Couples looking for a quaint, authentic little old church to host a traditional style wedding might be delighted by the understated Golden Grove Uniting Church. Built in 1866 for £550, it was the first place of worship for early settlers in the region of Eastern Adelaide who mostly worked on nearby farms, orchards and vineyards. It remains to this day in its original solid architecture, retaining a simplistic, rustic charm.
A practical brick church measuring about 12 metres long by 8.5 metres wide, with 4.5 metre tall walls, the church can comfortably sit 100 guests on its blue padded pews. There are two rooms built at the end for a vestry and sitting room. A hall with a fully functioning kitchen is located behind the church in the community centre which can be used after wedding services for an extra cost.
A piano and electric organ are available for use by hired musicians, and hymn books are accessible for guests. Wedding cars can enter through the front white picket gates and drive right up to the main door and surrounding paved area. There is a convenient parking lot right behind the church, with extra parking options along Crouch Road and One Tree Hill Road. Located about 35 minutes north east from Adelaide CBD, there are accommodation options near the city, within easy reach of taxis or rideshare options. There is also a direct bus route from the city utilising Adelaide’s O’Bahn Busway.
The lighting through the slender stained glass windows, typical of churches built in the era, gives a traditional atmospheric aesthetic that can only be found in old world churches. The front facade provides a quintessential backdrop for a classic church front photoshoot. For further photography options, Mount Gawler Native Forest Reserve, Para Wirra Conservation Park and Anstey Hill Recreation Park are all within 20 minutes drive, providing a variety of native bushland, water holes and scenic vistas to utilise as backdrops.
The Golden Grove Uniting Church recommends couples visit the church, preferably on a Sunday morning 10am service, to make sure it fits their needs and desires. Couples are welcome to chat with the minister and wedding coordinator in person once the service has concluded. The wedding coordinator will be on hand on the wedding day to open the gates, the church, and to welcome and assist arriving guests and the bridal party.
The Golden Grove Uniting Church has a strong community spirit, hosting weekly playgroup sessions,kids music sessions, women’s bible study, craft groups and social groups. This is built upon its humble historical beginnings as the town’s school and place of worship. It began with local settlers congregating at Mr. John Byer’s house around 1846 for prayers, which developed into a Sunday School. Mr Byers acted as teacher and superintendent, while Mr John Dodgson led the singing and worship service. Eventually the Golden Grove School House and the church was built. Mr Byers remained a Sunday School Superintendent for a total of fifty years.
In a historical cabinet within the Golden Grove Uniting Church, there is a medallion commemorating the school and church’s Jubilee in 1898. The wording on the medallion states: “Golden Grove Presbyterian Sunday School Jubilee 1848 – 1898.” It was in November 1861 when 38 community members passed the resolution to begin building the church, stating:
“We whose names are hereafter appended, being professing Christians, and formerly belonging to several sections of the church and others who have been brought out of the world by the varied gospel instrumentality, employed in this neighbourhood, and elsewhere, do hereby voluntarily form ourselves into a Christian Society. We do this for the Glory of God, the good of our fellowmen and for our individual and mutual benefit.”