The most extraordinary wedding I’ve ever been a part of… and I wasn’t even there!


Dryridge Estate, Megalong Valley (Blue Mountains, NSW)
April 2024


Imagine waking up at 6am on the day of your wedding to discover that the one access road in to reach your venue had literally been washed away? To realise that you and your guests were now divided by a totally destroyed road, with your wedding party and a handful of family + friends already in town with you on one side, but everyone else along with your wedding vendors (think celebrant, photographer, venue owners, caterers – I mean not important at all to host a wedding, right…) all unable to make it in?


(Megalong Valley Road looking a little worse for wear…)


Well this nightmare was real life for my amazing couple Sarah + Connor who back in April experienced what I’m sure any couples in the midst of planning a wedding would shudder at the thought of. Even in my nearly 10 years of hitching this was a scenario I had never come across, and despite a questionable weather forecast in the days leading up to their wedding it certainly wasn’t something we imagined playing out. April 8, 2024 was memorable but for all the wrong reasons.


But these two aren’t your ordinary, run of the mill kind of couple – they live and spend all of their free time outdoors surrounded by the stunning Blue Mountains, they’re not afraid of getting their hands a little dirty or taking on a challenge. And so when faced with so much adversity rather than fall into an emotional heap they set about finding a way to make their wedding day still happen.


Regrettably I was quickly ruled out when their idea of marrying them over Zoom was put to bed (sadly the Marriage Act in Australia does not allow for this). And while at one stage a helicopter was being sought to fly me in that too was soon put to the side when we realized what chaotic weather conditions most of the east coast of Australia was experiencing.


Instead Connor’s brother, Heath, amazingly put his hand up to deliver the ceremony I had written and prepared for Sarah + Connor. While it would not be a legal ceremony they would still have their story told, exchange rings and vows and get to experience the ceremony we’d created. Sarah, Connor + I had also done an in-person walk-through a few days prior which came in really handy as they were all across the key ceremony moments to be mindful of (how to stand, putting on rings, etc.) and could give Health tips as they went.


Their family + friends who were in the Valley were quickly put to work – Connor’s Mum is a hairdresser and while it wasn’t her plan to do Sarah’s hair and make-up that day her bag was promptly packed and she made her way (across a flooded river in Megalong Valley mind you!) to help with Sarah and her wedding party get ready. Other family + friends foraged for flowers and made bouquets and table settings.


The absolutely amazing Megalong Valley Tea Rooms, who clearly had their planned day of operations turned on its head, offered to make their reception meal. They even printed out menus and went above and beyond to ensure Sarah, Connor and their loved ones were well fed all day (along with the local SES crews who were doing everything they could to try and establish access) and had the most beautiful wedding reception feast.


And rather extraordinarily a handful of their very committed mates who were stuck on the “otherside” (and who were also mountain people) managed to find a way to hike down into Megalong Valley, just in time for the ceremony.


As so on time and as planned at 3pm, somehow, remarkably, Sarah + Connor’s wedding ceremony began. They played music through a make-shift portable speaker. Sarah, as she walked down the aisle, saw faces of friends who had hiked in unbeknownst to her and so you could imagine her reaction.


(Connor’s brother Heath beautifully delivering Sarah + Connor’s ceremony)


Heath, a tradie, delivered the ceremony absolutely unashamedly as himself, right down to referring to himself in the third person where he was mentioned in the ceremony. With no PA loud voices were used, and family + friends filmed or took photos on their phones. Connor and Sarah shared their beautiful vows and everyone in the front few rows cried. And it was absolutely perfect, to the point where Sarah + Connor believed what happened was exactly as it was meant to be and felt no need to have “re-do” or another wedding ceremony at a later date. This was their wedding ceremony.


(Would you believe that these guests hiked in to make Sarah + Connor’s wedding?)


Their reception went off – the highlight for me was hearing that despite having around 50% of their guests they still managed to consume 100% of their alcohol. Not a can of Mountain Culture beer was left unsiped. Guests who had hiked in slept on couches, in lounge chairs, anywhere they could find really. And the following morning still dressed in their party gear they hiked back out of the Valley, passing the venue owners, Emma and Simon from Dryridge Estate, who on foot also hiked in.


(Sarah + Connor sharing smooches at their reception)


Connor + Sarah, along with their family + friends and other visitors trapped by the landslide in Megalong Valley, managed to get out via a Police Rescue car convoy via a newly created fire trail late on Sunday evening, just in time for Sarah + Connor to make their flight to Spain for their honeymoon the next day. But not before I dropped by their home on Monday morning, said the magic words and legally declared them to be married. It was perfect.


(the car convoy out of Megalong Valley, with a broken down van in front of them just to add a bit more excitement!)


Sarah + Connor’s adventure managed to get picked up by the media here in Sydney and the Blue Mountains (and no morning television show that shall remain nameless, after everything that they had gone through on top of a 24 hour commute, doing a Zoom interview live on air from their honeymoon in Spain was not on their list of top priorities), my favourite overview coming from the legends at Wedshed (which you can watch here). You can also read all about the chaos on my own Instagram post here.


(smiles for miles as I legally married Sarah + Connor on their back deck before they headed off on their honeymoon)


Access to the beautiful Megalong Valley (and their amazing venue, Dryridge Estate) has since been restored and thankfully they are working on a more permanent access solution for that community.


So my lesson here and reason for sharing this post is don’t lose sight of what your wedding day really is all about. Yes we love the bells and whistles and pretties and pomp that can come with such an occasion. But stripping all of that back, what is your wedding day really about? I think it is the moment you proudly declare your love for each other and say to the world that this is your person. I think we all could learn a lot from Sarah + Connor. Their wedding was truly one for the ages and reminds me that love really does conquer all.


(I mean come on, there is even a rainbow in this shot!)


Venue: Dryridge Estate (who regularly have amazing events such as their legendary long lunches on top of hosting tastings and weddings. Their wines are exceptional too – I know as in amongst not having road access for the following months when people like myself were asking what we could do to support them they suggested buying wines from their collection which could still be delivered – I’m a big fan of their “Charlotte” Prosecco and “Theodore” Tempranillo!)

(Make-shift caterers): Megalong Valley Tea Rooms (also well worth a visit!)

Most amazing couple I ever did meet: Sarah + Connor

N xx