Valentine's Day wedding day

BARE feet and a flowing wedding dress don’t usually go well with riding a stock horse but for Melissa Small yesterday afternoon, it was a Valentine’s Day ride to heaven.

Traditionally late, the bride arrived at her Scarness Beach wedding on her girlfriend’s favourite mount, Rocky, and groom Stephen Joyce and their three kids just loved it.

Melissa’s mother, Lyn Merriman, watched on with anticipation as her daughter walked along the sand with a simple bouquet of white lilies.

Ahead of the beautiful bride were her two daughters, Tyler and Mikaela, also dressed in white with blue sashes. The flower girls sprinkled white rose petals across the sand while son Bailey waited with his dad with the rings.

Melissa’s father, Steve Small, gave his whole-hearted consent, calling out “Bloody oath” when asked to give his daughter away.

Celebrant Annette Georgeiou took the whole affair in her stride and Rocky behaved perfectly as he watched the couple tie the knot after 10 years.

“Stephen proposed to me on New Year’s Eve 2000 so this is our 10th anniversary,” Melissa, who rides horses for a hobby, said.

“We met in Grade 6 at Reevesby South Public School in Sydney, hung out with the same crowd and started going together when I was 15 and he was 16.

“Six years ago we moved up to Hervey Bay and now we have three kiddies and they couldn’t wait for today.”

A sand ceremony involving Melissa, Stephen and their three children symbolised their coming together in matrimony on the hot summer’s day.

Two white doves were released as a sign of peace and wrapped up the formalities.

Seventy guests went to the Hervey Bay Boat Club for the reception with Rocky heading back to his paddock for a feed of fresh grass.

Melissa is in her second year of nursing training and Stephen is a fencer.

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