Wedding Ceremony & Reception | 24 November 2018 | Shana & Erick Stafanik | Chapel Hill Retreat, Berambing, Blue Mountains

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What an awesome day! Perfect weather, gorgeous couple, great venue and amazing details! I had sore cheeks from smiling all day and had to choke back tears several times too. I was so honoured that Shana and Erick invited me to play a part in their wedding celebration at Chapel Hill Retreat in the Blue Mountains. They are a genuinely lovely and thoughtful people and it was so wonderful to witness them celebrating their marriage surrounded by their close family and friends. So much attention to detail and love had gone into making it the amazing day it was.

Shana and Erick’s journey leading up to their wedding day has spanned just over two decades. Some of that time has for reasons outside their control, has been challenging, but together they have made it through and their love is stronger than ever. They first met during High School in 1997 and not long after meeting, realised they were in love. Circumstances caused them to be separated and whilst their lives took on very different paths, their love for each other never diminished.

It was not until 2010 that they reconnected through the marvel of social media and before long, they were building a life together. Whilst they are very different as individuals, with Erick being hot headed & impulsive and Shana passive, calm & organised, they complement each other perfectly. As life progressed, they worked through the complexities of the past, settled and added to their beautiful family. In late 2017 Erick was ready to make Shana’s dream from when she was fifteen come true. In early 2018, he secretly organised an engagement ring, booked a trip to Uluru for his birthday. On the second day at sunset on 26 February 2018, Erick proposed to Shana. Shana doesn’t remember saying yes (she did!) as it is all a bit of a blur to her now, a result of being caught up in the emotion and the surprise element of the moment.

Fast forward to 24 November 2018 and here we were in the small Chapel at Chapel Hill Retreat. Erick along with Best Man, Csaba and Groomsman, Nicolas and gathered guests were waiting with Celebrant, Philip Timbrell for Shana to arrive. As the first notes of Luke Bryant’s “To The Moon & Back” commenced and filled the air, flower girls, Taliyah and Zara, followed by bridesmaid, Hannah and Maid of Honour, Jenni made their way to the front of the Chapel. A short pause for a very special emotional tribute to honour the memory of Shana’s Dad before Shana, who was about to marry the love of her life, took those final few steps down the aisle. It was a beautiful ceremony with lots of love, emotion and that represented them. Shana’s vows included the following words;

“I’m so happy this moment that I have always dreamt of has finally arrived. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you as my husband.”

and Erick’s vows commenced with;

“Shana, ever since we first met at high school, you have always been the one that I have wanted to share my life with. I cannot explain why – as you have said, we are as different as the sun and the moon, yet like two pieces of a jigsaw, we were made for each other.”

Both vowed that “From this day forward, let us along with our children, build our family together – a family filled with love and laughter.”

Finally after 21 years their dream had become a reality! They were now husband and wife!!!

After the ceremony, Shana, Erick and their guests had a group photograph taken and then headed off with their wedding party around the Chapel Hill grounds with photographer Ben of Ben Newnam Photography and videographer, Tony of Blaycam Video Production to capture some amazing wedding feels.

Shana and Erick’s celebration was full of LOVE. It was everywhere!! – You could feel it, it was in the air, it was in everybody’s hearts, and in the very unlikely event that you needed to be reminded in any way, the word was featured in subtle ways throughout the entire reception room. We greeted the newlyweds and their wedding party with great applause, followed by the cutting of the wedding cake and then a very special first dance filled with more love. Guests were then invited to join Shana and Erick on the dance floor for a short dance set.

Following the Entree, there were beautiful heartfelt speeches from Maid of Honour, Jenni and Groomsman, Nicolas, some fun, the Main Meal, more fun, Dessert and then our second set of lovely speeches from Best Man, Csaba and our groom, Erick. Erick concluded his speech by requesting a Daddy Daughter dance with his three beautiful girls, Hannah, Taliyah and Zara.

At this point unbeknownst to Shana, who’s birthday fell during the past week, Erick had organised a birthday cake for her and then asked her to join him for a birthday dance – another beautiful moment. They were soon joined by the wedding party and guests and it was then party time! With a mix of current, classic and traditional music, guests enjoyed dancing the night away.

All too soon it was time for the bouquet and garter toss, farewell circle/circle of love, a farewell dance and Shana and Erick departed to honour their lifelong vow to continue building a family filled with love and laughter.

Knowing their story, and to see Shana and Erick’s childhood dream become a reality made my heart was so very happy. For me, weddings are just so beautiful, amazing and dynamic. Personally, I just relish in seeing how much love and joy can flow between two people, then watching how much emotion this love generates amongst the people around them. It is incredible to witness and such a privilege to be a part of. Shana and Erick I cannot thank you enough. It was a total pleasure and I hope that I was able to add some special touches to the memories that you will always treasure. I know your love will continue to grow, it has withstood so much and has never faltered. May love, laughter and music continue to fill your lives forever!!!


Photography by DJ:Plus! Entertainment


Songs selected by Bride & Groom;

Bridesmaids Processional: “To The Moon and Back” by Luke Bryan

Bride Processional: “To The Moon and Back” by Luke Bryan (DJ:Plus! Custom Edit)

Register Signing: “At The Beginning” by Richard Marx & Donna Lewis, “Endless Love” by Luther Vandross & Mariah Carey

Recessional: “The Deeper The Love” by Whitesnake

Wedding Party Entry: “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas

Bride & Groom Entry: “Highway To Hell / I’m All Yours” by AC/DC / Jay Sean Feat. Pitbull

Cake Cutting: “I’m All Yours” by Jay Sean Feat. Pitbull

First Dance: “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran (DJ:Plus! Custom Edit)

Father Daughter Dance: “Disney Medley” by Ashley Hess

Bouquet Toss: “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Beyonce

Garter Toss: “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen

Farewell Circle/Circle Of Love: “Forever Country” by Artists of Then, Now & Forever, “Making Memories Of Us” by Keith Urban

Farewell Dance: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Housten

Final Farewell Song: “Ever, Ever After” by Carrie Underwood


Other Wedding Professionals

Celebrant: Phillip Timbrell

Photographer: Ben Newnam Photography

Videographer: Blaycam Video Productions


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