Nikki & Curly
It’s not often we hear a wedding described as being both beachside and outback, but this breathtaking and intimate day, set at Gnaraloo Station, is just that. The perfect combination of sweeping ocean horizon and wild, rustic desert, our bride and groom celebrated their love in the most beautiful place they could find! Freedom Garvey captured every moment.
Nikki and Curly first met in the surf. The bride shares, ”We knew of each other so he paddled over and we were talking, then an eight foot set came through that absolutely destroyed us. Luckily for me he snapped his leg rope on that wave so I loaned him mine, which meant he had to drop it back. Curly said later that he knew he wanted to see me again when I came up laughing.”
Having met in the ocean, it was the perfect choice for the perfect proposal! Nikki tells, ”Curly popped the question in the surf at Gnaraloo. It was completely unexpected, we hadn’t even discussed getting engaged so I wasn’t suspicious when he suggested going out in such terrible conditions, then kept staring at me while I was getting ready. We were surfing for about ten minutes and he started paddling over to me to ask my hand. I thought he was going for a wave so I swung around and started paddling away from him. He caught up to me and pulled out this ring he’d made from a surfboard fin, and put it on my finger. I was so shocked and surprised I forgot to answer him, I was too busy laughing and hugging him. We kept surfing afterwards too. Well, he surfed, I just sat there grinning like an idiot.”
Nikki and a good friend were wedding dress shopping in Melbourne when, she says, ”The whole experience was becoming a bit overwhelming. We happened to find Bluebell Bridal and they conveniently fit us in with no appointment. People told me I’d know when I found ‘the one’ but it wasn’t like that at all. When I stepped in front of the mirror I said to myself ‘I can’t fault this’ and that was it.” The groom wore a suit from V&J Menswear, with the bridesmaids wearing two tone gowns from Etsy. The bride says of her bridesmaids, ” Since I moved around a lot I had a friend from each part of my life, as well as my sisters. I knew these women wouldn’t just feature in my life, we have friendships that pick up where they left off, so it was a no brainer who I chose.”
Getting married in the desert created a few creative hurdles, however, they were completely overcome by talented vendor Eventier. Nikki tells, ”I left it entirely up to my florist friend. She chose flowers that she could semi dry due to the heat and travel (she drove 16 hours to get there). It was a lot of work for her and they looked beautiful. I was so pleased to be able to have something I never thought I could in the desert.” The couple chose to maintain some traditional aspects along with a more relaxed wedding, sharing, ”We had the bridesmaid/groomsmen, aisle and old/new/borrowed/blue traditions. They seemed extra special since they contrasted against our laid back and very un-traditional day. It seemed to work out perfectly having bridesmaids stroll past guests in shorts and a T-shirt, and us arriving together before the ceremony started to welcome everyone.”
With perfect weather for their beachside wedding, the couple had a simple ceremony with a magnificent backdrop. They tell, ”All we wanted was an intimate, personal ceremony that didn’t drag on. We took our vows very seriously, ensuring they were personal, relatable and reflected who we were as a couple.” Sharing a favourite moment of the day, Nikki recalls, ”I reacted in a very emotional way during the ceremony and couldn’t stop crying. The whole time I didn’t take my eyes off Curly, nor did he with me. He kept urging me to take deep breaths, so we must have looked pretty silly both of us doing breathing exercises together. I remember thinking ‘yep this is it, I’m never going to forget this moment’. Curly kept me from completely losing it and grounded me to a moment so unique and special. It overwhelmed me completely and still does.” The bride was walked down the aisle by her dad to the song ‘Lay It Down’ by The Reubens.
With Gnaraloo Station holding such a special place in the bride and groom’s hearts already, choosing it as a wedding venue was an inspired choice. Nikki shares, ”We were up for our annual holiday at Gnaraloo, having been there for a few weeks after we got engaged. I was already getting overwhelmed with what we had in front of us with all the politics that seem to come with planning a wedding. Then my friend suggested getting married here and that was it. Curly didn’t need any convincing, so we set the wheels in motion while we were up there still; scouting for good ceremony locations and talking to the camp owners. After we got back it was just the process of organising our annual trip and having a wedding at the same time. We were thorough with our planning since we had to bring everything. Luckily we didn’t need anything special done to the site since it was already perfect, and everything we brought to the place was purely essential. Even the arbour was taken down and used for firewood after.”
With such overwhelmingly beautiful wedding photos, the newlyweds were thrilled with their photographer. They tell, ”We were lucky enough to be recommended Freedom Garvey and we are so glad the universe gave her to us. Both her and her husband (who Curly knew from surfing) were so happy, organized and professional leading up to the day and after it. They listened to everything that we wanted and put our minds at ease. On the day they were frothing out more than we were, which was pretty hard to do. After the wedding day they suggested photos in a location we didn’t have time for on the day, we spent an hour or so up on the ridge getting the shots. We could not believe the extra effort they went to. When the photos came we were over the moon. I couldn’t recommend them more, they go above and beyond and we will be eternally grateful.”
Bringing everything they needed with them to their outback wedding required a lot of work, but every detail was beautifully thought through. The bride tells, ”Everything we had was DIY, but I don’t have much of a creative side so luckily my friends and Curly did the designs and details for our decorations. The dream catchers were made by one of my bridesmaids and the arbour was a detail that was included last minute. That was Curly’s idea and project, he suggested using it as firewood after so it was practical. Looking back now, pretty much the whole setting of the wedding fell into place around it. I’m so glad it was included and smile every time I look at the photos of it.”
With their outback and beachside wedding plans set, the couple decided on a very important factor on the day for them both. The bride shares, ”The most important detail for us as a couple was that we were to stay together. All the weddings we had been to, you never saw the bride and groom together, they were always off chatting to other people or dancing. We wanted to experience this day together so we decided on staying close until at least after the first dance. I cannot express how this often overlooked detail turned out to be the most important. I not only had my husband by my side the entire time, but we went up to each individual guest and thanked them together. Curly bear stayed by my side the entire night. After the first dance we’d drift apart and do our own thing, but before I even had the chance to miss him he’d have his hand back in mine giving me a huge grin. He always had everything under control and kept such a cool head all day and night. He pulled me away after a few hours of mingling and dancing, walked me up the sand dune and said to me ‘this is it, this is our wedding.’ We hugged each other in that quiet moment, looking down at everything that was happening in front of us.”
With wooden cutlery that could be recycled and a handmade cake crafted by a close friend, the reception was held in a marquee on the sand. Nikki tells, ”Celebrations were well under way. I came across some friends who had started climbing the pole holding up our marquee. First it was the small girls but quickly ended up with my new brother in law (who is a big dude) climbing to the very top. At that moment the pole gave way and he came crashing down, everyone was scattering and squealing. He landed on his feet, turned and claimed it. Before I knew it the pole was back up again like nothing ever happened. Then it was onto the next escapade!” The couple had their first dance with a slight glitch, sharing, ”Since there was no service we downloaded a few songs that we liked, but only one worked. It turned out to be ‘Stolen Dance’ by Milky Chance, which was the first song we danced to at a party when we first met. In hindsight I probably would have chosen something different but Curly liked it so it worked out great.”
Thank you to our gorgeous bride and groom for sharing your mind-bogglingly beautiful day, and congratulations! Thank you also to Freedom Garvey for your stunning photographs.