“In the middle of the pandemic, our wedding day was something to look forward to; a reminder of why we’re all alive and why Shaun and I are in love!” When Shaun and Riley decided to walk down the aisle, they were between border closures, and full of the stress of what it might mean for their day. That gratitude, that they got to celebrate their day their way, is not lost on them. Not in the slightest.

So as we celebrate The South Australia Issue, it seems apt to celebrate their story captured beautifully by EVKA. The pair roaming the heart of Adelaide CBD, to celebrate what was, in Riley’s words “A relaxed, simple, beautiful, party! We wanted an atmosphere where everyone just felt beautiful and all of the love in the room; which was in abundance!”

And yet, it was not in Adelaide that these two met! The pair finding their way to one another on the Gold Coast, tells the bride  “We were both on holiday on the Gold Coast,  me from South Australia and Shaun from Victoria. Both having drinks at a nightclub. Shaun being his clumsy self, spilt his drink all down the back of my new pale pink dress. I was not impressed, but was quickly charmed by Shaun!

We spent the night together and were in contact only a couple of days following both returning from holidays. Shaun was in Adelaide for Christmas a few months later. We met up for lunch, with Shaun’s return flight booked for the next day. Needless to say, his flight was postponed, we spent the next three days together, and the next two months flying between the two states to see each other before we both left for overseas trips. I spent three months in Canada and America, Shaun in South America, then we met up to travel to Central America together for the next three months. After arriving home and having to part ways, it only took me two weeks to decide to move to Victoria to live with Shaun. The rest is history!”

So of course, after meeting on holiday, it makes sense that a holiday was also where Shaun decided he would ask the big question! “Shaun had planned on proposing during our holiday in Bali. We spent a week in Ubud at a beautiful resort and while it was absolutely stunning and so relaxing being in the mountains, we were excited to travel to Nusa Lembongan to be closer to the beach and the coast, our real love.

Shaun asked the bartender at our accommodation for the best place for a sunset – Sandy Bay Beach Club was the suggestion, so we went there for dinner! After reading the breakfast menu for dinner because of nerves, and asking me multiple times to go for a walk to watch the sunset, Shaun dropped to one knee after dinner. I asked him if he was ok haha before realising what he was doing!”

Shaun’s wedding day look included a green suit from Asos. Riley telling “Shaun chose a forest green, fitted suit with a simple white shirt, black shoes and belt. He wanted to wear something a little bit different, but also something that was him – and his choice was very him!”

Riley’s elegant lace gown was the “Frankie” dress from Australian designers Made With Love. She tells  “I chose it because of its classic, elegant lace with modern style fit. It was oh so comfy, and with pockets!! I purchased the dress second-hand, and plan on selling it again, to keep the good times rolling for Frankie! I wore it all night, and it was an absolute joy to wear.” Riley added her grandmother’s ring to finish her look.

Modern Adelaide event venue Chateau Apollo was just what these two wanted for their wedding day vibe, Riley telling “Our ceremony and reception were both at Chateau Apollo. On one of our first nights out in Adelaide together, we went to the Crab Shack (now Roxie’s bar – where our drinks were held between) together, with a good friend of Shaun’s – Max, from Melbourne who was living in Adelaide at the time, and some of Riley’s oldest friends Kat and Steve – all three of which were at our wedding! Chateau Apollo spoke to us as soon as we saw it. It was rustic, had character, and the staff were incredible from the get-go! It was meant to be.”

Riley walked down the aisle with her father to Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird”.

The ceremony was sentimental and emotional, tells the bride. “We wanted our ceremony to be about us and our love for each other. We wanted everyone to see and feel exactly how we felt about each other. We wanted everyone to cry (haha). Shaun’s sister Kimberly read lyrics from Fleetwood Mac – You Make Loving Fun, which sums Shaun and me up to a tee! Not a dry eye in the house – success!”

“A special mention to our friends and family who travelled from far and wide to share our day with us! The South Australian borders closed 3 weeks before our wedding date, then opened up with just over a week left! All of their support and patience did not go unnoticed, and we couldn’t have done it without them! When we decided to hold out to see if we were able to go ahead with our original date, we never knew we would be so lucky to sneak through and have the wedding of our dreams!”

Of their chosen photographer, Riley raves “Evelina (Evka Photography) was an absolute angel! She captured moments of our day, that are similar to those you see in magazines and movies, that you can only dream of having as your own one day. I can not thank her, or recommend her highly, enough!”

Riley shares this advice if you’re set to tie the knot. “Don’t sweat the small stuff! Pick three things you both agree on, that are non-negotiables on your wedding day, and stick to them. Perfect them. Everything else will fall into place, and will just be a part of the background of your memories! We chose good food, good music and our favourite people. It’s your day. It’s all about you!
And just for the bride – wear your FAVOURITE shoes. Shoes that you’ve worn in, worn for hours on end, and feel comfortable in! You will thank me. My shoes were a few years old, and I am so glad I didn’t wear new ones!”

And then it was time to feast! Says Riley “We loved the transition of Chateau Apollo from a daytime ceremony to a magical nighttime reception – just incredible! Oh, and the million fairy lights on the ceiling of Chateau Apollo.”

The couple opted out of a wedding party but still made sure to honour their favourite people. “As we had such a small guest list – only 50 people – we chose not to have bridesmaids and groomsmen. We did however sit at the head of the long-table dinner setting with our six closest friends. We chose to include our friends in our day in other ways, that was special. Shaun’s oldest friend Nick, and Riley’s brother James witnessed our marriage certificate, Shaun’s sister Leah designed Save the Dates, wedding invitations and place cards, Riley’s wonderful friend Tab styled the venue with flowers and created my bouquet, as well as two friends each to make a speech (Riley’s cousin Jess and best friend Sasha & two of Shaun’s closest friends Mitch and Jackson), and our good friend Dan to be our MC for the night. It was perfect!”

Shaun’s favourite memories of the day? “Having all of our friends and family together in such an uncertain time! It was amazing to be able to celebrate the way we’d planned, even with borders closing on us leading up to it! It will always be the best weekend of our lives!”

Riley’s mother lent much talent to the decor of the day. “Just about everything was DIY! My incredible Mum, Julie was the mastermind behind most of it! She hand-sewed a linen serviette for each guest, as well as the linen table cloths. Flowers and decorations as mentioned, by Tab. My uncle Michael helped me create a record cover and disc in a frame, with a photo of us on the cover, and a list of our wedding songs around the disc for the guests to sign instead of a guest book. Kat and Steve sourced glasses for a champagne tower, which we had our wedding date embossed onto for each guest to take home as a bonbonniere.” The floral details are styled by Riley’s friend Tab “I chose blue gum, white roses, baby’s breath and a musk pink protea, along with a couple of other additions. As mentioned, our amazing friend Tab created my bouquet for me!”

The first dance just about brought the house down! “We danced to an acoustic version of “Simple Man” by Shinedown. The lyrics are exactly how we want to live our lives and bring our children up to live. It’s beautiful. This merged into “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai when we performed a dance choreographed by our lovely friend Jway.”

Congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us and thank you to EVKA for sharing the stunning images to go along with it!