Lizzy & Josh’s Romantic & Rustic Hawkesbury Wedding

by | Australia - New South Wales, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Lizzy & Josh

Set out in the bush overlooking the winding Hawkesbury River, Lizzy and Josh celebrated getting married with a rustic and romantic DIY filled reception. A stunning sequinned Karen WIllis Holmes gown and Australian native flowers featured on the day, the bride and groom simply wanting a fun, informal and relaxed occasion. Josh Jay captured every gorgeous detail.

Meeting on a weekend away with friends, it took the nudging of a mutual friend to spend time together. Becoming close friends to begin, the relationship grew. Lizzy shares, ”I grew up on a beef cattle property near Armidale, in northern NSW. Josh encouraged me to plan a weekend visiting my mum on the farm, all the while planning to propose. Josh went out with mum to do some farm work and (later I learned) to ask her permission to propose. That evening, Josh and I had a picnic on the back of a ute, watching the sunset. He was unbelievably strange (nervous) so I knew something was happening. He got down on one knee and proposed and we then drove back to the house where my mum and sister had chilled champagne ready to go!”

Wearing a gorgeous gown from Karen Willis Holmes, Lizzy chose something quite different than she had planned. She shares, ”I had always thought I would like a more traditional gown involving lace. It was the second bridal shop I went to and I can recall the assistant pulling it out as an option. I had never thought I’d wear a wedding dress made entirely out of sequins but as soon as I put it on, I didn’t want to take it off again. It was a simple design but something completely different and enormously fun to wear. I included two heirlooms in my outfit – firstly my grandmother’s pearl necklace. It was initially her mother’s, and has been worn by all the women in my family on their wedding day. I wore them wrapped around my wrist as a bracelet. The second heirloom was my veil. My mum made the veil for my first sister to get married, and all my sisters have worn it since. It has a few holes in it now and the ends are a little ragged but it was a special thing to include.” The groom wore an outfit by Politix.

Once the couple had found their dream reception venue (more on that later!), they looked around and found St John’s Wilberforce for their ceremony venue. The bride remembers, ”It is a beautiful sandstone historic building with plenty of character and just what we wanted. We wanted the ceremony to be intimate and to be a celebration of our faith and our love. We had some close friends pray beautiful prayers for us, some great music, and our minister (and good friend) Toby Neal gave a great message which was both meaningful and tailored to our relationship.” The bride walked down the aisle with her mum to ‘Hoppipolla’ by Sigur Ros.

With a good friend who was getting back into floristry, the bride was able to happily discuss what she was hoping for in terms of flowers. She shares, ”I had always loved the colour and look of native flowers. Australia has some incredible flora and I wanted to be able to celebrate that. I sent Debbie at Just Beautiful Bridal Blooms some ideas of things I liked and she came back with amazing suggestions based on what was in season and alternatives where needed. We wanted the flowers to be warm and bright colours in keeping with our nature theme. It was Debbie’s suggestion to make our bouquets the table centre pieces and because they were natives, we were able to take them home and continue to enjoy them for weeks after the wedding.”

Thrilled with the work of their chosen photographer, the newlyweds share, ”Josh Jay was a deadset legend. We sat down and flicked through his portfolio online. Instantly we loved his vibe and his non-structured style so booked him straight away. We made decisive decisions with our wedding – once we found something we both liked, we just booked it in and then moved on to the next decision. Josh Jay was one of those great decisions. He was relaxed and happy to let us live in the day but offered suggestions and directed us as needed so that we get an incredible collections of memories.”

Champagne and snacks in between ceremony and reception sounds like a magnificent way to spend the day to us! Lizzy tells, ”Our favourite part of the day was in between. Cooks Co-op had a cottage on site, which was where Josh and I stayed the night (pro tip for those planning a wedding: organise accommodation close by. We simply had to stroll up the hill at the end of the night). In the days before our wedding, we had left some supplies in the cottage so that after the ceremony and photos we had somewhere to sit and relax with just our bridal party. It also meant Josh and I could just take a moment to take it all in whilst sitting in the peaceful setting of the gardens.”

Cooks Co-op provided the perfect setting for Lizzy and Josh’s reception, and they new straight away they had found the place! The bride shares, ”Josh and I had always talked about having a venue that was open and spacious. However my family were flying in from all over Australia and we needed somewhere that was relatively accessible from the airport. We eventually stumbled across Cooks Co-op which fitted the bill perfectly – it was rural enough that there were no neighbours around and there were some amazing photo locations on site, but it was close enough that all our friends were still able to drive home at the end of the night. Our reception venue was what made the wedding special for us. A massive rambling space of gum trees and Australian bush which ensured a relaxed and easy vibe, and they were so accommodating in anything we wanted do for the night. Allowing us to come in several days early to string up lights, rearrange the layout of the shed and leave supplies in the cottage for after the wedding. They also allowed us to cater all the drinks which ensured we could put some of our personality on the night – from the homebrew beer to the inclusion of our favourite drinks – a g&t, with a whiskey to finish the night.”

Not being short of a creative friend or three, the bride and groom loved that so many were involved. They share, ”Our favourite DIY detail was our beer. As part of a wedding present, one of our closest friends offered to homebrew all the beer for the wedding. It was delicious! From making the cake, creating our wedding signage or lending us wedding cars, we loved having friends and family involved in creating our day.”

A lot of heart and joy went into Lizzy and Josh’s day, so it makes sense everyone was sent home with a yummy treat. They tell, ”We’d had a roving cocktail menu throughout the reception and at the end of the night, my mum (who hates seeing anything go to waste) discovered that there was a lot of food left over. She discussed with the caterers, who were more than happy to package it all up for all our guests to take home. I can remember leaving the venue seeing all our friends carrying home take-away food containers filled with delicious snacks for their drive home.”

Thank you to our gorgeous bride and groom for sharing your wedding with us, and congratulations! Thank you also to Josh Jay for sharing your gorgeous imagery.


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