Our Simple Garden Wedding

by | Inspired Weddings, Inspired Weddings, Weddings,



Joel and Emma

Joel proposed to me while I was sanding the bumper of my car, I was filthy, he was filthy but it just felt right. We’re students, Joel’s very handy and I’m very crafty so what we lacked in budget we made up for in hard work, skill and a little luck. The entire wedding was DIY, it was held on Joel’s parents farm in Raleigh and with the help of family members and friends we managed to self-cater, arrange flowers, be our own hire company, set up lighting and make a wedding dress.

The week before the wedding  we traveled from Newcastle to start getting things organised for the wedding. We still hadn’t finished my dress and the chairs we had bought for the reception still needed to be re-assembled. Needless to say anyone available that week quickly got roped into wedding preparations, setting up the ceremony and reception areas, baking cakes, roasting meat, arranging flowers and picking up all the last minute things that we needed. Though it was extremely stressful and for the whole week no one got much sleep it really developed an amazing sense of community and Joel and I felt so fortunate to be surrounded by so many great people.

I got up super early on the wedding day and with the help of my sisters (all bridesmaids) we placed the pinwheels I made along the forest path to the ceremony, arranged the flowers (including my head wreath) and set up the reception area. Then despite my best protests they made me get ready, my lovely friend Sam West (Dollhouse Hair) did my hair on the day and all the colouring leading up to it. We all did our own make-up and the bridesmaids their own hair. I wore a pearl brooch that was my maternal Grandmother’s and a belt from Forever New, my dress was made from fabric left by Joel’s late Grandmother.

I walked down the aisle to ‘Your Guardian Angel’ by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and as I made it from the trees to the clearing a huge gust of wind came through, blowing my dress and hair so by the time I made it to the bottom my head wreath had fallen and we had to stop to readjust it.

My Dad told me the next day as we were walking along the path again that he wished the moment could have been longer, and the day did really fly. Both my bridesmaids and Joel’s groomsmen all wore mismatching outfits, we gave them a general guide of what to wear and were really happy with how it turned out. My nieces and nephews were also part of the bridal party and my mother also got to hold a bouquet. We had several cute moments during the ceremony and our celebrant Gayle McCosker was wonderful. During the vows Joel said ‘wing’ instead or ‘ring’ and I cracked up laughing, but then managed to say the words wrong as well. The ceremony was definitely full of laughs and very personal.

The most touching moment of the day was when Joel’s only remaining Grandparent came up to us immediately after the ceremony and gave us a massive hug telling us ‘She would have loved it’ (in reference to his late wife). While we had our photos taken the rest of the guests took off to the reception area we had created in the garden adjacent to the house.

We had a combination of lounges, tables and picnic quilts for seating at the reception (sewn by Joel’s Mother) and four tents with sheer white curtains for the food and bar. After much debate we decided on a ploughman’s lunch style buffet with roast meats and rustic bread, baskets of fruit and bowls of salad. We got the cheese from The Hunter Valley Growers Market (Charlestown), the bread from Hearthfire Bakery (in Bellingen) and meat from the farm itself. The cake was made by Joel’s Aunt and as a special treat we had an ice-cream truck serve soft-serve (Treats Kiosk) towards the end of the reception.

Joel was too shy to have a first dance but later on in the night we had an intimate dance to ‘Good Riddance’ by Greenday as it came on the iPod. Our photographer was Amy from Mike and Amy Photographers, she was great and despite our being very disorganised was extremely patient, during the reception she took photographs of the guests in a photobooth.

Such an amazing day.

Photography by Mike and Amy Photographers

Ms Gingham says: A beautiful wedding that proves you can do it all with a little bit of elbow grease and a sense of humour. Thanks to Emma for sharing it with us!

Emma says: “I’m a little bit of a planner, it started out with small things like planning my birthdays a year in advance then progressing to planning my wedding, now I relish the opportunity to plan more things be it small gatherings of friends to holidays and big birthdays.”


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  • Friday Roundup | Polka Dot Bride says:
    November 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

    […] Roundupby Polka Dot Bride Joel & Emma’s Simple Garden Wedding Photo by Mike and Amy PhotographersIt’s been another busy week at Polka Dot Bride! […]

  • Louise says:
    November 20, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I love this wedding! Warm and simple… would’ve loved to have been a guest, especially when the icecream truck arrived

    • Emma says:
      November 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      thanks heaps Louise 🙂 it was amazing btw had a peek at your blog good luck with all the wedding plans… enjoy it, i am missing it already

  • Dreamworld Honeymoon | Polka Dot Bride says:
    February 22, 2012 at 9:38 am

    […] I really weren’t sure whether we would end up having a honeymoon, with the epic-ness that was our DIY wedding and a budget that was already way out of control. For two students an extravagant overseas holiday […]

  • Mercedes says:
    June 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Hi, I am looking for an ice cream truck for one of my clients. Can you please let me know the contact details of the one at this wedding?

  • Em says:
    June 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Hi Mercedes!

    The truck we used was for sale at the time so not sure if it will still be the same owners but you can contact Isabella at [email protected] its called ‘Treats Ice-cream’ good luck!!

  • Terri says:
    July 25, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Beautiful garden wedding, and gave me lots of ideas for my own coming up! Random question – where did your bridesmaid get her dress? The long one… Thanks!

  • Noosa wedding photographer says:
    March 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    lovely and simple wedding

  • Professional wedding photographer in Brisbane says:
    April 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Great wedding photography



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