The Wolgan Valley elopement of Yvonne & Craig is basically what eloping is all about. Two awesome humans saying their wedding vows and making a lifelong commitment to each other, in a beautiful location in Australia. And having an amazing adventure in total luxury, at the same time. This elopement is the masterclass on how to do an elopement in Australia.
The drive into Wolgan Valley is one that I will never forget. It is just 2.5 hours from Sydney. You drive through the beautiful Blue Mountains, through Lithgow and then you head onto the road that leads you to Wolgan Valley. Through beautiful countryside and then you start driving down, down into the valley, in the middle of nowhere. The epic cliffs and ridges start to show themselves to you. And it is hard to contain your excitement. The landscape is just incredible. And when you hit the valley floor and drive even further into the wilderness, it’s hard to believe there is a luxurious country resort out there.
They have family all over the world. From Scotland to China. They thought about having a destination wedding but everything just proved too tricky to organise. So they got the blessing from their families and decided to make the day just about the two of them… and elope.
Photography by Cavanagh Photography.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
The location for their intimate elopement was Wolgan Valley at the Emirates One&Only luxury resort. This resort officially opened in 2009 under the name Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, before being reopened under Emirates.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is the ultimate in luxury, located in one of the most beautiful locations in Australia. It is a resort sitting in a 7000-acre valley surrounded by mountains and epic cliff faces. It is part of the conservation and wildlife reserve that is located within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area.
One of my favourite things about Wolgan Valley was the absolute abundance of Australian wildlife. In particular, Kangaroos, Wallaby’s and Wombats. They were literally everywhere.
It features forty private villas that overlook the stunning Australian landscape, each with their own in-room swimming pool. And this is where our elopement adventure started.
Preparation at Wolgan Valley
After getting through the security checkpoint at the entrance to the property, I drove the scenic route … yes that means I got a bit lost… to get to resort. Then I hoped on a golf buggy to get to their private villa.
Yvonne & Craig were so chilled and relaxed. They had spent the morning eating and relaxing. Hard to believe they would be officially married in a few hours.
They both slowly got ready together in the same room which I think is just wonderful. You find that on traditional wedding days, the couple spends most of the day away from each other which is a pretty crazy idea really. Considering that these couples have often spent years living together, only to spend their wedding day apart for most of the day. This is another reason why I love elopements.
Yvonne actually helps Craig get dressed into his traditional Scottish Kilt. This is one of my favourite moments at elopements. Not all elopement couples do this, but it is a really special moment to capture. And it’s something you very rarely see at weddings. A bride helping to dress her groom.
They both still wanted that special moment when the Groom sees the Bride in her wedding dress for the first time. So Yvonne help Craig get dressed. Then Craig had a drink and waited outside for Yvonne to get dressed. And we did something called a “First Look”.
A “First Look” is basically the moment when a couple sees each other in their full wedding attire for the first time. At a traditional wedding, this is normally the time when they walk down the aisle and see each other.
At some elopements a couple can still see each other for the first time as they walk down the aisle. But for this elopement Yvonne & Craig were travelling together in a four-wheel drive to the ceremony location. So we decided to make a moment of this and do a “first look” outside their villa.
If you would prefer not to do a first look, but have to travel together to the ceremony location, then there is other option. You can drive to the ceremony location together. Then get dressed away from each other there. One person near the car, one behind a tree. The you can see each other for the first time walking down the aisle.
After doing the ‘first look’ we all hopped into a golf buggy and were driven to the main reception area at Wolgan Valley. Then we got into a four-wheel drive and were taken to the elopement location.
The couple had scouted out the location with their Wolgan Valley wedding planner the day before the elopement. You could literally have the wedding anywhere on the 7000-acre property and it would look stunning. The choices are limitless.
Wolgan Valley Elopement Ceremony
The elopement ceremony at Wolgan Valley, took place in the middle of a field, under a single tree. Surrounded by mountains and sandstone cliffs.
What was so wonderful about this marriage ceremony, was that they both wrote their own personal vows to each other. It was just awesome to witness. And yes I was one of the witnesses to this marriage.
This is so important for weddings and elopements. But especially for elopements. It is just you, your celebrant and your two witnesses. The ceremony is really just for you. So don’t let your celebrant do all the talking.
My biggest tip to anyone thinking of eloping is to write your own personal vows. The marriage ceremony is the legal part, but writing your own vows to each other is your personal and spiritual commitment to each other. So write your own vows and write them from your heart.
Elopement Champagne Spray
After this beautiful Wolgan Valley elopement ceremony, we did something that I love to do. Celebrate with a champagne spray. Woohoo!!
It is one of my favourite things to photograph just because it is unpredictable, its fun and it looks awesome! It’s something people do when there is something massive to celebrate. And there is nothing more massive than getting married.
Wolgan Valley Wedding Photos
Wolgan Valley is an absolutely massive property. There is so much land and so many potential places to have photos that the choices are endless. You are really just limited to how much time you have.
As you can see from the photo below, the landscape at Wolgan Valley is pretty spectacular for wedding photos. There are rolling hills, long grass, huge trees and it really is a wedding photographers paradise.
But if you schedule the photos around sunset, then you are guaranteed to get beautiful photos. The best light of the day is at sunset. That is the “Golden Hour”. When the light is softer, and more dramatic. That is the time of day when you get beautiful golden light in photos and you can also get some pretty epic sunsets.
So pro tip… if you are planning an elopement, plan to do photos an hour or two before the sun sets. You will give you and your wedding photographer the best chance for beautiful photos of the two of you.
Final Thoughts on Wolgan Valley weddings
In my opinion, there are three major things that make an elopement venue awesome.
- The location. A beautiful scenic location that has somewhere good for a marriage ceremony and also a bit of land where you can take some photos on.
- Accommodation. Having some good accommodation allows you as a couple to have a home base to do everything from. A venue that has accommodation is definitely something you want. But it is not always possible.
- The staff. Great service and friendly staff definitely add to the whole experience for you. This includes owners, wedding planners and the events person. If someone is unhelpful or unfriendly when you enquire, they are not going to miraculously be happy and helpful on your wedding day. So trust your gut. No matter how beautiful a place is, bad or unhelpful people could ruin your day and experience.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley absolutely tick all these boxes for elopements and for small intimate weddings.
The location is amazing! There are so many locations you could have your wedding ceremony and your wedding photos afterwards.
The accommodation is absolute luxury. And you will pay a handsome dollar to stay there. But it is worth it.
And the staff that I personally met at Wolgan Valley were extremely friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble for them.
By having a Wolgan Valley elopement at Emirates One&Only, you can almost guarantee yourselves beautiful photos and a pretty amazing experience. And I highly recommend this stunning property for elopements.
Photography by Cavanagh Photography