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Beth and Sam Milligan met in school before Beth moved elsewhere and Sam joined the army. But the two never forgot one another, and eight years later they fell in love again, and then married at Bendooley Estate. Photographer Henryk Lobaczewski captured their perfect winter’s day.

To paraphrase William Shakespeare, the path of true love does not always run smoothly. Just ask Sam and Beth.

‘We met at Camden High school but then Beth went to another school,’ says Sam, a tower crane rigger. ‘Then we met four years later at a party and went on a few dates but I had joined the army so we went our separate ways again.

‘But I never forgot Beth, and after another four years we got in touch. I was living in Queensland, Beth was still in Camden, so we did the long-distance thing until I was discharged from the army and moved home. We have been together ever since.’

Beth, a funeral director in her family business, says she fell in love with Sam because of the way he adores her. ‘He makes me feel loved and secure,’ she says. ‘He also makes me laugh constantly.’

Sam proposed at a family function, after asking Beth’s mum for her blessing and showing her the ring. From the outset, the couple were in no doubt about who they wanted to marry them, or where they wanted to do the deed.

‘In my line of work I meet a lot of celebrants,’ says Beth, ‘And we chose Michael Bourke because we wanted someone who was down-to-earth, humorous and beautiful. And Mick nailed it.

‘As for the venue, we have both always loved the Southern Highlands, and we loved Bendooley on sight. The ambience was bliss and the food was amazing. It was just us.’

Beth says while other couples may shy away from getting married in winter, she and Sam were determined to make it a central theme of the day.

‘We opted for a glamorous, elegant Hollywood vibe – formal black suits with silk lapels for the men, floor-length blush sequinned gowns with cream fur shrugs for the girls, and Hollywood waves in our hair. The weather was perfect, and the atmosphere with that huge fireplace and the elegance of the fur coats, well, it just all came together.’

Beth and her attendants got ready in Bendooley’s cosy Book Barn Cottage (see our Escape Southern Highlands review in the Autumn edition), the ceremony took place in the gardens and then the 176 guests sat down to a three-course reception in the Book Barn.

‘The most important elements to us were the food, alcohol and music,’ says Sam. ‘Everyone commented on how spectacular the food was. We opted for the Table Share and everyone said there was more than enough to go around – we didn’t want to hear of our guests doing McDonald’s runs at 2am on the way home. Similarly, the alcohol flowed generously and the band, Something Borrowed, was fantastic, playing from the ceremony right through the reception.’

To Sam and Beth, their day was perfection. Right down to the moment Jesse, one of their friends, proposed to Letitia, one of Beth’s bridesmaids.

‘From the time I woke up in the morning to the end of the night, everything was perfect,’ says Beth. ‘We were super organised, which helped me stay calm. I think that played a big part in such a huge day. Our one-year anniversary is coming up and we are excited to go back to Bendooley for lunch to celebrate it. The staff went above and beyond for us. They made us feel like royalty.’





Bendooley Estate

3020 Old Hume Highway, Berrima

Bride’s dress

GC Bridal Lounge (Kate Gubanyi)

Groom and groomsmen suits

David Jones

Bridesmaids and flower girl dresses and fur wraps

Lehann Keaton, Bubs to Brides Alterations


Robyn Matthews, Dream Flowers, Camden


Bendooley Estate

Wedding cake

Cake Arcade,


Henryk Lobaczewski,

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