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29 June 2009

The wedding

Shane and Sarndra with Hanno and Tricia in the background.

It was a beautiful day full of beautiful people. Shane and Sarndra made me so proud as they progressed through their day. Shane worked hard right up until 2pm when we all realised we had to have showers and get dressed. Guests started arriving shortly afterwards and Sarndra arrived at 3pm.

Flower girl, Isabella.

The ceremony was conducted in the front garden under the rose arch and luckily, even though it was the midst of winter, a hand full of perfect tiny pink roses swayed gently in the breeze. Flower girl, Isabella, and ring boy, Noah, led the bride, with her parents, Sue and Chris, into the garden to the waiting groom.

Ring boy, Noah, getting to know a very shy Isabella.

We circled the couple while they were exchanging vows and when the ceremony was over, Shane and Sarndra went up the mountain to have more photos taken (a wedding gift from Jens and Cathy) while we invited our guests into the backyard for wine and snacks. It was still light then so many of them wandered through the vegetable garden and looked at the chooks. It definitely was an unusual setting for a wedding but many of the guests commented how lovely our home and garden is.

The snacks were sausage and vegetable rolls with sesame seeds, hummus, baba ganoush, a selection of French and local cheeses, pickled onions and cucumbers with crackers. The main meal was roasted Black Angus beef fillet and roast lamb cooked on a spit roast in the backyard with roasted vegetables, potato bake, peas, corn and gravy. There was spinach and ricotta pie for the vegetarians. Dessert was the wedding cake, made by Shane - a white chocolate and almond cake (no flour) with white ganash and marzipan, served with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream. Many people complemented us on the food and I have to say it was delicious. Best man, Nathan, was a great help. He worked the previous night with Shane prepping vegetables and on the day cooking the meat. There were a half a dozen fine dining chefs there, so we had no problem serving up the menu.

After the main meal we had some lovely speeches, followed by the dessert and dancing. And then babies were being bedded down in the house, Alice wandered around being fed with the leftovers and our home was full to over-flowing with laughing and good cheer. I will never forget that night.

Tricia did a wonderful job with the flowers, it was her gift to Shane and Sarndra. Sarndra's bouquet was made up of white roses, white orchids and white hyacinths, the bridesmaid had one similar. White flower circlets surrounded candles on the tables and a beautiful arrangement in my antique long vase sat on the bride and groom's table. There were fairy lights on the back verandah and rice paper lanterns in the marquee and all that soft light added to the magical feeling of the evening. It was quite a day. The next morning, for the first time in years, I slept until seven. I'm still tired now, but I have to go back to work today and even though I'm tired, I've missed being there and I'm looking forward to it.

Shane explaining the flowers to Noah.

On the night before the wedding there was a program on TV about backyard weddings. :-) They said the average cost of an Australian wedding now is $40,000! Ours cost a small fraction of that and it was just so beautiful. Many guests said it was a wonderful wedding and a couple said it was the most beautiful garden wedding they'd been to. It was nice to have those comments to affirm what we were thinking.

And the special project I was working on before the wedding was a wedding quilt that Hanno and I presented to Shane and Sarndra as their wedding gift. I'll write about that another day. I hope you enjoy the photos.


  1. What a lovely gathering! Many happy wishes to the couple and their families. Would love to see a picture of the dessert--it sounds yummy!

  2. what a wonderful wedding and i am so pleased for you that it all went so well. i think if you are able to hold a wedding in the environment where you grew up it is one of the luckiest things to do. it is so much more relaxed and personable than renting a place. after many many years of entertaining i find that doing things in a comfortable, familiar surrounding translates to the guests enjoyment. what a wonderful way to start a new life. happiness to all!!!!

  3. How Beautiful they both look! God bless all of you always.
    Everything looks wonderful...what a beautiful setting and what wonderful memories to have together.

  4. Wonderful photos Rhonda Jean.
    Truly a day and night to remember. You have all put an enormous amount of work into making sure it would be.

    Relax now and take joy in this new branch of your family tree.
    Very best wishes
    Ramona K
    Uppsala, Sweden

  5. Dear Rhonda Jean
    thank you so much for sharing this special day with us all! So pleased to hear it went so well, and it is proof that you can have a wonderful occasion such as a wedding without spending $40,000!
    Best wishes Judy in Adelaide

  6. What a beautiful couple. The wedding is similar to the one my husband and I had many years ago. Hope theirs last forever as did mine (widowed after 39 years). They will have such beautiful memories as will you all. Best wishes to the bride and groom.

  7. I stumbled across your blog....and since I knew there was an upcoming wedding I have been following you faithfully....let me say....the wedding was BEAUTIFUL!
    Our daughter opted for a simpler wedding 2 years ago....which cost us under $10, has gotten so commercialized and out of control.....thank you for blogging about your success story. :)

  8. What a beautiful wedding, your pictures are wonderful and what a wonderful occasion...the sharing of young love. Memories to last a lifetime. (Found your site thru Vintage Girl) and have enjoyed my visit.

  9. Great Photographs Rhonda..and the couple look does the lovely to have it at your home...many happy wishes to the new Mr & Mrs....what a lovely day and lovely memories for you all.

  10. Such a beautiful wedding! I think Shane looks so much like his Father! Everything turned out perfect!

  11. Those photos speak a thousand words!
    I extend my very best wishes to them both for a long happy life...
    Sliding down the stairway of life,I hope any splinters are facing the other way...
    Looks like a beautiful start to a beautiful union.

  12. How lovely. It just shows what attention to detail, hard work and a couple who are realistic can do. (Imagine spending 40K just on a wedding!!!! Imagine all the things you could use that money for to get yourselves started...)
    Everyone looked lovely and very happy, which of course is just what you want at a wedding! Well done.

  13. What a lovely couple and wonderful wedding! May this be the start to a long, warm and wonderful relationship for this young couple. And may everyone who worked so hard for this wedding be relaxed and rested soon! So lovely!

    Donna in CO USA

  14. Thanks so much for sharing such a beautiful day. Congratulations to all!

    Cath in Sydney

  15. What a beautiful wedding! Rosie :)

  16. I expect many of those $40,000 weddings aren't nearly as beautiful as that one. Beautiful.

  17. Thank you for sharing your lovely day with us Rhonda.It all looks wonderful. So glad it all went off so well for you after so much planning and preparation.


  18. Thank you for sharing your photos with us. It all looks so lovely and beautiful. The little children are delightful!
    Rachel L

  19. I'm so happy for you all. The photos look lovely- the table settings are gorgeous. I love that the young couple helped with the set up and even food preparation. My husband and I hired a public hall for our reception and with a group of close friends decorated it the night before the wedding. I made the table covers and decorations. Our wedding was on the cheap- we had no option. It didn't look anywhere near as pretty as yours- the hired hall had orange plastic chairs!! But I never regretted a minute of it; everyone enjoyed it and we started married life debt free.
    I also love the way the bride and groom look natural- the bride is beautiful and the groom handsome and they are dressed wonderfully but they are still themselves. Don't you think its odd the way many bridal couples are so dressed- up and made-up and hair-dressed and fake-tanned that they don't look like themselves on their wedding day? Or is that just me?

  20. Congratulations to you and your husband on this wonderful day! And congratulations to your son and daughter-in-law! May they enjoy many many wonderful and adventurous years together.

    You are such an incredible writer, and I thank you for sharing this very personal day with us, out there in the world.

    Please do not ever even think about stopping your blog!!

  21. It looks and sounds beautiful, congratulations tou you all for providing such a wonderful venue for a special event. Warm wishes to Shane and Sarndra at the beginning of their married life.

  22. It all looks so will have so many wonderful memories of this day. I love the all white floral arrangements! I'm looking forward to the day when my children marry and I would be honoured if they chose to hold their ceremony at home in our garden/forest!

  23. Gorgeous wedding, and you all did a fabulous job! Congratulations to the new couple.

  24. Your pictures show such a blessed and joyous family time ~ Congratulations to you all!

  25. Wonderful!! We send our wishes of happiness to your family!! Thank you for sharing with your readers...

    cathy c.

  26. Congratulations, I'm looking forward to seeing photos of the quilt!

  27. To the Bride & Groom!!

    My husband is a chef too (like Shane) and he worked right up until an hour or so before our wedding on our special day.

    So I know Shane's excitement, his nervousness - but also his pride in helping put together something that means so much to him too.

    You'll be talking about it even after the grandchildren are born! ;)

    Many blessings to Shane & Sandra, may they have a wonderful existence together sharing a life. There is nothing more precious a man could give a woman, or a woman to a man.

    Thanks for sharing the special day with us too. :)

  28. What a delight to share in a small way in this wedding. I love weddings and how special to host it at your home. Everything looked so beautiful. The bride and groom look very happy. BTW, the ring bearer is adorable with those curls. I'm sure you will need a day or so to recuperate but looks like it was a success. I pray the newlyweds will have a lovely and happy life together.

  29. What a gorgeous wedding! Everything looks so lovely, and the food sounds absolutely fabulous. Now get some much needed rest!

  30. Congratulations to you and your beautiful, growing family.

  31. Rhonda..all I can say is wow..everything looks so beautiful and the food..oh my it must have been so delicious! Thanks for sharing a picture of you and Hanno as well. After reading your post I sighed and thought this is how weddings should be!
    Waiting to see the quilt you made.

  32. ::Happy sigh:: It sounds lovely Rhonda. I'm so glad that it went so well for all of you.

  33. What a beautiful wedding. My, I guess you must be exhausted but feeling so please with the way it all went. Looking forward to more photos and of course a look at the quilt.

    Blessings Gail

  34. Those pictures do look wonderful. Everyone looks comfortable, relaxed and happy - no nerves in sight.

    I was told once that the quality of the relationship the couple have is inversly proportionate to the cost of their wedding. This appears to be true in this case as well.

    Thanks for the photos, would also love to see the cake!


  35. Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures of a beautiful wedding. I enjoyed reading how well everything went.
    Enjoy the memories!

    blessings, Ellen

  36. Congrats to the happy couple and to you and Hanno for pulling off such a gorgeous wedding and reception! Sandra is one lucky lady to have you as her mother in law!

    Sorry this is the first I've commented on the wedding, my little one's been in hospital all week (she's fine) but I just haven't been around much.


  37. Oh it looks just beautiful! what lovely photos :o) I would think you have sown a seed for some others to do it a litle simpler,a little closer to home maybe? There was an article in a paper here a few days ago saying weddings still seem to be the thing folks are blowing their money on with a *cheap* one starting around £20,000...........thats around an average persons yearly salary...what madness!!!! & very few save for them so its all put on to debt cards sigh.
    Hopefully the tide will turn & moe will see that you dont have to spend lots of money to have a wonderful,precious & memorable day.
    GTM x x

  38. What a lovely, lovely wedding! The whole day looks like it was beautiful. The radiant bride and a handsome groom...with an enchanted garden...sigh! was so very special for everyone I'm sure. The photos that you took Rhonda were super...but please post a photo of the cake, and of course the quilt (I'm sure that those were beautiful, too)!
    Hugs, Aunt Bea

  39. Conngratulations to them both, and well done Rhonda for the beautiful setting. I have been watching with interest since you announced the wedding. I am getting married myself next week in a simple, handmade, forest wedding and it has been very exciting to watch your wedding plans unfold
    I wish them every happiness for their future together.

    Maxine x

  40. Many congratulations - it looks and sounds like it was such a perfect day when lots of happy memories were made. Thanks for sharing it with all of us in blogland

  41. A beautiful wedding in a beautiful setting and everyone looks so HAPPY!
    Thankyou for sharing this special day with us and - Good luck to the newly weds!!!

  42. This is our 1st post on your blog although we have been reading it for several months.

    We got married nearly 5 years ago and had did the typical large white wedding in Sheffield England where we are both from, the cost was around £20,000 GBP ($33,000 AUD).

    Neither of us regret the way we got married however looking back we would do things very differently. We attend a lot of weddings and the ones which are remembered are the ones that have a difference to them. Your Son and Daughter in Laws wedding is certainly one of those and if we were to do it again (hope we never do) it is exactly what we would choose.

    Congratulations to the happy couple and congratulations to you both for hosting what looks like a great wedding.

  43. Oh my gosh, has ever a wedding been so anticipated ~ and worldwide, yet?!! :- )

    The pictures are absolutely lovely Rhonda. Thank you, thank you for sharing such a wonderful family day and bringing us all closer together in your joy.

    Love and best wishes to this happy young couple and to you and Hanno as well.

  44. What a handsome couple! Everything looked so beautiful! I am very happy for you and your family. Best wishes.

  45. Dear Rhonda - thank you for sharing this. And special thanks to Shane and Sarndra for sharing their special day with all of us out in blogland.

    A special day, with so many loving touches from family with their personal gifts, and from friends. A day of so much love, care and happiness, such a special start to a happy marriage.

  46. Well done! The photos show a beautiful couple & the setting for the wedding looks stunning. We had my sister's wedding at our home and it is certainly a lot of work. Best wishes to the newly married couple. from Jenny McH

  47. What a gorgeous account of the wedding, it brought a tear to my eye - all so sweet & I could feel the love. The newlyweds looked so happy, the family so proud & the food & decorations all so beautiful - and those adorable sweet little children, just delightful !
    So happy for you that it all went so well, lovely story !

  48. What a fun and meaningful way to start a marriage.

    Isn't it so fulfilling to know that you have raised a child and now a wonderful young lady wants to spend her life with him?

    That's livin'!

  49. You must be proud! What a lovely gathering, they will have wonderful memories to look back on.

  50. splendid wedding reminds me of mine. blessings to all

  51. What wonderful memories! Just breathtaking in its simplicity:-)Congratulations on having a daughter-in-love!

  52. Beautiful. Just beautiful. What a wonderful way to start a life together!

    Barb from Lilburn, GA, USA

  53. Hi Rhonda,
    I have lurked on here for a while, but I have to post today, this wedding must have been breath-taking. And all put together with a families beautiful.

    Love your blog and you have given me so much inspiration through the way you live and write.
    I hope you share more pictures of this lovely day.

  54. Congratulations on such a beautiful wedding and beautiful family!

    Our wedding was simple and mostly homemade. We had to put a lot of thought into it, and years later we were still receiving comments that it was one of the nicest people had been to. I suspect Shane and Sarndra will hear the same.

  55. everything looks so lovely, and the happy couple is beautiful, how proud you must be. Thank you for sharing the photos

  56. Congratulations and happy wishes for the new couple! You all did a fabulous job and it sounds like it was a lovely wedding!


  57. Sounds delightful!

    Congratulations to the happy and blessed couple:)


  58. Oh Rhonda, what a truly beautiful day. Many congratulations to you and your family.

  59. Hello Rhonda, I've been away from blogland - and what a joy to come back to these happy posts. All best wishes to Shane and Sarndra for a long, happy and simple life. And thank you for sharing their special day, along with the beautiful quilt you made. What a wonderful present.
    Warmest wishes,
    Diana x

  60. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing this special day for your family with us. :)

  61. Congratulations to the happy couple! Thank you for sharing your pictures. Everything looked so beautiful, and Rhonda, you did a lovely job on the quilt. What a special present that must have been to receive!


  62. Shane and I would like to thank everybody on Rhonda's blog for their best wishes and thoughts for our wedding. It was very touching to know so many people around the world were sending us kind thoughts for our special day. It was such a beautiful day and we are both amazed at how perfectly it all went.
    Having the day at Rhonda and Hanno's home made it so very special and lovely, we both feel very honoured and priveldged that not only did they generously offer to host our wedding, but they both actually enjoyed doing it which truly deserves a medal :-)
    Even a small and simple wedding requires a huge amount of planning and hard work. But it all went so smoothly and seemingly effortlessly, with our families and friends genuinely enjoying themselves.
    I feel very honoured and blessed to now be apart of the Hetzel clan. We are very lucky to have like-minded families that seem to be blending very easily. We look forward to future family gatherings.
    We are very proud of ourselves to not only have had a beautiful home-based wedding, but to have kept the costs very very low. Its such a relief to not enter into our marriage with a huge amount of debt.
    The small touches such as all the gorgeous pansies Hanno planted in the stunning garden and surrounds; the exquisite white linen napkins Rhonda purchased for the tables; the beautiful flowers which Tricia so kindly chose and arranged for us, all the details which made the day more than I could have ever wished for.
    Thank you again to all who contributed to our day, and all who sent their suggestions and best wishes.
    Most of all, thank you to my beautiful mother-in-law Rhonda and father-in-law-Hanno. I am very lucky to have you both.
    From the Bride, Sarndra Hetzel

  63. Dear Rhonda
    What a joyful event. Warmest congratulations to the happy couple, and every wish for many happy years together. The day seems to have been a total success, and a great team effort. You will all have such happy memories of the day
    Best wishes

  64. Many belated congratulations! I haven't been following your blog much lately and I missed this, which I really regret... It must have a been a beautiful wedding.

  65. I couldn't be more delighted that everything went well for you and yours. Congratulations to the happy couple.


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