Ash & Emma had a large and expensive wedding well before marriage equality was on the cards for Australia. They each wanted an opportunity to make their commitment legal and chose an understated beachside elopement in Broome, Western Australia, for wedding number two.  

Words by Emma

Photography by Julia Rau Photography


We have known each other for 11 years but have been together for five. We met through a mutual friend, but our lives then took us down different paths.

We experienced the highs and lows of life apart from each other, and it wasn’t until we reunited in Broome that our love continued to grow and we found our lives heading in the same direction.

We were engaged for just over 18 months before our commitment ceremony and our official wedding ceremony that we call our ‘elopement’ was another 18 months after that, it’s when the Australian government decided that our marriage was just as valid as others.

Two ceremonies later and we are living our ‘happily ever after’ that we have dreamt of for 11 years.


Broome was the first place Ash and I saw each other after five years of being apart. Ash was living in Broome with her family, and when I came to visit on a brief holiday, we fell in love all over again.

Ash gave me a promise ring on Cable Beach that one day she would marry me, but only when we were ready. It wasn’t long before I decided to move to Broome and Ash and I spent every other weekend travelling out to Eco Beach where we often spent the day or a whole weekend. It was our favourite place in Broome and held lots of happy memories for us.

Our vibe for the elopement was just a relaxed one. We wanted no stresses, and that’s exactly what we got. The day was all about spending time with immediate family and very close friends, and it was perfect.

We had already had our big, expensive wedding two years earlier so this time around it was all about simplicity and finding spontaneity in the moments.

When it came to choosing our outfits, to be honest, the first time around I had the beautiful and expensive dress and Ash wore the suit, waistcoat and bow tie…this time, it was all about keeping it “simply beautiful”. My dress was elegant but simple and cost only $150 and Ash’s outfit was a throw together of brand name labels that happened to be on sale! Neither of us wore shoes, because, well, it’s Broome!

One thing we did both incorporate in our outfits were pins from Ash’s Pop who passed away before our first ceremony. We wore them at our first ceremony so it was really important that we wore them at our second so Poppy could be close to us.

We made little glass jars for all of our guests and a larger one for ourselves. They were filled halfway with white sand from Cronulla in Sydney where we had our first ceremony, and the other half was filled with pindan (red dirt) from Broome. To us, it was an essential part of blending the two ceremonies and bringing our lives and lands together.

Our absolute most favourite part was the sunset swim in the Indian Ocean! Clothes and all, playfully splashing we forgot that our photographer was even there! Jules did an amazing job of capturing a precious memory that we will cherish forever. We also did ‘scissors paper rock’ at the ceremony to work out who would read their vows first – it was only fair.


Marriage to me means being a team. Tackling life’s obstacles together, supporting one another and making decisions knowing someone will always be there to support you. It’s waking up in the morning and feeling grateful to have someone who adores you as much as you adore them. It’s celebrating each other’s triumphs while being a team through each other’s defeats. It is having a permanent best friend, someone you can be completely honest with and have them share honesty with you.

Marriage is between two people, two human beings.


Invite the people YOU want to invite.

If nothing else, have these two things; beautiful location and an amazing photographer! At the end of the day, all you have left are the photos. Don’t choose a dud!

Be sure to remember that the day is about the two of you, embrace the ‘special’, embrace the adoration and take a moment to close your eyes and just breathe. These moments are so precious, but they go by so fast. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Catering Eco Beach Resort | Ceremony Venue Eco Beach | Celebrant Kiss Me You Fool | Florist Silk flower crown by Lilly and Lace| Hair & Makeup Bonnie Louise Styling | Photography Julia Rau Photography