Mine drivers’ lasting love
Couple included their dog Fox, who is fighting cancer, in their special day
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