We are excited to share this recent Hervey Bay elopement because it shows just how simple, easy and beautiful an elopement can be. All you need is a couple in love, a beautiful location and a few close family & friends. And of course, a marriage celebrant to make it all official, and a photographer to capture it. The photos in this elopement were taken by Karisma Studios.
This is the elopement of Jessica and Christoff that took place in the beautiful seaside town of Hervey Bay. Hervey Bay is located about 3.5 hours north of Brisbane in Queensland and is a bay located between the mainland and Frazer Island. One of its many highlights is the fourteen kilometres of beaches that stretch along the coastline. And this is the location for this lovely elopement.
“We chose Hervey Bay because my Grandma lives there, and it’s so beautiful and peaceful. Her birthday is on the 14th of May, and she turned 90 this year. So we decided to take the week up there to enjoy our birthdays, celebrate her Birthday, and get married. We had one day that didn’t feature anything. Although I had also finished my Masters so we celebrated that too!”
This is Jessica and Christoff’s love story…
“We met in 2016 when Christoff was boarding at the property where I agisted my horses. The lady who lived there injured herself and needed Christoff to take over the horse care duties. As he knew nothing about horses, and I was trying to be helpful by taking her things to the hospital, she asked if I could guide him on how to look after the horses. At the time, I was still married, but having a very difficult time. Christoff had come out of a long-term relationship about six months prior. We became very good friends, with Christoff supporting me to try and save my marriage, and me attempting to set him up with my single friends. When I reached a point that I had to leave my marriage, he supported me through this also, and we very quickly moved from friends to where we are today. We were two peas in a pod, his birthday is on the 10th of May, and mine is the 12th. We shared a lot of interests, values, thoughts and were joined at the hip in the early days. It’s okay, we are past the honeymoon stage 😝 In 2019, we went through IVF to become pregnant with our now, nearly two-year-old, son, Sebastian. It was a hard slog, but so worth it. While pregnant, on the 11th of May 2019, Christoff proposed to me at the end of a round of golf. It all went wrong as he planned to put out, sneak the ring into the hole, and leave it there for me to find. Unfortunately for him, I put better (as I always do, he should know better) and finished the hole first! So he just had to jump down on one knee and do it the old-fashioned way. Although – he just showed me a box and forgot to open it. The best bit was that once we finished the round, our friends took us to lunch. Christoff and his mate went to the counter to order and Christoff told the girl behind the counter that we were here to celebrate the engagement. She assumed Christoff and his friend were engaged. So that was fun.”
Couples choose to elope for a variety of reasons. Covid has definitely made that decision for a lot of couples. And for Jessica and Christoff, the fact is was their second marriage. mixed with covid travel restrictions, the decision was pretty easy.
“It was a second marriage for both of us and a no-brainer. Christoff’s family were stuck in South Africa (where they live) due to covid. My family is all over Australia and the US. Neither of us wanted a big wedding anyway, so this option worked perfectly as an excuse to take a well-needed holiday and celebrate our lives together.”
This is how they told their family & friends that they were eloping.
“We invited my parents and grandmother, and Christoff’s best friends. We also invited his family and my overseas and interstate family via Zoom and my best friends. But we told them last minute, and we didn’t tell anyone else. It was very low-key, and that’s what we wanted.”
The elopement ceremony took place on a sand dune overlooking the beach. The arbour was built by the boys and they really did an awesome job. It is simple and perfect. It uses natural materials from the area and is a great backdrop for the elopement ceremony.
“It was so informal and casual, I loved it. My first wedding was huge. Not in numbers of people, there were only about 60 people, but it was grand. Expensive. A huge cathedral. An expensive and exclusive reception venue. We had a freakin’ magician. That sort of thing. It was insane. It was too much, and the only thing I can remember vividly of that day was getting up early and going for a run, and honestly) just wondering if I was doing the right thing. This didn’t happen on this occasion. It was enjoyable, laid back (generally, apart from my dress straps not being in the right spot, haha) and we spent the morning, mum, Grandma and I, getting our hair done and picking up the cake, while the boys built the arbour and set up the ceremony area. I brought my computer out and got everyone on Zoom, and we all chatted before the ceremony got started. It wasn’t formal at all.”
“I bought my ring the weekend before from Pandora because I couldn’t get my proper ring resized in time (I have child-sized hands) and Christoff forgot to get one and bought one the day before from a pawn shop. They both cost us $80 each. Haha.”
I am a big believer of including really important people in your elopement and making them a key part of it. For Jessica, she made her Grandmother an important part of the day…
“It was just really nice spending the morning getting my hair done with my Grandma and having her there to sign the certificate. She won’t be here for a lot longer and having her part of this really lovely occasion was perfect.”
The best thing about eloping for Jessica and Christoff was….
“All of it? No, if I am honest, I hate being the center of attention, so this style of wedding suited me. For Christoff, he hates fancy shindigs and wearing suits, so it worked well for him.
The highlight for me was that Christoff’s mum had recorded a piano piece which I played for the ceremony and that brought Christoff to tears, and his brother recorded a set of guitar pieces that I played for the signing part, again, bringing Christoff to tears. That was amazing. As was Christoff’s whole family, my brother and sister-in-law (from New York) and my friend back home (driving with the kids in the back on their way home from daycare) all tuning in to watch. Christoff’s old nanny appeared at the end and also made him bawl his eyes out. It was just so genuine and memorable.”
The best people to ask about eloping is couples that have actually done it. And who better to ask than a couple who have had a big wedding and an elopement? Here is Jessica and Christoff’s advice to other couples thinking of eloping…
“Having wasted tens of thousands on my first wedding, I can say that the wedding doesn’t make the marriage. Aside from the obvious advice that your money can be better spent, I think the key is to remember you aren’t ‘having a wedding’, you are ‘getting married’. This is a celebration of your future together, and I promise that ‘meaningful’ will be remembered far longer than ‘extravagant’. On that note, the bigger you go, the less you will remember because you will be overwhelmed as hell! I didn’t eat or drink at my first wedding as I was so busy and stressed. I enjoyed pizza, cake, and champagne for this elopement. Elopement for the win.
Hervey Bay elopement vendors that were involved in this beautiful elopement:
Boys Outfits: Target
Arbour: Bunnings and the beach!
Cake: The Cheesecake Shop, Hervey Bay
Music: Christoff’s family in South Africa
Celebrant: Annette Maier, Celebrant4u, Hervey Bay
Photographer: Karin, obviously 😊Karisma Studios
Accommodation/Venue: Air Bnb and Toogoom
Hair: Plush Hair and Beauty (although the wind blew it out, so don’t judge them for that, they were lovely!)
Pizza: Giovanni’s Pizza Bar