A fantastic team of wedding vendors from Newcastle in NSW recently came together to start an elopement collective, focusing on true love and romance instead of the more traditional weddings. We chose to work with Amber and Emily because they embodied everything we were, a bit wild, loads of fun, and totally and unapologetically open about their love. When I approached them with the idea of shooting in the Blue Mountains (three hours West of Sydney), they were all over it. As a team, we got together and worked out how we could make this elopement “them”. How could we make this editorial really reflect their love, even though it was styled?
By making the entire onboarding process inclusive (so many people still have “bride and groom” in their contract and questionnaire), we could really make them feel comfortable with us. We were lucky enough to have a stunning dress and pantsuit combination for the day, which made our couple’s day. Amber was so unbelievably happy that we had not just organized her a dress like she assumed we might do.
For us, it was all about finding out who they were, what their love was, and how we could tell it and the images definitely speak for themselves.
Words by the couple.
Emily, originally from Florence, Italy, came to study in Australia in 2013 and worked at an Italian Restaurant in Newcastle- which happened to be a favorite for me, and I often went there. Over time, I was very drawn to Emily and felt a very powerful connection to her while being served one night. And, I’m talking serious heart racing, face all red, could hardly speak a word. She was just stunning, magnetic. The chemistry I felt was something I had never felt in all my 29 years. After some time had passed, I was still thinking about her constantly, losing sleep basically, could not get this girl out of my head, and wanted to know her so badly. I felt like a crazy person.
I eventually reached out to Emily via social media (with the help of some liquid courage) and told her I’d like to meet her. Expecting to be rejected, I was surprised when Emily said she’d be interested too and we met the very next night! Our connection was intense and undeniable, we talked for hours, and she kissed me that night! We fell in love very hard. Four years later, we are even more in love and still just as obsessed with each other. The chemistry between us is electric, and she’s my best friend.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome together?
The start of our relationship was very unconventional and challenging. I was married for eight years and have two young boys. So we have had to navigate marital separation, coming out to our families, a blended family, and a complete life upheaval. And then, in 2019, after a magical holiday back to Italy to meet Emily’s family, Emily stayed in Italy to work. We did long-distance for ten months, which was the most difficult thing to date that we have faced.
Emily is the most incredible person I’ve ever met. It’s actually difficult to describe her beautiful aura and effortlessly cool way until you meet her. And then everyone says, “Oh, Amber! I totally get it!” She is enigmatic and has a gift for accepting people as they come. She will engage with you as if you’re the only person in the room and make you feel exceptional. Emily demonstrates so much love and can keep her cool when I’m having a total breakdown. She’s my solid rock, and I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Amber, it’s hard to describe just one thing that I love about her. I love how strong her love and understanding is for others. She has demonstrated it so often in hard situations that she responds with kindness, grace, and compassion. When I think of how she looks in the crowd, she shines with this clarity that no one else has. It’s a beautiful thing finding a pure soul in this world, and hers I could only describe as a purity that no words are needed, and it’s full of colours. Sometimes I think how she could have put up with me when we met, and I am so grateful that I have this gorgeous woman that accepts me and continues to bring out the best in me.
We feel incredibly lucky to have found each other and stayed together against all odds. We have fought hard to be together, and our journey has not come easily or without resistance from family and friends. We’ve both had to heal individually from past traumas and have both grown a great deal in ourselves. Through all that, we grew more in love with each other and admire each other an incredible amount. Our friends and family completely accept and love us, having seen what we’ve been through and how we came out the other side stronger and better than before. Love is victorious and worth every ounce of the fight!
Photography by James White Photography