An embodiment of culture, richness and earthly beauty The Riad in Byron Bay became the perfect setting for Sam & Ellectra's intimate elopement.
When initial plans to elope overseas fell through, they opted to have only their parents present for an intimate ceremony followed by a formal dinner hosted by Harvest Café. From Ellectra's custom gown, to the stunning imagery from the talented pair at Lucas & Co, we're in love with the class and opulence of Sam & Ellectra's wedding. Evoking a sense of nostalgia with a liking to memories documented on old film the timeless romance of the black and white frames is captivating.
HOW WE MET: At school, 14 years ago...
OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: Sam proposed in Queenstown, New Zealand while on holidays for my birthday in 2012. We were at the Onsen Hot Pools overlooking the Dart River, it was so romantic.
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: Having a lover and companion to share every experience of life. Showing the world how proud and honoured we are to call each other husband and wife.
WEDDING LOCATION: Our wedding venue was The Riad in the Byron Bay hinterland which was hand built by renowned International artist Ken Johnson. With inspiration from Morocco, Spain, Mexico and India, this exotic estate suited our style and love for travelling and experiencing new cultures. The Riad’s eclectic mix of design through differing cultures made our wedding day all the more unique and memorable. With initial plans to elope overseas, The Riad was the perfect substitute.
THEME/STYLE: Traditional weddings are not our style so we created a day that would ensure we were comfortable and truly focussed on our love and commitment to one another. Elopement was the perfect choice for us and made the day so much more intimate. We had just our parents as guests and our fathers signed as our witnesses. Due to the small number of guests we requested they avoid bold coloured and mismatching attire and wear simple black and white. There was no set theme for the day but when making decisions these three things were always considered: sophistication, bold opulence and natural beauty.
PHOTOGRAPHY: The amazing Sarah and Jason Lucas from Lucas & Co Photography. I had researched high and low for a photographer who suited our style and would make us feel comfortable on our wedding day. I was very particular about capturing every element of our intimate wedding to ensure our photos would read like a story, I didn’t want to miss a page. Sarah and Jason captured this in an effortless and classic way by utilising the unique aspects of the venue. After receiving our first sneak peek photos I couldn’t wipe the smile of my face for about a week! The photographs are more than we could have ever imagined.
BRIDE’S DRESS: Sophisticated, feminine and bold. For me it is all in the detail. To be honest I was never that girl who dreamed of her wedding day, so deciding on a gown took some time. With a background in design and sewing I knew the possibilities were endless and had my heart set on having my dress made to suit my shape, style and an autumn wedding. The embellished boat neck bodice, long sleeves with scalloped detail and delicate tulle train captured my style perfectly.
Marilyn Brett from Marilyn Crystelle Bridal helped turn my dream into reality. I always knew fabric would be the hardest part because the beading detail had to be a specific pattern. After several samples and a quick trip to suppliers in Melbourne, Marilyn returned with the perfect fabric. My design was soon turned into a masterpiece. Marilyn’s craftsmanship and attention to detail is exceptional.
BRIDE’S SHOES: I wore nude almond toe heels by Tony Bianco which worked with my long sleeve dress and style of our autumn wedding.
JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: I wore large pearl studs which complimented the embellishment of my dress. I love pearl earrings and wanted to ensure the jewellery I wore on my wedding day made me feel like me. I wore a heavily beaded hair comb which tied in with my dress bodice and added femininity to my messy bun.
WEDDING RINGS: My engagement ring is a simple princess cut diamond set in a platinum band. Our wedding bands are plain matching bands, mine platinum 2mm and his palladium 8mm.
GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Sam wore a classic black suit with a white shirt and bow tie. His buttonhole consisted of green chrysanthemums and berries. Although our wedding was intimate it was not casual, the dress code was sophisticated and formal.
HAIR: Ava from Ava Belle Bridal styled my hair on the day. I wore a low messy bun with a deep side part. I wanted a style that would be practical and emphasise the high boat neck and low cut back of my gown.
MAKEUP: The very talented Samantha Lee from MAC helped create my look. I wanted brown and gold tones for my eyes to tie in with the autumn feel of the wedding, bronzed cheeks and nude lips. The style was flawless skin, simple lips and detailed eyes. Oh and lots of lashes! Tip – go for individual lashes rather than the single strip, they are less likely to come off when you shed some tears.
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: As we didn’t have all of our family and friends at the wedding there was no need for invitations, however we felt it was important send out a note card to everyone who is important to us to let them know we were eloping. The words were hard to find when it came to writing it but we got there in the end. In brief: We are eloping. Your love, friendship and support means the world to us, please know you hold a special place in our hearts but this is the perfect wedding for us. The white note card with gold text was created by Minted, tying in with the gold and bronze tones of the wedding.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: Laura from Beautiflora created the magical table arrangements and my bouquet. I had a particular style in mind and Laura was so helpful in talking through all of my options. The table arrangements had a mix of green chrysanthemums, trix carnations, molucca balm, cream lissianthus, tropical foliage and hypericum berries. I wanted my bouquet to have an unstructured look but still clean and crisp. Large bulb flowers were a must and Peonies were the perfect option. My bouquet tied in with the table arrangements as green chrysanthemums and berries were used to create the long woody stems. As an avid flower lover these had to be perfect and they were.
CEREMONY DÉCOR: The ceremony was held on an outdoor entertaining area of The Riad. No decor was required for the ceremony as we used the facade of the building as our backdrop. The detail of this art piece needed no assistance. We stood directly in front of the large sandstone pillars and positioned perfectly against the back wall was a bright blue bench seat. The table used for champagne and canapés also had vases of green foliage to match the reception flower arrangements. I was very conscious of not over-styling as the setting was already magical.
RECEPTION DÉCOR: I wanted to capture the beauty of The Riad whilst remaining true to our style so I chose the theme of golds, bronzes and earthy tones offset by cream linen tableware. I used a cream linen table runner through the centre to ensure the green foliage from the flower arrangements was not lost in the dark colouring of the table. Each table setting had a bread plate with a gold fig adorned with twine attached to natural toned place cards, which matched the menus supplied by Harvest Cafe. Candles were another important element of the evening. They were running down the centre of the table, along the picture window sill and wall recesses. Also burning was a Mr Travis Parfumeur candle which added to the atmosphere of the evening by having such a beautiful scent present. Each time I light this candle it takes me back to our day.
WEDDING PLANNER: Myself.
WEDDING STYLIST: Myself.
CAKE: Rather than a traditional wedding cake we had gold, salted caramel macarons from Madam Macaron. They were accompanied by gold fresh figs, cream and pistachios. The very talented Gen from Madam Macaron created the decadent dessert and did not disappoint.
WEDDING SONGS: Our ceremony song was an acoustic version of Chan Chan by Buena Vista Social Club. We play this genre of music really loud every Saturday and dance around the house. We wanted a song that we could listen to again and again. It brings back such special memories and we can’t help but smile each time we listen to it. Following the ceremony, we had a playlist that carried throughout the night.
FOOD & BEVERAGES: The amazing team from Harvest Cafe at Newrybar brought our dreams to life. After the ceremony we drank beautiful champagne and had a platter of cured meats, sourdough bread, local dips and olives. Following this we had 3 canapés served – steamed truffle mushroom dumplings, scallops in their shells and sticky pork belly spoons. We had a 3 course sit down dinner. Our entree was tian of spanner crab, avocado and finger lime and main course was herb-crusted rack of lamb with white polenta and garden greens. We loved the fact Harvest sources all local produce and even grows some of their own food. The food was incredible and their service was exceptional.
TRANSPORT: Our ceremony, reception and accommodation were all at The Riad so there was no need for transport.
HONEYMOON: The magical island of Santorini, Greece. Europe holds a special place in our hearts and we cannot wait to get back there. We have 2 weeks of Mediterranean bliss in June, we cannot wait to check into our hotels as Mr and Mrs!
CELEBRANT: Josh Withers. We chose Josh because of his casual and fresh approach to marriage.
READINGS: We wrote our own vows and read them to each other. We felt by having such a small ceremony it was more intimate to do it this way rather than repeating it from the celebrant.
ANY OTHER SPECIAL DETAILS: As we weren’t having all of our nearest and dearest at the wedding, some of our closest friends organised a surprise getaway to Hamilton Island for 4 days earlier this year. The weekend was incredible. We stayed at The Edge which had the most spectacular views and on one night they had organised a ‘pre-wedding wedding’ at Bommie, an award winning restaurant on the island. We had a private dining area that the girls had set up with beautiful fresh flowers, candles and place cards. It was truly one of the most special nights of our lives, we felt so loved and are forever grateful. Also, we have a black staffy named Rasta. He has been our baby and a part of our relationship for the past 7 years, so of course he was with us on our wedding day. No dog outfits were allowed..
SOURCES OF INSPIRATION: The LANE, Instagram, Pinterest, various blogs. None of my inspiration came from bride magazines, I feel the content is neither fresh nor dynamic.
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: When Sam and I looked into each other’s eyes for the first time at the ceremony. We were so overwhelmed we didn’t know what to do so we kissed!
Another moment etched in my heart was when my dad saw me in my dress for the first time.
ONE THING I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY WEDDING PLANS…
The size of the wedding doesn’t matter – it still requires the same amount of dedication to organise. There will be times when you want to give up but I promise you will look back be grateful that you went the extra mile to make the day just perfect for the two of you. Embrace every moment, kiss, laugh and smile because it is over before you know it.
IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE… Eloping is not as scary as you think, you won’t regret it. You will have to deal with other people’s disappointment but at the end of the day your wedding is about the two of you. Don’t do anything just because it’s what ‘everybody does’, do it because you want to. Elopement is so intimate and special. The whole day was focused on the two of us and ensuring we spent every moment together. That is what marriage is all about. Always remember to come back to your true style and don’t assume style has to be expensive!
SAM & ELLECTRA'S CONTACTS:
PHOTOGRAPHY: Lucas & Co
BRIDE'S DRESS: Marilyn Crystelle
BRIDE’S SHOES: Tony Bianco
HAIR: Ava Belle Bridal
CAKE: Madam Macaron
CELEBRANT: Josh Withers
WEDDING VENUE: The Riad