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A Reef House Love Story; The Cowdery’s

Timing has defined the love story of Geelong couple Marcus and Fiona Cowdery who tied the knot at The Reef House Boutique Hotel & Spa on 9 November after a New Year’s Eve proposal at the adults-only wellness resort two years ago.

It took more than three decades of narrowly missing meeting, starting with their teenage years when they attended secondary schools across the road from each other in Victoria. At 18, Marcus bought an old house in St Leonard’s almost directly behind the home of Fiona Macys’ parents and renovated it. In their 30s they both used to drink at the St Leonard’s Hotel and Marcus was a daily customer at the bakery where Fiona had a casual job.

Fiona became best friends with Marcus’ sister Steph and met everyone in his family but him. During a boisterous night with Steph, she was introduced to him but was intent on their girls’ night shenanigans. It wasn’t until their next girls’ night out that Steph declared that Fiona should meet her brother if she was intent on just having fun and not getting married. The next day they met, and they both say it was love at first sight!

A wedding was planned for 5 November 2023 in Geelong and a honeymoon booked at The Reef House where the proposal took place. Fiona’s nine-year-old daughter Violette and their many family and friends were to be part of the celebrations. As she was making plans for the wedding, 46-year-old Fiona thought she was going through early menopause. She and Marcus were surprised to discover she was pregnant.

The big wedding was cancelled so that seven and a half-months pregnant Fiona and Marcus could enjoy a quiet celebration at the romantic location where they became engaged. They once again turned to Cedric Lootvoet, the Luxury Concierge at The Reef House and the Escape Planning Specialists to help make their day special. The dress was altered to accommodate Fiona’s beautiful round belly and they both said “I do” as friends and family from around the world watched the livestream of the event.

The beach wedding followed by a celebration dinner for two at The Reef House was as intimate and perfect as the romantic proposal Marcus had secretly planned two years earlier with the assistance of Luxury Concierge Cedric Lootvoet.

“I had never been to Cairns before, but Marcus had stayed at The Reef House, so he surprised me with a trip to Palm Cove,” Fiona says of the proposal. “Everything was set up so beautifully for our 10-course degustation with French champagne overlooking the beach and I knew he was going to propose.”

What Fiona didn’t know was how much work had gone on in the background. Marcus and Cedric had spoken multiple times to ensure it was the perfect proposal. “One of the waiters brought out the ring on a platter, lifted the lid and I got down on one knee and proposed just before the fireworks,” he says.

Marcus said The Reef House would remain their special place. “I was just a random lost young man waiting for this woman to come into my life when I stayed at The Reef House a few times in the early 2000s. There are few places like it where it is so comfortable that it feels like home and that is why I keep coming back,” he says.

It’s no wonder Cedric has just received the Customer Service award at the TNQ Tourism Industry Excellence Awards, Fiona says. “Cedric cares so much about his guests and wants to make everything perfect. He even offered to drive us to the airport when our taxi was running late.”

The love story of Marcus and Fiona Cowdery is one that French-born Cedric is proud to have played a part in. That’s amour!