What friends, pray tell, is a better way of ending a road trip, in your very own kombi, through Tasmania, than by tying the knot? Zahara and Mitchell were not interested in a big wedding with a big guest list, instead, they decided to do away with all the fuss and tie the knot in absolute secret. “It was no fuss, no frills; just us, a fabulous celebrant and the amazing photographer. Eloping was total “us”, we wouldn’t have done it any other way. It was short and sweet and there was a bit of thrill from the secrecy of it – we won’t lie! All we wanted was to be outside and to be together. It was so stress-free and so FUN!”

The dream team? Also small and sweet, the couple enlisted the help of wedding and elopement planners I Do Drive Thru Weddings who worked with them to coordinate photographer Nina Hamilton and celebrant Kath Tilly to make sure that the stress-free vibe continued throughout every moment of their day.  And the result was something these two have zero regrets about.  “Eloping meant we got to focus only on each other for the whole day with no one else’s expectations or agenda” noting Zahara. “We got ready together too, which was so much fun and not something a couple traditionally do together. I think it took some of the nerves away too because we were together every step of the way.”

Now before we get started, we have to share the story of how these two met, except there isn’t just one story, it’s two! They tell “There’s a little debate about where we first met. Mitchell thinks it was at a toga-themed house party.
Zahara knows it was at a bar. But we both agree that sparks flew when we serendipitously ended up at the same campsite at a festival in 2015!”

Recalls Zahara “We had met a few times previously at that point and so I got up the nerve to ask the handsome man with the great car (1976 Volkswagen Kombi) for a ride back to town … even though there were plenty of seats in the cars of the friends I’d arrived with. I saw an opportunity to lay down some groundwork and I took it!” Mitchell added “Zahara asked for a lift to her car after a festival and of course, I said yes to a beautiful soul such as her! I think I first fell for her after I dropped her off and looked in my side-view mirror and saw her flick her long gorgeous red hair. I said to my mate at the time in the passenger seat “she’s alright, ay”. He replied… “yep, she sure is”. So the next time I saw her I asked her out!

With a ring, he made himself (yes really!) Mitchell popped the question while the couple was on a four-month-long holiday. “Mitchell proposed in London 3 days into a 4-month long backpacking trip to Europe on 7/7/17. (A relief that Zahara said yes or things could have been very awkward for the rest of the trip!) Mitchell’s younger brother, who was living in London at the time, caught the moment on his film camera and they are such special photos to have and look back on because honestly, I (Zahara) was so stunned at the time that it’s all a bit of a blur! We popped a bottle with the hosts of our Airbnb and had a lot of long-distance calls to make!

Mitchell also made the engagement ring himself! He is the son of a jeweller and when he came up with a plan to propose he was able to be very hands-on in the process of making the ring! Turns out he had a bit of a knack for it and when we got back from travelling he was offered an apprenticeship and has now been a jeweller for nearly 5 years, helping fellow romantics propose to the loves of their lives!”

The venue, an art park is known as GASP (Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park) on the banks of the Derwent. Says Zahara “GASP! is a funky public space across the water from MONA. We visited the day before to suss out a nice little spot for a ceremony. Since we’d organised everything from another state it was a relief to find that it was just as beautiful and quirky as we had hoped!”

Zahara and Mitchell were married by Kath Tilly, in a ceremony organised by elopement planners I Do Drive Thru Weddings. Zahara explained “We planned our elopement only about 15 weeks before The Big Day so it was all systems a-go! Booking through I Do Drive Thru was almost suspiciously easy; all the steps are laid out and are very easy to follow, and all the legal stuff was taken care of super-fast. They also put us in touch with our fabulous celebrant, Kath Tilly, and photographer Nina Hamilton.

The I Do Drive Thru ceremonies are short and sweet – exactly what we wanted! They give the option of 2, 5 or 7 minutes ceremonies (oh yeah, you really can get married in 2 minutes if you want!) We went for the 7-minute option and also elected to write our vows. We stood on the bank of a beautiful bay, said some mushy stuff to each other and sealed it with a smooch! I (Zahara) never wanted to stand in front of a crowd and say my vows, not because I don’t like public speaking but because I feel like the only person they concern with is Mitchell! It was an intimate moment of saying our vows to each other almost as if we were having a conversation as opposed to performing them for other people.”

Zahara offers up this advice. “The most important thing is to have the day you want to have! Don’t be guilted, swayed or convinced of anything else. If you want to elope, elope.”

Zahara found her dress online for just $60! She shares “It was a short white number with a big cape sleeve – who doesn’t love a fun sleeve? I wasn’t dedicated to wearing white, I tried on a few coloured dresses and even a glittery jumpsuit – which I have held onto for a later occasion – but the white dress just felt like the right fit for the day and I’ll wear it again the second I get a chance!”

Mitchell donned pieces the couple purchased long before any wedding plans were made.  “Mitchell wore a blue checkered suit that’s just as cool as he is. We bought it before any marriage plans had evolved it just looked too good on him to leave it in the shop. But he was saving it for a special event and it made its debut as his wedding outfit! He accessorised with a rose gold watch I bought for him as an engagement present.”

“I remember feeling a constant mix of both happiness and calm” explains Mitchell. “The day was so simple which made it so easy to enjoy the whole experience. We just had fun with it and shared every minute without interruption. My favourite moment was when we spoke our vows to one another.”


The newlyweds wandered around the park post-ceremony with photographer Nina to get some happy snaps, Zahara remarking “Nina has fantastic energy and charisma and we were chatting like old chums in no time. I Do Drive Thru has 3 photographers who generally work within Hobart. We looked them all up and though they all had terrific work, Nina’s photographs really stood out to us so we made a special request for her; we were stoked when she agreed to capture our day! She captures the little in-between moments as well as the big picture and a mix of great candid shots, pictures of the surroundings and more formal portraits. We couldn’t be happier with the photos we ended up with.”

With the wedding being an elopement, there was not much to hand make but somehow, these two did it anyway, making Zahara’s bouquet and a bit of fun decor for their beloved Kombi. “We came into Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania on Boxing day and drove to Hobart in our Kombi, stopping along the way only to pick native roadside leaves and flowers. We combined what we picked with a couple of waratahs we grabbed from a local florist and made the bouquet together in our hotel room the night before the wedding.  Mitchell has always had a great eye for floral arrangements! – and folded up some tissue paper tassels for the Kombi!

We also had a bit of a DIY pamper night together the night before the ceremony with face masks and herbal tea and Mitchell did an admirable job of painting my nails as well as ironing my dress! He’s a keeper.”

The perfect way for these two to end their day? A private dance party to Ru-Paul of course! “We skipped the formal first dance but post-ceremony we headed back to our Kombi, kicked off our shoes and had a little boogie to some RuPaul! Nina was off the clock but the sound of “Call Me Mother” had her doubling back for a little groove and earned us some generous extra snaps.”

The newlyweds celebrated with cocktails. “After the deed was done we headed into Hobart to walk around in search of the best cocktails in town. We were on such a high from what we had just done and everywhere we went people stopped us in the streets to comment on how happy we looked. We had changed outfits so it wasn’t necessarily obvious where we had just come from. We thought it was pretty awesome that people could see the love and excitement exploding from us and it was fun to gush to interested strangers about how we had just eloped and answer all their questions.”

The biggest congratulations to you both Zahara and Mitchell – what fun it was to be able to share your day. Thank you also to  Nina Hamilton and I Do Drive Thru Weddings for sharing this tale.