The 20-something Novocastrian couple met 12 years ago, in their final year of high school, during a hospitality class at Saint Francis Xavier College in Hamilton and began dating the following year.
In a time when many young couples are meeting via online dating applications and opt for non-traditional weddings involving a celebrant, their story is romantic and full of old-world charm.
Andy commenced work in his family’s real estate business, Castle Property, the same year he started dating Lauren. He is the 3rd generation of family to work in the business, something he is very proud of and Lauren keenly supports.
“I think a lot of people are surprised when they meet Andy - he has a great love for family and an amazing work ethic, is genuine and down-to-earth and not at all the cliché real estate agent! He is reliable and the man I want to raise a family with,” Lauren said, beaming from ear-to-ear.
The couple married in October 2017, almost 10 years to the day after they started dating. A few years on and family planning is certainly on their agenda, with their first baby due in July.
“Lauren is caring to a fault. She is so considerate of other people and that’s what I think is important in family. I have no doubt she will be a magnificent mother,” Andy said.
Following a marriage proposal by Andy in Cairn, France and upon their return to Australia they met with Father Geoff Mulhearn, who they asked to officiate at their wedding. Father Geoff agreed and also suggested they undertake CatholicCare’s Before We Say I Do marriage education course. The group program provides couples with the opportunity to explore their relationship, build on their strengths and gain essential knowledge and skills that they will use for years to come.
“When you’re in a work, home, work, home, space and you’ve been together for 10 years it can be easy to loose each other,” Andy said.
“We knew how to live with each other but the Course taught us how to listen- not so much to what is said, but why it is said,” Lauren continued.
“In that sense, the Course reminded us to make time for each other and talk about matters that are important to us as individuals, as well as a couple. Just because you get married doesn’t mean your relationship is guaranteed, we are now equally committed to ensuring it doesn’t go stale,” Andy said.
Following the Course came the wedding, which was centred on their love of family and each other.
“We both held the view that wedding was not just ‘our day’ - it was a celebration of two families coming together,” Lauren said.
To reflect this, members of both sides were allocated special tasks at the ceremony and at the reception everyone took their place at one long table signifying the families’ unity. The couple described the occasion as “perfection”.
As Andy and Lauren prepare for their life as a trio, there are a number of matters they can feel confident about.
“We’re so excited to become parents and start our own family. We’re also very grateful that our parents are equally enthusiastic about the baby’s pending arrival and will be on hand to offer assistance and create an extended network of love and support,” Andy said.
“To date, we’ve been partners in everything and have a strong union because of this. We’re going into parenthood with a commitment to co-parenting. We understand there are going to be some massive adjustments, but we also know solid communication will be vital so we intend on enrolling in CatholicCare’s Bringing Baby Home course, to guide our parental journey and give us the best start possible,” Lauren said.
Marriage and Relationship Education Courses 2019
Marriage Education is a vital part of planning for a life partnership. CatholicCare offers a selection of courses for married and soon-to-be married couples.
Couples are advised to attend a course around four months prior to the wedding. Book early as some courses are very popular. Before We Say I Do is a group program held Friday evening and Saturday as advertised and the FOCCUS group program is three Monday evening sessions.
- Marriage and Relationship Education Course – FOCCUS at the Toohey Room, Newcastle, 6 and 13 May. 5.15-7.30pm (Session 3 to be confirmed).
- Before We Say I Do, 7 and 8 June at the Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm.
- Marriage and Relationship Education Course – FOCCUS at the Toohey Room, Newcastle, 15 and 22 July. 5.15-7.30pm (Session 3 to be confirmed).
- Before We Say I Do, 23 and 24 August at the Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm.
- Marriage and Relationship Education Course – FOCCUS at the Toohey Room, Newcastle, 28 October and 4 November. 5.15-7.30pm (Session 3 to be confirmed).
- Before We Say I Do, 22 and 23 November at the Toohey Room, Newcastle. Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 9am-5pm.
We also have a wait list for our Bringing Baby Home workshop which assists couples transition to parenthood. FOCCUS Individual Sessions by appointment only.
For further information on all our courses please contact Robyn Donnelly P 02 4979 1370 or E firstname.lastname@example.org.