From a poetic online meeting to a coffee shop wedding, this is a modern love story.
A self-proclaimed Tinder success story, love sparked quickly for this match. Immediately appealing to Carmel’s old-school style, Damon initiated the conversation with a poem in the style of ‘Roses are red, violets are blue…’, cheekily declaring she was an 11 out of 10. His future bride countered by suggesting an impromptu beach meeting when Damon admitted he was nervous about their first date. “I didn’t put on makeup or get dressed up,” says Carmel. “I was ready for him to love me as I was – and he did.” Carmel also notes they’ve been inseparable ever since and equally as in love as that first day, “Only now he’s upgraded me to a 15 out of 10.” Well played, Damon!
This police officer and teacher-turned-events planner bonded over their passion for the outdoors and built a life they love, regularly returning to the beach together – now with their son and fur babies in tow! During a particularly chilly and rainy adventure on the South Island of New Zealand (Damon’s homeland), the pair stopped to admire Lake Wakatipu. Carmel says she remembers thinking, “Can this moment get any better?” before turning to see Damon down on one knee!
Despite their adventurous nature, the couple agreed they weren’t looking for an outdoor wedding. After a day of venue hunting, nothing seemed “right.” That is until they stopped for a coffee at their favourite art deco café in Rockhampton. “I saw the timber beaming, the beautiful art on the walls, and the natural light that flooded the room, and suddenly, I couldn’t imagine being married anywhere else,” says Carmel. To Damon and Carmel, getting married means giving each other their best … even when a pandemic gets in the way of their big day. As their April 2020 wedding date approached and the world went into lockdown, the pair made the hard decision to downsize and postpone their plans, only 10 days before they were meant to be married. However, when their original date rolled around, Carmel was determined not to allow it to be a sad day. Secretly, she set about planning a commitment ceremony in a rural location that was special to their family, leaving Damon with a few outfit choices and instructions for him to meet her there. Once together, they beamed in their celebrant via Facetime and exchanged heartfelt promises in a brief but emotional ceremony. It was the perfect way to honour their chosen date.
When their new September date arrived, however, it had all the vintage glam Carmel adores. The couple decided to fill the artwork-centred coffee shop with the red roses Damon spoke of in his original pick-up line – an extra sentimental choice for Carmel. “My mum’s bouquet was filled with red roses,” she explains. “Each one is a work of art, and that is what I wanted my wedding to celebrate, works of art. From the old building to the dresses to the individual people in our bridal party and our cherished guest list of friends and family, every element of our day was so beautiful.”
Carmel’s show-stopping vintage-inspired lace gown and ’50s styling was a fitting finishing touch. “When I found my dress I knew that it would be the perfect connection between the vintage glam elements of my aesthetic and modern minimalism,” she says. “My lipstick was rose red and the boys wore old navy. It was perfect.”
As the festivities wound down after dinner, the bride and groom gathered their loved ones – who had all been asked to bring along “an instrument of some sort”. They played music and sang together into the night, but special music-mention goes to Carmel’s brother, who virtually chimed in from his army base with a song that he wrote just for the happy couple. And to cap off the festivities, the newlyweds slipped away for a romantic honeymoon at their luxury accommodation, Secrets on the Lake in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Their top tip for other couples? Keep things fresh, always talk it out, and respect one another enough to listen with love.
Photography and videography: The Love Archives // Venue: 45 East, Rockhampton // Dress: Gladstone Bridal Boutique // Headpiece: Angelic Bridal // Suits: Stewarts Rockhampton // Bridesmaids’ dresses: Maya at ASOS // Hair: Studio Rococo // Makeup: Pro Makeup Studio // Wedding stylist: The Opulence AU // Event coordination: Two Birds Events // Rings: Prouds and Ballantyne Showcase Jewellers NZ // Florist: Posy Yeppoon // Cake: Sprinkle + Me // Stationery: The Opulence AU // Celebrant: Brenda Fisher // Transport: Prestige Luxury Service