Rubie and Max’s wedding day comes complete with a polka dot dress that had us well and truly stopped in our tracks (apt for The Polka Dot Issue). But it is the way that these two, secretly and privately enveloped themselves in the warmth of their love story, with their very closest friends, of a roaring fire and warm boots, that had us fall in love with them.

After planning a big wedding with friends from all over the world flying in, the pandemic forced them to cancel and make brand new plans. The couple married at a friend’s house, before they took to the seaside, with photographer By the Wilde joining them for a private afternoon, by the seaside. It was romantic, it focused on everything important, and it embraced the raw winter beauty of the beautiful Tasmanian winter.

It was in France, an equally romantic spot, that these two had their paths first cross, says Rubie. “We met in Max’s home town, a small seaside village in Brittany/France. Max had moved back to his hometown for the summer to work and I was working in the village and studying at the university in town. I moved to the village a few years beforehand, loved it and stayed to study.

It was as though the village spent over a year finding different ways for us to bump into each other and setting us up. Our bosses, friends and even customers at work. Looking back I can see they put in the work to bring us together.”

The couple cemented their love story with a proposal after Rubie was injured on a holiday to Bruny Island. She shares the story. “In March 2019 Max and I flew to Tasmania for two weeks for him to meet my family for the first time. Three days before our return flight I had a bad accident swimming at the beach on Bruny island and broke my neck. Max was the one to pull me out of the water, he was with me when I was airlifted to Hobart and then Melbourne and was by my side every day when I spent nearly 9 months in hospital and rehab.

I damaged my spinal cord which as a result left me a quadriplegic. We had been dating for less than a year but Max stayed in Australia and would arrive first thing in the morning and stay until the nurses had to ask him to leave late at night.

We got engaged while I was still in hospital, just before my last big surgery. It was a beautiful moment in a really hard time of our lives and gave me a lot of hope.”

Rubie and Max were married by celebrant Maura Kerr, in a private ceremony at a friend’s home. “The venue was decided a few days prior by the Tassie weather. Due to the cold and rain, we decided last minute to take it inside to a friend’s house, a beautiful old Hobart townhouse, where we could have the ceremony in front of a warm fireplace.

Our wonderful friends and witnesses surprised us with beautiful arrangements of in season and local, back yard and foraged flowers. Our talented friend went all out with a bouquet, arch and flower crown with flowers from native bushes and proteas from the garden. Maura Kerr, was so lovely and reassuring – even when our plans had to change several times due to restrictions and oh so patient with us when two days before our date we still hadn’t committed to a venue!”

“It was perfect, says Rubie. “We are both pretty shy, so we loved that our ceremony was personal and small. It was really special to share that moment with two of our close friends and although we were both excited and nervous it took a lot of stress and expectation away. We shared hugs, cake and champagne in the kitchen afterwards while it rained and our friends played a ‘love playlist’ that they made for us; before driving up to the east coast peninsula to stay in an earthy forest cabin – the stand alone.”

The above photos were taken by friends of Rubie & Max.

Once the vows were said Rubie and Max met their photographer Omar of By the Wilde, for an afternoon photography session in the cold. “We were both nervous about photos but we ended up having the best time” remembers Rubie. “Omar (By the Wilde), took us out to take photos on the peninsula. It was misty and drizzly and we went on a full-on adventure with Omar, he made it such a special experience. What a talented man and how wonderful to have those dreamy pictures to mark the day.”

For her wedding day attire, Rubie donned a polka dot dress from Spell. She tells  “Since our elopement was so private, we both wanted to keep it simple and fully aligned with our values.
I wanted to wear something that I would wear again and love for a long time and in the end, actually wore a dress I found online because the bridal boutiques and shops I went to weren’t accessible for me to get in. I found it difficult to find a dress sitting in a wheelchair because it’s rare to see a dress modelled sitting down and difficult to try on if you can’t get in the shop, but I wore a dress from Spell which I loved.
My favourite thing was a hand-knitted mohair jumper (that I found on Etsy) and both of us wore our old favourite boots that we’ve had for years. I wore botanical earrings made by Anja Jagsch, which were gifted to me by my gorgeous friend and witness the morning of, as we got ready together (she had one day seen me swooning over them).”

As the cold crept in and the dark settled, Rubie and Max headed back to an Air Bnb, fire roaring, to celebrate. “It was so special that we had such a private day just to cherish each other” says Rubie. “Nothing was set out or planned so there was nothing to stress or worry about, and we just got to focus on each other and enjoy ourselves.
One of our favourite parts, was at the end of the day, calling all our friends and family with a glass of wine to share the news!”

“We didn’t have a traditional first dance but we did dance in the kitchen together for hours” remembers Rubie. “We played my parent’s wedding song- “Matrimony” by Gilbert O’Sullivan (the ultimate elopement song).”

Congratulations on your marriage Rubie and Max! Thank you so much for the honour of sharing your story. Thank you also go to By the Wilde for sharing this one with us.