We are so excited to share our first same sex elopement here at Eloping. This elopement is a love story of an Aussie girl and an American girl… two adventurous and joyful spirits who fell in love while travelling the world. These brides described their elopement and their style as a ‘little Boho and a little Western.’
Charity & Peta’s elopement had all the ingredients needed for an amazing day. A couple who weren’t afraid to be themselves, to do things their way and to show the love they felt for each other. And it all came together in an amazing setting. This beautiful same sex elopement took place at Goosewing Cottage with photos by Cavanagh Photography.
Here is how their love story began…
“After ending a long-term relationship, Sydney-sider Peta set off on an adventure of a lifetime exploring the USA from coast to coast on a one month long Contiki Tour. Little did she know the American Trip Manager, Charity would become her friend 2 weeks into the tour after a long chat in blues bar in Memphis, Tennessee followed by a tipsy dance in New Orleans the next day. One week later, late on a sweet southern night in Savannah, Georgia, after a long WWE style wrestle back at the hotel, Charity asked Peta is she could kiss her and we shared our first kiss which was quickly cut short by the worst leg cramp Peta has had in her life! The start was a whirlwind!”
“The Contiki trip ended a week later and it was not goodbye, but see you soon. We did not know what we felt or what we were, but we knew we could not be apart for too long. We face-timed from our separate travels and homes over the course of 3 months and fell in love through our conversations. Charity booked a flight from her travels in the UK to Sydney and we officially became girlfriends, shared “I love you’s” and continued the bliss for 1 year of long distance between the USA & Australia, meeting up in Hawaii every few months and some world travel together in-between. We made the most of living 12,000 Kms apart.”
“We planned our final meet up to begin our forever in one place to be on Dec 8th, 2018 in San Francisco. Our plan was to spend the Christmas holidays with Charity’s family in California and travel the world together for a year before setting down in one country. We both spoke about marriage and knew we found the one in each other – our hearts knew before we even did all the way back on that Contiki tour. Our family and friends had never seen us so happy!”
The Marriage Proposal
I love hearing how couples proposed!! This is how the proposal or proposals happened…
“Peta landed at SFO on Dec 8th and we crash tackled to the ground at the airport. Our forever began! After a few minutes of holding one another (still on the floor), sharing kisses, laughing, screaming “You’re real!” We composed ourselves and stood up. Charity began a little nervous spiel and after a few trial dips, eventually made it down on one knee and asked Peta “Peta Jaye…Will you marry me?”. She pulled out an engraved compass that had those words and opened it like a ring box. “YES, YES, YES’s” all around! We hugged, smiled, laughed, kissed more and more and then Charity gave Peta a handmade matching necklace to hers that embodied the compass she presented, engraved with “My Greatest Adventure. My Forever. VIII.XII.MMXVIII”.
“Charity’s family was hiding in the wings, as well as her photographer friend who got to witness and capture the whole magical movie moment. We were drunk in love and almost forgot to pick up Peta’s luggage, but after doing so, did a champagne cheers with our loved ones in the airport carpark and set off for a romantic weekend as new fiancé’s in the colourful hills of San Francisco.”
“Charity may have beat Peta to the punch, but Peta was also planning to propose around this time. She has custom rings made and shipped to Charity’s parent’s place that said “Charity Rose, I love you, will you marry me?” Engraved in her handwriting. She wanted to ask for her parent’s blessing prior to proposing. On the chilly California Christmas morning after presents and breakfast with the family, 2 weeks after Charity’s proposal, we snuck off for some privacy. Peta held Charity tight and pulled out the rings she had made. Smiles, shock, tears and more “Yes, Yes, Yes’s!” flowed. We are all about that equality.”
Charity & Peta did a “first look” so that they could walk to the elopement ceremony together.
Deciding to Elope
Couples elope for so many different reasons. And in recent times, Covid has unintentionally shown couples how good eloping can be. This is what Charity & Peta said about choosing to elope…
“After our year of travels we settled down in the Northern Beaches of Sydney and began our engaged life together with our first apartment, car and many house plants.”
“We had originally planned a small wedding in November, 2020 to be held in Maui, Hawaii as this was as close to halfway as we could make it for our families – and well, it’s glorious Hawaii – but COVID had other ideas. We never really wanted a fancy occasion, but thought it would be a fun, and once in a lifetime way to have our family and friends meet for the first and potentially only time, but with the pandemic this was squashed. In the end it was for the best. In planning our wedding we found that everyone had an opinion and it was becoming less about us, uniting families and a celebration of our love and more about the details of the event itself and criticism.”
“We decided to cancel our wedding rather than continually postpone due to Covid. We never wanted a long engagement and we were never “wedding people”. In the end, we just love each other and wanted to be married.”
“After a camping trip at Barrington Tops with a couple of friends mid 2020, we got to talking about eloping in the Hunter Valley and decided to stop in for a wine tasting at Tamburlaine Winery, one of our favourite wineries. When we were there we chatted to their wedding coordinator and they gave us a copy of the Hunter Valley Wedding Planner Magazine, Issue 21. While Char drove, Pete opened up the magazine right on the page that mentioned Eloping. It was meant to be! That was where we first read about Goosewing Cottage and we chatted the whole drive home about how perfect their location and packages sounded. The natural yet funky setting was just our style! As soon as we got home we jumped online to their website, decided which package and date was best for us and sent an enquiry. By the next morning, we had a response from the lovely Steph and Daniel of Goosewing and 5 days later we had paid our deposit for our elopement package for just us two.”
Telling Family/Friends you are Eloping
“We didn’t! We had already gone through everyone’s opinions during the planning of our original wedding that we just wanted to do us – what worked best for the two of us, without any guilt or judgement. Our wedding was at the start of December and we had planned it to coincide with a road trip we had to postpone so we waited almost 3 weeks after the elopement, until Christmas Day to tell everyone that we were married. We were at Peta’s Mum’s with her brother and our sister-in-law and had Charity’s family in California and Peta’s brother & his wife on Zoom and told them all at the same time. We said “while we have you all here, we wanted to tell you that we got married!” Everyone was very happy for us! While disappointed that they couldn’t be there they were happy for us, and we’re glad we did it in our style.”
“Walking down the aisle together was really special. We got to hold hands and each other tight. Feeling the emotion in our bodies shift and swell with each step as we got closer to the alter was electric.”
Choosing an Elopement Location
Deciding on a location for your elopement is one of the biggest and most important decisions you have to make. Choose a location that suits you, your personalities and your vision. Here is how Charity & Peta chose their location…
“Finding our location turned out to be one of the easiest parts for us. As mentioned above, we found Goosewing Cottage in the Hunter Valley Wedding Planner Magazine so it almost felt like the location chose us! As soon as we saw the photos of the landscape and the magical scenery around the venue, it all just felt right. It was stunning, intimate, vast, unique, ethereal and felt so right and just our style – a little western and a little boho. They were obviously LGBTQ friendly which was a nice comfort factor for us so we could just be us while there.”
The Elopement Ceremony
“We are two women who love big with a lot of emotions to share, and ended up having a lot to say on the day! So our ceremony went for about 45min… Our beautiful celebrant Melanie Agnew-Fell of Hitched in the Hunter made the preparation so seamless and guided us when we needed. We’ve never been married before so we had no idea what we were doing! She sent us each a questionnaire and based on our responses created a beautiful, fun, humorous, emotional account of our relationship and brought us together as Mrs and Mrs in such a magical way. We could not have written our story so poignantly and honest if we tried.”
“We really wanted our ceremony to be in our style, our words and true to us. We wrote our own vows and also personalized the exchanging of the rings. We were encouraged to focus on each other, the day and our love, not the people around us, and we were totally immersed in each other and the moment. It was so special. Our eyes and hearts saw nothing else.”
“We didn’t have any family or friends at our elopement and with Char’s family and some of Pete’s family being overseas we wanted to honour them and include them in our day in a meaningful way. We used a vintage suitcase and scattered photos of our loved ones, some no longer with us, inside, leaving the lid open so they could be present during the ceremony & witness us becoming wives.”
Same Sex Elopement Photos
“We had a lot of fun during our photoshoot with the incredibly talented Adam during sunset. It was in the paddock next to the venue and whenever Adam would give us directions he would say “now run over here” and point so we would literally race to wherever he pointed, dodging cow patties along the way. We really tested our cardio and the strength of the hairspray during that shoot! We even spent some time with some native kangaroos in the distance, our uninvited but welcomed wedding guests!”
“Another thing we did was pack some props. We met travelling and had spent half of our relationship living in countries on opposite sides of the world. It was important for us to symbolize this & acknowledge it so we had our travel backpacks with us and had “Just Married” signs made to hang on them. We brought some decor from our home as well to personalize our ceremony. We also love a good hat, so ordered 2 hats online in the colours that we loved & had them sent directly to the beautiful Mel of Mayflowers Vintage Florist to add some decorative florals to match our bouquets and our vibe. She worked her magic and we were thrilled with the results, we wear the hats still and have them hanging as decor in our little unit. They bring us so much joy still!”
“Once the photos and videos had finished up, we retreated back to the venue where Steph and Dan had left our little cake with our family photos & other decor all set up and lit up for us to enjoy after dark. We popped the Moet and took a seat at the gazebo where we were married just a few hours earlier and held each other while we gazed at the stars and soaked in the last few moments of our magical day. We were finally Mrs and Mrs!”
Best Thing About Eloping
“We could totally be present to ourselves and one another. There were no distractions and we were able to give all our attention to each other and each beautiful moment of the day without having to stress or worry about anyone else.”
“The team and vendors of Goosewing made the whole experiences simple and hassle-free – from planning to execution & conclusion. The package was customizable to suit us, our style and our needs and we never felt like we were not in control or that we weren’t being listened to. Everyone went above and beyond to make sure these two brides were looked after and totally immersed in the moment. Thank you!”
This is what Charity & Peta said about their wedding & elopement vendors….
Steph & Dan at Goosewing Cottage – Accommodating, customizing and generous, you are both beautiful humans! Thank you for helping us have our boho, country girl, Disney princess wedding dreams come true!
Mel from Hitched in the Hunter – An absolute poet with her words. We loved the surprise ceremony and were blown away with your story telling. We were floating in our love bubble the whole time.
Mel of Mayflowers Vintage Florist – A true artist, kind heart and creative genius, you are the only person I would trust to do your magic on our accessories on a day so special, we felt like we knew you before we first spoke and knew we loved you after that first chat.
Tina & Brit of Gloss Girl Bridal – Not only are you talented with making us look better than Beyonce on a runway, but your humour and stories kept us entertained and excited the whole lead up. You helped us feel so much more at ease and simply beautiful.
Adam of Cavanagh Photography – You absolute genius! Your talent with the camera and ability to make us feel strangely at ease while being filmed and photographed for hours is second to none! You were able to capture the emotion and vibe of the day and every little detail in such a casual, calm manner. We appreciate you incorporating our many props, accessories and van into the shoot and love the candid snaps – it’s so magical being able to see our emotion in such tiny bursts. I swear you were on a drone during our ceremony!
Juliana of Vegan Sweet Cheeks – Such a beautiful soul. The tropical dream cake you created for our wedding was simply decadent! The flavours were insane on the wedding day and even a week later during our road trip. It travelled from Sydney to the Hunter Valley and all the way up to Byron Bay – it was our favourite and most delicious travel companion. We will be hitting you up for birthday cakes, anniversary cakes and cupcakes all year round!
Sam of Hunter Valley Video – Just wow! Thank you for running after us through paddocks, dodging cicadas and keeping up with us being sporadic throughout the day. You somehow managed to capture the sweet moments in between all the excitement and it is so moving watching all the highlights from your perspective.
Below is the video from their amazing elopement day:
Elopement Advice For Couples
Some of the best elopement advice you can get is from couples who have actually eloped. Here is some advice from these two amazing brides…
“Make it easy on yourself, you don’t need to nit-pick every detail. Trust your instincts & do what feels right for you. Add your own spunk to the day – don’t be afraid to bring your own decor & props to create your own unique style & add your own flavour. Trust your creative team and don’t be afraid to ask your vendors for help (whether it’s getting into your outfits or getting set up for the ceremony). Don’t be afraid to break tradition. We loved getting ready together – we still did a first look so we didn’t get dressed together but it was so special to experience all of the build up, a glass of bubbles and to ride all of the emotions of the day side by side. We always wanted to walk down together and would have regretted not doing so. Don’t take the day so seriously – it’s about you & your person, so make it that way. Allow yourself to have fun. Do things together, enjoy the day & the process and be in the moment with each other.”
If you would like to follow Charity & Peta’s adventures, you can find them here: Charity & Peta’s Instagram.