Yonika + Ben

How did you meet?

Actually, we met on Tinder, which is probably a little unusual given we are both in our late 40’s 😉

How did you know they were the one?

We first started talking online, at 8.05 am on 27.03.2019… Ben is a numbers man and has never forgotten the day or date. We started talking, and the conversation was easy and effortless. Ben was working away and was rained off, so was sitting in a cafe when we first connected. We kept messaging each other all day and didn’t say goodnight until 14 hours later. In fact, even then it was a struggle to say goodnight… we knew then that we had found something together, something definitely worth pursuing. The conversation continued online and over the phone for the next 3 days.

We met face to face 4 days later, over a romantic picnic that Ben had planned, complete with prawns, oysters, champagne and flowers. I think it’s fair to say by the end of that picnic, that we both felt we could be the one for each other. Perhaps when you’re in a later stage of life, you just know what you’re looking for, and are completely confident in who you are as an individual.

What are your three favourite attributes of your partner?

Ben is romantic and isn’t afraid to show it. He is incredibly thoughtful of others and has a good heart. He has a confident supportive nature.

Who proposed and how? 

Ben proposed.

We had discussed marriage and had even discussed a wedding date, but I had no idea when he was going to propose. He did plan the proposal twice before it took place apparently, but my best friend and his helper to set up the proposal picnic, was unable to come to NSW from QLD due to border restrictions.

I booked us a weekend away in Tenterfield, a few months later. Ben thought this would be the perfect chance to propose, in front of the open fire in the historic BnB, but when we got there he realised the fire was actually not open fire, but a gas one…. this, he told me later, was not going to cut it.
We walked up Bald Rock the following day, and it was a gorgeous day with views for miles. On our descent back down, we stopped for a picnic that we’d brought with us and it was then that Ben proposed. We will always have a special place in our heart for Tenterfield and Bald Rock. Banjo Patterson proposed to his wife in that region as well, which we think is pretty special.

What was the best moment for you at the wedding?

Wow, that is such a difficult question… probably the most unique and special moment, was when my sister sang a song for us, before I walked down the aisle. My husband Ben, had re-written the lyrics of the song “Country Roads” to outline our story. It replaced the American wording and made it more about us and Lennox Head, and the Northern rivers. Ben works away a lot, so the lyrics about coming home, are very pertinent to our story. My sister sang it in her own folky style and there were tears all around, even before the ceremony started. It was incredibly moving.

Where did you fall in love with your dress and why?

Ben proposed in July 2020, and we decided we would get married the following March, on the 27th, which would be our 2nd anniversary. This only gave me 8 months to find and have my dream dress made for me.

I had to do a lot of research online, and due to Covid I actually found it really challenging to book appointments. We live in Lennox Head, which is Northern NSW, and the closest bridal shops for me were in Qld, which meant waiting to be able to travel.

I managed to book 3 appointments with 3 designers the same day. The first two were lovely, but not really what I envisaged. Then I had my appointment with Rosey at the MWL Head Office on the Gold Coast. I had chosen 3 dresses to try, and had my girlfriend Ash with me, for advice. When I tried them on, I realized I had a problem. I liked them all, and I could have worn any of them. Joey was gorgeous and Scottie was also a dress I would have chosen.

My challenge was finding a dress that I loved, that suited a country, relaxed wedding, but also was “enough” of a wedding dress for Ben. I got the feeling he wanted something with detail, and perhaps not a simple low-key gown.

So of the 3 dresses I tried, I thought I’d narrowed it down to “the dress”…. until Rosey asked if there was something else I’d like to try? I looked over the rack, and then right at the very end, I saw a dress I hadn’t seen before. It wasn’t on the website Rosey mentioned, and as soon as I saw it, I fell in love with “Stella”.

I loved that it was elegant and classy, and most of all, I adored the gorgeous lace that made this dress so unique and unlike anything I’d seen. I also loved that it was a dress designed by Carla for herself I believe.

What were your favourite details?

We decided to do all of the decorations ourselves and also as an event planner, I loved being able to plan our special day. What I loved the most were all the timber details, the handmade signs, the timber platters that Ben made, which we used for the cheese platter we did ourselves, and the flowers – all of which came from my sister and her husbands garden. From the flower decorations to the table centers, grooms lapels, and our bouquets. All of the flowers and foliage were from the garden, and my sister arranged and made it all, which I loved. Rustic and organic.

What advice would you tell other brides?

If you don’t have event planning experience, get some help. Either enlist an organized friend or hire a wedding planner. That way you can really enjoy the experience, rather than it becoming a stressful one.
The day is over so quickly, you just want all the time to take it in and enjoy it.

One last piece of advice… your guests won’t know if something doesn’t go exactly to plan, so don’t sweat the small stuff, and have fun!

Any standout vendors?

Absolutely!! The weeks leading up to our wedding were flooding rain.. we were really concerned, not only for our day but because we had arranged for Glamping Tents to be set up for some of our guests. We had booked our tents through Jayne and Dean at Glamping Hire Co http://www.glampinghireco.com and they were absolutely amazing! They normally need 2 days to set up and style the tents (we had 24), however, 3 days before our wedding day, the ground was still underwater.
Luckily the water drained off and the sun came out, but the team only had 1 day to do 2 days of work, and on top of this they had to walk all of the tents and styling across the field as no vehicles were allowed. They were incredible. Nothing was a problem and they just got the job done. We could not recommend them more highly and the styling was impeccable! They also gave us a fabulous backdrop for our wedding photos and it meant we had a whole weekend with many of our guests

A shout out to our photographer Sanne Willems from SW Photography as well. Sanne was relaxed and included an engagement shoot. She gave us so many incredible images, we couldn’t narrow them down. We also found her rate incredibly reasonable.

Finally, our celebrant Kellie Butterworth, who has now become a close friend. Kellie met us on 3 different occasions in the lead-up to our wedding. We met for lunch, dinner, and wine, and Kellie really took the time to get to know us. To know our story, to know how we met and who we were as individuals, but more importantly as a couple. During our ceremony, she recited a poem that she had written for us. it was both heartfelt and funny and added such an amazing special element to our day. We got a lot of comments about how she added to our ceremony rather than just complete the formalities, and that was absolutely the case.




Hanging Rock Hall Cawongla


Bridesmaids own dress


Mim O’Grady (sister)


Kellie Bates


Sanne Willems


Jan Logan / Northbands


MWL Gold Coast Boutique