Raffle win leads to river wedding
After being forced to postpone their surprise wedding in March, Trudy and Chris Fanning decided they were ready to elope, getting married in front of five guests on October 3.
And it was lucky the couple had won a houseboat raffle prize through the Deniliquin Boat Club last year, making their day perfect as they married on the banks of the Edward River.
Despite this it was a hard day for both Trudy and Chris with their parents and other family members unable to attend due to Coronavirus restrictions.
However they look forward to renewing their vows on March 19 in 2022, giving Trudy’s dad a chance to walk her down the aisle and to celebrate the marriage with all of their guests.
‘‘Our wedding was originally supposed to take place on March 21, which was actually going to be my 40th birthday party with a surprise wedding,’’ Trudy said.
‘‘Because we are not local, we have been in Deniliquin since 2010, a lot of our family and friends had to come from afar as well as our local friends.
‘‘If we could get everyone together for my 40th we thought ‘let’s throw a wedding in as well’. Chris and I have been engaged for 13 years.’’
But by the Wednesday before the wedding, the couple made the hard decision to postpone it for 12 months, concerned not about the wedding itself, but the safety of their guests.
‘‘As soon as we postponed it, it was a big weight lifted off our shoulders,’’ Trudy said.
‘‘Everything was up in the air about Coronavirus and we were still learning what it meant at the time. There were still a lot of cases coming in from overseas, planes were still running and it was getting to the stage where you couldn’t buy toilet paper.
‘‘I started ringing our out of town guests, because we had people coming from Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide, asking how comfortable they would feel to still attend. They said they were nervous but would still support us.
‘‘By the Wednesday we were listening to the news and decided to cancel before anyone started travelling because we were worried about the safety of our guests.
‘‘I then started ringing my vendors, venue, Deni Party Hire, photographer, the band and everyone else, and by 10am we had moved the wedding 12 months forward which was really stressful.
‘‘At that stage we did tell everyone it was going to be a wedding, but a lot of them had already guessed.’’
Trudy said the couple has been lucky not to have lost as much as others going through a similar experience.
‘‘We were hearing about a lot of weddings losing thousands because they were cancelling and not knowing when they were going to get married again,’’ she said.
‘‘Luckily for us everyone was awesome. I think if I was to say ‘righto I am cancelling’ we would have lost a lot of money.’’
The couple had planned to reassess their wedding plans in late November, but with the way the Coronavirus pandemic has evolved, Trudy started having those conversations with Chris early.
‘‘I just said to Chris, let’s elope, get the legal part out of the way, and then celebrate with our friends and family later.
‘‘I suggested December 12 but Chris said ‘no’ because we would still be harvesting, so he suggested October 3.
‘‘We then had about three to four weeks to pull it together, but the day was lovely.
‘‘We were very happy, but it was bittersweet because we didn’t have our family and friends there. We didn’t have our parents there either.’’
The couple used the Druitt’s houseboat as part of the boat hire they had won at the end of last year, and were married on Pete and Deb O’Connor’s property in Benarca before hosting a small reception at The Crossing Cafe.
‘‘We are now looking forward to renewing our vows on March 19 in 2022 so dad can walk me down the aisle and we can celebrate with our family,’’ Trudy said.
■ Trudy and Chris Fanning with their son Nick
Trudy and Chris Fanning’s son Nick (right) walked his mother down the aisle.