ONE of the world’s most stunning natural wonders played host to Norma French and Gary Dower’s wedding day on August 23, 2018.
They tied the knot on the ledge of the Grand Canyon at sunset.
Norma, a celebrant of 40 years and the first appointed in the northern regions, was courted by handy man Gary in the retirement village where they reside.
She has been well known in the area as an adventurer celebrant, marrying over 5000 couples in a range of scenarios including skydiving, horse back riding, motorbike riding and more. This is in addition to beautiful, traditional family ceremonies.
Norma and Gary said they wanted to experience something just as unique and special as some of the different ceremonies she has officiated.
They have been together just shy of a year but their love for each other is as strong as you could imagine.
"We were going overseas anyway, and that was around the time we got engaged. We figured we would elope. It was a big surprise to a few people,” Mrs Dower said.
“We live in the Dahlsford Grove Lifestyle Village. I needed a handy man, so I rang Gary.
“He came up to my house, asked to sit and have a chat, and we have been chatting ever since. He still hasn't done the job I needed.”
Mr Dower said Norma was the mastermind behind the elopement.
“I might have proposed but she did the rest,” he said.
Recalling when he first saw his new bride, Mr Dower was head over heels as soon as his eyes met hers.
“I had seen Norma before. She was sitting, chatting with a girlfriend and the sun was hitting her hair,” he said.
“I thought, 'oh, who is that?', and years later I finally met her. The rest is history.”
Of their big day, the couple were thrilled with everything – from the weather to the service it was, as they describe, magical.
A chauffeur picked them up and a helicopter company flew them through the Grand Canyon and down to the ledge where they eventually said their vows and tied the knot as the sun set.
“I was out of my mind because it was so fabulous. It was magnificent. My beautiful bride looked absolutely stunning,” he said.
“Our friends were amazed, particularly at out age, when they found out. People are coming up asking if it's true that we ran away together and got married.”
“I'd recommend it to anybody. It was a marvellous day ... amazing. It was magic,” Mrs Dower added.