As entertainment industry veterans, Matt and Jackie are well-versed in putting together a flawless production, and they tackled the task of preparing for their farm wedding the same way they would prepare for a show: every detail was covered to ensure a perfect performance, and all in a single take.
Though there may have been technical glitches and behind-the-scene dramas out of sight of the audience, at the end of the day Matt and Jackie experienced the wedding they had always envisioned–an open-venue, family-oriented gathering.
Little Miss Muffet meets Mister Sound Tech
Matt and Jackie met on a children’s educational tour show in 2007. Matt was the sound technician, and Jackie was one of the heavily costumed performers.
“Matt’s first glimpse of me was as Mary Mary Quite Contrary,” says Jackie, “and then subsequently as Little Miss Muffet, Jill, and the Queen of Hearts.”
The tour lasted for three months and by this point, Matt and Jackie were, in Jackie’s words, “kind of an item”.
In the following year, the couple travelled overseas to the UK, and upon returning began renting a unit together. “We moved in on Valentine’s Day of 2009,” recalls Jackie.
Shortly after, Matt proposed to Jackie as they picnicked in a local park.
“Matt had made the decision to propose because I had started to drop hints that I was keen to get married.” Over the intervening years, Jackie’s closest girlfriends had all married, and Jackie had been a bridesmaid four times. This, she admits, sparked her thoughts about marriage. “I guess I felt that it was our turn,” she says.
Choosing the farm as their stage
As lovers of the country and the outback, the couple decided upon Matt’s grandparents’ farm as the venue for their wedding. Although Matt’s grandparents were thrilled by the idea, the couple knew the challenge involved in staging their biggest production yet.
“The big thing was finding everything, and creating the venue from scratch,” Jackie says, adding that the biggest task was sourcing equipment such as a generator, toilets, and marquees. Since the wedding was scheduled for chilly July, the couple had to make contingency plans.
“We needed to have flooring in the marquee because of the dew, and heaters just in case the day turned out to be too cold,” Jackie says.
Despite the daunting task the couple faced in preparing for their wedding, they opted not to hire a wedding planner. This decision was in part due to what she calls her innate DIY skills, as well as the fact that she had for years been envisioning how she wanted her wedding to turn out.
“I’ve probably been planning parts of this wedding since my late teens, well before I met Matt,” Jackie shares. Even so, Jackie says it took seven months to prepare for everything.
“It was a perfect amount of time. However, I wish I could do it all again. I loved the process of piecing together an amazing event,” Jackie says. So much, in fact, that Matt and Jackie have a long-term goal of starting a wedding and events business.
Staging their biggest production
Determined to do everything sans a professional planner, Matt and Jackie turned to their friends, family, and their entertainment industry peers for assistance in executing the wedding they had envisioned.
“Since Matt works as an audio engineer, he was able to source the technical equipment from his friends at TonePacer, Nomadic Tents, and other employers,” says Jackie. Matt also looked after the lighting design for the ceremony tent and prepared the master run schedule for the set-up as well as for the pack-up.
Jackie, meanwhile, was as hands-on as one could conceivably be when it came to the other aspects of their wedding.
“I designed and hand made the invitations, name tags, bonbonniere, seating chart, the order of service card, and thank you cards,” Jackie says. “I am very particular about themes and the detail put into them. I guess I’m a perfectionist.”
The couple may have planned for everything but they still experienced challenges along the way and some glitches on the day of the wedding itself. There were the differing opinions between Jackie and her mother; the fact that the wedding dress no fewer than three times; the bridesmaids’ dresses that were stained by the water from the flower box that leaked; the generator with a flat battery that Matt had to jump-start minutes before the bridal party arrived; and the catering company that arrived late–and drove up the driveway during the ceremony.
But despite the dramas, Jackie recalls that she wasn’t really too perturbed.
“I figured that it was too late to do anything about it and that it was no use getting upset. So I was cool. All was right in the end.”
Focusing on the meaning of the celebration
When asked about the highlight of their wedding, Jackie responds without a pause. “Walking down the aisle–or in our case across the paddock–and the first dance with Matt.”
She also enjoyed the photo shoots, which were natural and unposed; no special instructions were given to their photographer, Bethanie of Pink Images.
“We just made the most of the beautiful venues we had and went with the flow,” she says. “Being on a farm, aspects like the horses were amazing–they were a part of the day.”
Since the ceremony and reception were held on the same farm, the guests didn’t have to travel between two venues, and Jackie appreciated the freedom that this allowed both guests and the bridal party.
“Our guests could stay and mingle, explore the farm themselves, or follow the bridal party around the farm and watch the photo shoots. Our guests had an awesome time with the photo tree that we incorporated, and the whole event had a warm, open, family-oriented feeling about it.”
Nearly five months into her marriage, Jackie has had time to reflect not just on the wedding, but on her journey with Matt as well. When we asked her if she had any advice or tips regarding either, she says of the wedding that she wished she had seen her caterers in action at another event before hiring them in order “to see what sort of service I would be receiving regarding, food, wait staff, punctuality, wastage disposal, and so on.”
For couples planning a wedding, she adds: “Have a budget! Be creative. It’s just as much about the idea or theme itself as it is the final presentation. Keep it simple, clean and classy. Have your guests as much involved in the day as possible and think of what you would like if you were a guest at your own wedding.”
And for a happy marriage? “Be honest, spend quality time together, defuse disagreements before going to sleep, and never disagree or argue through SMS. Take an interest in each other’s day, never leave without saying ‘I love you’, and know your partner’s ‘love language’ and how it’s expressed: whether through gifts, words of praise, spending quality time together, acts of service, or touch.”