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Connie & Rafael celebrate their classic wedding with a bang

A near-explosion meant the bride was 30 minutes late for her own wedding, but Connie Kokiousis and Rafael Salinas were thankfully married without any further dramas.

Just as the Adelaide bride, 24, was about to leave for her ceremony on January 11, 2014, the wedding car back-fired and the bonnet burst into flames.

“I had to jump out of the back seat with my dad because we thought it was going to blow up!” recalls Connie, of the car borrowed from friends. “There was a line of cars stopped in the middle of the road rushing to try and help put the fire out while the fire brigade was on its way.”

Trying to stay calm, Connie and her bridesmaids got into her dad’s GT and made it to Al-Ru Farm at One Tree Hill – albeit fashionably late.

A year before the classic wedding with 170 guests came a humble proposal from Rafael. He and Connie had just bought their first apartment together. After picking up the keys, a trail of roses in their new home led Connie to the big question.

“The last note was in our bedroom closet; it said ‘I love you, please turn around’,” smiles Connie. “When I turned around Raf was on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was in complete shock and stood smiling, speechless!”

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“I knew what type of dress I wanted the girls to wear so I got their dresses made because I knew I wouldn’t be able to find exactly what I wanted at a store,” says Connie.

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Al-Ru Farm feels very peaceful,” Connie says of their ceremony venue.

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Connie chose her dress from a piece of French lace. “It was so elegant and sophisticated but at the same time full of so many beautiful Swarovski jewels and pearls in little intricate clusters.”

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“As the Crowne Plaza was a modern blank canvas, we really wanted to jazz it up a bit,” says Connie.

Photos courtesy of Black Duck Photography.

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Bride paralysed three weeks before beach wedding: Tahnee & Travis

When Tahnee Lieshout took a sip from her water bottle the day after her hen’s night – and it all dribbled out – she knew something was terribly wrong.

Three weeks before her beach wedding to 29-year-old Travis Starling, Tahnee, 28, was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy – a puzzling condition that causes facial paralysis leaving its victims unable to blink, smile or frown, usually down one side of the face. Worst of all, there’s no definitive cure – and it can take a whole year to heal.

Not content with the doctors’ prognosis – or the unthinkable – to cancel the wedding – Tahnee turned to natural therapies, undergoing painful acupuncture every day and virtually “taking everything anyone suggested” might be helpful to speed up her recovery.

It was a hectic, emotionally draining three weeks.

With one eye unable to blink, the days leading up to the wedding were not about last minute details and joyful anticipation but, agonisingly, constant rounds of eye drops. She even had to tape her eye shut each night in order to sleep.

It was not at all how Tahnee imagined that special time to be. But on the morning of Feburary 8, 2014, all the intense treatments had paid off – the paralysis had softened enough that she could indeed smile, clearly say ‘I do’ and spend a day, she says, “that was more perfect than we could have both ever imagined.”

The beautiful photos that show not a hint of this Adelaide bride’s ordeal are by Sven Studios.

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Most of the 80 guests at the wedding were none the wiser to Tahnee’s unfortunate condition. “In the end, I don’t think I thought about it once,” she smiles.

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The couple were wed by Mark Bassett on a sweltering 43 degree day at Southport Beach, Port Noarlunga South.

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Tahnee’s beautiful off the shoulder gown had a boho vibe and was from Etsy.

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The Coriole Winery reception was “one big party,” with a friend’s punk band that “played all sorts of tuned loud into the night,” says the bride.

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Despite her facial woes, Tahnee managed an impromptu speech thanking her husband, mum and six bridesmaids for getting her through the ordeal.

Photos courtesy of Sven Studios.

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Raining love: the golf club wedding of Cherelle & Frank

“Always have a plan B.”

This is the advice of bride Cherelle Sturgeon, 25, who was one of those unlucky few that are rained out on their big day. She married Frank Kennedy, 28, on February 15, 2014 at their golf club wedding.

“I’m sure we’re not the first bride and groom in history to be rained out on the most important day of their lives together, but we didn’t feel too lucky that it was happening to us,” says Cherelle who chose St Michael’s Golf Club in Little Bay, NSW, for their event. “It’s so important to always have a plan B and also know that it’s not the end of the world.”

Their planned ceremony on the green was taken inside to the dance floor of the reception. The pair’s simple styling with the help of Rose Baker Events created elegant atmosphere.

Unfortunately the bad weather didn’t even ease up for the Great Ocean Road honeymoon! “My vision of lazing by the beach enjoying newly married bliss was left for another holiday,” laughs Cherelle.

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Cherelle found “the one” on her first day of dress shopping at Lu Elle Bridal Designs.

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“With little hope for a miracle window of sunshine we moved our vows indoors onto the dance floor of our reception,” Cherelle says of the wet weather plans.

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“They say that wet weather is good luck on your wedding day and in some cultures rain signifies a long and happy marriage,” smiles Cherelle.

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Photos courtesy of Chris Giovanni’s Photography.

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Love just a click away: rustic wedding begins with online romance

It was modern love for Jane Webster, 33, and Christopher Powell, 36.

After meeting online and falling in love within a week of their first meeting, the pair were later married at their rustic wedding in Williamstown, South Australia, on November 23, 2013.

“Being a single mum of three boys I had pretty much given up on finding ‘the one’ but within a week of meeting this guy I knew he was the one for me,” smiles Jane.

Jane says family is the number one priority for the couple and consequently the proposal was a family affair. “We went for a family bush walk at a local walking track…I was looking at the view when Chris and the kids ran down the hill in front of me,” she explains. “I spotted a little blue box on the path…I picked it up and Chris came over and took out the ring and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”

She said with four children, planning a wedding was always going to be a challenge time-wise. “There were only two dates still available at Stevens Estate Garden so we booked on the spot and then had to work out how we were going to plan the whole wedding in less than three months,” she laughs. ”But we did it and it was just perfect!”

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Jane’s strapless gown with plunging neckline was purchased from Spurling.

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“As you can imagine with four children we are very busy people and finding the money and the right time to get married was a challenge but it was important to us,” Jane explains.

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Children Keegan, Tyler, Jaylen and Sophie were a huge part of this couple’s special day.

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“It’s been five months since our wedding and I still can’t get enough of looking back at our wedding photos,” says Jane. “It really was a magical day that we will never forget.”

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Photos courtesy of With Love and Lace by Melanie.

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Garden wedding in Melbourne forecast for loved up couple

From an icy proposal to a blistering summer wedding, Rei Sak and Damon Troughton certainly brought the weather with them.

“Damon’s [37] proposal was the most romantic thing he had ever done for me,” says Rei, 34. “He knew how much I loved the snow so being winter still in England [where they were living at the time] he was waiting for the perfect day when it would snow.”

Unfortunately, the soft ice never fell and their anniversary was fast approaching. “He thought he would create the perfect winter wonderland.” says Rei. “He went and bought a snow machine and covered our whole back garden in snow!”

Fast forward to their garden wedding on January 10, 2014 in Melbourne, the sun was shining at its fullest. “It was a beautiful 38-degree day in the height of summer in Melbourne,” explains Rei.

Fitting for their romantic theming, the day began with a traditional tea ceremony in the morning at the couple’s home with their closest family and friends. This was followed by the ceremony and reception at Ripponlea Estate and Gardens in Elsternwick.

“We had anticipated that it was going to be quite a warm day, so we sourced some handmade paper fans from Etsy,” says Rei. “They had different love quotes written on them that we had chosen – our guests loved these.”

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Rei’s Baccini and Hill strapless gown was adorned with lace and had a bone corset.

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As well as personalised fans to keep guests cool, the pair had water bottles on hand.

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“The whole day was so magical, like a perfect summer’s day. For us, it was all about celebrating our love for each other, with good food, surrounded by the people we adore,” smiles Rei.

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Taking inspiration from Kate Moss’s wedding cake, Rei and Damon commissioned Nikos Cakes to recreate it (minus a couple of tiers).

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Images courtesy of Photos by Jessica.

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