Real Wedding – Abigail & Jeigh, Nagambie VIC
Early in their engagement, Jeigh and Abby realised they were completely aligned in wanting their wedding day to be purely about the two of them, making a beautiful commitment to one another. And from that point on, the decision to secretly elope didn’t disappoint.
Choosing to focus on each exquisite detail, they created a magical celebration in which every moment was carefully considered, creating an elegant, entrancing and emotion-filled day. Beginning with a visit to the spa for a few hours of pampering and ending with a slice of cake and a stunningly evocative first dance against the black night sky, Abby and Jeigh chose to relish every moment; proving that an elopement can be so much more than just a quick ‘I do’!
From their gorgeously genuine first look photos by the light-dappled river to the cinematic ceremony images, tribe talent Katie Harmsworth captured every dramatic detail to perfection.
If creating beautiful, romantic, memories of genuinely gorgeous feelings sounds like your slice of heaven, spend a little time scrolling this darling day!
We met through mutual friends in high school but didn’t get together until we were 20. We had a series of movie dates, cute lunches and dinners. We officially become a couple during our post-movie discussion of the final Harry Potter film.
Jeigh: For me, there was no single moment or grand revelation. Rather it was a slow and sure realisation that I could not live without her.
Abby: We would get each other cards for our anniversary. One year he wrote, “you deserve the world, so that’s just what I’ll have to give you”. That’s a beautiful sentiment in itself, but his actions speak louder than words. Everything he does is always for the betterment of us, and that’s how I knew he was the one.
We had just come home from a New Year’s Eve celebration when Jeigh said that he was going to propose that year, 2018. We joke that I am difficult to surprise because I just have a sixth sense for these things and I can often tell when Jeigh is planning something. Everyone thought that it would happen at the end of the year when we were going to be in Europe. I knew it would go down before then because it was too predictable and Jeigh really, really wanted to pull off the surprise element.
It was just like any other day. I had just finished a tough shift at work and called Jeigh to debrief. He was studying and living in Geelong at the time. I talked, we booked a couple of AirBnBs for our trip and called it a night.
I had a better shift the next day and called Jeigh on my way home to remind him to bring a couple of things back when he came back to Melbourne later that afternoon. Well, colour me surprised – when I opened the front door music started playing, there were candles and me saying “OMG, what is this?!” I followed the candles to my room, where I found Jeigh.
Jeigh flew to Samoa for uni the day after we got engaged. On paper, it seemed romantic, but in reality it was quite sad! Everyone was congratulating us and wanting to celebrate. We literally hadn’t discussed any plans, so I was fielding questions about the wedding for six weeks. It was full-on. For those who know me well, all this attention was overwhelming!
The idea of eloping was becoming more and more attractive. I had done some research about elopements and scoured the internet for inspiration. I chanced upon a wonderful elopement video (courtesy of Humdrum) that basically had everything that I wanted – a day that was purely about the two people getting married.
I spoke with my parents and friends and tried to get a feel for their views on small weddings and eloping. Of course, they were super supportive of whatever we wanted to do, but I still had to discuss this all with Jeigh.
When Jeigh got back from Samoa, I presented him with a letter that had a pro and con list for eloping. I also showed him the video. To my surprise, he was keen to elope too! Early on we discussed whether we would have family or do it old school, celebrant and just the two of us. In the end, we chose to secretly elope and have a big celebration at a later date.
We planned to get married at the end of 2019. A secret elopement? Yep, we concurrently planned our elopement and party at the same time! The party was our cover, so we used that whenever anyone asked about our ‘wedding’.
Since Jeigh lived outside of Melbourne, we would often do little staycations whenever we had some days off together. We wanted to have our ceremony somewhere that also had a hotel and restaurant for simplicity sake. An internet search led us to Mitchelton. We had never heard of it, but it looked amazing! We booked in a visit, and it ticked all the boxes.
Next, we sought out the boys from Humdrum, who then lead us to Katie. They’re a winning combo! They work in the same office, which was convenient for all. We entrusted them with capturing us as a couple – all the awkward, fun and happy moments.
It’s no easy feat to work underground devoid of natural light! It’s every photographer and videographer’s nightmare. Admittedly, we were a bit worried about this, but we shouldn’t have been, we absolutely loved the images and footage that Jared, Jacob and Katie gifted us.
Romantic and intimate.
I actually dreaded the thought of wedding dress shopping. I’m not entirely sure why, but I knew I wanted something simple and classic.
My friend had locked in a weekend for us to visit a few boutiques. But then I saw a Facebook ad for a Grace Loves Lace sample sale. Taking this as a sign, my friend and I went along, and we found a dress! The lace was stunning, and it was beautifully fitted.
However, as more time passed, I was having doubts. I looked around online and ended up on ASOS, where I stumbled upon the dress that I could better picture myself in. It was simple, with a classic silhouette. The sequins ended up being the best part, and it photographed so well.
My favourite moment of the day was seeing Jeigh at the altar. Even though we literally had our first look down by the jetty, it was still really exciting and so emotional. I hadn’t seen what Tanya from Pretty Little Details had set up and my goodness it was beautiful. I may have ugly cried!
Meaning of marriage.
Marriage means actively choosing each other every day. It’s about nurturing your relationship with daily acts of kindness, gratitude and love.
Aisle: Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley (Version by Kina Grannis, from the Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack)
First dance: Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours by Stevie Wonder
Funny stories or near disasters.
We originally wanted Stand By Me by Ben E. King for our first dance because it’s our song, but a last-minute technical glitch gave us Stevie, which we loved in the end!
Also, the ceremony was scheduled to begin at 6pm but didn’t start until around 6:30pm due to the above technical issue. All went smoothly thereafter.
As we stuffed ourselves with the most delicious dinner, we joked that we wouldn’t have been so cool, calm and collected had there been people waiting. A flexible timeline is one of the perks of eloping!
Just how many moving parts there are to a wedding. And ours was as simple as they come!
Words of wisdom.
Elope! We know that it’s not for everyone, but it was simply the best decision for us. Some loved ones will understandably be upset. That’s only natural. But it ultimately comes down to what you feel is right for both of you.
There’s no doubt that Abby & Jeigh’s vendors played a huge part in the stunning success of their day. If you’re looking to build a tribe around you who know weddings, who know fun and who know style, our directory is for you! Check out some of the best talent in the biz, here.
ABBY & JEIGH’S VENDORS
Ceremony venue: Underground cellar at Mitchelton.
Reception venue: The Muse Restaurant at Mitchelton.
I’d like to think that it was fate that led us to Mitchelton. One simple google search and the rest they say is history. It had everything we wanted: a stunning hotel and restaurant. We splurged on massages at the spa before our wedding. It’s a must! All the staff went above and beyond to make our wedding extra special.
Hopefully, by the time our anniversary comes around, we will be able to go back for a little staycation.
Celebrant: Georgia Mills. Georgia’s experience and expertise were obvious from the first email. She is warm and friendly, and exactly the person you want to help you create a bespoke ceremony.
Photography: Katie Harmsworth. Katie was recommended to us by Humdrum, but her photos speak for themselves. She has an eye for capturing those special candid shots, the ones that take you right back to that moment in time.
We had a sunset shoot the day before and even one on the morning of our wedding. Katie helped us come out of our shell, so we were able to relax and have fun! We are obsessed with our photos and have many on display! Katie helped me get ready and also served as one of our witnesses.
Videography: Humdrum Films. Jared and Jacob are awesome storytellers. We asked them to create a film that told our story. We didn’t know what to expect, but we put our trust in this dynamic duo, and we weren’t disappointed. Our film was unlike anything else we have seen, and that’s a testament to them and their passion for creating one of a kind films. They are so lovely too!
Styling and florals: Tanya- Pretty Little Details. Tanya, floral boss. She created and styled our day. All the florals, the arbour and table setting was all her doing. It was Tanya’s idea to re-use the arbour as part of the restaurant styling.
Hair and make-up: Miss Aimmey. I met Aimmey at my cousin’s wedding back in 2012. I loved her work, so I knew I wanted her to do my make up. Whilst make up is her specialty, she also styled my hair. It was 40 degrees on the day. The make-up felt light, didn’t melt off, and the curls did not drop! Her kind and bubbly nature is also a bonus!
The dress: ASOS Bridal
Veil: Tania Maras
Shoes: Bared Footwear
Rings: Cushla Whiting. Stunning jewellery and fantastic customer service.
Groom’s suit: InStitchu
Bow tie / tie: Otaa
Cake: Blackbird Cakes. Shaz and her team know cakes. The lemon and caramel mud cake definitely helped with sweetening the news of our elopement.
Neon sign: Little Pineapple Neon