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Laura & Justin

The cascading waterfall in a hidden Ubud spot was the most incredible backdrop for today’s elopement. The newlyweds, who cast their eye far and wide across the world, searching for that perfect spot to say their vows, landed on beautiful Bali.  Captured  by Maria Shiriaeva Photography, it was a day of romance, of beautiful intention and of a love story that was beautifully told.

Laura tells the tale of how they met. “We met at school just a few months before graduating and things evolved pretty fast with us living together abroad within the same year.
Justin proposed five years later in Paris during the sunset by the river with Eiffel Tower lighting up. He did really well and caught me completely by surprise.”

The couple chose Bali for their elopement after a detailed search, Laura explaining “We were engaged for more than a year and struggled to start planning out our big day. After many conversations over long walks by the beach, we came to the conclusion that the standard wedding scenario was not really for us. We started searching online for elopement weddings and other people’s experiences. We looked at Central America, Mauritius, Maldives, Jamaica, Thailand until we came across Bali. We fell in love with it. That was it.
We booked our flights in February for the ceremony in June. The full research of how to plan the ceremony started after the flights were booked.”

Laura tells “The day started with 5 am make-up and hairdo in Seminyak followed by a two hour trip to the waterfall venue in Ubud.

The venue was magical… all decorations were just perfect. Despite the beautiful setting, the most amazing thing was the atmosphere of the venue itself. The sound of the water falling and the vibe of the place felt truly special. We were and are so happy with our choice.”

Laura and Justin chose The Seven Agency to plan and style the day – the team looking after every detail. Laura says “The most difficult part was finding the wedding planner. I was expecting that we could just arrange a small ceremony with a hotel resort until I learned there is a price tag attached to it. Maybe we were just unlucky with our search but it really felt that prices even for an elopement wedding were a lot higher than predicted.

We got really lucky with The Seven Agency who did a fabulous job. We would not change a thing.”

Of their photographer, the bride says “Priority number one for both of us has always been the photographer. We were so lucky to have found Maria. Maria went above and beyond helping us to plan the whole thing, searching for venues and even a wedding planner in Bali in addition to my endless questions about the best locations for the photo shoot and Bali in general… Over the few months, I could not even count how many times we changed our mind from cliff ceremony to beach, to waterfall, to cliff again and back to waterfall… Maria was always ever so helpful with all my endless questions; it really helped with reassurance it will all go well.”

Laura tells “We had lunch and a photo-shoot in the mountains by the lake, and also visited the Botanical Gardens.
Our fairytale continued through the day and ended at Udhiana Resort in Ubud. We had 11 nights in Bali during which we stayed in Seminyak, Ubud, Gili T, Balangan and we even managed to do the night hike up the Mount Batur.”

Says Laura “The most important thing is to relax and enjoy every moment of your big day. It feels amazing but it goes very quickly, so make the most of it!!”

Congratulations on tying the knot, Laura and Justin! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! Thank you also to Maria Shiriaeva Photography for sharing today’s beautiful day!

Photographer: Maria Shiriaeva Photography / Wedding Planner: The Seven Agency / Styling: The Seven Agency / Hair & Makeup Artist: Dea Sudharsana / Reception Venue: Udhiana Resort
Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

Image via Bec Lawrence

How does a romantic honeymoon escape on an island a little like Neverland sound? Welcome to Beqa island in Fiji, famous for shark diving and the beautiful rugged landscape.

We recently visited the island which is a bit of a hidden gem and haven’t been able to stop spreading the secret! Beqa is one of 332 islands in Fiji and is just south of Viti Levu. There are four resorts available to stay in which are surrounded by 9 villages.

You’ll start your adventure on a short boat ride where you’ll get to learn more about the land and experience all the shades of Fiji blue as you glide through the water. Keep your eyes pealed for turtles, we found a few friendly ones along the way, you might even be lucky enough to see dolphins or a whale too. As you approach Beqa island it’s a little like stepping back in time. There’s shades of greenery you couldn’t have known and plants growing on top of more plants, it’s exactly how you would have imagined the world before modern civilisation. Along the shore you’ll see a few resorts scattered amongst the palm trees, our boat skips these and heads to an inlet where we find Lalati Resort and Spa.

Image via Bec Lawrence

If you too decide to stay at Lalati Resort and Spa don’t be expecting your typical 5-star resort that you might find in Denarau. Instead, you’ll find friendly staff and a more authentic Fijian experience as locals work on the resort and live in the villages close by.

Image via Bec Lawrence

The rooms:

There’s a range of rooms to select from at Lalati Resort all with their own perks. With only 16 villas, cottages and suites, you’ll have peace of mind knowing the resort will never be overly busy and your serenity wont be interrupted. We stayed in an Ocean View villa where we watched the tide go in and out and were close enough to the dining hall to hear the drums beat at meal times. The rooms are simple but cater to all your needs.

Image via Bec Lawrence

What to eat:

Lalati Resort is an all-inclusive experience so you wont have to stress about any of the little things. Each morning a staff member will provide you with some options for meals for the day, you’ll select your favourites and a local chef will start cooking up a storm. It’s that easy, and trust me you wont be disappointed.

What to do:

If you’re one to unwind and sit by the water then this place is perfect but if you’re one for activities and adventure you wont be disappointed either. Typically I find it hard to sit still so I booked myself into every activity possible. From guided hikes, snorkelling, scuba diving, village visits and more, each experience will bring something different. My personal favourite is the school tour where a guide will take you through the village and to a school to listen to the children sing and dance. The children are so excited to see tourists and shout ‘Bula’ at ever possible moment. The happiness in the room is overwhelming, you can hear them singing from the shore.

Image via Bec Lawrence

If getting out into nature is more your thing, make sure you book into the waterfall trek. A guide will take you through the bushland where you will see native plants, farms and views of the island. Take a refreshing dip in the waterfall to cool off from your hike before you head back to the resort.

Image via Bec Lawrence

A lot of the activities at Lalati Resort are free whilst others come at an additional cost.  Whichever activity you choose a guide will take you through and you’ll learn about their lifestyle and culture. The staff members live close by in the villages that surround Lalati Resort so you’ll get to know their friendly faces and might even meet their families or see their homes.

Whatever you decide make sure you take this perfect opportunity to unwind and spend some time together without any interruptions from your life back at home.

Ms Zigzag says: Crystal blue waters, waterfalls and an authentic Fijian experience? Beqa sounds like just the place to enjoy a romantic getaway. 

About Bec Lawrence: I’m a journalist with a passion for all things travel. On weekends you’ll find me with a camera in my hand, at the markets or on the top of a mountain after a hike.

One of the advantages of being based in the vibrant Abell Point Marina precinct is the range of stunning locations, which can be used for a photo shoot. Not only is the venue itself a perfect backdrop, but we encourage all our couples to take an hour away from their guests, explore the marina and be artistic with their wedding professional shoot or your candid honeymoon photos.

Here are some of our photography hotspots in the Whitsundays for your wedding and honeymoon pics:

Firstly, hire a boat for a few hours, either take the bridal party our for drinks and nibbles before the reception or just take yourselves and enjoy a quite moment of reflection and some amazing scenery backdrops. Hiring a boat and having a float is the perfect way to unwind on your honeymoon after the big day too.

Speak to your wedding coordinator and arrange to explore the docks. Nestle between stunning yachts and gleaming hulls to create the perfect backdrop. Choose the right time of day and as the sunsets you will have a backdrop of pink and orange hues as the Whitsunday skies mark the next stage of your wedding day celebrations. Use these tips also for your honeymoon – while you might not have a professional photographer on hand, you’ll still be able to snap some awesome shots for your honeymoon album by using these photography tips. Lighting is everything!

Explore the marina precinct, from the Abell Point Parkway to the adjacent Shingley Beach, both grassed areas make for a stunning contrast to the aqua of the Whitsunday waters.

Finally, be experimental and choose a location or a shot which perfectly captures your relationship. Some wedding shoots are so staged, that the personalities don’t get chance to shine through. If you choose the right photographer they will certainly bring out the best in you both and make you comfortable enough to be yourselves.

Whilst many people place their wedding photos in an album and then only get the album out once a year on their anniversary, those who try something a little different are far more likely to hang that photo of the big day in the living room and be constantly reminded of their special day.

Images supplied by Lure – Abell Point Marina.

Ms Zigzag says: Anything for a great shot! That photo above should be “going straight to the pool room” for prominent display. 

About Lure – Abell Point Marina: If the thought of a sophisticated waterfront reception venue arouses your curiosity, we invite you to explore Lure, Abell Point Marina located in one of the most iconic destinations in Australia. Picturesque waterfront views overlooking the Whitsunday Islands encompass turquoise sea vistas by day, ever-changing hues of pink and orange at sunset and the twinkle of yachts on the water by night.