Today’s editorial turned actual elopement is something super special, and it’s also something super important.

The inspiration came to wedding photographer Anna of Lulu & Lime, to show off the diversity of the couples she works with, to take the lack of diversity and representation in the wedding industry, and flip it on its head. Anna planned a giveaway where a BIPOC couple would win an elopement, where a team of amazing Victorian wedding pros would gather and create an elopement that dreams are made of.

There were flowers and cake, beautiful photographs and it would all be magic and most of all, it would change the imagery we continue to see day in, day out. And then? Lockdown after lockdown hit, postponements, delays and date changes aplenty. “This would have to have been the elopement that pushed me the most” remembers Anna. “After many date changes, much mini crises, we got there in the end and it truly filled my heart. I couldn’t have done it without any of the vendors involved. It was a true labour of love with every supplier donating their time and skills, everyone felt very creatively enriched to be a part of it and so rewarded by having the chance to share in their very special day.”

So while this intimate and heartfelt elopement on Wilsons Prom is the story of Jaynaya and Snakey, and their 28 year long (!) love story, it’s also the story of how a dream team of vendors pulled off utter magic, in the middle of a pandemic. For Jaynaya and Snakey, the winners, and the stars of the show today, it was important that their family surrounded them on their wedding day. The couple included their sons, daughter-in-law, grandson and by special luck – Jaynaya’s mother Glenda, in every single part of their day.

Says celebrant Zena (who officiated the ceremony)  “Jaynaya and Snakey are all about family and culture and they were the focus of the entire day which was special. In the future, they will have a wedding day, surrounded by their wider families and community to share in the Indigenous and cultural ceremonies that have been participated in by their families for generations before them. A lot of these traditions have not been experienced by the younger generations so they are excited to share this knowledge and revive these traditions.”

Jaynaya and Snakey first met as 14-year-olds, Zena telling, “They have been together ever since. Snakey proposed at Jaynaya’s 21st and after 28 years alongside each other, two sons and three grandsons they finally married.”

It may have been Snakey’s mum that gave him the ultimate push to pop the question, Zena sharing, “Snakey will tell you it was his turn to get up and make a speech at the 21st and on his way up, his mum grabbed him by the arm took her ring off, gave it to him and said, ‘Do it now, son’. When Snakey got down on one knee, the scream was so loud it nearly blew the windows out. What had already been a great night escalated to an engagement party that went on for a few days. Jaynaya would like it known that her mother-in-law took her ring back.”

Their story kicks off with this incredible film, captured by James of Zephyr Productions which gives such an incredible overview of how the day unfolded.

Jaynaya’s wedding day hair and makeup were styled by The Distinctive Dame. Anna kicking off the raves for the vendor dream team, with this “Margeaux is a legend who fit us into her ridiculous schedule – it is not lost on me how far the vendors all travelled for this crazy adventure. But Margeaux is such a beautiful calming soul and the perfect person to reassure a jittery, slightly stressed bride.”

Zee Scott, who we know and love for her cakes, not only made an epic wedding cake for Jaynaya and Snakey but also catered an incredible feast. “Zee you ARE a camper!! I love you, you crock and sock wearing legend,” gushes Anna.

“Thank you for fitting in this crazy adventure into your crazier schedule and driving at ridiculous times to come down and cook in your bush kitchen! Zee’s Bush Kitchen in Crocs & Socks should definitely be a thing. Jaynaya and Snakey simply LOVED your food – you know that they did, cos tent walls are thin! And the cake.. well… amazing… delicious…. it was everything.”

The elopement was held on Squeaky Beach in Wilsons Prom, a spot which held important meaning in more ways than one, tells celebrant Zena. “There were so many nice parts to the way this day has unravelled. Firstly, we were on the border of both of their countries. The Gurnaikirunari is Jaynaya’s mother’s country and we are on the border of Snakey’s father’s Bunorong country.

The day was embued with even more symbolism when an elder told them that Wilson’s Prom has always been a place of marriage and elopements. As Snakey pointed out, “You used to come here to marry someone from the other mob when you weren’t allowed to.”

Jaynaya wore a long white jumpsuit from Moonstruck Bride, with a coordinating veil.  “The lovely Amelia from Moonstruck Bride jumped on board as soon as I put out a call out for vendors to join me on this ‘Giveaway Adventure’,” remembers Anna. “I was pretty happy to let Jaynaya choose what she wanted, but I won’t lie that I was pretty stoked that she chose the jumpsuit.

She did say to me right at the beginning that she wasn’t a girly girl and that she was so happy when she saw the jumpsuit available! AND she completely rocked it. I must also mention that Amelia was so accommodating with Jaynaya and really made it such a special experience for Jaynaya and some of her family. Jaynaya mentioned to me how spoilt and special Amelia made her feel.”

Jaynaya added an opal brooch passed down from her great grandmother and grandmother to complete her barefoot look.

Snakey wore a grey suit by Melbourne tailors YSG Tailors. Says Anna, “Ryan and Dylan at YSG Tailors are absolute legends and made Snakey feel like a million dollars – we had a slight date crisis at the end and the boys pulled out all the stops to get Snakey a suit in time.

Even with the last-minute date f**k up, and what I can only imagine an insane workload, you still kept your cool with me and provided the goods. Snakey was soooo impressed by you and your team’s customer service. You made him feel like a million dollars and was singing your graces.. a lot. I will be sending all and sundry your way.”

The men had ochre painted on their faces, Jaynaya explaining, “This is ceremony ochre gathered from Gunnai/Kurnai country.” The couple even wore traditional headdresses for their after dark portraits. “These were made by my cousin from my father’s tribe Yorta Yorta from Northern VIC around the Murray River! These were worn for certain ceremonies.”

As Jaynaya walked down the aisle (along the beach) the couple’s son played the didgeridoo. Anna explains, “Daen played the didgeridoo in a possum skin cloak, that he then wrapped around Jaynaya and Snakey for the ceremony. The cloak was borrowed from an elder and is only worn on special occasions.” Adds Jaynaya, “This cloak is from Steven’s grandmother’s tribe the Wemba Wemba (in north-Western Victoria and south-western New South Wales.) These were made and worn to keep us warm in the colder months.”

The ceremony was officiated by Zena Lythgo. “Zena did not even give it a second thought before jumping in to take up the celebrant reigns and being such a calming influence on the day,” raves Anna. “And thank you to you and Jimmy for just being bloody awesome, ‘yup we can do that’ people and extra muscle power. I can’t wait to go on more adventures with you both.”

The couple exchanged rings handmade by Esther of Esther Weinberg. “The RINGS – oh em geee. They are beautiful,” exclaims Anna. “And they love them – they will be treasured forever. And even though I did forget to take them (I knew that I would) I’m so glad I made the mercy dash back (at least halfway – my hubby met me halfway) to get them. I would have driven the whole way and then some to get them.”

Jaynaya carried a bouquet that completed the raw and natural floral arrangements, with a hint of colour. The floral details all styled by Little Lady Blooms, says Anna. “Bec from LLB brought a van load of gorgeous blooms and also did some foraging onsite. It was really important to all of us to keep the essence of Wilsons Prom in all aspects of the day.

Rebecca is the calming influence, creative genius and all-around legend. I can’t thank you enough for coming down for the day, despite having two poorly little girls at home (biggest thanks to your hubby too – I know it’s not always easy to juggle the working from home with two littlies – especially when they’re not well). You created something so so special and Jaynaya and Snakey were blown away by it – as were their guests.”

The newlyweds celebrated their brand new status in a beautifully decorated tent, with a picnic reception. Anna telling, “We wanted to keep it nice and simple and let the beauty of Wilson’s Prom speak for itself. Bec from LLB did an amazing job of putting a mood board together and it just organically grew from that.

We used my tipi tents. They have such an amazing vibe to them and as the wedding party was small, it worked perfectly. We also had loads of bits and bobs from the lovely Catie (Here Comes The Truck) who I’ve worked with before and all her pieces (like furniture), Bec’s florals and the tent, meant we ended up with a super stylish, yet super comfortable setting for them.” And there’s that aforementioned cake! The beauty created by Zee Scott,

The biggest thank you to you both Jaynaya and Snakey for allowing us to share your beautiful day. And to Anna of Lulu & Lime, thank you for sharing the beauty of your work with us.