Strictly Come Dancing favourite Natalie Lowe married James Knibbs in her native Australia in January 2018 surrounded by some of her closest friends from the show including professional dancer Ian Waite, and former celebrity contestants Judy Murray and Deborah Meaden. "I always dreamed of getting married here one day," she exclusively told HELLO! of the beautiful ceremony on 8th January at Balmoral Beach overlooking Sydney Harbour. "Balmoral Beach holds a very special place in my heart. I used to work as a beauty therapist nearby and walk down to the beach most lunchtimes. It is such an incredible place – and what better time to get wed than the Australian summer? The whole day was filled with lots of laughter, singing and dancing. The Public Dining Room was perfect for our guests to unwind and enjoy amazing Australian food and wine."
Natalie spoke about her beautiful wedding
The Strictly professional dancer, who announced she was leaving the show last year, wore a bespoke strapless dress in a pale ivory Italian crepe by British designer Suzanne Neville which scored a perfect ten from her new husband company director, James, who told HELLO!: "She absolutely took my breath away. She looked so beautiful walking down the aisle. It is a moment I will never forget." Speaking about her gown, Natalie explained: "I found it hard to choose something for my wedding that felt different to stepping onto the Strictly dancefloor or a red carpet." Designer Suzanne Neville combined four beautiful designs, and Natalie said that "my dream wedding dress was brought to life".
Natalie spoke about walking down the aisle
The bride travelled to the elegant Balmoral Rotunda with her father, explaining: "I'm a huge car fan so I thought I'd treat my dad and myself to a Bentley Flying Spur to take us to the wedding. It was a special time to share with him." On seeing her future husband at the altar, she said: "Seeing James waiting for me was so amazing… He looked so handsome. I didn't want to look up too much walking down the aisle as I didn't want to be a blubbering mess before I reached him." She added that he "left no stone unturned in the detail and allowed me to feel extra special on the big day".
Ian Waite gave a reading of a poem he and his husband Drew Merrimen had written, and Natalie described it as "extremely moving, funny and heartfelt". Ian told HELLO!: "I would not have missed the wedding for the world. We have been through so much together, starting on Strictly with many tours together we have become like brother and sister. I adore her." Speaking about her time on the show, Natalie said: "My memories of Strictly are so special and I do miss being a part of it, but I am so honoured that it gave me the opportunity to go on and do so many different things."
The pair tied the knot in January
One of the highlights was always going to be the first dance, which was to Irish by the Goo Goo Dolls. "A Viennese Waltz and then when everyone thought it was over we broke out into a full-on Charleston to Shout by the Isley Brothers. I was so proud of James he was SO good. I had only given him two 30-minute lessons," Natalie revealed. "I think we will definitely keep on dancing now we have danced our first dance together. It felt very fitting to have our first dance to that song. It was a bonus that it was a Viennese waltz as it's one of my favourite dances. Then, when everyone thought it was over, we broke out into a full-on Charleston to Shout by the Isley Brothers. By the time we'd finished, everyone was up on their feet with us."
Natalie spoke about her dream dress
The newlyweds exchanged platinum wedding rings designed by D & L Jewellery in Stockport, which had also made Natalie's engagement ring. "James also surprised me with a very symbolic wedding gift – a necklace with two circles intertwining each other in the shape of a figure eight, which matches the date of our wedding day: 8/1/18, and represents two becoming one," she explained. Speaking about meeting James for the first time, Natalie gushed: "I always knew James was the one for me from the moment we met on that train. We're so alike in so many ways. It's quite scary how much we have in common." After signing the marriage certificate, the happy pair left to the song I'm So Excited by the Pointer Sisters. Speaking about the song choice, Natalie said: "I didn't feel nervous, only excited. I couldn't wait to be Mrs Knibbs. Our celebrant Claire Belford was sensational. She really captured the love we have for one another." They then arrived at their reception to Danger Zone from the film, Top Gun and she joked: "James and I love that film and we didn't want to take ourselves too seriously."
Natalie also opened up about Strictly
After the ceremony, guests were taken in a water taxi to the luxury superyacht Sahana for an idyllic three-hour harbour cruise, with an oyster bar on board, but it wasn't all smooth sailing! Speaking about the party, Natalie said: "It was wonderful. But as we returned, a freakish storm broke out, leaving a third of our guests on the boat. It only lasted 15 minutes and as soon as they all arrived back safe and sound we were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow. It was a thrilling and very memorable moment."
"I was completely moved by the whole day. From the moment I arrived to the last goodbye it was the most memorable and special day of my life," Natalie gushed. "When you are planning a wedding on the other side of the world it helps to have someone you trust that gets the job done," she said of her wedding planner Samantha Burke. "We could not have had this day without her." The celebrations will continue back in the UK with plans to hold a party in the summer to celebrate with family and friends who couldn't make it to Australia. Of their stunning wedding album, Natalie added: "We really felt our photographer Andy Morris played a key part to the day. He captured all the right moments and made the day feel extra special, it was like he was part of the family."
Event planner: samanthaburkeevents.com
Photographer: Andy Morris: weddingsbymorris.com
Bridesmaids dresses: twobirdsbridal.com