In the name of love
After five COVID-induced postponements, Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle residents Bob Breen and Rhonda Elliott-Breen have finally celebrated their marriage surrounded by neighbours and 150 family and friends who joined via Zoom.
The couple was married in September 2020 at their home in the Plantations community with just two witnesses, so that a very close friend could be part of the day before she passed away. However, the broader celebrations and reception were delayed due to COVID-19.
Bob and Rhonda decided the pandemic would no longer hold them back and Zoom allowed friends and family from Australia, USA, Papua New Guinea and England to all be involved.
“The uncertainties about COVID-19 meant that we’ve had to delay our celebrations several times but with continuing restrictions we decided it was time to go ahead,” Mrs Elliott-Breen said.
“We are really getting what we wanted in a roundabout way because we had everyone who is precious in our lives with us via Zoom and our Plantations community joined us in our spacious clubhouse to celebrate in person.
When the pair decided to wed, there was no question about whether the Plantations community would be involved.
“Our neighbours at Plantations are like family, so they were always going to be part of the wedding celebrations even if things had gone as originally planned,” Mrs Elliott-Breen.
“We’re so happy that we could still celebrate and share our day with our loved ones and our community. We feel bitter lemons have been turned into lemonade − we are so blessed.
“Sincerely, hand on heart, I want everyone to have what we have.”
Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle Community Manager Ann Blair said the entire community was delighted that Bob and Rhonda wanted to include them.
“Bob and Rhonda are such an integral part of our community, so we are all absolutely thrilled for them – we’ve not had a Plantations wedding before!” Ms Blair said.
Both Bob and Rhonda had been married previously and found themselves striking up a connection in Canberra in 2018 at a stage in their lives when they had both become single.
“I met Rhonda through a mutual connection at dinner one evening. She was visiting from Queensland and my initial thought was that it would be lovely to have a phone friend,” Mr Breen said.
“Neither of us were looking for a new romantic relationship. But after our first meeting I had a clear thought, the unmistakable finger of God, that I should pursue her.
“So, I quickly made plans to visit friends at Mt Tambourine, near Rhonda’s home at Jimboomba. I rang her the next day, stating that by coincidence, I was visiting friends nearby and that I would love to pop over to see her for lunch − and that’s how it all started.”
Rhonda was initially hesitant of the courtship, having lost her husband, Richard, of 50 years only two years earlier after nursing him for five years.
“I never thought I’d find another beautiful man like my Richard, and I did hold back to start with, but Bob and I were meant to be,” Mrs Breen-Elliott said.
“It was a match made in heaven, and I believe that Richard sent Bob and that this is what he would have wanted for me.”
Looking for a sea change and to downsize and de-clutter, the couple found themselves moving to Woolgoolga, New South Wales, for a new life together at Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle in July 2019, a home that now means so much to them.
Learn more about Plantations by Ingenia Lifestyle here.