August 10, 2023

Donna Coster

The elopement that turned into a sunset proposal

It was a cold, wet, crappy night and the winter blues were in full swing- I think it was around May 2022…so literally, winter was just beginning.

My kids went to bed, hubby and I were binging the last season of Peaky Blinders and being the multitasker I am (watching TV, eating chocolate, and browsing Instagram & Pinterest) suddenly decided- I’m going to do a styled shoot for my ideal elopement!

70’s-flowers in the hair- bright bursts of colour- “non-traditional” were all screaming out to me and from there my “70’s inspired elopement with a modern twist” became my goal.

I told hubby the plans mid episode and went crazy working on my mood board.

With the 70’s goal in mind, I instantly thought of a friend of mine, Vanessa. Ness is a free spirited, bloody legend with a unique sense of style that she completely owns (she really was born in the wrong era!) I immediately pitched the idea to her, and she was KEEN! knowing her boyfriend Lachie had a glorious mop of hair on him, he too looked like he has just stepped out of the 70’s so they were PERFECT!

A few weeks after pitching the idea…Lachie sent me a sneaky DM which read something (or exactly like this)

“omg I’ve been meaning to msg you about doing a shoot for ness and I and I would propose and then she said you wanted to do a couple shoot of us!!!!! this is perfect”

The Dress

For weeks I was looking for a coloured dress that was elegant yet oozed a 70’s vibe and one night while I was browsing Facebook Marketplace, I came across a STUNNING gown that was being sold by the one and only Robyn Bull from I Do I Do Gippsland. It was bright orange, huge train, stunning tie up back, off shoulder…it was PERFECT! without hesitating, I messaged Robyn but was left devastated when she told me the gown has just sold.

No venue, no dress, just a gorgeous couple willing to be my guinea pigs… (admittedly they’d look good in a hessian sack, but I wasn’t giving up).

After being left heartbroken, Robyn messaged me later that day….she was happy to source the same dress for me in a custom size. YESSS!!

Once the dress arrived, Ness came over and it fit PERFECT!

Next, I needed a venue, flowers & hair & makeup.

The Flowers

After initial plans with a florist didn’t work out, I was left a little bit flat.

I was browsing florists in the Bass Coast area and to be honest, I was a little intimated by how incredible their work was!

I eventually reached out to one of my favourites, April- Fig & Willow Flower Bar and sent her a few inspiration pics and the vision I had.

All I can say is WOW! April was able to create the most stunning florals and took the “flowers in the hair 70s vibe” to a whole new level creating a stunning bouquet, two breathtaking pieces for Ness’s hair and buttonholes for Lachie. I FELL IN LOVE!

The Venue

I searched for weeks looking through Airbnb’s for a venue with its own unique style when I found the Silo House-Inverloch.

With muted & rustic tonnes throughout and a design that landed its own feature in Grand Designs Australia May 2022 (Season 10. Ep 2) I knew I needed to put myself out there and hope for the best. I spoke to Claire who manages the property, and she forwarded my enquiries onto the owners, Belinda & Allister.

After a few emails exchanged, they allowed me to use the space and I was so bloody excited!!

Hair & Makeup

As soon as a I decided to do my styled shoot, there was one makeup & hair artist that immediately came to mind and that was Kate from Makeup Art by Kate. Not only is Kate amazing with bridal makeup but she’s the whole package doing hair as well! I reached out to Kate after speaking with her over the last few years and we met on the day of the shoot and this lady absolutely NAILED my vision. The messy up-do, positioning April’s florals and finishing the look with subtle orange on the eyelids-Ness looked amazing!


On the day, Kate and Ness came over early and hair and makeup was underway. Hubby raced down to pick up the florals from April and Lachie was frantically rushing around Melbourne picking up the ring and getting himself sorted for a long anxious day ahead of him. (Ring was an incredibly beautiful piece designed by Eloise Falkiner).

By 11.30am, we made it to The Silo House and the sun was INTENSE. With just enough shade in front of the stunning barn doors we were able to get plenty of shots before moving on inside. Once inside, we were welcomed with the most industrial/rustic accomodation I’ve ever been to (it was stunning!). After exploring every area of the house, we called it time after an hour of shooting and went back to my house for some drinks & platter.

(hubby was tasked to serving Lachie as many beers as possible while keeping him sober enough for the second half of the day!)

My elopement was now going to be a proposal…and I was all for it!!

By 4pm we were on our way to Kitty Miller Bay, Phillip Island and walked up a track and up to stunning cliff tops just in time for golden hour.

From there, Lachie’s nerves kicked in and while I tried my best to keep Ness’s eyes forward, all she kept thinking was “omg is Lachie drunk, what is he doing?!” while he nervously paced behind her. It was both hilarious and painful to watch at the same time now knowing what was going on in each of their heads!

Finally, Lachie the smooth cat, went in, subtly told Ness he needed to ask her something before dropping the knee.


Unable to hear what was being said, it was an obvious YES from Ness and these two love birds were ENGAGED!

With an amazing bunch of vendors on board, I was so glad I could create this little vision, but ultimately help set up the perfect proposal!

Big thank you again to the following vendors

The Silo House, Inverloch,

April- Fig & Willow Flower Bar,

Kate- Makeup Art by Kate,

Robyn- I Do I Do Gippsland.

& my glorious ENGAGED couple, Ness & Lachie



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