Epic race to the altar

Posted: 9am 11 Aug 2021
Photos: Lauren Toth, Everlast Studios

Aimee Houston and Nicholas Richards were facing the prospect of postponing their wedding for the second time, when their wedding venue, celebrant, suppliers and DJ sprang into action after the snap COVID-19 lockdown was announced on July 31.

Their wedding originally scheduled for 3pm Golden Ox at Margate had to be brought forward, with less than two hours to prepare.

The Golden Ox owner Nick Tzimas says he just arrived at the Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, where he was booked for cooking demonstrations when word of the lockdown came through at 10am.

“I said straight away, ‘we have to get back to the restaurant’. We came back and I spoke to the bride’s mother. She said, can ‘we do it?’ and we said ‘of course we can’,” Nick recalls.

That was at 10.45am and the wedding needed to happen at noon, with savouries at 12.50pm and entrées by 1.15pm. Everyone had to be on their way home by 3.30pm before the lockdown came into force.

“Everyone flew with great speed. All the chefs, apprentices, me and Virginia, the floor staff … everyone went to work straight away to get it ready,” he says.

The bride says her mother sprang into action, contacting suppliers – all local to the Moreton Bay Region.

“They were excellent. She spoke to the celebrant first, then Nick and came to the decision that we’d try as hard as we could to bring it all forward,” Aimee says.

“Mum made that phone call. I was ringing other suppliers and calling family.”

Photos: Lauren Toth, Everlast Studios. Visit:

Blissfully unaware

Meanwhile, the groom was relaxing at the couple’s room at Mon Komo blissfully unaware of the drama unfolding until he received a phone call from his bride.

“I said, ‘you’d better get your skates on because we’re going to have to pull it all forward to make it all happen before 4pm because there’s a snap lockdown’,” she recalls.

He phoned his side of the family as he was getting ready.

They had 48 guests attend and had deliberately kept numbers below 50 in case of COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s hard to sum it all up, we’re so thankful,” Aimee says.

“We rang the DJ, who was at Woolies and ditched a trolley of groceries and ran. The celebrant was at the bakery eating a pie.

“Their dedication was above and beyond. We couldn’t be more thankful for the enormous effort to make our love story happen on the day.”

The Narangba couple postponed their plans to marry last July and thought 12 months on, they would be safe.

“There were lots of positives in the day. We ended up having things we wouldn’t have had if we didn’t have to shorten the time,” Aimee says.

Because it was a shorter event, the photographer, Lauren Toth from Everlast Studios, was able to stay for the reception, so they now have more photos of family.

Nick says he is proud of the way his team came together to ensure the wedding went ahead.

“When they said, ‘I do’, there were a few tears, myself included, because it was an emotional day,” he says.

“Everyone was so happy working towards making their dream come true. It was like a symphony, the way we all worked together. In so much adversity, it’s amazing the Aussie spirit comes to the fore – all for one and one for all.

“That was the most fulfilling thing. It was really beautiful.”

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