Melanie and Gabe are two of the funniest people I have ever met.

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard or had so much fun. Although they’d planned out the important details of their elopement, they also just went with the flow and allowed the day to take its natural course. You see, Mel and Gabe are from Cincinnati, Ohio – that’s really far away. They picked a random beach in Sydney off Google satellite to say their vows, even though they’d never been there before. They got ready in the same hotel room, but managed to avoid seeing each other until their reveal, which was an adorable encounter on the streets of The Rocks. Melanie lied to Gabe about the run sheet because she thought he’d be slow to get ready. He sprinted around the room stressing himself into a sweat trying to get dressed, only to find out he had to sit and wait another hour for her.

Being from the US, they thought they’d better get some photos with the important landmarks, so we took the car down to the Opera House – only to be met with huge barricades and crowds of thousands for a special event! So they took photos in front of a sandstone wall on Macquarie St instead. Anything that the day threw at them, they just laughed and carried on, enjoying the spontaneity an unexpected quirks.

The ceremony was conducted by the fabulous Johan Khoury who playfully pushed their buttons and made the formalities both emotional and hilarious. No-one was ready though for Gabe to completely break down and weep during his vows to Melanie. It was the most raw, intimate moment and really hit home about how special elopements can be.

The dream team was complete with Melanie’s sister Lauren who served as both Maid of Honour and stylist, while her best mate Carlo took care of hair and makeup, as well as stepping up as Best Man to Gabe. Cruising around with the four of them and a bottle of terrible Prosecco, screaming the lyrics to bad rap songs, was potentially the highlight of the whole night. If you’re wondering about that spectacular gettup Mel’s got going on, it’s a separate bodysuit and skirt from Watters – I am a bit obsessed.

Nicola Bodle is an Australian destination wedding photographer. She captures weddings, engagements and elopements throughout Australia and the world. Based on the Mid-North Coast of NSW, she specialises in bold, honest and emotive imagery for adventurous couples and romantic souls.