Hayley and Ben wanted no fuss for their wedding. They chose a sweet cottage nestled into the Scenic Rim for their secret elopement – there was no wedding party, no flowers, no first dance, but there was all the romance. From the sweet ceremony with golden light streaming down, to the private reception dinner that followed, Hayley and Ben made their day about what was most important to them – something special, something low key and something that was full of romance and fun, Hayley noting “We loved that that we made it easy for ourselves! It was just us and what we wanted, we didn’t have to consider anybody else in the planning process.” The moments are captured beautifully by Chasing Moments Photography.

The couple met eleven years ago when Hayley was working with Ben’s sister. “We interacted over one of her Facebook posts, Ben sent me a friend request and we began messaging each other every day” remembers Hayley “We quickly discovered how much we had in common and would message each other to share our love of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Kevin Smith movies.

Ben popped the question one day at home. “I came home from work one evening, exhausted, and Ben had made me the most wonderful dinner. He also made crème brûlée for dessert, my absolute favourite. He proposed whilst I was sitting on the couch, it was completely unexpected. We were engaged for nine years before finally getting married but we’re happy we waited to do it exactly the way we wanted.”

Hayley and Ben stayed and were married at Scenic Rim venue Greenlee Cottages. Says Hayley “We were so incredibly lucky to find Greenlee Cottages. During our search, we found plenty of so-called “accessible” places. On further investigation, only the entrance would be accessible or the bathroom wouldn’t be appropriate. It was extremely frustrating.

Not only did Greenlee Cottages have an accessibility guide, it was an incredibly beautiful place. When I rang to ask if we could have our elopement ceremony there, Robyn was so excited! She was truly an angel, driving Ben around on a buggy so we could have our ceremony in front of the creek and helping him get to other locations for photos.”

“Ben wore a dark navy suit from Peter Jacksons, with an ivory shirt from Tarocash” notes Hayley. “To match my dress he chose a blush pink, paisley tie and pocket square from OTAA. It was challenging to find something to fit over Ben’s shoulders and accommodate his posture whilst being comfortable to wear in his chair. I think he looked incredibly handsome!”

With only three months to plan, and set on not wearing white, it was a mission for Hayley to find her gown! “I bought a blush-coloured bridesmaid’s dress from Asos (for $40!) and ordered two tulle overlay skirts from Model Chic. I found the most lovely local seamstress (Alena from Always Stylish 2020) who put all the pieces together for me. I felt comfortable but also like a glamorous fairy. I also wore a pair of Melissa Shoes Herchcovitch Alexandre flower queen shoes I had purchased after we got engaged. I had kept them for nine years waiting to wear them on my wedding day.”

“I’ve known Kate for almost 20 years and she went above and beyond to make sure we had the perfect elopement,” explains Hayley of the decision to hire celebrant Kate Mackie Celebrancy. “She was frequently in touch during the three months leading up to our day and was there to answer any questions. We hadn’t told any of our friends or family of our plans, so she was the only person we could turn to for support.

Kate, dressed in soft blush and gold to match our vibe. She also showed up with a little surprise, wearing Converse sneakers. The same Converse Luna Lovegood wears in Harry Potter. It was such a sweet gesture and a nod to my favourite character from Harry Potter.”

The couple’s dream team made sure every moment of the day was special. “We got all the way down to the creek and were about to begin when I realised I had left the rings in the cottage. Robyn and Kate jumped in the buggy and sped back to the cottage. They took a lot longer than we thought was necessary.
Later, after we had finished our photographs, we returned to the cottage and realised why they had taken so long. Robyn had replaced our pillowcases with “Mr and Mrs” pillowcases and had left a little jar of Greenlee Farm honey, in a heart of petals on the bed. It was such a sweet surprise.”

“Kate gave us the most personal, magical ceremony. She added special stories and details that were just for us, we couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect.
We had written vows for each other and asked Kate to read them a few days beforehand. It wasn’t until we read them to each other that we realised how similar they were. Our ceremony was simply joyous.”

“Do what you want to do and not what you think others want or expect from you” advises Hayley. “The day is about the two of you and nobody else.”

Ben’s favourite part of the day? “Just how happy I was to enjoy the day and to be able to celebrate our love and our relationship without any extra pressure or distractions.”

With zero guests, it was so important to Hayley and Ben that the vendors they chose were, well, amazing and they lived up to it – especially their photographer! “Terra was amazing. We were both a little nervous about being the focus of so many photos but she made us feel so comfortable. She made us laugh and had us play little word games to make us feel relaxed. We were thrilled with our photos and the way Terra captured every moment of our special day.”

And what could be more romantic than dinner for two? “We didn’t necessarily DIY but we did have to cater for ourselves!” notes Hayley, “Nothing nearby was open so we couldn’t have a romantic wedding dinner at a restaurant. We ordered some delicious food from Botanica and brought it with us. Our quiet dinner for two on the deck of our cottage was even more romantic than any dinner we could have had at a busy restaurant.”

The biggest congratulations to you both Hayley & Ben! What a simply sweet way to tie the knot. Thank you for sharing and for Chasing Moments Photography for today’s beautiful images.