Bek and Hutch - An Australian Gothic Bush Wedding
BY ANNIE MOLENAAR
When Beck and Hutch, a retail manager and a passionate drummer from Sydney, began planning for their wedding day, they didn’t anticipate turning their small, inner city apartment into a quasi-pet cemetery. But once they designed their black, grey and deep red-coloured invitations, complete with two skulls on old film textures, the first scientific illustration of an Australian elapid snake, and the date in Latin, they knew what aesthetic they were setting, and they were determined to see it echoed through every detail.
It was 2017 when Hutch proposed to Bek. Admittedly, he took his time to arrive there but, after seven years of loving each other, he finally made it happen. He’d been on tour in North America with his band for two months - long enough to realise the time was right and to start putting some plans in place to make it happen. Most importantly, he wanted to get the ring right. Then, he planned a weekend get away. Finally, he wanted to get Bek’s old man’s seal of approval.
He got back from the US and discovered his plan was foiled by a hold up with the ring manufacturer. He didn’t want to propose without the ring so he decided to hold off and their planned weekend get away ended up being a bit of an anticlimax. On top of that, he didn’t really have a plan B.
Proposal > postponed.
A short time later, the ring arrived. And not long after that, they got a new car. Hutch went to pick Bek up from work and something happened. Maybe he was high on those ‘new car’ fumes or maybe it was just the extra can of baked beans he’d eaten for breakfast that morning, but there he was, fresh from the car dealer, and having recently gained Bek’s old man’s enthusiastic seal of approval, not to mention the most bad ass fuck off ring, complete with skulls and a black diamond. Yep, Hutch felt like King Shit and he was ready to pop the big question.
With a vague plan to try and drive somewhere with a view of Vivid festival’s opening lights, Hutch’s moment was drawing nearer and nearer, and as a result, he got weirder and weirder. Like, to the point where he totally weirded Bek out and she started to get anxious and pissed off. “Fuck I just want to go home!” she said. Hutch knew he couldn’t put it off a moment longer so he pulled over and in an hilariously underwhelming moment, he produced the ring.
And that was that. They were engaged. Finally.
When it came time to planning their wedding, they both knew they wanted to find a venue that allowed for an outdoor ceremony, and had plenty of accommodation on site because, not only did they want to achieve a creative wedding that was a true expression of who they are, they also wanted a massive party weekend.
Kangaroo Valley Bush Retreat was the answer to all their wedding prayers. A beautiful spot on Dharawal country, originally inhabited by the Wodi Wodi people. Atop a ridge nestled amongst perfect natural rock formations - a really special and sacred place.
They decided to exchange vows from Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, and did so while holding a black skull candle. No worm-riddled corpses emerged from the earth but they described it as being quirky, fun, and added the perfect touch of their personalities, especially considering Bek is such a huge Tim Burton fan. They sang the praises of their celebrant, Todd Mayhew, saying he delivered the ceremony in the best way possible.
When I asked them to describe the aesthetic of their wedding day, they said they pretty much went for a bush wedding with a difference. Australian Gothic, they called it. And gad damn do we love that description.
Their vision was set off by the invitations they designed. Then they spent the whole year leading up to the event collecting animal skulls. Then came the continual process of soaking, scrubbing, doing peroxide baths and varnishing the skulls. Their little inner city unit looked like a pet cemetery with dry husks of beasts everywhere. They came up with a nice little collection of Australian native and feral animals. A large goat made a great bridal party piece. Another goat was perfect for photos with the two of them, conveniently fitting a smoke bomb where the spinal chord once connected. It became the perfect smoking pink baphomet! Eventually, they had enough skulls to spread over the guest’s tables. A wallaby ended up atop the cake, and a small ringtail possum was great sitting with the rings. They even had three dirty little pigs.
And as for their favourite part of the day? Well, I think I’ll just let Hutch share that in his own words…
The ceremony was magic. The ambience while guests and the bridal party were arriving was unforgettable. On a perfectly grey, cold, winters day, nestled amongst the sheltered sandstone ridge, I nervously waited with my old band mates from a significant time long past. Now my groomsmen. Our guests descended down a walkway through the rock formations. They were floored when the path opened up to the ceremony area, the “rock cathedral”. It’s an awesome sight. The sun was blanketed out with grey cloud complementing the black and grey of the groomsmen’s attire in the misty gums and stone. With no sun to wash out the deep red of flowers, the florals popped out cast against the stark grey rock and moss. An eclectic, slightly twisted soundscape of ambient experimental electronic music and jazz married the natural environment and greeted our favourite people as they arrived and made themselves comfortable. It was everything we could have wished for. I won’t forget soaking up that moment.
And we know you are all dying to know more about Bek’s dress and perhaps more importantly, her jacket, so here’s what she had to say about her entire get-up.
As a bride, I never had a dress I dreamed of..... Just a leather jacket with skulls. My friend Corbin painted it for me and it was the highlight of my outfit! When it came to the dress it was nothing like I pictured I would wear but once it was on my body it was the one. The designer is Lisa Gowing. Once I had a princess dress it was all about getting a cool crown which I got from Crowns & Wreaths. My main inspirations were bride of chucky, Disney princesses and corpse bride.
Hutch wore a black velvet blazer with chinos and black Converse high tops. Bek says he’s worn Cons every day that they’ve been together and their wedding day was no exception.
Music was really important to this couple. As mentioned, Hutch is a musician (that’s him up there ^ on the sticks), so getting the music right was a top priority. They had a combination of live music and dj’s courtesy of their mates, a carefully considered playlist, and a solo electronic/jazz set from Hutch himself. Ideally, they would have had a lot of bands and dj’s over the day, on multiple stages. But unsurprisingly, that didn’t work with the venue regulations, nor their budget and logistics. But in the end, a streamlined music approach actually worked out better and became a more personal, appropriate expression of them.
Their guests entered the ceremony to a mix of electronic and jazz. Aphex Twin, The Bad Plus with Joshua Redman, The Bad Plus covering Aphex Twin, Mark Guiliana’s Beat music and as Bek made her way down the path, Squarepusher. Described by Hutch as ‘the most high brow bush doof you could ever attend.’ After composing herself to Squarepusher’s My Red Hot Car, Bek finished off her walk down the aisle to Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nakamarra. Hutch continued, “We continued on the soul tip with some motown while we signed the papers, all along the way tipping the hat to different styles and artists we love. At the right moments. Then we brought things back up. We wanted the biggest, most ridiculous track to explode as we walked back down the aisle... Pendulum’s Tarantula. Bang. Followed up with more Squarepusher! “
Bek told us about her vision and ideas for their cake saying, “I had an image of a cake I had saved for at least a couple of years. It was an awesome 3 tiered cake with 2 skulls at the top and bird skulls in between the layers all in bone colour, however, the moulds were so difficult to source that I gave my caterer 2 black skull candles and said I’d given up on finding what I wanted. When we showed up to our reception not only had she put our black skulls on there but she used our flowers and our wallaby skull to make the cake so incredibly cool. I was so grateful she took the time that day to give us something really special.“
Our wedding had a traditional structure but we definitely left out a few elements we didn’t click with. There was no throwing of the bouquet with “single ladies” by Beyoncé in the background and there was no first dance. We kept it all pretty laid back in that sense. We made sure it was uniquely us all the way.
Bek and Hutch would like to thank their photographer, Kristie Carrick, who they describe as ‘an absolute champion’ for completely understanding their vision. All images for this article were supplied by her.
Photographer: Kristie Carrick Cake: Caterina at Kangaroo Valley Bush Retreat
Florist: Ivy Lane Collective
Celebrant: Todd Mayhew
Videographer: Lilli Alexander Films
Venue: Kangaroo Valley Bush Retreat Dress: Lisa Gowing
Suit: Roger David
Hair: Michelle Cato
Makeup: Emma Weston
Stationary: custom designed by Hutch
Groom’s ring: Nick Clifford (N.C Austin)