The Sebel Pinnacle Valley Resort, Merrijig Victoria.
Firstly: sincere apologies-been meaning to write a lot sooner. Recently returned from our Honeymoon and have finally found some time to gather our thoughts after hitting the ground running since February. Steve and I would love to thank you all so very much and to share a little of our amazing Wedding Day and how it came to be. Having enjoyed holidays at various interstate locations around Australia little did we know when we first joined Accor Vacation Club in 2008 that we would actually host our Wedding at one of your venues.
Please read with a smile : A little about Steve & I: We live in Melbourne – a couple of the just over 50 brigade. Been together for well over 10 years and got engaged on my (Sandra’s) 50th. Neither of us have ever married before although in our inevitable way of doing things back to front Steve has 3 kids (I have none) – now with families of their own which now = 6 Grandkidz. Our wedding vision & criteria was to have an emphasis on FUN! An opportunity to spend a weekend with all our favourite people in the one place at the one time & to spend quality time with lifelong friends, taking a trip down memory lane and reminiscing over fun times & the good ol’ days. It was also a long held dream of mine that Jon English would sing Six Ribbons as I walked down the aisle.
Our Wedding Day was absolutely perfect and we’d like to share what was absolutely one of the best days of our lives. Firstly we’d like to thank Kara (Smith) & Duncan (Mars) and the rest of the amazing team at The Sebel Pinnacle Valley Resort. From my initial phone call with Kara when we first entertained the idea of a destination wedding in the High Country: the hospitality, warmth & friendliness afforded us by the entire staff was outstanding and we knew immediately this was the wedding venue for us. We were looking for a relaxed yet stylish atmosphere with a definite emphasis on FUN. Kara and Duncan were terrific making the planning so much fun & easy along the way. Nothing was ever too much trouble. We definitely wanted to create a special ambience which was unique and memorable yet reflective of us!!! To also be able to spoil our guests whilst enjoying the great outdoors, great food and wine in such beautiful surrounds over a weekend without having to leave our own Reception early was truly magical for us. Kara and Duncan were so engaging and we can’t thank them enough for embracing our vision and ideas in wanting to do things a little differently. Also a big thank you to the rest of the team from the Reception staff to the Maintenance Crew to the Wait & Bar Staff for their friendliness and all their hard work making this whole wedding business so much FUN for us! Thank you!! We certainly enjoyed being able to be hands on with the detail and the planning stages alongside Kara and Duncan’s expertise in creating what was a truly remarkable and spectacular day and one of the best weekends of our lives. Many of our guests have even said it’s the best wedding they’ve ever been to. Having the staff regularly in our lives for the best part of 12 months prior we feel they are now part of our ‘family’ and we will certainly be back to visit. All staff went above and beyond the call of duty. It’s easy to see they love what they do and we were made to feel like the most special people in the world in the lead up to & including our Wedding Day. We feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful team in Kara & Duncan looking after us along with the rest of the crew. Country hospitality at it’s absolute best!!!!! Exceptional!!!
Steve and I would also formally like to acknowledge and thank Accor, the Accor Vacation Club and Member Services Head Office staff for their wonderful help and assistance in allowing us to use our Accor Vacation Club Points to accommodate our Bridal Party and immediate family at the wedding. We are so appreciative and can’t thank Head Office Member Services enough for being so accommodating. To be able to use our Points was in itself like a gift that we were able to pay forward to our Bridal Party and family.
But wait!!!….. There’s more. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better …. They did!!!!!
SO as I already said ….. it had been a long time dream of mine to have Jon English sing at my wedding. Everyone has a favourite ‘Pop Star’ and mine was Jon English. From the time I was 18 I went to each concert /theatre/etc production every time he came to Melbourne and thus it was during my 30’s after seeing him perform in the theatre production (A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum) that I ran into him in the car park after the show and I have know idea why but I asked if he would sing at my wedding. He replied “Yes – if I’m still alive”. I had no intention of even being married at the time and wasn’t even in a relationship then so no idea what possessed me to ask that (True story). And who knew back then how prophetic those words would turn out to be.
Fast forward July 2014: Steve & I went to Flying Saucer Club – Caulfield to see Jon play and got the obligatory signing of autographs after the show lol & I reminded him of that time in the car park all those years ago and Hey Presto – now I am getting married – for the first time ever and asked him again if he would sing Six Ribbons at our wedding????? He replied and signed my poster that Yes he would play at our wedding. Now fondly known as “The Contract”. OMG!! How excited was I?????
Further fast forward 2015 after we’d confirmed our Wedding Date of 20/2/2016 I then wrote a letter to Jon with details of my special request: Seeing as ‘A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum’ – Could an extraordinary thing happen to an ordinary person and would he sing Six Ribbons as I walked down the aisle? Can you imagine how excited I was when he agreed and that he fitted it within his touring schedule? We decided to keep it a secret and surprise our guests.
To see the looks on our guests faces was brilliant and absolutely priceless as they first saw me walk down the aisle then they realised it was actually Jon English live singing Six Ribbons. A moment I will treasure forever. Thanks again also to Kara and Duncan for embracing our most excellent surprise. Extra added excitement for us was to also have Peter Cupples who was touring with Jon at the time, accompany Jon at our wedding. So indeed – they sang Six Ribbons, stayed for the duration of our Ceremony & then played a 30 minute acoustic set directly after before mingling with us and our guests. Wow Wow Wow!!!! So we will be eternally grateful to them both for agreeing to giving us the gift of their time to fulfil this gals fairy tale. Jon & Peter were absolutely wonderful embracing the spirit of the occasion for what it was. A testimonial from one of our guests “so much warmth, compassion and fun – Jon & Peter mixed with all the people at your wedding and had time for us all”. They were both simply great blokes and so down to earth. Mansfield Courier newspaper printed an article on our Wedding which I am attaching with their permission – see attached.
So very sadly Jon went into hospital just a few short days later & passed away March 9 2106. So our Wedding was one of his last ever performances. I am devastated but we both feel so honoured for Jon to have been so giving of his time -indeed an incredible gift and a day Steve & I shall treasure forever. Jon English: a man of his word and loyal to his fans ’til the end. I still can’t believe the sequence and timing and just how fortunate we were. And from the incredible high of our perfect day to the sadness and loss of such a brilliant performer whom I had admired since a teenager. He and Peter were both so lovely to us.
Life does indeed throws curved balls. I attended the Public Memorial held for Jon in Sydney at the Capitol Theatre where he first performed in Jesus Christ Superstar. Such a wonderful tribute to a wonderful performer. Thanking him for the memories.
Simon – please pass on to all the team at Accor: thanks for making us smile and going the extra distance. So so glad we joined the Accor Vacation Club. Who knew??????? Just goes to show – sometimes extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people. And fairy tales do come true .
Words are not enough …..
Warm wishes and Thank you so very much
Sandra & Steve C.