6 December 2022

Five couples, five weddings, one magical day in Tumbarumba

| Edwina Mason
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The Married in a Moment event offers five couples the chance to elope in style. Photos: Elk Avenue.

If you’ve ever thought of running away to marry, here’s your chance!

The scene is set for five couples to elope to the Snowy Mountains on 13 January for their own little chapel wedding.

Sort of like a Vegas wedding without Elvis and absolutely lacking the tacky.

Five couples, five weddings, one day. With all the traditional elements of a ceremony.

Think of a quiet street, a small white chapel framed in a splendid garden, spectacular flowers, and inside stands a celebrant ready to officiate, a photographer polishing their lens and, afterwards, a chilled bottle of bubbles and an elegant hamper of yummies you can delight in by the riverside, should that take your fancy.

This is for those couples who might be planning a wedding but for whom the stress and costs involved are becoming too much, so they will jump at the chance to ditch the worry but still get married in style with a few of their closest loved ones.

There is a catch.

The preliminary paperwork has to be lodged by 10 December, so time is running out!

The 100-year-old former St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Winton Street, Tumbarumba, is the venue, and it remains a place of celebration and special moments, under the patronage of Forage Merchant + Occasions – an innovative new business in the town, established by Dezley and Michael Hughes.

Bride and groom

The special wedding event is set in a stunning location.

Those from Wagga will have known the Hugheses, who lived and worked there some 20 years ago. Since selling their floristry business, they moved to Queensland, creating styled events and floristry for the Noosa region and beyond, while also creating and designing floral work for reputable clients such as the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Pottery Barn and The Sofitel.

Melbourne then became home, where business again flourished, giving the couple the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best in the events business.

When COVID hit, the Hugheses “decided to get out of Dodge” and set their sights on Tumbarumba – in the untapped Snowy Valleys region – a town they had visited often, loved, and have finally settled in.

And now – as they strengthen their involvement in the region – their energies are devoted to helping the small mountain town recover from the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires and then several years of COVID restrictions.

Dezley said she and Michael were thrilled to see the region start to hit its stride as it turned from devastation to this year seeing Courabyra Wines and Tumbafest clinching gold in their categories at the NSW Tourism Awards in Sydney in November.

The Hugheses are doing their bit by restoring the old chapel from which they run workshops and events. They’ve also set up a retail store down on The Parade, Tumba’s main street.

Dezley said the idea of Married in a Moment came from the growing determination of couples to have smaller, boutique weddings – called microweddings.

“The landscape of those memorable moments is really changing and elopement is becoming far more popular,” she explained.

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After they tested the concept with friends, family and industry peers, the Hugheses teamed up with Corryong celebrant Yolande Szery and Wagga photographer Jasmine Dunn to create that one day for five couples.

“We deck out the chapel so it looks beautiful, each couple gets a bouquet and pinhole, they have their own individual meaningful ceremony, and it’s artistically documented by Jas,” Dezley said. ”Then they have a champagne and take their harvest hamper or book into a winery for lunch.”

All within an hour.

Dezley says the elopement event, which is open to everyone and welcomes witnesses, is a far cry from the Vegas scenario.

“This is a meaningful celebration in a stunning location, and it’s in Australia,” she said.

“It’s not something we will do on a constant rotation, it’s a one-off, but it’ll be spectacular.”

Married in a Moment does come at a cost ($2250) but as Dezley said, when compared with the tens of thousands generally spent on a wedding, it’s extremely advantageous.

Three timeslots are left and couples wishing to take part in the event should do so now by contacting Dezley.

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