Nicole & Tim’s Homespun Australian Wedding

When Nicole sent me her wedding graduate post, she said something hilarious, ie, “I feel a little shy about sending you this… I’m really not sure that our Australian, homespun, fairly un-traditional (but oh-so-joyful) wedding of two ‘older’ people is appropriate for A Practical Wedding.” Ha ha ha ha ha. Because it could not be MORE perfect for APW if it tried (and more specifically more appropriate for Meg). You know how sometimes I say things like, “I wish I had been at this wedding”? Well with this wedding I am FREAKING OUT about how Nicole forgot to invite me. Forgot! To! Invite! Me! Because, you see, I grew up doing things like hippie-world-music-dance-camps-under-the-redwoods, and this wedding looks like it came right out of my old photo albums. Happy, happy photo albums. So. Without further ado, I bring you Nicole, with the wedding I wish I was at. Oh. And she brings some serious wisdom to go with her serious inspiration.

I read a lot of wedding blogs in the months before our wedding, and with all of my extensive research I really believed I was prepared for anything that the wedding planning process and the wedding itself could throw at me.  But of course there were some surprises and some lessons, now neatly slogan-ised as:

  • Some form of stress is probably unavoidable
  • There really are no ‘shoulds’
  • There truly IS something magical about the whole wedding experience

A little bit of background. Tim and I have been together for eleven years and so in getting married, we felt like we had license to be utterly ruthless about which traditions to include in our wedding.  We picked up virtually every tradition and had a good look at it from all angles and figured out whether it meant anything to us. Being a bit older (late 30s/late 40s respectively) we also had very little in the way of family expectations.

The feeling of seeing our dreams realized for our wedding weekend was really quite marvelous.  We had booked a big wooden bunkhouse in the forest, where most Western Australians would have spent a school camp at some point in their lives.  This is no ‘walk-in’ function centre, so it had to be a very hands-on, DIY wedding.

Without the very intimate involvement of family and friends, we would never have been able to pull it off. My mum cooked our feast, my sister coordinated the breakfast for the following day, our friends organized all of the PA and music equipment, other friends turned big boxes of wildflowers and foliage into beautiful jars of flowers – it goes on.

Which brings me to my first lesson.  I was SO determined to be a cool-under-pressure, low key kind of bride, I genuinely didn’t find the 6 months before the wedding all that stressful.  My non-bridal dress I found on the sale rack of a local designer and was only the second dress I tried on.  We made lots of the little details (the burlap table runners, a heap of red cushion covers, a bunch of red flags, and the bunting for example) but we just fitted those tasks in around our lives. I am quite comfortable organizing events, in which case I really should have known that stress at some point is unavoidable.

Quite a few things didn’t quite go to plan on the Friday night and the Saturday morning before the wedding (hire company problems, flowers in more of a natural state than we’d imagined).  Each task took just a little longer than we’d planned on, and I had some mildly terrifying moments on Friday night and Saturday morning where I really didn’t think we would get there, and would still be in our jeans and in a flap when all the guests started to arrive.

That stress I felt just before the wedding leads to my second lesson – ‘there are no shoulds’. We actively resisted so many of the ‘shoulds’ in creating our wedding celebration.  So the pressure I felt was more about what I should be feeling.  As we lay there trying to get to sleep on Friday night, both of us anxious about whether it was possible to pull this whole thing off, I remembered a blog I had read where the bride couldn’t get to sleep because of excitement, and I worried that I really wasn’t feeling that.  Then as I ran around for the most of the morning, I worried that I wasn’t really feeling the wedding bit at all, in fact I had pretty much forgotten that we were going to get married in just a few hours – weren’t we just organizing this huge event?  I worried that I should be feeling differently, I should be reflecting on what we were about to do and focusing on the ceremony and our love and commitment instead of setting the tables.

So to my final lesson.  Something magical truly does happen in the whole wedding experience. I hadn’t quite believed it, but it really does.  We only had about an hour and a half to get ready together (we bucked tradition there as well!) and we were trying hard to calm down and turn our thoughts around to what we were about to do.  By the time we were ready to sneak up on all our guests to lead them in a procession, complete with red flags, down to the riverside ceremony spot, the magic was starting to work. In a matter of minutes I had the biggest smile on my face that was pretty much pasted on all day and night (to the point where my cheeks were aching the next morning).

Our ceremony was so heartfelt and beautiful and emotional that it was hard to imagine I’d been worried about my lack of appropriate emotions just a few hours before.  We had our celebrant ask us to look around at our community of family and friends at a couple of points in the ceremony, and we both basked in all that loving attention and all those beaming smiles.  How often do you get to experience that amount of love and goodwill directed your way?  It was an amazing and infectious atmosphere.

From the point that we left to get ready the wedding seemed to take on a life of its own. All these little jobs happened that we (as chief organizers and coordinators) hadn’t necessarily arranged to happen.

Everything flowed and while a small list of un-important things didn’t happen, absolutely no-one noticed, least of all me. For a slight control freak, it was such a wonderful experience of letting go.

All of the important parts of the joyous wedding celebration that we had dreamed of creating did happen:

  • We were married by a friend who understood us and what we wanted from the ceremony, in a stunning riverside forest location.
  • Music was a big part of our ceremony and celebration – with a good friend playing ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ on ukele as everyone gathered.  Then another couple of good friends and their two boys played ‘Sea of Love’ while we signed the register.

  • We had one of our favourite Irish music trios play on the front deck of the bunkhouse overlooking the forest.
  • We drank lovely wine thanks to my brother the winemaker.
  • We had a beautiful Moroccan inspired feast cooked by my Mum and some other kitchen elves and served by paid staff and friends. It was served almost an hour later than our original schedule, but this didn’t matter in the slightest, because the whole schedule had slipped by that point.
  • Our dear friends spent a long time making espresso martinis for almost everyone, which gave everyone an after dinner lift!
  • All the women surprised the men in the room with a belly dancing / Bollywood performance, coordinated by my sister in law the belly dancer.  This was so much fun and such a great way to move from the placid dinner part of the night into the dancing part of the night.

  • The dancefloor rocked! I had to tussle (playfully) with everyone a number of times to stop the music (already about an hour over our original plan) because I thought there were people that needed to get to sleep in the bunkhouse and the DJ needed to leave.  Actually, one of my few (half) regrets is that I danced too much and didn’t spend long enough moving around to talk to everyone there.

  • We finished the night playing music around the campfire, everyone in beanies and jackets against the cold.

  • We had a beautiful breakfast together the next morning, telling tales and reminiscing about the night before.

This is an email we got the day after the wedding: “Just to say thanks so much for such a magic wedding experience….you nailed it to the tree. As we were promised, beautiful location, beautiful music, beautiful food, beautiful wine. But it was the people who made it…”  I couldn’t agree more, it was undoubtedly due to our wonderful community of family and friends who made our celebration both possible and such a joyful celebration.

Pictures: By family and friends

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  • Kate

    This post is so aptly timed for me! As I get closer to my wedding (which is this coming Saturday) I am attempting to start mentally letting go, and to make myself really invest in this idea that things will happen the way they are supposed to (and some things might not happen but it’s okay.)

    I’m also in a state of anticipating that kind of magic Nicole is talking about, mostly because it’s amazing to think of all of our guests coming together around us on Saturday.

    This was a wonderfully timed post and great way for me to start the day!

  • jolynn

    Oh, so beautiful! I love the spirit and joy that is everywhere. Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom. The red is absolutely gorgeous, I can’t get over the lights, and I am so happy that you went with what you wanted.

  • Yes! Thank you for sharing. I really admire their ability to be themselves. It definitely shows through all of the pictures and the writing. I love the folks hanging out around the campfire. I hope our guests stick around for the ‘after party’ portion. Because as Queen Pen says, “A party ain’t a party til it’s ran all though.”

    So glad Nicole and her husband did it their way. (Love that splash of red! HOT!) This is kind of wedding inspiration I’m talking about!

  • C

    Your dress is gorgeous! I’m going to echo Jolynn’s sentiment about the lights too, plus I love the flags. Clearly the more important thing is you got married, but it’s nice to know that the little details we do for ourselves are also appreciated.

  • Erin

    Your guests took those gorgeous photos?! Now that’s AWESOME. Congrats on your beautiful happiness!

  • This is an amazing post – thank you for sharing about your celebration! I am in love with the splashes of red everywhere – especially the flower in Nicole’s hair – stunning! I love the photos of everyone dancing, sitting around the campfire… just shows so much love and light!

  • Sara_B

    This wedding is absolutely fabulous! I’m sitting at my desk just smiling away. I can really feel the joy of the day.

    Thanks for sending your wedding Nicole!

  • Bee

    Wow! That was so beautiful, I don’t think I have words for it! Your dress was gorgeous; the setting was incredible and everything looked so full of joy I can hardly stand it! Congratulations and thanks so much for sharing! :)

  • Nicole

    Awwww – thanks everyone! I’ve been saying that the wedding is a gift that keeps on giving, because we’re still getting all these lovely sentiments and congratulations coming our way, even from strangers across the internets!

    So a few responses:

    * Yes the lights were amazing! In the half list of acknowledgements I forgot to mention my darling Dad whose bright idea it was to make plugs to go into a standard string of party lights so we could have lanterns at different lengths. And then put them all up on Friday and Saturday night!

    * And yes, how about all these amazing photos our friends took? And there are some more to come we think!

    * We love red anyway, but we were extra pleased that it was May Day (International Workers Day) so the red had even more symbolism. Plus looks great against eucalpyt forest!!!!

    • Leigh van der Merwe

      Hi, we too are having a wedding at Nanga. I’m trying to find out how i can set up the lanterns like that. I can’t find any addapter plugs.

      where your’s screw type or bayonet? Alternatively, if your still in perth and still havethem, could we hire them from you?

      Thanks, and we will most likely, anashamedly steal some of your ideas! thanks!


  • Ah! You gave me chills. Lovely. Absolutely lovely.

  • I too am a little upset that my invite was lost in the mail. Bollywood routine!!!!

  • Absolutely beautiful. This is one of those wedding graduate posts that, for a moment, makes me think, “Oh, wow, our wedding will never be this beautiful.” And then I remind myself that it WILL be this beautiful, because it will be ours. But still…I wish I’d been invited to this one, too!

  • Alyssa

    That sounds amazing! My wedding is also going to be at a location with a lot more DIY. I specifically wanted a more low-key wedding (like you, I like to think of myself as a low-key person), but I’m kind of worried that it will be very stressful to pull everything together the night before/morning of (worried that I’m going to be stressed – is that crazy or what?).

    Anyway, needless to say, your wedding is an inspiration! The most important thing is that I want that kind of joy that is so evident in your words and pictures.

    • Nicole

      No I don’t think its crazy at all. I think I got stressed that I was too stressed for a few moments there!! So I guess my advice from the other side is that it would seem highly likely that some stress is going to come out at some point (especially in a DIY extravaganza, because there are so many things that can’t be done until the last minute) but it will be just one of a whole bunch of emotions that you’ll feel on the day, and you’ll soon forget all about it!

  • Oh yay! You got to have my wedding! I’m still in the planning stages, but this is exactly what I envisioned for our personal ceremony (after a City Hall formal thing). Your story not only reminded me that there are no “shoulds,” but your pictures let me see that it can be done- thanks!!!

  • What an absolutely brilliant wedding! I love the festivity, the joy, the radiance, and the presentness of it all. I will definitely be trying to channel the pure essence of Nicole & Tim’s nuptials when my fella and I tie the knot in October.

    • Nicole

      That’s really interesting that you identified ‘presentness’ because in all my extensive research (!!!) I kept coming across stories of people not feeling present (especially during the ceremony) or feeling like the whole day was a blur. So one thing I did right from the beginning of the whole shebang was to keep on taking a moment, taking a deep breath, have a look around and drink it all in. It seemed to work! Good luck for October!

      • Nina

        Great to hear that! I’m also really worried about the blur-factor and feeling like I’ll miss the whole thing. My plan is to stop, breathe, and take mental pictures whenever I can to try to take it all in so I’m glad to hear it worked. Beautiful wedding and I loooove your dress. It looks absolutely amazing on you!

        • meg

          Seriously. If you want to be present, you will be. That blur stuff is nonsense.

  • “This is an email we got the day after the wedding: ‘Just to say thanks so much for such a magic wedding experience….you nailed it to the tree. As we were promised, beautiful location, beautiful music, beautiful food, beautiful wine. But it was the people who made it…'”

    Aussies have such a way with words. It’s things like this that make me miss living there that much more. I hope this is how my wedding day feels. I think I’m going to make myself a sign that says “you nailed it to the tree.” A nice, positive affirmation in the midst of all this wedding crazy.

  • This was AWESOME. Congratulations!

    For some reason I’m comforted by the fact that despite being a “low key kind of bride” overall, you still felt a bit stressed (as any event organizer would). I consider myself low-key, too, so when I get all wound up about the charming little craft projects or making sure that all of my guests feel like they are at the community-emphasized spiritual experience of a lifetime, I feel bad about it — like I’m a sell-out who has succumb to Crazy Bride Syndrome. I call it “indie guilt”. Then I feel guilty for feeling “indie guilt” because I’ve missed the point of the whole event!

    So thanks for this. And I honestly might have to steal your campfire sing-along idea for my upcoming wedding/ barnyard BBQ bash. ;)

    • Nicole

      I know exactly what you mean! I think that is why I was determined NOT to get all stressy in the lead-up. But, realistically, if you’re organising a big event it is going to come up at some point isn’t it? Unavoidable I think.

      So I took the campfire singalong thing a little further by asking the known musicians to give me the words & chords for their favourite songs and I put a bunch of song-books together so that other people could play along/ sing along. In doing it, I was aware I was almost stepping over the line of ‘over-organising’ bride, but it worked pretty well!

      • Ooh, I LOVE that idea! No, I don’t think that providing a song book is too organized. It facilitates FUN, so in my book that’s the good kind of organization. ;)

        Thanks again for the ideas and reassurance!

    • meg

      You’ll be stressed. You just have to let go of it at some point and WILL yourself to be present. I think I cried the night before our wedding. I was stressed, and other people were stressed and being jerks to me. It happens.

      • I cried after our rehearsal becuase it was a disaster. I was fairly certain that our wedding would be a disaster. It wasn’t. I do believe in the blur factor. You can be present and have it be a blur.

  • sara

    I LOVE this! You did forget to invite me too… tsk tsk
    Thank you so much for sharing, especially all the thoughts and feelings you had–I can totally envision myself making the same progression, no real stress now, maybe some anxious feelings leading up to it all (can we really pull this off? is my focus in the right place?) and then finding that amazing place of “letting go” and basking in it all as you did so beautifully!

  • Jenn

    How perfectly beautiful!

    I’ve just been on vacation for over a week, and this was such a beautiful peaceful post to come back to. Love the campfire, and the beauty of getting married in the woods, by a river – lovely. The lanterns are truly kick ass, and I may steal this idea from you as well :)


  • liz

    that venue is amazingly lovely. and your DRESS. holy crap, flattering and pretty.

    i really feel as though we got a bit of a sneak-peek into who the two of you are via your wedding day. which- isn’t that kind of what we all shoot for? you seemed to have achieved it almost inadvertantly.

    …and. every time a bride says, “i think my wedding is TOO___ for APW…” the WIC wins, people.

    • Eliza

      Is this like people saying “I don’t believe in fairies”? :D The more we say “we can do it!”, the more individual, interesting, personal weddings thrive and survive!

      • Nicole

        It is really funny the things you doubt in the process. Finding the dress was so insanely easy, it was on a sale rack in a local designers, at a ridiculously low price. Which is probably why I had my moments of doubt about it in the weeks beforehand. And then for all the comments I got about it on the day, I was wondering ‘why did I ever doubt it?’

        We always knew the venue was perfect, but I had quite a few (older) women say doubtfully ‘oh that’s a ‘interesting’ place to have a wedding’. You could see them remembering packing their kids off to camp there, or thinking about X Function Centre which was where they went for the most recent wedding.

    • meg


      (And you insult me a little, since that just means your projecting your insecurities onto me.)

    • Moz

      Liz, I wish I could ‘exactly!’ your comment over and over again.

      Nicole, congrats on your marriage. And because I’m a bit parochial, I love that this is an Aussie wedding! All the best for you and your man x

  • Joyful Girl

    I think this is my favorite wedding to date. :) What a demonstration of a wedding that is true to self. Perfect.

  • Ophelia

    Thanks so much for sharing your amazing wedding. Like several people have already said, this looks very much like how our wedding is planned (or at least how it looks in my head). We are throwing a weekend-long party in the woods, along a river, and we’re doing it all ourselves – 2.5 weeks from now!
    Right now I’m going back and forth between wanting to assign everyone that has agreed to help out with things (i.e., everyone coming to the party) to a specific task versus just having a list of what needs to be done and (roughly) when and letting people figure it out themselves. The latter options seems so much more grown-up and trusting, while the former option would probably make me more sane, by granting me that elusive (and artificial) sense of control. How did you handle this Nicole (or others)?

    • Nicole

      We didn’t quite do the big list with allocations to everyone, but I think it is a great idea. It probably wouldn’t have ultimately worked in our case because there were things that came up that we hadn’t planned on (like big boxes of wildlowers that needed HOURS of work), so there was definitely a slight feeling of chaos, and people asking me ‘what next’ right up until a couple of hours before the ceremony!

      I think do the list, because it will mean that people won’t have to ask you all the time about what needs doing! You’ll get some flak for it (like I was teased about my spreadsheet) but its better than chaos isn’t it!?!?!

    • meg

      Here is my tip: let someone ELSE handle the allocating the day of. I came up with a huge list of what needed to be done, and helped schedule who what where, but on the day of, it was none of my business. Thank god.

  • Theresa

    Beautiful!! So much joy and love….a lovely celebration!!!

  • Samantha

    This was such a wonderful story and perfect timing for me. Andrew & I plan to elope at sunrise in a state park and have decided to do a self-uniting ceremony (yay Pennsylvania!). Even though this wedding talks about the outpouring of love and inclusion of friends and family, there was something in it that made me feel okay about having the day be just the two of us (wedding planning seems to walk some weird line between doing what you feel is right and dealing with guilt from other people disagreeing with your choices). As our date approaches, these stories of people in love, declaring their love in ways that are true to themselves and aren’t necessarily found on the more popular wedding sites, are like happy calm love juice straight into my veins.

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful wedding with us all.

  • Shanley

    I’m intrigued by what (little) you said about your ceremony… any chance you’d be willing to share more details? I’d really like ours to reflect those who will have come such a long way to support us…

    • Nicole

      Shanley – I replied to a similar question at the bottom of the comments… Good luck with your ceremony!

  • dammit.
    Just when I had finally agreed to let go of all the angst I have over the fact that my wedding is not really what I wanted, this post comes along and reminds me of everything it could have been if I had been strong enough to stand up to other peoples expectations and do what we wanted rather than what was “easy”…
    Your wedding looked stunning and SO much fun Nicole and Tim. I love it, and I agree with Meg, wish I had been there!
    All the best :)

    • Nicole

      The thing is it was easy for us because we had no pressures or expectations on us by anyone really – both sets of parents were very supportive of whatever we chose. So I imagine that if there was more pressure on us to do things differently it may well have been different, because I bet there would be nothing worse than making your wedding choices a battleground. I could absolutely imagine making some choices I wasn’t entirely happy with just in order to keep the peace and keep everyone happy.

      Actually we changed our mind on a few things independently.. when we started the whole planning process we said ‘definitely no formal seating and ABSOLUTELY no allocated seating – way too stuffy’ and ‘no cake cutting – too traditional for no good reason’. We ended up doing all of these things for different reasons and it worked out just fine!

  • Wow. Yes, beautiful, magical wedding! I wish I were there too!!! And dang, I live in Australia! I could have made it!! :) Congratulations you two–you are inspiration for all of us!

  • *sigh* This was lovely. And I can completely relate – especially the whole feeling like you should be mentally preparing for what you’re about to do but you’re setting the table/decorating the venue. That was definitely me.

    Also, I love that Nicole said “celebrant” instead of officiant. We use officiant a lot in the States, so I’m not really used to hearing celebrant. But celebrant sounds so much happier and less stuffy. Because you *are* celebrating, yes?

    Beautiful wedding, Nicole!

  • april

    Oh, what a pretty and joyous wedding y’all had! Looks absolutely fantastic and filled to the brim with love. And I just *adore* the colorful paper lantern lights – they look so cheery and glowy. Love it!

    Thank you so much for sharing your day and much happiness to you both. xo

  • Eliza

    This is just so beautiful. The happiness is so clear! (Also I LOVE your lighting! Stunning.) And that dress! And all the red!! And the gum trees… I love gum trees. So many beautiful, personal things.

    And I hate to admit it, but I am SO envious of you right now!! I’m in Melbourne and I wish I could find somewhere like this for us, and I’m really struggling with not letting go of the dream of outdoorsy, laid back, relaxed and personal because the only things on offer seem to be function-y and formal. Any advice on how you made the decision to have it where you did?

    • Nicole

      So Nanga Bush Camp is 1.5 hours from Perth, which felt like the perfect distance, especially because many of our friends were leaving their small kids with babysitters. So within that radius there really weren’t that many choices of places like Nanga where everyone could sleep over, with a venue big enough to hold the party that was in beautiful forest!

      Wouldn’t there be loads of places just outside Melbourne? Try finding out where school groups go for school camps, or maybe there are lists of venues for outdoor education or corporate weekends away? Nanga certainly doesn’t pop up on any list of wedding venues on the internet!

      Another idea – any venues in National Parks? There is a West Aussie wedding blog and their venue was a pavilion in a National Park, with a nearby campground where people could pitch tents.

      Also right in Melbourne, I know of people who got married at CERES in Brunswick or the Collingwood Children’s Farm?

      • karen

        I recognised Nanga as soon as I saw the first pictures! (Ex-WA girl here). What I love about this wedding is it is so perfect in the space – the kind of running crazy outdoors and fireside huddles and away from the world hanging out with your friends that I remember for childhood visits with an extra element of wedding magic and joy on top. Congrats to Nicole and Tim!

        Eliza, we were looking for outdoorsy locations for our Tasmanian wedding (before going for something more indoors after my sister almost got hypothermia scouting locations and we realised that the climate would make outdoorsy traumatic for the WA guests). Some promising locations were a woolshed (friends of a friend who own a farm) and old barns, some of which we found through the National Trust. If you look for older country ‘estate’ type places they often have outbuildings that are informal and large enough for a wedding. Good luck!

  • Meg P

    That shot of the flags and fairy lights – stunning!

    Can I just say, I love that APW showcases weddings from around the world that have a common “vibe” (to paraphrase from a great Aussie film!) I love that the focus isn’t specifically on vendors but the feel of the wedding and that there are people from all over the world saying “that’s the kind of wedding I want to have”, meaning full of joy, not necessarily “who did your flowers?” It really emphasises what is important about weddings.

  • Nicole

    Wow – thank you so much everyone for all the lovely, supportive and kind comments. And I’m really glad that there are lots of ideas for others to steal. I know that I got lots of inspiration from different blogs, so I’m so happy to be able to pay it forward!

    There were a few questions in there, so I’ll go back and answer them!

  • Englyn

    Oh. My. Goodness.
    West Aussie wedding!!!! Beautiful! Sane! In a forest! With a silver dress!
    That is what I wanted, too. And I’m very close to giving it up for somewhere much closer to home for convenience of friends with small children. And because the date that means something to us is in winter. Argh.
    You did absolutely nail it to a tree!!

  • Mary

    Aaaaahhhh….I’m just saying….you are both beautiful. Yeah…..and you help me breathe!!!!!

  • Katrina

    Yayyy!!! what a lovely wedding… sometimes i skip the story part, but this was too good

  • Sara

    What a great post! The talk of the wedding magic brought tears to my eyes. I’m a few days away from getting married and the wedding magic seems to have started early with me, which I am thrilled about! A week ago I felt like I could care less about this wedding. Now, I can’t wait. Hearing about weddings like Nicole’s makes me even more excited for mine this weekend! Congratulations, Nicole!

    • meg

      It always starts early :)

  • meaga

    holy eff! this is IT! the first time i’ve read about/viewed a wedding experience that emulates what I hope for with mine. i’m a longtime lurker, but first time comment poster….. bravo to you and your wedding nicole! like another comment poster above, i’m interested in more details about your ceremony (since your ‘style’ seems to have been nailed to a tree in the same forest as mine) to me, the ceremony is one of the most important aspects of the day, but it’s also the element that i haven’t quite gotten under wraps yet. it’s stressful to pick caterers, rental crap, etc. but mind blowing to pick verbiage for such an monumental experience. (mind blowing in the powerful/awesome sense… but not stressful) any tidbits to fuel my composition fire would be much appreciated!

    • Nicole

      Hi Meaga and Shanley

      For some reason we both feel a little shy about sharing the details of the ceremony. But I can tell you something about how we prepared it. We got the basic framework from our celebrant (i.e. these are the bits we really HAVE to include) and then we just started talking about what we might weave in that was personal to us. The best times for this ‘workshopping’ seemed to be on big drives or long walks where we didn’t have any other distractions. Then we just wrote down the gist of our conversations – and that became our cermony!

      Some of the other aspects of our ceremony:
      * We didn’t have an aisle – instead we led the procession, so we got to stand at the front and watch, laugh and smile as everyone gathered, while our friend played & sang. I loved this part of the ceremony, and I liked that it was a bit unexpected for everyone.
      * After the celebrant welcomed everyone – we each said just a very few words to also welcome everyone. This was good to settle the nerves instead of the vows being the first time that we actually spoke.
      * We did a ‘ring warming’ – where the rings went around to everyone to hold them and give their wishes to us.
      * We had Tim’s parents read a poem early in the ceremony and then my parents describe their wishes to us at the end of the ceremony.

      So in the end it really was quite a simple ceremony, without too many extras, but heartfelt and beautiful!

  • Except that our dancing was on a smaller scale, it feels like you just described the feeling of my wedding in February. Lovely.

  • Ash

    Can anyone tell me what those flags are the guest carrying? (I love them!) What is the significance? Is this cultural?

    • Englyn

      Very belated response here, but I love this post so much I have to come back and read it once in a while to remind me of what’s actually important.

      As a fellow West Aussie, I don’t think there’s any particular cultural significance to the flags. They’re just awesome and I want some. They do speak to me as belonging to the area (southwest WA), though, somehow – they’re a bit like the ones fairly commonly used either side of people’s driveways in the country so you can find the driveway in the dense bush. I think they kind of originated from hippies with teepees and spread through the very chilled-out area. They give me a feeling of ‘home’.

  • ann

    I am one of those many WA people who camped at Nanga as a child. I now live in a big city in Canada with my long time partner and will be returning home with him to be married!
    I am so excited to return home but planning from so far is hard and I am stubbornly searching for a low key venue where I can have a laid-back bush wedding with a bush band for my close family and friends…Nanga is high on my list.
    It is so heartening to see your beautiful wedding that embodies exactly what my partner and I are looking for. Thank you for sharing this and if you have any more tips that you would love to share in relation to planning a wedding at Nanga I would so much appreciate it.
    Thank you again for sharing, (I just LOVE it!) it is absolutely gorgeous and what i hope our special day will be, Congratulations Nicole and Tim!

    • Nicole

      I came back after a long time to find a few more comments!

      Ann and Nina I’m happy to help with ideas about having a wedding @ Nanga – could even lend some of the kit! Email me on nicole.hodgson @

      Oh and Ash and Englyn – no real significance with the flags, we just wanted colour and a bit of festivity and we love red and it looks beautiful against the jarrah forest. Also it was May Day, so a bit of a link with the labour movement!!

  • Nina Rogers

    Hi Nicole,

    Your wedding looked beautiful!

    My partner and I are considering having our wedding at Nanga. We often camp at Lane-Poole Reserve so that area is a special spot to us. Just wondering if you have any other tips/do/don’ts/advice specifically concerning Nanga? How many guests did you have? Did you hire out more than one building? How long did you book it for?
    Still in the very early stages of preparation but any help would be appreciated.


  • Tracy B

    OMG!! I have been searching everywhere for a venue for us to hold our rustic DIY type wedding and this place is exactly what I imagined! I just hope we can get booking! Your wedding looked absolutely amazing and you all looked like you had a magical night.

    Thanks for inspiring me :)


  • catriona

    Hi there

    we are having a wedding at nanga on 28 april and are scratching our heads at how on earth to hang lights from the ceiling – when I tghought I would google it and found this thread, which looked like the answer to my wedding questions! but unfortunately I notice that it is a couple of years old, but then thought I woudl post just in case :)

    can anyone that has had a wedding there help?! we are rather perplexed.

    I note that nicole and tim’s wedding had exactly the same lights that we are trying to do, and they successfully suspended them from teh 100ft high ceilings (at least thats what it feels like right now!) – but the email nicole left doesnt seem to work?

    if anyone has any ideas I owuld be eternally grateful (or have any other hints / experiences on a wedding at nanga!)

    thanks :)

  • Susanne

    Wow, this is amazing!
    This is EXACTLY the type of wedding I want. I would like to get married in Europe (near Copenhagen, Denmark) where outdoor temperatures aren’t as reliable, but still…I have tried to communicate my dream wedding to my mom and friends but have now sent them this blog to read, as it captures completely what we would want. We have so many creative friends and I would just love to have them be part of our special day, i.e. play music, decorate, help with the food instead of any presents. It is just so much more meaningful!
    Thanks for this!