It was late afternoon as 87 guests – including former Home And Away stars Tessa James, Kimberley Cooper and Bernard Curry – gathered at the scenic Terindah Estate on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula.
Half a world away from Esther and Howard’s ‘gingerbread house’ in LA, it proved the ideal wedding backdrop, with breathtaking views of Port Phillip Bay and the distant You Yangs regional park. No wonder the bride couldn’t wait to get there, arriving almost exactly on time in a classic white Jaguar with her father Jack and sister Lara Eldridge, who was maid of honour.
In keeping with tradition, Esther’s gorgeous dress and full-length veil were new, her earrings were borrowed and her tiny gold bracelet was old, a gift from her late stepmother.
Something blue came in the form of the ribbon around the neck of one-year-old nephew Clancy Eldridge, cute as a button and taking his ring-bearer responsibilities very seriously.
British-born Howard – accompanied by his best man, twin brother Daniel, and their younger sibling Josh – readily admits he started crying the second he set eyes on the bridal party. And the tears continued to flow as the groom, a 35-year-old advertising executive, exchanged Cartier rings and heartfelt vows with his ‘hilarious, super-sweet and honest’ partner.
‘You are proof that dreams really do come true,’ he told Esther. She, in turn, said: ‘I look forward to every day because you are a part of it. I love that on your way home from work, we talk on the phone the whole way because we can’t wait 30 more minutes until we see each other. I feel so honoured you have chosen me to be the person you spend the rest of your life with, to have a family with, to grow old with.’
For the full story, see this week’s New Idea – out now.