After spending nearly a week in Sydney and enjoying all that city life had to offer, Jeremy and I were especially excited to escape to the countryside for a beautiful and memorable weekend in Bowral. We didn’t know much about this place except that my best friend and bride-to-be had chosen it as her wedding destination and that it was well known for their picturesque wine vineyards.
We drove to Bowral from Sydney arriving around 1pm on Thursday, the day before the wedding. It’s about a 90 minute drive south of Sydney and fairly easy to get to. You can also take a train directly from Sydney, which is upwards of 2 hours, but you’ll probably need to rent a car once you arrive in order to get around town.
Upon arriving into the quaint town of Bowral, I got the immediate sense that this was a small close-knit community. The downtown area is lined with boutiques and cafes and families lazily strolling the sidewalks enjoying ice creams and coffees. We drove into town to meet Prue’s family and other members of the wedding party at a little corner bakery called Gumnut Patisserie. Even though we were still full from the scrumptious breakfast we had in Sydney (Bircher muesli for me and a bacon and egg roll for Jeremy) we decided not to pass up the opportunity to partake in two Australian national dishes …the famous Aussie meat pie with tomato sauce (not to be confused with Ketchup) and a cream filled Lamington which is a sort of sponge cake covered in a thin layer of chocolate sauce rolled in coconut sprinkles. Yummm!
After a quick coffee and lunch, we immediately headed out to check in to our hotel for the weekend, which was just a short drive from the café. Everything in Bowral seems to be a 5, 10 or 20-minute drive away (at most). We checked into the Peppers Craigieburn Resort, a hotel that is over 100 years old and is situated on a stunning piece of property surrounded by a 9-hole golf course and the most impeccably manicured gardens. At this moment, after taking in our surroundings, the wedding excitement really started to set in!
After briefly checking into our hotel room, we were off to check out the Centennial Vineyards the wedding reception venue for the next day. At this point, I’d only seen pictures from Prue, so once we got there and saw it in person I was in awe at just how beautiful and romantic it was. While the bride-to-be was finalizing last minute details with the wedding coordinator, Jeremy and I took an opportunity to wander the grounds and take in the beauty of the vineyards surrounding us. I should also mention we were here at the very end of October so although it’s typically still a bit chilly outside (it’s their Spring), it was a remarkably beautiful and sunny day.
After we left the wedding venue, it was back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for the rehearsal at the church and the rehearsal dinner at a local pub. Both went smoothly, but it was an early night as I was on bridesmaid duty. While Jeremy headed back to the Peppers Craigieburn, my final stop of the night was an adorable vintage cottage Prue’s parents were nice enough to rent for us the night before the wedding. “Wedding headquarters” I’ll call it. This cottage was the epitome of what one would imagine a countryside cottage to resemble. It was 4 bedrooms with a beautiful kitchen and central living room with a working fireplace. Being that it was quite chilly at night, the fireplace most definitely came in handy.
We were all very busy that night finalizing every last detail for the big day the following morning. As Lindsay, the maid of honor, got a fire going in the living room (she’s from Canada so she knows how to do those things), we all enjoyed a cup of tea in the cozy living room and then quickly busied ourselves with last minute wedding prep duties before finally settling in for the night.
The next morning (wedding day!) was a bit of a blur as “wedding headquarters” was in full action. We started the morning with breakfast and mimosas followed by hair and make-up. It was then time to change into our dresses before posing for professional photos and of course a few selfies.
The wedding ceremony was held at St. Jude’s Anglican Church, an architectural gem built in the 1800’s with quite a history in Bowral. It was a very intimate and romantic ceremony for the 90 guests in attendance. Following the ceremony was the much anticipated wedding reception at Centennial Vineyards, where as the sun began to set and the live band began to play, we ate, drank and danced the night away. We chatted with friends old and new and marveled at how one couple could bring so many people from all across the world to this one place in the middle of Australia’s wine country to share in such a special moment of their lives. It was truly a night I will never forget.
The next morning, it was all business as we said farewell to the bride and groom and their friends and family. We checked out of the hotel and drove back to Sydney around mid-day. We had one last day and night in Sydney with the newlyweds and the bridal party. And then the tears began as we all said goodbye to one another not knowing when we would all see each other next. All in all, it was a very lovely experience and we are extremely lucky that we got to share in it!