11 August 2021

Canberra couple win epic white wedding in nation's Red Centre

| Edwina Mason
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Joel and Bonnie Sykes

Joel and Bonnie Sykes are headed to the Red Centre to get married next month after being selected from hundreds of entries in a nationwide competition. Photo: Supplied.

The nation’s Red Centre will shimmer with a flourish of white amid burnouts, drag races, grass driving and street cruising – as well as a whole lot of show and shine next month when a Canberra couple celebrate a competition win with a difference.

Car enthusiasts Bonnie and Joel Sykes nearly fell off their seats when told they were winners of a one-of-a-kind wedding in the Red Centre.


Performance car events are a family affair that includes five-year-old Noah and nine-month-old Chloe. Photo: Supplied.

Not just any Red Centre wedding – they’re getting hitched at Red CentreNATS.

The couple, who have been together for 12 years and engaged for six years, are parents to two beautiful children – five-year-old Noah and nine-month-old Chloe.

Bonnie never thought they’d get married, so she legally changed her name to Sykes.

However, when the couple heard about the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime wedding at such an iconic motorsport event and venue, Bonnie couldn’t resist and submitted a hilarious entry.

The Tik Tok video titled “12 years, 2 kids, 6 performance cars, hundreds of motorsport events and still hasn’t married me” was filmed in their own performance car.

“I kept it pretty simple,” Bonnie said. And simple worked.

Up for grabs was the $15,000 wedding package and the chance to celebrate the two biggest loves of their life – their other half and their car.

The wedding competition attracted entries from across Australia with couples of all ages vying for the chance to win a decked-out, automotive-inspired wedding in one of the most picturesque locations in the country.

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“They told us we were in the final three entries and needed to take part in an interview,” she said.

“So there we were, all lined up in front of the computer at home when we were told we had actually won the wedding.”

“I was shocked,” she added.

Joel fully expected tears.

Thanks to their winning entry highlighting their four-wheeled pride and joy, Bonnie and Joel have won themselves a ceremony, a celebrant, reception for up to 20 people, a hen’s and buck’s party, flowers, a cake, photography, videography and more.

“We were so excited when we found out we won – we are completely over the moon. It’s such a great opportunity and we are super grateful.

“We are really happy that we’re finally getting married and can’t wait to enter this year’s Red CentreNATS. Getting to lead the street parade is huge too, we are so excited.”

Performance cars

One of Joel and Bonnie’s performance cars at the Yarragundry Test and Tune in 2020. Photo: Supplied.

This will be the second time the family have travelled to Alice Springs for the festival and they will be the first couple to be officially married at the event with the ceremony taking place on Saturday 4 September and reception on Sunday 5 September.

The bride and groom will also lead the popular street parade on Saturday 4 September where thousands of onlookers will cheer the newlyweds through the streets of Alice Springs.

Both Bonnie and Joel hope friends and family can also attend.

A unique drawcard for a car festival in the heart of Australia, the Red CentreNATS wedding is considered a fitting addition to the program after numerous couples got engaged and had children as a result of meeting at previous events.

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This year marks the seventh annual Red CentreNATS in Alice Springs and has become a yearly pilgrimage for dedicated interstate car enthusiasts and their prized possessions who join hundreds of Territorians in entering the event across numerous categories.

Boasting everything from a show & shine, Australia’s largest street parade, grass driving and motorkhana to drags, burnouts and more, the event also features a popular Podium Party which sees some of Australia’s biggest names in music perform on stage.

Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez congratulated Bonnie and Joel on winning the competition.

“These nuptials are going to be epic. In the past we’ve seen couples get engaged at Red CentreNATS and then go on to have children, but this is our first wedding,” he said.

“We couldn’t be happier to see two of our amazing entrants make their love official at Australia’s Ultimate Festival of Wheels.”

To find out more, purchase tickets or enter the event, visit www.redcentrenats.com.au

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