Real Elopement – Renee & Ash, Lorne VIC

Real Elopement – Renee & Ash, Lorne VIC


There is something about an elopement that we adore, and when it’s under a waterfall in the surrounds of the beautiful Otways, even better!

Renee and Ash said ‘hell no’ to tradition and celebrated their day their own way and boy is it a beauty. Beginning with a waterfall ceremony and ending with a private dinner for two on the beach, watch all the magic unfold through the eyes of their photographer White Shutter and videographer Nathan Kaso.

In Renee’s words…

The meeting.

We initially met 4 and 1/2 years ago. Ash was over visiting my brother, they were hanging out in the garage when I came home from work. I popped my head out to say hello and was shocked to see him out there too. There was an instant attraction and from that day on I’d get butterflies whenever he was around.

The ‘one’.

Ash says he knew within a month of dating, I knew after about 3 months. I went away to Bali and all I could think about was coming back home to be with him.

The proposal.

Ash took me on a weekend away to the Dandenong Ranges for my Birthday. I had no idea the he was going to propose. He hid the ring under the seat in my car so I wouldn’t find it. When we arrived, Ash suggested we jump in the spa. We made a platter and had some wine. I hopped into the spa and the next thing I knew Ash had walked in, pants half down and got down on one knee and asked ‘will you marry me?’ I was so shocked, happy, excited and overwhelmed, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I finally said ‘yes’. We kissed and laughed and replayed the moment over and over again jokingly. When we finally calmed down we went out to dinner. We waited until the next day to share the special news with our family and friends.

The planning process.

Once you’re engaged, you then begin to realise it’s all you can think and talk about with your fiancé. There’s just so much to figure out. When do we have an engagement party? Do we even want an engagement party? Should we get married straight away? Should we run away and get married? The ideas and questions you have for each other are endless.

After about two weeks of Ash and I throwing all these questions and ideas back and forth, I said to Ash, ‘let’s not talk about the wedding for a week. Let’s both think about what we really want. Then we can sit down and see what we both really want to do’.

About three days later Ash said ‘ how about we have the engagement party for our family and friends. Then let’s run away and get married, just us.’ I said ‘ That’s exactly what I was thinking. ‘

So then it all began.

Styling inspiration.

Ash and I were so set on an elopement, but we both didn’t want to rush it. We still wanted it to feel like a traditional wedding. We wanted to get dressed up, spoil ourselves and really make our day feel special.

We picked a location that really meant something to us – the coastal town of Lorne. Ash took me here the first year we were together and we visited Erskine Falls.

We didn’t want the stress that comes along with a wedding so we hired a wedding planner. Laura from Wanderlust Creative was so helpful and excited. She was the one who really took our day to the next level.

The dress.

This was surprisingly really easy. I follow ‘Made With Love Bridal’ on Instagram. At the start of the year they posted a sneak peak of the gown ‘ Anastasia’. It showed just the back of the gown and I had to wait two weeks to see the front and I was equally in love. Once we set a wedding date, I called up to make a booking at Bluebell Bridal, as they are the only stockist in Melbourne. As my wedding was just six weeks away I could only buy the floor stock and luckily the only one they had left was my size. She ended up being the only dress I tried on. It was just one of those meant to be moments.

Favourite moment.

This is a really hard one because I honestly loved every minute of our day. From waking up in the morning next to my fiancé to going to sleep at night next to my husband. But I’d like to share the beginning of our day, as it was unexpectedly more special then we had planned it to be.

Our day started off at our house in Bacchus Marsh. We woke up to opening cards that were given to us the previous day and told not to open until the wedding day.

Ash dropped me off to get my hair done (at my work) while he went and got a massage. The girls were all so excited for me, it only made me more excited. Once I was finished, the girls started taking photos, then Ash pulled up out the front.

And then we were off! We stopped in Geelong for lunch where it started to rain a little. I turned to Ash and said ‘ it’s supposed to be good luck for it to rain on your wedding day’ we both laughed it off.

Not long after that we arrived in Lorne where, to our surprise, there was not a cloud in the sky.

We found our way to the hotel and went to check in. We were told our room had already been paid for. We both looked at each other in shock thinking that’s not right. The lady told us both there is a clue in our room. We raced to the room as quick as we could to find flowers, chocolate, wine and a note from my sister and my girlfriends, saying please enjoy this stay on us. This put us both on the biggest high while we were checking out the penthouse that they also had upgraded for us.

And then before when knew it the photographers and the makeup artist were arriving and everything was set in motion.


We still keep a lot of the traditions that you would expect to see a at wedding. I wore a white dress. Ash was set on not seeing me in my dress. So we decided to head to Teddies Lookout for our first look before making our way to Erskine Falls for our ceremony. We both really wanted to write our own vows and we decided it would be special to still share a first dance, even if it was only for the two of us.

Wedding soundtrack.

As we had our ceremony down at Erskine Falls there was no need for music, as the tranquil sounds of running water, birds, trees rustling and the rest of what nature has to offer was all the acoustics needed for our special moment. Later that day we had a dinner on the beach where we had chosen Luke Matthews to play acoustic guitar for us with the soothing sounds of the waves crashing in the background. For our first dance we choose ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran. A song that still gives Ash goose bumps just listening to it.

Funny stories (near disasters).

Ash didn’t find this funny but I guess it’s definitely  something you can laugh about now. On our wedding day, Ash had planned on driving us around in a Jag, which he had arranged to borrow from his friends dad. The night before the wedding Ash went to go clean the Jag, only to find it wouldn’t start.  Ash didn’t want to let me down or freak me out so he spent the next three hours (while I was drinking wine with my sister and my girlfriend) calling every car company on the internet until he came across Trevor from ‘Wedding Jaguars of Geelong.’

It was seriously Ash’s lucky day. Trevor was one of my favourite people on the day. I really felt like it was meant to be.

Planning surprises.

One of the main things that took me by surprise was everyone’s opinions about what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. I was really lucky to have my mum who said ‘don’t worry about what anyone one else thinks, as long as you do what will make you happy.’ I can honestly say I loved my wedding day, I wish everyone loved their day as much as I loved mine. It makes me sad when I hear people say ‘ I wish I could but I wasn’t allowed’. I think a lot is lost in weddings these days. It’s not about who’s in your bridal party, the gifts, who you invited or who you didn’t. It’s about the two people getting married and it’s as simple as that.

Words of wisdom.

Really take some time to think about what you want and sit down with your partner and make sure you are both really happy. The wedding is about the two of you.

Also try to keep some elements of surprise so you can enjoy your day too.

Some of the ways I tried to do this;

The celebrant asked us both to answer questions and made a story about us. We could have proofed the ceremony, but I told her I trusted her and that I would love it to be a surprise on the day.

I had a wedding planner set up dinner on the beach. I showed her a few inspiration pictures and said I’d leave it in her hands, as well as the dinner menu. It’s key to remember you hired the professionals for a reason!

Also remember on the day it’s too late to change anything so just go with it.



Renee and Ash’s Tribe.

As we didn’t have any guests our vendors were the people we shared our special moment with.

All I can say is they really made our day. At times I felt as if  they were more excited about our day than we were. The whole day I felt so lucky to have them all there bring our day together for us.

Ceremony location: Erskine Falls – Lorne

Reception venue / location: Shelly Beach – Lorne

Celebrant: Jo Betz – Jo has such a can do attitude, was up for anything. She was walking through water for us! So friendly and excited for us on our day.

Wedding Planner: Wanderlust Creative  – There were times when I doubted getting married down at the waterfall or having dinner on the beach (due to weather) but Laura never once made us feel unsure of our choices, she was the one pushing us to stick to our guns and taking that element of fear out of my mind. She had such a can do attitude that really made everything so much easier and took away all of the stresses.

Styling: Wanderlust Creative

Stationery design: Natalie Martin

Florist: Botanica Fresh Flowers

Photography: White Shutter Photography – Anne is so passionate, it shows in her work. She did amazing job shooting our day! The photos are breathtaking and there are so many good ones, I can’t even pick a favourite.

Videography: Nathan Kaso Weddings – Nathan has done an outstanding job with our video, to me it comes through exactly how I remember the day. I feel so lucky to have this video to share with our family and friends so they feel like they were there too. Best keep sake we could ask for.

Catering: Pot & Pan Culinary Tailoring – My hat goes off to Laura from Wanderlust Creative for putting us onto to these guys. We were not sure how our private beach dinner would work. But Pot & Pan had it sorted. Our Japanese style BBQ grill dinner and our personal waiter for the night, really made us feel special and made our night even more perfect.

Transport: Wedding Jaguars of Geelong – Trev came to our rescue. He was great company and very friendly. He is definitely someone you want to drive you around on your wedding day. He came fully prepared with blankets, water, wine glasses,  you name it, Trev had it!

Entertainment: Luke Matthews – Acoustic Guitarist

Accommodation : Cumberland Lorne Resort

Hair: The House of Kukla Hair & Beauty

Make Up: Alexandrah Paige

The Dress: Made With Love Bridal, Bluebell Bridal

Head wear: Samantha Wills

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