedside every workday. 

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Hire Anke – she did a brilliant job researching and selecting exactly what we wanted. I just had to fill in the blanks!

Do what works for you two. After all, the day is all about you and not about pleasing family or friends. Don’t stress about the traditional stuff. If you’re reading this, then the chances are that you aren’t very traditional anyway😉 We loved throwing some unique things in there that really suited us as a couple. There are no rules! 

Anything you are glad you did? Or wish you didn’t do?  

Anke: I am thrilled we made the last-minute decision to buy eco confetti! I wasn’t sure if we really needed it initially, but we made the right choice in the end. Our favorite photo wouldn’t have been possible without it.

Photography by James Day

Accessories Kaisercraft, Lovisa
Celebrant Jordan Vassallo 
Cinematographer Somethings Wild 
Confetti Eco Confetti
Desserts Teelish Brownies
Dress Boutiques Two Birds Bridal
Engagement & Wedding Rings York Jewellers
Entertainment Kim Sheehy 
Florist Botanic Art
Flower Girl Outfits & Page Boy Outfits Myer, The Suit Lab
Food Truck Nighthawk Diner
Hair Hair By Holly
Makeup Make Up By Megan
Planner & Stylist Hoorah Events
Shoes Converse All-Stars
Suit Designer Bentex Suits
Venue The Woods Farm
Wedding Party Outfits Bentex Suits, KF Bridal

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