Two was the magic number for Nicole and Declan, whose spontaneous elopement encompassed the rainforest and the sea.
“The whole experience was an absolute fairytale,” says Nicole, who first fell in love with Port Douglas on a family holiday. While she admits “I definitely dreamed of getting married there one day,” that moment was to come sooner than expected!
“Fast forward a year, and Declan and I planned a holiday up to Port Douglas — with no intentions of getting married, let alone eloping,” says Nicole. “And spur of the moment (two months prior) we decided it would be the perfect destination.”
Arriving four days early for a little R&R, the couple booked separate rooms the night before their afternoon vows. “We tried to avoid each other throughout the day — this can be challenging in a small town like Port Douglas,” laughs Nicole.
Reuniting at the sun-dappled altar of St Mary’s by the Sea was a powerful and precious moment. “My favourite memory is standing there and coming to the realisation that I had proposed in South America just a few months ago and was now about to marry my soulmate,” says Declan. The bride channelled modern boho-luxe with her gorgeous two-piece Grace Loves Lace gown while Declan’s chic shades of blue echoed the coastal locale.
The newlyweds then cruised around Far North Queensland in a vintage Princess Limousine for their breathtaking photo shoot before dinner at Nautilus Restaurant. “We dined under the stars and within a tropical rainforest,” says Nicole. “It was so romantic. We had the five-course vegan tasting menu paired with delicious wines.”
Creating such a memorable and stress-free event at short notice might seem like a big ask — but the couple give kudos to Port Douglas Weddings. “Everything we booked with them was outstanding,” Nicole says. “And the communication was so efficient. They had so many options and recommendations for all different price points to help ensure our wedding was perfect.”
Swapping planning dramas for a ‘surprise destination elopement’ paid off for the couple, who also had a clever way to share the love. “We hosted an ‘engagement party’ the following week,” explains Nicole. “We went through a slideshow, which went on to show our wedding; many happy tears were shed! We’ve had so much positive feedback on how intimate and romantic the wedding was, and even people wishing they’d done the same.”
Wedding date: 27.11.2019 // Ceremony: St Mary’s by the Sea // Reception: Nautilus Restaurant // Wedding planner: Shobha Cameron, Port Douglas Weddings and bride // Photography: Jacky Cooke, Port Douglas Wedding Photography // Dress: Grace Loves Lace // Honeymoon: Palm Cove minimoon with plans to go to Bali for a belated honeymoon