Wedding date:  24 October 2020 // Number of guests: 6

Lovers and Legends captured the sweet Brisbane elopement of Anna & Jay … and, we love it! 💕

QB: All good love stories start somewhere; tell us how and when you met …

A&J: Like out of a cliche youth novel, we’ve known each other since we were 13, both playing violin in our high school orchestra. However, we properly rekindled just after high school at a mutual friend’s house party; we felt like long lost kindred spirits and the rest is history.

QB: Tell us about your lives together …

A: I’m a nurse and Jay works in hospitality, so we are often both very busy with work. We both make sure that we take time out of our week for quality time, whether it’s brunch, a picnic or simply a coffee date. Outside of work and dates we love spoiling our little ginger rescue cat, Cleo (and ourselves of course, spontaneously or otherwise).

J: We stay busy but also free up time to spend together when we can. Our dynamic together as a couple balances well with our busy lifestyles, personal interests and general mutual, personal philosophies. A lot of which can explain why we decided to marry as young as we have. Having experienced the trials and tribulations involved in a long term relationship and reflecting on our resilience throughout many stages and situations, we knew our bond was something truly special and worth celebrating together against the test of time.

QB: What does marriage mean to you?

A: Marriage to me is a symbolic commitment you make with the human you want to share the rest of your life with. I grew up in a religious household and dreamed of finding my partner in crime. I still remember the smell of Mum’s perfume, trying on her wedding dress and clip-clopping around the house in her high heels, whilst trawling over her wedding album. Despite no longer aligning myself with my family’s traditional views, I still envisioned making this commitment “officially” to my best friend. And, even though we had already made this commitment to each other as a couple without the certificate, being able to share our union in front of our closest family members meant the world to both of us.

J: I believe that marriage is the sharing of positive experiences, emotions and everyday life with someone you can genuinely trust and love. Every day feels like a holiday when you know you can find solutions to any problem with each other. Life’s stressors aren’t compounded together, they’re made bearable and rewards present themselves in unexpected ways without even realising. We share ambitions and dreams along with many of the typical couple’s hopes and visions for the future ahead of us. Fulfilling work, kids and a house to call home. Overall, it means the world to us that we can share this experience in such a symbolic way.

QB: Make us laugh, make us cry: who proposed to who, and how?

A: We actually planned the wedding before Jay officially proposed! He took me out on a date a month out from the wedding, so I knew the proposal had to be coming very soon! The date was just like our very first ones – a picturesque twilight dinner and drinks in the city. We went for a beautiful walk down to the river in Southbank by the spot where we had our first dates, my heart was pounding the entire way in anticipation. He even brought out a camera to capture the “view”, which only made the suspense that much more torturous. At long last, however, he knelt down to reveal the ring he selected with the promise of forever.

QB: How and why did you choose your venue?

A: Jay’s parents were married in the botanical gardens in Mt Cootha, so it appealed to both of us to follow in their footsteps and make our commitment in the same location. We had also enjoyed a number of dates there and loved the wildlife and the sense of peace.

J: We both enjoyed the idea of eloping somewhere where we’d previously shared some of our fondest memories to date. It was important to both of us that wherever we eloped was local. A lot of what drew us to the botanical gardens in Mt Cootha was indeed the fact my parents also married here.

QB: What was the inspiration behind your wedding style and where did you gather your inspiration from?

A: A lot of inspiration came from our love for garden weddings and the whole outdoors theme. I definitely spent a lot of time on Instagram and Pinterest looking for inspiration.

J: We wanted a style where we could be ourselves, yet still suit the location and atmosphere of our special day. Genuine and laid back at the same time. We originally entertained a vintage wedding style, however settled on the more casual bohemian/garden theme, keeping that natural outdoor beauty.

QB: Did you incorporate any traditions or perhaps do something a little different?

A: Our whole wedding seemingly went against the traditions that lots of couples follow. We got dressed and ready together where, which was extra special and simply very us. Jay even drove us both to the ceremony! I made my own bouquet which was quite an experience in and of itself, however, one tradition we did stick to was keeping the vows a secret until we spoke them. I also chose my twin brother to be our ring bearer, which is very non-traditional, but again very us. He also officially bore witness to the marriage along with Jay’s mum.

J: We chose Anna’s brother to be the ring bearer because not only is he her twin, but we’d known each other for years and thought it was a sweet way to do things a little differently. I loved keeping with the tradition of only knowing the others vows as they were spoken on the day, although the vows themselves were more unique to us.

QB: Was there a favourite/funny/most memorable moment of the day?

A: We planned to have a picnic after the ceremony. We brought cushions, picnic blankets and everything, however it absolutely rained buckets over everything! It did make for some dreamy pictures in the end though!

 J: I forgot my ring in the car and had to send Anna’s brother back to get it before the ceremony started! Although I probably wouldn’t have felt like myself if I didn’t forget at least something important, knowing me!

QB: Tell us about your dress/suit choices …

A: I’m a big believer in being sustainable wherever possible, but also loved the designer brands! I ended up finding my dream dress by Bo & Luca – a second-hand number from Still White.

J: We are both vegan so it was important to find a suitable suit & shoes without animal products. I had a couple in mind and even ended up purchasing two suit jackets as I was so indecisive on what would work best. In the end, I went with a classic fitted navy jacket, paired with light cream chinos and oak brown Chelsea boots. I also had jewellery to represent my family – a colourful bird of paradise brooch on my jacket to symbolise my mum’s side of the family from the Solomon Islands, and my late Father’s heirloom gold and emerald ring to honour his side of the family from Canada.

QB: Were there any standout suppliers?

A&J: All of them! We loved our celebrant (Jamie Eastgate from Brisbane City Celebrants), Anna’s HMUA (Zoe Tranter), our photographer and videographer (Steph + Elliott Phasey – now known as Lovers and Legends) – and of course & our amazing close friend Callum; a pastry chef, who created our beautiful and unique vegan lemon myrtle wedding cake.

QB: Do you have any words of wisdom to offer other couples (other than don’t stress the small stuff and it’ll all be okay on the day?)

A: In hindsight, I wish we had had a trial day with our celebrant in the location so I felt more prepared on the day, but I’m glad it all worked out the way that it did in the end, even with the rain! It made for a perfectly imperfect day with beautiful memories, it felt very natural.

J: Having a rehearsal of the ceremony is never a bad idea, especially if you’re easily nervous like we tend to be, however above all, remember to have fun! Despite tongue-twisting our vows and getting ourselves and the picnic caught in the rain, there were equally wonderful moments that easily made up for it all. We found humour and love in all the setbacks, and that really helped keep the magic alive on the day.

QB: Did you (or will you) enjoy a honeymoon? If so, how and why did you choose your destination?

A: We ended up spending a week honeymooning on the Gold Coast as we felt it had the best options for relaxing & fun out and about. However, we plan on honeymooning a second time in Melbourne (as that was our original choice) once the pandemic is over.

J: We treated ourselves to a borderline hedonistic getaway to the good old Gold Coast. Our love for finding great places to eat and drink, soaking up sun and sand, and adventuring were all satiated there.

QB: Please share any other details …

We’re firm believers in embracing love. We communicate our love to each other routinely, as the commitment we made to each other should never be forgotten. Communication is key in any relationship and especially in a marriage. It feels empowering experiencing life alongside your best friend who believes in you, encourages you and helps to better you in all the same ways they reciprocate. It breeds confidence in our future and there’s rarely a better feeling inside than having such a secure and loving family unit together, with us and Cleo. We hope that everyone out there finds their soulmate, we all deserve love.

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