They were so dirty I still haven’t been able to get the stains out of their shirts.”
Her boys, who turned two on Christmas Eve, threw themselves into the duck pond the moment they arrived at the wedding. However, Eliza, who also has a daughter, Charlie, 3, didn’t mind. Nothing was going to spoil their day.
“It just made everything really relaxed and there was a nice energy as opposed to it being so stiff,” the mum-of-three from Sydney’s northern beaches tells New Idea.
Just a few months before the wedding, Eliza didn’t have a venue. She ended up choosing picturesque Breenhold Garden at Mt Wilson, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
Sixty friends and family joined them at the venue, before 30 guests went on to the reception at gorgeous Wolgan Valley, about an hour-and-a-half's drive away.
“It was luxurious, really,” Eliza recalls.
While the rain held off for the ceremony, they weren’t so fortunate once they moved on to the reception.
“I entered the reception looking like a drowned rat,” Eliza laughs. “The photos in the middle of the bush showed us all getting drenched, but by that stage I didn’t really care.”
The past two years have been a whirlwind for Eliza. She became pregnant with Charlie three months after meeting Ben.
The plan was for the pair to get married after she had Charlie – and dropped her baby weight. But nuptials were put on hold when Eliza conceived the twins shortly after she gave birth to her daughter.
As she juggled three babies, she waited and secretly hoped Ben, 41, would propose. And she waited some more.
Then, earlier this year, he finally popped the question.
“We’d gone out for dinner – it was a gift from Ben’s mum so we could have a date night,” Eliza explains.
“Afterwards, Ben pulled over at a lookout and said, ‘How beautiful is the moon?’ And I’d had a few cocktails and was reclining in my chair and thought, ‘He really wants to talk about the moon?’ And then he proposed to me.
“It was nice to have a ring on my finger.”
And this was certainly no ordinary ring. Eliza had given Ben some very specific requirements. “It had to be more than 100 years old, and it had to have a good story,” she says.
“And Ben found it.”
The ring features a huge sapphire and dates back to 1910, when it belonged to a Russian opera singer. “If the ring could talk, imagine the stories it could tell,” Eliza muses. “The woman who wore it must have had a pretty fabulous life, which makes me feel kind of fabulous.”
She chose the dress – which was inspired by the ring – from a Sydney bridal shop in half a day.
“When you have kids, you don’t have time to muck around,” Eliza laughs.
After her weight ballooned when she was pregnant with the twins, Eliza was determined to drop her baby weight. And she’s done it, losing 30kg by sticking to a protein-rich diet. She now weighs a healthy 60kg.
Now married – with children – what’s the next step for Eliza and Ben? “We’re on the hunt for a new home,” Eliza says. “It’s very exciting.”
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.