Emma & Sara celebrated their marriage in a truly magical three-day affair that brought together their village, Australian summer bush style.
Tell us about the proposal.
Emma proposed to Sara in Mexico when on a five-week adventure through North America in September 2018. Out of the two of us, Sara is the more romantic one and the introvert. Before the trip, Emma had set any proposal expectations to one side, making it very clear that no proposal would be happening because that is far too cheesy and predictable. On the sidelines, Emma fully intended to propose while in Mexico.
Emma asked one of her best mates’ husband to design a concrete ring to propose with, representing a pebble. Pebbles are a sign of love for Penguins, with some species presenting a pebble at the feet of the penguin they would like to be with forever. If the other penguin accepts, they stay together for life.
On arrival in Mexico, Emma set off to find the perfect place to propose. She arranged for a private dinner on the beach, during sunset- Sara’s perfect idea of a proposal. During dessert, Emma presented the ‘pebble,’ and Sara accepted it (there may have also been words lit up with fire….but that is another story). The rest is history.
How did you go about finding a wedding venue, when you have two very different visions for what your wedding would be?
We wanted a destination wedding, a few days of festivities with our nearest and dearest. With the two of us being very different, Sara wanted time to be able to connect with each of our guests, Emma wanted three days of community with all the people they love in the one spot.
We visited the Woods Farm with the intention of ‘seeking inspiration and just to have a little look…’ as we thought the venue was well beyond our reach. We picked a date and signed the contract that day because it was everything we wanted.
That sounds like it was meant to be! What about the inspiration behind the vibe of your wedding?
Summer bush wedding = down to earth, rustic, classy, warm and relaxed.
All the wedding choices stemmed from this theme and palate. And gin. We love gin. We dried about 400 tonnes (it seemed) of citrus to be used as decorations down the aisle, on the tables and as garnishes in, of course, the cocktails.
Did you undertake any DIY projects for the big day?
Our ‘people’ really came to the party (so to speak). Sara’s mum made soy candles as gifts for all the guests, and Emma’s mum made all the napkins. Bridesmaid Angela toasted muesli for all the houses to enjoy and now it seems she will be taking orders well into 2021. Bridesmaid Bucky helped with dehydrating citrus. Friends and family helped with the chapel’s set-up and venue the night before and helped pack up the day after. It was a team effort.
Talk to us about the wedding day!
It was BIG and completely magical. Because it was a three-day celebration, we started with a meet and greet on the first night. We hired a wood-fired pizza place that made all of the pizzas at the venue. This was the perfect icebreaker to set up a very relaxed and comfortable feel for the big day itself.
The day started with hair and make-up. We had an all female wedding party of eight (including us), so hair and make-up took hours.
Our first look took place before the ceremony and was the perfect way to kick start our celebration. We had our photos before the ceremony, which enabled us to go straight from the ceremony into the cocktail hour with our guests.
Most of our guests stayed at the venue, with the ceremony and reception being less than fifty meters away from each other. We wrote our own vows, and our celebrant orchestrated the most memorable ceremony.
The night was filled with the most perfect vibes, deeply emotional – full of laughter and tears. It went so quickly, but the love and warmth that surrounded us will last our lifetime.
That sounds like such a beautiful day! What are your favorite moments?
Our ceremony was the stand out for both of us. Our celebrant captured every single detail that we asked for and created the perfect platform for us to say our vows and publicly commit to one another. Separately, we loved our speeches – each of them evoked deep emotions. Our guests laughed and cried equally. And who doesn’t love the dancing?
Do you have a stand out vendor?
Kelly Tunney, our photographer and Shannon O’Heir, our celebrant are definitely our stand-out vendors.
To be clear, everyone was amazing! During a period where there was so much uncertainty around whether our big day would go ahead. Most of our vendors were incredibly gracious, understanding and could not have been more supportive, particularly given many of them were also facing much uncertainty with the fires.
However, Kelly and Shannon were just the perfect fit for us. They just got us and ran with the very little input we gave about what we were looking for. In hindsight, they both perhaps did not charge us enough!
Did you incorporate any family or religious traditions into the day?
Emma’s sister read an excerpt from the US Supreme Court decision of OBERGEFELL v. HODGES, where the highest court in America deemed same-sex marriage a constitutionally guaranteed right. This is probably as traditional as we got, but captures everything we wanted to say:
“Same-sex couples are consigned to an instability many opposite-sex couples would deem intolerable in their own lives. As the State itself makes marriage all the more precious by the significance, it attaches to it, exclusion from that status has the effect of teaching that gays and lesbians are unequal in important respects. It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society.”
“As the role and status of women changed, the institution further evolved. These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution of marriage. Indeed, changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations, often through perspectives that begin in pleas or protests and then are considered in the political sphere and the judicial process.”
“Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.”
“In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were….marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
What does your marriage mean to you?
Marriage for us is really about solidifying and celebrating our relationship and making commitments to each other and the future.
In our vows, we had one common line, ‘Today, I promise to respect you and nurture your dreams, as my partner and my equal, knowing that we do not complete each other, we complement one other.’
Marriage is about partnership and community. It is not just about two people coming together. It is about two people and their ‘village,’ acknowledging that it takes commitment, grit, and a village to foster successful relationships.
And, now that you’ve had your wedding, do you have any advice for other couples planning their wedding day?
Don’t get caught up on the little things. The guests are about the feel and vibe, not about what time or flower sits on top of the piano that no one plays. Make sure you have a fuck it bucket and be ruthless with what you put in it. You will be grateful for it once the planning is over.
Also, do something that you both enjoy in the lead up to the wedding. We decided to do a non-traditional dance for our wedding and had our dance choreographed for us. We went to several lessons that allowed us to enjoy each other, laugh at each other, and provide a space to have some pure fun admits the chaos.
Photography by Kelly Tunney Photography
Bar Henry Clive Bar
Catering Bumpy Road Catering
Celebrant Shannon O’Heir
Engagement & Wedding Rings Lott Studio
Entertainment XYZ DJ
Florist Follow Your Nose
Gown Designer Cathleen Jia, One Day Bridal
H&MU Hair By Tasha Louise, Rachel Macintosh
Venue The Woods Farm