Eden’s unexpected wedding as cruise ship bound for Queensland detours

An unexpected wedding ceremony was performed at the Seahorse Inn on Saturday, April 28 leaving a Melbourne couple and their family overwhelmed by the kindness of the Eden community.

Hope McMahon and Fabian Bertelli from Narre Warren, Melbourne had boarded P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer on Friday, April 27, with the intention of marrying on Moreton Island as part of a four-night Sydney to Moreton Island cruise. 

After five months of planning, Ms McMahon had her dress and had booked and paid for the ceremony and reception. 

However, due to unexpected mechanical issues on the ship, the Pacific Explorer put down in Eden instead of the Queensland island.

Ms McMahon and Mr Bertelli’s wedding plans were suddenly in peril.

But with the news of the changed location, Ms McMahon approached cruise reception late Friday afternoon. 

“I had my whole family on board for the wedding,” Ms McMahon said. “I had to have something.”

Ms McMahon was forwarded the number of South Coast celebrant Jessica Ryan.

Shortly after making contact with Ms Ryan, a whole community of people and businesses came together to make their special day a reality.

“In just two hours everything was organised,” Ms McMahon said. “I was blown away. We felt like the luckiest people on the planet.”

Manager of the Seahorse Inn Ashley Stevens was one of those quick to help, rolling out a red carpet and providing the perfect backdrop to the couple’s ceremony. Drift Eden also opened its doors to the couple. 

Thanks to Cruise Eden and Sapphire Coast Buslines, an appropriately festooned bus was on hand to transport guests to the venue. 

The bride’s bouquet was also taken care of, with Whitby’s Florist in Pambula donating a floral arrangement  as part of “pay it forward day”.

 Photographer Angi High was also happy to offer her services.

“No-one likes to see an unhappy bride. You drop everything to help people out,” Ms High said.

Ms McMahon said that despite making alternate arrangements for the ceremony, it nearly didn’t happen.

“All my marriage documents were with the celebrant at Moreton Island and we could not get married without the documents. Jess offered to perform a commitment ceremony instead,” Ms McMahon said.

The bride-to-be was overwhelmed by the support she received from the people of Eden.

“The community was amazing. Everyone went above and beyond,” Ms McMahon said.

“When we landed in Eden, it was like we were in a dream. Everything had been taken care of.”