Ally & Geoff’s English Inspired Garden Elopement

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Ally & Geoff

The Elopement Issue is all about showcasing elopements in all of their beautiful forms, and for Ally & Geoff, this was a celebration that pivoted from its original Autumnal vineyard wedding to a COVID-19 friendly  English garden elopement, in just 36 hours! “We originally chose Yering Station so our wedding and reception could be held at one of our favourite wineries,” admits Ally. “However, due to the beginning COVID restrictions in Melbourne, we decided to forego the big wedding and elope at Cloudehills gardens.” With Lost in Art behind the camera, Ally and Geoff shrunk their guest list to  just their parents and baby boy Charlie and managed to tie the knot, in the most beautiful of ways.

It makes sense that Ally and Geoff chose an English garden style elopement- after all, it was in London that they first met! Ally filling us in. “Geoff and I met in the summer of 2016 London at an outdoor concert for the Aussie Indie singer Courtney Barnett. We spent our first date at an underground cocktail bar that I almost didn’t make it to because the neighbourhood was deserted and it was in an old men’s suit factory. I had the best elderflower cocktail of my life at that bar which I hope to recreate for our reception! I am American and Geoff is from Melbourne so after dating in London we did long distance once I moved backed to the US where he eventually joined me living in Denver. We moved to Melbourne right before our son Charlie was born and got married 8 months later.”

Breakfast in Bali was just the setting Geoff needed to propose. “We got engaged in December 2018 while we were travelling in Asia and living in Bali for a few months. Geoff proposed to me over breakfast on our villa balcony overlooking the jungle and rice paddies in Ubud and we celebrated that night with a traditional Balinese dinner outside by a waterfall.”

To maximise their photo time, on the day, Ally and Geoff met before their ceremony for photographs. Their photographer? Utterly recommended by these two,  says Ally “Lana who owns Lost in Art was a delight to work with. She has a quiet approach that doesn’t feel demanding and she doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable if you are like my partner and I and hate being in photographs. Lana has an excellent eye for observing special romantic moments between two people. Her videographer that day was just as accomodating and patient and the drone was a nice touch. We were definitely more relaxed because we didn’t have a reception or guests but she kept to schedule an was able to work quickly to get a variety of incredible shots.”

Stunning Cloudehill Gardens set the scene for this sweet elopement. Ally says “We originally chose Yering Station so our wedding and reception could be held at one of our favourite wineries, however, due to the beginning COVID restrictions in Melbourne, we decided to forego the big wedding and elope at Cloudehills Gardens. The gardens closed the day before but thanks so the kindness of director Jeremy on Saturday he let us have our wedding there and sneak in for pictures and quick ceremony and champagne picnic! I still love Yering but could not have asked for a more beautiful venue for a small ceremony.”

I know you want to know all the details of Ally’s beautiful gown! It’s a Needle & Thread gown from  BHLDN.  She shares “After trying on many dresses post-engagement at the American brand Anthropologie’s wedding division Bhldn’s flagship store in Philadelphia I decided on a non-traditional dress with a splash of colour and a floral print. I actually found the perfect combination from the London brand Needle and Thread. The Prarie Gown is from their 2019 Spring line and comes in both a traditional long dress and a shorter version. I wanted purple shoes for some reason and I found some kitten heels with glam beads from Badgley Mischka. The shoes are probably the most traditional element to my look (satin wedding shoes I will never wear again but worth it.”

For couples yet to tie the knot, Ally advises “Don’t get too caught up in the stress of planning that you don’t enjoy your engagement.

Think more about why you are getting married and remember you can always throw amazing anniversary parties even after your wedding.

For me, I spent a lot of time planning the details of a wedding I never had. The daydreaming and journaling about the vision of my wedding day was actually super creative and enjoyable and I was able to translate that vision into the real thing. It’s also ok to cut costs and still have a beautiful day! I suggest doing a few things yourself DIY style to make it unique.

My advice is also to look around for up and coming local vendors you can support who get your style but might charge less than the big names. I feel for all you brides with cancelled big days in this COVID season but take it as an opportunity to listen to re-assess and maybe listen your own voice a bit more and not worry about what other people think of your day!”

“I actually loved planning how the elements would interact and creating a vision of the day was super fun! My original theme was an Autumn boho-chic vineyard wedding with re-purposed outdoor rugs and a bunch of vintage candle finds along with rustic flowers but it turned into a sunny autumn afternoon garden wedding with a vintage-inspired floral dress and a champagne picnic. Both lovely ideas!”

Ally and Geoff did not plan to DIY much for their wedding, but the short notice meant their plans were completely up in the air, says Ally. “I always liked the idea of a DIY wedding but with changing our plans short notice (meaning a matter of 36 hours) I definitely was forced to go this route and it turned out fine. I had planned for a spa day at Natio Spa at Balgownie Estate with make-up and hair done by friends but I ended up getting a blow-wave the night before from my stylist Anna at Major Chase Salon in Windsor and I ended up doing my hair and make-up myself because we were restricted to five people at our wedding. I used Mac makeup products and modelled my style after a 90s inspired wine colour lips and pale cheeks with natural eyes.”

Wild in Love creates the beautiful garden-style arrangement s for the day “I originally envisioned buying bundles and doing the flowers DIY along with flower crowns for myself and the flower girls and I found an amazing florist in Melbourne Sarah Pascoe whose company Wild in Love offers a handful of options to combine DIY bouquets with professional floral arrangements. Sarah created my flower crown and bouquet inspired by Autumn colours (burgundy, purple) and Native Australian green foliage such as Eucalyptus leaves.”

Geoff dressed in MJ Bale. “My husband Geoff works in finance and I work in the arts as an educator and curator.” explains Ally. “We decided to save money and buy him a new blue suit from M.J. Bale that he could wear to the wedding and after our big day for both business and dinners out. We decided to make it more wedding-worthy by adding a fun eggplant polka dot skinny tie and pocket square from the OTAA.”

Of her walk down the aisle, Ally remembers “I walked down the aisle myself and my parents walked ahead of me. I chose the song “Cherries Underground” by the Icelandic singer Junius Meyvant which is also featured in our highlight video by Lost in Art.”

Ally added special heirloom touches to her look for the day. “My paternal grandmother passed several years before I met Geoff but I carried one of her broaches and attached it to my bag. I also wore diamond earrings that Geoff’s grandmother gifted to me for the wedding. I also splurged on a diamond Swarovski beaded headband I will wear to the reception and pass down through our family.”

Ally and Geoff chose Kitty of My Wedding Celebrant to officiate their day, telling “I always wanted the kind of ceremony where I could kick my shoes off and float around in the grass a bit like you are attending an elegant picnic where you had a bit too much champagne. I wanted a relaxed feeling for our ceremony that felt intimate and authentic and we definitely had that with vows we wrote ourselves and readings by my favourite poet Rainer Maria Rilke in which my son’s middle name (Charles Rainer) comes from. I debated playing the guitar because I am a songwriter and musician but decided my hands may have been a bit shakey and I’d rather just have a moment of silent reflection before the ceremony.”

The newlyweds celebrated with their guests in the garden, complete with grazing platters from

The Deli Platter Olinda. The bride telling  “I was absolutely delighted by the beautiful picnic hampers we had pre-ordered from The Deli Platter cafe in Olinda. They were so sweet knowing that we had an impromptu elopement style wedding and even included linen napkins and a bouquet of flowers with cheeses, meats and homemade scones and pies. We had a bottle of Veuve cliquet and enjoyed our picnic post-ceremony with our family in the gardens while our son crawled on the grass.”

Despite not being able to stick to their original plan, Ally and Geoff were still able to honour what as most important to them. “In our original plan, good music and good wine were most important to us! Although our wedding didn’t go as originally planned we had both of those elements and definitely enjoyed some lovely bottles at our suite that night with our family staying over at Balgownie Estate. Balgownie has excellent wine you can only buy on-site and we also ordered a case from Innocent Bystander in Healesville.”

One very special guest included the couple’s son Charlie, says Ally “We always wanted our son to be a big part of the photos and wedding so he was the only one in our “wedding party” although we were planning on having friends read poems and give speeches in our original plan for a wedding at Yering station pre-COVID. Charlie wore a suit I ordered from Baby Nautica with a pink checkered collared top and navy blue suit pants, vest and bow tie to match his dad’s suit.”

And of the first dance? Ally shares “We are still waiting on this one as we hope to have a casual reception on our first anniversary although we have had several dances in our living room! Our first dance song will be a version of Henri Mancini’s “Moon River” sung by Frank Ocean.”

Not only did Lost in Art capture the stills fo the day, but Lana also made this beautiful film!

A big congratulations to you both Ally and Geoff! Thank you so much for sharing your special day with us. Thank you also to Lost in Art for sharing today’s beautiful photography and film!

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