Warning: images featured in this article contain nudity.
A bride-to-be married the love of her life naked, after her wedding dress order was cancelled while she was in a coma.
Doctors couldn’t say if Monique Penberthy, now 31, would survive after she developed a flesh-eating bug called necrotising fasciitis. As a result, her big day was called off and she lost her dream frock.
When she came round after being in a coma for 31 days, she was determined to tie the knot. But the dog trainer could not face looking for the perfect size 32 gown again, especially after she’d spent two months finding the first one before falling ill.
So, she suggested to her groom-to-be, truck driver Rowan, aged 27, that they wed in the nude instead. And that’s exactly what they did, in front of 700 people.
On 27 March this year at Confest, in Moulamein, New South Wales, the couple married. Monique wore just a veil and necklace, while the groom sported a top hat, bow tie and nothing else.
Monique, who was nervous ahead of her wedding, said: “It was nothing like we’d planned, but everything we’d wished for.
“When I saw all the guests – those who were at the festival - waiting, and I was naked, I was terrified. But when I looked around, and everyone was smiling and clapping, I was touched.”
Monique, from Melbourne, Australia, met Rowan in November 2014 online. They immediately hit it off, sharing a common interest in dogs and photography.
After meeting in real life a couple of days later in November 2014, romance blossomed and by March 2015 they were engaged and planning their Valentine’s Day 2016 wedding.
She continued: “We wanted an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea party for our wedding. We booked a venue, picked our bridesmaids and even hired the silverware.
“But for me a big thing was the dress. I struggled to find a dream dress that fitted and suited me. After months of searching I finally snapped up an ivory ball gown.
“I had my measurements taken, so I could have it made specially.”
Sadly, disaster struck when Monique became critically ill in November 2015.
After she developed a fever and started vomiting, Rowan rushed her to Dandenong Hospital in Melbourne. She was in shock and medics put her in an induced coma.
“I’d contracted a flesh-eating bug, which had eaten through my skin,” Monique recalled.
Doctors don’t know how it entered the skin and neither does she.
Monique had a section of her skin surgically-removed to get rid of the infection and rotting flesh.
“For 31 days Rowan prayed for me to wake up, but no-one could say if I’d survive,” she said.
Just before Christmas 2015, Monique came round but was still very weak.
Forced to stay in hospital for 73 days she was eager to get back on her feet – and get married.
Then Rowan broke the news that their wedding had been called off.
Concerned she might not come round, let alone make her nuptials, her mum, Donna, 54, had cancelled everything.
“I was devastated,” Monique said. “Especially when Valentine’s Day came and went.”
But she wasn’t going to let the setback stop her from marrying Rowan and, on 27 March, they married in the buff at a festival.
Monique said Rowan looked very handsome in just a bowtie and top hat.
“Everyone hugged and congratulated us,” she said. “It was beautiful, a dream come true.”