Bring on the Rain

Grace and Will

Friday, 9 October 2020

The Romance

Will and I grew up 300km from each other but we both knew each other growing up. It’s a country area and our parents were friends so it’s highly likely we first met in a bath as babies/young children! If I’m honest I actually had a crush on him during high school but it wasn’t until well after we finished finished school that anything happened. We followed different paths until we both returned to our family properties at Bourke for a year in 2015. That’s when we got together and we have been a couple ever since., I knew he was the one when we went overseas together and travelled on our own for two weeks. I figured this would make or break us and we didn’t kill each other so I figured that was it!

Grace and Will Ridge   Grace and Will Ridge

The Proposal

In May 2019 he took me home to the family place under false pretences, he said my parents needed a vital piece of equipment delivered in order for them to commence the annual shearing the next day. My Mum was in in the whole plan! He said he had wanted to propose for a while but we were experiencing a horrible drought at the time and he told me later that he wanted to wait for rain first - it rained the week before he proposed. He took me down by the Darling River and asked me then. This was followed by much champagne and we were able to tell our family and friends the great news!

The Planning

We decided almost straight away the wedding would be at my parents by the river where we got engaged. My parents didn’t really have a garden at the time, and Dad’s comment was ‘Well you better give us some time to have the garden ready!’ My parents were amazing, they landscaped a whole garden mostly by themselves in the space of 18 months which was about the length of our engagement. My in laws helped us celebrate our engagement by throwing us a huge party (pre COVID-19) at their family property which was so much fun!

We decided early on that Will and I, both being from wool-producing families, would wear wool at our wedding. My dress was custom made by a dressmaker from Sydney and I had six fittings before delivery. With the distance it took a little managing to make it happen but Anna was fantastic! The dress was made of 100% Australian Merino wool crepe, and the skirt was made of seven half-circle sunray pleated panels, with a hem that was over 30 metres long!

The biggest stress in the lead up to the wedding was COVID-19. The restrictions that came in to play and the constant change in what we were allowed to do, and having family interstate was another concern. We always said we would get married on our set date no matter what, so I had wedding guest lists of varying numbers to try and have a plan for any scenario. We weren’t able to invite all the guests on our original list which was a shame, but we were able to have a wedding pretty close to what we had planned - I count us as incredibly lucky because so many didn’t get to have the dream wedding they wanted. Overall we got through just fine, but planning a wedding during a pandemic is not something I would recommend!

Grace and Will Ridge   Grace and Will Ridge

The Wedding Day

Our wedding day was a beautiful sunny spring day. The boys had some time shooting clays in the morning - which from the photos was a lot of fun - then got ready at a cottage close to the main house. The day started early for the five bridesmaids and I in the main house, just after 7am with the arrival of the hair and makeup girls who did a beautiful job. People arrived throughout the day, some with swags, others tents, caravans, camper-vans etc. It was a true Bush wedding!

I didn’t see Will before the ceremony, we were quite traditional in that regard. I was excited and a bit nervous, but actually quite tired from all the preparations that come with hosting a wedding yourselves rather than at an actual venue. I did sneak off for a quick nap to try recharge before I had my hair and makeup done, I’m not sure how many brides can say they did this on their wedding day but I did! I had some other good friends come and dress me, and then did a big reveal for my family and the bridesmaids, who hadn’t seen me yet! It was funny though, the veil fell out of my hair when I was about to walk down the aisle - lucky there were five bridesmaids to quickly fix me up!

The marquee went up two days before the wedding, it took many hands to make it happen but the boys did a great job! On our wedding day the tables were dressed and decorated with beautiful yellow and white wild flowers that were a result of rain in the weeks before the wedding. Our florist also did an amazing job with our flowers and she designed an installation we were able to use for the ceremony and then relocate for the reception to hang behind the bridal table.

The invitations, seating chart, table names and the decor for the wedding were all themed around wool production. We had woolbales on display with our names and wedding date stencilled on them, and our wedding invitations were wrapped in a vellum print of a letter from the 1960’s where my Great Grandfather sold a mob of sheep to Wills Great Grandfather.

The Ceremony

The ceremony was held on the lawn by the Darling River in front of my parents house. Dad walked me down to a version of Cowboy Take Me away by Sarah Darling. The marriage ceremony was performed by Bishop Columba of the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese. He was so relaxed and has been a great supporter of rural communities, particularly during the drought so it was a real privilege to be married by him. The atmosphere was great - we knew our guests just wanted to party and have a good time, and that they did after the ceremony!

Grace and Will Ridge   Grace and Will Ridge

The Reception

We walked in to the reception to Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins - as well as being a Grazier, Will is also a pilot so we thought an entrance to the theme song of Top Gun would be a laugh! Guests said the speeches were the best they’d ever heard at a wedding, they were all quite different yet very touching in many ways. The food was 12/10, everyone said how lovely it was! Our caterer who travelled a long way (Tamworth) to do the job put out some superb food for us. It was a banquet-style dinner with platters on each table for guests to serve themselves with. There is something quite beautiful about a shared meal with good people!

After dinner and speeches we cut the cake which featured figurines of Will and I leaning up against a wool bale in keeping with the theme. We had our first dance to 'Ain’t Nothing Bout You' by Brooks and Dunn and then we partied the night away with our friends and family. Having a wedding on a property means you aren’t restricted and the party doesn’t stop at midnight!

Grace and Will Ridge

The Honeymoon

We were able to get up to Noosa because residents of the postcode we lived in at the time were able to cross the border in to Queensland. We didn’t book until we were on our way there though because it was too risky to book beforehand with the travel restrictions that could change at any moment. We had eight days there soaking up the sunshine and enjoying time together and managed to catch up with friends while we were there too which was a bonus.

Wedding Advice

Enjoy the day, don’t sweat the small stuff! Try to spend as much time with your guests as possible because they're there to celebrate you as a couple! Also take a moment to yourselves and look out at your friends and family gathered and soak it in, because it’s such a hectic day! Make sure you have a run sheet for your suppliers, MC, music person and bridal party so everyone is on the same page!


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