Our story is no different from other modern-day couples planning a wedding during the pandemic. As an overseas bride, I always envisioned myself getting married in a charming, Catholic Church back home, enjoying delicious authentic Filipino food, while sharing good conversations with family and friends. This was my vision ever since my now husband, Nico, proposed to me in June 2019. However, because of the uncertainty of the world these days, all the planning and hype for our dream wedding in the Philippines would come to a halt every time a lockdown was declared. The difficulty of traveling back home hindered us from achieving our vision. Instead of getting all excited for our big day, we would get overwhelmed with fear and anxiety that it might get postponed yet again. And so it did, three times to be exact.
It was emotional torture for the two of us, individually and as a couple. We had arguments here and there until one day, we stopped planning cold turkey. We lost interest in making our big wedding happen and we agreed to carry on with the planning once the pandemic had finished—whenever that may be. However, days and weeks went by, and in that process, we realized what was truly essential—us. We had to drop our past ideas of a grand wedding, create new dreams and plans that were possible for the time being. We also learned to focus more on our why — to be together forever. Thus, an elopement was the perfect way to achieve that, and so we did it. Scroll down to see the photos of our wedding in Flinders, Victoria in Australia captured by Fabio Oliveira, and keep reading to find out how we put together the elopement of our dreams!
With an elopement, there are no rules—you can do whatever you want and however you want it (but of course, check the laws of your location first). While it’s good to have endless possibilities, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Take my word, planning can make you go insane with all the researching, budgeting, and pinning a lot of boards on Pinterest. Well, that’s what happened to us. But remember the part where I mentioned we eventually stopped planning? We came to our senses, put all our worries and anxieties aside, and we just talked. And that was when we realized we both wanted to exchange vows in nature… just us. We agreed to push through with a simple, stress-free, but phenomenal bohemian-themed elopement. Believe it or not, sometimes, all we need to do is to sit down and have a quality conversation with our significant other.
Tip: Go on a date with your fiancé with phones down and just converse. Perhaps, reminisce on the day you first met or the first time you exchanged “I love you’s.” Take time to just look at each other and reflect on how you are as a couple. You’ll be surprised with how endless the ideas you two can come up with. Next thing you know, you already have a vision of what the perfect wedding for the both of you is like.
Even for a sweet, and intimate wedding like ours, we still wanted it to be epic. So, exchanging vows during sunset at a cliff was the way to go! We both love the outdoors and scenic views, so it was a no-brainer for us to have it at a cliff, with the skies and the sea as our backdrop. We wanted it to be as minimal as possible and just let our natural, quirky personalities and the beautiful scenery take centre-stage. Our amazing photographer recommended this “secret” trail that leads to a scenic location that ticks all the boxes, which we both fell in love with at first sight! We then put together a mood board, which helped us determine who our vendors would be for the day. Also, we are both amateur photo and video hobbyists, so it was essential for us to hire a photographer and videographer who matched our style. We had a pretty awesome team and if we had to do it all over again, we would hire them all in a heartbeat!
Tip: Ask yourselves—what are the things you both like to do? What are your favorite colors, food, flowers, etc.? Go back to the basics before you hunt for wedding vendors and search for styling elements. It will help you both figure out the things you need for your wedding, filter down your options, and find the best team that would best capture the type of wedding you both want. It will also be helpful to meet with the vendors you’re eyeing and discuss your vision prior to booking.
Whether grand or intimate, there will always be things you need to arrange prior to the big day. In our case, we had to be as organized as possible since we hadn’t hired a wedding planner. Moreover, we also wanted to carry on with special traditions such as the cake cutting and champagne toast, even if it was just us. Why not, right? And oh, don’t forget the rings! We tried to plan a month ahead of the big day. We picked up the cake and the champagne. We went ring shopping (make sure you do this early as ring stores have certain timelines especially if you are customizing your rings). We also arranged our timeline and itinerary for the whole weekend. Being a Type A bride, I admit I was a bit stressed sitting in the make-up chair without any idea of what was going on outside of the room. Luckily, Nico stepped up and made sure everything in our running sheet went as planned.
Tip: Plan early. Go through the whole day in your head, preempt everything that will happen, and make a running sheet and a checklist for “the day.” If you don’t have a wedding planner, run through the timeline and checklist with your team of suppliers and get their insights. From there, you will be able to see even the tiniest details you might have missed or things that could potentially happen and prepare for it. If you do have a wedding planner, align with them prior to and leave it to the pro’s on the day.
In life, there are things that you cannot control—especially the weather! No matter how many times we checked the forecast to make sure it was going to be a nice day, strong winds and a bit of rain still poured, right in the middle of our ceremony. Bad luck or maybe blessings? We chose to see it as the latter! We ended up getting married on the rocks at the beach, as the winds were too strong to have it on the cliff. Nevertheless, it was still equally as epic and we just moved up to the cliff after for more photos. We decided to free ourselves from worries and not let anything ruin one of the most special days of our lives. We laughed about it and did our first dance under the spitting rain, amidst the strong winds. We even laid down and had a picnic. I personally think that it was one of the highlights of our wedding too. Despite the not-so-perfect weather, we still would not have had our day in any other way. For us, it was perfect.
Tip: When things don’t go as planned, just look at your partner and don’t lose your focus on that person. Remember that the wedding is about you and him and nothing else. Plus, it is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, so cherish it. You want to look back on this day smiling, not frowning!
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