Today’s inspiration shoot is a modern take on The Talented Mr Ripley. Full of chic, nautical styling, Autumn touches and plenty of groom style inspiration to knock your socks off!

But it also acknowledges something major that occurred this week – same sex marriage becoming legal in New Zealand. So with that, we have plenty to say from our couple – Lloyd and Caleb who modeled for this shoot and wholeheartedly shared their love.

Photographer Samara Clifford worked with a team (including Brittany Phillips, Junk Company, Foxglove Botanicals, Ladybird Cakes, Linden Cook Design,  Saint Gertrude DesignEpocha & Connotations) pulling this Talented Mr Ripley inspired shoot together noting, “With many gay friends and with same sex marriage rights in the news every five minutes, it’s no longer a matter of “if” but “when” Australia will finally pass a bill to legalise it. So why not start inspiring a crew of people who will soon be able to plan their dream weddings for real. I’ve always loved the look and feel of The Talented Mr Ripley with all those fabulous clothes, and the nautical feel.

Our couple, Lloyd and Caleb met in Sydney two years ago at a brunch date that kinda never ended. They are both big lovers of the arts and all things vintage. They are both beardy/scruffy fellas, a bit cheeky and fun humoured, and they love a laugh.”

Amy of Saint Gertrude Design created a stationery suite echoing nautical detailing like a compass motif and vintage map together with bold type and wooden detail.

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Linden Cook Design styled the incredible wedding rings.

Samara notes, “Being late autumn we were lucky to catch the leaves at Carlton Gardens and avoid the rain (just).”

Caleb gave this comment. “It’s fantastic to see the progress on marriage equality, not only in New Zealand, but the massive decision in the US Supreme Court recently. Coming from the US, it’s wonderful to think that if I married my partner, I could take him back to where I’m from and have the marriage recognised on the national level. That being said, I have now spent the majority of my adult life in Australia. A lot of my identity is rooted here. Part of why I made the decision to do so is that I found the quality of life to be great and most people here seem forward thinking and open minded. While there have been some massive strides forward on legal rights for same sex couples, it just seems silly that we can’t seem to get past “the marriage issue.” It’s going to change. There’s not a doubt in my mind that it’s going to change. It just seems a shame that we’re is stuck in this rut here in Australia while the rest of world is starting to pass us by.

Lloyd and I haven’t made the decision to get engaged yet, but when the time comes, to think the government wouldn’t recognise our decision as two adults to commit to one another just seems nonsensical. I know we’ll be looking back on this in twenty years time thinking, “What were we so worried about?” In fact, I think when marriage equality is finally achieved in Australia, we can go back to focusing on the joy of two adults deciding to make a life together. In the meantime, the institution of marriage is lessened by the fact that we all know, and are regularly reminded, that the government doesn’t extend this recognition to everyone equally.”

Carlton restaurant Epocha set the scene for the “reception”. Samara remarking, “Lloyd and Caleb told me they love all things vintage so the idea really appealed. Epocha Restaurant in Carlton provided us with the fabulous dark and cosy feeling for the reception set ups (and amazing backgammon tables).”

Brittany Phillips styled the elements of the shoot to help it come together, including sourcing props from Junk Company.

Foxglove Botanicals created autumn inspired floral arrangements for the reception and Lloyd and Caleb’s boutonniere.

Miss Ladybird Cakes created a nautical inspired wedding cake along with a table laden full of sweet treats.

Connotations provided the reception music, Samara noting, “AMAZING Voices! Liz sang us some tunes while we were shooting and we all had goosebumps and a mini sing along.”

The day ended with, “Watching a stunning if somewhat chilly sunset down on the bay with a nice glass of bubbles in hand.”

A few words from Lloyd. “It was a beautiful moment to witness the passing of the marriage law in New Zealand parliament. I am very happy for our neighbours! Though naturally I am reminded of the fact it has not happened here, and why such a similar country with similar values has recognised all their citizens as equal, when it has not yet happened here. As an Australian citizen, I cannot get married, so it makes you feel like a sub-citizen. WHEN it is passed (as it is just a matter of time) I would love to get married, but more importantly, have the choice to.”


Want more of this stunning shoot? We’re sharing the rest of the images today on Polka Dot Groom! and be sure to check out Polka Dot Made tomorrow for a tutorial on that stylish boutonniere!