A Bendigo couple who renovated a 19th-century church have become the first pair to marry under its new roof.
Bethany Jarvis, 28, and Dan Osment, 33, tied the knot inside the 150-year-old Methodist church that once stood in Eaglehawk but was moved to Bridge Street, Bendigo, in the 1970s.
The building was purchased by Bethany's parents, Bev and Terry, in 1985, but after they built an adjoining house, the church hall had been used primarily for storage.
"When we got engaged, we wanted to have our wedding here, but you could see through the ceiling to the trees outside," Mr Osment, who had completed most of the renovation himself, said.
"But lots of TLC, dust brushes and paint, and it was ready to go."
Ms Jarvis said friends and family had donated their time and tools to help revive the church.
It is the latest incarnation for a building that survived fire in the 1950s to act as a dance school and a meeting place for Alcoholics Anonymous.
The church had also served as a gallery for artists including the father of the bride, Terry.
After failing to find an alternative venue for their nuptial celebrations, Mr Osment undertook a five-month renovation of the church to get it ready for the wedding.
Ms Jarvis said she the makeover was inspired by her travel through the deep south of the United States where pristine, white churches dot the landscape.
She said it was special to be getting married in her childhood home.
“The place looks incredible because it’s from our hearts, so it means so much more,” she said. “It just has so much charm,” Ms Jarvis said.
While Ms Jarvis had grown up in the city, Mr Osment only settled in Bendigo six months ago after years of travelling the world.
The two met when Mr Osment was working at Brewhouse in 2014 and he said it was love at first sight.
“I had to see her again,” he said.
“It was her big, brown eyes and long, brown hair.”
“I looked across the table at her, and I knew she was going to be my wife,” he said. He proposed one year on from their first date.
For Ms Jarvis, it was their mutual interest in food, politics and art which snared her attention.
The bride and groom both said they hoped more couples could exchange vows inside the refurbished venue.
The pair also opted for their guests to make donations to KCNQ2 Cure, a charity that funded research into a genetic disorder causing epilepsy, intellectual disability and autism.
Jacqui Butcher, who was a flower girl in Thursday’s wedding, was one of the first 11 people diagnosed with KCNQ2.
Ms Jarvis babysat Jacqui and her sister, Sophie, when she was younger and was thrilled her wedding could help fund research into the illness.
The girls’ mother, Sara James, said she and husband Andrew were honoured by the couple’s kind gesture.
“We were really touched,” Ms James said.