When Aleese and Ryan met working underground at BHP’s Leinster nickel mine, they didn’t quite expect it would be the same place they would share their wedding vows four years later.
But that’s exactly what happened this week at BHP’s Leinster nickel mine, around 1000km north east of Perth in the northern Goldfields of Western Australia.
Dressed in their bright orange high vis shirts, and with a specially made jacket and veil adorned helmet, Aleese and Ryan made sure their celebrant and photographer were properly inducted before travelling 1.1km beneath the surface to exchange their wedding vows.
“Originally, we wanted to elope, somewhere like Broome or near the beach but Ryan suggested we get married where we first met. I asked my boss Chibs and four weeks later he got back to us and here we are - it was very cool,” Aleese said.
Chibs even walked her down the aisle, helping keep the bride’s wedding day jitters at bay.
“He was just as nervous as me. He slowed me down, helped me catch my breath. I couldn’t have imagined walking down the aisle without him,” she said.
“It was so important to us that we get married here. Leinster is home for us. I’ve worked here on and off since 2016 – I came out here as a road train driver and then came underground and over the years the family in town and the family on site have been fantastic.
“There were heaps of moving parts to it. But ultimately everyone came together and were so excited to do this for us.”
The bride even followed wedding tradition, wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
“We don’t usually wear brand new uniforms – we stick out a little bit at the moment because our uniforms are quite clean and new.
“My something old was a handkerchief I had in my pocket that I got from my grandad’s drawer when he passed away 12 years ago. It sounds silly but its my good luck charm when I travel or do anything. It always comes with me.”
The pair are settled in Leinster and plan on starting their family in the small Goldfields town.
“The lifestyle, the work, the people, the community – everything like that, it all comes into play,” Ryan said.
The couple’s family was not surprised at their wedding venue given their career choice.
“We’re both workaholics so to have the place that we both love being and both being miners, the family thought it was very fitting,” Aleese said.
“I met the previous underground manager while driving road trains. She asked me to give underground a go so I’ve been underground for four years now. I love it, I don’t think I’ll ever do any other job. Its incredible.
“I want to be a shift boss one day so seeing a female in that position and BHP advocating and supporting for that means the world to me. There are so many people here that I Iook up to and value.”
The couple plan on celebrating their wedding with friends and family in Queensland next year
“Thanks to BHP for making this all happen. And thanks to the Tjiwarl community and all the traditional land owners for allowing us to be here. There’s so much we’re thankful for. We’re very grateful to be here and to be able to do this.”
Photo by Sara Hannagan photography.