“They’ve known us for the shortest period of our lives, but they were there when we got together, so they hold a special part in our lives. There were references to how we met through Survivor, it was brought up in a lot of the speeches.
During Jacqui’s speech, she pulled up a piece of cardboard and said: ‘I might have voted these guys out, but today I’m voting for Sam and Mark’.”
Sam’s floor-length gown was designed by Rachel Gilbert, with long-sleeves and intricate beading throughout the fabric. Mark wore a cream-coloured suit by M. J. Bale.
After the ceremony, which took place in the stable in front of 120 guests, some unexpected rain meant some last-minute changes.
“We had set up three long tables under naked teepees, with native gums in the centre – it was beautiful. But then it started to rain, and obviously naked teepees don’t protect you from the rain!” Sam laughs.
“While we were having our photos [taken], everyone rallied to lift all the tables and chairs and move everything into the stable.”
Mark adds: “I’ve heard it’s good luck. It ended up being good, being indoors. It was much more intimate.”
The couple’s first dance was to Coldplay’s ‘Something Just Like This’ and was choreographed by Jarryd Byrne from Dancing with the Stars.
Guests tucked into a five-metre long grazing table, share plates of lamb and salmon, and a two-tier chocolate layer cake.
But the highlight of the evening, according to the couple, was the speeches. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Sam and Mark thanked their friends and family for supporting them through Survivor and the arrival of their son Harry.
“A lot of the focus of our wedding, particularly during the reception time, was on the speeches,” Sam says. “We wanted for all our guests to know how meaningful they are in our lives.”
Their toddler, Harry, stole the show when he walked down the aisle before his mum. The proud parents say it was important for their boy to play a part in his mum and dad’s wedding
“Harry walked down the aisle, and being a toddler, they don’t act on cue! [But] we didn’t want to have too much curation. It was going to flow however it would flow. Whatever happens in-between, we let it be,” Sam says happily.
“He spent a lot of time with me getting ready and with the bridesmaids. And Mark held him while I was walking down the aisle.”
Even though neither of them won Survivor, the bride and groom agree they gained something much more special – love. It was a unique experience that took Sam and Mark from alliances and tribal councils to having a baby and marrying each other in front of their nearest and dearest.
“I never thought [it would happen]. I was living in New York, I was going to do the show and go home,” Mark remembers.
Sam adds: “It was unique but what was unique about it was it completely transformed our personal lives.”
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