I’m Josh. a Queensland Based Elopement Photographer. Available across Australia & the World
You’ve probably stumbled across this page because you’re looking for an elopement photographer. I offer elopement packages for couples with wild hearts looking to having intimate celebrations across this beautiful country and beyond. Finding an elopement photographer these days can be a tricky task. With the rise in the wanderlust fetishisation of instagram feeds it seems every man and his dog is trying to market themselves as an elopement specialist.
To date I’ve photographed elopements all around Australia, Alaska, Seattle & New Zealand. I promise you’ve I’m not just jumping on the elopement photographer a bandwagon. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot some of the most stunning elopements around this country and beyond and consider myself a fairly seasoned elopement photographer.
While I absolutely love shooting weddings big and small I always feel a special connection to couples who have a great sense of adventure and want to do something truly unique and ditch the trends. As much as there’s incredible beauty to be had in silk chair covers & chandeliers wrapped in white roses. My sense is you’re here because that’s really not your style. I’m all about the adventure and the thrill of capturing something truly intimate that’s bucking all the trends.
I’d love to share with you a bit of my advice on eloping in Australia in 2020. Eloping in Australia is a bit of a new thing so you might be wondering where to start with planning your elopement. You’ve might have been inspired by some pretty crazy elopements in Iceland or somewhere else crazy that always manage to do the rounds on instagram. Your elopement doesn’t have to look like anything you’ve ever seen before.
what is an elopement?
In Australia you can’t technically “elope” in the oldest sense of the word, “to run away and get married.” It needs a little bit of planning and forethought. You’ll need a minimum of 1 month’s notice to legally marry in Australia. Of course you could have your own commitment ceremony on a whim and fulfil the legal requirements with a registry marriage when you get back from your little runaway.
In the current wedding industry in Australia most people would class any wedding with fewer than 20 guests as an elopement. It’s essentially just a very intimate wedding really. Elopement has a bit more cool factor and buzz to it, admittedly. But it’s just a really small wedding.
For me eloping is all about intimacy and bucking trends. Pushing back against the idea that a wedding day has to be the way it’s traditionally been. That you must have 100’s of guests and spend $40,000 on cakes and flowers and things that really aren’t necessarily important to everyone. Eloping really strips back all of the fluff and gives you a chance to focus on the really important stuff.
P.S. If a photographer isn’t part of the important stuff for you. That’s totally fine too. There are no rules. I think it’d be pretty crazy to elope with no photographs to remember it and show your family & friends to invite them into the moment with you. But that’s because I really appreciate and value photography. You may not, and that’s completely fine.
The most beautiful thing about your elopement is you committing to your person for life. Choosing them out of the billions of other people and saying you are the one I choose to give my whole self to. Everything I am and everything I have. I’m committing to share all of that with you. On the best days and on the worst. We all know there’s going to be plenty of both.
It’s tempting to look at instagram and think that eloping is mostly about having something crazy to share on social media to make other people with they had your amazing life. To push the boundaries and show off your uniqueness. If that’s your thing, all power to you. But I think the commitment and celebrating the love that exists within that is the most special thing. And what I take the most pleasure in capturing.
There’s a plenty of reasons why having a really intimate celebration of your marriage might make sense for you. Perhaps with where you’re at in life as a couple the financial burden of the wedding just doesn’t make sense to you. The average Aussie wedding costs over $40,000 I’m sure you can imagine how those numbers can shrink a little when you’re not paying for $150 people’s three course dinner and an open bar.
“Most elopements I’ve photographed have only included a celebrant florist and an elopement photographer as far as vendors go.”
Perhaps there’s a lot of complications in your family’s and you deeply feel that if you brought them all under one roof the ensuing tension would really spoil the celebrations. Family is complicated and goodness knows no one has a perfect family. Sometimes choosing to keep the closest family members there and having smaller celebrations after the fact with your various extended family members can really enhance the mood of the celebration.
For my wife & I we chose to have a super intimate wedding in Tasmania because after being to 350 weddings myself, I really wanted to be in a context that’s as unlike a traditional wedding as we could find. I focus on her and be fully present without feeling like I was at work, worrying about taking a photo of thinking about whether the lighting was good or not.
Another great perk to eloping is the ability to go somewhere wild and off the beaten track. Somewhere perhaps it might be hard to convince 150 guests to follow you. Or on a mountain top where grandma might find it tricky to climb.
Big weddings come with big considerations. Making sure it’s convenient for everyone else not just you guys.
One final point, perhaps one of the best reasons to elope is that you can easily combine your elopement and honeymoon in one trip. Pick one amazing location for both. Save yourself the jetlag at the start of the honeymoon and just enjoy one beautiful place for the whole time.
Legal requirements to elope in Australia
Technically speaking I guess. There isn’t a way to legally run off to the Elvis Chapel in Brizvegas and elope on a drunken whim in Australia.
To get married in Australia, here are the legal boxes you’ll need to tick:
* not be married.
* not be marrying a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
* be at least 18 years old, unless a court has approved a marriage where 1 person is 16-18 years old.
* understand what marriage means and freely agree to marry.
* use specific words during the ceremony.
* give a notice of intended marriage form to an authorised marriage celebrant at least 1 month and no more than 18 months before your wedding.
* be married by an authorised marriage celebrant.
“Australia has no residency requirements for marriage. Foreigners can marry as soon as they arrive providing they are free to do so. Before getting married both partners have to sign a declaration stating that there is no legal impediment to the marriage.
Civil and religious marriages are both legally binding in Australia and can take place in any location. Australian marriages are widely recognised by other countries. If in doubt about the legality in a particular country, check with the relevant embassy or consulate.
All that to say there’s not a huge amount of legal hoops to jump through to legally get married in Australia. Whether you’re a local or you’re here just for your elopement it’s fairly simple to fulfil the legal requirements to be married in Australia.
planning your elopement
- Pick your location: Sentimental locations always work a treat. If you’ve got a special place you like to holiday together or somewhere you’ve had significant moments in your relationship together that’s going to be a wonderful place to start. Picking somewhere new to signify the start of your new chapter works well too. Australia has so many incredible locations you’ve probably never even thought of as an incredible elopement location.
- Book a kick-ass airbnb to stay at / perhaps even have your ceremony there. If you’re hiking a big old mountain, for your elopement pictures maybe you’ll want to have your celebrant meet you at the airbnb for your legal ceremony and say your own beautiful vows at the top of the mountain like these guys did.
- Plan your ceremony: With most of the formality’s of a wedding missing from your elopement your ceremony becomes even more special as the crown Jewel of your celebration. There’s so many different ways to conduct your ceremony for your elopement. Picking a good celebrant to walk you through building a really personal ceremony to you both is a really important piece of the puzzle. Take your time choosing your celebrant. they will play a huge role in your day and their ability to adapt to your specific needs are crucial to the way the day will run. You can lookup a whole bunch of celebrants around the country through this link.
- Pick an incredible elopement photographer: (I know a great one if you’re struggling for ideas). But it goes without saying that you’re not going to have a lot of people around you on the big day so with a small guest list. Having a photographer that has the right energy and that fits in well with your small crew makes a huge difference to how the day feels. You want someone who’s going to help you relax and is up for the spirit of adventure of the day. Also worth noting. If you’re not inviting a huge amount of people to physically join you on the day, the only way people will be able to share in the day with you is going to be through the photos you show them later. So pick someone who’s great, who you gel with and who’s really great at telling stories and makes you feel like you’re really standing there in the photos when you look at them so that you’re friends and family really feel like they were there.
- Plan your timeline for the day. Figure out where & when you’re getting ready, together or separately. Sort out when your photographer will arrive. Think about your sunset time and when you’ll hold the ceremony. If you’re travelling a long way from where you’re getting ready to where you’ll have the ceremony and even stretching across multiple photo locations to follow you’ll want to take your time with this.
- Put in your forms with your celebrant.
- GET HITCHED!
top elopement tips.
You’ve got a lot of flexibility, so plan to have your ceremony in nice light. Usually thats going to be late afternoon unless things are overcast. You’re going to want the sun to be setting behind your ceremony location. Essentially have the light hitting your celebrant in the back of the head if they’re standing behind you.
If you’re going to have your ceremony earlier. Try to have it with some tall trees creating shade so that you wont be squinting while you say your vows to each other.
You could also get a personal chef to come to your Airbnb and cook up an incredible romantic feast to enjoy when you get back from having your photos taken.
I personally recommend you plan an afterparty with your friends and family who couldn’t make it to your elopement. My wife & I had 20 guests at our intimate wedding and then we had two parties. One in Sydney at my parents farm. And the other in Brisbane where her family is from to celebrate with the special people in our lives in a more relaxed setting.
We got to wear our wedding outfits 3 times and drag out the celebrations for two months which was an amazing feeling! Also I got to watch my incredible wife light a bonfire with a bow and arrow which was just epic.
Where to Elope:
I’ve written a post with 50 of the best locations to elope in Australia which you can check out to get some inspiration for all of the amazing spots around the country. I’ve organised them by State so you can quickly navigate to the relevant information for you.
But if clicking links isn’t your style I’ll hit you up with a few of my top 5 locations.
Elopement pricing options
For couples planning an intimate affair in a location that allows for staying in one area for your photos.
For couples eloping and wanting to explore multiple locations or really do some solid exploring of a their destination.
Destination Elopements. Interstate & Overseas. Perfect for exploring multiple locations and capturing the entire days adventure.