Modern love story: 'I married my first swipe right'

 

It's a modern-day romance.

After much convincing from her sister, Elizabeth Whitehead gave in and signed up to online dating app Bumble, with low expectations.

She had no idea one of her first "matches" would end up being her husband.

The Newstead couple married on October 31 last year at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane followed by the reception at City Winery in Fortitude Valley in front of 41 guests.

 

Elizabeth Whitehead and Justin Ryan's wedding day. Pictures: Bird and Boy Photography
Elizabeth Whitehead and Justin Ryan's wedding day. Pictures: Bird and Boy Photography

Their plans were to wed on May 9 at St John the Baptist Anglican Church in Bulimba with 80 guests but COVID-19 forced new plans.

With the updated wedding date on state election day, the pair opted for a church that didn't have a polling booth on the grounds.

Restrictions and border closures meant Justin's groomsmen, his brother and friend, couldn't make it so the husbands of Elizabeth's bridesmaids stepped in.

Elizabeth Whitehead and Justin Ryan's wedding day. Pictures: Bird and Boy Photography
Elizabeth Whitehead and Justin Ryan's wedding day. Pictures: Bird and Boy Photography

The pair livestreamed the ceremony so interstate friends and family could tune in from afar. Elizabeth and Justin met through Bumble in August 2018, with Elizabeth admitting it was Justin's love for "travel and cats" that caught her eye on his profile.

Within a few weeks, they were officially dating and after four months they started shopping for rings.

Justin proposed in April 2019 while the pair were in Queenstown in New Zealand for a friend's wedding, after a drive to the Purakaunui Falls.

What was the standout moment of the day?

A storm starting just after our ceremony began, with the hail clearing just as we headed to the Powerhouse and New Farm Park for our photos, which meant we had it mostly to ourselves.

Elizabeth Whitehead and Justin Ryan's wedding day. Pictures: Bird and Boy Photography
Elizabeth Whitehead and Justin Ryan's wedding day. Pictures: Bird and Boy Photography

What would you do differently?

Nothing really, just try not to stress as much as I did.

Best advice for other couples planning a wedding?

If you have a great photographer, they don't need a huge range of locations, they can make magic in a limited area, so don't waste time driving around.

Also, give your vendors a budget and a vision, let them make the creative decisions and have a few surprises on the day - we did this with our florist and cake maker.

Emotions around changing plans because of COVID-19?

Initially relief, that we didn't have to worry about the constantly changing restrictions.

But then we were stressed again once the borders opened to NSW so Justin's family would be able to come, and then closed again! They opened the next week.

Elizabeth Whitehead and Justin Ryan's wedding day. Pictures: Bird and Boy Photography
Elizabeth Whitehead and Justin Ryan's wedding day. Pictures: Bird and Boy Photography

What helped you get through the stress?

Finally making the decision to go ahead with the wedding no matter what happened.

I will never be able to fully express my appreciation for how supportive Justin was in knowing that his family and friends were unlikely to be able to attend, and going ahead anyway.

Justin's family also were amazingly supportive of our decision, even though it meant they missed out on our wedding.

Advice for other couples?

As much as your wedding might not look exactly as you once hoped (due to travel restrictions or number limits or anything else that might happen), I would recommend committing to your date and going with it.

The silver lining was our friends and family who couldn't make it sent us videos with well wishes and bad dancing that we get to keep forever!



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