When you think of Exmouth, you immediately think of crystal clear blue water and white sandy beaches. Swimming and snorkeling with whale sharks and fish at the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park and the stunning coastline. This is definitely a huge attraction at Exmouth but just to the west of Exmouth is the mountainous and spectacular limestone rages of Cape Range National Park. This was the location for this elopement.
Cape Range National Park is located about 40 kms from Exmouth and covers over 50,000 hectares of land. There are a number of stunning canyons and gorges within the National Park and the place Saskia & Thomas chose for their elopement was Mandu Mandu Gorge. And wait till you see these amazing elopement photos!!
I love National Park elopements because they highlight the scenery and the beauty that this country has to offer. And it gives couples the opportunity to get married in the most amazing locations. Get permission from the National Park, have an intimate marriage ceremony, get amazing photos, leave no trace of your elopement on the environment and you will have an amazing experience that very few people get to do on their wedding day.
Here is how the love story of Saskia and Thomas began…
“We met for the first time at a 16th birthday party of a shared friend when we were both 15. We got together in August 2010 when we were 18 and 19.”
“The proposal happened in April 2019 on Bluff Knoll. We were camping in the Stirling Ranges with a campervan. On the day, he sent me to do something so he could retrieve the ring from its hiding spot. It was a cold day and not many people were climbing Bluff Knoll. Once we were at the top we just relaxed and I sat on a stone to take in the view. When I turned back to look at Thomas, he was down on his knee and proposed to me. We were all alone at that time and it was the perfect intimate proposal.”
Couples choose to elope for all sorts of reasons. For some couples, it is the financial benefit. For others, the idea of a big traditional wedding fills them with total dread. There are so many reasons couples choose to elope. This is why Saskia and Thomas chose to elope….
“We chose a small elopement style wedding because our families are in Switzerland and we wanted to be legally married here in Australia before we go to Switzerland and have a big family wedding.”
Telling your family and friends you are eloping can sometimes be tricky. So it is always nice to ask couples how they did it. This is how Saskia and Thomas told their families….
“Because our family is in Switzerland, we called them and told them over the phone that we will have our legal wedding here in Australia before we come over and have our family wedding.”
“For our friends here in Australia, we just told them when we saw them and promised them a party at a later date.”
Choosing an elopement location is one of the biggest and most important tasks for couples when planning an elopement. The location will set up the whole experience. It is the backdrop to their love story. This is how Saskia and Thomas chose their Exmouth elopement…
“Our decision to get married in Exmouth was a practical one. We had to get married during the school holidays in July, so that we could go to Switzerland during the school holidays in October. Given the time of year, we wanted to go somewhere where it is warm and doesn’t rain. My Maid of Honour then just started texting me different locations and after a few back and forth we decided on Exmouth. It was a destination that we have been to and knew that we would find an awesome outdoor wedding spot which was not by the beach.”
The marriage ceremony took place in the Mandu Mandu Gorge with the red cliffs soaring up behind them….
“The ceremony was exactly what we dreamt of. It was at Mandu Mandu Gorge at Cape Range NP. It was 3 in the afternoon. Because of the distance to the village and the time, Mandu Mandu Gorge was deserted. The boys got everything ready at the wedding spot and when I walked down the pebbles our wedding song was playing. Bec, our celebrant, created the most amazing ceremony which was tailored to our lives and interests.”
“Getting married at Mandu Mandu Gorge at a spot 10min walk from the carpark, made it impossible to wear my nice wedding shoes from the get go. So I walked up to the last bend before the spot in my hiking shoes and changed into my nice shoes.”
The best thing about eloping at Exmouth for Saskia & Thomas was…
“We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and that we had time with the few friends we had with us. There was no expectations to give speeches or do things in a certain way. We just enjoyed a nice day out in the National Park in very elegant clothing.”
I love advice, particularly when it comes from first hand experience. Here is some eloping advice from a couple that did an Exmouth elopement…
“If you want to get married in a National Park, ring up the Parks and Wildlife Department of your state to get the permit to have your wedding in the specified National Park.”
“Because it will only be a few people, don’t reserve space in a restaurant under the heading ‘wedding’. The prices will just go up. If you want to eat at a certain restaurant just make a normal booking and rock up. Who knows, you might even get free champagne out of it – we did.”
Some of the best advice you can also get is from the wedding photographer who has actually photographed at this location. We asked Owen Gregory if he had any advice for couples thinking of eloping at Cape Range National Park and this is what he said….
“Cape Range National Park is located on the western-side of Exmouth – a two hour flight north of Perth in Western Australia. It is home to numerous hiking trails that traverse through stunning coastline, rugged limestone ranges and spectacular canyons that each offer breathtaking views and amazing scenery for an adventure elopement. If you’re thinking about tying the knot in this amazing landscape the best time of year to go is during the winter months, to avoid the heat and humidity. Travel outside of the school holidays to avoid the crowds and make booking accommodation easier especially if you plan on camping at one of the few campsites located within the National Park. You will need permission and approval from the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to elope here as the area has a rich cultural history and pristine landscape which is home to endemic species of plants and animals. Pack good shoes, a wide-brimmed hat and plenty of water if you plan on hiking and schedule the start of your ceremony in the late afternoon to incorporate the sunset and golden-hour lighting. Two great websites to visit when planning your elopement are Explore Parks WA and the Ningaloo Visitor Centre.”
Elopement vendors at this Exmouth elopement
Salty Celebrant – Rebecca Kitson Salty Celebrant – Celebrant, Weddings, Marriage
Owen Gregory Photography Owen Gregory – Wedding Photographer
Hair and Makeup – Relax and Revive Hair & Beauty Exmouth
Dinner – Froth Craft Brewery Exmouth