Being friends for seven years before they got together, Stephen and Hannah had cemented a pretty solid friendship before they decided to take the next step. When they thought about getting married, Stephen and Hannah wanted their wedding day to be just about them and their love. They didn’t want to feel like they had to worry about people having a good time. And although they aren’t religious, they still felt like their wedding should be somewhere they felt was sacred. So, what better place than out amongst the elements of nature at Namadgi National Park in Canberra, in an elopement ceremony with their parents and best friends.
To bring their vision to life, they enlisted the help of James, a legendary elopement photographer from Who Shot The Photographer based in Canberra. James asks couples to share their vision with him, and he’ll take care of the rest. Trusting James with their day proved to be worth it, as it was right about the time Hannah was getting her hair done that James calmly advised them that the road to the original ceremony spot had been closed, so he had a Plan B.
The ceremony was held on Ngunnawal land at the base of Mt Tennent, just behind the Visitors Centre next to Gudgenby Hut. Hannah walked down a dirt hiking track aisle to a speaker playing Band of Horses’ version of “Into My Arms”. The ceremony was officiated by Michelle (The Shellibrant) Bailey and was full of laughter and happy tears. Hannah is a Primary School Teacher and her students wrote an Acknowledgement of Country for Michelle the celebrant to read out (as a way of including her students who all wanted an invitation!).
They also included a Baumstamm Sägen – an old German tradition (a nod to Hannah’s heritage) in which the bride and groom saw a log in half. It represents equality in marriage and the give and take (moving the saw back and forth) represents what makes the partnership successful, as well as being the first challenge that they must overcome together as husband and wife. When sawing the log, the guests can provide advice and encouragement which also symbolises how marriage can be supported by those around you. The log itself was sourced from a recently fallen native tree. The old two-person saw was sourced from a second-hand store and lovingly repaired and refurbished by Hannah’s Dad.
Stephen and Hannah used the Mindfully Wed Carbon Footprint Calculator to discover their wedding had a pretty low carbon footprint. Hannah’s dress was from Bec and Bridge, an Australian made dress made from 100% viscose and she eventually changed out of her flats into her trusty Blundstones. Her flowers were made by her Maid of Honour and friend Alice, who is a trained florist, using locally sourced flowers and dried flowers from Dusty Dainty. Their rings were from KIN Gallery in Canberra, who source bespoke pieces from Australian jewellery designers.
After the ceremony they cracked a local beer from Capital Brewing Co, and then dined at vegetarian and plant based restaurant Monster Kitchen and Bar. And they stayed at the award-winning sustainable building and hotel Ovolo Nishi.
We absolutely love seeing weddings where the couples make so many mindful decisions to create their perfect wedding day, and we love sharing them with other couples for inspiration.