Garrett and Lisa Salter celebrated their very wet wedding in 2015 at the Lawrence Hall.
Garrett and Lisa Salter celebrated their very wet wedding in 2015 at the Lawrence Hall. Simon Hughes

A hall of a place to say 'I will' in the country

FOR couples throughout the years, the country hall has been a favourite place, and it was no different for Lisa and Garrett Salter - though it took a few attempts to find the perfect place.

"When we started talking weddings, we both knew a small country/village church or community hall was for us; relaxed and unpretentious," Lisa said.

"Our weekend drives in the countryside turned into reconnaissance missions. We drove all over the valley from Copmanhurst to Cowper.

"Our first love was a little church in Cowper, with the plan to have our reception at Cowper Community Hall, and we approached the minister at the church who told us they were in negotiations for the sale of the church to a private buyer and could not guarantee our chosen date."

Their second choice was another quaint village church but they wouldn't allow the couple to bring a minister they had allocated for the ceremony. Finally, they landed at the Lawrence Hall and it was the place they'd been looking for.

"Our first visit to the hall with Alma McLachlan, the caretaker at the time sealed the deal. It was everything we'd envisioned," Lisa said.

"We had planned the ceremony on the lawns opposite the mighty Clarence River and a huge family feast in the form of a pot luck buffet for the reception in the hall."

However, the weather gods had different ideas and the valley was smack bang in the middle of an east coast low the week of our wedding.

"A Lawrence local even told us it was the highest rainfall that Lawrence had had all year and Major Colin Young (Salvation Army) took great delight in delivering his favourite Simpsons quote 'This is what happens when you get married in the cheap showiness of nature instead of in the church'," Lisa said. "Inside the hall with a group of our closest family and friends ended up being the perfect place to say 'we will'."

Three years later, the couple said their weekend road trips often brought them past the Lawrence Hall and they usually stopped to take a selfie.

"It's a place that will always be a part of our story, just as much as our day will always be a part of its story,"