Ever since Kate Moss wed Jamie Hince across a weekend-long, festival-esque celebration in England’s Cotswolds region, I’ve fantasised about a destination wedding in the country. The problem? While New South Wales has some spectacular bushland, it’s harder to find the rolling hills, quaint restored cottages covered in creeping vines and paddocks filled with wildflowers that are synonymous with the region. Except, now you can. Mona Farm, a luxury estate in the quiet town of Braidwood, is delivering a slice of the Cotswolds just a few hours from Sydney.
Yes, there are plenty of properties in the Southern Highlands region of NSW paying homage to countryside England, but not as many that are positioned on land that also evokes the lush vibrance the Cotswolds is known for.
Built in the 1860s as a working farm, the current aesthetic of Mona Farm borrows from its past. Then known for its expansive gardens lovingly cultivated over decades, the Great Depression sadly saw the property become overgrown and run down. An ownership change in the 1950s, however, saw them restored and cared for – their present day vibrance is testament to the painstaking work to rehabilitate what was originally so lauded, and it means you’ll come across century-old elm trees and fields of colourful blooms at every turn – in fact, the gardens are so immaculate they’ve won awards.
You’ll struggle to leave the property when you visit Mona Farm. Its tranquil surrounds are so abundant, you can easily take day-long, meandering walks through the estate and find an array of secluded, secret slices of garden to settle into with a good book or picnic lunch. This is exactly what current owners Belinda and Bill Pulver intended to create for guests – passionate about art, they have dotted the landscape with modern Australian and International art and sculpture pieces. The result is a stunning collision of the modern and the historical at every turn.
The property has six guest houses that can be booked individually, and cater to various group sizes. During our stay, we were constantly drawn back to Mona Lake, where the blend of modernism and traditionalism is very apparent. Towering sculptures loom over the glassy waters, where the property’s original stone bridge remains. You can book a fly fishing lesson and catch some of the rainbow trout that live in these waters, or just set up on the dock and enjoy a sunset with a glass of local wine.
Venturing into the nearby sleepy town of Braidwood is well worth your time, even if you’re tempted to just while away the days on the farm itself. There, you’ll find cosy, gourmet cafes like Provisions and Deadwood that use local produce and offer barista-level coffee, boutiques and heritage buildings rich with history, and if you’re visiting during the winter months you may even be able to go truffle hunting at the nearby farms, like Durra Durra.
But back to weddings. While a visit to Mona Farm for a weekend away is always an option, the estate has soared in popularity as a wedding venue over the past few years. Many couples will book out the property for a Moss-style weekend wedding festival, and Mona Farm has taken this concept and run with it.
From restored exteriors of old stables to winding paths through the famous gardens, perfect backdrops for wedding photos are all around you, making it easy to see why the farm has become such a popular wedding venue. The wedding package on offer also simplifies the destination venue process, centralising all the logistical-nightmare elements like staging and tech right through to servingware and furniture.
For everything else, Mona Farm has a highly curated, invitation-only creatives list they will share with prospective clients – filled with stellar talent across floristry, catering and more, it’s a god-send for anyone adrift in the complexities of wedding planning.
Considering that weekender? You can book your next stay here, or if a destination wedding is on the cards, find out more about Mona Farm’s event offering here.