St. Joseph's Guesthouse is like an old dream that stays with you. An intimate Australian chapel, wonderfully strengthened by history and dynamically surrounded by a grassy landscape, the forest gem enthralls couples and guests alike. It practically sings from the hilltop. Sneakily tucked in the Lower MacDonald Valley, the restored five-bedroom family-owned stone getaway invites you with a charm that seems to transcend centuries, a vibrant relic that welcomes the art of conversation over grand feast. But there’s a plunge pool and deck with a barbecue, so imagine Game of Thrones with a bed and breakfast twist.
Open skies spill across the horizon, looming wild over the tranquil valley, lively beaming with flora and fauna, from lyre birds to wallabies. Just a bounce from Sydney, it looks and sounds divine, and outrageously skilled wedding/event photographer Lara Hotz (rightfully) couldn’t get enough of it. Naturally, The Venue Report wanted to hear all about it.
Words + Photography by Lara Hotz Photography
St Joseph's Guesthouse was originally a Gothic styled Catholic Church to serve the growing community of the Macdonald River valley.
It was built from locally quarried sandstone with the Foundation stone being laid in 1839.
The original church was the largest stone structure outside of the Sydney settlement. The funds, materials and labour were supplied by the growing valley population and the project was led by an architect, a stone mason and a builder.
The congregation however did not meet the expectations of the local minister and the small flock soon lost their shepherd. Two monks came later and modified the church for use as a monastery.
This work lasted a few years but they too went their way looking for an income and a larger field for their spiritual work
Photos Taken by Lara Hotz
What made the venue a great backdrop and setting for photos?
The history and the setting is very inspiring, it is also quite isolated
You need to travel on a car ferry to get over to the other side of the river and you can drive for ages without seeing anyone else or another car
There are amazing poplar plantations which make an incredible backdrop for photographs and the church is very photogenic too.
Photos Taken by Lara Hotz
What makes this venue special?
It's history, uniqueness and the venues willingness for you to use different spaces and be as DIY and creative as you like.
It’s hard to think of a better backdrop that a 170-year-old sandstone church in New South Wales. A medieval spin on enduring romance, enabled by an army of favorite vendors, made for one heck of a shoot for Hotz, the capturing of moments as honest, handheld, upbeat, and unique as possible. Could you ask for a better vibe on your big day?
Venue: St Joseph's Guesthouse | Photography: Lara Hotz | Cinematography: Light Noise Films | Florals: Jardine Botanic Floral Styling | Styling & Design: She Designs | Dress: Rue De Seine | Accessories: Three Sunbeams.
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