Surprise Wedding

I mingled with the other guests at Howard Smith Wharves for Claire’s 40th birthday party. When asked, I introduced myself as a fairly new friend. Claire and I had in fact recently met at a local clothing store (Style Your Way) and did get to chatting there, so my background story had elements of truth. When asked what I did for work, I told people that I was a relief teacher, as I do have experience in this field. Little did people know that I had arrived half an hour earlier as the celebrant to set up my PA system, and show Mathew (Claire’s partner) how to use the microphone. Guests were unaware that they were actually at a surprise wedding.

Howard Smith Wharves surprise wedding venue
Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane City

The Announcement

After about an hour of socialising, Mathew invited everyone inside. He gave a small speech, wished his fiancé a happy birthday and thanked everyone for coming. It was then, with his fiancé standing by his side, that he dropped the bombshell on the unsuspecting guests that it was also their wedding! He invited me forward out of the crowd and the guests roared with excitement. The only people that knew were their parents and a few close people who had to travel from interstate.  The guests were immediately on board and ready to celebrate. I’ve had warm and happy starts to ceremonies but none quite as electric as this!

Surprise wedding at the Greenhouse in Brisbane City
The Greenhouse at Howard Smith Wharves

As mentioned, Claire was standing next to Mathew and didn’t do the walk down the aisle. Yet, she did still want to include her parents and Mathew’s mum. So instead, I asked if they all gave their blessing to Claire and Mathew to join their lives in marriage. Even though Claire and Mathew are grown adults with their own children, they are still precious to their parents. This was a lovely way to acknowledge and respect the guidance and support of their parents.

The Energy

My favourite part of the ceremony was when I asked Claire: “Claire, do you promise to always love, respect and support Mathew and cheer for the Broncos?” There was laughter from the crowd and also a loud wave of objections. Mathew’s mates obviously root for another team. I waited and continued with: “… and also the Maroons and Arsenal.” Then there was approval with lots of cheering.

Brisbane celebrant at surprise wedding in Brisbane City

A Happy Ending to a New Beginning

Claire and Mathew’s surprise wedding was very enjoyable and the energy in the room was amazing. Everything went to plan, and it was just the way they wanted it to be: relaxed, no fuss and a lot of fun. After three years of being engaged (they got a bit busy looking after their boys), it was an absolute joy to marry them and their kids had front row seats. A surprise wedding was perfect for them.

If you’re wanting a celebrant, contact me to discuss your special ceremony.


Fun Ceremony

I married Pamela and Aaron on the 29th of February at Walkabout Creek. We all know that this day doesn’t come around very often. Just like meeting the right person doesn’t happen every day. So, it’s a special day, which is perfect for this couple, who feel very lucky to have met each other. It was such a fun ceremony to deliver.

Brisbane Celebrant delivering fun ceremony

The Welcome

Pamela was walked down the aisle by her overjoyed mum, who was full of happy tears. I then welcomed everyone to the wedding of Pamela and Aaron, also known as Team Pamron. Guests gave a warm laugh and were immediately engaged. I also thanked Aaron’s high school friend for coming all the way from Sweden and people gave an unexpected big cheer. I embraced their spontaneous show of support and said with a giggle “yes, feel the love!”. 

Part of Their Story

I told the story of Pamela and Aaron and how they met the way a lot of the cool kids do these days, on a dating app. Pamela was about to delete the app but then received a little message from Aaron. At first, she thought “what does this hipster want?” But then she met him and saw that he was more than his tattoos and out-there hair. They really are the cutest couple!

Heck Yes!

When I asked Pamela and Aaron if there were ready to get married and they said yes, I gave a big smile because that was an understatement. They have created a beautiful relationship and life together and have been ready for a long time.

Sweet and Funny Vows

Pamela and Aaron did an amazing job with their vows. They were personalised and heartfelt, with a sprinkle of humour. They both love the Simpsons, so there was a reference and quote included, which was very sweet and funny. I offer my couples assistance with vow writing and provide a resource booklet with ideas and examples.

Such a Joy

It was such a pleasure to finally be able to announce them as Mr and Mrs Chan! After the huge round of applause, we shared a laugh that Aaron had now inadvertently agreed to becoming a cat owner. Pamela’s mum came up to me afterwards saying how beautiful the ceremony was. She had happy tears in her eyes again, and I felt so fulfilled to be able to join this wonderful couple in marriage. A friend of Pamela’s also approached me and said that she enjoyed the ceremony and felt that I was really in the moment, cherishing every second. It was a fun ceremony and such an honour to marry Pamela and Aaron. A marriage ceremony really is a time for celebration.

If you’re looking for a celebrant, contact me for a no obligation chat.

Fun Brisbane Marriage Celebrant

A Heartfelt and Light-hearted Ceremony

I recently married Sarah and Glen at Shangri-La Gardens in Wynnum West. They have a fantastic sense of humour, so it was fitting that their ceremony be not only heartfelt but also a little light-hearted. I really enjoy getting to know my couples and appreciate it when they feel comfortable to just be themselves. After all, their wedding day and ceremony is about them and celebrating their love.

Fun Brisbane Celebrant with bride and groom

Love Story

I get to know my couples by asking them to complete a short questionnaire. This includes how they met, things they love about their partner and major milestones in their relationship. Sarah and Glen have different recollections of how they first met. It’s not really agreed upon who made the first move and who saw who first; but what is noted as fact, is that Glen did somehow come to Sarah’s attention on a night out at a bar, and when this happened, she yelled to him “you’re good looking”. This next part is also not entirely clear: Glen says that he walked over with a cool stride, thinking yup this lady is smart and has great taste in men. Sarah says he sprinted to talk to her. The facts are not entirely clear, but either way, they talked and danced for the rest of the evening.

Shangri-La Gardens wedding venue in Brisbane
They were married at Shangri-La Gardens in Wynnum West

Including Children

This was only part of their story that I told during the ceremony. Another big part of their lives is their children from previous relationships. Sarah was walked down the aisle by her son, which was very sweet. Glen’s son was also included as the ring bearer. It felt very special to include their children in the ceremony.

Sand Ceremony

I give my couples a ceremony booklet that has lots of ideas. From this booklet, Sarah and Glen decided to conduct a sand ceremony with their children. The different coloured sands were poured by each individual into one larger vase to symbolise the joining of their four lives and the bond that they all share.

Sand ceremony performed during marriage ceremony

Writing Vows

I thoroughly enjoyed writing and delivering their ceremony, which was a good balance of heartfelt and light-hearted. I also helped them write their vows, which came fairly easily after reading their questionnaires. As Glen proposed to Sarah after singing “Nights in White Satin” to her, I added into his vows “I promise to always be the man who will declare his love for you, even if it means standing on a stage to sing my heart out.” I asked Glen if he wanted to sing during the ceremony, but he informed me that he really can’t sing… The love between these two is beautifully obvious and I loved being their celebrant.

If you think I could be the celebrant for you, please get in touch.

Celebrant delivering light-hearted ceremonies

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.

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.