Wedding for the ages as Salamander Bay couple marries at 82 and 90

HAPPY COUPLE: Salamander Bay's Elie Bell, aged 82, and 90-year-old Herb Smith on the eve of their wedding day at their home.
HAPPY COUPLE: Salamander Bay's Elie Bell, aged 82, and 90-year-old Herb Smith on the eve of their wedding day at their home.

When the flower girl and the page boy are aged in their 60s, it's a sure sign that this could only be an extraordinary wedding.

And so it was last Saturday when the bride Elie Bell, a sprightly 82, and her 90-year-old groom Herb Smith tied the knot in front of a COVID-safe 10 guests at a family friend's Port Stephens home. It was the second marriage for both.

Asked if they would be taking a honeymoon, the Salamander Bay couple replied: "No need at our age, well we have just returned from a two month trip to Queensland so you could say we had our honeymoon prior to getting married."

The couple, who have known each other for 30-plus years, in fact are rather a little bemused by all the hype. "Getting married is something we have always wanted to do but for mainly family reason we haven't been able to legally," said Elie.

"Now everything has been sorted we decided to go ahead. COVID presented no obstacles because we only wanted to invite small number of people and we figured we were too old to elope."

For Herb, tying the knot was the right thing to do. "We have overcome some adversity and I wanted to make it official."

NEWLYWEDS: The bride Elie Bell and groom Herb Smith with celebrant Denise Croft on their wedding day. Picture: Supplied

NEWLYWEDS: The bride Elie Bell and groom Herb Smith with celebrant Denise Croft on their wedding day. Picture: Supplied

The couple met at an old time dance in Cardiff for singles aged over 50 and bought their Salamander Bay home four years ago.

Both have children and grandchildren from previous marriages, some of whom approved of the marriage and some who did not. In the end Elie and Herb say they did what felt was right for them.

"We enjoy each other's company and we are both still active despite our ages," added Herb, who describes himself as a jack-of-all-trades. He in fact worked in a number of labouring jobs including bricklaying before becoming a builder.

"I like to keep myself fit and healthy. I ran the Stawell gift and the Bendigo mile and I've played Australian rules in both Victoria and Western Australia. I keep an exercise bike in the living room to keep fit."

Herb, who survived prostate cancer some 20 years ago, still drives, he is a talented musician (guitarist) and singer and the pair are members of a Tanilba Bay-based ukulele group.

Elie, a former lab technician who has resided in a range of country towns while following her former husband's teaching career, also enjoys the outdoors and being actively involved in the community. She

"I was brought up on the farm so I love fishing, camp fires and caravaning. I suppose we want to be just like any other newly married couple."

The wedding day - conducted in beautiful weather - went off without a hitch.

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