I sat these two crack ups down one wintery afternoon to learn all about how they met and how they got to where they are now.
Stef and Ella met each other in 2015 at an Arts Camp in Elmer, New Jersey. Ella was in charge of coordinating the programs’ staff and Stef flew over to the states from Australia to teach a drum class. The travel involved was something Stef was not quite expecting and she arrived a couple of days later than initially intended — where Ella found her collapsed on a couch in the staff area completely exhausted but ready to tackle the experience.
It took a few months (and a drunken text message from Stef suggesting they go to a drive-in movie together, although somewhat unclear as to her intentions) to kindle the fire but their love eventually blossomed over beerfests and epic road trips to Alaska.
The pair love pointing out dogs on the street in the middle of important conversations and plan to realise their Sims dream of owning a five bedroom mansion with six fur babies. They also share a love for plants, frequently buying exuberant amounts to add to their collection.
Ella loves country music; Stef loves ska; and although their taste in music slightly differs (causing issues on those long drives between New Jersey and Alaska) they both agree that each one helps the other to see the lighter side of life and there is always a reason to laugh when they’re together.
Stef surprised Ella with a trip to Cleland Wildlife Park for Ella’s first visit to Australia — causing her to literally burst into tears of excitement upon learning that she’d finally get to see AND hold a Koala.
Despite the ensuing trials of long distance, Stef and Ella’s relationship grew stronger as the months passed thanks to Skype, WhatsApp and of course tagging each other in memes. Stef eventually made the decision to move over to the states to be with her soulmate.
When distance came between them again and Stef needed to move back to Australia, Ella made up her mind that she wanted to seal the deal, flying into Melbourne where Stef was waiting to pick her up. They spent a couple of days exploring the city with Stef’s brother Gav and his partner John before Stef took them all to the Shrine of Remembrance.
With a beautiful view of the city before them, Ella gave her camera to Gav, simply saying “take some nice pictures of us” neglecting to mention that she was about to propose. Joining Stef at the lookout, Ella summed up all her composure but alas forgot everything she wanted to say to her beloved as so often happens to us in those poignant moments. Instead, Ella simply pulled a very special ring from her pocket and uttered the words “old and gross?” to Stef which was an allusion to something she had said to Ella that very morning.
Stef was of course maddened by the whole thing when she had finally figured out what was happening as she wanted to be the one to pop the question to Ella. She graciously accepted Ella’s proposal however, with Ella placing a ring with a simple green jewel on her finger. Throughout this whole moment, Stef’s brother Gav was apparently caught right off guard and only managed to get the camera fired up for the aftermath: two beaming lovers who had just begun to take the next exciting step in their lives together.
Ella and Stef spoke together about this entire story for a good hour on the couch that day. We jumped in our cars after that and went to take some plant shopping footage at Bunnings where we were promptly kicked out by a man with a lovely temperament I will call ‘Dave'. I took them instead up to Lofty to get some awesome shots of the two horsing around in the leafy surrounds; we stopped by a little nursery at the bottom of the hill which welcomed us with open arms; and we finished the shoot that evening at the Gepps Cross drive-in theatre — which seemed fitting seeing as apparently the pair never actually ended up going to one in the first place.