There wasn’t a dry eye on the farm when Dr Harry Cooper and his long-time partner Susan “Suze” Sheeran finally said “I do!”.
Looking out over the sprawling hills of their 125-acre property in Port Macquarie, the happy couple exchanged vows in an intimate ceremony in front of 42 of their closest family and friends earlier this month.
“It was a magical day and I wouldn’t change a thing!” says Suze, who looked stunning in an elegant white lace gown.
“I’ve waited all my life for this bloke… he’s a real genuine person – what you see is what you get.”
It was a union 10 years in the making for Harry, 78, and his bride, who first crossed paths at a friend’s backyard barbecue and have been inseparable ever since.
“We just connected – we clicked straight away,” recalls Suze, 63, who’ll never forget the first time she laid eyes on her now husband.
“I absolutely knew who he was [from TV], but who doesn’t, but that aside it was about the connection and conversation – we were on the same wavelength!’
And Harry quickly knew Suze was the lady for him.
“I saw a blonde lady sitting down the end of the table… and I thought she was so good looking,” Harry tells Woman’s Day, with a cheeky grin.
“Our friends disappeared swimming and we weren’t prepared for that, so we got talking and had a lot in common.
“She’s very caring, she’s so hardworking and I’m so lucky to call myself her husband.”
There was no sea of candles, over-the-top romantic gestures, or even bended knee when Harry popped the question in January over cups of tea on the front porch.
Dubbing it “the worst proposal in the world”, Harry admits he could have handled the special moment a little better!
“I put it to her, ‘We’ve been together for 10 years, we can either stay the way we are, go our separate ways or get married… and I’m thinking we should probably get married’, he laughs.
“I said ‘OK!'” chimes in Suze.
Pulling together their big day in just six weeks to fit into their busy schedules, the bride and groom couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who helped make their special day magical.
“Everything was perfect, and not many brides can say that, but it was,” says Suze, who walked down the aisle to her cousin playing Scottish pipes, a nod to her family’s heritage.
“All the local providers did an amazing job.”
And it was only fitting the couple included creatures great and small in their ceremony, too!
“It was Suze’s idea to have Wendy in the wedding, our 12-year-old black Australian stockhorse mare as our ring bearer,” the Better Homes And Gardens vet explains.
“We got Wendy at Christmas time for her to ride.”
“She was dressed up in roses… it was just wonderful,” adds Suze.
Choking back tears, Harry confesses seeing his bride at the end of the aisle was one of the happiest moments of his life. “She was just stunning… I’m all choked up just thinking about it,” he grins, overcome with emotion.
And while their life together has been full of travel and adventure, they’ve also faced devastating loss. Tragedy struck the couple in 2012 when Harry suddenly lost his daughter Tiffany to colon cancer.
“When I introduced Suze to Tiff for the first time she said, ‘You’re welcome in our home,’ and that meant so much,” says Harry, who considers his wife his “rock” and “support”.
“When Tiffany passed away all those years ago… I said we needed some sunflowers for the ceremony and Suze organised it all.”
The same sunflowers, Tiffany’s favourite, were out in full bloom on their wedding day, decorating the couple’s wedding cake and ceremony space.
And Harry is certain his little girl was there in spirit watching over them.
“Suddenly out of nowhere a huge butterfly landed on the flowers behind us and people said, ‘It’s her spirit!’ It was there for 10 minutes and when we went over to sign the register it just went,” says Harry.
Cheers, tears and applause greeted the couple as they sealed the deal with a kiss before dancing the night away until the clock struck midnight!
With their whirlwind wedding behind them, the couple look forward to relaxing, with a honeymoon in the NSW Southern Highlands planned for the coming months.
But for now, the lovebirds are content enjoying their wedded bliss.
“If we never travelled again, I would still die happy,” says Suze. “I’m so very lucky and blessed.”
Better Homes and Gardens airs 7pm Fridays on Channel 7 and 7plus.