Engagement party celebrated with cardboard cut-out guests

The latest lot of COVID-19 restrictions may have placed the country under pseudo house arrest, but that didn’t stop one North Gosford couple from celebrating their engagement with all their friends and family.

Rob Cambridge and Brooke Hartley’s March 28 engagement party is a date they’ll never forget.
There was dancing, drinking, a photobooth and cake, shared with cut-outs of around 30 of their nearest and dearest.
When the pandemic hit, the couple were devastated.
An Emergency Department nurse, Brooke was not only facing the prospect of being on the frontlines of the biggest health crisis of her generation, but due to the crackdown on public gatherings, she also had to cancel her wedding.
Their engagement party was also a casualty, but with the date already set and all the preparation done, the crafty couple had a lightbulb moment.
“I had joked to a friend that lives in Newcastle that I’d send him a cardboard cut-out and Brooke just jumped on that idea and ran with it,” Rob said.
Brooke spent an evening cutting out photos of their friends and family and tacking them onto paddle pop sticks.
The result was a room full of loved ones for the couple’s big night.
Not one to do things in half measures, Brooke had multiple stand-ins of their guests for every activity, from dancing to last drinks.
The party has become legendary among their inner circle who’ve been enjoying picking themselves out of the photo album.
Said albums also attracted a couple of hundred likes and shares on social media, with the couple being praised for looking on the lighter side of life.
For Brooke and Rob though, the party was just about having a bit of fun, and while it might’ve been intended as a cheeky shot at social distancing, its quickly become a treasured memory.
“Everything is so doom and gloom at the moment and the only thing we can do is get on with life.
“We really just wanted to do something a bit light-hearted, and now we’ve got a great story to tell the kids one day.
“It certainly was a party we’ll never forget,” Brooke said.

Interview, Apr 2
Brooke Hartley and Rob Cambridge, North Gosford
Reporter: Dilon Luke