“Originally we were going to have a big wedding at Shane’s aunty’s house in Deniliquin in NSW. When COVID hit we found that we kept delaying the wedding and in the end found ourselves reflecting on what we really wanted for our big day, and that was for it to be intimate and with the ones that we love the most in this world.”

For Jess and Shane, although their plans were thrown for a loop thanks to COVID-19, it turns out, that re-thinking everything wasn’t such a bad thing. “We knew we needed our family there, our grandmas and closest friends. We went from a wedding 100+ to a wedding of 16 people.”

And this is a day that will help you hold on to everything that is important – from the beautiful photography by Rick Liston that captured every moment, to the sunset ceremony that was practically bathed in the most beautiful golden light. Sometimes a change of plans can turn out to be just the best thing ever.

Shane and Jess’s friend Olivia, knew these two would be the perfect match long before they did. “We met through a mutual friend Olivia” explains Jess. “For ages, she was trying to get Shane and me to meet, but we were both coming out of serious relationships and were not looking for anything serious. We started by messaging through Facebook etc and Piv kept pushing us to catch up so we finally did. We went to the movies to see Jurassic World and then grabbed a coffee afterwards. Shane dropped me home and I was hoping for a pash but nothing happened. I was unsure if we were going to see each other again but I planted the seed to catch up again and we found most nights we were catching up. My fav moments of that time was our late nights chatting till the wee hours.

Shane finally proposed on the night the couple move into their brand new home. “We went over to drop a few boxes off and we were just taking in our house and how amazing it was. Shane knelt to get something which at the time I thought was food (I was pretty hungry) and he looked up at me with his beautiful eyes, opened a box to show a beautiful ring and said ‘you know what will make this day perfect? If you would marry me.” I was honestly in shock and grabbed my cheeks because I was grinning so much. I believe I said ‘of course I will bloody marry you’ and just grabbed him. You could not wipe the grin off my face.”

Jess and Shane chose Jackalope Hotel for their wedding weekend, Jess noting  “I was googling elopement packages because during COVID we thought we were heading that way. I came across a package for the Jackalope which sounded amazing. After looking at this package we fell in love instantly with the venue and with the photographer they had in the package. We knew we had to book the Jackalope right away! I mean, the view overlooking the vineyard was just stunning!”

Shane who wore the first suit he’d tried on from Peter Jacksons, chose his father to be his groomsman on the day.

Although the experience wasn’t quite what she’s originally planned, Jess found her dream lace wedding gown at Fairytales Bridal Boutique. “I always had it in my mind to have a simple boho kind of look. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted. The experience was a lot of fun thanks to my beautiful bridesmaids. I had one bridesmaid who was in QLD and Facetimed at every fitting and another amazing bridesmaid who dropped everything to come shopping with me. Was always a fun day out.

Shopping was quite interesting as it was during COVID. Shane and I set our date and due to COVID, I only had 3-4 months to find a dress. I went to quite a few different shops and tried on sooo many dresses. Each store told me that due to my timeframe I could only choose from one or two racks in their store which I was grateful for as I felt it would have been quite overwhelming but did also add to the stress of finding the right dress. It wasn’t until the last store, Fairytale Bridal, I went to, in which I found my dress. I fell in love with it instantly but was unsure of it being strapless due to my small bust. At the time it was between the dress I chose or a more traditional white dress which made me feel like a bride but was amazingly heavy to wear. Deep down I knew I would end up with the dress I brought. It was love at first sight.

I had my final fitting 2 days before the wedding. PHEW! Quite stressful. Funny story though. In my final fitting one of the pins got stuck in my foot. I did not realise until I got back in the change rooms and noticed all this blood on the bottom of my slip. My sister in law had to pull it out and the store had to dry clean it to get the blood out! It was quite funny at the time.”

Beautiful blooms yes? Jess and Shane worked with Jo Laver Flowers on their fresh flowers. “I used Instagram for inspiration for my flowers. I knew I wanted them to be native and I knew what colours we wanted” remembers Jess. “Jo was recommended to us through the Jackalope and I was so grateful she was. I sent her my ideas and she absolutely nailed it.”

The couple met before the ceremony for a first look and photographs. “We were so excited to see each other and were so happy we had this moment together before the ceremony.”

Jess and Shane loved working with photographer Rick Liston. “Rick has an amazing eye, amazing personality and a passion that just shines through the work he does. Every time we look at the photos, we are overwhelmed with emotion because he just captured every perfect moment. Rick is an absolute legend and one of the highlights of our day. I stumbled across Rick through an elopement package and fell in love with him instantly.

From our very first email, leading up to our big day Rick was responsive and to be honest, I had nothing I needed to follow up on as Rick was proactive in his emails, as if he knew what I was going to ask before I even did. Out of all the suppliers, I felt 100% confident in Rick. He sent emails informing us of what needed to be done and even sent an email of some tips to think of before the big day which was a huge lifesaver. He was personable and absolutely placed his personality into his emails.

On the day, Rick did not disappoint. When he arrived he was enthusiastic and just a part of our crew. He was like a silent ninja, taking snaps without you even noticing. In the end, Rick captured by far the most amazing photos I have ever seen. He honestly captured the day so perfectly. Every single guest commented on how amazing Rick was, how he was found capturing all these personable and beautiful moments throughout the day without you even realising it. I was tossing up about getting a video made on the day or not, however upon seeing the photos from Rick, I feel he told the story so perfectly through his photos that a video is not needed.”

Jess walked down the aisle with her father to an instrumental version of Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”.

Jess and Shane were married by Abbie Frew. “We wanted our ceremony to be fun, intimate and just filled with love. We wanted to ensure the people that were there, knew how much they meant to us. We did not want the ceremony to be long. We chose to do our own vows (well it took some time to convince Shane to) which were just beautiful.

Our celebrant Abbie did an amazing job! She honestly felt like a close friend who has been on our journey with us! She captured our personalities with us perfectly, laughed with us and cried with us. She just did such an amazing job capturing exactly how we wanted the ceremony. The ceremony was just beautiful. It was small, intimate and filled with love. Greg was sobbing through the whole thing and Shane was overwhelmed with emotion and took him at least three goes to finally get his vows out. It was just so special.”

Jess and Shane made family and their love the centre of the day. “I guess the most important thing we wanted was for it to be small and intimate. And include the ones that meant the world to us.

We wanted to involve our grandmas so we surprised them by having them be our witnesses which they were thrilled about. We also wanted to ensure the ones who couldn’t be there, were there in spirit. Shane wore cufflinks with an image of his brother who we sadly lost a few years ago and I tied two pendants to my flowers which contained an image of my Mum and Opa who sadly passed away.”

Advice from Jess to you now she’s tied the knot? “Just have fun! Be true to who you are as a couple. Do not be pressured in what you think you should do, rather be guided on what you want to do as a couple. Don’t be afraid to put your personality into it and remember what the day is about…..the lifetime commitment you are making together. Oh…and take a moment at the wedding. Stop, look around and really appreciate what is happening”

Says Jess “We loved taking a moment outside together to just acknowledge we were married but to also look back on a room full of everyone we love and just realise how lucky we are to not just have each other but every single person in that room.”

Jess and Shane chose Adam Sandler’s “Grow Old With You” for their dance floor debut. “We thought it was perfect for us.”

Congratulations to you both Jess and Shane. Thank you for sharing your beautiful stories with us. Thank you also goes to Rick Liston for sharing today’s beautiful images with us.