I was 8months pregnant and just won ‘Business Excellence Award in Personal Services’ for the Tweed Shire. I was technically on bed rest but still working everyday from home.
I received an email asking if I would be interested in travelling to the Maldives to shoot an elopement.
* Insert eye roll *
I assumed it was one of those annoying spam emails we all get from Gumtree ads. You know the ones… I work at sea so I can’t call… if I pay you can you transfer the money and pay X person… or if I send you money can you buy X products and post it to X address (overseas). Basically, money laundering. If you have ever advertised on Gumtree I’m sure you have received these.
I responded professionally and didn’t give it a second thought.
I received a response back immediately. Back and forth. Each time waiting for the ‘catch’. Then we spoke on the phone.
Whoops! I think this is a REAL CLIENT. A real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture a secret elopement in the Maldives.
She found me from a Google search and was very motivated to have me be a part of her epic elopement! You see, I am a photographer, hair and makeup artist. It’s a unique set of skills that makes me the perfect personal for elopements.
We got along like a house on fire! I liked her style. She knew what she wanted and was a go-getter. I could tell she wasn’t going to take no for an answer – thats how I roll too ;P
I quickly calculated how old my baby with be. 5 months. Oh dear. Now I’m full term ready to pop any day so my hormones are making me go into ‘protective mode’ not ‘fearless entrepreneur’ mode which is my normal thermostat. My anxiety plays out every negative scenario. I google my heart out… I find a few potential issues around travel with a new baby. The big one was immunisation and yellow fever!
Then there was the practical part of travelling. I hate planes and fast jet boats. I am an independent woman… until I have to travel. I had successfully breastfed my first child for 1 year so I was confident I would be BFing this one. I was a little anxious about the thought of travelling on plane and jet boat in a foreign country, on my own with a baby and all my equipment! I like to pride myself on juggling business and babies rather well but this was going to test my limits.
I did what any other person would do – make my partner take a week off work to hold my hand 😉 He didn’t exactly put much of a fight up – it WAS the Maldives!
Then I chickened out a hundred times finding excuses. I was in ‘Mummy’ mode. It was my partner who reminded me I was fearless! A warrior who can do this and would regret it if I didn’t. I needed that reassurance. If I wasn’t about to pop I would have said YES without another thought.
I had been in early labour (contractions every 10mins) all weekend and found myself literally crawling along the couch to my home office to finalize the booking with Flight Centre! In every email to the client I said “if I suddenly stop replying I’ve had the baby and will be in touch in a few weeks”
The Maldive’s is in the middle of the Indian Ocean. A tropical location prone to Monsoons. We travel in February as it’s the driest month of the year. As we were only there for 5 nights we decided to make the elopement date ‘flexible’ – aiming for the second day.
I did loads of research online debating wether we aim for sunrise or sunset. The sunsets on YouTube looked insane! Red sun glimmering off turquoise sea. The sky lit up with purple, pink and yellow hues. The sunrise looked luckluster. Flat and cloudy. We decided on a crisp blue ceremony on a sand dune off their Island, popular spot for divers and a sunset photo shoot.
We flew from Brisbane to Singapore (5hr wait) then Singapore to the capital Male and 45min jetboat to our Island Makunudu. All up, 24 hours of travelling with a 5month old.
We got the basinet seats on each flight. The first leg was great we had a spare seat next to us. I’m only 5”2 so two seats allows me to lie down and sleep. Every other journey it was a full house and we were woken by everyone else’s toddler’s! We didn’t realise every time the seatbelt sign comes on you have to wake the baby and strap them in on your lap. Completely defeating the purpose! Graham held Isabella to sleep on his lap while we used the basinet as storage and enjoyed the extra leg room 😉
Isabella was a dream traveller. I took our Ergo baby carrier. I used this at each airport, the Island and when on the jet boats. I was pretty nervous when we landed as it was nearly midnight and we were about to get on a jet boat in the pitch dark! Apparently the guy told Graham the boat had broken down that day and this was a replacement – glad they kept that to themselves!!! Isabella strapped to me, I’m holding on for dear life, we are travelling 60K/phr it feels like we ‘drop’ 3m every wave with a loud thump and everything goes flying. Bella… slept through it all.
We arrive and greeted by 5+ resort staff who instantly take Isabella and start playing with her. I instantly feel my shoulders relax as I feel the cool salty breeze through my hair. I’m handed a drink. Yes, please.
The resorts include all food and drinks. They have set times for meals. As we arrived at midnight we missed dinner but they had dinner in our room waiting for us. Our room was massive, the bed was enormous and we had a cot for Bella. We jumped into the outdoor shower and prayed Bella would sleep!
We slept for 2 hours before Bella’s body clock said GOOD MORNING!!! It was just before sunrise in the Maldives (6.30am). We took the opportunity to walk out our front steps onto the coral crush white ‘sand’ and watch the sunrise. I wasn’t expecting much from my research online. Boy was I wrong!
We tested the ocean and it was like a warm bath. Crystal clear you could see the fishes beneath you. We stripped Bella off naked and all jumped it. Right in front of us was the most unbelievable sunrise. BRIGHT RED SUN. The sky turned pink and faded up to the a rich blue. The sun ray’s danced across the still ocean. We looked at each other and I could have cried. It was single handily one of the most incredible moments of my life. We both looked at each other and then felt a heavy heart as we were only missing our other daughter Sophia who was at school. The natural endorphines from such beauty was overwhelming.
What did I do next? Whatsapp the client to organise a sunrise wedding! She originally wanted one and I couldn’t believe no one was talking about these sunrise’s online!
Hope you enjoy some shots from the trip xxx