On March 11, 2004, professional ballerina, Chantelle Kerr, was celebrating her 22nd birthday at a rehearsal with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. These days, she has another reason to celebrate this date. It was the very day she met her now husband, fellow ballet dancer, Andrew Simmons.
It was Andrew's first day on the job, and he found himself joining in with the rendition of ‘Happy Birthday', and, being the gentleman he is, introducing himself to the Birthday Girl. And the rest is history.
It seems keeping dates easy to remember is a running theme with this couple, because Andrew proposed four years late on Christmas Eve in Prague. They were married on January 3, 2009 (a date which holds no other significance we're aware of!) at House of Laurels, Maleny, here on the Sunshine Coast.
Although the couple were living apart – Andrew in New Zealand, finishing his dance contract, and Chantelle in Germany, where she had joined the Dresden Semperoper Ballett – a Sunshine Coast wedding was a must, as it's where Chantelle grew up. The wedding was planned over the course of their year-long engagement, and done completely remotely from Auckland, New Zealand and Dresden, Germany. Luckily, Chantelle's mother was able to liaise locally with the venue and local Sunshine Coast vendors.
Chantelle says her wedding day theme was based entirely around the style of the beautiful venue – elegant and simple. So they included a gorgeous vintage-inspired feel with lace and pearls, heavily featuring white and ivory, with a splash of a gorgeous burnt orange in the bridesmaids' bouquets.
"We were supposed to have the ceremony in the garden at House of Laurels, but it rained quite heavily, so we ended up having to move indoors under a Marquee. Funnily enough it cooled the weather down though and created an apparently perfect colour scheme in the sky for wedding photos."
“Our best DIY was the centrepieces, which were vases with orchids placed on textured table mats we had seen in a Bridal magazine and copied and worked closely with our florist to create the same look.”
"The guests were served canapes while the bridal party were away taking photographs directly after the ceremony. We then had a sit-down dinner, which included fish and lamb, followed by wedding cake and fresh fruits/ and cheeses. We had imported NZ wine."
"The very best thing about our wedding day was sharing such an amazing moment in our lives in front of all our loved ones, some of whom we wouldn't see again but obviously we didn't know that at the time. It's lovely looking at photos and seeing them so happy. "
Chantelle and Andrew's Wedding Secrets Revealed
Biggest splurge: Flights and travel costs.
Best money saver: Handmade Bonbonnieres – little handmade boxes with chocolate hearts.
Bridal gown and accessories: The Bridal Centre
Bridesmaid dresses: Myer
Groom and Groomsmen's suits: Working Style, NZ
DIY: Table centrepieces, Chantelle's hair piece was made by a close friend, and wedding stationery.
Total wedding cost: $25,000 shared between Chantelle's mother and Andrew's parents.
The Hand-Picked Team That Made It All Happen
Photography: Sass Studios
Florist: Caloundra Florist
Makeup and Hair: Jody Wright @ The Powder Room
Priest: Father Stan, Caloundra Catholic Parish
Stationery: All paper products were purchased from The Drawing Room in Christchurch, NZ, printed and hand-glued.
Decorations: All decorations were supplied as part of the Ultimate Package the House of Laurels offers. Table vases were supplied by Andrew's family from NZ. Each Family member was responsible to bring one vase with them in their luggage allowance!