Country Weddings have their own kind of special charm, yes, but they also have their own kind of hiccups. There were three planned wedding days, a pregnancy and the arrival of baby Mila before Anna and Ryan finally walked down the aisle. The pair even faced a scheduled power outage for the country town of Quirindi on the evening of their wedding as yet another obstacle. But as with everything about Anna and Ryan and their wedding, they were utterly supported right down to the last moment. “You can imagine the devastation hearing that the power was going to be cut” remembers Anna “My sister, Ashleigh caught wind of this a week before I did and the point I found out she had already organised a generator big enough to power the majority of our street!”
And lucky for them, because with a fairy-light-filled reception, nothing was getting in the way of the magic to celebrate these two. The pair who adored photographer Lilly at Dawn chose their date around her, celebrated in glam country style on Anna’s family farm, complete with a classic black tie dress code. “We wanted our day to be modern rustic, black tie, intimate/country” remembers Anna.
After meeting on Tinder “We both swiped right a year before meeting” the couple’s conversation kicked off on the app before their paths crossed randomly. “The chit chat on Tinder started with him messaging me saying “country girl aye” and flowed from there. Ryan tried to get me to go on a date on multiple occasions but I was too nervous and he eventually gave up. I always openly regretted not going to meet him with my friends.
A year later, on 5th August 2016, Steph (bridesmaid) and I were out at an SJ’s (uni club at the time) and I spotted him across the bar and pointed him out to Steph. Later that night, Steph being well informed that I regretted not meeting him and well into many rounds of shots, interrupted him mid-pash on the dancefloor to point me out. Ryan high-fived me as he walked by with the girl and only minutes later returned without her to tap me on the shoulder.
We chatted at the club until closing time in the early hours of the morning when Ryan thought he was coming home with me but he wasn’t, I made him get into a taxi with his friends. We text all the next day and went for coffee at Merewether beach that Sunday.”
Ryan propped the question despite Anna’s commitment to that day’s domestic bliss. “Ryan proposed on the 11th September 2020” she tells. “We had been painting our house and Ryan comes home from work early on a Friday and wants to go to the dog park, I still wanted to mow the lawn and clean the bathroom, so I did. Ryan came out and I was cutting the grass underneath the barn door at the back shed and he seemed so frustrated that I wasn’t ready to go, I got my things together and jumped in the car but made him stop by the shops to grab some vacuum bags before they shut. Again, frustrated. On the way to the dog beach, Ryan made a last-minute decision to check out King Edward Park. He took me to the spot we had our first date (picnic in the park), with our little Herbie (dog) and we sat up having some cheese and a drink and he popped the question.
Kicking off the story with the couple’s beautiful wedding film captured by Photo by Raphael.
In utter black-tie style, Ryan found a classic tuxedo at Rundle Tailoring. Says Anna “I couldn’t wait to see Ryan decked out in black tie but Ryan being Ryan thought I was chasing something a little more casual.. until I captured some photos of his suit fittings and showed them back to him. I never heard about him wearing anything other than black tie from that day. We went through Rundle Tailoring in Newcastle and it was well worth the spend.”
Anna wore a simple and beautiful Chosen By Kyha gown. “Choosing a dress during covid was a different experience than I had envisaged. I had always imagined having my full wedding party and mum present for the experience but during these times I was lucky enough to share this experience 1:1 with my sister, Ashleigh.
Ashleigh knows me better than anyone and given I was 20 weeks pregnant when trying on dresses, she also had to try on my top two dresses so I could imagine myself in them without a small bump. I had forever imagined myself in a simple dress but I couldn’t go past the effortless but elegant style of the Lennox gown from Chosen by Kyha. My dress alternation guru (Saving Grace by Ashleigh Marie) would not describe my dress as effortless, however.”
The couple were married on Anna’s parent’s farm outside of NSW country town Quirindi, says Anna “We saw so much potential in the hay/stable shed at my parent’s farm. I was born and raised there and made some of my greatest memories in those stables growing up. Deciding where to have the ceremony on the property was the hardest decision, there were so many spots we adored.”
Anna and Ryan have family at the heart of all they do, so not only did they make sure to include their baby daughter in their wedding but wove family-filled details throughout everything. “My Grandfather, Dave particularly brought his best self to our wedding. I feel like this was best I have seen him in a long time” remembers Anna. “If I were to be cliche, I would say he had a spring in his step. I wore my late Grandmother’s, and Heather’s wedding rings on my right hand. My sister gifted me a pendant photo of Heather to tie to my bouquet. Heather was a huge part of my upbringing and I know how much she would have loved to have been able to share these moments with us.”
Anna walked down the aisle with her dad to “Love Like This” by Lauren Daigle. “The moment of locking eyes with Ryan coming down the aisle will be something that sticks with me forever,” remembers Anna.
With other rolling hills as their backdrop, celebrant Melanie Kate Celebrancy pulled together a beautiful ceremony, remembers Anna. “We wanted it to be intimate and authentic. We wanted the character of our relationship to shine through, both the sentimental and the humorous parts.
Our Celebrant, Melanie Kate tied it up in a nutshell. We felt extremely lucky with all of our vendors. Mel pulled together a story that had everyone going between tears and laughter. Our readings were “We Remember” (Author Unknown) and “The Art of Marriage” (Wilferd Arlan Peterson).”
The day was filled with dried floral arrangements all styled by Studio Tallou. “I actually struggled to find a florist with availability for our date” remembers Anna. “My love for dried flowers was the key to getting Studio Tallou to put together our arrangements. I had hand-picked some bishop weed from the property to tie into my bouquet. With mismatched bridesmaids, I wanted something a little different so opted for small single variety bunches for each bridesmaid to have a different variety.”
Each of Anna’s bridesmaids chose their own black dress. “Having my sister, Ashleigh as the maid of honour was the decision I made right after saying yes to the proposal. Stephanie, Sophie and Emily, all friends from uni were a huge must for the day too. I always knew I wanted mismatched, so I told the ladies to find a black midi dress that they would reuse one day.” Ryan’s groomsmen were dressed by Tarocash. “The boys were all interstate, so we went with Tarocash as they all had access to a local store. Ryan’s best man is one of our closest friends, Zac (airforce colleague). In addition, he had Darcy and Ruebin (his brothers), Slade (school friend) and Hayden (airforce colleague).”
Anna and Ryan loved the work of their photographer so much that they planned their wedding entirely around when she was free! “We booked our dates around the availability of Bonnie. She has a way of connecting with couples and making what can feel pretty uncomfortable into a lot of fun. Bonnie has attention to detail like no one I have come across, from sending bunches of flowers and drinks for the album drop to following up on every little detail. She knew everything important to us before, during and after the wedding.”
“Take a moment just the two of you” advises Anna. “For us, this was photos. It’s the best time to soak up the moment just as the two of you.”
Anna credits the relaxed nature of the day to the decision of hiring a wedding planner Ivory Lane Events . “Jamee at Ivory Lane Events did our coordination and went out of her way before, during and after to ensure I could switch off and immerse myself in the moments that mattered most.”
The reception, also held on the farm, was filled with rustic, handmade touches. “It was a DIY wedding, so pulling together all the bits came down to us” explains Anna. “We had an extended family member make items out of 100+-year-old timber.
I collected some weeds from the farm and dried them to put on the tables.”
With a love of dancing, the dance floor debut of the newlyweds was always going to be carefully considered. The choice? “May I Have This Dance” by Frances and the Lights, Chance the Rapper. Remembers Anna “Ryan and I love a groove, we have the signature combo that we practised in the lounge room and then just had fun with it on the night. My mum thought we did dancing lessons!”
Congratulations to you both Anna and Ryan! What a joy to be able to share your story. Thank you both and thank you to Lilly at Dawn for today’s beautiful images.