When a wedding complete with cows lands in our inbox, we get a little excited. But when it has cows, a lip sync battle, handmade wedding rings and laughter so palpable you can feel it, well – let’s just understate it by saying it is a very good day indeed.

So today, captured by Eric Wang Photography we’re sharing the wedding of Joy and Andy. Joy and Andy and the multiple, beautiful cows of their venue. A couple who wanted a day that was reflective of who they are, and those that love them.  “Honestly, being able to just go through the day with my friend was the most special thing” says Joy. Forget the trivial stuff, it’s about you and your friend.”

Both lovers of footy, Joy and Andy met while they were at a football tournament in Canberra. “We had been playing at the same club with the same number. Andrew was a goalkeeper and Joy was a striker. Andrew was doing final checks on the bus and he grabbed my stuff for me..”

Joy’s favourite place is the snow, so naturally, it was on a trip to the white fluffy mountains, that Andrew decided he would ask Joy to marry him. Joy remembers “He had planned to propose on the first snow trip we had together. We went to Queenstown and he proposed on the top of Cardrona on the first run. I was really grumpy because I was just itching to snowboard down the slopes and Andrew took me aside to ‘enjoy the view’. He got down on one knee (snowboard still on the other), whilst I had earphones on and asked me to marry him.

As we hugged and hopped on our boards, a young girl out of control passed us and flew off the side of the rails. Andrew went to administer first aid as I ran to tell an instructor – about the girl and that I just got engaged.”

Andrew found his suit at Michael Innis Menswear. Says Joy  “Andrew always wanted a beautifully tailored suit, he had been adamant that he wanted to wear navy. He wanted something he felt confident and handsome in. We went to Michael Innis in West End, the experience was easy and under an hour. Andrew had more of an idea of what he wanted to wear than I did!”

Andrew and Joy walked down the aisle, arm in arm to  “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Remembers Joy “Andrew says his favourite part was walking down the aisle together. Seeing as the journey was about uniting our lives together, it was fitting for what we wanted to represent. It was a really special moment to do it together.

My favourite part of the day was just being able to see our loved ones having a great time while we were in our little bubble the whole time. I loved the time we had when we were taking photos, it was the most intimate of the day and I got to just have fun with my best friend.”

The couple were married by one of their good friends, who happens to be a celebrant (The Master of Ceremonies). “It was intimate to meet a face we knew and loved at the end of the aisle. The ceremony was short and sweet but infinitely what we wanted to share with our loved ones. We chose to express exactly what marriage meant for both of us. Together we said the same vow. Our vows were about remembering the privilege of the other person through the highs and lows and that we’re equally who we are, creating, strengthening, and loving the team we build. It was a real sense of doing it together.”

The couple included a candle ceremony as one of their many honouring of their community. “Both Andrew and I had lost important people in our lives and we represented them through small brooches on my bouquet and in our speeches. Andrew and I will always be affected by our loved ones gone, our speeches paid a little homage to them. We had a little spot where photographs of them were placed and people were asked to toast as they went past. We had a candle ceremony where my aunts and Andrew’s parents helped us to show unity through the candles.”

“We steered from many of the traditions that didn’t suit us, we cut the cake right after the ceremony and it was a hit by all! All the cake was gone except a small container we have kept. We didn’t do too many things formally, I made a speech, we didn’t have formal dancing which helped us throw a fun party.”

Could we think of any more dedication for a teacher than to pick a gown suggested by her students? Joy found her Tania Olsen Designs gown at Sentani. She tells “I chose a dress a student suggested I wear, as I am a school teacher. The designer ended up being in Brisbane so I got to order a redesigned version of Tania Olsen at Sentani Boutique. I wanted something that I was going to feel myself in. A dress that was going to help me feel the most confident and comfortable to be in. It was a bargain too! Choosing the dress was one of the easiest parts, I realised what I wanted out of a dress – something timeless.”

As with every part of their day, Joy and Andrew were surrounded by love and support. “We had three bridesmaids and groomsmen. I choose women who were going to be the support, encouragement, and pragmatic voices to help me with a marriage. Both Andrew and I are lucky to have had friendships that have tested time. We have been friends with them for over 5 to 20 years.

Unfortunately, one of my bridesmaids was very ill in the morning, so we took a bin from our hotel into the car just in case. She had to excuse herself in the middle of the ceremony, but Andrew and I had no idea. We are so grateful for the efficiency and care that everyone had through it all. She was so upset, but Andrew and I didn’t mind, we just wanted to make sure she was taken care of. We sent her off to the hospital to make sure she was ok and the day just went on.”

Joy’s bouquet was made of faux flowers, purchased from Vintage La Belle. “I wanted artificial flowers for the day, we didn’t have too many arrangements as the venue was stunning itself! We didn’t have an arbour because it would have blocked the view. Vintage La Belle was patient and accomodating to our needs. I have kept my bouquet as a house decoration. We wanted something to compliment the venue.”

The couple spent plenty of time with their photographer Eric and loved every moment. “Eric was amazing! He was one of the first vendors we locked in for the day. I found him through a friend who got married in France, the photos reflected exactly who they were, which was what we wanted on the day.

Photography was one of the big-ticket items we wanted to have as we didn’t want a videographer. Eric made us feel like we could just be us without the pressures of staged photography. He captured everything we wanted with the feel of “our moments” for the whole day. He was very professional but we wanted him to relax and enjoy himself as much as we were, he was hesitant at first but it was so nice to see him having a good time with the animals too. His photos have been loved by all our guests, the compliments and feel of the day were so vivid in the photos that those who didn’t go felt like they were there. Andrew and I will certainly feel the day again as the photos age!”

We all know how overwhelming wedding planning can be, so Joy and Andrew suggest you designate one night of the week to chat about all things weddings. “Have Wedding Wednesdays (or something similar); it really took the stress out of communication, planning, and stressing. We would leave wedding-related things to that moment so we could really focus on what needed to be done. Have a good spreadsheet to keep tabs on what you have done or haven’t. Make a list of things that are the priority and work around that. Imagine yourself being a guest at the wedding and what you want to feel, we made decisions around that. If we could go back, we would have loved to have been guests, we still have people saying they had a really fun and memorable time.”

Joy and Andy held their big day at Gold Coast country venue Cowbell Creek. “We looked at one venue suggested by our maid of honour. She had been planning my wedding before I even knew I was getting engaged” laughs Joy. “We looked at Cowbell Creek once we got back from Queenstown and put a deposit down straight away. We both looked at it and knew it was us.”

“Andrew and I chose vendors that showed love and care for their work. Our vendors were all excited, inspired, and enthusiastic, which was why we chose them. The love they have for their work really showed throughout our day. All of them were easy to work with, gave great ideas when we didn’t have any, and cared for us as a couple.”

And handmade details? They featured aplenty in Joy and Andrew’s day, thanks to Andrew’s skills. “Andrew is the handiest person I know!” laughs Joy. “He made our wedding rings and a sign with our initials lit up that sat behind us at the reception. We bought decorations previously used for another wedding off Marketplace and added our touches. I decorated some candles for our candle ceremony. We created bingo cards for people to do on the table and created the guestbook from old photos of us throughout our lives and people left messages beside them.”

Joy and Andrew’s first dance? Just as upbeat, just as fun as the rest of their day! “We didn’t think we would do the first dance, in the beginning, two weeks before we got married, a co-worker who is a dance teacher, offered to teach us a routine. It was simple enough to practice in a short space of time, something we could repeat in life and to a song that reflected both of our personalities. It was to “Wake me up before you go-go”. Andrew had made our wedding rings from wood and the first step was a clap, he clapped so hard he snapped his ring in half, he kept dancing and told me later about it!”

Instead of throwing the bouquet, we had a lip sync battle to “I want it that way”, a lot of our friends and family participated, Andrew and I were judges and at the end, we gave the winner the bouquet.”

“Andrew’s favourite shot was the nighttime shot,” explains Joy, who loves the shot pictured below. “It was at the end of the night and Andrew always takes a moment away at weddings; (and) for us to take a moment and look down at the barn was special. We had Eric with us, he was so great to work with, and he felt like a really trusted friend. I loved the fun the photos showed, particularly with the cows, I was really lost in the day just spending time in nature.”

The biggest congratulations to you both Joy and Andrew! What a privilege to be able to share your wedding. Thank you both and thank you to Eric Wang Photography for sharing today’s beautiful celebration with us.