Ten years in the making, numerous changes thanks to the lockdown restrictions and then a desperate race against time to seal the deal – Ben Harris really knows how to stage the most unusual wedding possible!
Ben Harris, the dashing Year 4 teacher from Beechboro Christian School, met the love of his life, Ashley, back at Ellenbrook Christian College when the two were students in Year 11.
After six months of planning during the 2020 lockdown, the SCEA couple were set to get married in early February of 2021. The ‘Week of Masks’ (thanks to a snap lockdown in the first week of school) changed all of that, with the couple deciding to hold off until the lockdown ended in order to celebrate properly with family and friends.
“Take 2” was planned for three months later. Saturday 24th of April was going to be the big day.
The lockdown would be over, and the ANZAC Day long weekend would give people ample time to prepare for a Margaret River wedding by the sea.
At 1.17 pm on Friday, 23rd of April, Ben was teaching his Year 4’s when the news came through:
‘Lockdown starts at midnight tonight for Perth and the Peel region.’
All attendees of the wedding needed to be out of Perth by midnight.
The celebrant couldn’t make it.
Numerous guests couldn’t make it.
The whole thing was in jeopardy – again.
The group texts went out to: “You need to be down in Margaret River tonight in order for the wedding to happen tomorrow.”
A weaker man may have crumbled at a time like this. But those who know Ben from his excellent work at Kalamunda Christian School and Beechboro Christian School will be aware of this young man’s talent for pragmatic solutions. After all, he is the son of the great Mr Stuart Harris, who called SCEA home for more than twenty years and is now a celebrated Principal working in a Montessori school.
The frantic flurry of cars heading down south for the ANZAC weekend was added to by Ben and his cohort. A phone call followed by a 6.00 am meeting on Saturday morning to local Margaret River Baptist Church Pastor Craig Bosman confirmed the celebrant was sorted.
Saturday morning came, and many ‘midnight travellers’ who had left homes in Perth with barely more than their hired tuxedos took to the Margaret River beach for the ceremony.
The wedding feast was set for 76 guests, but only 49 people were present due to the urgency of the ceremony. Somehow, all of the food was devoured.
“Well, it was a feast,” says Ben with a grin.
The photos of the day show the sandiness of a coastal wedding and the sense of plans being altered at the last minute.
What they also show is the essence of love, happiness and pure ecstasy on the faces of the guests and the bride and groom as they celebrate a wedding, ten years in the making!