Let’s get real for a moment here: we all had a crush on one genetic-lottery-winning babe when we were in high school, right? And pictured tying the knot with them someday…right? For new bride Kirsten, this fantasy actually came true. “Matt transferred to my high school in 2005 and he caught my attention pretty much instantly,” recalls Kristen. “He was the gentle-giant jock-type boy and I was the goody two-shoes school captain-type girl, but our connection was undeniable.” (FYI, we think Kirsten is a total babe too!)

After “running into each other” at a mutual friend’s 16th birthday party, Kirsten and Matt admitted their feelings – feelings that led to a lasting relationship. “He took me by the hand and asked me to be his girlfriend,” says Kirsten. “I, of course, said ‘yes’ – very awkwardly, I imagine – and the rest is history.”

Skip to 10 years later, and Matt surprised his gorgeous girlfriend with a romantic weekend in Brisbane to celebrate a decade together. But that wasn’t the only surprise. “Matt was working fly-in-fly-out in the mines at that point, so we rarely saw each other,” explains Kirsten. “We were at the hotel leaving to go to dinner, and he proposed right there and then. After 10 years together, I wouldn’t say I was shocked, but it was such a lovely surprise in the moment!”

Taking a laid-back approach to planning, Kirsten and Matt organised a truly beautiful wedding in just under a year – thankfully, minus any dramas. “We took our time and just enjoyed the process,” says Kirsten. It was during a cruisy Pinterest-trolling session that the two came across their dream ceremony venue and quickly took action. “We both fell in love with an image of the chapel at the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove and knew that was where we needed to get married. It suited our personal style and the sort of wedding we had in mind.”

The big day – 25 November 2016 – arrived and, still feeling chilled and determined not to rush anything, the bride enjoyed a morning getting ready with her bridesmaids. One cheeky guest managed to steal Kirsten’s thunder…but just for a little while. “My nephew actually took his first steps that morning,” says Kirsten. We can confirm it was a too-cute-to-handle moment.

Dressed in a stunning Enzoani gown from White Lily Couture and all dolled up (two hours ahead of schedule, we should add), Kirsten made her way to the chapel to join Matt for a heartfelt ceremony. “The ceremony just flew by, as everyone said it would,” says Kirsten. “Before we knew it, we were announced to our closest family and friends as Mr and Mrs Swann…finally!”

En route to the reception, the newlyweds let the emotion of the day sink in as they hit the nearby beach for photos. What came next was one seriously fun-filled party. Together with their 75 guests, Kirsten and Matt hit the dance floor and let their hair down at Surfer’s Paradise’s Seaduction Restaurant + Bar.

“We we arrived at our reception, the MC had hyped up the crowd so much that it felt like we were walking into a concert,” laughs Kirsten. “Our bridal party walked into the room two-by-two, each pair dancing a little choreographed number to their own song. It set the party mood right away and everyone loved it!” Let’s just say plenty of dancing followed.

Somehow fitting in time to also enjoy plenty of delicious food and admire the waterfront views with her new husband, Kirsten had the crowd cheering with a special performance. “I surprised everyone, including Matt, with a traditional Siva Samoa (Samoan dance), which I had learnt weeks prior,” says Kirsten. “I loved paying tribute to Matt and his family’s culture on the day we officially became family.”

As if anything could top that, an impressive dessert wall was later wheeled out onto the dance floor, filled with indulgent sweets. “We had profiteroles, cheesecakes, mousse, chocolates and cakes – just all kinds of deliciousness,” says Kirsten. That’s our kind of wall.

A celebration filled with love and many happy memories, the wedding of Kirsten and Matt centred around one thing: having an amazing time with loved ones. “Everyone just had a bunch of fun and danced the night away,” recalls Kirsten with a smile. “No amount of money could buy the incredible atmosphere surrounding us that day. We were on cloud nine.”

Dress: White Lily Couture // Bridesmaid dresses: Lulus // Hair: The Stefan Glam Squad // Makeup: Sheridan Meyers // Flowers: Opium Wedding Flowers // Groomsmen suits: Politix (groom) and Bridal Emporium (groomsmen) // Ceremony: InterContinental Sanctuary Cove // Reception: Seaduction Restaurant + Bar // Cake: Whipped Cake Co // Photography: Heart and Colour //

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