DRY and dusty though their farms might be, people with drought-affected properties are being urged to consider weddings as another income stream to help secure their future.
Landholders didn’t need much to get started and could be as “hands-on or hands-off” as they wished, one wedding business owner said.
And from a photographer’s point of view, the events could be even more beautiful than those held in lush landscapes.
With 100 per cent of NSW now in drought, more people on the land are needing an off-farm or diversified income to make ends meet.
Venue-finder website WedShed co-founder Amy Parfett said people in the region might not realise what an untapped asset they had.
She’s offering free listings for drought-affected farms and said “a whole swag of wedding vendors” were willing to donate their services to help create marketing materials.
Property owners could provide couples with anything from just the location, to everything including the kitchen sink.
“All they really need to have is public liability insurance in place, which generally properties always will,” she said.
Ms Parfett said she’d been talking to one farmer who was “just opening up their property gates and taking a venue hire fee and won’t have any involvement beyond that, which suits them fine”.
“Another two have been thinking about it for a while as a way to diversify and another revenue option for their kids to take on later on.
“They’re thinking of being a lot more involved; forming those personal relationships and being those people looking after the couple.”
Ms Parfett said couples might choose a dry property for their wedding was “social conscience.”
“Even if something doesn’t tick every single box they’re willing to sacrifice something, look past something or compromise, because they understand they’re helping a family.”
Colours of contrast
One person who can vouch for the attraction of a bush wedding is Rebel Heart Photography’s Emma Steed.
“They’re my favourites, country weddings: the natural settings; it’s a more unique and laidback kind of wedding,” she said.
“When it’s winter or dry, you get nice contrasts between the dresses and the beautiful, picturesque, neutral backdrops of rolling hills or flat plains.”
Mrs Steed said there was no need for swathes of green grass.
“In that situation you would still get beautiful photos, still have the nice, natural lighting, and we would make the best of what’s available.”
Celebrant Vanessa Dobson said that while a wedding venue was “a personal preference”, a farm wedding could be “more relaxed, close and personal”.
“Lots of people are embracing the brown grass and the dirt plains.
“It adds to that rustic country theme which a lot of people want,” she said.