Stunning Hillside Elopement on a Farm
Written by Lorraine Wright, Marriage Celebrant
Images by Amie Forbes
In November 2020, I teamed up with photographer Amie Forbes and a collective of talented local wedding pros to create two very different, yet equally ‘Samford’ styled elopements. Here, in part 2, we bring you our Hillside Paddock Elopement on a beautiful local farm.
What was the inspiration behind this shoot concept?
For this shoot, our aim was to capture the rustic beauty of this idyllic rural hillside scene on one of Highvale’s original dairy farms, with its glorious shades of gold and green, and to incorporate sustainable choices and bespoke design throughout.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to bring clients to this special place for photo shoots. It’s perfectly positioned to let me take advantage of the late afternoon light as the sun sets behind Mount Nebo,” says Amie Forbes. “I love the natural summery tones of the grasses; the gravel road; the original fenceposts and gates. It’s a quintessentially Australian setting, and so photogenic.”
Even without any styling, a scene like this is perfect for an elopement ceremony. But when you add a stunning floral arbour like this one, created by the uber-talented Annie Donaldson from Branch and Sea, the result is awe-inspiring! Undoubtedly the most beautiful arbour I’ve ever seen.
“I started Branch and Sea just over a year ago with the aim of creating sustainable floral designs, founded on environmentally and ethically sound practices,” Annie explains. “I love working with clients who share my passion to protect our environment, animals, and people through sustainable choices – and this is definitely something you can bring into your wedding planning,” says Annie.
“For the shoot, I stayed true to this ethos, designing the arbour, bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere using seasonal, locally grown flowers to complement the scenery, the couple’s colour palette and overall styling. And of course, I repurposed as much as possible after the shoot.”
The sustainability aspect of this shoot was particularly close to the heart of photographer, Amie Forbes. “I live off the grid, so making environmentally-conscious choices is part of my everyday life,” says Amie. “I share this lifestyle I love so much, through my vlog, @Pocket.Life and my You Tube channel.”
Our models for the shoot were real-life couple, Sam and Samantha Clark. “I had photographed their beachside wedding in October, but I knew they had always dreamed of marrying on this farm,” says Amie. “So, they were the perfect models for this shoot… happy-go-lucky people with beaming smiles, and their love for each other written all over their faces. In fact, I nicknamed Samantha ‘Miss Sunshine’ on her real wedding day!”
“We were beyond excited when Amie invited us to be part of this shoot, and it exceeded our expectations in every way!” says groom, Sam. “It was so much fun to dress up again and recreate our special day, in this dreamy location,” says bride, Samantha. “The team made the day so incredible – they thought of literally everything!”
Hair and makeup artist Ashley Sparks created Samantha’s look, with natural tones and on-trend, loose waves. “Samantha has gorgeous blonde tresses, and I wanted to give her a simple but beautiful ‘down-style’ so the late afternoon sun would pick up her natural highlights,” says Ashley.
Samantha wore her own bridal gown and veil (Madi Lane), and we complemented her look with a stunning bespoke diamond necklace and earrings, handcrafted by Samford’s own master jeweller, Daniel Arnold.
“I got my first taste for jewellery design and manufacture when I was 15 years old, doing work experience with a jeweller. I knew instantly, I’d found what I wanted to do with my life,” says Dan. “My job is to get into the head of my client, so the end result is more than they could have ever imagined. The experience is completely bespoke, and very personal.”
Sam and Samantha arrived at the farm in a Tesla Model S, which ticked all the boxes from practicality to aesthetics to environmental-consciousness. “Who doesn’t love a Tesla?” says Amie Forbes. “I couldn’t wait to capture the juxtaposition of that sleek, modern car driving up the old gravel farm road. I knew the camera would love it.”
As their Celebrant for the Elopement Ceremony, I greeted Samantha at the farm gate, then she walked across the paddock to meet Sam at the arbour.
The exquisite sounds of classical guitar filled the country air as Clancy Anderson played acoustically for Samantha’s arrival. This was musical perfection somehow made to look effortless, and it set the tone for a romantic ceremony beautifully. (For a taste of Clancy’s talent, head over to You Tube for a listen.)
I then ‘upped the romance ante’ by asking Sam and Samantha to reaffirm their original wedding vows to each other, and this was such a joyful moment, filled with genuine emotion.
Both Sam and Samantha had written their own vows, combining heartfelt with hilarious, and the result was totally authentic – and every bit as much fun as on their real wedding day.
After the ceremony, Samantha and Sam enjoyed a delicious picnic curated by Rebecca Worton, of Graze at Samford.
The luxe spread comprised locally sourced cheeses, charcuterie, fruits and crackers, artfully served on a personalised grazing board.
And to toast their good luck, Yasmin Mays of Booze Box Co provided a fabulous Margarita Gift Box for the newlyweds to indulge as the sun set behind the mountain.
Sam and Samantha couldn’t resist having their first dance in the paddock, as Clancy played while the rather bemused cows watched on. It was the perfect way to end an afternoon of fun, love and laughter.
If you see anything here that you’d love to incorporate in your wedding, or if you’d like to chat about eloping in Brisbane or Southeast Queensland, I’d love to hear from you!
I’d also like to acknowledge the team of creative wedding professionals involved in this shoot.
- First and foremost, talented photographer and all-round lovely person, Amie Forbes, for her gorgeous images, and for her part in planning the concept for our shoot.
- The completely delightful, talented hair and make up artist, Ashley Sparks.
- Passionate floral designer and carer for our planet, Annie Donaldson from Branch and Sea.
- Up-and-coming, supremely talented classical guitarist, Clancy Anderson.
- The lovely Yasmin and Linden from Booze Box Co. All I can say is, brilliant idea!
- Culinary queen, Rebecca from Graze at Samford.
- Samford’s Secret Jeweller, Daniel Arnold.
- Envirolimo for the Tesla hire.
- Sam and Samantha for being such fabulous good sports, and reliving their happy wedding vibes for our photo shoot.
- And then there was me… ‘The Wright Celebrant‘, Concept Planner and Writer.