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Adelle & Stephen

Elopements are always rather magic, and eloping on the other side of the world, might seem impossible right now, but is a little seed of hope we can plant in our souls and dreams, for those better times ahead. Today we’re sharing the most pretty, the most romantic, the most intimate elopement of Aussies Adelle and Stephen. The pair, who enlisted photographer Roberta Facchini to capture it all and The Tuscan Wedding to bring their own dream to life.

Let’s begin this story, with the tale of how these two first came to meet in Stephen’s words. “We worked together a long time ago. I was searching out people who had been very kind to me in my past and Adelle was the last person I tracked down. We met for a glass of wine and the rest is history.” And the proposal? It was a week-long buildup! “For the seven days leading up to the proposal, I gave Adelle a beautiful card. On my birthday, I proposed on the balcony of our new home, overlooking the ocean.”

The vendor dream team, made this day go off without a hitch says the groom. “Because we eloped I’d like to call out the people that ensured our day was perfect. First, our wedding planner The Tuscan Wedding they are amazing, second my wife’s hair and makeup (she looked so beautiful) Cherie Spisso of Florence, third our Photographer Roberta Facchini, fourth our flowers by Flowers Living and fifth our celebrant Jo Bertolino“.

Before celebrations began, the bride received a very special gift from her future husband. Stephen explains “I purchased a bracelet on the Ponte Vecchio the day before the wedding, in honour of the bride’s family – her uncle did the same thing for her aunt on their 25th wedding anniversary. She wore it on the day.”

The bride wore a gown designed by Rebecca Ingram for Maggie Sottero. The groom donned a blue suit from Aussie brand Oxford.

The couple were married in the garden in a private ceremony led by Jo Bertolino. Stephen shares “It was a very personal wedding centred around myself and my wife with our own written words to each other, a poem I wrote and readings from our Celebrant Jo Bertolino.”

Stephen? He is a big fan of eloping! Telling “We just made sure the focus was on us. Our wedding planners ensured this in every way. Because we eloped, our wedding planning team took all the pressure off us and stepped in where ever needed.”

Stephen remembers one of his favourite moments of the day. “After the ceremony in the garden we climbed some stairs to a place called The Fortress a beautiful structure at the villa. The villa says at this spot time stands still. That couldn’t have been more true. We took a breath, drank some champagne and enjoyed each other’s company. It was magic.”

Advice for couples yet to tie the knot? “Hire a wedding planner,” says Stephen. “If your wedding is a destination one, either eloping or with lots of people, having a wedding planner makes the whole process so much easier and removes stress.”

To celebrate their marriage, the newlyweds were treated to a private dinner in the onsite Winter Garden. Says the groom “The whole day & night was filled with love and music. There was no formal dance.”

“We gave quite a specific outline to our wedding planner around the lead-up, ceremony, photos, dinner. Our expectations were exceeded in every way. At the heart of our wedding, we wanted a memorable experience that we would fondly look back on for the rest of our lives and we got that and more.”

A big congratulations to you both Adelle & Stephen! Thank you both for sharing your story with us today. And thank you to Roberta Facchini & The Tuscan Wedding for sharing today’s wedding!

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Image by Caroline Sada via Cherlyn & Seng Wai’s Great Ocean Road Romantic Honeymoon Photos

A honeymoon is usually the most romantic and extravagant holiday of your life. A time to unwind and relax with your freshly hitched companion. Traditionally, jetting off directly after your reception and embracing the deliciousness of newly married life. Couples often dream about their honeymoon just as luxuriously as their wedding, choosing somewhere they have always dreamt of visiting when they found that special someone (Champagne on a balcony in Paris – sipping hot miso in a ski village in Japan or smooching over a Frangelico infused hot chocolate in the Canadian Rockies?) – but what if COVID-19 got in the way?

Image: Perla Photography

A lot of weddings did not go to plan this year, which of course included a lot of overseas and local honeymoons. But we can’t let that stop us from planning and dreaming. And just as soon as we can venture beyond our 5km radius, you can still escape from your jobs, families, and day-to-day woes in your own backyard! Honeymoons are about swooning over your perfect match, not the destination.

Below are some close to home options for the Victorians that still want to celebrate.

The Yarra Valley

Image via Visit Victoria

Scenic wining and dining… What more could you want with your partner in crime? This delightful little piece of the Earth really does tick of all the romancing boxes. Not a wine lover? The Yarra Valley not only has a rich history of wineries but also a significant history with beer and cider production! With countless fresh produce at your fingertips to perfectly cleanse your palate between beverages. Why not polish off a stressful year with a balloon ride? Gaze over the rolling green landscapes at 2,000 feet – with a sparkling wine to match. We think so.

The Mornington Peninsula

Image via Visit Mornington Peninsula 

Time to slow down, relax and restore your senses. The Mornington Peninsula is all about wellbeing and enjoying the little luxuries in life. Whether it is a couple of takeaway coffees whilst strolling by the bathing boxes on Dromana Beach or immersing yourselves in a steamy day at the hot springs, you will feel at ease in seconds! Steal a smooch at Arthurs Seat Lookout or take a dip at Bushrangers Bay. By night? Al fresco fish and chips and bottle of wine for two. Those seaside coastlines could not be more inviting for an impromptu dinner picnic!

The Great Ocean Road

Image via Australias.Guide

Breathing in the fresh sea air, maybe even embracing the ethos of the coast, and popping out for a quick morning surf. The Great Ocean Road is famous for harbouring some of the most beautiful beaches in Victoria, so make sure you pack your swimmers! If water is not your preference there are many incredible national parks to fill your days with – Cape Otway or the Twelve Apostles are our favourites. What we love most about this area is the relaxed and laidback ambience, somewhere you can really take a deep breath and focus on what is most important, each other. When you tire of sun and sea, you can make your way to the incredibly dreamy Lorne Theatre for a film, what more could two love birds want!

Honeymooning – a love tip: Why not choose accommodation where there is little to no signal for your mobile phone. No in-room internet. No television. Somewhere you can unplug from all digital distractions and instead really connect with each other.

Ms Floral: Some fab ideas for keeping things local! So much to see, explore and love about the diversity of Victoria.

About Refresh Hospitality: At Refresh Hospitality we are all about creating experiences. We specialise in event management and catering and will go above and beyond to ensure your big day is perfect! We can involved as little or as much as you like. Let us take the reins with exceptional service, fresh, delicious and local produce and competitive pricing. We offer a range of menu options from cocktail events to plated menus and shared dining experiences. All of our packages are flexible, we believe in tailoring a food and beverage package to suit your requirements rather than simply choosing from a set package. We work alongside some of the best industry professionals to ensure your day is stress-free, enjoyable and delicious from the first canapé to your last drink!

Ever explored the homegrown beauty of Australia? All that stunning red rich soil and the most vivid blue beaches. What about the wonderful winery regions and breathtaking national parks? Australia knows how to wow! With honeymooning in Australia certainly the name of the game over the coming months, even years, we’re getting into the spirit of The Local Issue and paying homage to home.

We’ve got all the ideas and inspiration for your Australian honeymoon and trust us when we say, there is something for everyone. Here are the cosy honeymoons by the fire, the beachside trips with plenty of cocktails… There’s the unique, the stunning, and all the beauty you need to really appreciate our home soil. So the question is, which region will you pick first?

Broome

Image via Broome Camel Safaris

Western Australia’s Broome is an idyllic part of the country and undoubtedly has the best sunsets. It’s got beautiful, luxurious resorts for your accommodation (complete with day spas and delish eating options) and is a brilliant gateway to jump off to the Kimberley for a day trip. Broome beautifully blends laid back style with stunning beauty.

Head to Gantheaume Point for the history (the combination of red rock against blue sea is certainly worth a visit!) and grab a cold beer at Matsos. And, of course, make sure you add a sunset camel ride to your itinerary and a day trip to Willie Creek Pearls.

That photo above? My own camel safari, at sunset, which was pure magic.

See our Broome loving here.

The Whitsundays

Image: Tourism Whitsundays

Okay, so you’re dreaming of an island honeymoon and is there any better place to head than The Whitsundays? The islands are endless (island hopping honeymoon, anyone?) the water crystal clear blue and the sunshine aplenty. Water babies and sun lovers this one is for you. Take a helicopter flight over heart reef, a day trip to Whitehaven Beach, take a cruise at sunset… The romance of The Whitsundays is everything you love about a dream tropical destination.

Get more Whitsundays inspiration with our previous features here.

Cradle Mountain

Image: Jason Charles Hill Tourism Tasmania

Anywhere in Tasmania is always a favourite of mine when it comes to honeymoons. For utter romance though, you’re particularly going to want to try out Cradle Mountain. Stay in a stunning mountain lodge and spend your days on the hiking trails, before hot spas and fireside chats fill your nights. Book yourself into Hobart or Launceston for your urban adventures on the way home – a trip to MONA always a must for art lovers.

See more of our love for Tasmania here.

The Barossa Valley

Image: Daniel Westergren South Australian Tourism Commission

Foodies, listen up! Wine regions make for amazing honeymoon destinations and South Australia’s beautiful Barossa Valley is a must for your list. It’s full of romantic hotels, amazing food and delightful accommodation. Book yourself a winery tour, wander the local towns, and immerse yourself in enjoying every last recommended tipple on your list!

Port Douglas

Image via 8 Memorable Ways to Get Hitched in Port Douglas & Daintree!

Where the forest meets the sea. I think it’d be hard to deny that Port Douglas makes a perfect option for sun loving honeymooners. This region offers all the adventure you could ask for – flying foxes through forest canopies, hikes and cruises. And that’s alongside gorgeous beaches and delicious eateries. This one has all that you could ask for for your tropical adventure honeymoon.

See more Port Douglas features here.

The Hunter Valley

Image: Destination NSW

What is it about winery regions that make for such fantastic honeymoon spots? The Hunter Valley is another one of our favourites with its rolling vineyard landscape and amazing accommodation. Couple that with good food and you can spend your days eating and drinking, or curled up in one of the many sweet and romantic accommodation spots with a very good book. The best kind of honeymoons allow you to take yourself wherever you fancy, and once you add in winery tours and local sightseeing, the Hunter Valley is all that and more.

Explore more of our love for the Hunter Valley here.

Kangaroo Island

Image: South Australian Tourism Commission

The remote destination of Kangaroo Island and its raw, rugged beauty makes this so very underrated South Australian destination a brilliant honeymoon adventure. This is the destination for nature lovers. Book yourselves one of the many luxurious accommodation spots on the island and then start your adventure! Take a tour around the national park, roam the beaches, spend a day kayaking, an afternoon tobogganing on the dunes. This one? It’s going to wow you with its unexpected beauty.

Bruny Island

Image: Tourism Tasmania and Andrew Wilson

Bruny Island is one of my favourite places on Earth. This one is for quiet honeymoons of solitude. Roam the island stocking your esky with all the homegrown treats (cheese, yes!) and make the most of the many hikes the island has to offer. This one is for you if you love the idea of rewarding your days outside with cosy book reading and winter spas.

See more of our love for Tasmania here.

Uluru

Image: Tourism NT/Paddy Pallin

Is there anywhere more iconic to head for your Aussie honeymoon than Uluru? This will be an unforgettable adventure and one that truly honours the Australian spirit. Make the most of the local luxurious accommodation (yes, plunge pools even exist out here) as a place to rest your head and book yourself a private tour of not just the rock, but the surrounding areas. Immerse yourself in the culture and dine under the stars. So much to see and appreciate!

See more Uluru inspiration here.

Daylesford

Image: Jacob Dyer 

If quiet country towns in the cooler months are your jam, then Daylesford is the place for you. With the stunning lake as its centrepiece, this little village is packed with amazing food, beautiful places to stay and plenty to do, or not do!

Book yourself a decadent lunch (or dinner) at The Lake House, head for a day trip to the mineral springs, and make sure you book yourself in for plenty of relaxing by the fire.

See more on Daylesford here.

Margaret River

Image: Eloise Shakespeare 

The scenery of Margaret River makes for a picturesque honeymoon. Vineyards, the forests and the sea all in one location. Make winery hopping and eating, your daily ritual, but head to the caves for a day trip and explore the beach while you’re at it. This region is known for its award-winning wineries and food so be sure to make the most of it!