Since July 2017 Justin Steele from Grafton and Lida Chan from Phnom Penh, Cambodia have called Narrabri home.
The couple first met when Justin was backpacking in Cambodia in October 2010. Since then Justin has been to Cambodia 29 times.
On August 20, 2016 Justin and Lida had their Australian wedding on the beach at Red Rock NSW and moved to Narrabri when Justin was accepted into a cleanskin mining role with Whitehaven Coal at the Narrabri Underground mine.
Justin and Lida both live in Narrabri and Lida works at the Crossroads Hotel.
On August 10 and 11 Justin and Lida’s traditional Cambodian wedding was held in a marquee on the street outside their house in Phnom Penh.
There were 330 family and friends in attendance over the two days of ceremonies.
On the Saturday afternoon the wedding commenced with a Monk blessing ceremony with four monks present for the very special service.
The family ceremony which remembers former family members who are no longer living, followed.
The evening was spent wrapping fresh fruit and gifts for the Groom’s Procession which was to start at 7am on the Sunday, the main wedding day.
The day started at 4am with the hair and make-up being done and the dressing of the bridal parties in traditional attire.
The bride and groom changed into 12 outfits on the wedding day. Each outfit was a different colour and style for each ceremony which were all different.
Cambodian comedians, a special dance show of Apsaras, that is Cambodian folk dances, featured and traditional music was played on a range of instruments including buffalo horns.
The eventing was spent dancing around a large cake made up of small traditional Cambodian desserts, to a live band.
All meals served were Cambodian national dishes with beef, duck and fish being the standout favourites.
Guests included the couple’s friends and family from Cambodia as well as Austria, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the USA and Australia.
Australian guests travelled from Perth, Albury, Canberra, Goulburn, Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane, Hervey Bay and Narrabri.
Stewart and Sophan Tyler, Tim and Brodie Boehm, Warren Honeyman and Jonty Raaen made up the local contingent.
The couple’s honeymoon was spent touring Cambodia with Lida’s family and their overseas friends.
They explored the Angkor Wat Temples in Siem Reap and partied three nights away in Pub Street.
While in Siem Reap the group took time to visit and drop off medical supplies to an Australian run orphange.
They also purchased cook books and greeting cards created by the children, the profits of which go to supporting street children of Cambodia.
Their tour bus stopped in the spider town (Skuon), for a fresh snack of fried Tarantula which is a regional delicacy.
Other foods tasted on the trip were Chilli Crickets and deep fried scorpions.
The entourage also spent three nights in Bamboo Bungalows along the riverside in Kampot and said it was refreshing to spend a few hours in the clouds and fog on top of Bokor Mountain.
Justin and Lida have made their home in Narrabri and both enjoy the small community feeling and have taken to country living, enjoying bushwalking and local camps which they visit frequently as well as the region’s artesian bore baths.