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Sarah & Tom

There aren’t many of us who have a family chapel in our family inventory but it sure does make for a stunning wedding. Sarah and Tom held their New Zealand farm wedding on Sarah’s family property – which housed a homestead, a store and a chapel.  Meredith Lord  was there to capture every beautiful photo.

On how they met, Sarah tells, “We met through a mutual friend, but we were living in different areas of New Zealand at the time, so there was a lot of traveling in the early days, before Tom chucked in city life in Auckland for life in the central North Island on a sheep and cattle farm.”

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Sarah chose a wedding gown by Jane Yeh while her bridesmaids wore metallic dresses from Trelise Cooper.

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The Batley Family homestead and farm is owned by the bride’s family, which allowed the couple to make use of the property for their wedding day, noting, “We were lucky enough to get married where we live, which is on an old family farm in an historic farm homestead we had recently renovated. The dance was held in the original village store, which is directly across the road from our house. Its only use over the past 80 years had been as a storage shed – we were so lucky that friends from the community helped clear it out and decorate it. It was a huge thrill to see a building that was practically derelict a few weeks prior to our wedding so full of life!

Just little stories like due to our renovations in the weeks leading up to our wedding our verandah still wasn’t painted and we had a huge pile of wood lying on the driveway – a friend turned up with his chainsaw un-announced to help clear it and our family all pitched in with the painting and huge amount of work around the garden.”

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Of her walk down the aisle, Sarah recalls “Not many people could recognize the song, but we had a keyboardist in the garden playing an instrumental version of Beyonce’s ‘Halo’.”

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Every part of the day held significance, right down to the buildings. Sarah remarking, “We were married in the bride’s family chapel which is situated at the end of our lawn…and built over a hundred years ago by the bride’s great great grandfather, who also built the house and store.”

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Of their photographer, Sarah tells, “Meredith Lord ticked all the boxes for us. She was lovely to have around, had a huge amount of advice and knowledge not only about photography, but weddings in general…not only did she take fabulous photos and have a nice calming effect on those feeling a bit anxious, but she also made sure the day ran smoothly.”

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The newlyweds loved, “Having all our friends and family in the one place and the one time. The huge amount of generosity demonstrated by our family, friends, community and the people who kindly volunteered. The keyboardist took care of the entire sound system as a wedding present and even learned some songs especially for our wedding. The memories of people driving tractors, carrying weed eaters, sweeping roads just the day before the wedding, out of the kindness of their hearts. The flowers (done by a local lady), the bridesmaid dresses, the marquee styling. The stunning weather and beautiful photographs to remember it.”

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“Country weddings seem to draw out the most amazing people with talents you didn’t know they possessed! Friends and neighbours all pitched in to help. One of our neighbours offered to decorate the old store – I expected she might arrive with a few small flower posies but was blown away when she arrived with a trailer load of enormous arrangements, beautiful rustic decorations and her obedient husband who had taken the day off work to help set it all up.”

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The wedding reception was all white with vintage touches, Sarah noting, “I spent a lot of time in the tractor moving bark around and setting up gardens as did the mother of the groom who slaved away for weeks prior to the big day. My mother did a fabulous job of the table decorations. She found old account books from the store, ripped out pages and laminated them to make place settings. The groom had the local sports clubs page for the late 1800’s and the bride a page from the local collie club.”

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The first dance song was carefully chosen, the bride telling, “We wanted a song to get the dance floor going rather than a romantic slow dance so we chose Jimmy Barnes’ song ‘Die to be with you tonight’. The father of the bride is a music lover and a big fan of rock music so we wanted something he would like…and a song the majority of our guests from all the different age groups would know. ” The Noodles kept guests dancing all night long.

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Congratulations Sarah and Tom! Thank you so much for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Meredith Lord for sharing today’s photographs with us.