For Lane and Joe, there was nothing more important for their wedding day than making sure it was relaxed. Joe even spent the morning doing an assessment for work while Lane got her hair done before they both headed home and dressed for the day together.

And if that idea tickles you pink, settle in, because their wedding day, captured beautifully by The Hogans, continued in the spirit with which it started. Our favourite part? The way Lane and Joe celebrated their nuptials with cake and milkshakes at their favourite local cafe, before heading home for a dinner of cups of tea and home-delivered pizza. Let this be the sign that if you hate the idea of a big wedding, that you indeed can do it small, intimate and perfectly you. “I loved how relaxed and effortless our day was” raves Lane. “There was no stress, no running around, just us, in love, living our life together as usual. It’s about your life together, not the wedding.”

Lane was working as a flight nurse and midwife for Careflight in Darwin, and Joe a FIFO miner in the Kimberley when the couple met in 2014, aptly wanting to share their first date over milkshakes, says Lane. “Our first date was meeting up for lunch milkshakes, but the milkshake shop was closed, so we went next door for Greek, and had lunch, lunch turned into dinner, dinner turned into a walk along the beach and a sunset kiss seven hours after the first meeting, and that was it. We’ve been together ever since.”

Seven years later, after a spate of Victorian lockdowns, Joe popped the question on a hike. “We’d been together for nearly 7 years, and VIC was locked down for most of 2020, so in November, when we finally saw my family in NSW Joe asked my mum and dad for their blessing to propose, which they happily gave! On a hot clear day in December, Joe planned a hilltop walk to the top of his hometown in Gippsland, overlooking Mt Baw Baw.

Our 70kg dog Gus decided he’d had enough halfway up and had a lie down under an apple tree. The normally very easy going Joe started getting a bit weird telling the dog he had to move. “He needs some discipline! We’ve got to make it up the hill as a family”. So eventually the dog moved and we all slowly walked up the hill, taking twice as long as normal, reaching the crystal clear view, and at the top Joe got down on one knee and pulled out my great grandmother’s ring, which had been passed down by all the women in my family and given to Joe by my Aunty. It was bliss.”

Lane worked with local dressmaker Clasch Design to create her classic tea length dress. “I wanted something modest, classic, tea dress with pockets. I couldn’t find anything like it so I went to Clasch Design, a one-woman dressmaker in Ballarat and she made the perfect dress! And it was less than a quarter of the price of most dresses I’d tried on – can’t beat going local!”

To match his blue suit from Peter Jacksons, Joe, and the couple’s dog Gus both wore accessories from Peggy & Finn. “Joe designed and drew up a matching cravat for Gus our 70kg Bullmastiff, and we were lucky enough that local company Peggy and Finn were happy to make it special order so the boys could match in their Kangaroo Paw ties. It was really special that Joe went to all the effort.”

Of their photographer, the couple note “Jake from Big Love Elopements and The Hogans was an amazing photographer! He walked in with big hugs and smiles and immediately put us at ease. He’s even got some photos of us that we had no idea he was there for! Funny, subtle, relaxed and just a damn amazing photographer! – which is particularly important when eloping, because it creates memories for others to share in! And our friends and family appreciated that he captured us as a couple and our relaxed nature. Jake was amazing, funny, effortless, and now we have these beautiful memories captured forever.”

The couple walked to their ceremony hand in hand, holding their ceremony in the Geelong Botanic Gardens.  Lane telling “We chose the Geelong Botanic Gardens. They are beautiful all year round, they have multiple gardens to choose from for the ceremony, and because we got married on a Thursday there wasn’t another soul around. Like our own little slice of paradise.”

Lane and Joe handed the planning of the day over to  Big Love Elopements.  “It was just us, Joe, Lane & Gus (our dog). We used Big Love Geelong Elopement, with Jessie Belle our celebrant and Jake of The Hogans as our photographer – Jake brought along his fiancé Courtney as a favour, and Jake and Courtney were our witnesses. We’d not met them before the wedding day, but it turns out Jake is a top bloke and Courtney loves dogs and played with Gus while we had some photos without him – talk about providing the full service! Can’t recommend them highly enough!”

Lane wanted Australian natives for her wedding bouquet and called on Mr Collins Florist, who went to great lengths, to make it happen. She explains  “The florist Mr Collins made me a single bunch of natives, my only request was to have a sprig of kangaroo paw if possible, to match Joe’s tie and Gus’s cravat. Unfortunately, I was out of season at the market, but the amazing florist cut some out of her front garden to make it happen! Can’t go wrong supporting local! They go above and beyond!”

In a nod to their families, the newlyweds toasted their newly married status with a champagne toast, says Lane  “Joe’s parents have this beautiful photo taken at their wedding where they are having a toast using 70’s coupe champagne glasses, so we scoured local op-shops, and eventually found two that matched! They were 20 cents each; it really nice to incorporate a sweet family toast of family tradition when our families couldn’t with us.”

“We really loved not getting stressed, and really having no expectations” reminisces Lane. “The flowers were ordered a couple of days before and the dress was about two months and four dress fittings in the making, and we didn’t have to bother with little finicky things like save the dates, invites, bonbonniere; it was just about us.”

The newlyweds shared their first dance in the gardens together. “Joe chose Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” explains Lane. “It was lovely, just having a quiet moment to dance and laugh together in the Botanic Gardens. We had only picked the one song, and luckily our celebrant and DJ Jessie had her wedding playlist on her phone from all the other couples she’d married, which we just let rip while we had photos taken – people have great taste in first songs, and we got them all!”

In lieu of a big reception, Lane and Joe celebrated at a favourite local Orchid & Co Cafe – just the relaxed vibe they wanted. “After the wedding, we went for milkshakes and cake at a local café, then walked back home, had cups of tea and ordered pizza for dinner later that night. It was the most perfect relaxed wedding I could have dreamt of.”

The couple even had photos taken with their gorgeous and dream-worthy cream VW beetle. “There are too many photos from the day that captured the fun” shares Lane. “One of me walking out of the house and Joe seeing me in my dress for the first time and the look of surprise on this face, one of us walking in to the Botanic Gardens together and the sign is backwards over our heads, and one of just our our legs and Gus our dog just looking straight up at us in awe… There are so many photos that captured the love, fun and relaxed nature of the day.  A good photographer is the best investment you can make on your wedding day.”

Joe and Lane, the biggest of congratulations to you both! Congratulations on marrying the very way you dreamt of. Thank you also to The Hogans for sharing such a beautiful day with us!