Real elopement – Sunny & Adam, Erksine Falls VIC
Sunny and Adam had often joked about the idea of elopement. The pair shared the view that the perfect celebration of their love was without the fuss of a traditional wedding.
Once they were engaged and the time came to commence their planning, they discussed the options that would appeal to them, while keeping their families happy.
A small wedding, a surprise wedding, or even a destination wedding – each were put on the table, and each quickly ruled out, as Sunny and Adam realised what their perfect wedding looked like.
“The only reason we always talked ourselves out of eloping was because we both still wanted that feeling of getting all dressed up on our big day, and we both wanted amazing photography and memories,” Sunny shares, “that was really important to us”.
It was this approach that evolved and led the couple to their stunning Erskine Falls elopement – which they simply began to think of as getting married with just one difference – no guests.
“We decided that no matter how our families reacted we would not regret our decision and that was exactly how we knew we had made the right choice for us.”
Their gamble paid off – read their magical story and view their breathtakingly beautiful day, as documented by Fred and Hannah.
Who knew of your elopement plan?
No one other than our vendors, and the strangers serving us in stores when we were buying wedding-related items. They would say ‘ohhh you are getting married’ and they would quiz us on different things. We would tell them we were eloping and they assumed that meant we were having a small wedding, so we had to explain to them that no one knew, it was just us. They loved telling us their opinion and say ‘oh you can’t do that’. Fancy that, a complete stranger telling us what we can and can’t do.
Was it difficult to keep the day a secret?
Yes! The hardest thing I have ever done. Adam says it was easy because guys don’t really need to chat about their wedding. However for me it was very difficult. Especially when I have three amazing sisters (and sisters-in-law) who were very excited for me and who would have loved to be bridesmaids. When they would ask about who would be Maid of Honour etc, I would feel very guilty, because I didn’t want to let them down.
Were there any planning surprises you encountered? Did you think your day was easier to plan because you eloped?
It is hard for me to say because I haven’t planned a traditional wedding before, however, we were surprised at the stress of it all. We still had to find the perfect location, find vendors willing to travel along with sort out how we wanted our day to run. In some respects it was more difficult to make some decisions because we couldn’t ask for advice. One thing that really surprised us was the number of strangers who would say, ‘I wish I was allowed to elope / I hated my wedding day, so good on you / my wedding day wasn’t even mine because I did what everyone else wanted.’ It seemed like a lot of people envied the way we were doing it, but to us it seemed like the only way.
It was obviously important to you both to keep some ‘wedding’ traditions, can you highlight what was important to you to keep?
We wanted it to feel exactly like a regular wedding but without all the fuss, and that is why we kept a lot of traditions. We eloped because it was what we wanted, not because we don’t like the tradition of marriage. I also did ‘something old, new, borrowed and blue’. My mother passed away six years ago and before that she gave me a gold ring she wore. This ring has great sentimental value to me and I wear it every day. So I knew that on my wedding day it would be my something old.
Can you take us through how you went about your day?
I feel like I can’t make you appreciate the serenity of the wedding day without explaining the day before. That was probably one of the most stressful days of our lives. I like to think of myself as an organised girl but that day I will never forget how unorganised we felt. A host of things went horribly wrong, but we finally got on the road (so frazzled) to Lorne around 5pm.
We had planned to meet our vendors down at the falls for another look at around 3pm so we were so disappointed when we realised that wasn’t going to happen. We arrived around 7pm and straight away met our Celebrant Lindsay down at the falls in the last bit of sunlight. We walked in and it was pretty wet and damp as it had been raining here and there. We went for a walk in to show her the actual spot for the ceremony, mud was everywhere and I was getting nervous for the wedding day, that’s when Adam went A-up in the mud – needless to say, we were feeling very worried about how it would all play out on the wedding day. We headed off for dinner, by the time we ate it was 9pm and we were exhausted, emotionally and physically.
THE WEDDING DAY:
I woke up feeling so excited, I had major butterflies. Adam and I talked over breakfast and realised neither of us was nervous but we were both excited and wanted everything to run smoothly. I couldn’t eat a thing, my stomach was in knots! The hair and makeup girls were arriving at 11am and I remember I needed to wash my hair, Adam being the amazing man he is did it for me over the bath.
It was such a relaxed environment. We listened to music, laughed and joked, and all of the vendors just went about doing their thing.
The whole time it felt very surreal, we just kept saying ‘We are about to get married, we are about to get married’. It was the most excited we had been in a long time. Adam is a very silly guy and gets even sillier when excited so he was jumping around all over the place, we were yelling and yahooing on the drive in, it was fun.
We walked to the spot for the ceremony and had a quick little rehearsal just about where we wanted to end up, where Adam would turn around, that kind of thing. Adam waited down in his spot and I headed off to the side (out of view) to the spot I had picked which actually looked like it was made for me. I laid out my burlap and slipped into my dressed.
When ready, I called out to Adam, “ready or not here I come,” and headed down to the rocks. Adam turned around and started to laugh – he does this when he wants to cry, so it felt really special.
He took my hand and we walked to the spot at the edge of the rocks. It was all feeling very surreal, as it became my turn to speak and I started my written vows and suddenly I thought ‘holy moly this is it, we are actually getting married, exactly how we imagined it – in the rainforest, to my soul mate and its everything we ever wanted it to be.
By the time we got to the end of the ceremony, we were so excited! All we wanted to do was scream it from the rooftops! We actually remember after the first kiss was over, we let out a “wohooo” which to our surprise was followed with a group of “hooray’s, cheers and whistles” which appeared to be coming from the moss covered mountains that surrounded us.
From there we joked and laughed and popped our Dom Perignon, ate cheese and enjoyed wine while we relaxed and had photos etc. We were just natural and relaxed and so excited to be married that before we knew it, it was 6pm and we needed to get a move on so we could make some other locations for more footage.
What was the feeling like for you both during the ceremony?
Our ceremony was filled with so much raw, unconditional love it really was the most amazing thing. We both felt as though there were people watching over us on our wedding day, especially during the ceremony. Not to mention Erskine falls is just so magical. All you can hear is the rustling of the trees so high in the sky, and we felt so small down in the ravine, with just the sounds of the waterfall and nature.
When and how did you break the news to your family and friends?
We had talked a lot about how to tell our family, and decided that at the end of the day would be the best option. We both have large families, I had to call eight of my immediate brothers and sisters and Adam had to call his parents, grandparents and his three brothers also. The boys from Humdrum thought it would be cool to make our first few calls while on camera, so we did. We called Adam’s parents first and then called my sister, both were absolutely shocked.
It was pretty fun to call everyone and have such exciting news.
Did anyone react in a way you didn’t expect?
My baby cousin Riarna was quite upset. She was getting exciting for us to have a wedding, to enjoy a day with all her girl cousins getting ready together. We can all laugh about it now. But really, other than that, we faired pretty well.
Do you have any top tips for those that are planning on eloping?
Firstly and most important; make sure its a joint decision.
Remember that just because you are eloping, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice any things you wanted to have or do at your ‘regular’ wedding. If you want a cake, get a cake I say. It’s your day and it should be all about you and your partner.
Choose your vendors well and make sure that they are excited and comfortable with the idea of capturing an elopement – it takes super special people to make you feel as comfortable as our vendors made us feel on our wedding day.
Be prepared for some people to have hurt feelings – it’s natural and there isn’t much you can do other than be ready for it. Also prepare yourself for the following questions: “Why did you do that?”, “Are you pregnant?”
It’s important to not let it get to you, as long as you know you made the right choice, you learn to simply laugh it off.
Why would you recommend eloping?
Some weddings these days can get more caught up on what food to have and the ceremony just seems to become a quick thing that happens at the start of the day and the reception is the main event. In our opinion, our day was like it should be, completely and solely focused on us and the vows that we both made to each other. The rest was just a bonus. When we think back on our wedding day now, we can’t wipe the smile off our faces, we don’t have one single regret – not many people can say that.
SUNNY AND ADAM’S TRIBE
“BEST.TEAM.EVER.” – Sunny
Celebrant: Lindsay Carroll
Photography: Fred + Hannah
Cinematography: Humdrum Films
Florist: Pomp and Splendour
Dress: Mariana Hardwick
Suit: MJ Bale