Marnie and Ryan

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,


Marnie Hawson

Ryan and Marnie

We always thought we’d get married somewhere on the Cinque Terre in Italy, keeping the wedding very low key, with a handful of guests. But after spending 6 months traveling around Europe in a motor home while Ryan raced mountain bikes for a job, we eventually came to the decision to have a local wedding back at home. We had one rule however, we both had to know every single guest – neither of us wanted to be introduced to someone on the day. Keeping the guest list to our very closest friends and family made it around 50 something people who spent the weekend with us.

We were looking for an old barn around Victoria’s countryside, but weren’t having much luck finding one that wasn’t a ‘wedding venue’. We didn’t want the rules and obligations that come with a traditional wedding venue, so we were looking for a more relaxed place to get married. We just wanted to have a big party and enjoy spending time with our closest friends and family. When we first went to look at Bringalbit, we spied their old shearing barn that was being used for storage. We convinced Sue, the owner, to let us clean it out and restore it to its former glory for one night, and after a few working bees later, it was ready.

We didn’t tell people we were using the barn for our wedding, we told them it was a garden party.

We hung out with our guests in the garden for high tea and croquet when they arrived for a few hours, then I snuck away to change dresses and came back for the ceremony.

After the ceremony and dinner, we took everyone up the long road to the barn, which was all ‘dressed up’ to surprise them (also disturbing some of the local inhabitants – possums and bats!).

As an environmental scientist, I wanted our wedding to be as green as possible – low impact and local produce. I never really thought of myself as a DIY kind of girl, but I really enjoyed the ‘creative’ process! A few examples of our eco/DIY wedding were:

● I designed our invitations myself and made them out of 100% post-consumer recycled card (and the envelopes also).

● Recycling my 15 year old Mariana Hardwick debutante dress by chopping the bottom off it, then adding the lace around the bottom and sash around the waist from my mother’s wedding dress.

● Finding picture frames from garage sales and op shops and making blackboards out of them.

● Using hessian and raffia on old jars for flower vases, and picking flowers out of my mother’s garden for the barn.

● Collecting glass decanters for our cocktail hour from garage sales and typing out labels on my mother’s old typewriter (which guests also used to type messages throughout the night).

● Ryan and my dad brewed around 200 organic beers together, 50 each of Grolsch, Mountain Goat Pale Ale, Corona, and Chimay Blue.

● All wines and champagne were from Australia.

● Sue, the owner of Bringalbit, did all the catering onsite using ingredients from her farm and many local ingredients. Some family and friends made desserts for us also, keeping to the homemade feel. We didn’t have a sit down dinner, just ate under the big tree in the garden on our laps, then moved to the barn for a dessert bar afterwards.

● We collected vintage napkins from op shops and garage sales to use instead of paper napkins.

● Ryan’s dad restored an old rusted tandem that he had in the back shed, keeping with the cycling theme.

● We had photos of our four sets of grandparents that are not with us anymore watching over the barn.

● We converted a bunch of old single beds that were stored in the barn and were going to be thrown out into couches, with Ryan’s dad sewing all the calico cushion covers.

A few other snippets:

● A lot of the DIY items we did for the wedding are now being reused in our cottage (that we bought and moved into two weeks before the wedding), so a lot of things have been ‘double recycled’.

● My brother has been Ryan’s best friend since they were 13 years old, so it was very fitting that he was the Best Man.

● We were pleasantly surprised to discover that we had a ‘supermoon’ shining over us on the night of our wedding, which was apparently the closest/brightest moon for 18 years.

● Our photographer was our friend who broke his leg mountainbiking the week before, but did a fantastic effort getting around the farm on crutches regardless …

● I enjoyed the DIY/recycling process of organising the wedding so much that I have now opened my own vintage Etsy store called epoch co.

Photography by Andrew Bell Photography


Ms Gingham says: How cute is the beer label? The vibe of this wedding is just beautiful. Thanks to Marnie and Ryan for sharing their day with us.

Marnie says: I am an environmental scientist who has developed a passion for all things vintage during the course of organising our wedding – so much so that I have started an Etsy shop for vintage and industrial decor. Nothing like a creative side venture to keep things interesting!

Follow Marnie and Ryan on their honeymoon in Vietnam over on Polka Dot Honeymoons!

Real Honeymoon In Vietnam



We ask that the comments you leave on our site are respectful of each other and the personal stories that are told. We reserve the right to remove any comments that do not fall within our site policies.


Trackback from your own site.