Forget Married At First Sight, it took relationship coach Melanie Schilling six-and-a-half years to walk down the aisle!
There was a huge laugh as Mel and her new hubby Gareth hit the floor for their first dance to At Last at their stunning Balinese jungle wedding.
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"It was the most apt song given I'm getting married for the first time at 46 after a six-and-a-half-year engagement," laughs Mel, relationship coach for Nine's Married At First Sight.
Mel met her now-husband through eHarmony after spending the majority of her 30s single and happy.
Unlike the MAFS couples she coaches, Mel and Gareth took their time to marry and, despite the delay, their day was perfect.
Mel couldn't have looked more beautiful or relaxed as she pledged her love to Gareth in front of 60 close friends and family, and the couple's three-year-old daughter Maddie.
Bali's Saratoga jungle palace provided a romantic backdrop.
"The setting was really tranquil and as soon as I saw Gareth I felt really calm," says Mel, who moved to Indonesia a few years ago.
"We just held hands facing each other for the entire ceremony and looked into each other's eyes – it was so beautiful. To be able to say my vows in front of everyone – my heart was absolutely bursting."
The couple wrote their own vows and had Maddie walk down the aisle before Mel.
They even had a ring made for her so she felt especially involved.
"She thought that was pretty great, and so did we, until she lost it!" laughs Mel.
The hardest part of the day though, was trying not to cry during the ceremony.
After a five-course feast of seafood, steak and a delicious chocolate cake, all that remained was to dance the night away surrounded by the people they love most.
"I took my shoes off and put on my bridal thongs," says Mel.
"We didn't want it to end because everyone was having such a good time."
As Oh What A Night played, sparklers were lit and there were yet more hugs and tears as the magical night finally drew to a close, before the happy couple escaped to the bridal suite to revel in their happiness.
"We sat in a big warm bath and fell asleep – after we consummated the wedding, of course," adds Gareth with a cheeky laugh.
- PuzzlesThe Australian Women's Weekly February Issue Online Entry
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