We are very excited to share this beautiful Avoca Beach elopement of Emily & Luke. This elopement happened on the Central Coast of NSW and features some epic photography by Rachel Gutierrez Photography.
Avoca Beach is a gorgeous sleepy seaside town on the Central Coast of New South Wales which is located about ninety minutes from Sydney. It is the perfect elopement location for couples who are after a scenic beachside wedding location that is away from the busy city beaches. There is plenty of wonderful accommodation options both luxury and budget and some great dining options in the area.
Like most modern couples these days, who are in their 30’s, Emily & Luke met online. And they chose Avoca Beach for their elopement for sentimental reasons. This is how their love story began…
“I was just testing the waters to see what was out there. Luke’s was the only profile I ‘liked’ because I wanted to get his attention.
I was visiting my family in Northern Ireland for Christmas, and Luke was in Australia when we matched on Eharmony. We spoke intensely for a month, over phone calls and messages, so much so that we started to miss each other even though we’d never physically met.
When we finally met in-person in Darling Harbour we already knew so much about each other.
Dating during a pandemic meant we essentially had the choice of spending very little time together or every waking moment together, including working from home. We obviously chose the latter as we didn’t want to let go and it just felt right to be together.
Luke proposed to me one evening at a gathering with some family and friends. The day had passed fairly typically, and nothing had indicated that he was going to propose that evening. I was completely gobsmacked and think I forgot to say ‘yes’.
Luke later told me that he only really became nervous a couple of hours before proposing as we sat with younger family members watching Kristoff constantly trying and failing to propose to Anna in Frozen 2. Later that evening Luke stood up in front of everybody to wish my niece and nephew happy birthday, say how much he loved me and my family, and to ask if I would marry him.
It took a long time for the penny to drop as to what he was doing – I just thought it was really weird that he was making a speech.”
Couples choose to elope or have a small wedding for a variety of reasons. So it’s always nice to hear first-hand, why they chose to elope…
“Ideally, we wanted our two families to come together to celebrate our marriage, but because of COVID, Luke’s brother and his brother’s family, and my parents, sister and her family were stuck overseas. However, most of Luke’s family live in Australia, and I am lucky enough to have a brother and sister and their families living here also. So, we wanted to beat the pandemic and have a fun day with our nearest and dearest that were able to celebrate with us in the here and now.”
This is how Emily & Luke told their family and friends they were having an Avoca Beach elopement instead of a big traditional wedding…
“We spoke a lot to my family in Ireland, it was important to have their blessing and support for a wedding that they, unfortunately, were unable to attend. I was personally very torn, I never imagined having a wedding without my mum and dad with me, but then again I never thought I would get married….all my parents and our families want was for us is to be happy and ready to start a life together. We will have a party with all the family once we are able to all be together again.”
Emily & Luke chose their Avoca Beach elopement location for some personal, sentimental reasons. This is what they said…
“We both knew we wanted a small, fast wedding and went through many, many options of what we could do. As we had an intimate number of guests, we tried to consider what would suit everyone joining us, but it soon became apparent, this is not possible. So we decided to do what we wanted and that was to get married on the Beach.
Having moved from Northern Ireland and living with my brother in North Avoca, Avoca Beach is the closest place to home in Australia. It is the first beach I explored and spent time on when I arrived and I also took Luke there the first time he visited me on the Central Coast – so this is where we decided to have the ceremony.”
The Pines at Avoca Beach was the location for their intimate marriage ceremony. This is what they said about it…
“Once the location was decided on, it was 5 weeks of intense planning. People gave advice to take our time and spend a year planning the perfect wedding, but that is not how I would want to spend a year of my life and think a quick, fun wedding was the best approach for us.
We had a wonderful celebrant, Bri Tatham, who personalised our ceremony and even wrote a story about us (we didn’t hear it until the day) which got lots of laughs.
She guided us through the process of writing our own vows which we’re glad we did. We held a sand ceremony as we thought this was fitting, this was new for Bri and us so that was fun. We used sand which my parents sent over to Australia (legally through customs) from Belfast Lough, Sydney sand for Luke and sand from Avoca Beach as our foundation.
We held the ceremony on Avoca Beach at a clearing sheltered by pine trees and overlooking the ocean, the location was beautiful and peaceful.
The weather had been awful in the lead up to the wedding day, but on the day the rain gods took mercy on us and it was sunny with a gentle breeze, it was just perfect.
We had a set up so that my family overseas watched the ceremony over Facetime. In the lead up to the day I thought I would find it too sad to see their faces and not be able to hug them. However, I loved seeing them there as I could look at them during the ceremony and speak to them as soon as we walked down the aisle.
The ceremony was our favourite part of the day – as that was what the whole celebration was about, us getting married and binding our lives together.
We then took a stroll down the beach to the restaurant. This was a chance for Luke and I to have a moment to ourselves and for our wonderful photographer (who became my confidant for the day), Rachel Gutierrez to take some photographs.
We then had a delicious meal and drinks at a local restaurant, Avoca Beach House, followed by afterparty drinks at Aromas bar in Terrigal.”
“It was just an awesome day full of love.
We stayed at a hotel together the night before, so that friends could get a chance to meet, as there were so few people it was easy for everyone to mingle and quickly become friends – there were invites to new friends homes flying left, right and centre.
I guess Luke and I had an impromptu and certainly messy first dance which was obviously unplanned, followed by a garter throw, also of the unplanned variety!
Also, the day after the wedding was when the covid outbreak hit the Northern Beaches, so we managed to get in just in time – which in hindsight made the day even more surreal.“
Is eloping right for you? Some of the best advice you can get is from a couple that have actually eloped or had a small wedding. Here is why these guys loved having a small wedding…
“Getting to ignore all the do’s and don’ts, when it is a small wedding you can eliminate the stereotypes of a wedding and choose the bits you want.
Because we kept the wedding small, with only close Australian friends and family, we were able to spend more on the quality of the day. We made bags for the kids to keep them entertained and I painted champagne glasses as personalised wedding favours.
I loved meeting our vendors and supporting local business. Everyone was so lovely and willing to help which made the process so much more enjoyable.”
Advice for couples thinking of eloping… from Emily & Luke…
“Keep it simple. Don’t sweat the small stuff and try not to get carried away. The only thing that matters is marrying the love of your life.”
Avoca Beach Elopement Vendors & Suppliers Featured:
Elopement Photography: Rachel Gutierrez Photography
Marriage Celebrant: Briahna from Ceremonies by Bri
Ceremony Set Up: Melissa from Celebration Set Ups
Dress: Made with Love Bridal from Lily Grace Bridal Studio, The Entrance
Make Up: April Harvey
Bouquet & button holes: The Petal Sisters
Reception acoustic musician: Ella Powell
Ceremony Venue: The Pines, Avoca.
Reception Venue: Avoca Beach House
After Party: Aromas, Terrigal.