Anthea & Josh
We talk a lot at Polka Dot Bride about how changing plans might just lead to the best wedding day memories, and for Anthea and Josh when their elegant country wedding turned into rain, mud-filled day in the country, that could not hold more true. “We had a farm wedding and just wanted a big party with all our closest friends and family,” tells Anthea, of a day which ended with “everyone wearing gumboots with mud painted all over their faces and it turned out to be just the party we had hoped for.”
With beautiful imagery by Gez Xavier Mansfield Photography to accompany their story, this is just the kind of story you need, to understand that changing plans, often make for the best kinds of dream making.
It was always going to be a dream after all for these two, who first met while they were both studying at Armidale’s University of New England. “We went to college together at uni in regional NSW. We’ve been together ever since!” tells Anthea.
A sunrise proposal sealed the deal. “Josh proposed on my birthday. He had planned a full day of activities starting with sunrise at one of our favourite lookouts. He woke me up at 5 o’clock in the middle of winter and we headed off to the lookout except you couldn’t see 5 metres in front of you because the fog that morning was so thick. Undeterred, Josh proposed anyway and we got to celebrate that night with all our friends at my ‘birthday’ dinner. It was the best birthday ever!”
Anthea chose a gown from Made With Love “which I absolutely adored.” She says “I’d been to a few bridal shops and found a couple of dresses that I loved but the whole experience of dress shopping at the Made With Love boutique was so much fun and so personal that ultimately made my decision.”
Anthea and Josh were married at the bride’s family farm, in the Hunter Valley. Anthea explaining “We had the ceremony and reception at my family’s property near East Gresford in the Hunter Valley. It’s such a special place for both of us and we knew from the start that we wanted to get married there so we didn’t even look at other venues! We also knew we just wanted a big party with no restrictions so it was a perfect choice.”
The bride’s aunt dried rose petals for a year before the wedding for guests to use as confetti.
Anthea and Josh had planned an outdoor ceremony, but due to the rain, had to move it – this was one of the moments the pair were thankful to have booked stylist Isn’t It Lovely, says Anthea. “Rochelle from Isn’t It Lovely Events was beyond amazing! She took all the stress out of organising the wedding and nothing was too small or too hard for her. We had planned an outdoor ceremony and dancefloor but three days before the wedding it started raining and we had to re-arrange everything. Rochelle didn’t even hesitate and pulled it off perfectly with very little notice. We honestly couldn’t have done it without her and her team, they worked so so hard and it meant we weren’t trying to get things done the morning of the wedding and could just enjoy ourselves.”
Anthea’s favourite part of the day? Her arrival! She shares “My favourite part of the day was driving up to the ceremony with the car sliding through the mud and nearly getting bogged then getting out to see Josh and everyone just cheering. From that point, I knew that no matter what happened it was all going to be ok and you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.”
Anthea walked down the aisle to Peter Gabriel’s “The Book Of Love” accompanied by her father,
“We just wanted a fun, relaxed ceremony” notes the bride of the ceremony officiated by Claire Considine. “We decided not to do our vows and wrote each other cards to read on the day instead. Josh’s sister read ‘Union’ by Robert Fulgham but adapted it for us which was so beautiful and our celebrant wrote the most incredible speech which had everyone laughing and crying.”
Anthea tells “It was really important to us to have our families involved in different parts of the day so I asked both of my sisters to be bridesmaids and my dad walked me down the aisle. Josh’s sister did a reading and we surprised our mum’s and asked them to be the witnesses on our wedding certificate.”
Anthea and Josh’s big day looks pretty darn amazing, doesn’t it? But Anthea reveals, that not everything went to plan. “In the lead-up and on the day of our wedding things kept going wrong. First, it was the weather and after three days of non-stop rain, we had to re-arrange everything and scramble to find extra shelter.
My dad was towing people in and out of the paddock 10 minutes before the ceremony was meant to start and people we getting bogged all over the place. Then during the ceremony I stood on a green ants nest and got bitten all over my feet (what are the chances in a whole paddock!), the videographer’s drone got stuck in a tree, the caterer’s oven wasn’t working so they had to drive to and from the house to heat all the food and our car broke down just outside the door to our glamping tent.
The next day, everyone and everything was covered in mud but everyone was just laughing and having the best time. It wasn’t how we planned our day but people are still talking about it now and we wouldn’t change a thing! It just showed us that the not-so-perfect day can be just perfect and all that mattered at the end of the day was that I got to marry my best friend and celebrate with all our loved ones, gumboots and all!”
The bride and bridesmaids carried all white bouquets styled by Wow Flowers. Anthea noting “I left all the florals to the experts at WOW Flowers and they were more than I ever could have asked for! They were seriously amazing and never in a million years could I have put it all together myself!”
Tells the bride “My favourite photo is of the two of us, walking through the paddock with the hills and clouds in the background. We’re surrounded by mud and my dress is already starting to get dirty. I love that it doesn’t try to make the wedding look perfect because the mud ended up becoming such a fun, central part of the day. It represents the day perfectly!”
“We LOVED our photographer, Gez!” raves Anthea. “He captured our day so so perfectly and made us feel so at ease, it was just like having a friend around. He even hit the dancefloor with us at the end of the night and people were asking us how long we knew him. I cannot recommend him highly enough!”
Yet to tie the knot? Anthea shares this advice. “It’s so easy to get caught up on the little details when you’re planning a wedding but on the day the most important thing is getting to marry your other half. Things will probably go wrong but it always makes for a good story later!
“Even though we hadn’t planned on it, the rain and the mud made our day so much fun and I wouldn’t change a thing. By the end of the night, everyone was wearing gumboots and had mud painted all over their faces and it turned out to be just the party we had hoped for.”
The first dance? To an old favourite – by S Club 7! The bride remembering “We weren’t sure about having the first dance at all but decided if we were going to do it then we wanted something fun. We ended up doing our first dance to ‘Bring it All Back’ by S Club 7 which has always been our go-to feel-good song. It also got the dance floor pumping!”
Anthea and Josh invited Red Dot Media along for the ride, to film their day on film.
Congratulations Anthea and Josh! What a joy it is to be able to share your story! Thank you both and thank you to Gez Xavier Mansfield Photography for sharing today’s celebration with us.
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