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Wedding date: 15 March 2014
Photographer: Karen Brown Photography
It was a last minute decision by Kate to go to a circus-themed New Year’s Eve party that led to her and Dean’s paths crossing.
A bartender at the party, Dean was dressed up as part of the evening’s circus theme and immediately connected with Kate.
However, while the two chatted across the bar throughout the night, it was Kate’s sister-in-law who got things moving when she exchanged Kate and Dean’s phone numbers for them.
Not one to waste any time, Dean messaged Kate the next day to arrange to see her again. With a shared love of fine dining and travelling, as well as similar ideals and dreams, Kate and Dean quickly knew there was something special between them.
“When we talked of our lives and family, values and dreams there were a lot of parallels and time between us was easily spent,” Kate says.
The proposal came as a surprise to both Kate and Dean. With plans to ask Kate to marry him on a trip to Bali in June, Dean changed his mind during a romantic weekend at Stewarts Bay Lodge (an early birthday present to Kate).
Having already packed the engagement ring he had chosen (just for safe keeping), Dean decided to bring his plans forward and quietly left the couple’s chalet to call Kate’s Dad to ask permission to marry her. On his return and to Kate’s complete surprise, Dean dropped to one knee, presented her with the beautiful ring and popped the question.
“I could not believe it was happening,” Kate says. “When he opened the box, the ring was everything I had dreamed of – it was amazing.”
The pair ended the day by calling family and friends and sipping Champagne together on the local jetty.
With Stewarts Bay Lodge the obvious choice for the couple’s wedding, Kate and Dean were lucky enough to secure one of only two available dates free at the venue for the next wedding season.
“We didn’t even look at or consider another venue,” Kate says. “We wanted a meaningful and happy ceremony, lots of dancing, beautiful food and wine, and somewhere for our guests to escape to for the weekend. Stewarts Bay Lodge offered us all this and more.”
Kate and Dean’s ceremony took place overlooking Ladies Bay, on a grassed area covered in rose petals and under a mass of huge white helium balloons. Their backdrop also included the ocean and native bush. The ceremony was followed by canapés on the deck of the Lodge and bocce and quoits on the lawn, before a formal reception for 112 guests.
The wedding day carried a theme of natural tones and wood, with timber featuring in many aspects from the invitations and place cards, to the table decorations and bridal party gifts.
All guests staying the weekend at the Lodge also received a welcome parcel in their chalet which included personalised beer coolers, homemade jam, tomato relish, as well as spices and chocolates, all made by the groom’s brother Paul.
The main highlight of the day for Dean was the ceremony’s relaxed but intimate atmosphere. “We both felt like no one was watching us and it was beautiful,” Kate says.
The pair’s first dance together as husband and wife, and dancing with their parents was also unforgettable, while the beautiful weather (despite fears in the lead-up about bad weather spoiling the outdoor ceremony) also helped make the day perfect.
There were no major hiccups in the planning or on the day, which the couple attributed to being super organised and having a definite idea of their wedding theme.
“This made the decision process easy because there was such a clear idea on what we wanted,” Kate says. “We had no regrets and wouldn’t do anything differently.”
Kate and Dean started their honeymoon a fortnight after their wedding, but it was well worth the wait. The couple spent three nights in Singapore and then eight blissful nights in the beautiful Maldives. “It was definitely a honeymoon to remember,” Kate says. “Very luxurious and relaxing.”