Helen and Tabz decided to elope, after years of growing their love story. They shared vows in a personal and private ceremony and froliked the Cornish coastline in celebration of their union.
Tell us how your love story began.
We’ve been together for six and a half years. We met at the University of Manchester ten years ago, at an LGBT+ Women’s film night. Tabz had organized the night with the LGBTQ+ Society, and Helen went along. There was a screening of the film the Kids Are Alright, and a discussion afterward. Helen had had a few too many beers and vocally disagreed with Tabz interpretation of the film! It wasn’t a heated disagreement, but definitely very memorable for both of us! After that, we became great friends as we worked on Reclaim the Night and other events together.
Three years later, we finally got together on New Year’s Eve. Our friendship before we go together gave us a solid foundation – we knew we had the same values and love of lesbian pop culture. We both referenced the film night during our wedding vows!
Tell us about the proposal.
We got engaged on 8th October 2019 on the Amalfi Coast. Tabz had bought Helen the trip for her 30th birthday earlier in the year. Helen has always said she disagreed with mixing engagements with birthdays or Christmas – they were their own standalone things! But it was ok because she was going to be the one to pop the question.
We hopped aboard a super early bus to take us to the Path of the Gods – a beautiful coastal hike between Praino and Positano. Helen was expecting it to be quite remote and not too many people about. It turns out there was a tonne of walking tours that day. As this was her first time here, she didn’t know precisely when or where she would do it – just wherever felt right at the time.
After an hour and a half walking, Helen was getting pretty anxious about where to do it. There were so many people about! Finally, at one point overlooking Positano, the crowds thinned a bit, and we got a silent moment.
Helen produced a ring, forgot to ask whether Tabz would marry her, and Tabz just laughed due to not expecting it at all! Finally, after what felt like a lifetime of Tabz laughing, she said yes, and we managed a quick kiss before the next set of hikers rounded the corner.
We celebrated in Positano with prosecco after and had another four days on the Amalfi Coast to celebrate our engagement.
Talk us through your wedding day.
Our wedding day was absolutely perfect, and we wouldn’t change a thing! On the morning of our wedding, we woke up feeling excited and nervous – the day was finally here. Our venue hosts, Maya and Tom, brought breakfast to our apartment, and we were thankful for the bucks of fizz for some Dutch courage!
At 9 am, Sjani, our makeup artist and hairstylist, arrived. She was fantastic at giving us both natural looks, and we loved chatting through the state of women’s healthcare – it felt very us! We loved being able to get ready together in the morning, and it felt special sharing that time together.
By 11.30, we were in our outfits and ready to go! We packed up our picnic hamper and opened a bottle of champagne to enjoy on our balcony, looking out over the Cornish coast. Helen went over to the main house first to meet the registrar, then Tabz followed. Unfortunately, during her registrar appointment, Tabz forgot her age! And during the ceremony, she also forgot her full name. Thankfully Helen had given the registrar a heads up this might happen.
Helen came down the candle-lit stairs to Mary Lambert’s ‘She Keeps Me Warm’ while Tabz waited at the bottom for the ceremony. Our ceremony was full of laughs and giggles. We both wrote our own vows and were so excited to hear what the other person said! It turns out our vows were incredibly similar – we referenced so many of the same things but gave them different angles. With just us, and our two witnesses Maya and Tom, along with our photographer Thomas Frost and the registrar, the whole thing felt incredibly intimate and so personal.
After our ceremony, we got some photos taken inside the beautiful venue. After about forty minutes, we both ditched the high heels and went barefoot! We brought a progress rainbow flag to feature in our photos. It was really important for us to recognise all the people who came before us to make our wedding possible and those still fighting for more fundamental rights.
Our photographer, Thomas Frost, took us to some incredible spots along the Cornish coastline after a quick change into pride Converse and leather jackets! The sun was out, but it was really windy on the day. So windy, we nearly got taken off a cliff but managed to catch ourselves just in time (and Thomas managed to get an action shot!) We rounded our time off with Thomas on a beautiful secluded beach, where we paused to enjoy a picnic and take in the day. Once we got back to our apartment, we let a few close friends and family know we eloped and enjoyed watching a sunset from our balcony.
We wouldn’t have changed anything about our day – it was so stress-free and fun, just the two of us! It felt like we were on a secret adventure, which made it feel so much more romantic!
What advice do you have for others who might be planning an elopement?
The hardest thing for us was deciding how we would tell people of our decision. We knew some people would be disappointed they wouldn’t spend the day with us. If you do tell some people before the wedding, think of ways to involve them – maybe ask them to choose your reading, or ways to celebrate together when you get home.
On our wedding day, the only people we saw were our venue hosts0000, registrar, photographer, and makeup artist. So make sure you have a good connection and vibe well with your suppliers. It makes such a difference to your day.
And finally, don’t feel guilty about not having your friends or family there – the day is about you and your partner! When we told friends who were already married and had big weddings we were eloping, they said they wished they had eloped or barely got to spend real-time with their partner on the day. So trust why you decided to have a smaller wedding!
Photography by Thomas Frost