Aussie-US romance has happy ending beneath the eucalyptus trees



Reeves-Neal first dance
Anna and Chris dance their first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Neal


Following a long-distance courtship between the States and Australia, Anna Reeves and Christopher Neal were wed December 17th beneath fragrant eucalyptus trees in the Brawley backyard of the bride’s parents in an elegant winter-themed celebration.


The bride is the daughter of Lance and Carol Reeves of Brawley. Graham and Robyn Neal of Sydney, Australia are the parents of the groom. The couple met while attending San Diego Christian College.


Pastor Walter Colace of Christ Community Church officiated at the ceremony, and the bride’s father added his own words of blessing for the nuptials that truly touched their hearts, according to Anna.


The bride wore a white satin halter-style dress designed by Impression Bridal. It featured a sheer neckline of netting embellished with stunning beadwork and an asymmetrical drape gathered at the hip. It was adorned with a beaded motif and featured a zipper trimmed with buttons. She carried a bouquet of white roses accented by grey leaves, berries and pinecones and wore a fingertip veil of white netting attached to her ‘forties style chignon.


The diamond in the bride’s wedding ring set had belonged to the groom’s grandmother and satisfied her “something old” while she borrowed a bracelet from her sister. With her bridal gown as “something new,” the bride completed the tradition by wearing a blue garter.


There were three maids of honor including sisters of the bride Ruth Reeves and Beth Reeves, both of Brawley, and Jessica Rea of Imperial. Her bridesmaids were Paige Person, Rebecca Robertson, both friends from college, and Paige Cato, a family friend. Jacey Reeves, a second cousin of the bride, was the flower girl. They wore satin two-toned sheath dresses by Alfred Angelo that featured an ivory top and charcoal skirt.


The groom’s best men were his brothers, Jeremy and Blake Neal of Sydney. Andrew Neal, another brother, was an honorary best man since he could not make it for the wedding. Groomsmen were Jared Scoines, a friend and basketball team mate from Australia, Trevor Person, a team mate from college, Steve Mitchell, a coaching colleague, and Jacob Reeves, brother of the bride. Rane Reeves, a second cousin of the bride, was the ring bearer.


A string quartet played before and following the ceremony. They learned the theme from the “Pride and Prejudice” BBC-made movie which they performed as the bridesmaids entered. Beth Reeves, sister of the bride, sang “From LA to Rome” by Chester See during the ceremony, a referral to the couple’s long-distance relationship.


The backyard reception was held beneath a giant white tent filled with tables covered in white linen and decorated with Manzanita centerpieces draped with hanging votives, white flowers and strings of crystals. The winter wedding theme was highlighted by greys, silvers and whites that fit perfectly with the December date, and a suitcase motif befitting the travel subtheme permeated the elegant décor since the couple had originally planned to move down to Australia.

“I was so happy we were having a winter wedding because I never pictured my wedding having colors in it,” Anna said. “Instead I wanted greys, silvers and whites, and those were perfect for our December wedding.”


Chalkboards with love quotes and scripture were scattered throughout the tent, and the custom-made wedding cake featured a topper that showed a couple kissing with the bride standing on top of a suitcase. The groom’s cake was a replica of Australia’s national flag, also incorporating their intercontinental romance.  Both cakes were surrounded with wedding photos of the couple’s parents.



Guest favors were tiny jars with layered ingredients for making hot cocoa, and a photo booth complete with an array of costume props added to the fun.


Out of town (and out of country!) guests included the groom’s family, his groomsman Jared Scoines and his girlfriend, as well as the family of the groom’s pastor from Sydney. Other guests from Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Arizona also attended.


Since the reception and wedding were held in the same spot, the bride’s father came up with the idea of having Chris carry his new bride down the home’s driveway in a wheelbarrow – something he had spotted in an historical Imperial Valley photo. The wheelbarrow tradition was common back in the 1940s and ‘50s as many Valley couples would have the groom push his bride down the main streets in a wheelbarrow.


Now making their home in Brawley, Chris and Anna started their own hay brokering business and Anna works part-time as a substitute teacher.


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