Peita and Patrick’s NSW elopement at the Royal National Park is validation that when it comes to marrying the person you love, there is no “right” way of doing it.
Instead of a white wedding dress, Peita wore jeans, a linen shirt and sneakers (and later, swimmers) and rather than wait for Patrick to propose, she popped the question while away on a romantic weekend. “My mum proposed to my Dad which I loved and I wanted to continue this family tradition”, says Peita.
How did you and Patrick meet? We met in year 11 at Blackwattle Bay High School in Glebe, Sydney. We were in the same English class and both made an effort to sit next to each other. We quickly became good friends and on the last day of high school we got together.
I was drawn to Pat’s easy going nature and huge smile. Patrick remembers thinking who is that ridiculously intelligent and beautiful woman sitting a few seats down from me in English class?
The proposal: My mum proposed to my Dad which I loved and I wanted to continue this family tradition.
Pat and I have known that we would get married one day, but I decided in early 2019 that I wanted to officially propose that year. I decided that I would propose the next time we went to the Royal National Park which is a very special place for us.
I was in Europe on a work trip when I got a message from Pat back at home in Australia that he had booked us a beautiful Airbnb on the clifftops just south of the Royal National Park for when I got back from Europe. Knowing that we were going to drive through the Royal National Park, I realised I needed to get a ring ASAP! So on my last day in Barcelona, I cycled to a little jeweller and bought a ring for Patrick.
The day after I got back to Sydney, still jet lagged, we packed up the car and started our drive down to Scarborough. On the drive down, I casually asked about the first spot that Patrick took me to in the Royal National Park and considering it was on the way that maybe we could stop in…
We parked and walked out to one of our favourite viewing platforms to soak up the serenity. We reminisced about our first date because this platform is where we started our first date and then Patrick lifted me into this arms and gave me a big pash. It was such a lovely moment and then when he put me down, I got out the ring and then said my prepared line: “I always said that the next time we came to the Royal National Park, I would ask you something – will you marry me?” I presented the ring and then to my surprise I just burst into tears and Patrick immediately pulled me in for another hug and pash. I remember Patrick just saying “It would be an absolute privilege”… It was a beautiful memory that I will always cherish.
Wedding vibe: Pat and I always wanted a relaxed and casual wedding that felt like it reflected us. We wanted to ensure it was intimate, sincere and heartfelt.
We wanted nature to be a key feature of the day which is why we decided to go for a short hike to the ceremony spot where together we could all take in the beauty of the Royal National Park and its incredible position on the coast. Pat and I found this incredible spot on a cliff edge where the sandstone had been weathered to form a beautiful natural amphitheatre. It was the perfect spot for us to tie the knot because it offered incredible views of the ocean but also provided an intimate setting because of the beautiful tiered and curved rock formation.
Wedding venue: We had planned to move and live in Copenhagen for 2020 and were going to elope on our 10 year anniversary (12.11.2020) but had to return to Sydney at the end of March due to the pandemic.
Once we settled back in Sydney, we knew that the perfect spot for our elopement was the Royal National Park. It is such a beautiful part of the world that we love exploring and has become very special to us over the last 10 years. It is where we had our first date and where I proposed to Pat.
Traditions: adopted, adapted or ditched? We didn’t follow many traditions and did the whole thing on our own terms. I did wear white but decided not to wear a wedding dress and instead opted for white jeans, a white linen top and white sneakers.
We also asked our mothers-in-law to be each other’s witness (Pat’s Mum was Peita’s witness and Peita’s mum was Pat’s witness). We thought this was a way to show the importance and appreciation we have for each other’s parents.
Hit or (near) miss: We were very casual about our wedding but the one thing we really cared about was the date – we wanted to get married on our 10 year anniversary. We didn’t know that you had to register your intent to marry and give one month notice. We discovered this by random chance the day before the cut off and managed to put in our application just in time!
Also a classic COVID wedding moment was when we were all anxiously waiting for Pat’s Mum’s COVID test results to come back. They took longer than usual and we got confirmation that she was negative on the morning of the wedding! Talk about cutting it fine!
I’ll always remember… We loved the whole day, it was exactly what we wanted and it felt like us! One of the highlights was jumping off the rock at Wattamola after the ceremony. We didn’t tell our parents we were planning to do this and completely took them by surprise! It was spontaneous, fun, thrilling, a bit silly, adventurous and was the perfect way to cap off the ceremony!
The outfit/s: Peita: I wore white Rollas jeans, a white linen Uniqlo shirt and white Spring Court sneakers. I loved this outfit, I had worn it before and have worn it since. It made me feel relaxed, comfortable and meant I could really enjoy the day.
Pat: I wore black chinos, a white Oxford shirt and black Vans. This is an outfit I’ll often wear when we go on walks so I was comfortable and felt like myself.
Standout vendors: Oliver Thomson was our amazing celebrant who really understood what we wanted and made us feel comfortable and relaxed on the day. Oliver tailors his approach to suit your exact needs which is why we would highly recommend him as a celebrant.
Hayley Rafton was our incredible photographer who was amazing to work with and made us both instantly feel at ease. She took incredible photos and captured all the little moments without relying on the more traditional posed set ups. We would both highly recommend Hayley to anyone looking for an amazing photographer to capture their elopement adventure!
After the ceremony, Pat and I along with our parents went back to a beautiful Airbnb nearby where we hosted a lunch with our close family. Patrick and I prepped food the night before and morning of our wedding (we love to cook) and my sister finished off the cooking while we were at the ceremony.
My sister Lex had previously been a florist and she put together beautiful arrangements around the house for us. All Australian natives of course!
Words of wedding wisdom: To create a day that feels like you and reflects you both as a couple. There is a lot of pressure to conform to what is expected in a wedding and I think it’s important to know that there are lots of different ways to celebrate love.
The future: Many more amazing adventures together!