Not wanting to plan an elaborate wedding or be the stars of it, Charlotte and Ismail decided they were going to get married their way—with an intimate elopement. Surrounded by their loved ones, both virtually and physically, they celebrated their marriage. Capturing the day, Trang from Still Wild Love followed alongside the couple.

As many couples do, Charlotte and Ismail met on trusty Tinder – although no ghosting happened in this case! “But with this ending in a happy and loving relationship!” They bonded over their shared love of physical activity – He is an Olympic runner for Sierra Leone, and she is always up for a beautiful walk. So, it should be no shock that their proposal happened when they took a lovely walk along the river in Parramatta. “It was a beautiful sunny day, and we enjoyed our usual stroll, this time with a picturesque stop along the riverfront where he proposed! Nervous as hell, he popped the question, and of course, no doubt in my mind we would be spending the rest of our lives together, said yes!”

The idea of a big, fancy wedding scared both her and Ismail, so instead, they decided to stick with what they loved (each other) and gather their closest loved ones for their elopement. Charlotte had always imagined her wedding dress to be so simple that it was almost casual, thanks to her desire to stay out of the spotlight. She found this beautiful dress for $300 online, and it fit perfectly and was comfortable—but most of all, she felt beautiful in it. With the exposed back and a high neckline, it was the perfect simple but understated beauty she was looking for.

The flowers for the day were simple and subtle, perfectly matching Charlotte’s own style—which is not surprising considering she created them herself! “I love flowers and have always liked to keep things simple, not to mention cost-effective! We had a mix of baby breath, eucalyptus leaves, spray roses, anything that was in season, and colours that went well together.”

The Crystalbrook Vincent was the perfect venue for their intimate affair, featuring an incredible view of the Howard Smith Wharves.

Charlotte initially wanted Ismail to wear a tan linen suit (who doesn’t love that look?!), but he loved the idea of a simple black suit. “It truly looked amazing on him! It ended up being the perfect match to my dress, and we looked so amazing together.”

Since they were eloping, there was no need for a wedding party. They did, however, have some friends as witnesses and Charlotte’s niece and nephew as their ring bearers and flower kids!

Unfortunately, Ismail’s family were in Africa and couldn’t make the wedding – so they worked in every way to ensure his family was included. “Her family, as mine are in Africa, welcoming me so easily and beautifully into theirs. They brought out features of Sierra Leone and we had a video chat with my family as well. Just so amazing.”

Charlotte walked down the aisle to “At Last” by Etta James and relished the butterflies she still felt in her tummy. “I loved how nervous we both were. It still makes me laugh, and I love how we chose to do such a small, intimate wedding and still got so nervous!”

Their ceremony was straightforward, with sweet vows and lots of laughter, thanks to their celebrant, Jamie. “Both of us are from very different religious backgrounds, so we kept it nice and basic! My now husband is Muslim, and I am not religious, so it was the perfect choice for both of us!”

What are their five favourite things about elopement?

“1. My niece and nephew walking down the aisle,

2. Our family and friends coming together,

3. Being nervous as hell with our vows,

4. The simplicity of it all,

5. Our photos and time together.”

Narrowing down the best part of a day like this isn’t easy, so when Charlotte was asked, she said, “It was just a great day celebrating us and our union. We come from such different backgrounds, cultures, and religions, and we are able to find each other and spend the rest of our lives together!”

Their photographer for the day was Trang from Still Wild Love – who did an incredible job capturing the elopement’s intimate nature. “Trang is absolutely fantastic. She had such a great vision for the day and made it so seamless, perfect, and easy. It didn’t feel like we had a photographer at all. It was so easy!”

Keeping with their day’s simple, intimate nature, Charlotte and Ismail decided not to have a formal first dance. Instead, choosing to spend time with their guests and bask in their post-wedding bliss. “We chose to be a bit rebellious and not do a first dance. We kept it super casual and had afternoon drinks and food at the Crystalbrook Vincent, where we just enjoyed our small group of friends’ company celebrating us and our coming together.”

The advice they want to leave for future married couples is: “Do whatever you want, and don’t worry about what others do or what is normal! Just do whatever makes you happy; that’s all that matters in the end.”

Join us in congratulating Charlotte and Ismail on their stunning, intimate elopement! And thanks to Still Wild Love for capturing and submitting it for us to share.