Unplugged Ceremony

Chloe and Kymberlee had a beautiful unplugged ceremony at Walkabout Creek. In the housekeeping, I let friends and family know that we have a professional photographer present, so they don’t need to take any photos. At the couple’s request, I asked that the guests switch off their mobile phones. This is becoming more popular because couples want to look at their loved ones smiling faces and not have them hidden behind a sea of phones. It also means that people can be more relaxed and engaged. It’s a lot easier for people to clap and cheer when they have their hands free!

And clap and cheer they did, for Chloe and Kymberlee have a wonderful relationship. I spoke about how they met at work and then after a few months became best friends. It was in March of 2016, when they went to a Twenty One Pilots concert together that their relationship became romantic. They do say that music is the language of love!

Gay friendly Brisbane Celebrant

I spoke about what the Kymberlee and Chloe mean to each other. They provide each other with love, support and fun adventures. They understand each other and make the perfect team. Their relationship provides them both with softness and strength. They help each other grow and be the best that they can be. Mid last year, Kymberlee and Chloe welcomed their adorable little boy into the world. They both feel so blessed to have him in their lives and love him to bits. Together they have created a life that is happy, exciting and meaningful.

They wrote some amazing vows to each other. The perfect combination in vows is mostly heartfelt, mixed with some personal details and a sprinkle of humour. One funny line was “I promise to kill all the spiders, and share my fries with you when you’ve finished yours but you’re still hungry.” We all had a good giggle about that.

It was such an honour getting to know these ladies and planning their unplugged ceremony with them. I loved witnessing their vows and celebrating their relationship. I wish them the brightest and most wonderful future together.

If you’re looking for a celebrant, I’d love to hear from you.

Brisbane Outdoor Wedding

Nirobon and Alex were married by me under a big beautiful fig tree for their Brisbane outdoor wedding. They hired a property in Pullenvale through Airbnb and decorated the tree with large orange and white drapes of fabric. It was simple yet made such a fantastic impact and the orange colour was a perfect reflection of the couple’s joyful personalities. The atmosphere was relaxed, happy and elegant.

Brisbane celebrant under fig tree for outdoor marriage ceremony

Intimate Ceremony

The ceremony was intimate and started with children blowing bubbles to the background of live acoustic music. Alex’s son walked Nirobon down the aisle, which was very sweet. We then formed a small semi-circle of love around the couple. Alex thanked his children for welcoming Nirobon into their family and they shared a hug. It was a very touching moment.

Including Loved Ones

I thanked everyone for coming and also acknowledged special people that couldn’t be present. Unfortunately, Nirobon’s parents weren’t able to attend the Australian ceremony, as they live in Thailand. I read out a letter on their behalf with their well wishes, advice for a happy married life and sentiments about how they look forward to celebrating with them soon. There are many ways to include loved ones, even if they physically can’t be present. I enjoy making everyone feel welcome and part of the ceremony.

Brisbane celebrant with bride and groom under fig tree for outdoor marriage ceremony

Nirobon and Alex met through a mutual friend. Nirobon was interested in learning English and developed a friendship with Alex, where they chatted about everything. Their relationship eventually became romantic and we laughed about how Nirobon was finally able to understand Alex’s dad jokes. Together, they have supported each other and shared many wonderful experiences.

Tree Planting Ritual

The ceremony finished with a tree planting ritual, which is perfect for a Brisbane outdoor wedding. The couple placed a small tree in a pot, and I read out a short blessing for the newlyweds as guests came forward and scooped soil around the base of the tree. The tree represents growing together and the group planting symbolises support for the marriage. The bride really got involved and ditched the small spade to dig her hands into the soil. It was fun watching her get fully immersed and ended the ceremony with a touch of spontaneous joy. I love getting to know my couples and seeing them celebrate their way.

Married couple performing tree planting ritual as a part of their Brisbane outdoor wedding
Photograph by Adrian Alford – award winning  photographer specialising in landscape, nature and travel photography

If you’re looking for a celebrant, I’d love to hear from you.

A Beautiful Marriage Ceremony

There was quite a lot of rain on Sunday, but I knew that Mia and Albert would have a beautiful marriage ceremony anyway. I married them at Walkabout Creek in Enoggera Reservoir. We waited to see what the weather would do; I don’t mind waiting because I only book one wedding a day. That way I can get to the venue early and be flexible to my couples’ needs. There was a gap between the showers, so Mia and Albert were able to have their outdoor ceremony at the gorgeous Lakeview deck.

Love Conquers All

Walkabout Creek Lakeview deck for the beautiful marriage ceremony
A little wet beforehand but love conquers all

The water was not only falling from the sky; as the love spilled over, people shed a few tears. On behalf of the bride, I gave a little thank you speech addressed to her mum. Mia’s mum has acted as both nurturing mother and guiding father and has been an incredibly strong role model. I also thanked Albert’s family for all the support that they have given him. Small speeches can be incorporated into the ceremony to shorten the number delivered at the reception. If you like, I could also include a funny story about the bridal party, and this way your guests have an icebreaker to laugh about together.

Friends and Family at the Lakeview Deck

Group photo after marriage ceremony at Walkabout Creek in Enoggera Reservoir

I spoke about how Mia and Albert’s relationship developed over time; mostly by enjoying adventurous activities. They have been on many hiking trips together. For one of these hikes, they were greatly under-prepared, which tested their survival skills, but they managed to stay intact without having to go ‘Bear Grylls’. They also went to New Zealand on a ski trip, which was their first overseas holiday together. The experiences they shared there, even though they both got concussion, have become treasured memories. These two like to live life on the edge.

Australian groom and Vietnamese bride with Brisbane celebrant at Walkabout Creek

Their Rings

The rings Mia and Albert exchanged are the prefect reflection of their relationship and life together. They both enjoy rock climbing, so having rings made of hard metal could result in a finger injury. Therefore, their rings are made of silicone, which is soft and flexible. These rings may not seem precious, but they had already been present on many adventures with them, which makes them, and the memories attached priceless. The rings also need to be replaced as rubber does not last forever. This is symbolic of the fact that vows are not just said once and forgotten. They are to be revisited and renewed as the promise to love each other is made over again and again.

Silicone rubber rings exchanged during beautiful marriage ceremony at Walkabout Creek

Most importantly, beneath all the fun, and near-death experiences, Mia and Albert have built a strong relationship based on unconditional love and support. It was a pleasure getting to know them and being their celebrant. I’m so glad that they still had a beautiful marriage ceremony despite a bit of rain. I wish them all the best in married life and many more fun adventures together.

If you’re looking for a celebrant, I’d love to get to know you and your partner and celebrate your relationship. Please get in touch to see if I’m available on your date.

Modern Tongan Marriage Ceremony

Matilda and Karl have been together for over a decade and now have two beautiful children together. They felt that the beginning of 2020 was the best time for them to have their modern Tongan marriage ceremony. I love it when people live life on their terms and do what feels right for them. I want my couples to be happy and relaxed, especially during their marriage ceremony.

Marriage ceremony space decorated with Tongan Tapa cloth

Tongan Elements

They were married by me at the South Brisbane Sailing Club in West End, on the Brisbane River. Karl’s family background is Tongan, and it was wonderful to have elements of his culture infused into their wedding. Karl was wearing traditional dress and his family decorated the space with the Tapa cloth and colourful mats. This really added to the atmosphere, making it feel warm and intimate.

Marriage ceremony with groom in traditional Tongan dress
Groom in traditional Tongan dress

The ceremony was an unplugged wedding. People were asked to switch off their phones, as we can make the marriage official without the help of Facebook. Several couples request this option, as it means that they can look out to their loved ones and make eye contact, to really feel their love, support and engagement in the ceremony.

South Brisbane Sailing Club on the Brisbane River takes bookings for the marriage ceremony and wedding reception
A great venue for a self-catered wedding

Love Story

Like all my ceremonies, it was a reflection of the couple, and I talked about their love story. Matilda and Karl met in May of 2008. Their eyes met across the crowded room of a lecture theatre. They were both there to study politics and still share this passion to this day. I really enjoy getting to know my couples: what they love about each other and their relationship, so that this can be celebrated.

The Brisbane River in West End is the perfect backdrop for a marriage ceremony
The Brisbane River near the Sailing Club

Personal Vows

The vows that they wrote to each other were full of love and appreciation. My favourite line out of Karl’s vows were when he promised to stand by Matilda’s side “as partner, fellow adventurer, co-parent, cheerleader and now husband.” This summarises their relationship wonderfully. Matilda spoke about how Karl makes her a better version of herself and how she loves him even more now that she has seen him father their children. Their guests gave them a warm cheer in support.

Decorated hall for wedding reception at the South Brisbane Sailing Club
Family decorated the hall inside beautifully

Personal vows are definitely worth writing and I give my couples several options to assist. My main goal is to convey my couples’ relationship and for them to be happy in their love bubble. During Matilda and Karl’s modern Tongan marriage ceremony, we all floated along on cloud nine, and were delighted to congratulate the newly married couple.  Congratulations Matilda and Karl!

Marriage Ceremony of Nina & Joel

Nina and Joel’s marriage ceremony was very special. It was fun, relaxed and heartfelt. The guests were engaged: laughing and cheering throughout. They are a fantastic couple and it was a pleasure to marry them. Their ceremony script was written from scratch, just for them, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and telling their story. In summary, they met because Guy Sebastian started playing at a music festival; this gave Nina and her friends the incentive they needed to leave. They found themselves at a tavern close-by and that became the start of Nina’s new life with Joel.

Fun and relaxed celebrant with beautiful bride and happy groom

Relaxed Atmosphere

They chose to get married at Walkabout Creek, which is oh so pretty. It’s surrounded by lots of trees and water. The natural setting complemented the relaxed nature of the ceremony perfectly. There was no stiffness at all, and the couple was very comfortable, kissing throughout. So, when it came time to declare them husband and wife, I added on to the you may kiss… “again!”. It was wonderful to see them in the moment, really feeling and enjoying their ceremony.

Including Family

Family members were included in the marriage ceremony, making it all the more special. Nina was walked down the aisle by her older brother. The beauty of a civil ceremony is that it can be modern and personalised to suit you. We then asked Joel’s daughter if she gave her blessing to the marriage. It was a sweet moment and created a sense of completeness. Before Nina and Joel made their promises of love to each other, I asked the guests if they would make a promise: To support Nina and Joel’s marriage, and to laugh, drink, dance and enjoy themselves whole-heartedly. They were such a fun and loving crowd that they of course gave a big cheer in agreement.

Fun Brisbane based celebrant conducting marriage ceremony

Feeling Blessed

Nina and Joel were so lovely that they invited me into their group photo. This was an unexpected surprise. Due to feeling so swept up in the emotions of love and happiness, I accepted and joined in to celebrate just that little bit longer. Being surrounded by two people so obviously in love is like bathing in bliss. Above all, thank you for having me as your celebrant! I wish you a very long and joyful marriage xox

Celebrate Your Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony isn’t something to rush through, just to get to the party at the reception. The ceremony can be the start of the party! It doesn’t have to be something that is dreaded or considered boring. Your ceremony can be customised to reflect you as a couple. Celebrate your wedding ceremony and your love.

Married couple walk through petal toss after wedding ceremony

Make it unique

Your wedding ceremony is about declaring your love and making a commitment to your partner. Cherish and celebrate this moment. If you like, you can write your own personal vows. This may sound daunting but it’s just telling your partner why you love them and how you promise to love them, now, and into the future. A ceremony will generally go for about 20 minutes and the time does fly. There is no need to rush. Enjoy every moment; this is an important occasion. Your ceremony can be modern and fun, or relaxed, or elegant. Why not include your pet, have your mum as ring bearer or finish with a shower of eco confetti? Tailor it to suit you.

The wedding ceremony is a chance to tell your partner how much you love them
The ceremony is a chance to express your love with words and actions!

Shake things up

Perhaps you want a traditional wedding, or you might want something more meaningful to you. There are so many things that can be cut away or added in, which is the beauty of a civil ceremony. I can talk about your love story: how you met and what you love about each other. I could introduce your bridal party and talk about your connections. This could help as an ice breaker for the reception and make for some funny stories. We could really turn this thing on its head. What about including some speeches in your ceremony? You could thank your parents and the people who have travelled to be with you. That way, less speeches at the reception and people can get on enjoying the food and drink – just an idea. What I’m saying is that you can embrace the ceremony and make it what you want.

The wedding ceremony is a chance to express your love

If you’re looking for a celebrant, I’d love to chat. Together, we can make it magic. Let’s celebrate your wedding ceremony!

The First Look

Trent and I inadvertently did “the first look” on our wedding day. I mentioned in the last blog post, 17 Ways to Feel Relaxed on Your Wedding Day, that we chose to have most of our wedding photos before our ceremony. This gave us the feeling of having plenty of time to do our photos, without thinking about our waiting guests. The first look is typically a private photo session, with just the couple, before the marriage ceremony. As we didn’t specifically plan the first look, ours happened quite naturally. Another way that it can be done is to have the bride or groom stand in a set location, while the other partner walks up behind them and taps them on the shoulder. They then see each other for the first time in their wedding attire.

Bride and Groom have first look before their wedding ceremony

I’ll give you some reasons why you may or may not, want to do the first look and then you can decide what’s right for you.

Reasons to do the first look

  • You get extra time for photos

For us, having most of our photos before the ceremony meant that we felt we had more time and were more relaxed. We were able to forget about everything else (no waiting guests at the reception) and just wandered around at a calm pace.

  • More photos in the daylight

It can get dark quite early in Australia, outside of the summer season. Having more photos before the ceremony, means that you’re not racing the descend of the sun. This gives you an opportunity to get more photographs; the first look images can be very intimate and special. They can then flow into bridal party photos; so, you get a lot of great shots.

With the first look you can more photos in the day light on your wedding day
  • It can calm the nerves and allow you to display emotion privately

Most wedding ceremonies take place in the late afternoon. This gives time for the build-up of emotions. Seeing each other beforehand gives you a chance to connect and have a calming hug. You may also shed a tear or two of joy, or have a nervous giggle, and may prefer to do this uninhibited, without an audience.

Bride and groom spend more time together on wedding day due to having the first look
  • You get back to your guests faster

Once the ceremony is completed, you won’t be gone for hours having your photos taken. This means that you can have a later ceremony (ours was 4pm in September) and you can start the celebrations with your guests sooner. Some guests may have come from overseas or interstate to see you, so it’s great to be able to spend as much time with them as possible. Don’t miss the fun at cocktail hour!

The first look allows you to get to the wedding reception sooner

Reasons not to do the first look

  • You have to get ready earlier

Getting ready needs to get pushed forward (but you can have a later ceremony). You want these photos to happen about two hours (plus travel time) before the ceremony, so you don’t run the risk of bumping into early guests.

  • You won’t be married yet in these photos

Your wedding rings won’t be on in the photos and your partner will see you in your wedding attire, before you’re married. Does this bother you? To me, the photos were a celebration of our whole wedding day, not just after we got married.

  • You may not be as fresh as a daisy for the ceremony

It’s best to also allow time to touch up your makeup (if you shed a few tears) or just have a general refresh beforehand. You also need to be careful that your dress/clothing doesn’t pick up any dirt, depending on the location of the first look photos. You may need to pack a little kit to repair/refresh.

Doing the first look may mean that your dress could get dirty before the ceremony
  • It may change the mood

You may want the build-up of nervous energy/excitement. You may want to share the special moment that you see each other for the first time in your wedding attire, and the emotions that arise, with your family and friends. You can ask your parents/significant others how they would feel if you did the first look before the ceremony. Personally, I felt that my aisle walk was still wonderful and heart-warming, even though we’d seen each other beforehand.

Seeing each other at the ceremony was still special; just a bit more composed (photos by Murray Redpath).

It’s Your Day

Whether you do the first look intimately or with your guests, is a decision that you can make with your partner, depending on what you feel most comfortable with and what’s important to you. My advice is to be yourself and don’t feel that you have to act. Let your emotions and the little moments arise naturally. Whatever you choose, I’d love to be your celebrant.

17 Ways to Feel Relaxed on Your Wedding Day

There are a lot of traditions when it comes to weddings: the way things are usually done, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be done that way. Your wedding day is about YOUR love and celebrating that. So, tip 1 is be YOU. Think about what you’ll both need on your wedding day to feel relaxed and have fun.

beautiful and relaxed bride on her wedding day
Doesn’t this bride look beautiful and relaxed!?

To give you an example, on our wedding day, Trent and I decided to do the photos before our ceremony. This wasn’t really the done thing but I didn’t mind him seeing me in my dress before the aisle walk. We felt that the day would be a lot more relaxed if we could go straight from the ceremony to the reception, rather than feeling that people were waiting on us to come back from our photos. This worked for us and is just one example of how you can mix things up, so that you’ll feel relaxed on your wedding day.

My other tips for staying relaxed include:

  • 2. We had our ceremony and reception at the same venue (Brisbane Powerhouse), so that there was no rush to get to another location.
  • 3. Do lots of planning beforehand. Imagine how you want things to go and the steps and resources you’ll need. From this activity, you can create an action plan and checklists. There’s also a lot of information on the internet about wedding planning. You might want to try Offbeat Bride.
  • 4. If you are doing a first dance and/or speeches, make time for lots of practise in the lead up, so you feel relaxed on your wedding day.
Practise your speech so you are more relaxed on your wedding
A funny and well-delivered speech was given by the groom. Photo by Murray

Stay healthy

  • 5. Get a good night’s sleep before your big day.  
  • 6. Allow plenty of time: time to get ready and time to arrive at the venue. That way if anything unexpected comes up, such as bad traffic, it won’t phase you.
  • 7. Have a big, healthy breakfast and lunch to give you good energy.
Eat well before your wedding so you feel relaxed and energised
Don’t let yourself get hangry! (Photo by Murray).

Communication and comfort are key

  • 8. Communicate with your vendors beforehand and give them a copy of your wedding day itinerary. Let them know of any issues and changes, early, and for anything that pops up on the day, ask a friend, family member or coordinator to take care of it for you, so that you can just enjoy.
  • 9. Make sure you’ll be comfortable e.g. have water, snacks, sun protection, umbrella, spare pair of shoes (flats), a jacket for the evening, phone charger etc and have this packed the day before.
  1. 10. Touch has a very powerful effect. If you’re a hugger, just go for it, with those closest to you, of course.
  1. 11. Joke around with the bridal party and have lots of laughs. This will make you feel good and make for great photos.
Having a laugh on your wedding day will make you feel more relaxed
Playing twister with the sister! (Photo by Murray).
  1. 12. Gratitude – focus on what is going right. People won’t notice the little things that may not match your vision. Remember that it’s about the big picture – you’re marrying your best friend!
  1. 13. Take some time out – a few minutes alone in the bathroom can help you stay relaxed.
  1. 14. Appreciate all the people that surround you with their love and spend the most time with those people that make you feel great.

Be in the moment

  1. 15. Enjoy a moment with your partner alone – before the reception could be a suitable time, or even before the ceremony. The day really does go fast.
bride and groom sharing a moment alone to relax together on their wedding day
A moment alone can make the world melt away 🙂
  1. 16. Be in the moment (focus your thoughts and senses on the now) and go with the flow. Trust in all the planning and your vendors.
  1. 17. Smile and breath. You are the stars of the show and will be smiling a lot. Your cheeks are going to get a good work out. Mine were definitely sore the next day from all the smiling and laughing. That’s just a sign that you really did feel relaxed and have the best time on your wedding day 😊

If you’re still looking for a celebrant, I’d love to help. Please get in touch. Thanks and happy planning!

15 Ways to Make Your Wedding More Fun

The most important thing on your wedding day, besides actually getting married, is enjoying it. All the planning is there to lay the ground work, so that you can relax, smile, laugh and take it all in. You deserve to have a fantastic wedding; one that will be packed full of happy moments, which will later become blissful memories. Now, it’s not just the reception that can be fun, the ceremony can be amazing too and as a celebrant, I’d love to help you with that part. Here are 15 ways to make your whole wedding more fun!

Tips

  1. Choose a funny MC, great bridal party and fun vendors, such as your photographer and celebrant (hello!)
Fun wedding photo with groom and bridesmaids
A bit of silliness is always a good thing! Photo by Murray Redpath

Bling and pop

  • 2. The bride/groom can wear a cool jacket or shoes

Adding a cool jacket or shoes can take the super formal edge off your wedding. It can make you feel more comfortable, not only physically, but also emotionally. You can feel a little more you, express your personality and let people know it’s okay to relax a bit.

Bride wearing fun flat wedding shoes next to groom
Add a pop of colour and personality!
  • 3. Wear some fun cufflinks or earrings

My husband bought Marvel Avenger cufflinks from eBay for himself and his groomsmen.

Fun wedding cufflinks
A bit of boy bling can inject some playfulness. Photo by Murray
  • 4. Add a splash of colour

I included pink and yellow in our wedding colour scheme. Bright colours just make me feel happy! 😊

Fun and bright wedding purse and flowers in wedding bouquet
Not very subtle but they made me feel bright and sparkly. Photo by Murray
  • 5. Consider an energetic or surprising entrance to your ceremony

You don’t need to walk slowly down the aisle or have your father give you away. Traditions can be broken, if they don’t feel right for you. You can dance your way in to an upbeat song or incorporate your hobbies.

Bride wearing wedding dress and playing ukulele
You could surprise your partner with a romantic gesture!

They say to never work with animals and kids but come on …

  • 6. Include your pet during the ceremony and/or photos

Including your pet(s) can add to the love and joy you feel on your special day. It can also make for some gorgeous photos. There are plenty of professionals that can help you with the logistics.

  • 7. Have a cute ring bearer and/or flower girl

They could be dressed in a costume or hold an amusing sign, such as “ring security”.

Wonder Woman could do a wonderful job, leading the way with flowers and Superman could come to the rescue with the rings!

8. Guests can throw rose petals or blow bubbles

A rose petal toss is a fun way to end the wedding ceremony

It’s lovely to end the ceremony with a literal shower of love from your family and friends. It also looks great in photos, really capturing all those good feelings and is a bit of fun for your wedding guests.

Great music is a must

  • 9. Have great music

Music can create the right vibe and get everyone in the mood to celebrate. There will be several different moments on your wedding day, such as the aisle walk, signing of the marriage documents, the celebration of your marriage at the end of the ceremony, mingling and dancing. It’s important that the music matches the moment.

Great music can make your wedding fun and get people dancing

People that love dancing might want to bring a pair of flat shoes, so they can boogie all night long.

Something for the little and big kids

10. Lawn games

This will keep the young ones (and those young at heart) entertained. There are so many games out there, such as giant connect four, croquet and bocce. It creates a fun and relaxed atmosphere, as long as everyone follows the rules, stays safe and plays nice. 

Giant lawn games are fun for a wedding
Image via The Party Cart

11. Put crayons and paper at the kids table

This will give them something to do during the speeches.  They might colour in or create their own original masterpiece.

children Coloring Art With Crayons at wedding
Let them unleash their inner Picasso

Something savoury and something sweet

12. Good food

We decided to have our reception as a relaxed cocktail style. People had lots of choice with the food and we made sure that our vegetarian and gluten-free friends were catered for. We also swapped out the sweet bites for another savoury option to make sure that everyone had plenty to eat. We figured that our wedding cake would do the trick for dessert.

 Some cocktail food for the wedding reception at Brisbane Powerhouse
Some cocktail food for the wedding reception at Brisbane Powerhouse. Photo by Murray Redpath

13. Consider a candy bar

Guests could mix their own lolly bags. You might want to have this option instead of wedding favours/bonbonniere. This could save you a bit of time and stress before your wedding. Alternatively, if you’re crafty, the wedding favour could be an opportunity for you to make something unique and special for your guests.

A wedding lolly ferris wheel is fun
Lolly Ferris Wheel – The Party Cart

Photo booths are good fun

14. Include a photo booth & guest book at the reception

I’m so glad that we had a photo booth corner at our wedding. It provided a great source of wedding entertainment and fun. At the last wedding I went to, the photo booth was in a kombi van! You could also have a guest book nearby, for people to stick in a copy of their photo print and write a message. You might want to ask your MC to encourage people to get involved.

Bride and groom standing before kombi van photo booth at their fun wedding
Image via Insta Kombi

15. Finish with a bang

End on a distinct high note, such as fireworks, sparklers or a love tunnel exit. When the party eventually has to end, it’s great to bring all your loved ones together and say one big final congratulations and thank you.

Sparkler wedding aisle exit

Hope you have a fun wedding day! One that you’ll thoroughly enjoy and remember fondly. If you’re looking for a celebrant, feel free to contact me. Happy planning!

How to Reduce the Cost of Your Wedding

Congratulations on your engagement! Hopefully you’ve had some time to celebrate and enjoy your loved-up happiness. Now you might be ready to start planning your special day. Here are some tips on ways to reduce the cost of your wedding.

My husband, Trent and I both wanted a beautiful wedding and for it to also be within a reasonable budget. Weddings these days can cost a small fortune, with the average in Australia being about $50,000. Whilst it is a huge life event, it needs to be affordable. Ours come in at about half of that, five years ago. The savings you make by doing a bit of planning, could go towards a house deposit, study fees or your honeymoon.

Talk to the Parents

We were both lucky in that both of our parents contributed towards our wedding. This means that with our savings, it was a three-way split. It’s important to have the money discussion early; whilst it’s a bit uncomfortable, it’s also necessary, so that you know how much money you have to spend. Our parents had plenty of time to think about what they were comfortable contributing and came back to us with a figure that we were then able to work with.

budget and reduce the cost of your wedding
Know your budget early and plan to that

Planning Resources

You may want to engage a wedding planner but I didn’t want this cost and Trent was available to help me organise things. There are also plenty of planning tips and checklists available online. We started planning about fourteen months out, so with plenty of time, it wasn’t that stressful to do it ourselves. We started by putting our total budget in a spreadsheet and listed all the items that our wedding would require and how much we thought each would cost. You might find some of the resources at Offbeat Bride useful.

Prioritise

Decide on what is most important to you. This will allow you to make any cut backs, if necessary. In my opinion, the top five things are the venue, wedding dress, food, the celebrant and photographer.

The first thing to do is think about the time of year you want to get married and the style and vibe you want to create. You can get inspiration from friends’ weddings, Pinterest, Instagram and bridal magazines. Then you can find a venue to suit this and book in your date. You want to make sure that the venue can cater for the number of people you’ll invite and any special circumstances. We chose the Brisbane Powerhouse because it’s central, relaxed (with the ceremony and reception in the one spot) and has great views of fig trees, the river and the artsy building (with a wet weather option). You can check out my venues page for other suggestions.

Brisbane Powerhouse photographed by Murray Redpath
Brisbane Powerhouse – Murray Redpath Photography

Then you’ll want to book your celebrant (hopefully me 😊) and a photographer, as the good ones book out several months in advance. We found our photographer (Murray Redpath) at a bridal expo. He showed us a portfolio of this work and talked to us about what he could offer. We liked his style and the fact that he would be there to capture the whole day, as moments unfolded naturally, i.e. no mock staging of cake cuttings etc. Expos are a fantastic way to shop around. Below are some other ways we reduced our costs:

Tips to Reduce the Cost of your Wedding

  • We limited our wedding guests to adults only (except for my husband’s niece and nephew). This way our friends could also relax, without having to watch their children.  The more heads, the more expensive food and drinks will be.
  • We got married on a Saturday, but getting married on a weekday will save you money.
  • We decided not to have bonbonnieres 
  • Created our own music playlist, instead of hiring a DJ. I have plenty of song suggestions for each part of the day/night that you can use.
  • Made our own thank you cards (for each guest, after our wedding)
  • My mum did my make-up and nails (she’s a beauty therapist and the owner of Beauty Sense in Margate)
My mum from Beauty Sense did my makeup
Beauty Sense at work, captured by Murray
  • I made my the bouquets and button holes. Flowers were bought from the Rocklea markets. I made them a few days before (YouTube videos are great) and then kept them in a bucket of water in the fridge. I mainly used carnations and baby’s breath. We did a trial a year out (in September) to see what flowers would be in season at the time of our wedding
  • Made my own earrings – bought Swarovski pendant beads & bits online
make your own bouquet and earrings to save money and reduce the budget of your wedding
You might like to DIY your earrings & flowers too
Photo by Murray Redpath

More Tips

  • Chose the standard drinks package, instead of premium to reduce the cost of our wedding
  • Chose cocktail package over sit down dining (also more relaxed atmosphere)
  • Bought dresses for my two bride’s maids on sale at DFO Review and bride’s maids bought their own shoes
  • I bought my dress online (Dido Bridal, which seems to have vanished off the internet) and then had it altered by a Brisbane dressmaker, Marzena). I gave the online dress company my measurements but it was nowhere near the right size. If you do want to buy online, make sure you allow plenty of time for the dress to arrive and make any necessary alterations.  I’ve also seen dresses from After Five, which look stunning and start at about $350.
Father walks bride down the aisle in online bought high lo wedding dress
Not too shabby for a dress bought online! (further information above).
Photo by Murray Redpath
  • Chose minimalist decorations (had vases at the reception to hold the bouquets)
  • Trent bought his cufflinks from eBay (the Thor hammer)
  • Made our own wedding invitations and included a card for a wishing well request in the form of a nicely worded poem
Having a wishing well can help your budget by funding the honeymoon
There are lots of examples for wishing well wording on the internet. Image via Mon Cheri Bridals – can be purchased on Lola Love Notes on Etsy.
  • Trent’s close friend acted as MC for the reception
  • Chose a white standard driven chauffeur instead of a limo
  • Made our own wishing well box from timber
  • We choreographed our own wedding dance. There was lots of practise after work
Bride and groom choreographed own wedding dance to save money
You could choreography your own dance or do something else, such as play a live song.
Murray behind the lens.

The Tips Continue

  • The groomsmen contributed 50% towards the cost of their suits
  • We came home after our wedding, rather than paying for a hotel
  • Bought our cake from The Cheesecake Shop (which was a delicious white mud) and made our own wedding cake topper
  • Had the wedding cake as desert and swapped the venue’s sweet treats dessert option for more savoury bites
  • Shopped around to compare quotes and inclusions. This includes the honeymoon. We went through Hello World and got a good deal. We went to The Maldives (Sun Island), where we fed stingrays and swam with a whale shark, and Singapore, where we hung out with orangutans at the zoo and went to the beautiful Orchid Garden. 
Bride and Groom cutting Cheesecake Shop wedding cake with DIY cake topper at the Brisbane Powerhouse
Cake from the Cheesecake Shop with DIY topper, pic taken by Murray Redpath Photography.

We had a wonderful wedding. By having lots of time to plan, we were able to save money by DIYing lots of things, without having to compromise on quality vendors, such as the venue and photographer.

I hope you found these tips on how to reduce the cost of your wedding useful. Any questions, please contact me to ask. Let’s chat about your ceremony. I could be the celebrant for you 😊