For Melanie Clapham and Mitchell Spinks, managers of Shaws Bay Holiday Park in Ballina, NSW, one word sums up their casual golf course wedding on December 7, 2013: Fun. Dancing till 5am kind of fun.
“As family members started to leave later on in the night, the music was turned up and we danced until the sun came up,” recalls Melanie, 25.
The couple met in 2007 and shortly after were given the opportunity to manage their first holiday park, which catapulted their relationship into 24/7, live-in-each-others-pockets territory. “This was going to be the ultimate test… but here we are four years later, still living and working together and loving it,” says Melanie of Mitchell, 30.
Although fun and informal was the tone set for the nuptials at Pottsville Golf Course and Harry’s Hideaway, the earnestness of the occasion was not lost on them. Melanie wore a necklace and wedding ring of her recently passed grandmothers in their memory, and a balloon release was incorporated into the “short and sweet” ceremony of 105 guests, to a poem about love taking flight and hope for the future.
“There was lots of smiles, laughter, tears and… love from all our family and friends around us… it came and went too fast… the best day of our lives so far.”
Of Harry’s Hideaway, a holiday rental in Ballina, Melanie says, “We wanted a venue where we could organise our own food, drinks and music, and somewhere that didn’t have a curfew or noise restrictions.”
In lieu of bouquets, the bridesmaids each carried a large white balloon, setting the fun and relaxed mood for the day.
Mitch’s memorable proposal still has his bride laughing fondly. “Will you engage me?” he asked before her 25th birthday dinner six months earlier. “I laughed, smiled and cried at the same time and replied with a ‘Yes!’” smiles Melanie.
Photos courtesy of Katrina Cram Photography.