Real Elopement – Shari & Ben, Kyneton VIC
Real Elopement – Shari & Ben, Kyneton VIC
Real Elopement – Shari & Ben, Kyneton VIC

Real Elopement – Shari & Ben, Kyneton VIC



Country charm at it’s finest would best describe Shari and Ben’s elegant elopement.

A gorgeous bluestone chapel set in an olive grove was the perfect setting for the pair to say their private and personal “I-do’s”.

With just a handful of loved ones in attendance, the love and emotion of this special celebration is evident in the gorgeous photography of Brown Paper Parcel.


The meeting.

Friends of both Shari and Ben had independently suggested they try online dating. After a few months and countless inappropriate matches they both decided to take some time out. Shari had to check her junk mail some time later for a completely unrelated email only to find Ben’s profile as a suggested match. After sitting on it for a couple of days she finally made contact, and here we are!

 The ‘one’.

After sitting in the Yarraville Pop Up Park from 7pm until 11pm talking – only to realise as the cafes had started to pack up, that the entire time we had not ordered a single thing to eat or drink…not even water! We both had so much to say and so much in common that time just seemed to pass.

The planning.

Close friends had asked us to come up and see their neighbour’s property, which just so happened to have a bluestone chapel on it. We had seen many venues from shooting weddings and knew instantly that this was the one for us. There was only one catch (besides the olive trees) the property was on the market and so our October plans had to be brought forward to April.

The proposal.

Ben took Shari back to the Pop Up Park in Yarraville, (which was where we had our first date) on a weeknight, which was not something out of the ordinary. After dinner as they walked back to the car Shari said she really enjoyed just hanging out, and Ben took the ring out of his jacket pocket and asked her if she would like to do it forever.

Style inspiration.

There was no particular theme as such, but it was important to us that what we chose to wear and the place we went, really represented who we were. So our outfits were chosen with the idea of them being items we would wear again, and the venue had to be in nature – either at the beach (Shari’s birth place) or the country (Ben’s birth place).

The dress.

After I had visited a couple of bridal specific venues I made the decision to go with something that was more me, and something I would definitely wear again. I knew Zambesi would have something suitable so I grabbed my mum on an afternoon break, shuffled into the CBD and found exactly what I was looking for, including shoes in under an hour.

Favourite moments.

We both loved arriving at the chapel with our parents, grandparents and Charley so excited to see us. We also really loved how interested Charley was in the celebrant’s reading of how we met. He asked, “so that story the lady was saying, was that really true? Did you really sit in the car all night until the sun came up? Did you at least have an iPad?”.

Our favourite detail from the day was getting ready together in the apartment we found on airbnb. We put our favourite music on, helped each other get into our gear, went on a coffee run to one of our favourite cafes, looked at people through binoculars, and generally just had a laugh about the fact that we were actually getting married today!

Meaning of marriage. 

Shari: I can buy shoes with my husband’s wage.

Ben: I can provide footwear for my wife.

Seriously though, for Ben it’s showing Shari and telling the world how much she means to him. For Shari, it was an important bond to solidify their relationship and family now too with Ben’s son Charley.

Wedding soundtrack.

We put together a ‘Songs that Bind’ playlist on Spotify with songs from The 100 Best Albums of All Time.

Funny stories (or near disasters).

There was an olive tree dowry! In order for us to be able to use the chapel, an exchange of olive tree’s was required…true story!

Nearly everyone who knows Shari can appreciate that of course she would have chocolate in her handbag. In the mad rush to actually get in the car and on the road both of them had neglected to have anything decent to eat. Shari grabbed some of her chocolate stash out of her bag and while feeding some to Ben, who was driving, some crumbs fell on her dress and melted all over the front of it. Stressing out, she called her best friend to ask about what to do. Justine calmly said “It wouldn’t be your wedding day if you didn’t have chocolate on your dress”. So she left it.

Words of wisdom.

We made a conscious choice to not spend a lot of money on things that we would not use again so you can still have a really special experience without the stress of spending a lot of money should you wish to. We also decided to elope which makes planning a lot less stressful, however you must be prepared for some people to feel let down by your decision to not include them on the day. But at the end of it all, it is about the couple, and you really must feel happy with the plans that you make for your day.

One last thing.

Shari’s mum was worried that by eloping and having a party on the same day the following year, her grandmother might not be around to celebrate. So she went around to the grandparent’s house on the day and told them to get ready in their best dress, that they were invited to a high tea where photos were being taken. The look on her grandmother’s face when Shari and Ben arrived at the property was so precious they’ll never forget it.


Ceremony venue: Private Chapel, Kyneton.

Celebrant’officient: Marry Me Dee

Photography: Brown Paper Parcel

Florist: Cecilia Fox

Hair: Suzi from The Eighth Floor

Makeup: Dana Leviston

Gown: Zambesi

Shoes: Elena Iachi

Rings: Julia DeVille and Lord Coconut

Groom’s attire: ShoreditchDaniel HechterWindsor SmithHappy Socks

Transport: Ford Mustang – Pete’s Classic Garage

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