Celebrations: Lake Tekapo: Farmhouse flair

Hay bales, hessian and handmade bunting – this Aussie-Kiwi duo transformed their event into a riveting rural and rustic celebration. Gemma Williamson and Ryan Hay married at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, on Friday, October 12, 2012.

  • Story by Photos Tandem Photography


Hay bales, hessian and handmade bunting – this Aussie-Kiwi duo transformed their event into a riveting rural and rustic celebration. Gemma Williamson and Ryan Hay married at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, on Friday, October 12, 2012.

Our love story

Ryan is a Cantabrian and I’m from Hyden, Western Australia. We met in 2006 while he was in town working at the local wheat harvest and started going out a year later. One morning during a holiday together in 2011, he woke me up and instructed me to wear comfortable clothes. Thinking we were going for a walk, I ate a big breakfast – I immediately regretted that decision when he pulled the car up at a skydiving facility! After an exhilarating 14,000-foot free fall, Ryan got down on one knee with a ring and a glass of champagne. Of course I said yes.

The location

During a camping trip we discovered Lake Tekapo’s Church of the Good Shepherd, and both fell in love with its rustic design and jaw-dropping lakeside setting. Mt John Homestead’s Woolshed set the perfect scene for our reception, comfortably fitting our 74 guests. Strings of bright-coloured hessian bunting, made by my bridesmaid, adorned the walls; we covered two long, wooden tables with hessian runners, soft pink apple blossoms and tea lights.

The dream dress

I found my dress at Samantha Wynne in Australia. I knew it was the one when my mum burst into tears the minute she saw me in it. Besides the lace details, it featured a sweetheart neckline, a flowing silk skirt and a tulle overlay. My nan’s sapphire engagement acted as my something old, my something borrowed and my something blue while a pair of bright red heels finished the look.

The flowers

I wanted to be able to keep my bouquet after the big day, but knew I couldn’t take real flowers home to Australia. As an alternative, one of my bridesmaids took layers of fabric along with mismatched buttons and created a floral-like arrangement. It tied in with the matching floral fabric brooches we gifted each female guest.

The menu

Our hearty buffet meal included a chicken soup entrée followed by mains of roast beef, lamb and pork accompanied by roast vegetables and a fresh salad. To go with pavlova and cheesecake, a wedding cake made from caramel-coloured lamingtons (made to resemble hay bales) made a delicious dessert.

For our guests

Because many friends and family members had travelled from Australia, we wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. Instead of giving guests favours, we put on a brunch at the homestead the day after the wedding.

My advice for brides to be

Look at each wedding detail as a chance to express yourself as a couple. If you’re struggling to settle on a theme, make a lists of things you both love – ours included things such as camping, the farm life and roasts These ideas combined to form the eventual rustic vibe of our big day.

The details:

Dress: Samantha Wynne
Bride's Shoes: Django and Juliet
Hair: Image Works
Groom’s suit: Man to Man
Groom’s shoes: Dr Comford
Groomsmen’s attire: Man to Man
Bridesmaid dresses: Natasha Millani
Rings: Mazzucchelli's
Cake: Fairlie Bakehouse
Catering: Tekapo Catering Company
Celebrant: Father Chris Rodgers
Photography: Tandem Photography


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