Jen & Michael

Country weddings are like chicken soup for the soul and when the rolling green hills are the backdrop, it’s even more of a peaceful remedy to the bustling city days and just the ticket for a beautiful, rustic barn wedding like that of Jen and Michael!

So how did the couple come to be? Jen tells, “We had a chance meeting on the dance floor of ‘Chaise Lounge’ in Melbourne CBD. Michael was living in Perth at the time and was in Melbourne on holidays visiting family. Our scheduled date got cancelled and Michael went back to Perth at the end of his holidays without us catching up. But he unexpectedly ended up moving back to Melbourne about a month later, and got in contact when he did, and then we had our first date. That was seven years ago now!”

Photographs today are by Eric Ronald who captures elegant, modern portraits that capture the style and beauty of the individual couple.

Jen and Michale chose St. Agnes Catholic Church, Toora for their wedding ceremony.

Jen walked down the aisle to ‘Beauty is Your Way’ – Carus Thompson.

Elsies Florist created the floral arrangements.

Jen and her bridesmaids wore gowns from Aurelio Costarella.

Of their photographer, Jen tells, “Eric was recommended to us by my cousin who is a photography student. We spoke to her about what style of photos we were looking for, and she immediately thought of him. We had a quick meeting and booked him in immediately! Eric was in one word – amazing! We asked a lot of him – especially asking that he ride a quad motorbike up some very steep hills to the back paddocks of the farm. So many of our guests commented on how fantastic he was. He even went around towards the end of the night and took Polaroids of our guests which he gave to them to take with them.”

The reception was held at Michael’s parent’s farm, Jen explaining, “‘Scorrybreac’ has been owned by Michael’s parents for nearly 30 years. It’s a working sheep farm year round and is used by the family as a holiday house. We try to use any opportunity to get out of Melbourne to get away there for the weekend. We knew we always wanted to have our wedding there – we love going there, and it is so special to us. Luckily, Michael’s parents were as keen on the idea, and we spent a few weekends there leading up the wedding having ‘working bees’ to clean out the barn of all the equipment and tools so it could scrub up as a reception venue! By the Monday following the wedding, it was all back to normal and the shearers came in to shear the sheep – you would never have known a wedding had been held there!”

“After the church ceremony, our guests were bused to the farm for canapes/roving entrees and drinks on the front lawn and balcony of the farm house. Then once we had finished photos with the bridal party, we came back, and were able to mingle, eat and drinks with our guests.”

“One of the best things about having the wedding at the family farm, was we were able to have our two dogs, Frank and Ness, there with us. They are very much part of our family, and it wouldn’t have been the same if they weren’t there. We didn’t give wedding favors and instead printed cards which said “In lieu of wedding favours we have made a donation to Save-A-Dog and Victorian Dog Rescue – the two shelters who looked after our Frankie and Nessie before they found their way home. Our lives have not been the same since! Thank you for being a part of our special day.”

After a few cocktails Jen tells, “We went with Eric on the motorbikes to the back paddocks of the farm which have amazing views for more photos.”

As far as stories from the day go? “The weather. The morning was so horrible – you couldn’t see from the farm house to the barn because the rain was so heavy!. But it stopped just before the ceremony, and whilst we were in the church, the sun came out and the rain stayed away for the rest of the day and night. Just after we were first introduced as a married couple on the front lawn, our dog Frank, decided to appear from underneath a bush with a rabbit he had caught. Not great timing!!”

“We tried to do as much of it as we could. We spent many a night at home after work doing DIY. We made our own invitations, church booklets, place cards, menus, wine lists, wedding favour cards – using brown kraft card and a home printer. We sourced all of the decorations ourselves. We were in the Barossa Valley for a family wedding about 6 weeks before our wedding, and found an amazing local antique/junk shop that we bought lots of vintage suitcases and jars from. Luckily my parents drove from Melbourne to that wedding so we loaded up their car with everything for them to bring back.”

 There was plenty of pitching in and sourcing to make sure all the elements came together Jen explaining, “Michael’s mum is in a quilting group, and they pooled together as many handmade quilts as they could which we used on hay bales for seating, and as blankets in case anyone got cold as the night went on. There is a lavender farm just down the road from ‘Scorrybreac’ where we got lavender for the place settings and as decorations. The bunting was bought on ebay from the UK which was delivered to a friend in the in London who then carried it over to Melbourne in her hand luggage. The candles in the barn were re-used from two of my bridesmaids’ weddings. We used hay bales for seating, and timber logs as tables. The timber logs were from some trees that were cut down at the farm the year before. Funnily enough, we came across some timber logs that were in the shape of hearts that we used at the front entrance to the farm! We made our own blackboards using ply board and blackboard paint. We bought some hydrangea plants to use and decorations, which we have since planted at the farm.”

“Once we got back, everyone was moved into the barn for speeches and ‘The Main Feast’ which was sharing platters of food. Dessert was a selection of mini cupcakes, and home made desserts/cakes from friends and family. Then it was dancing and drinking all night long.”

Brett Kuhne of  Food and Event provided the delicious food and drink for the wedding, Jen remarking, “Brett catered the wedding and was an absolute god send. The quality and quantity of food was very important to us, but we thought it would be impossible given there were no facilities at the farm. Then we found Brett. Not only does he use local ingredients and local suppliers, he was not phased by the lack of facilities. He arranged all of the hire equipment and set up a commercial kitchen in a marquee next to the barn. And the food was amazing!!!! ”

Jen recalls, “We didn’t have a first dance. As soon as the music started = all the guests hit the dance floor.”

Congratulations on your marriage Jen and Michael! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us! Thank you also to Eric Ronald for sharing today’s images with us!