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For as long as we both shall live: An intimate wedding

She needed a washing machine, he needed a place to live. It was a match made in heaven.

Thurza Sullivan, 49, and Michael van der Heyden, 50, met in 1993 when he moved into her share house. They were engaged after three years of dating, but it wasn’t until April 8, 2014 they were married. “To be honest, I had never expected to be in a life-long relationship with someone and really didn’t see myself having children at any point,” explains Thurza. But a close friends’ wedding inspired the pair to make the commitment of engagement. “But the wedding never happened,” says Thurza.

The birth of their children Hannah and Sjouke followed not long after, but so did the passing of Thurza’s parents. Strain on the relationship almost saw the couple separate, but they dug deep and stuck together. The tough times didn’t end there, however, with Thurza then diagnosed with bowel cancer. “It was a very, very tough year for all of us,” she says.

Leading up to the end of treatment, the couple decided to throw a party to celebrate Thurza’s recovery. “Then we thought we could also celebrate Michael’s 50th as his birthday was coming up in November,” says Thurza. ”Then our daughter Hannah said ‘and you two could get married!’ So essentially our children proposed, and we accepted.”

The long-time lovers celebrated with an intimate wedding of six guests under the theme for as long as we both shall live. “We’d given all those vows a good testing over the years and I was so impressed by Michael’s response to ‘in sickness and in health’ that after 21 years together it was finally the right time to get married.”

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“It was a damp, poignant, wonderful day,” remembers Thurza. ”Wonderful for Michael and I, but also incredibly special to have our children Hannah and Sjouke there to be part of our ceremony and celebrate with us.”

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The couple’s daughter Hannah did a reading from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Sjouke read from Dr Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go.

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Although it was just six guests at the wedding, the pair celebrated with wider family and friends a few days later.

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Thurza wasn’t so sure about pulling off a traditional wedding gown. “As an older bride, a big white dress just wasn’t my thing. I found a gorgeous outfit in the ‘mother of the bride’ section.”

Photos courtesy of Tizia May Photography.

Featured Suppliers:

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Simply love: Chantelle & Ben marry in Fiji at beach wedding

Barefoot, relaxed and carried by four strong men was essentially the wedding day of Chantelle Mitten.

She married her high-school sweetheart Ben Owens, both 25, on April 8, 2014 at their beach wedding in Fiji. “Surrounded by 34 of our closest friends and family as well as a few of our Fijian friends we said ‘I do’ with our own vows,” says Chantelle. “I was a barefoot bride and there was nothing more satisfying than having guests at our wedding in singlets and board shorts.”

After being carried along the beach by four Fijian warriors, the bride’s father walked her down the sandy aisle with the backdrop of “crystal clear water”, as Chantelle describes. “Our reception was held on a secluded section of the beach under the stars surrounded by twinkling fairy lights,” she says.

Keeping it simple, the pair opted for casual white collared shirts with shorts and thongs for the groom and his groomsmen. “There wasn’t a single tie to be seen,” laughs Chantelle.

Guests were treated to a cultural gift to remember the special day. “For wedding favours we had small hand-carved kava bowls with a turtle etched in the centre symbolising love,” says Chantelle. “I could not have asked for a more perfect place to marry my sweetheart or a better group of people to have there with us.”

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“My beautiful bridesmaids wore royal blue Mr K dresses purchased from local boutique, Daniela’s,” says Chantelle.

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“We planned everything ourselves and couldn’t of been happier with the way our special day went,” remembers the bride.

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Marrying overseas meant it was a week-long celebration for the happy couple and their guests.

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Chantelle’s advice for other brides is to “not to stress so much on the finer details such as decorations as at the end of the day it’s about you, your husband and the people you are sharing the day with.”

Photos courtesy of Ocean Studio Fiji

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Mr & Mrs Smith choose Yarra Valley for fresh rustic wedding

When Jessica Derham and Reuben Smith fell in love with Zonzo at Train Track Wines in the Yarra Valley, they didn’t quite realise why until later.

“We had gone on one of our first dates there five years earlier during Grape Grazing [Festival],” says Melbourne bride Jessica, 32. “We didn’t recognise it until we got there.”

The venue’s country charm and renowned Italian cuisine, including sensational wood fire pizzas, allowed the lecturer and carpenter, 31, to keep things simple when it came to their rustic wedding on February 1, 2014.

“Food and wine are very important to both of us,” says Jessica. “So we decided to have a cocktail reception where our [165] guests could enjoy a variety of canapés as well as the local wine.”

Arriving to the outdoor ceremony by impressive Caddyman Cadillacs (“The pink one is the only one of its kind in Australia,” smiles the bride), Jessica and Reuben became Mr and Mrs Smith, with the assistance of celebrant Monique Duggan. “Reuben met Monique seven years ago when he did an extension on her house,” explains Jessica.

Trying hard not to “get too bogged down with the theme”, Jessica says their colour palette was a fresh mix of navy, yellow and green, represented in a macaron tower and lolly buffet which she designed herself.

The relaxed celebration led to a luxury honeymoon on Caribbean cruise liner, Oasis of the Seas – the world’s biggest cruise ship.

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Jessica’s cousin walked her down the aisle. “He is like a brother to me,” she says.

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Debbie O’Neill Freelance Designs arranged the fresh ivory and green bouquets.

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Jessica wore a simple A-line design of Wendy Makin and Reuben suited up in a charcoal number from Moda.

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Photos courtesy of Metropol Weddings.

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Additional Suppliers: Yara Valley Transfers.


Linda and Sean’s Perth wedding a chic celebration

When Linda Scott and Sean Scrimgeour met through mutual friends, love was not on the cards.

“We were both in serious relationships,” Linda explains.

It wasn’t until years later, both single, that they met again at a birthday party in 2005. Sparks flew and the Perth pair began dating, moving to London for two years in 2008 and travelling through Europe.

After returning back home, Sean organised a big party for his 30th in 2012, with a special surprise in store. “In front of all of our family and friends on that night he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him,” Linda says.

Sean, now 32, and Linda, 31, got straight down to planning the big day, and a Perth wedding with a modern chic style was set for November 8, 2013.

The couple wed in a meaningful ceremony at St Joseph’s Church, Subiaco. “Walking down the aisle of that church was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had!” Linda gushes. “I was so excited that I was finally marrying the man of my dreams.”

With the ceremony over, it was time for the real party to begin at the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. “All 140 guests were on the dance floor at one point, and Sean and I actually said to each other ‘Wow, take a look. No one is sitting down!’ It was just fantastic,” Linda says.

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Kisschasey Wedding Flowers created the elegant bouquet in peaches and cream.

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Lanceshotme Creative Photography ensured plenty of fun and memorable images were captured on the day.

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Roc Candy provided unique bomboniere

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Photos courtesy of Lanceshotme Creative Photography.

Featured Suppliers:

Bomboniere: Roc Candy / Brides Accessories: Hobnob / Brides Gown: Hobnob / Brides Shoes: Georgie's Bridal Shoes / Bridesmaids Accessories: Zamels / Bridesmaids Dresses: Custom / Cake: Malaga Cake Factory / Caterer: Spices Catering / Ceremony Music: String Musicians Australia / Ceremony Venue: St. Josephs Church / Entertainment: Ben Merito; Beatmixology / Flowers: Kiss Chasey Wedding Flowers / Grooms Attire: Britton’s Formal Wear / Groomsmen Attire: Britton’s Formal Wear / Hair: Total Brides / Honeymoon: Likuliku Resort, Fiji / Invitations: Etsy / Makeup: Addicted To Glamour / Photographer: Lanceshotme Creative Photography / Reception Venue: Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club / Transport: A Old Limo / Videographer: Inception Video


Sweet sixteens go the distance for destination wedding in Thailand

Caught hiding in your boyfriend’s bathroom isn’t the ideal way to meet your future in-laws.

But lucky for Saskia Livingstone, even at 16, Matthew Bebe knew she was ‘the one’ and fought to keep seeing her. “We were told we were never to see each other again however Matt [now 25] knew better,” explains Saskia, 26. “He told me with tears in his eyes, “you need to have faith in us; I have faith in us.”

She adds, “I did, and proving we shared something truly meaningful, soon enough I became a truly loved and valuable part of his beautiful family.”

Saskia says despite the ups and downs (which any couple would have being together since 16!), she and Matthew always knew they were meant to be. “As we grew together we made plans for our future, sharing a love of all things fun and taking every opportunity to go snowboarding, surfing, camping, water skiing – because life is one big adventure when we’re together.”

The nurse and engineer chose Thailand for their destination wedding as it held a special place in their hearts. “[It’s] a place of pristine beaches, island hopping and a beautiful culture of happy faces and grateful hearts,” says Saskia. “A place of crystal clear oceans, hidden paradises and untouched natural beauty.”

They were married on February 26, 2014 in Koh Samui. “We knew we wanted to get married the year we’d be celebrating 10 years together.”

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Saskia’a gown was from Impression Bridal.

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“The naturally beautiful surrounds of our beachfront ceremony were complemented with a simplistic bamboo alter,” says Saskia.

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“With a sparkling ocean lapping at the shore and the warm afternoon sun pouring across the beach, we allowed our ceremony location to speak for itself,” the bride recalls.

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The bridesmaids were dressed and accessorised by Forever New.

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Saskia dressed back into her wedding gown for their snow holiday in Japan. “The staff at Aqua Alpine convinced me to go to the summit for the photos and then snowboard back down in my dress!”

Photos courtesy of Koh Samui Photography.

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