Merrilee & Kurtis

The The Local Issue has taught us plenty, but what I think I will take away most of all, is that a wedding that celebrates its local area, its local traditions, talent, and expressions of love, is as much about supporting local business, as it is about fostering a local community – and that? That is where the gold is. For today’s happy couple (who married in one of my favourite places – Broome), their local community was at the heart of their beautiful wedding day. From a ceremony that included each of their parents (in a really special way) to a reception that was filled with home cooked food. This is truly the epitome of what we’ve been celebrating all month. And we’re so glad Little Duo was there to beautifully capture it all.

Let’s start the story of Merrilee and Kurtis with how they met, in the bride’s words. “The immediate reaction and attraction was mutual – the first time we saw each other. We met at work; I was the manager and he came and did some casual work for us.”

The proposal? Not such a surprise, but I’d say pretty special! Merrilee reminiscing “I found the ring, hidden in a box which belonged to me (well held all the photos of my older children in their younger years)…and not in the gun cabinet for which Kurtis held a key to lock it with.

The reason I found the ring is because one of our older sons had a school project to prepare for about the first 5-stages of his life; so we were looking in the box with all the kid’s baby photos and there it was; I decided to post a photo on our family sharing link, asking who it belonged to (on my ring finger by-the-way).

My daughter commented ‘Ahem Kurtis, I don’t know but I’ll have it’, followed by Kurtis’ comment ‘it’s not meant to be there until I put it on’…then came a blushing me.

Even though I messed up Kurtis’ plans to propose with all our children at home in the coming months (we are a very well blended family with an adult child and shared care of Kurtis’ children too) which takes some planning as it is rare to have all of us together on a regular basis. Nevertheless our emotions were high and there is no way my answer was going to be any different than what it was, YES!”

Of her gown, Merrilee shares “I chose a flowing A-line style dress with beaded foot sandals – we were marrying on the beach and simply loved the style of the dress and the light flow that it had.” Kurtis styled to suit the beachside setting. “We chose beige and white with tan shoes for Kurtis – we had our ceremony on the beach, it popped against the bold ‘raspberry affair’ of the bridesmaids and he looked good in it.”

The Broome Florist styled the floral details for the day. Says the bride “I chose the king protea (pink tones) with green foliage. I chose this flower because it’s gorgeous and you simply just needed one!”

As to what this couple made themselves for the day? “All of it!” laughs Merrilee. “From invitation design down to dressing up the ceremony and reception locations – with the helping hands of all the wedding party and family members.”

Reddell Point was chosen for the beach ceremony. The bride sharing “It’s home – the red cliffs, white sands and blue ocean. It is a special place to my family and locally – I spent a lot of time there as a young girl with my family.”

Merrilee walked down the aisle with her father, to a version of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” played live by two talented family members.

The couple chose Elle Saunders to officiate their ceremony, noting  “The ceremony was our favourite detail, the location and its setting, the company, from forming the line of the bridal party to walking towards the moment where we’d seal the deal – it was just about us and our love.”

“We designed our ceremony with our celebrant – to suit us” notes Merrilee. “We gave our celebrant the story about us, including one for each other through our eyes individually – which she did wonders with on the day (we laughed tears rolled and our smiles were big)…she didn’t miss a beat it was the best! We wanted our story told, how we found each other and why we love each other as much as we do.
We didn’t do readings, we chose to incorporate our family – we built a circle of love. For this part of the Ceremony, each of our parents (5 of them) had a part to play – a piece of driftwood (washed up on the beaches of home) was used to draw a circle in the sand around the both of us, then each laid at our feet items of symbolic meaning in sealing and blessing our marriage; Eucalyptus Leaves, Rosemary, Rose petals and Rose quartz crystal.”

Merrilee and Kurtis loved working with their photographers. “A husband and wife duo that worked perfectly to capture the natural image of us both, including our bridal party and family on the day. We also chose the package for an engagement shoot, but we decided on a full family photo shoot with our children the day before at the ceremony location instead – which worked well for us as we are a very well blended family and isn’t always timely to get that family portrait but Little Duo helped us in making it happen.”

After dark, guests gathered at The Broome Fishing Club for a dinner reception. The bride remarking “We have a large family, although we couldn’t invite every single person due to capacity of the venue, but it is an open outdoor setting space, beautiful venue, well kept fenced grounds, we had the ocean view in front of us and ability to have a fire drum for the evening. We dressed the venue to our liking without much restriction.”

And for couples yet to tie the knot, Merrilee offers up this advice. “If taking on the planning yourselves, make sure to have someone take over your coordination or know your workings by the time you are preparing/dressing on the day; so that you just focus on enjoying everything you have worked hard to pull together – it worked for us. You MUST take the time to pause, look, inhale everything in your sight, touch and surroundings; a lot of the memories can’t or won’t be caught on camera but will stay in your heart forever.”

This was a wedding that really was about the local community, guests celebrating with a dinner full of home cooked food. Merrilee noting “We loved sharing the family cooked meals for sure. My family heritage is of mixed background – so having our Broome local style cooking was a must. All parts of the day and evening were touches of home.”

The first dance choice? Oh it’s utterly romantic! Merrilee telling “We decided to choose the song “Like there’s no yesterday” by Mark Wills. We both love the song and  it says a lot about how he has loved me – where and what point we met, in my life, to not worry about my past and to see what is in front of me…him.”

A big congratulations to the newlyweds! Thank you for sharing your day with us. Thank you also to Little Duo for sharing today’s celebration.