PORT Macquarie couple, Michael Clayworth and Nicole Wilson, snuck away to say “I do” in one of Greece’s most picturesque locations.
Their relationship has been 11 and a half years in the making but the thought of planning an expensive wedding proved too overwhelming. So they eloped.
The couple grew up in Port Macquarie with Nicole attending school at Mackillop Senior College and Michael at Westport High. They met through a mutual friend when they were 18 and have been together ever since.
Nicole wanted to share their story in the hope of inspiring more couples to buck the trend and do the same as they did.
She said they would have married sooner but the thought of organising a big wedding was a daunting task.
“The thought of planning a wedding was so overwhelming. We both never wanted the cost and stress of a big wedding,” she said.
“We always knew that we would either have an intimate ceremony with just family or we would elope.”
And they did. Santorini with its beautiful blue waters against its striking Greek architecture was the perfect location to exchange vows.
“It wasn’t until six weeks prior to our holiday to Europe that I contacted our wedding planner,” Nicole said.
“We didn’t tell anyone of our plans because we didn’t want anyone trying to talk us out of what we wanted to do.
“By the time we returned to Australia, we had all our wedding photos and video that we could then share with our family and friends.”
Although family and friends missed out on the formalities, the now Mr and Mrs Clayworth had an elopement party on their return.
“Santorini is one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Nicole said.
"If we had our time over we would definitely do it all again. It was perfect. Stress free and at a fraction of the cost of a wedding in Australia.
“Our wedding team planned the whole day, including my wedding dress I saw for the first time the night before. We literally just turned up.
“We have no regrets. Our wedding day was beyond our expectations.”