My Guide To Eloping In WA’s Beautiful South West

Southwest Australia elopement

elope
/ɪˈləʊp/
verb
run away secretly in order to get married.

While not all modern elopements are clandestine affairs, some couples still choose to keep them a secret and don’t tell anyone until after. Doing it this way keeps couples focused on exactly what they want and how they feel. But this is also why prioritising photos is SO important and why I always aim to get the sneak peeks and slideshows out super promptly, so that my couples can start sharing their intimate (and possibly secret) celebration with loved one’s who couldn’t make it.

As you can probably tell, I’m big into elopements. They’re just such a wonderful and intimate way to celebrate your love. If you’re thinking of eloping in Southwest Australia, you’re probably thinking of a small, intimate wedding, with either just the two of you or a few close family and friends. Elopements these days are all about celebrating with those who matter most: your parents, best friends, closest loved ones, or just yourselves. 

Eloping in Western Australia became particularly popular during COVID, with restrictions meaning large weddings just weren’t possible for a while. However, more and more, couples have realised that the no-fuss simplicity of eloping is just so beautifully romantic – it’s all about love and less about throwing a huge party.

Planning is sort of my thing, so I absolutely love helping couples plan their dream elopement! If you’re thinking of eloping in WA’s beautiful South West, here’s my guide to help you get started.

“I want to be able to shout out to everyone who will listen to use you as their photographer/planner! The photos we have now are so so cherished and not just by us; I believe they are really helping family and friends who didn’t make it. I know Felix’s mum and sister spent days and days pouring over the sneak-peaks. I am going to send a calendar of the photos to the grandparents and older rellies at Christmas and I cannot wait to move into our new home next year to put up photos in the house. The fact that they are so unique, candid and non-traditional means they are truly timeless and won’t look like stuffy staged wedding photos, they will simply compliment our space like the artwork they are!

Thank you again and I hope all your clients know just how lucky they are to have you.

Celeste xx”

Check out Celeste & Felix’s awesome elopement here…

How to elope in Western Australia

To legally elope in our gorgeous state, you first need to file a Notice of Intended Marriage form at least a month before the wedding date – which means you need to plan ahead! This form should include the name of your celebrant or minister. You’ll also need to provide your birth certificate or passport.

After the ceremony, you have 14 days to submit your marriage paperwork to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Then, they’ll issue you with your legal marriage certificate. 

Do you need a witness to elope in Australia? In WA, yes, you need two witnesses over the age of 18. If you’re worried about the admin side of things, don’t stress – I can definitely help by providing an elopement checklist for Western Australia weddings. 

For some couples, however, the act of exchanging vows is enough – they don’t need the marriage to be legally binding. That’s fine too, and super romantic! After all, your love, and your day, is whatever you want it to be.

What are the best places to elope in South West WA?

In the South West, we’re lucky to have so many gorgeous locations right on our doorstep. Two of my favourites are Margaret River and the Southern Forests and Valleys region. 

Below are a few of my top spots in each area, especially if you want to get off the beaten track. However, you really can’t go wrong with either, since both regions offer spectacular scenery, quiet beaches and forests, and world-class food and wine. 

Margaret River

There are so many Margaret River elopement locations, from wineries and parks to forests and a breathtaking coastline – it’s a fantastic destination for foodies as well! If you want to elope in Yallingup, there are plenty of dreamy beaches, including Injidup and Smiths.

You can’t beat Dunsborough either – a gorgeous coastal town that’s ideal for a destination elopement. The serenity of nearby Sugarloaf Rock makes for a wonderful place for an outdoor elopement, but there are also plenty of small wineries and breweries for a low-key celebration afterwards. (A top tip: many wineries will charge less for midweek bookings.)

If a beach wedding isn’t for you, consider the Boranup Karri Forest. The towering karri trees create a wonderful canopy that you can say your vows beneath – it’s seriously magical, especially when the sunlight streams in. 

Southern Forests and Valleys

In the Southern Forests, we have picture-perfect towns such as Nannup, Pemberton, Manjimup and Bridgetown. Of course, the idyllic forests and bushland are ideal for exchanging your vows outdoors – how amazing would a sunrise elopement be, surrounded only by the gumtrees and your closest family? 

This region also gives us such picturesque farmland and open space, making it an ideal destination when you want to escape the hustle and crowds of the city. And with so much fresh produce in the region as well, plus talented bakers, artisans and chefs, your reception is sure to be something delicious!

In Pemberton, I particularly recommend the Yeagarup Dunes. It’s so surreal and unique to find sand dunes surrounded by forest, making for such a memorable elopement. Of course, the sweeping sands of the dunes make for epic wedding photos too! I absolutely love the photos I took here for Megan and Shane’s engagement – it truly feels like they’re on another planet thanks to the vast and desolate beauty of this spot. 

I also adore Bluff Knoll, on the Stirling Ranges. It’s the highest peak within Stirling Range National Park and the jagged, dramatic views are just incredible. I mean, how mysterious and romantic are these images from Angie and Leo’s wedding shoot.

For some more Epic Adventure Elopement ideas in the South West go HERE

Elopement packages in South West WA

Elopements are all about making life easier, so I think couples should not have to spend months planning their perfect elopement. That’s the opposite of what eloping is all about! 

I jokingly refer to myself as the ‘planographer’, since I am crazy about planning and taking photos. To help you with your ceremony, I love offering elopement packages that include not only your photography, but also the other essentials, including your wedding flowers and a fantastic celebrant. If needed, I’m also delighted to organise a two-night stay, a romantic meal (either at a restaurant or within your accommodation), and local wine – all you need to do is turn up.

All my wedding and elopement packages are bespoke and personalised, ensuring everything is exactly as you want it to be. If you’re thinking of eloping in Nannup or South West Australia, please reach out for a chat – I’d love to get to know you and talk all things elopement!

November 3, 2021

Victoria Baker

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