Nathan and Joelyn met at work. "I know, I know, how romantic", says Joelyn, "Nathan spotted me in the office about 6 months after I started working there. As we both worked in healthcare sales, we were often in hospitals, not the office. I had no idea that Nathan had ever even seen me. So, when I walked into a meeting one day months later and this handsome man kept smiling and starting at me, I was a bit taken a back. My first thought was - something is my teeth! As soon as I left the meeting I called a friend and said that I had just met someone special."
Fast forward two years later and the couple were engaged in Positano. "We both love travel and had embarked on a 6-week holiday to the United States, where I am originally from, and Europe. We just knew when we left Positano’s beauty that we had to come back and get married there. A year later I was 5 months pregnant and planning a wedding. It was a lot."
The couple's original wedding date was set for May 23, 2020 at Villa San Giacomo in Italy. Then Covid happened and ruined their wedding plans. "All our guests were coming from both Australia and America, so it was a bit heartbreaking to say the least. We did however have this beautiful little newborn after 2 years of trying and 6 rounds of IVF (their precious baby girl Willa), so we decided not to let a global pandemic ruin our fun. We knew we didn’t want to wait 1-2 years to make things official, so we decided to elope as a family. We still plan on celebrating with friends and family in Italy when the world can be vaccinated. But we couldn’t be happier with the way our day turned out as a party of three."
When Joelyn and Nathan were deciding on a new wedding location, their options were limited, given travel restrictions in New South Wales. The settled on Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast with photographer Matt Godkin there to capture their intimate elopement.
"We selected Byron Bay because it has always been a special place for Nathan and I. We have travelled there often, spanning from when we first met - through our babymoon, so Byron felt right. I stumbled upon Elope on Instagram and when we saw Temple Farmhouse it looked like heaven. I grew up in rural Montana in the states and Nathan in Berry NSW so the farm element of the location seemed to fit. Plus, have you seen the intimate wedding ceremony site in the forest there? Actual heaven."
Joelyn didn't find a dress easily. "I struggled with this for a while, I must admit. I was only 6 months post-natal and to say that I was getting used to my new body is the understatement of the year! I also knew that I wanted to do something fun, because I am not the most traditional person either. I knew immediately that I wanted a short dress and a long dramatic veil. You never see that, and I didn’t want to look like every other bride."
Originally, Joelyn selected a Macgraw dress, which she loved. It was long sleeved, romantic and had a bit of a fun 80's feel to it. However, a couple weeks before the wedding she started second guessing her choice. "Why? I am not sure. Just a gut feeling really." It was then that Joelyn stumbled across Reformation’s wedding section and fell in love with the dress she ended up wearing on her wedding day. " I knew it was the one. It worked perfectly with the cathedral pearl veil I had from Harriette Gordon. I wanted classic but unexpected. The pop of baby blue in my Scanlan Theodore heels was the perfect final touch."
Joelyn also wanted to give a nod to Australia as well. "Given I am American and marrying in my newly adopted country, so that is why you see me later in the Lack of Color hat. The Macgraw dress did end up making an appearance at the end of the evening though. As a product of the American 80s I often liked to pretend my life was like a John Hughes film, like every other teenage girl I am sure… Molly Ringwald anyone? I was obsessed with 16 Candles when I was young and the scene at the end of the movie where Molly’s characters crush Jake Ryan kisses her over her bday cake….dead. When I knew I had the Macgraw dress as a backup I had a vision of re-enacting this at the end of the night with our cake by Rebellyous Cake Co. It was a fun way for all of us to end the best day.
"As for Nathan, he planned his Country Road suit in an hour, about two weeks before the wedding. Shocking, right?"
When it came to priorities for their elopement Joelyn was quite clear on what she wanted - or rather didn't want. "To be honest, after a cancelled wedding during a global pandemic and already a year of planning, the most important thing for me with the elopement was to not plan much at all! I didn’t want to stress. And most importantly after everything, I really wanted to enjoy the day and be in the moment. So, I let go of basically everything and let Elope do what they do while I sat back and relaxed.
I am not the most traditional person however, for whatever reason I was still compelled to do the something new, old, borrowed and blue. New was the dress, old was me (kidding) - was my great grandmothers’ brooch, pearl necklace and pocket mirror, borrowed was the rug we were married on, and blue was the colour of the brooch and my shoes. I also wanted Nathan to see me for the first time walking down the aisle and not before. I wanted to remember the look on his face the moment he saw me."
Their advice to other couples getting married, particularly during Covid? "Honestly - elope! Even if it’s with a small crew. This year has made a lot of people focus on the important stuff and that’s the love. Not all the other stuff. Also, as a bride don’t ever feel compelled to look “bridal”. Look and feel like yourself on your wedding day so if that means wearing black nail polish - wear it. Oh, and get a massage the morning of your wedding. You will not regret it!"
@bc_celebrant | Styling + Wedding Planning : Elope @__elope__ - Emily Fuglsang | HMUA : Julie Corbet @juliecorbet.hairmakeup | Hire : The Wedding Shed @theweddingshed | Ceremony Space : The Wedding Shed @theweddingshed | Flora : Bower Botanicals @bowerbotanicals | Catering + Beverages : FigTree Restaurant @figtreerestaurant | Cake : Rebellyous Cake Co @rebellyouscakeco | Bride's Dress : Reformation @reformation + Macgraw @macgrawlove| Groom's Suit : Country Road @countryroad | Rings : Natalie Marie Jewellery @nataliemariejewellery | Bride's Shoes : Scanlan Theodore @scanlanandtheodore | Groom's Shoes : Aquila @aquila_est1958 | Veil : Harriette Gordon @harriettegordon | Bride's Hat : Lack of Color @lackofcoloraus | Bride's Earrings : Anni Lu Jewelry @_anni_lu| Bride's Scarf : Vintage | Bride's Brooch, Pearl Necklace + Pocket Mirror : Vintage - The Bride's Great Grandmother Stella’s | Baby's Dress : Ralph Lauren @ralphlauren