Inspired wedding ideas: tips from our bridal couples

Weddings are the most unique events with each couple taking their own approach to celebrating their nuptials – and the only thing that seems to be consistent is the overwhelming feeling of happiness and love as they celebrate with their family and friends.

Over the past year we’ve had some amazing weddings at Bungaree, from the bright and bold through to vintage chic. As other couples plan their upcoming celebrations, we thought we might share some of the great ideas that we’ve seen this year:

  1. Garden games: Provide some entertainment for your guests during pre-dinner drinks and canapés, with a range of garden games (that can be played with a drink in one hand), from bocce and croquet, through to quoits and giant jenga – but please ensure you ask us before putting any spikes/pegs into the lawn (wet guests and repairing punctured irrigation systems are not much fun).
  2. Escape the politics of table seating: This year we’ve seen a larger number of both cocktail style functions and seated functions with no seating plan.
  3. Chronological table numbers are so “last season”: Instead use numbers or names that are meaningful to you, such as countries that you’ve visited together, places you’ve lived, or milestone dates/numbers (e.g. 14 – 14 November was the date we met at Cassie and Rich’s wedding; 5 – The number of years we have been together).
  4. Vintage wedding photos: There’s nothing quite like seeing weddings from a bygone era – guests enjoy spotting relatives and friends in a display of old wedding photos, whether they are donning the classic gowns of the 40s and 50s, or the pastel safari suits of the 70s and 80s.
  5. Antiquarian books as centrepieces on the reception tables: You can pick up boxes of old hardcover books at secondhand stores and antique dealers, though you might also want to include some with special meaning, from childhood favourites through to romantic novels.
  6. Encourage early mingling: Encourage guests to mingle by keeping them on their feet – canapés and pre-dinner drinks in the Homestead Gardens and “roving” entrées (rather than seated) in the Woolshed work well as well as encouraging guests to bag themselves some lollies from a buffet or other reception tables.
  7. Have your cake and eat it too: If you’re having a traditional wedding cake, make sure it’s served as dessert – if it’s left on a side table for guests to help themselves, it rarely gets appreciated. If you’re not much of a “sweets” person, opt for a less traditional “cake” such as a tower of cheese wheels, and have your caterer serve it up on platters with fruit and biscuits etc.
  8. Capture the moments: A professional photographer is essential for capturing your special day, but usually the photographer and videographer leave before the party really gets started. This year some of the most entertaining moments of guests letting their hair down have been captured in PhotoBooths, by GoPros and by, of course, the mobile phone. Encourage your guests to share them with you, perhaps through tagging photos in social media with a certain hashtag (e.g. #X&Ywedding) or by uploading onto a set website.
  9. There’s nothing like a good coffee: Coffee urns can be hired locally for the reception and/or brunch the following day, or if you’re having a group breakfast the following morning, utilise the services of the local coffee van operator who can be booked to brew up sensational coffees for you and your guests.
  10. Make it a weekend away for you and your guests: Take the pressure off by arriving a few days early with close friends and family. Utilise the extra hands to help you set up and then spend the extra time enjoying the best of the Clare Valley, whether you explore the wineries, art galleries and heritage sites, or play a round of golf. Most guests tend to arrive on the Friday afternoon, so many couples organise dinner at one of the local pubs. Similarly, a relaxed BBQ breakfast on Sunday is a great way to catch up with guests again.

We do hope this has given future bridal couples some ideas – and look forward to being surprised and inspired by upcoming weddings and other functions!



Renovator’s challenge: blending heritage character with modern convenience

Finally the latest round of renovations at Bungaree are complete.

They kicked off last July with the installation of a new commercial kitchen in the Shearers Quarters, one of our function venues which is popular for conferences and medium sized events. Pouring and polishing of a concrete floor in the dining room was also undertaken, as well as re-tiling of the bathroom. The character of the building remains – for example, no shearers’ kitchen would be complete without an old AGA oven!

The Stallion Box, our smallest cottage, was next up. As they say, “from little things, big things grow”, and we’ve found that this is typical when renovating old buildings. We had planned just to do a relatively minor re-vamp of the kitchenette and bathroom, but then we decided it would be a wasted opportunity not to undertake more significant works, with a complete change of the floorplan, the building of a new bathroom and installation of a new kitchenette.

The Men’s Kitchen was next on the “hit list”. We knew there were gorgeous jarrah floorboards hidden beneath the carpets, so many hours were spent sanding and sealing floors. At the same time, the builders were working on demolishing and re-building one of the bathrooms, while we worked on re-designing the kitchen with a local carpenter and joinery business.

Finally works began on the Council Chambers and Manager’s House, two of our cottages that are side-by-side. These were the most challenging and significant renovations undertaken, involving demolition of “lean-to” additions made in the 1950s – 1970s, building (in sandstone quarried on the property) solid extensions for the new bathrooms and installation of new kitchens, treating saltdamp and repairing walls, as well as the usual sanding/sealing of original floors and painting. In undertaking these activities, we uncovered many of the original features which we have now highlighted in the cottages, including an old laundry copper and beautifully pointed fireplaces and stonework.

Next up, we’re going to take a few weeks to get back on top of the “day job”, but then it will be back to planning our next renovations – life at Bungaree will certainly never be boring!