Not all newlyweds can say they’ve sailed into the sunset but that is exactly what Joshua Starr and Joshua Breakwell did to round off their $50K Whitsunday wedding giveaway.
The Joshua’s, who won their wedding in a competition launched by 16 Whitsunday wedding suppliers in honour of marriage equality, were married at Paradise Cove Resort on August 3 in the region’s largest same sex wedding to date.
Their story catapulted the Whitsundays into the national spotlight and also caught the eye of local ‘bareboat’ company Sunsail Whitsundays, who gifted them a five-night honeymoon charter as the icing to an already perfect wedding cake.
“Sunsail Whitsundays just couldn’t let the Joshua’s leave the Whitsundays without giving them the opportunity to experience everything the region has to offer – in particular the unique and incredibly special experience of a bareboat charter,” Sales and Marketing Manager Stephanie Gale said.
“Bareboating – hiring a fully equipped boat either self-sailed or with a sail guide – is an incredible way to spend your time on the water in the Whitsundays and an even better way to spend your honeymoon.
“You can plan your own itinerary and visit some of the most secluded locations – all on your own timeline; enjoying the peace and tranquillity of being on the water, stargazing at night, snorkelling, paddle boarding and taking yourselves off to enjoy the many walks in the National Park.”
The Joshua’s did all these things and more, starting their honeymoon with a snorkel at False Nara Inlet in some of the best coral they had ever seen.
They bush-walked on Whitsunday Island, hired a golf buggy on Hamilton Island, visited aboriginal rock art on Hook Island, and spent a night at anchor off world-famous Whitehaven Beach.
Their wildlife encounters included turtles, whales and even a manta ray.
Now back on dry land, Joshua Breakwell said this had been an experience like no other and the perfect end to their fairytale wedding.
“After the day-trippers had gone home and it was just us – that was incredible,” he said.
“We saw the sunset from every angle and at night we could stargaze – complete with the comforts of home on our own boat.”
Jess Lawrence, TWPW wedding planner and chair of peak industry group WeddingsWhitsundays.com said having Sunsail Whitsundays come aboard the wedding giveaway had been fantastic for the Joshua’s, the wedding industry, and the region overall.
“I think Sunsail sees the possibilities for weddings in the Whitsundays and how they fit into that, which is a message we’ve been trying to get across to all local businesses,” she said.
“The region benefits from weddings because ultimately we are such a great wedding and honeymoon destination, so everybody wins.”
Tourism Whitsundays General Manager, Tash Wheeler, said throughout the Joshua’s wedding campaign individual businesses and differing industries had worked collaboratively to profile the destination.
“Through the Joshua’s wedding we’ve seen the promotion of the Whitsunday wedding industry, our bareboating experiences – and even the Whitsunday food scene thanks to celebrity wedding guests Carly and Tresne from Channel 7’s MKR,” she said.
“There is absolutely no doubt now that the Whitsundays is the wedding and honeymoon heart of Australia, where destination weddings are open to everyone.”
Reflecting on their big day, Joshua Starr said there were no words to match what the people of the Whitsundays, and in particular the contributing wedding suppliers, had done for the newlyweds.
“We don’t know where to start to thank them,” he said.
“It’ll go down in history with all our friends and family as the best wedding anyone’s ever been to – and we’ve formed lifelong relationships with these people now.”
The couple will now take a campervan road trip home to Newcastle to begin their married life.
“Wherever the stars are the brightest is where we will be,” Joshua Breakwell said.
“It’s a slow trip home so we can slip back into real life and digest everything that’s happened.”
On behalf of the Whitsunday wedding industry, Jess Lawrence wished them well.
“The Joshua’s have touched every single supplier who’s worked with them and I think we will always be friends,” she said.