I'll let the gorgeous Anna tell the story...
We met at the Ocean Beach Hotel. Xmas Eve. Nothing special, just two strangers meeting at a bar :)
Even after 6 years, marriage was always a ‘no - go’ subject so when we were at a jeweller's looking at jewellery to replace stolen items, and Peter started looking at rings, I couldn't stop laughing. He kicked me out of the store and they locked the doors on me!! I knew then he was going to propose but he made it official later that night and asked whilst he was sitting on the couch ;)
We decided to hold the wedding at Peter and his family’s farm in the Avon Valley. He and his two brothers have been running the farm for about 10yrs. I also grew up on a farm with two brothers down in Narrogin, so it wouldn't have suited us at all to get married in the city or near the beach or in perfectly manicured gardens. This way we were able to personalise everything. We could have the ceremony wherever we wanted it, make as much noise and fuss as we wanted, we could customise the menu from canapés through to desserts and choose our own wine lists. We could also let people leave whenever they wanted and many camped on site (we left people there at 3:30 in the morning!). There were no rules we had to keep in mind at all. Peter is a business owner so he likes to run with his own ideas and not be inhibited by rules and regulations.
Having it on the farm was perfect. It made the day so much more personal and we could really say that our wedding was everything that we wanted it to be from colours, to decorations, the type/style of the food, layout, timing, everything. It was Peter and Anna style!
A special part of the day for me was that so many people came from great distances. Lauren (chief bridesmaid), her husband and 12month old daughter flew from country Victoria. She lent me her veil (as something borrowed) which was extra special. We had guests from Broome, Quairading, Narrogin, Mount Barker, Tom Price, Toodyay, Mandurah and the hills of Perth. Peter and I felt extra special when we knew our guests had put such an effort in.
My 'something old' was a bracelet which had been worn by my Nan and then my Mum at their own weddings. Nan pulled it out so I could wear it as well to keep the tradition going and Mum attached the locket for me. It has a photo of my older brother in it who isn't with us anymore, so that was special. A tip for future brides: have a look at what your transport is for the day! I never saw the bus, just knew it was one that Peter had organised. We all freaked when we saw the stairs. If someone was going to stack it down stairs it was going to be these ones, but it all turned out good (mandy: it had quite the wow factor - it was massive!)
Everyone thought I was late (typical bride) but I was spot on time! We got told over the two-way to wait at the entrance to the farm so all the guests could get there. Whilst we were waiting about five or so vehicles passed us, so it seems guests like to be fashionably late also ;)
After successfully coming down the bus stairs, I walked down the aisle to 'Fields of Gold' which was rather fitting for the venue considering the fields of canola! The ceremony was held on the top of a large hill and behind where we were standing during the ceremony was an amazing view. It was pretty windy during the ceremony and I love how Peter said he would take 'Anna Christie McKinnon to be his lawful wedded wife....and the bloomin' veil!'. We were over the veil and the wind! But it broke the ice and everyone laughed when he said it :) Directly after the ceremony I was so overwhelmed by everything (and the veil). But once Peter and his two brothers (groomsmen) and myself and my two bridesmaids left for bridal party portraits we could relax and soak it all up. That was one of the most joyous times of the day for me (apart from marrying the man of my dreams): getting away on the farm with some really special people and having a great laugh.
Another little tip: Don't wear white on a farm!!
On to the reception as the light was fading...
Peter and his brothers own Karradale Lamb (WA’s Finest Lamb!) so we had Karradale Lamb on the menu :) Peters brother, Rob, prepared all the lamb and beef ready for the caterer to take and cook up on the evening. The food was a hit with all the guests. It was again more work that we had to do ourselves, but it was great that we could incorporate what is such a huge part of 'us'. Acclaimed Catering did an awesome job!! I did a bit of DIY for the wedding - I made all the name placement cards and tied them to the napkins the day before, with the help of a few friends. The bonbonnieres (which was in keeping with the Italian tradition) were designed by myself and Maria, my new mother in law, late one night. We rummaged through the pantry and tried… this with that, until we found a gorgeous combination :) Then my bridesmaid Rebecca put them all together for me. She wouldn’t let me do any of them, she wanted me to just relax, how lovely is that!!
The table centrepieces were done by our florist. I wanted something different that suited the location and she had the amazing idea of using bark for the exterior. So the centrepiece boxes were all hand made by her (AcScent Interiors). The cake was made by a family relative and I asked her if she could incorporate wheat somehow. Well it was a new challenge! For months a heap of icing was getting posted around to the ladies of the Cake Decorators Association from Northam to Geraldton. They all sent back their ideas for wheat. Apparently none of them had done wheat icing before so they all took up the challenge :) They did such a great job! Rosemary used these ideas and her own to create a cake that was unique for us. We were so happy when we saw it!
For our first dance, well I had no idea how to dance. I wanted to get some basic lessons so we didn't just do the shuffle!! Peter's cousins Tanya and Trent are professional dancers so we invited them up for dinner one night. In that night they choreographed 1min 30seconds for us to 'Horses' by Daryl Braithwaite. Peter warned them not to make it complicated otherwise he wouldn't cooperate. He's such a bloke... We were so glad we put the extra effort in to learning that dance. It was the last thing people expected from Peter and they all joined in and danced afterwards (mandy: seriously the best dance floor atmosphere I have ever seen...when 100 people got on the floor to dance to 'That's Amore', it was a moment I will never forget!)
Of course, once the first dance was over and the reports all came back positive, he insisted it was his idea....:) I loved how Peter and I set ourselves that little challenge to pull something different off. We really did work as a team and yes, I was a little worried when Peter pulled me aside and said he couldn’t remember anything and wanted to run through it. Its usually the other way around, but it was great that I could step up and help him out. Our first experience of married life I guess... A big thank you to many family members and friends that helped us before and during the wedding day. It was a lot of work and we had quite a few people running around for us. That made the day so special to Peter and I, knowing so many people were prepared to help us out and make it all work perfectly for us on the day.
A big thank you to Anna and Peter! You are both amazing and the farm is sooo special. I am so glad you ended up deciding to have the wedding there! It was such a personal, unique day. Thank you to my assistant Shannon for helping out, organising and second shooting.
Thank you Anna for sharing the stories of your wedding day so openly. It's great to have a bit of a 'behind the scenes' look at how the day came together :)