Image via Donnelly River Village
With the engagement parties behind us, our attention focused primarily on the upcoming wedding festival weekender extravaganza. Planning was already well underway at that point and we had many varied and interesting ideas (changing daily). From bunting to pom-poms to dessert bars and window hangings, from hay bails and puppies (“Yes? No?!”) to live bands and back to bunting. Okay, forget bunting to bird cages to candles and back to pom-poms. Lots and lots and lots of candles, check! From outdoors to indoors to on-site to on-location. From wood chippy photos to leafy green photos, from driving and returning to walking and walking. From here to there and back again!
Irrespective of all that, our biggest concern wasn’t food and drink or the accommodation and reception venue; it was where we were going to hold our ceremony! We had already secured the catering services of the legendary Pip and her team at Bridgetown Pottery Tearooms and the Cidery would supply us with beer and cider. Ria at Bridgetown Party Hire was delivering everything required for the reception and our guests had beds at Donnelly River Village with the Donnelly Worker’s Hall to be the location for one big party. Wine and Sparkles are just a matter of picking them out, with the biggest issue being “How much of each?!”
Nope, everything seemed to be flowing along nicely, except for that one issue of a ceremony location.
Image via Bryton Taylor | A Food Literature Blog
We headed south to Bridgetown for a follow up fact finding mission and asked whoever we could about potential places to get married. We both knew it was always going to be a case of ‘who you know’ and so we spoke to all of our contacts. Following up on suggestions we visited old homesteads and organic farms and took several long drives along dusty gravel roads out the back end of Nannup. We swung by the Cidery and did a couple of location drive-bys but nothing was grabbing us.
Catching up with our dear friends Carol and John, we asked them if they had any suggestions. Nodding, Carol stated “Sunnyhurst,” and that was that. A quick phone call later and we were in the car with Carol on the way to Sunnyhurst winery. Funnily enough, the previous afternoon Amber and I had driven out to that side of Bridgetown and had “Ooooh!”’ed and “Aahhh!”’ed at the stunning scenery, stating that this area would be a divine place to get married. “Imagine the photos!” And sure enough, we drove back to that exact area, the home of the winery.
Sunnyhurst Winery is home to a 110 year old homestead and an even older Morton Bay Fig tree. The gardens surrounding the winery are stunning and regal, but that majestic tree! It towers over the landscape like a being from the Lord of the Rings. Stepping past the fig, the landscape beyond presents itself; deep, sweeping leafy hills as far as the eye can see. Drop-jawed, I said “I think that has to be the most beautiful view in the South West.” And it very well may be.
The logistics of marrying amid the big roots of an old tree, leaves and dirt on a wedding dress, the deep slope on the far side of the tree, space enough for all of the guests; these issues could be resolved later. Amber and I looked at each other and nodded and smiled. This was the place. And with that came a big smile of relief.
The lovely owners of Sunnyhurst – Laine and Mark Staniford – were more than happy to have us marry at their winery. We are to be married at a location of absolute beauty, under the canopy of an old and powerful tree. It will be a far cry from tree trunks and wood chips and a more beautiful and whimsical location than we imagined possible.
Ms Gingham says: So far I’m loving the way the wedding is shaping up Scott! I LOVE cider and the locations you’ve chosen look perfect!
Scott says: “My name is Scott. I’m a 35 year old guy from Perth, WA. I have been writing for a long time, primarily in the novel form. I’m most the way through a Post Grad Diploma in Journalism and mentioned to my fiance recently that I need to do some serious writing. She pointed me towards your website and I thought I’d sign up!”