Romantic Creekside Elopement, Samford-style

Barefoot Wedding by the Creek

Written by Lorraine Wright, Marriage Celebrant

In November 2020, I teamed up with photographer Amie Forbes and a collective of talented local wedding pros to create two Samford-inspired styled elopements. Here, in part 1, we bring you our Creekside Elopement. We hope this gives you some inspiration and new ideas for your elopement or micro-wedding.

The Concept

The concept for this elopement shoot was to create something stunningly simple, yet brimming with romance. This one is for the lovers… a dreamy elopement for couples who simply seek each other; not a crowd.

“Elopements are the ‘new black’ in weddings,” says photographer, Amie Forbes. “When you choose to elope, you can really focus on the things that are truly meaningful to you, without all the trappings of a big wedding. How liberating is that?”

You may be looking to simplify your wedding plans, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for ordinary. Small and simple can be extraordinary.

Imagine just the two of you standing together, feeling connected and really present as you make your vows to each other. The intensity of that moment will live with you forever. This is at the heart of our creek-side elopement shoot in Samford; the beauty in simplicity.

This romantic set up would also lend itself to an intimate proposal with a definite WOW factor!

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

And because we love where we live and appreciate our local community, it was a joy to dip into the deep well of local talent and team up with some wonderful wedding professionals as our ‘co-creators’ on this shoot.

Amie Forbes explains, “I love shooting around our local region of Samford Valley and Highvale. You can really immerse yourself in nature, and I’m such a down-to-earth person – it suits my style of photography. I’m all about natural light and muted, earthy tones, and I like to bring a sense of playfulness to my shoots, so if bare feet are an option, I say go for it!”

We also wanted the shoot to feel and look entirely authentic, so I invited one of my gorgeous ‘real life’ couples, Sally and Dean (whose marriage I officiated in a scaled-back wedding during tight COVID restrictions) to be our models, and they jumped at the chance. I mean, we all talk about ‘wearing the dress again’, right? But who ever does, really? And this was a chance for them to have the fabulous wedding photo shoot they missed back in May.

We chose not to tell Dean and Sally every detail in advance, because we wanted the set up to elicit genuine emotion, and feel every bit as incredible as their actual wedding day.

Getting Ready

The shoot began with ‘getting ready’ photos at my home in Samford Valley, with views of House Mountain.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Hair and makeup artist Ashley Sparks devised the look for our bride, opting for simple, natural styling to complement Sally’s own strapless ivory lace gown (Jadore Australia) and vintage-inspired pillbox headpiece.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“My goal is always to help my brides feel their most beautiful self on their special day, and to radiate that self-confidence all day long,” says Ashley. “That means carefully considering which products and techniques to use, so the bride’s look will hold up beautifully till the end of the day.”

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Chelsea and Madison from Wattle and Daisy in Samford created a soft, romantic bouquet for Sally and matching buttonhole for Dean, featuring locally grown Queen Anne Lace and colourful Cosmos from Woggoon Farm, and the result was elegant simplicity itself.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Creekside Elopement

We chose a secluded creek-side location for our elopement ceremony, where the branches of huge trees reach across from both banks of the river to form a cathedral-like roof.

“The air by the creek feels cool and fresh; you’re surrounded by birdsong; and the river pebbles under foot make an amazing foreground for the images. It’s very Samford,” says Amie.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Music is incredibly important in creating the atmosphere for a ceremony, and we were thrilled to have up-and-coming classical guitarist, Clancy Anderson on board. Clancy’s music was one of our little surprises for the bride and groom, and when he began to play, the effect was sublime.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

As Sally walked barefoot across the river stones to meet Dean, the emotions were intensely real. The way they looked at each other was romance on toast. I think all of us watching on had a tear in our eye.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
bride walks barefoot across stones near a creek
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

In another little surprise, I handed Dean and Sally cards printed with their very own marriage vows. There were huge smiles and more tears as the realisation dawned; they were about to reaffirm their promises to each other. Sally and Dean’s vows were the pinnacle of their emotion-charged wedding earlier in the year – written in secret and revealed to each other in that special moment, and I’ve got to say, those words were every bit as relevant and compelling, months on.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Next, they signed on each other’s backs – a cute trick for keeping things simple, and adding a perfect light note.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“I think my favourite images of the day were of Dean and Sally crossing the creek for their post-wedding picnic,” says Amie. “I loved capturing their connection. There were some gorgeous, intimate moments.”

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

The newlyweds’ gourmet picnic was expertly curated by our favourite local foodie and founder of Graze at Samford, Rebecca Worton. “Graze at Samford is all about sharing the awe-inspiring goodness of our region with anyone who craves fresh air, green spaces and fresh local produce in their life. We can create a heavenly grazing board or picnic to suit any food preferences, sourcing the very best local ingredients,” says Rebecca. “We also do boutique events and gifting experiences, such as these personalised boards engraved with your family name. What a perfect reminder of the romance of your special day. Or get creative with your message – who doesn’t love a play on words?”

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“It wouldn’t be a proper celebration without a toast, would it?” says Yasmin Mays from Booze Box Co. “We’ve put together gift boxes with everything you need to make your favourite cocktails. Here, Sally and Dean are enjoying our French Martini – as delicious as it is pretty!” says Yasmin.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“We also do Margarita, and Lime and Basil Mojito gift boxes. Our gourmet cocktail syrups, lime products and even the wood for our handcrafted boxes are locally sourced,” says Yasmin’s business partner and hubby, Linden.

First Dance

For the perfect end to the day, our newlyweds were spoilt with a fine dining experience (and a final, special surprise) at one of Brisbane’s most exciting restaurants, Pause at Samford. This restaurant is a true gem; the food is always superb, and the dining experience a joy.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“Chef Rino crafts simple Mediterranean flavours with the highest quality, seasonal ingredients,” says Restaurant Manager, Luca Orion Marra. “Every food experience at Pause offers something to explore, and a reason to take a moment, to pause.”

And that final surprise? A romantic ‘first dance’ for Dean and Sally on the restaurant balcony, with talented local musician Stacey Brown giving a soulful performance of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. “I just love bringing music into people’s lives, especially at memorable moments like this,” says Stacey.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Oh. My. Goodness! This was my personal favourite moment. We were spellbound listening to Stacey, and witnessing this experience for Dean and Sally. He only had eyes for his beautiful bride, and she for him, as she snuggled into those protective arms. No staging or prompting was needed; this was real – the culmination of a perfectly simple, romance-filled day.

As we drew to the end, Dean and Sally gushed, “Today felt like a dream.”

And in those few words, I think they summed up the #1 wedding goal for most couples.

A dream in the making.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of images and gained some inspiration and ideas for your elopement or micro-wedding.

Please do get in touch if this sounds like your dream wedding! We’d love to help you bring it to life.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

And, Roll Credits!

Planning and Concept  |  Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant, and Amie Forbes, Amie Forbes Photography

Photographer  | Amie Forbes, Amie Forbes Photography

Celebrant  |  Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

Hair and Makeup Artist  |  Ashley Sparks, Sparks Makeup Artistry

Grazing board and picnic styling  |  Rebecca Worton, Graze at Samford

Restaurant and First Dance location  |  Pause, Samford

Classical Guitarist  |  Clancy Anderson 

Keyboard/vocals  |  Stacey B Music

Floral design  |  Wattle and Daisy

Local blooms  |  Woggoon Farm

Cocktail box  |  Booze Box Co

Models  |  Real-life couple, Sally and Dean Gollan

What do you do when the borders are shut, and your Celebrant can’t make it to your wedding?

Roses and two wooden hearts overlaid with text from wedding vows, I will show you how much I love you, even when words are hard to find.

Last Thursday, I met the most beautiful young couple, and on Saturday, I married them!

Things don’t normally move that fast, but with the recent closure of the Queensland/New South Wales border, I was privileged to jump in for a Celebrant who was unable to travel to Brisbane for the ceremony. It was time to put the wedding contingency plan in action! He briefed me and forwarded the all-important paperwork, then I took the ball and ran with it.

Even though I met R & M in person only days before their wedding, you could say we ‘crunched the timeline’ in getting to know each other! And we quickly came to an easy, comforting place of trust. R & M knew I had their backs; that was my promise to them.

Our rehearsal gave us the perfect opportunity to check that everything was coming together just as they envisioned, and by Saturday, it felt as though it was always supposed to be this way.

Many details made R & M‘s wedding ‘oh so special’, but three of my favourites were…

💍 Firstly the original poem written and read by the bride’s stepdad. (Goosebumps!)

💍 Secondly, the time we dedicated to one-on-one conversations between myself and the bride and groom at the rehearsal. Those meaningful, honest chats gave me the insight I needed to ‘ghostwrite’ deeply personal vows, just for them. And they delivered them from the heart. (Goosebumps on goosebumps!)

💍 And thirdly, the perfect rainbow that arched across the sky as I was driving away from their wedding. I’m sure that’s a wonderful sign. (Dare I say it, even more goosebumps!)

I’m so grateful for the trust R & M (and their original Celebrant) placed in me. It all led to an uplifting ceremony that flowed with natural warmth, and celebrated their love story in an authentic way.  

Big virtual hugs to Shirley and her lovely team at Boulevard Gardens – always wonderful to work with you!

Things happen the way they’re meant to happen. 

Weddings on the wave of COVID-19

Couple kissing while wearing face masks
Photo credit: Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash.

By Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

Your plans may have changed, but your dreams have not.

If you are planning your wedding, this should be a time of great excitement and joy for you and your loved ones. But the COVID-19 pandemic, which is encroaching on just about every aspect of our day-to-day lives, is now causing genuine concern for engaged couples, their families, and those working in the wedding industry.

If you’re not sure whether everyone will be able to make it to your wedding this year, I truly feel for you. Your wedding is a milestone event in your life, and it’s natural to want to share it. So let’s talk about using technology to livestream your ceremony, so your more vulnerable loved ones can stay safely out of harm’s way, but still witness your “I Do’s” via a screen.

If you’re trying to decide, ‘should we postpone our wedding?’ or forge on, perhaps in a modified format, I understand your dilemma. It’s heartbreaking even thinking about changing your carefully crafted plans. But if your group is larger than the allowed gathering (100 guests at the time of writing), or you’d just rather wait until everyone can be with you on your big day, let’s talk about finding you a new date. I do have availability from October 2020 and throughout 2021, and I’ll bend over backwards to help you.

Or, you might consider having a small elopement-style ceremony on your planned date with just the two of you and your two witnesses, but waiting till later in the year (or even next year) to have your big party. I’m definitely open to helping you reimagine the style and logistics for your ceremony.

Until such time as the Australian government further restricts the gathering of people, and as long as I remain fit and healthy and you remain fit and healthy, I would be honoured to officiate for you. We will adapt to the circumstances, by incorporating social distancing and stepping up hygiene measures, for instance:

  • no handshaking, hugging or kissing anyone you don’t live with;
  • spacing out chairs to give everyone more personal space;
  • wiping down microphones and pens with disinfectant wipes;
  • liberal use of hand sanitiser;
  • ensuring no bubbles are blown over anyone;
  • and importantly, asking for strict compliance from anyone who has been in contact with a known case of COVID-19, or has any symptoms consistent with the infection (fever, sore throat, dry cough, shortness of breath) to NOT ATTEND the wedding.
  • You could even ask everyone to check their temperature before coming, as an extra safeguard.

Of course, please refer to the advice of our Chief Medical Officers and the World Health Organisation for specific information on COVID-19, as this is not my area of expertise. 

If I am unlucky enough to become unwell and unable to officiate for you, I will reach out to my amazing colleagues and find you a substitute celebrant, transferring the legal paperwork as per our discussion at the time of signing our agreement. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that, but contingency planning makes sense right now.

As this is a very fluid situation that is changing by the day, I will be continuing to heed the advice of our Chief Medical Officers and government leaders, in terms of any restrictions imposed on gatherings, in the days and weeks ahead.

But please, if you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, or send me a message. I’m here for you.

Let me finish by saying, your wedding is going to be amazing. Your plans may have changed, but your dreams have not.