The Man Next Door

Leanne and John

Saturday, 2 October 2021

The Romance

John bought a farm next door to my mum's farm in York. My mum always told me about the new neighbor John, and how much he helped her out with things on her property. I thought he sounded like a pretty nice guy. I would pass him on the driveway as he was going to feed sheep or fill water tanks. I secretly took a photo of him once and sent it to my girlfriend's and wrote "check out the new neighbour!" Haha! John and I were good friends for a while before anything happened.

I had been through an abusive relationship previously and I found John to be a breath of fresh air. He was a really genuine and caring guy, and we made each other really happy. We grew very close and I hadn't ever felt like this before and John said he had never felt this way about anyone either. We spent hours talking about anything and everything, while sitting by a fire, or bringing the sheep into the yards on horses or motorbikes. We both had children from previous relationships and we both had very different pasts. I really felt like we needed each other, I am extremely thankful that we were brought together.

We fell in love very easily. He made me so nervous - but in a good way. I have never met anyone that 'gets me' so well before. I truly could not have asked for anyone more suited to me to come into my life and sweep me off my feet. It didn't take me long to know John was the man I wanted to be with forever, I felt so safe and 'at home' with him. He is an amazing dad and that really impressed me too, and we were both interested in all the same things and we both seemed to have the same ideas about life. We spent a few months getting our kids used to us seeing each other and then I moved in with him, with my two kids. We have lived together happily since. We work together on the farm and the kids all get along really well.


Leanne and John McAlpine   Leanne and John McAlpine

The Proposal

I believe John asked me to marry him about 300 times between 2018 and 2021 when we got officially engaged. He would ask me randomly when we were watching TV or laying in bed and I always said "maybe". One day John took me into the city for a day of shopping and a few stops into different bars for beer tastings (our favourite thing to do). He was acting so strange and I thought something was wrong. We headed to Fremantle and sat at Little Creatures Brewery and had a beer each.

I asked John if something was wrong, had I done something? He said no and we left the bar. We went for a walk along the beach as the sun was setting. We got to the Round House and walked out onto the lookout by ourselves. It was quiet and the sun had just set. John hugged me and I didn't want to let go because I was just so happy in that moment. I was so appreciative of everything and especially our love, how did I get so lucky to have the man of my dreams? He tried to pull away but I held onto him, so he asked me to let go. He had to force me off him and it was at that moment I caught a glimpse of something shiny in his hand. As I looked into his hand at the diamond ring he was holding, he began telling me how much he loved me and had needed me. He asked me to marry him and of course I said YES!!!

Leanne and John McAlpine   Leanne and John McAlpine

The Planning

Planning our wedding day was THE MOST fun I have ever had. I had always dreamed of planning my wedding day but had never actually thought about what I would want. The only thing I knew was I wanted a strapless ball gown style dress. Which took me three wedding dress shops to find! But the dress I did end up choosing was even better than I had imagined. My bridesmaids and my mum helped me so much, it was so much fun.

I downloaded Apps on my iphone to get information on what to book, how to book and in what order to do things. I did not follow any of that! We went way over our budget, changed the plans over and over, and did everything backwards to all the advice we received. But it all worked out and we loved every single second of it. We went for a Rustic Farm style wedding on our own farm in York! We couldn't think of anything better than getting married on our own land under one of our own beautiful big trees. We had lawns laid and hired festoon lighting and bought a large marquee. It was a dream wedding in my eyes! I bought jars and candles online, as well as fake rose petals, ivy, lanterns and much more to make it perfect.

My bridesmaids helped me a lot, I don't know what I would have done without them. We had no issues, our photographer was well priced, the dress was on special, and my family and friends were so helpful every step of the way. Everything went to plan and I could not have been happier.

Leanne and John McAlpine   Leanne and John McAlpine

The Wedding Day

John and I spent the night together before the wedding. We already lived together and I don't think we would have slept very well in different places. Not that I slept much anyway as I was so excited. Early morning we got up and did our final touches outside for the ceremony and reception. My bridesmaids were getting their hair and makeup done inside, my mum and John's mum were busy cleaning and getting everything ready. I was running around stressing because it was so windy and there was rain coming. I began to panic, and as my makeup lady began to start my face she told me to close my eyes and ignore the weather. Every minute that I could hear wind pick up or tiny drops of rain I tried not to cry, and then I heard the rain set in and my heart sank.

At that moment I just wished so much that we could change the date of our wedding, no rain on my wedding day thanks! My bridesmaids were bringing me snacks and champagne, our house was mayhem as we all got ready. The men got ready in the other side of our house, we didn't cross paths. I missed John, I was so excited to see him. I couldn't wait to marry the man of my dreams. I still can't believe I am so lucky to have found him and have him as mine. I found out later that while I was getting my hair and makeup done John and his groomsmen and my brother were busy outside trying to tie down the marquee that was blowing away, as well as turn on lights, light all the candles and keep the table cloths from blowing away.

The Ceremony

We are so lucky that our family and friends were there to help us, having the wedding on our farm had its challenges but it was definitely worth it! We had white roses and leaves wrapped around a beautiful big gum tree which we stood in front of to get married. We set out wooden benches for the guests on either side of a long hessian rug to walk down the aisle on, which was covered in white rose petals. We were prepared to walk in the rain but thankfully it stopped as we gathered to walk down the aisle. Our five children walked down first. The girls wore dusty rose pink dresses, the boys in grey suits with pink ties. They were adorable and perfect, followed by my beautiful bridesmaids in their pink dresses. They walked down to a song that meant a lot to both John and I, he let me choose the songs so it was a nice surprise. After my maid of honour reached the stage the music changed. The song I chose to walk down the aisle to was 'Don't Stop Believin' by Journey, but it was played by an orchestra. It was John's all time favourite song and I thought it would be a nice surprise for him, we sing it all the time together when we are driving. I walked down the aisle with my mum and my dad by my sides, I was so proud in that moment to have them both with me. I had asked them both to walk with me as they both raised me individually and I thought it was important that they both gave me away to John.

Leanne and John McAlpine   Leanne and John McAlpine

The Reception

After our wedding ceremony we went for a drive into our back paddock to have photos taken of our bridal party. That was probably the most fun part of the whole day. We had a blast pulling poses and faces in the beautiful purple flowers. We drank champagne and danced to music whilst celebrating our love and enjoying the company of our best friends. When the photographers were happy with the photos we headed back to the reception which was a short walk from the ceremony location. Champagne was flowing and everyone was having a great time already. We had hay bales and barrels around, lanterns and rustic candles and table decorations. The festoon lighting over the lawn looked amazing. Our bridal party entered the reception to 'Celebration' and then John and I entered to 'Symphony' by Sheppard which was one of our favourite songs. Everyone was cheering and dancing along, all the months of trying to pick a song didn't matter anymore. We had cocktail food being served all night as well as an open bar. My brother and his band played amazing music for us all night which was really special to me. It was cold, but we had throw rugs and fire pits around to keep everyone comfortable. Some people camped and some people stayed in the local historic town of York.

The Honeymoon

My mum looked after the kids for us, we were so lucky to get away for a week! Our honeymoon was in Margaret River and Prevelly. We stayed in a beautiful modern apartment in Prevelly first which had amazing views of the beach. We went for coffee at the beach cafe each morning and then went on adventures everyday which included mostly wineries and breweries, but we also went kayaking and to some other interesting locations around the Margaret River Region. After staying in Prevelly we then moved accommodation and stayed in a gorgeous two storey house at Woody Nook Winery! It was incredible. We really enjoyed the privacy and space. We spent each evening walking through the grape vines with a glass of wine. I would love to stay there again some time.

Wedding Advice

My advice to other couple's getting married is to enjoy every single second. From organizing, sending out invitations, choosing colours, discussing food and drinks, the ceremony, the reception and the honeymoon. Enjoy every single second and try to take it all in because it is the most amazing time of your life and you will never get to relive it again.

To all the brides out there that are planning their wedding, enjoy the time spent trying on dresses, makeup, hair and nails. Don't feel guilty about trying again and again or wasting anyone's time. It is your moment and you deserve to enjoy every second.

If I had my time again, there are two things I would change about our wedding day and the first is the cold weather as people were quite cold in the evening. I obviously have no control over that though so I guess I would just change the date to a bit later in the year. We chose the beginning of October so that our paddocks would be beautiful and green and full of flowers. The second thing would be having a videographer at the ceremony and reception, I really wish we had hired one.


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