Mine driv­ers’ last­ing love

Cou­ple in­cluded their dog Fox, who is fight­ing cancer, in their spe­cial day

Daily Mercury - - PEOPLE - Tara Cas­sidy Tara.Cas­sidy@dai­ly­mer­cury.com.au

WHEN ALANA Ste­hbens moved to Mackay 13 years ago from New Zealand, she didn’t imag­ine she’d meet the love of her life in Mackay and end up liv­ing here for good.

But that’s ex­actly what hap­pened over eight years ago when she met Ja­cob, who is now her hus­band, through mu­tual friends at a party.

“We lit­er­ally met and like five days later we were dat­ing and three weeks af­ter that we’d moved in to­gether, it moved pretty fast,” Mrs Ste­hbens (nee Howlett) said.

“It ob­vi­ously got more se­ri­ous and then one year, in 2015, we went back to New Zealand for Christ­mas to see my fam­ily.

“And on New Years, in front all my ex­tended rel­a­tives, Jake pro­posed – right on the count­down. It was very spe­cial and I bawled my eyes out. The fam­ily were all very ex­cited.”

Two years on, the cou­ple de­cided it was time to tie the knot, hold­ing a pic­turesque cer­e­mony with 75 guests at Green­mount Homestead.

Their wed­ding, on Septem­ber 2, ran smoothly Mrs Ste­hbens said, de­scrib­ing it as the best day of her life.

“It was just amaz­ing, ev­ery­thing went to plan and we just had the best day with all our fam­ily and friends.

“Walk­ing down the aisle was very spe­cial, we did it all quite tra­di­tion­ally and we had spent the night be­fore apart, which we hadn’t re­ally done in eight years.

“So when we got to see each other fi­nally it was just re­ally nice and made meet­ing at the al­tar even more spe­cial.”

Mrs Ste­hbens said another mem­o­rable part of the day was a speech made by her un­cle, who em­ceed the night and had trav­elled from her home coun­try to at­tend.

“It was a re­ally beau­ti­ful speech, he spoke about the day I moved to Aus­tralia and how it broke his heart be­cause I was like a daugh­ter to him,” she said.

“He also brought in some fun things about meet­ing Ja­cob for the first time, but over­all it was just an amaz­ing speech and so nice to hear.

“He let me keep the hand­writ­ten copy as well.”

Above all though, Mrs Ste­hbens felt the most note­wor­thy mo­ment was be­ing given away by her fa­ther.

“At the ac­tual wed­ding he man­aged to hold him­self to­gether quite well but we had a re­hearsal the day be­fore and he just broke down,” she said.

“He heard the song and started to tear up, I think that’s when it hit him that it was re­ally hap­pen­ing.

“I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber that, it was all very emo­tional, my brides­maid started to cry too.”

Fol­low­ing the cer­e­mony the cou­ple jet­ted off to get some quick pho­tos taken, and had some­one im­por­tant they wanted to in­clude in the shots.

“Our dog Fox has just been di­ag­nosed with cancer, he’s seven years old, and is a part of our fam­ily,” Mrs Ste­hbens said.

“So we re­ally wanted to get some nice pho­tos with him that we can al­ways keep, to re­mem­ber him by.

“He’s get­ting chemo at the mo­ment but un­for­tu­nately he has the most ag­gres­sive form of cancer and they have al­ready had to re­move his leg to try and get rid of it, but it was too late and had spread.”

Now back at home, the cou­ple are en­joy­ing all the time they have with Fox and even cre­ated a mini bucket list for him to tick off.

“One thing on it was we took him camp­ing for a few days at Notch Point and had a great time all to­gether,” Mrs Ste­hbens said.

“We kind of did that in­stead of a hon­ey­moon at first, we just want to make sure we’re here, so we are wait­ing for our one year an­niver­sary for the ac­tual hon­ey­moon.”

The cou­ple have since re­turned to work, both op­er­at­ing from the mines, Ja­cob as a dig­ger driver and Alana as a dump truck driver.

They said for now they are just eas­ing back into nor­mal life, but have plans for kids and lots of travel down the track.

The cou­ple in­vited 75 guests to share their wed­ding day mem­o­ries with them.

Ja­cob pro­posed to Alana in front of her whole fam­ily dur­ing a trip to New Zealand.

With not many months left to­gether, the cou­ple wanted to in­clude their ail­ing pet rot­tweiler Fox in the spe­cial day.

NEW­LY­WEDS: Alana and Ja­cob Ste­hbens met over eight years ago and fi­nally de­cided to tie the knot on Septem­ber 2. PHO­TOS: WHITE FOX WED­DING PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

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