A surprise wedding at Minnippi Parklands

After many years and two lovely children, Erin and Kelvin couldn’t wait to tie the knot and become husband and wife.

They envisaged a relaxed and stress-free celebration and decided that having a surprise wedding would be the perfect way to celebrate with those close to them, so one Sunday afternoon they planned a family BBQ, asking guests to arrive at 1pm sharp.

On arrival, Erin was nowhere to be seen, as friends and family mingled, Kelvin ducked off, then re-emerged dressed sharply in a very smart suit with a boutonniere to boot! Guests were momentarily miffed as to why he was dressed so smart for a Sunday afternoon BBQ, which prompted him to share the exciting news “SURPRISE – We’re getting married”

Guests then joined Kelvin as they headed to a favourite local park of their’s; Minnippi Parklands in Carina, where white americana chairs were set up between two tall trees, completely surrounded by greenery.

The couples daughter, followed by the radiant bride and her father made their way down the aisle, the guests were in awe, still taking in that they were actually at a wedding!

Following a simple and happy wedding ceremony at Minnippi Parklands with their son as the official ring bearer, they were announced as husband and wife to the cheers of their surprised guests, before having bridal and family photos with their photographer from Edge Photography GC.

Thank you Erin and Kelvin for the 5 star review and for sharing your day and these photos of your wedding at Minnippi Parklands with me:

“Jamie, Thank you again for helping our wedding day be so special, you did such an amazing job and we were so happy with our choice!”

If you enjoyed hearing about this surprise wedding and are looking for a Celebrant for your special day, Brisbane Celebrant Jamie Eastgate would love to hear from you. Contact Jamie now to confirm availability for your special day

A love and light filled Brisbane wedding

With Celebrant Jamie Eastgate of Brisbane City Celebrants

A love and light filled Brisbane wedding

We worked together during our university days at the local cinema.  I was intrigued by his unusual surname and wondered if he was related to a girl I went to high school with who had the same last name. It turned out it was his sister! From there, we started talking, and hanging out and the rest is history!

Andy says he knew he loved me when he heard me blowing my nose under the shower water and admired how I always finished everything on my dinner plate (how unromantic is that?)

I knew I loved him when he bought a brand new bed and linen 3 weeks after we met, after I threatened to never stay at his house again after witnessing the state of his old mattress and manky doona!

Our Celebrant Jamie actually shared these corkers during our ceremony much to the amusement of our guests.

On a more sentimental note, we actually both said “the L word” on New Year’s Eve 2006. Ironically we’d both spoken to our friends about divulging how we felt about each other prior to this (without the other knowing) and after we were winding down after a fun night out celebrating, the conversation started and out it came…..

When it came to the proposal, Andy had actually designed and purchased the ring almost 12 months before he proposed.

One night I went to the hairdresser after work and Andy asked me to stop and get some Thai takeaway on the way home. When I got home, I noticed that there weren’t any lights on in the house, but the front door was open. When I got inside, I was amazed to see there was a trail of fairy lights along the floor, that led me out to our back deck.

Here I found Andy waiting for me looking very nervous, he’d decorated our whole deck in candles and lights, the candles spelt ‘MARRY ME’.

He’d pre-prepared a little speech outlining the reasons why I should marry him, why he’d be a good husband and hilariously, the reasons why he’d understand if I said no (e.g. his ear hair).  Then he called our pug Baxter over who had the ring on his collar and proposed.  I laughed nervously the whole time but of course I said YES!!!

When planning our wedding, the important elements to us were that it was spacious, standing affair, preferably outdoors or with a view and live music.  The rest just came together and evolved in to an elegant modern vintage style with bursts of brightly coloured florals.

We hired the 2 lawns at Lower River Terrace in Kangaroo Point, one for the wedding ceremony, the other for cocktail hour drinks, nibbles and lawn games.

Jamie Eastgate from Brisbane City Celebrants performed our ceremony and he was awesome! So helpful both before and on the day. Our 2 dogs Baxter and Ollie joined us for the ceremony and wore suits that perfectly matched Andy’s!

We also had an amazing long table and arbour set up with the most exquisite hanging florals and décor created by Brisbane Wedding Decorators. What I had in my mind and what they created were worlds apart, for all the right reasons.

Brisbane Wedding Decorators made an ‘idea’ into the most beautiful reality – I was so gobsmacked when I saw the tables, chairs, arch and floral work, I couldn’t recommend them more highly! We were so lucky to have their help on our special day.

We celebrated our reception with ‘fork and walk’ style catering at Riverlife beneath a marquee on the Brisbane river.

Following cocktail hour, the tolix style bar tables and stools we hired through Brisbane Wedding Decorators for the post ceremony nibbles and drinks, were relocated to the reception area and decorated with small vases of pink and white blooms. The whole look was candle lit without being too soft.  We loved it.

Instead of having a cake, my mum cooked up a storm of her well known favourites (e.g. magic slice, caramel slice) and my best friend Kim made her world famous choc chip cookies for dessert.

 We also surprised our guests with Ruby the Red Ice Cream Van who made her arrival at about 9pm.  Our guests loved being able to go and get an ‘old school’ ice-cream on the night.

We have so many memorable moments from our day!

  • I loved seeing my Dad’s face when he saw me all dressed for the first time;
  • Getting goosebumps when we were announced by our Celebrant Jamie Eastgate as husband and wife;
  • Seeing Brisbane Wedding Decorators beautiful long table set up in the park;
  • Dancing with my dad (it was quite the scene and involved all sorts of shoulder shimmying!);
  • Standing at the back of the deck watching all our guests jumping around dancing to the band;
  • and the amazing gondola my parents hired to pick us up at the end of the night and take us for a beautiful ride down the river and to our accommodation at Stamford Plaza.  We had about an hour, just the two of us on the gondola, watching the city go by – it was our first chance to really ‘catch up’ with one another about the day.

My advice for brides and grooms to be is to spend the time getting your run sheet for the day accurate and detailed.

Give copies to a few trusted friends and your MC.  This helped our day run smoothly as the order of events/ timing was knowledge shared and everyone helped keep things going along.  Include contact details for key people – it made the world of difference. Oh and eat! Eat breakfast and lunch, and snack where you can.  All the adrenaline makes you hungry!

Finally, from the bride’s perspective – pack yourself a pair of those little fold up ballet flats….!


Penny and Andy’s dream team of wedding vendors

Celebrant Jamie Eastgate of Brisbane City Celebrants

Photography Marcus Bell of Studio Impressions

Cocktail hour floral arbour by Brisbane Wedding Decorators

Brides Dress Karen Willis Holmes

Men’s suits George and King

Ice Cream van Ruby the red ice cream van

Wedding Transport The Mini Owners Club

Entertainment Baker Boys Band www.bakerboysband.com.au/

Dogs Suits by Fluppies


If you enjoyed hearing about this love and light filled Brisbane wedding and are looking for a Celebrant for your Brisbane wedding, Jamie would love to hear from you. Contact Brisbane City Celebrants for more information and to confirm availability for your special day.

Wedding Tips – Here’s some things you need to know

With Celebrant Cara Hodge of Brisbane City Celebrants

Wedding Tips – If you’re newly engaged here’s some things you need to know


Wedding Vows – You don’t need to memorise your vows, yes really! Leave the memorising of wedding vows to the movies!


We suggest asking your Celebrant to print up each of your vows, and have them beautifully presented on vow cards, ready to pass to you during your ceremony


  • One less thing to worry about having to remember to bring along on the day
  • Your Celebrant can stand to the side out of camera shot while your photographer captures the memorable moments as you read your vows to each other.

Image: Twig and Fawn Photography

I’m petrified at just the thought of saying my own vows? Well the good news is you don’t have to write/ share your own vows if you don’t want to. There is 1 simple sentence that is mandatory to say (e.g. I ask everyone here to witness that I full name take you full name to be my wedded wife/husband)


If the thought of sharing your heartfelt promises, in front of everyone you know is giving you a pang of nerves and anxiety every time you think about it, consider sharing your beautiful words to each other via letter earlier in the day while you are getting ready (your photographer/ videographer will love capturing this moment)


Or if you’re the type that prefers to keep things simple, you could stick with just the simple mandatory wording.


Wedding Time – There was once a time that every wedding took place at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Then couples began to realise that this didn’t always work for them, their guests, and what they envisioned for their day.

Not everyone wants to go from the blissful high of becoming husband and wife, to soon being separated from their nearest and dearest to head off for photos.

So couples are increasingly adopting what is known as the ‘First Look’ idea, where they meet before the wedding and the photographer captures the grooms reaction seeing his bride for the first time, followed by their bridal photo shoot.

This usually involves in a slightly later ceremony time – view our tips on sunset ceremonies, and one of the main benefits to both the couple and the guests is get they get to go from the ceremony, straight in to the celebrations – together!

Sunset Wedding Photos by Leah Cruikshank Photography

Sunset Wedding Photo by Leah Cruikshank Photography

We also find couples with young children, often opt for mid-morning ceremonies followed by a lunch time reception.

In summary, don’t be afraid to think outside of tradition and choose a ceremony time that works best for the kind of wedding you have planned.


Signing the marriage documents – Brides, your name doesn’t automatically change when you marry, and thus the marriage certificates must be signed in your maiden name.

Image by Jonas C Photography

Book your honeymoon in your maiden name – I know, this doesn’t feel as romantic as you imagined, but unless you have allowed plenty of time between your wedding and honeymoon, for your marriage to be registered, for your official marriage certificate to be issued, and then for your new passport to be issued, it’s a much safer bet to book your flights in your maiden name.

Airlines won’t allow you on a flight if the name on your passport is different to that on your ticket.


While we’re speaking of honeymoons, some resorts offer newlyweds honeymoon upgrades or inclusions, they occasionally ask for evidence of your marriage to ensure you are a genuine honeymooner. We suggest taking a phone pic or photo copy of your marriage certificate along with you so you don’t miss out.

If you enjoyed hearing these newly engaged wedding ceremony tips and are looking for a Celebrant for your Brisbane wedding, Cara would love to hear from you. Contact Brisbane City Celebrants for more information and to confirm availability for your special day.

Colmslie Beach Reserve Wedding

A Colmslie Beach Reserve wedding photo shoot with Celebrant Jamie Eastgate of Brisbane City Celebrants

Boy are we chuffed to see this shoot featured in the latest edition of Modern Wedding Magazine. Earlier this year I was invited to take part in a greenery inspired photo shoot

The shoot fused a bohemian mix of botanical greenery, recycled wood and intricate lace with a love filled vibe and was quickly snapped up by a variety of publications to be featured, however this one featured in the Modern Wedding Flowers publication, really shines.

The editors from Modern Wedding Magazine thoughtfully ensured that every supplier is not only credited, but that each suppliers work was either individually or collectively  featured, which is a wonderful way to express gratitude to those who gave up their time and contributed their talent to create this inspirational shoot.

View the Botanical Goddess wedding shoot to see more and for a full list of the local wedding vendors that were all a pivotal part of this shoot.

If you enjoyed viewing this Colmslie Beach Reserve wedding photo shoot and you are looking for a Celebrant for your special day, Brisbane Celebrant Jamie Eastgate would love to hear from you. Contact Jamie now to confirm availability for your special day

Macarthur Park Wedding Chapel and Gardens Celebrant

I was so happy to be asked to be the Macarthur Park Wedding Chapel and Gardens Celebrant for Niki and Darrell’s recent wedding and to receive this glowing 5 STAR REVIEW:

“Jamie was great, from our very first meeting, through to our wedding day and afterwards, enabling us to enjoy our ceremony knowing it was all taken care of – thank you Jamie!”

The happy couples Macarthur Park wedding ceremony was filled with happiness and laughter, they were so relaxed as they exchanged vows and tied the knot.

I was first introduced to this venue located at Brisbane’s South East, last year during my annual Celebrant Training, known as OPD – Ongoing Professional Development which all Celebrants are required to attend to keep us up to date with changes to marriage. As part of our training we were taken on a tour of several wedding venues around the Redlands and I was so impressed to see this lovingly renovated old chapel in addition to the garden wedding ceremony location.

The venue only accepts one booking at a time, which means those opting for a garden ceremony, always have the chapel available as a great wet weather back up option if the need arises so the prospect of rain needn’t dampen anyone’s day.

While the happy couple had a professional photographer on hand, the owners were kind enough to take some great photos of the ceremony, so the newlyweds could re-live their special ceremony while they await their professional images.

Niki and Darrell’s opted for the ceremony gardens with the rainforest backdrop.

Nothing makes me happier than receiving a 5 star review from my happy newly-weds. Thank you so much for your kind feedback!

If you enjoyed this post and you are looking for a Celebrant for your Mcarthur Park wedding, or elsewhere in Brisbane, Jamie Eastgate of Brisbane City Celebrants would love to hear from you. Contact Celebrant Jamie to confirm availability for your special day.

Newstead Park Riverview Wedding

With Celebrant Jamie Eastgate of Brisbane City Celebrants

This sweet couple sure knew how to make their Newstead Park Riverview wedding day relaxed and enjoyable. From getting ready together and having their photo shoot take place before their ceremony, so they could relax and celebrate with their guests, to both being there to greet the guests as they arrived, then walking up the aisle together, enjoying every special moment of their day together.

There’s no question how much their happiness radiates in these photos.


By having the Celebrant step to the side and out of shot for the all important first kiss as husband and wife, not only do you get amazing timeless images like these, but when there’s a second shooter there is also the opportunity for them to capture the kiss from behind, with all the guests roaring with cheers and applause in the background. We love how different these 2 ‘kiss shot’ perspectives are.

The couples dream team behind their relaxed and happiness filled Newstead Park Riverview wedding ceremony were:

Celebrant Jamie Eastgate of Brisbane City Celebrants

Photography Lyndal Carmichael

Wedding Ceremony Decor Hire Brisbane Wedding Decorators


If you enjoyed hearing about this sweet Newstead Park Riverview wedding ceremony and are looking for a Celebrant for your Brisbane wedding, Jamie would love to hear from you. Contact Brisbane City Celebrants for more information and to confirm availability for your special day.