Debbie & Andrew
Where else can you truly experience the epitome of a relaxed, no-fuss wedding but in the Australian bush? Debbie and Andrew chose rural Victoria for the setting of their sweet Australian countryside wedding, as they both love the outdoors, and we couldn’t love it more if we tried. The couple op shopped and sourced items second hand to create their handmade day, and had the help of their family and friends to help bring their laid-back, bush wedding to life. They chose Georgia Verrells to capture the magic of their day.
Of how they came to be, Debbie remembers, “Andrew and I met during the first week of our undergraduate degree at LaTrobe University in Bendigo, over 10 years ago! He was a country boy and I was a naive, city girl both living away from home for the first time. We were studying and lived on campus in neighbouring dwellings. We became virtually inseparable. One of our lecturers even came to call us ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ if he ever caught us chatting or holding hands in classes, which at the time was mortifying!”
“From the very get go I was adamant that I didn’t want to spend an absolute fortune on a wedding dress that I would only get to wear for one day. I trawled the internet looking for a second hand wedding dress, and found an amazing site called Still White. I found myself drawn to a particular dress by Jack Sullivan owned by a girl in Brunswick. My mum and I were spending a girls day together, so we decided to contact the owner and try it on. It was the first and last dress I tried. I loved it, mum loved it and the owner was so lovely that we bought it on the spot! I have since re-sold it on the same website to another beautiful bride, so the dress will have at least three seperate days to shine.”
The flowers were sourced from markets; Azalea at South Melbourne Market and Chorley’s Wholesale Florist in Croyden, and were then assembled the day before by some family friends and the couple’s mums. “It turned out to be really special that the bouquet was made by both my mother and my mother in law – two very talented ladies,” gushes Debbie, about this beautiful, special touch to the day.
Andrew’s suit finding experience was one of the most memorable and fun events leading up to the wedding for him. Debbie explains, “We decided to lash out and see a tailor because we figured, unlike the wedding dress, this suit will have many outings. One of the guys at our go-to coffee stop was also getting married around the same time, and was getting a suit made at Oscar Hunt in Hardware Lane. On his advice, we visited the amazing workshop and were immediately in awe of the extremely talented staff and suits. It is an incredible space with beautiful suits and accessories on display, a well stocked bar (made to be sampled) all whilst being able to watch the talented tailors working their magic on the suits. The whole process of choosing the fabric, style, fittings, communication and advice was second to none. Andrew can’t wait to have another occasion where he is needing a beautiful suit so we can go back!”
The bride walked down the grassy aisle, accompanied by her parents, to Peter Gabriel’s “Book of Love.” The wedding was held on a Sunday as the bride and her family are Jewish, so traditionally don’t get married on a Friday or Saturday. The couple stumbled across a property called Saladin Lodge, owned and operated by Kim Rycroft, in Victoria. The lodge is a stunning bush retreat that caters to events and has accommodation on site. “Kim is an incredible person, and was so helpful taking our every whim into her stride. As we were asking our family and friends to travel a fair distance from Melbourne, we chose to have a lunch time wedding so the guests wouldn’t be driving back in the dark. Kim didn’t bat an eyelid when, half an hour before the ceremony was due to start, we requested that she open her cafe to serve coffee after the ceremony finished to our guests who had driven a few hours to be there,” Debbie gushes.
“Our celebrant, Lyn Rechnitzer, was the reason our ceremony ran smoothly. Both Andrew and I are pretty laid back (perhaps a little bit too laid back!), so it was very lucky that we had her to bring the entire wedding ceremony together for us. Lyn was an incredible celebrant – we both knew from the moment we met her that she was the one for us. She has an amazing calmness which made us feel comfortable the moment we met her. She also helped us incorporate Jewish elements within the wedding such as circling the groom, a Chuppah, breaking a glass and a translated reading of the Seven Blessings. The ceremony itself was also so much fun! We wrote our own vows which were a surprise to each other on the day. Everything else in the wedding was so well planned, so not knowing each others vows provided something special and unknown to look forward to on the big day. We still can’t believe how much fun it was to get married!”
“Our photographer Georgia Verrells was really special. Her photos are un-posed, documentary style which was exactly what we, as a super relaxed couple, were looking for. Her photos told a beautiful story which we love looking back on with huge smiles on our faces.”
Debbie was extremely impressed with Kim, the owner of Saladin Lodge, telling, “She really did think of everything! She even had a bucket of apples ready for us to feed the horses, just in case we wanted to have photos taken with them. This ended up being a really lovely moment we shared with our little cousins who were also flower girls.
The couple held their reception at the gorgeous Narbethong Community Hall. The bride remembers, “Finding a venue was one of the hardest wedding organising tasks. We had strict criteria of needing it to be within driving distance of Melbourne, allowing self catering, freedom to set up and decorate as we chose and not over our budget. We spent many fun weekends driving around the state looking for the perfect hall. As I was working in Healesville at the time, I naturally started searching the local surrounds, as we all know how beautiful the Yarra Valley is. We found an amazing community run hall in the tiny village of Narbethong, half an hour through the Black Spur from Healesville. The hall itself was absolutely stunning, and so much more beautiful than anything we had dreamed of! It is an architecturally designed timber hall, with beautiful undulating hills as a backdrop. The hall committee were so lovely to deal with, and made the whole process a breeze.”
“To encourage our families and friends to mingle, instead of a sit down meal we hired food trucks and a drinks caravan to supply the bulk of the reception drinks and nibbles. This required many, many nights of following food trucks around town to decide on our favourites – not an easy task! We ended up choosing Taco Truck and Trailer Made, with drinks served by a beautiful caravan called The Wandering Woodsman. They were all very professional, and each added a special touch to our wedding, as well as yummy food and drink! The Wandering Woodsman were even kind enough to lend us some lawn games, which were loved by young and old.”
The couple went to great lengths to create their handmade wedding. Included in the DIY of their wedding was a downloadable invitations suite from Etsy, which they used to collate and print their own invitations, using paper from The Paper Empire. The bunting and glass jar decorations were all sourced from Gumtree, and Debbie visited “almost every op-shop in Melbourne” finding cake stands for the dessert buffet, which was catered by her mother, the groom’s mother and the groom. The bride readily admits that she is not the baker in the family! Andrew made the blackboard signage for their day, which were painted by the bride. The wood slices for the centrepieces were created by the father of the groom, and the wood stumps for the ceremony aisle were from fallen limbs from the family farm!
Due to their shared love of cheese, the bride and groom naturally opted for a cheese tower instead of a traditional wedding cake. The cheese was sourced from Anna at Coldstream Dairy, which was just down the highway from their wedding venues. “Anna was so lovely to deal with, and even let us choose the cheese wheels ourselves the week before the wedding so we knew exactly what to expect. We incorporated this as part of our entree and paired them with a crackers, fruit and nut buffet proving a big hit!” tells Debbie.
Congratulations Debbie and Andrew, and thank you for sharing your very sweet day with us! Thank you also to Georgia Verrells for sharing their wedding with us.