A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be maid-of-honour at my best friend’s wedding. It was a gorgeous day from start to finish, full of the things weddings are about such as love and laughter.
Kate and Phil were married on February 5th, 2011 in Port Stephens. As it turned out, their wedding date will go down in history as the hottest night on record. But that didn’t stop the guests from having a great time and it sure didn’t wipe the grins from Kate and Phil’s faces.
The ceremony was held in a romantic setting on the grounds of Pepper’s Anchorage, overlooking the glittering water of Port Stephens. Guests were transported to the site by shuttle bus and had pre-ceremony drinks while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.
At 4pm it was time for the bride to walk down the aisle. Kate and her father Eric entered the grounds through an opening in the hedges to the happy Jason Mraz tune “I’m Yours”.
When Kate reached her proud fiancé, both her parents and Phil’s stood to give their children away to each other.
The bride’s mother, Sue, had the foresight that an outdoor wedding in February could indeed be a steamy one, so she set to work creating gorgeous parasols for the guests. Standing at the front of the ceremony, it was a real delight to look back on the crowd holding their umbrellas in various colours.
Before the photos the bridesmaids were also given an umbrella each, they were white with a blue ribbon to match the powder blue gowns.
After the ceremony the bridal party headed down to Corlette Beach for some photos, much to the delight of local swimmers.
The reception was held at Shoal Bay Resort and most guests were staying on the grounds for the whole weekend. This meant the celebrations could start the moment everyone arrived on Friday afternoon and continue through to check out on Sunday morning. It was Kate and Phil’s plan to have the whole wedding weekend in one place so they could spend some quality time with all their family and friends who had travelled to be there.
The reception restaurant, Catch, and the adjoining large balcony both have extensive views of the beach. The tables were decorated with calla lilies, the same flowers used in the bridal bouquets.
The entrées and main courses were generous in size and the wait-staff were quick and helpful in catering to the guests. Speeches were made through both laughter and tears and then it was time to dance.
Kate and Phil made their way to the dance floor to Bryan Adam’s “Heaven”. Before long, true to Kate and Phil’s style, the song turned into “Summer of ‘69” and the guests didn’t need much encouragement to join the happy couple on the floor.
The dancing continued well into the night and guests eventually left to go back to their rooms hot and happy. The new Mr. and Mrs. Hansell set off a few days later to enjoy a honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand.
Written by Heidi Bolton
Tags: port stephens wedding venues