Tips on Planning a Rustic Wedding

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Taryn & Nate’s Rustic Brisbane Wedding

Planning a wedding is hard enough right? But throw in a worldwide pandemic, the closure of most hospitality businesses in Brisbane, self-isolation AND social distancing, it makes planning a wedding a near impossible task! However, in late June I photographed the most beautiful rustic wedding of Taryn and Nate in the backyard of their north Brisbane home.

Now, Taryn and Nate had multiple attempts at planning their rustic Brisbane wedding but the restrictions placed on businesses, people and weddings, meant their plans changed multiple times. If that wasn’t tricky enough, Taryn and Nate were expecting a new baby! However, with just weeks until their little man’s impending arrival, they were finally married in a beautiful rustic wedding ceremony in their backyard.

I have to add, these guys are blessed with a gorgeous backyard filled with lots of trees, bushland and a small creek. It really was the perfect location for their rustic Brisbane wedding.

And here’s a little of their story…

How did you meet?

Nate and I met online (both being single parents and not getting out much). On our first date he used the left-over change in his car to take me through the KFC drive thru, of which he dropped out of the window at the cashier stop! Let’s just say, our dates only got better with time 😉

Not long after we met, we both relocated to the Sunshine Coast – we both knew within our higher selves that our relationship was a connection on many levels.

Our children (3 girls and 3 boys- 4 of mine and 2 of Nate’s) blended as if they were born to be each others’ siblings. We united our family with our very own child, Arrow, the seventh addition, born on the 7th day of the 7th month. 7 is our new lucky number I think 🙂

Planning a rustic wedding – Brisbane

With regards to the wedding – we had originally booked in a venue called Little Gabba in South Brisbane. It was shut down due to COVID so we thought we would just wait until after Arrow was born and get married later. However, Nate being his traditional and very respectful self, didn’t want to wait. So, we decided to have an intimate house wedding in a theme that represented our love and us as people.

Everything from our decorations (flowers, cake, stubby coolers, lights) all hold authentic and significant meaning to us. So, my first tip for any wedding is – MAKE THE THEME YOU!! If you choose a “theme” because it is pretty, or the craze but it doesn’t hold meaning to your or your husband, it isn’t authentic. Our goal was to have a wedding authentic to us and our journey.

The wedding song

Our wedding song – Just Call  by John Butler Trio was from the first concert we went to together. Our celebration song is Tonight She Comes . It played on the radio when we first moved to the Sunshine Coast. It was also the one album Nate remembers his late father listening to. The Cars would often play on the radio when we would chat about important life decisions. We feel that Nate’s dad is letting his presence be felt. We wanted him there on the day.

The wedding ceremony

We chose to include a hand-fasting ceremony in our wedding as it signifies our ancestors, both Nordic and Celtic. We also chose materials we love in our wedding colours and used them in the ceremony to unite our blended family. Even ceremonies can be authentic and without limits, especially if you have a great celebrant that is happy to cater to your desires.

What did you do to make your wedding unique?

I had my Nan make the sleeves and change the top to suit a more 70’s style like my mum’s dress and making it more personal and unique.

When a wedding is authentic with a rustic feel, nothing has to match. All rules go out the window. So, we let our kids help pick their outfits. We chose outfits they were happy and proud to wear and that were “them”.

Even our food represented Nate’s strong Nordic beliefs with feasting tables and rustic decorations from a Viking era.

We both love crows, and have crows tattooed on us as a symbol of our love and Nate’s Nordic heritage. So, we chose ravens / crows as little designs for our stubby coolers and our online save the date graphics. When I designed our invitations online I found a tree design. It resembled the tree we were getting married in front of at home. The tree also symbolises the tree we carved our names into on our anniversary some time ago.

The meaning of a rustic wedding

If you look it up in the dictionary, rustic means countryside and plain and simple. Whilst our rustic wedding was not plain, it was quite simple. We used earthy tones with pops of pastels and navy blues. And we used a lot of different wooden tables, rugs, a custom-made fire pit, and lots of textures with decorations.

We used lighting to make the night-time more exciting. And we placed canapes on a feasting table for guests to enjoy at their own leisure. And when it came to speeches, we all sat at a picnic trestle table, similar to that you would find in a Viking feast. We shared stories and gratitude in an intimate and beautiful fairy-lit deck area just big enough to fit us all in together, but small enough that we did not lose the atmosphere of being together.

Advice for others planning a rustic wedding – Brisbane Weddings

Weddings are fun and stress free if you have a clear and meaningful vision of what you want.  Rustic weddings are all about simple, not over-the-top. They can be very beautiful in their simplicity and there is a lot of room to move with decorating a rustic wedding to make it pop.


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Check the gorgeous ring!

These fabulous rings were made by Mclean and Co. and designed by Nate. Nate even features in a film (you can check out Nate here) about his journey!

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Thank you Taryn and Nate for choosing me to photograph your gorgeous rustic wedding. It was such a fabulous day and I loved sharing in your celebrations (and a cheeky glass of red ;). I wish you both much love and happiness and look forward to meeting your new addition, baby Arrow.

Much love,

Alison xo

Vendor Love

Photographer: Alison Cooke Photography

Wedding/Engagement Ring: McLean & Co Jewellers

Grazing Table – Bliss in a box

Ceremony and deck set up – Berry Vintage

Wine barrels, drink tubs for beer garden/cocktail set up – Don’t Stop the Party

Love Heart Light – WOW Weddings Hire

Hot canapes- Robyn Wills Catering

Wedding Sign, Rustic key bottle top openers with wooden tags – Personalised Favours

Stubby coolers – The Stubby Cooler Company

Flowers – Brizzy Bridal Bouquets

Hair & MUA – Melissa Coleman Makeup Artist

Wedding Cake – Totally Baked

Wedding Celebrant – Renee Pope Celebrant

About Alison

Alison is a Brisbane based wedding photographer with over 22 years’ experience in the wedding industry. Alison Cooke Photography was voted one of the top 10 wedding photographers in Brisbane by the Courier Mail and one of the top 30 wedding photographers by The Wedding Diaries. She is also an experienced portrait and newborn photographer and an award-winning member of the AIPP.  Alison has over 22 years’ experience in the weddingfamily and newborn portrait industry.  If you’re planning a rustic wedding Brisbane and need a fabulous photographer, get in touch with Alison here.


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