Former canadian beach volleyballer Sarah Maxwell and five-time Australian Olympian Natalie Cook on their wedding day at Secrets at Montville, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.  Picture: Nathan Richter
Former canadian beach volleyballer Sarah Maxwell and five-time Australian Olympian Natalie Cook on their wedding day at Secrets at Montville, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Picture: Nathan Richter

‘We didn’t ever think this day would come’

OLYMPIC gold medallist Natalie Cook and fellow beach volleyballer Canadian Sarah Maxwell were on opposite teams when they first met. The couple, who competed against each other on a volleyball world tour in 2001, tied the knot at Secrets on the Lake, at Montville, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

It was the second wedding ceremony for the women, who live at Fig Tree Pocket in Brisbane's southwest, but the first legal one.

Natalie's dad Brian walked both women down the aisle behind their two-year-old daughter, Jordan Natalie Maxwell.

NATALIE COOK, 43

PROFESSION Retired pro athlete - beach volleyball

PARENTS Brian and Bev Cook

DRESS Helena Couture Designs, Gold Coast - pants with a sleeveless tux tail and Swarovski crystal buttons.

HAIR/MAKEUP Leah Svanberg - Grace and Style Beauty

CAKE Krista Pappas - Chocolate ganache (she made our first one 10 years ago)

ENTERTAINMENT An iPod with a playlist of our favourite Spotify tunes

 

SARAH MAXWELL, 41

PROFESSION Retired pro athlete - beach volleyball

PARENTS Vicki Patton

DRESS Helena Couture Designs, Gold Coast - a backless dress with a high side split and Swarovski crystals and feathers.

HAIR/MAKEUP Leah Svanberg - Grace and Style Beauty

TRANSPORT Stayed on site, so we walked down.

FLOWERS Ginger Lily & Rose Floral Studio, Caloundra

 

 

Five-time Olympic beach volleyball competitor Natalie Cook marries her partner Sarah Maxwell at Secrets at Montville. Picture: Nathan Richter
Five-time Olympic beach volleyball competitor Natalie Cook marries her partner Sarah Maxwell at Secrets at Montville. Picture: Nathan Richter

 

Was there a proposal?

I wish we could say there was a romantic night, but we didn't ever think this day would come. After the [SSM] plebiscite we discussed whether we should get married legally (having already had a ceremony in Queenstown, New Zealand, in 2008) and we decided that although we didn't need to emotionally, we would honour the plebiscite and the people who put themselves on the front line and fought for our rights.

Sarah Maxwell and her wife Natalie Cook with their daughter, Jordan, at their wedding at Secrets at Montville, on the Sunshine Coast.  Picture: Nathan Richter
Sarah Maxwell and her wife Natalie Cook with their daughter, Jordan, at their wedding at Secrets at Montville, on the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Nathan Richter

 

Sarah Maxwell and wife Natalie Cook with their daughter Jordan
Sarah Maxwell and wife Natalie Cook with their daughter Jordan

 

 

What was the theme?

The wooden treehouse and rainforest. The natural setting, and love and gratitude.

 

Family and friends join the happy couple for the wedding celebrations.
Family and friends join the happy couple for the wedding celebrations.

 

 

First dance song?

I've Had the Time of my Life [by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes] - we'd practised the lift at home, with me [Natalie] lifting Sarah, but we decided at the last minute to do a "run past" instead. We aren't dancers, but I did do the "Swayze dip".

Sarah Maxwell and Natalie Cook at their weeding.  Picture: Nathan Richter
Sarah Maxwell and Natalie Cook at their weeding. Picture: Nathan Richter

 

Honeymoon?

An extra night at Secrets, and we're off to Switzerland this month for 12 months.

 

What made this uniquely your wedding?

It was the first legal same-sex wedding at Secrets on the Lake. We had a lot of expressions of gratitude for a beautiful life.

Five-time Olympian Natalie Cook marries her partner Sarah Maxwell at Secrets at Montville, in ther Sunshine Coast hinterland.  Picture: Nathan Richter
Five-time Olympian Natalie Cook marries her partner Sarah Maxwell at Secrets at Montville, in ther Sunshine Coast hinterland. Picture: Nathan Richter

 

Any special memories from the day?

Our daughter joining us - to think she wasn't there for our first wedding is weird.

Rather than exchanging rings, we chose to do a necklace exchange, which also included a smaller necklace for Jordan.

 

Five-time Olympian marries her partner Sarah Maxwell at Secrets at Montville with their chocolate ganache wedding cake made by Krista Pappas
Five-time Olympian marries her partner Sarah Maxwell at Secrets at Montville with their chocolate ganache wedding cake made by Krista Pappas


Advice for couples planning a wedding?

Have one person co-ordinating - not too many cooks in the kitchen. It keeps things simple yet purposeful.