Brooke & Trav

For Brooke & Trav, their decision to elope wasn’t just about doing things their way, but it was, in fact, a part of a bigger journey the pair were embarking on together. “Our wedding day was incredible but it was part of a broader bucket list plan to complete some unfinished travelling that adds to the ‘special details’ for us” tells our beautiful bride Brooke. “When we decided to get married we weighed up the cost of a formal wedding with what it would cost to road trip up the Western Australian coastline to the Kimberley’s on a once in a lifetime trip. When we realized that we could do both if we eloped it felt like a no brainer for us.”

And so, six weeks of travelling throughout Western Australia, with a wedding in the middle of it turned out to be just the kind of adventure of a lifetime these two dreamt of. With a pitstop (that almost didn’t happen) in beautiful Margaret River, the pair invited Photogerson along for what turned out to be a day of beauty of heart and soul and that very much reflected Brooke and Travis.

Tells Brooke “Having a 6-week journey full of camping, incredible sightseeing and warm weather meant that our wedding trip and honeymoon reflected the things that we value as a couple and while the wedding day will always be a special day to us, the trip in its entirety is so wonderful to have to look back on.”

It was the next step in another journey for these two, which began when they met at age 17 and 16. Brooke fills us in. “Trav and I met when we were 16 and 17 years old in 2007. We both grew up on Phillip Island (as did both of our dads who used to hang out as teenagers) and were at a local footy grand final farm party. Before this, we hadn’t spent any time together despite having so many shared friends. I had seen a photo of Trav in the local paper celebrating the under 18 footy premiership and mentioned to a male friend who also played footy with Trav that I thought that Trav was someone I would be interested in. This friend then told Trav on the night of the grand final party. When we both saw each other at the party, I ran at him and jumped on him and the teenage romance commenced.”

Let’s be frank, one of the main stars of today’s show was Harry tells Brooke “Because we eloped we didn’t have a bridal party. Our Staffy Harry was the legendary ring bearer (we put our rings on his collar) and he also walked us down the aisle.”

“I deliberately chose not to wear a white wedding dress” explains Brooke. “My priority was to find an elegant outfit, that had a touch of colour, made me feel beautiful and was something that I could wear again. I prioritized comfort – the last thing I wanted was to be preoccupied in an uncomfortable outfit on the day.”

Brooke found her pieces at Zimmermann and Gorman. “The experience of looking for the outfit was pretty relaxed. I asked Trav’s Mum Jo, his sister, and one of my best friends to join me for a shopping day. Not being restricted to bridal shops was both a blessing and a curse – the blessing of the price difference but the curse of way too much choice. I had always liked the look of Zimmerman dresses so we headed there relatively early on during the search and I tried on a white lace skirt which funnily was from the ‘resort range – ‘Veneto Perrenial Lace Skirt’. It fit me perfectly and added just the right amount of white that I wanted. After the finding (but not purchasing) the skirt, I found myself looking for tops that would go with the skirt subconsciously throughout the day so I think I knew from the moment I tried to skirt on that it was the one. In the end, I bought two different tops from Gorman and took them back to Zimmerman to compare. I decided on the high neck 100% cotton foresty green Gorman top because the combination looked quite elegant and created a 1930s vibe that I loved. The Gorman top was slightly see-through so I decided to wear a white bralette underneath it on the day that added a sense of sexiness that I wanted to feel on the day too.

Teal boots, from Django and Juliette completed her look. “Just like it was meant to be, a few weeks after finding the outfit I popped into my favourite local shoe shop at home and found some perfectly matched green Django and Juliette boots. I also found my fake fur coat incidentally at the local second-hand bazaar. It’s so lovely to be able to wear my wedding boots and outfit pieces separately again. I wear my boots most days to work! In the end, the whole outfit took on three different iterations throughout the wedding day – during the ‘first look’ I surprised Trav by not wearing the green top and making him think I was wearing all white. During the ceremony, I wore the jacket so I was super warm and then made we got some photos in the green and white outfit by itself”. Pearl earrings, of the bride’s late mother, were a nod to her memory.

Brooke and Travis walked to their ceremony together to the sounds of “La Mar” The Beautiful Girls.

Brooke and Travis chose the beautiful Margaret River space of Boranup Forest for their ceremony, sharing “We chose to hold the ceremony at Boranup Forest because the Karri Trees are phenomenal and feel like a cathedral towering over you. The forest stunned us when we first came across it in 2016 and we had been envisioning it as a wedding location ever since. Boranup Forest also backs onto an awesome surf break that is only accessible by a four-wheel-drive track. We have some great memories of exploring this part of the coast and wanted it to be marked as a place we will return to for years to come.”

“We didn’t go into our ceremony expecting it to be the best day of our lives so the wedding day was focused on being relaxed and as authentic and true to our relationships values” explains the bride, of the wedding ceremony officiated by Michelle Cooke. “We didn’t want to put pressure on ourselves for it feel or be a certain way. Our celebrant Michelle was so warm, easy-going and professional – she even got teary about our day and she was genuinely happy for us. She was so willing to be flexible too which helped considering we didn’t finalise the official ceremony spots until two days beforehand (another plus of not having any guests).”

“We decided to write our vows for the ceremony. We both shared a bottle of wine two nights before the ceremony and wrote them next to each other without telling the other one what we were writing. I think we were both a bit surprised when we both got pretty emotional reading our vowels out. It was pretty incredible to be standing in front of one another 12 years on, having grown up together.”

A sand ceremony a nod to the groom’s love of the sea, and an acknowledgment of their strength, even when (many) things go wrong, tells Brooke. “Throughout our drive back to Western Australia from Victoria, we collected jars of sand from the various beaches that we felt represented a part of us individually or our relationship to combine them as a sentiment to our union going forward. During the ceremony, we took turns to pour the sand and read what each jar represented. We have the sand layers displayed in our home as a reminder of the various elements that make up our relationship.

The most special bit of sand was collected incidentally in a place called Ceduna.. we have been through Ceduna 3 times now and each time we have had some sort of car trouble or break down – with the most significant one being on our way to Margaret River before the wedding. On the first day of driving across we drove over 1600km. We had been driving for close to 20 hours with only 60km to go before our first caravan park stop in Ceduna. We were so excited to have made it that far and we were super keen for a good night sleep before hitting the road the next day – (the plan was to get to Margaret River ASAP to have time to chill out before the big day). We had just started a new episode of a true-crime podcast when a sudden poof of big smoke blew out of our bonnet and the car started to make very concerning noises. We quickly pulled over and Trav inspected the damage… we had snapped an alternator belt and the other 2 belts were not looking much healthier. We couldn’t risk pushing the car to drive into town in case we caused more damage. So, we had to creep along the highway at around 10kmph in search of 1 bar of reception to call the RACV. It’s safe to say that the podcast was promptly turned off!

When we finally found intermittent reception, we pulled over and were lucky enough with our total car care cover to get a tow truck organised for us with a wait of around 1-2 hours. Thank goodness we were near a town!”

When the truck arrived, the driver was pretty pessimistic about our chances of getting the car fixed. It was a Friday night and he explained that there would be no mechanics open until Monday and that it was unlikely that the spare parts that we needed would be at the one shop open in town on Saturday morning. For people who know me well, you can imagine my anxiety! I had visions of getting married in Ceduna rather than Margaret River…! I was close to looking up flights from Ceduna to Perth and googling how to get a pet on a domestic flight ha. Travy could see how stressed I was and he was super keen to hit the road again too. We were both exhausted from the long drive.

The next morning as soon as the shops were open, Trav’s superhuman powers came out and he ran into town in the pouring rain and managed to find the only 2 belts remaining in the store that miraculously fit our car. He then Youtubed and called a friend who guided him through the process to replace the belts. At 12:30 pm he arrived back at the caravan park and we packed up and hit the road…! The elation we both felt to get back on the road was huge!

We were so relieved and just ready to drive as far and as quickly as we could to WA. Luckily, we had no other mishaps along the way. Long story short.. we decided to collect Ceduna sand as recognition of the inevitable break downs we will come across throughout our marriage and symbolise that we can get through anything that comes our way.”

“We didn’t have the first dance but we did have three other songs that we deliberately chose to play when we were signing our documents” remembers Brooke. “This includes – “Four Feet in the Forest” Ziggy Alberts, “From Little Things, Big Things Grow” by Paul Kelly and “Fast Car” by Tracey Chapman.”

Brooke found a bouquet of Australian native blooms at Yelverton Protea Farm. She did, however, almost forget it on the day! Remembering “Trav is always having to help me find my car keys, wallet and phone – this even came up in his vows! Anyway, on the wedding day, we were pretty distracted and caught up in the moment by the time that we all decided to hop in the car and drive to the ceremony to meet Michelle (our celebrant). We were driving in a convoy – Trav, me and Harry were following Mickey and Jess with Luke in the front. Luke then suddenly pulled over halfway to the forest and hopped out of his car – he approached us and asked me if I had remembered my bouquet..! Of course, true to character, I had left it back at the Airbnb so we all had to turn around to get it.”

“Trav and I are pretty lazy when it comes to taking photos of ourselves together so having people around is to do that for us was great. It meant that all we had to do was focus on having fun and knowing this was being captured to share with friends and family was pretty cool.”

“Our awesome friends Mickey and Jessica Carter primarily came to be our wedding videographers but also doubled up to be our witnesses and Jessica is a make-up artist so she also did my make up on the day” explains the bride.

Even though the pair eloped, their family and friends wished them plenty of love from afar. “We had told our friends and family that we were eloping so they were aware of the day and had time to process the fact that they wouldn’t be there. This also meant that Trav and I had respective ‘hens and bucks’ nights before we left. While the decision to elope was at times bittersweet, we are so fortunate to have the most supportive network of people in our lives. This resulted in our close friends Jessie and Lucas recruiting those closest to us to make a video sharing their well wishes, love and funny stories for us to watch on the morning of the wedding. This was also captured by MCP Films too and some it put into our wedding video so that when we do have a party and share the videos with everyone they can see how their well wishes were part of our day. It was a pretty humbling experience to watch a video of all of your friends and family speak about you as they did.”

The pair invited Photogerson along to make sure they captured their day in stills, noting “We found Luke after scouting the many Instagram hashtags and especially looking for South West Australian wedding photographers. We had contacted several photographers in the lead-up and ended up choosing Luke because he was genuinely invested in our day, he was also really enthusiastic about our decision to elope. When we first spoke to him he didn’t put any pressure on his to lock him in which we both appreciated. Knowing that Luke was a wind and weather guru and a surfer also sealed the deal for Trav. Luke’s photography is more than just images of two people on their wedding day – we love how his work is truly artistic and reflects the environment and natural light that is surrounding the couple. Luke went above our expectations by being a pseudo wedding planner both before and on the wedding day – he suggested ceremony locations, wineries to look at and offered to be our driver for the day too. He also was our timekeeper on the day and kept us moving so we could make our degustation lunch booking on time – it was so nice to be able to relax and not have to think about this on the day.”

And now that formalities were over, it was time for more photos – and dinner! Brooke and Travis enjoying a degustation menu together at Rustico at Hay Shed Hill.  “We had photos at Redgate beach and chose to have a 6-course tapas style degustation at Rustico Restaurant at Hayshed Winery. They are dog-friendly and were super hospitable to us having some photos taken there, plus they do cocktails and have an overall relaxed vibe that suited our day. You can’t go wrong with any spot you choose in South West WA – it’s such a magical spot.”

Brooke and Travis are lucky enough to be friends with the duo behind MCP Films, so it was a natural decision to hire the team to shoot their wedding film! Brooke tells “Our mates Michael and Jessica from MCP Films were absolute legends throughout the day and Mickey would have spent hours and hours perfecting our wedding video. Michael was also willing to include the go-pro footage of our trip across the Nullarbor and collecting the various sand jars along the way so that we can show this video to friends and family at an upcoming post elopement party. Michael and Jessica adopted an incredibly professional and genuine vibe for our day and we can’t thank them enough for the effort they made.”

A big congratulations to you both Brooke and Trav! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thanks also to Photogerson for sharing today’s stunning images.