Words by Jacqueline Lon | Images by Matthew Evans
Now it’s not every day you win your dream wedding in a tropical paradise, but Harri and Jayde Theodore did just that!
Meet Jayde, a boy from Tomakin, New South Wales and Harri, a girl from Mallacoota, Victoria. Jayde, the groom explained how they found each other in the opening words of his wedding speech.
“The first time I met Harri,” says Jayde, “her friend Kirsty introduced us at the Mallacoota pub. It was a brief hi and that was it before she scurried away. The second time I met Harri she was talking with her friends about things I can’t say out loud,” he laughs. “I liked the sound of what she had said so I held my hand out and said, ‘Hi, I’m Jayde’.” Harri shook his hand, her reply was colourful and “not for all ears,” but to Jayde, “it sounded like a challenge!”
Six months later, and third time lucky, the pair crossed paths at a BBQ. Harri re-introduced herself and soon after the pair were arm in arm and haven’t been apart since. “I love you babe!” Jayde exclaims.
Their tropical wedding followed a tragic year of events which saw the pair endure the Black Summer bushfires, with Jayde’s two young sons Ari and Maximus. Witnessing the loss of family homes, Jayde being hospitalised with extreme dehydration, losing communication during these frantic and scary times, Jayde knew Harri was the one for him. Thankful their family had survived this experience, he wasted no time with a proposal. As with many, Covid-19 had other plans for the engaged couple. Jayde’s regular work dried up and the couple was forced to put their wedding plans on hold.
When Jayde’s sister Bloss suggested that they enter a competition to win a wedding in Port Douglas, they thought they had nothing more to lose. Though different to their original plans, Jayde had a good feeling about it and they decided to enter a video. Reliving some of their most difficult times, the entry was filled with raw emotion, and it is easy to see why the judging panel deemed their family (along with 50 lucky guests) such a deserving winner of a $60,000 dream wedding package to Port Douglas.
Receiving the call from the team at Port Douglas Wedding & Hire (PDW&H), tears of disbelief followed. After a quick call to Harri’s mum, the couple were so thankful for the win and some newfound fortune, that in true “Harri & Jayde style” they celebrated with family and friends.
“As soon as PDW&H sent me through a list of the generous vendors everyone emailed congratulating us, it was just so lovely,” Harri laughs. “I then spent the next year stalking everyone on Instagram to get to know their vibe and what would work for us.
“We had to take a moment when we arrived to simply take it all in. Surrounded by the love of all our family and friends who had supported us through so much, it was overwhelming and beautiful.”
Our wedding planner Bec McLean was AMAZING. We clicked instantly. Over the course of the year there were so many moving parts to plan for and she just had it all under control. It certainly made my life a lot easier and less stressful”.
When the couple finally arrived in Port Douglas, a few days before the wedding Harri took Jayde down to show him the location. His response was: “Babe this is perfect”. She continues: “We live on the ocean and spend a lot of time in and around it, so Rex Smeal Park was so fitting for us. Katherine and Jade from PDW&H styled it impeccably, too, we loved the décor and furnishings which complemented the natural beauty of the park.”