Jess & Drew

Moody and glam, personal and emotional, today’s intimate wedding in the New England National Park is beyond gorgeous. Wearing a blue sequin covered dress and carrying native flowers from a gas station, the bride (and groom) put together a beautiful celebration, captured by Van Middleton Photography.

Jess and Drew met at a music festival they were both photographing. Jess tells, ”We walked around a corner and quite literally bumped into each other and hit it off. We have barely been separated 9 years later!” The groom proposed while the couple were on holiday in Vietnam. The bride remembers, ”Drew told me he had organised a photo shoot as a surprise, as I always said how frustrating it is to be dating a photographer and never have any photos of us. We adventured off on our bicycles early in the morning to the countryside where Drew and Phong had cheekily hatched a plan on their afternoon photo walks through the old town of Hoi An. We were taking some photos and all of a sudden Drew popped down on one knee. After 7 years I was not expecting it to say the least, so the element of surprise really caught me off guard!”

The bride’s showstopping blue gown was covered in sequins, and came from Goddiva. Jess shares, ”I am not a white dress kind of woman, so finding my perfect dress was a bit harder than I expected. We live in a regional town and there isn’t a lot of options for bridal shops. When I went into the local store and asked if they had any coloured wedding dresses, her look was priceless. I turned to online shopping and trolled The Iconic and ASOS for something different and something me. My stunning blue sequin dress was one of those moments of certainty, it was the kind of different I was wanting. I paired this with gold pointed sand shoes and handmade gum leaf earrings. Drew wore a stunning maroon hand tailored suit jacket that we had made years earlier in Hoi An, with some simple skinny black jeans and converse.”

Out in the bush with only a handful of guests, the bride and groom walked down the aisle together to the sounds of nature. They tell, ”Our ceremony was heartfelt and emotional. Our main goal was to celebrate our love and we really achieved this. It started with a smudging to share in an ancient ritual of cleansing that represents the four elements of earth. We also included Namaste:
My soul honours your soul,
I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides,
I honour the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you,
Because it is also within me.
In sharing these things, we are united, we are the same, we are one… We ensured we included a devotion to our darling friend who we lost in 2018: We would like to acknowledge Tony Allison, Jess and Drew’s creator. Tony is the reason they crossed paths 9 years ago. At this time we acknowledge this part he played in Jess & Drew’s lives, I know he is here with us today in spirit, loving this couple as he loved in life.”

Choosing the location for their wedding day, Jess and Drew connected with the New England National Park. They remember, ”We ran away together and tied the knot in the most incredible place in the world. The place in which we stood has been stood by many others. We acknowledged the traditional owners of this land and offered our deepest respect to the Gumbaynggirr people. We acknowledged the beauty and the ancestral songlines that sing the magnificence of earth, sand and sea. Just as ancient feet have walked this land, so too have we. It’s where Jess and myself dream of all the possibilities of our future, this place is where forgiveness and understanding reigns, this place is where quiet contemplation, uncontrollable laughter, tears and memories are shared. This place has formed such a deep connection of identity for both of us and this is why we decided to get married in the rain-forest.”

In every way, Jess and Drew made their wedding uniquely theirs, unleashing their creative spirits. The bride shares, ”I made my bouquet from a native range of flowers from the petrol station on our way up the mountain. I ensured that my flowers weren’t going to drop seed and have a negative effect on the incredible forest we were adventuring. We had our amazing ‘Fairy Godfathers’, Shane and Neil, who were also our witnesses cater for our little wedding. With the most exquisite Tassie bubbles flowing all day and finishing with a divine chocolate beetroot cake.”

Filled with praise for Van Middleton Photography, the couple had high expectations when it came to finding someone to capture their day. Jess tells, ”Drew, being a professional photographer, and myself having a long love of the art, it was critical for us to find a photographer who could encapsulate our personalities, our moments and our day. He went above and beyond, and I know I’m biased but seriously these images are insane! Van is the most real, relaxed, down to earth person. We got to share stories, get to know each other, share laughs and create art together. He was professional and moved with such grace you honestly didn’t notice him moving around you and your loved ones during the ceremony.”

Amongst the quiet and serene bushland, Jess and Drew said their vows, and named the ceremony as a definite highlight. They remember, ”We had the most incredible weather events and it really brought the feels. We started the ceremony with a lovely even toned cool coloured light, it then progressed as we acknowledged our darling friend Tony to rumbles and grumbles, we then had the lightest showering of rain and as it was all tying up the most phenomenal golden light came through the canopy and shone as we smiled and laughed together.”

Weather played a huge part in the atmosphere of the day, with both bride and groom seeking beauty in the light. They tell, ”After all the bushfires we weren’t expecting the best conditions, however, during the ceremony the clouds rolled through the valley creating a dark and moody atmosphere, within a couple of minutes a huge crack of thunder and a little bit of a sprinkle, before the sky opened up with golden sunlight filtering through the forest canopy. Not long after the ceremony heavy rain bucketed down on us. We explored the lush Gondwana forest, the burnt landscapes from the wild bush fires and much of countryside chasing picture-perfect moments, and got some amazing stuff. We are so thrilled with how everything came together!”

Thank you to our stunning bride and groom for sharing your wedding celebration with us, and congratulations! Thank you also to Van Middleton Photography for your breathtaking images.