Dom & Emma wouldn’t consider themselves a traditional couple, rather, they like to approach life a little more outside the lines. They knew that a big wedding day just wouldn’t suit them as a couple and so they eloped to New Zealand, with just their mothers as guests, and ditched their white dresses for something more comfortable. Here’s their elopement story.
DWH: Tell us a little about yourselves, who is Dom & Emma?
D: I’m a copywriter by trade and also currently studying to become a celebrant, which takes up a lot of my spare time. I’m a bit of a homebody so for fun I really enjoy gardening, playing with our two rescue greyhounds, Iggy and Sasha and going to yoga.
E: I’m studying Architecture currently and working in retail. I love being active and I play AFL, soccer and enjoy running. I’m also like building things, which I think works well with my architecture studies.
DWH: So, we know the proposal story, but refresh it for us.
E: Unexpected! I had no idea Dom was planning to propose, she even had my ring custom made and spent months secretly planning it. I kept thinking she was going to the shops a lot, but didn’t realise she was actually going to the jewellers. Dom had mentioned that we were going out for breakfast, which I was stoked about. I walked into the lounge room to find her on one knee and it was only when I saw the ring that I fully realised what was happening.
D: We were engaged for 10 months! Emma was keen not to have a long engagement and although I wasn’t on the same page at first (trying to think how to plan a big wedding in 10 months), my mind changed once we decided to elope overseas. We saw a flight sale two months later and booked flights for February 2018 and that was that!
DWH: So, you decided to elope. Did you tell anyone?
D: We decided even though we were going to elope, we wanted our friends and family to know ahead of time rather than keep it a secret. We didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and we also decided to take both our mums with us so someone was going to find out! It wasn’t the easiest news to break to people as everyone is always so excited for a wedding, but most people respected our decision.
DWH: Why New Zealand?
E: We decided to marry overseas because the Australian Marriage Equality debate wasn’t finalised and we really couldn’t predict the outcome. We decided New Zealand wasn’t too far away, we had never been there before and it looked absolutely beautiful. We knew we wanted to stay in Queenstown and do some adventuring to towns nearby, so after a bit of googling and perving on Queenstown photographers, we found a location and a photographer at the same time!
DWH: It is beautiful over there! Why did you end up choosing to elope?
E: You know when you’re hosting a party and you don’t get to have as much fun as you want because you’re also making sure everyone else is having a good time? A big, traditional wedding felt like that to us: a shit-load of pressure and a lot of money. So we decided to focus on us, our love for each other and the fact that we aren’t traditional.
Once we were back in Australia we had a big party in our backyard at our place with family and friends. Emma’s sister made a killer playlist, we hired lighting, wine barrels and stools off Gumtree and ordered a lot of pizza and pasta from our favourite local Italian joint.
DWH: Neither of you chose to wear ‘traditional’ wedding dresses – tell us about that.
D: Finding what to wear was incredibly hard. We NEVER wear white, but we had so many people telling us (or assuming) we should wear white floor-length wedding gowns or similar, that we spent a fair bit of time trying to find something we thought we HAD to wear.
We actually both bought white dresses, as well as an outfit each for after-wedding celebrations in NZ. We weren’t planning on showing each other, but late one night we put the white dresses on and realised it just didn’t feel like us at all. We put on our after-wedding outfits together and felt so much more like us that we decided that’s what we would get married in.
DWH: What was each of your favourite moments from your wedding day?
D: My favourite moment was when we were driving to the wedding venue. We had to go on this off-road path to get to the location and Em was driving. I just remember thinking, “Holy shit, I’m getting married to the most amazing woman in the world”, whilst also trying not be sick from nerves.
E: My favourite moment was just before we left for the ceremony, we had just finished getting ready, we stood there for a moment and just stared at each other, Dom looked absolutely stunning, in her black shift dress and vibrant red lipstick, she quite literally took my breath away.
DWH: Your guest list was small, but did you incorporate any traditions?
D & E: Both our mums did a reading as part of the ceremony, it was really nice to have them included.
DWH: Now you’re married, what does it mean to you both?
D: Marriage means loving each other unconditionally and working hard at your relationship to always make it equal, individual and unified. It’s about being in the best team you can possibly be in, compromising when you need to, respecting each other always and loving each other at your best and worst. Marriage is also about legally recognising that my love, and worthiness of love, is equal with all other human beings.
E: Marriage means having someone that will always be on your side no matter what. Its unconditional support, respect and love, lots of LOVE.
DWH: And, lastly, do you have any advice for other couples planning a wedding?
E: Do what you want to do, spend what you want to spend and just make sure you get to have a good time. Don’t let anyone tell you your wedding is for your friends and family, it isn’t. It’s about you and your partner, and plan your day exactly around what the two of you want most.
D & E: We are so glad we listened to ourselves and what we really wanted for our wedding. We wish we didn’t spend so much time worrying about what everyone else would think.