their 100 guests!
When Shortland Street actress Rebekah Palmer swapped her nurse's uniform for a dreamy wedding dress to marry Bevan Randell on February 7, her groom couldn't believe his eyes.
"I've never seen Bex look so beautiful in my life and there were just so many emotions going on all at once," says Bevan from their Hawke's Bay honeymoon two days later.
"I thought I knew what to expect, but nothing prepared me for when I first saw her – she looked absolutely stunning. I was blown away."
And his loved-up bride felt the same, gushing, "I don't remember even looking or seeing anyone else. I just saw him at the end of the aisle and thought how handsome he looked, and I couldn't wait to be standing next to him."
But just half an hour before their romantic moment, which takes place in amongst the rolling olive groves of South Auckland's Bracu, there are a lot more people who are being blown away – all of
their 100 guests!
their 100 guests!
In a plan to surprise everyone, Bevan has arranged for a helicopter to deliver the groom's party to the venue. But as it nears the white gazebo, rotor blades roaring, it creates a fierce wind.
"I could see everyone ducking for cover with their arms up and all of the ladies trying to cover their hair!" the 32-year-old recalls.
"It was just too much, watching the chairs completely blow over and flowers going everywhere. It was one of those moments when I thought, 'Oh no', but at the same time it was very funny."
While the groomsmen pose for photos, celebrant Justine Russell-Cowen looks around at the dishevelled space and announces, amid much laughter, "Well, that was dramatic!", adding, "I guess there's going to be more drama because it has to take off again!"
As Bracu staff rush with brooms in hand to clean up the mess, it takes more than a dozen volunteers to hold everything tight – and there's a collective sigh of relief as the chopper goes up and away.
But the nerves are just beginning for Bevan – looking dapper in a Hallensteins Brothers suit – who admits that as soon as he was at the top of the aisle, "everything went out the window".
He explains, "I was meant to greet Bex's mum and my parents and grandparents, and I forgot the lot!"
By the time Lady Gaga's song Is That Alright starts playing, he's feeling much calmer – until adorable niece Cameron, four, and three-year-old nephew Ty walk down the aisle carrying a sign that reads, "Here comes Aunty Bex".
Bevan confesses, "That was probably the most nerve-wracking thing for me, that I was going to lose my man card in front of all my friends and family."
Three bridesmaids follow the littlies, each in a red dress to symbolise the red roses Bevan has bought Rebekah over their three-year relationship.
And then, with all of the guests standing and smiling, his bride makes her way over a small wooden bridge. While Bevan is nervous, for Rebekah, it was the day before that had been the hardest. As they parted ways, their wedding cake that she was going to decorate the next morning on her lap, her eyes filled with tears.
She shares, "It just felt so surreal that the next time we would see each other we would be getting married.
"I didn't want to leave him because he's the one who always calms me down. But thankfully I had my sister and sister-in-law, so by the time I walked down the aisle, I was just so excited."
Dressed in a French lace-fitted gown from Australian designer Grace Loves Lace, with shoestring straps and a veil almost three metres long trailing behind her, there's an audible gasp from guests.
It was the dress that Rebekah had fallen in love with when she saw it online. Immediately booking flights and accommodation, she and her mother Maree flew across the ditch for a girls' weekend.
She tells, "I loved it as soon as I put it on, so saying 'yes to the dress' was a pretty easy task! It arrived before Christmas and I loved it more than I remember loving it in the showroom."
Embracing at the top of the aisle, jokester Bevan has another surprise up his sleeve. In a nod to their significant height difference – he is 1.93m tall while the actress, who plays Dawn Robinson, is 1.57m – the builder pulls out a box that he whipped up and decorated with the words "Mrs Randell".
The celebrant then turns to the guests and acknowledges that this is a celebration of their love, before recounting how the duo met through Bevan's brother, The Edge's Breakfast radio host Clint Randell, who decided that Bex would be perfect for him.
After their entire family crafted a Facebook message to her, they went on a first date that lasted to the wee hours of the morning. Since then, they've been inseparable.
For their special day, the devoted couple have written their own declarations of love.
"Rebekah, I vow to make my life forever yours and build my dreams around you," affirms Bevan.
"To be the man that I see now in your eyes today, tomorrow and for always. I promise to always let you suffocate me with your kisses and cuddles like you do I'm so happy to be able to tell you I do, I will and will always love you."
And then, her blue eyes looking adoringly at her groom, the 26-year-old replies, "Bevan, I promise bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning, accompanied by dance parties in the lounge.
"I promise to dream out loud with you, always be proud of you and be your ray of sunshine on cloudy days. I promise a lifetime of laughter and banter and silliness … I promise to love you, every day, with all my heart."
Their touching vows shared, it's time to exchange rings – for Bex, a custom-made alternating emerald and brilliant cut diamonds on a gold band from Culet Jewellery, and for Bevan a gold band with a row of diamonds from Michael Hill Jeweller.
Commitment made, they are pronounced husband and wife, and they share their first kiss as a married couple! After the signing of the registry, Justine turns to the guests with a grin, "Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the new Mr and Mrs Randell" as Walking on Sunshine begins to play and Bex does a fist pump in delight.
The official part of the day over, the party moves to the nearby pavilion for drinks and a delicious three-course meal.
Given their infectious sense of humour, it's only natural that the newlyweds have one more surprise up their sleeves for guests. With the bubbly blonde having a background in dance and Bevan admitting he has "two left feet", they decide to trick everyone with an "awkward sway".
Bex tells, "We actually felt really awkward doing it because everyone was looking at us and it looked terrible!"
But in reality, they had secretly spent months working on a carefully choreographed routine. Suddenly the slow music stops and they launch into a medley of musical hits, including Footloose and You're the One That I Want – much to the delight of the crowd. The mood set, everyone parties until midnight before the happy couple drive back to their Mt Roskill, Auckland home.
Rebekah beams, "I feel like this is where our life and journey together starts and there are so many things to look forward to. Being called Mrs Randell is just so cool – as is saying 'I've got a husband!'"
Bevan continues, "We are obviously being a bit biased, but we think it was the best wedding ever." And his doting wife confirms with a laugh, "Well it's the best wedding I've ever been to!"
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