Sammy Nickalls
September 25, 2015 9:42 am

One couple used their wedding not only to celebrate their love, but to call attention to an incredibly important issue in the best way possible.

Earlier this month, Ingrid Uebergang returned to her hometown, Blackall, to get married to her love in Western Queensland on her family’s 16,000-acre farm. But a week before the ceremony, the family had to make an incredibly difficult decision. They sold all of the cattle off their farm. Why? Because of intense drought, which has affected 80% of the region, making the environment too unstable for farm living.

“Blackall is a pretty important place for me; I’ve grown up there my whole life,” Ingrid told Queensland Country Life. “It’s such a beautiful place as well even in the middle of a drought, it really comes alive. . . And I was really hoping it would rain.”

The couple decided to involve the entire community of Blackall in their wedding — from buying alcohol from the local pub to purchasing local meat and vegetables. They gave their 160 guests a list of things to do in Blackall to give businesses traffic. “Having our wedding at Blackall was really about involving the whole community so all the people I used were local,” Ingrid told Queensland Country Life. “. . . I know all the shops in town were just nuts on Saturday morning [of the wedding].”

But perhaps one of the largest impacts of the wedding came afterwards, when photographer Edwina Robertson had an idea of what to do with the beautiful wedding photos — especially one in particular featuring the wedding party walking through the dusty farm. Edwina approached the bride, asking how she felt about using the photograph to raise awareness for a rural mental health organization. “I felt so touched [Edwina] had obviously felt the importance of the community and how much joy a wedding had brought to our community when she was out there,” Ingrid said.

On Tuesday evening, Edwina posted the stunning picture with an equally beautiful caption on Facebook. “It is no secret that my heart lies within the Australian Outback,” Edwina wrote. “If you have ever lived in a rural community you will appreciate the struggles, the joy and the uncertainty of making a living off this great land of ours.”

“Blackall is a pretty important place for me; I’ve grown up there my whole life,” Ingrid told Queensland Country Life. “It’s such a beautiful place as well even in the middle of a drought, it really comes alive. . . And I was really hoping it would rain.”

The couple decided to involve the entire community of Blackall in their wedding — from buying alcohol from the local pub to purchasing local meat and vegetables. They gave their 160 guests a list of things to do in Blackall to give businesses traffic. “Having our wedding at Blackall was really about involving the whole community so all the people I used were local,” Ingrid told Queensland Country Life. “. . . I know all the shops in town were just nuts on Saturday morning [of the wedding].”

But perhaps one of the largest impacts of the wedding came afterwards, when photographer Edwina Robertson had an idea of what to do with the beautiful wedding photos — especially one in particular featuring the wedding party walking through the dusty farm. Edwina approached the bride, asking how she felt about using the photograph to raise awareness for a rural mental health organization. “I felt so touched [Edwina] had obviously felt the importance of the community and how much joy a wedding had brought to our community when she was out there,” Ingrid said.

On Tuesday evening, Edwina posted the stunning picture with an equally beautiful caption on Facebook. “It is no secret that my heart lies within the Australian Outback,” Edwina wrote. “If you have ever lived in a rural community you will appreciate the struggles, the joy and the uncertainty of making a living off this great land of ours.”

Edwina explained the story of Ingrid’s family and their difficult financial decision. “Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years, you will also have heard of the realities and the lack of rain,” Edwina continued in the caption. “I am only an individual and I only, can’t do much. But I can do a little.”

She implored her followers to share the post, promising for the next 24 hours to donate $3 for every share to Tie Up the Black Dog Committee “to aid support for depression and mental illness in rural regions across Australia.” Neither Edwina nor Ingrid expected the post to get many shares, but it received almost 5,000 shares in that short time. And Edwina fulfilled her promise, donating a whopping $15,000 to the organization.

“I believe it was successful for two reasons,” she told The Huffington Post. “Having a visualization with a story helped people connect with it much more and I feel it wasn’t just all about doom and gloom. Everyone loves a feel-good story and this had [that] incorporated as well. Everyone involved in this story benefits out of it so it’s wonderful that so many people have seen this!”

Seen it, they have. The post has now received over 7,000 shares and counting, leading to the creation of a crowdfunding campaign that has raised over $32,000 for the organization.

“It’s such a fantastic cause. Everyone knows about the drought, but you just hear all the bad and this is a good thing that has come out of it,” Ingrid told Queensland Country Life. “I’ve been able to take 160 guests to the Blackall community any they’ve been able to be part and spend money in my community for a few days. Now, Eddie has been able to share it with everyone else.”

(Image via Facebook/Edwina Robertson Photography)

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