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Celeb News

Bondi Rescue's Hoppo ties the knot: 'I feel more loved than I ever thought possible'

The bride was accompanied down the aisle by her 'miracle' dog, Kobi.

By Brigid Auchettl
He may have swapped his boardies for a Giorgio Armani suit but Bondi Rescue star Bruce "Hoppo" Hopkins still managed to make a splash at his wedding to Karen Griffin, arriving at the ceremony via speedboat.
Karen certainly made an entrance too, walked down the aisle by her dad, Peter and her chocolate labrador, Kobi.
Hoppo and Karen said "I do" in a waterside ceremony at Pasadena on Sydney's Northern Beaches in front of their 26 guests, including Hoppo's daughters Lauren, 22, and Georgia, 18.
Kobi, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year but has since had good news, was guest of honour and ring bearer for the couple.
"We decided on September 18 as our wedding day because it's Kobi's birthday... we wanted to honour him no matter if he was here with us or not," says Karen.
Although it wasn't the big celebration they'd originally planned, with their April wedding cancelled due to COVID-19, the newlyweds say they wouldn't change a thing.
"It was truly a perfect day," says Karen, 45, who looked stunning in an elegant silk Michael Lo Sordo gown and chic up-do.
"I feel more loved than I ever thought possible," adds Hoppo.
The happy couple added many personal touches to the day, penning their own vows, curating the menu for their guests and involving family and friends any chance they got.
"All my friends lent a hand – it was a real labour of love," says Karen, who had friend Prinnie Stevens sing her down the aisle to Ellie Goulding's How Long Will I Love You?.
"We wanted it to be a reflection of us... our friends made it a very special day."
Karen and Hoppo wrote their own romantic wedding vows. (Photo: Christian Quinlan & Gary Russell)
Wiping tears of joy from his eyes as his bride walked down the aisle towards him, Hoppo made it quite clear how he feels about his new wife.
"Meeting Karen, it's put everything in perspective... this is 'The One', you know," he says.
Hoppo, 51, has had his ups and downs in love, with his previous marriage ending in 2016.
But as soon as he and Karen met, he knew he'd found his soulmate.
"From the first date, it felt like we'd known each other forever," he smiles.
The pair first crossed paths seven years ago while Hoppo was patrolling Bondi Beach, but it wasn't until they reconnected at a friend's birthday in 2016 that sparks flew.
They started dating and by the second date Hoppo says he was totally smitten.
"I paddled my surf ski from Rose Bay to Manly to the wharf of her house and I'd never done that before, so I thought, 'Geez, this must be something special,'" he laughs of the two-hour paddle.
Friends all pitched in withpreparations for the big day . (Photo: Christian Quinlan & Gary Russell)
Karen, a PR director, says her new husband's love of adventure and quick wit stole her heart.
"Everything is fun with Hoppo – we always have a good laugh!"
After three years together, and six weeks of careful planning, Hoppo popped the question in 2019 while the pair holidayed in Cuba.
Presenting Karen with a "perfect" bespoke diamond ring, the Bondi Rescue lifeguard recalls she said "Yes!" before he even got the ring out of the box.
"I went down on one knee...but then I couldn't get the box out of my pocket," he laughs.
"It was a huge surprise, but of course I said yes!" Karen adds.
Despite some of their loved ones unable to attend due to COVID-19, the couple decided to go ahead with the wedding after two family health scares left them realising life is short.
"Hoppo's mum and my dad have both had some serious health issues over the last 12 months," says Karen.
"Then, with Kobi getting sick, we just knew we had to do something small and have a big party later."
Miracle pooch Kobi played a major part in the wedding, walking Karen down the aisle and as ring bearer. (Photo: Christian Quinlan & Gary Russell)
The 14-year-old pooch, who has been Karen's companion since he was a puppy, was certainly the guest of honour.
They were fears he wouldn't make it after he was diagnosed with cancer in June.
"I was beside myself when the vets told me," says Karen, who turned to holistic natural therapies to save her "best mate". Kobi clearly wanted to be part of his owner's big day.
Several weeks ago, he miraculously coughed up the cancerous tumour from his soft palate, astonishing the vet.
"It was an extraordinary situation – he'd taken matters into his own hands," says Karen.
For four weeks previously, Kobi was treated using a combination of stem cell rejuvenation patches, deep healing "red light therapy" and powerful liquid crystals, designed to attack the life force of the cancer cells.
The miracle dog is now on the mend. Image: Instagram
"One day, Hoppo followed Kobi outside to keep an eye on him and when he came back in he was white as a ghost – and holding the 4cm tumour in his hand," says Karen.
A biopsy confirmed it was the cancerous tumour, and that incredibly, Kobi was on the mend, meaning he could be part of the bridal party.
The couple's planned honeymoon to Italy is on hold for the moment, but the lovebirds are content with a mini honeymoon at home or now.
"We're enjoying the beauty of where we live," smiles Karen. "That's enough for us right now."

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