Maori wedding traditions at a heartfelt Brisbane wedding

With Marriage Celebrant Cara Hodge of Brisbane City Celebrants

Having lived in New Zealand for 5 years and experienced many of the warm and deeply meaningful Maori traditions and customs, I understand and respect the significance for couples and their families choosing to incorporate Maori wedding traditions in to their wedding day.

Maori wedding traditions

Traditional Maori weddings derive their culture values from a proud noble race known as Te Maori. The Korowai is a traditional Maori cloak, weaved with feathers.

This wedding took place at Brisbane’s Victoria Park in the Garden Marquee and combined Maori and Western wedding traditions perfectly.

Without gathering a crowd (aside from me letting the Videographer know when this was taking place, to capture the moment at the brides request as she wouldn’t be their to witness it), The Korowai ceremony took place when the grooms Mum arrived.

She approached the groom and lovingly placed and tied the Korowai on him, affirming her support, pride and love for her son and his relationship with his soon to be wife.

The grooms uncle was the wedding singer and guitarist, and sung the bride and her bridesmaids down the aisle.  The couples ceremony was heartfelt and meaningful, and happy tears were shed when I shared their story together. They kept their ceremony short and simple opting for the simple required vows. A wise decision given how emotional the ceremony already was.

Victoria Park wedding garden marqueeMaori traditions weddingGarden Marquee wedding at Victoria Park Golf Complex

The couples children joined them as they made their way back down the aisle. After family photos took place, the couple headed off for photos conveniently onsite around the Victoria Park Golf course. They thoughtfully booked the Orchard Room for guests to enjoy refreshing drinks and nibbles while their location photos took place.

Victoria Park wedding photos

Another part of traditional Maori culture is the feast and celebrations, traditionally with a hangi where the food is slowly cooked underground.

The couples reception took place in Victoria Park’s stunning Marquee and involved traditional Maori dancing and of course the Haka.

Maori traditional wedding in Brisbane

Congratulations to the happy newlyweds and how beautifully you incorporated Maori wedding traditions in to your wedding.

With Celebrant Cara Hodge of Jamie + Cara – Brisbane City Celebrants

Photography Dreamlife Photography

If you enjoyed this post and are looking for a Celebrant for your special day, contact Cara now to confirm availability and start planning your wedding ceremony.

How Wedding Celebrants are adapting to wedding restrictions from COVID-19

With Jamie + Cara – Brisbane City Celebrants

What a ride it has been for many couples and also for the wedding industry including Celebrants with wedding restrictions from COVID-19. Following the announcement in late March, that weddings are subject to new restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The current restrictions allow a maximum of 5 people to be present for the ceremony, which includes the couple, the Celebrant and the 2 witnesses. Celebrations after the ceremony may also be limited due to social distancing rules.

Since this restriction came in to effect, we had a huge couple of weeks working with many of our couples whose weddings were due to take place soon, to assist them in postponing to new dates. Many couple shave opted to have a small and intimate elopement followed by a celebration with guests at a later date when the restrictions have eased.

Celebrants adapting to restrictions elopement

What precautions are we taking to ensure a safe environment for our couples?

It is so important to us that we adhere to the restrictions to assist the community and the wedding industry in moving out of the COVID-19 restrictions phase. Here are some of the processes we have implemented in line with the guidelines to ensure a safe environment and reduce any potential spread.


  • Online meetings are now also available for local couples (in addition to our interstate and overseas based couples) we offer our clients a choice of video conferencing methods.
  • If or when an ‘in person’ meeting is necessary, we advise clients before the meeting that we will be adhering to social distancing practices and that we will be unable to shake their hand. The response to this has always been received very positively.
  • We ask couples to advise us if they haven’t been feeling well or have arrived from overseas within the last 2 weeks, so ‘in person’ meetings can instead take place on line.
  • We have antibacterial gel available, and we continue to wash and sanitise our own hands before, after and between every meeting.
  • We use antibacterial wipes to clean tables and chairs that are used for the ‘in person’ meeting, both before and after the meeting takes place.
  • We use antibacterial wipes to clean the pens used during the meeting.


  • If using a microphone, we sanitise this before and after use.
  • We have hand sanitiser available for use, and we personally use this frequently.
  • Before the wedding commences, we include a pre-wedding announcement to remind guests of social distancing requirements and advise them that the couple have requested they avoid shaking hands, hugging and kissing.
  • We respectfully aren’t shaking hands or hugging clients.
  • We request the full legal names of the 2 witnesses, so they can be printed on the marriage certificates, minimising the time they are in contact with the marriage paperwork.
  • We take a new signing pen out of a packet for the couple to use, and allow them to keep this (while using a different pen ourselves).
  • Tablecloths from signing tables are hot washed after every ceremony.
  • If there is not a Photographer stepping in after we leave, we will offer to take some photos for the couple on our own phone, to then send to them.

If our clients have any further requests that are in accordance and support the health regulations for COVID-10, we are very happy to oblige.

Elope in Brisbane

We hope you found this post helpful. If you are looking for a Celebrant for your special day, elopement or legals only wedding, Jamie + Cara are currently still performing weddings within the current restrictions and  would love to hear from you. Contact Jamie + Cara – Brisbane City Celebrants now for more information.

Elopement image 1 via Brisbane Wedding Decorators

GUEST BLOG: 10 wedding cake tips

In this guest blog article, highly acclaimed Cake Artist Jo Lawinski from Cake My Day by Jo will discuss her top 10 wedding cake tips to help you choose both the perfect cake and cake artisan for your special day.

Cake Do’s

  1. Do check that your cake artisan is licensed by their council and has public liability insurance.
    It may seem a bit of a silly question to ask but any cake artisan dealing with wedding cakes should be licenced and insured. By asking this question and getting a “Yes” answer you can rest easier knowing that your cake is going to be prepared in a safe environment and is safe for your guests to eat.
  2. Do your research.
    Before you start emailing every cake artisan you follow on social media for prices on cakes, take a moment to do a bit of research into the type of cake you would like to have on your special day and more importantly check that the cake artisan you want; makes the type of cake you want. Not all cake artisan’s work with both fondant and buttercream, and most will specialise in one or the other. You will save yourself a whole lot of time by checking these things first.

Cindy-Lea and Aaron cutting their stunning Cake My Day By Jo masterpiece. Image Cloud Catcher Studio

  1. Do have a budget in mind – and be reasonable.
    Wedding cakes are generally priced according to size, shape, flavour, decorations required, fondant or buttercream, labour etc. Most cake artisans have spent years developing their recipes & techniques so that you can have your dream wedding cake. Everything is made by hand and from scratch and this takes time, it’s also why their cakes taste so good. So, it’s important to value their worth. Be realistic about your budget – don’t expect to pay $300 for a 7-tier cake to feed 300 guests (believe me I’ve had my share of people who expect this). Instead if you are working with a tight budget but really love a particular cake artisan then be upfront about your budget, if you have reasonable expectations then they should be able to work with you to offer alternative suggestions to make the cake of your dreams a reality.
  2. Do have a cake tasting consultation.
    Cake tasting consultations are designed so that you can meet the cake artisan, try their cakes and discuss your wedding and design requirements in person. Most consultations will take approx. 30 -40 minutes depending on the specific cake artisan, but this time will be invaluable for you to get your vision across and ensure you and your artisan are on the same page. You may even get to see a rough design sketch at the end of the consultation, and girls it’s the easiest part of wedding planning to get your partner to happily come along to.
    P.S – Most cake artisans will charge for tastings, however the cost is usually deducted from your order if you order within a certain time frame.
  3. Do give your cake the spotlight it deserves.
    No matter how much you spend on your cake make sure it is placed where your guests can enjoy looking at it before they devour it. Ask your venue to have a flat level, well-lit table for your cake to sit on and take centre stage. Don’t hide it away in a dimly lit corner where nobody can enjoy its beauty – after all it is an edible work of art!Image by She Said Yes Wedding Photography

Cake Don’ts

  1. Don’t be a people pleaser when it comes to your wedding cake flavour.
    It’s easy to get lost in pleasing everybody else when it comes to wedding planning, but I firmly believe that the wedding cake is the one thing you and your partner can be selfish about. After all it’s the two of you who are going to be taking home the leftovers, so make sure you choose flavours you love.
  2. Don’t forget to consider the weather
    Make sure you know what type of weather conditions your cake can comfortably withstand and listen to your cake artisan’s advice about storage and display options for extreme weather conditions. If you are going to be having a marque wedding in the middle of summer with no air-conditioning, then a butter cream cake is not going to withstand the heat for a long period of time. Consider having the cake stored in the venue’s fridge and brought out shortly before the cutting ceremony. Alternatively, if you are having a fondant cake which will hold up better in hot conditions make sure your venue hasn’t placed the cake table right where the western sun hits in the afternoon – melted chocolate ganache = droopy sad cake!
  3. Don’t forget to top it off.
    A cake without a topper is just simply undressed. There are so many beautiful and unique cake toppers out there now day’s we’re certainly spoilt for choice. Customised acrylic/bamboo toppers are extremely popular now and the variety is only limited to your imagination. Custom figurines are also a popular choice along with adding your fur baby’s. Fresh florals can also be used to top your cake along with drips, chocolate sails, fruits and candy’s. Whichever option you choose make sure it adds that something special to your cake and the design.

Concept by Olive Rose Weddings with styling by Brisbane Wedding Decorators

  1. Don’t forget to eat your cake (no seriously!)
    So many couples say they didn’t have a chance to eat cake on the night as they were tending to their guests. Whilst it’s important to look after everybody, it’s equally as important to remember to eat your desserts. Ask your venue or caterer to put aside a small wine, cheese and cake platter for you and your partner to enjoy as a post-wedding late night snack.
  2. Don’t let freezer burn happen.
    I always cringe when couples ask for an extra tier on their cake so they can eat it on their first anniversary. Freshly made cakes just aren’t meant to be kept that long and even with the best of intentions, super airtight packing measures and an abundance of cling wrap, eating the top tier of your cake on your fist anniversary is more of a romantic notion than a practical one. Freezer burn is a real thing and it will happen to any food stored in a freezer. If you have left over cake, then you can safely keep it wrapped tightly in cling wrap in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. After this time the cake will start to deteriorate in taste, texture and appearance.

Thank you to our wonderful guest blog author and cake extraordinaire – Jo Lawinski the owner of Cake My Day by Jo  for these amazing wedding cake tips.

Jo has been making and decorating cakes for over 10 years and specialises in delicious buttercream creations.

Brisbane City Celebrants 10 year celebrations

With Jamie and Cara Brisbane City Celebrants

Being Celebrants we love nothing more than a great celebration, so when ‘Brisbane City Celebrants’ turned 10, we took the opportunity to throw a party and celebrate alongside an amazing bunch of wedding professionals, and thank them for being so supportive of our business over the years.

We decided to become Celebrants after our own wedding in 2008, when we realised the modern, upbeat style of ceremony we would have liked, simply wasn’t available. So with backgrounds in public speaking and a passion to start creating seriously enjoyable ceremonies, we became the change we wanted to see in the wedding industry.

We never expected our Celebrant style to have so much demand, and our little Celebrant business to grow to where it is today.

Reflecting back on what was initially a part-time weekend passion around our office jobs, we still pinch ourselves that we were able to quit our day time jobs to do what we love full-time – celebrate love!

We picked The Orchard function space at Victoria Park for our celebrations as we loved it’s summer vibe, ambient lighting and cheerful yellow theming. Tolix style bar tables and stools from Brisbane Wedding Decorators created a cocktail setting perfectly suited for attendees to mingle, and we loved that guests were greeted on arrival with mojito cocktails.

Brisbane City Celebrants 10 year celebrations wouldn’t be complete without a prize draw, the winner taking home a bottle of 2008 vintage MOET rose, a favourite drop of ours, reflecting the year our business was founded.

We would like to say a really big thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years, from all our amazing clients who trust us for such an important part of their special day, to all the talented wedding industry professionals who we simply love working alongside at weddings. Thanks to all of you we get to do what we love!

Here’s cheers to 10 years! Thank you to all of those who joined us for celebrations including our fellow Celebrants from Brisbane Celebrants Directory & Blog and a special thank you to the following suppliers for being a part of our event.

Photos by Dreamlife Photography

Cocktail Furniture and photo backdrop Brisbane Wedding Decorators

Singer Brett Whitmore

Cookies and Cake Confetti Cake Co

Venue Victoria Park Functions


If you enjoyed this post and Jamie and Cara sound like the kind of Celebrants you are looking for, they would love to hear from you. Head to Jamie and Cara Brisbane City Celebrants website for more information.


How weddings have changed over the past 10 years

How weddings have changed over the past 10 years

By Jamie and Cara of Brisbane City Celebrants

As we celebrate 10 years as Celebrants, this is an opportune time for us to reflect on how the wedding industry has changed over the past decade, how many marriages are taking place, and what weddings look like now compared to 10 years ago.Image by Dreamlife Photography



In 2007 63% of weddings that took place were civil weddings (as opposed to church/ religious weddings)

This percentage has increased slightly every year over the past decade reaching 78% in 2017.

While there are likely a number of reasons for this increase, perhaps couples like the increased flexibility of location and ceremony customisation that come with civil weddings.

We have personally had the pleasure of marrying couples that are of different religions and have opted for a civil wedding as a neutral comprise to a religious ceremony.


In 2017 116,322 marriages took place in Australia, this figure increased fractionally every year until 2013 with a decrease of approximately 5,000 marriages compared to the previous year.

Could this be somewhat related to suspicions around the number 13?

By 2015 the total number of marriages that took place in Australia was just 113,595, and while this jumped up to 118,401 in 2016, 112,954 marriages took place in 2017, which is approximately 5,000 less than the previous year.

In summary, 3,368 less marriages took place in Australia in 2017 than 2007, when you factor in population growth, this suggest a higher percentage of people are choosing not to marry.


When we attended our first OPD training back in 2009, we were told the average age of Marriage Celebrants was 67 years old. While this stat is no longer reported, it’s safe to say becoming a Marriage Celebrant is no longer for those looking for a retirement job, with Celebrants of all age groups now available.


There were 6000 Celebrants in Australia in 2007. 10 years later, in 2017 there are now around 9,000 an increase of 50%

The average Australian Marriage Celebrant officiates 10 marriages every year.

The median age at marriage for males in 2017 was 32.years, and the median age at marriage for females in 2017 was 30 years, in 2017, the majority of brides (80.9%) and grooms (79.3%) had not been married before.

Looking at QLD specifically

In QLD 2007 there were 26,000 weddings in QLD in 2017 there were 22,500 a reduction of 3,500 annual weddings.

81% of weddings in QLD are civil weddings performed by Celebrants


If you found this article interesting and you are looking for a Celebrant for your special day, Jamie and Cara of Brisbane City Celebrants would love to hear from you.

View more of their blog posts on the Brisbane Celebrants Directory & Blog, and contact them to confirm availability for your special day.

Choosing Equality Friendly Wedding Vendors

Choosing Equality friendly wedding vendors

Authors Cara and Jamie of Brisbane City Celebrants

At Brisbane City Celebrants we are genuinely honoured every time we are chosen as the Celebrant for a same-sex wedding. We understand many of our couples have experienced difficult times and often lack the support of family members so it’s imperative to us that we are part of creating an amazing and memorable wedding day. Sadly we continue to hear stories from our couples alongside regular press reports of same-sex couples being refused service, treated inadequately and being discriminated against. We have written this post to assist couples with choosing equality friendly wedding vendors.

When choosing your wedding vendors you want to be sure you really ‘connect’ with them and that you’re all on the same page when it comes to the role they will be playing on your big day.

This is particularly important for same-sex couples who will likely enjoy a better experience in the lead up to and on the special day, by carefully selecting wedding vendors that are genuinely passionate and supportive of your relationship.

Do your research

Before contacting your potential dream team of suppliers, do your research and read reviews (Google Reviews and Facebook Reviews are a great place to start). No vendor can describe the service you can expect to receive more accurately than their former clients.

Check their website

A quick scan of their home page, and real weddings they have featured on their website will give you an indication of how enthusiastic they are about same-sex weddings.

The wording of their website will also give you a good indication of if they have you in mind as their ideal client, for example, are they talking to brides only, or to brides and grooms and couples in general.

Social Media

Practically every supplier in the wedding industry has a social media presence and following the recent campaign in Australia for marriage equality, equality friendly vendors will likely be proudly displaying their support on their social media pages.

Needless to say if you spot rainbows and wedding images showcasing same-sex couples, you can rest assured they will be delighted to hear from you.

A question to ask your potential wedding vendors:

What experience do you have working with same-sex couples?

While any experience working with same-sex couples is appreciated and reinforces the vendors support of marriage equality, many vendors simply haven’t had the opportunity to work with same-sex couples.

Having done your research, and carefully selected who you would like to contact, by simply engaging in conversation with the right people, you will quickly realise how comfortable or excited they are about potentially being a part of your special day.



Authors: Cara Hodge & Jamie Eastgate – Brisbane City Celebrants

Creative Team

Photography: Studio Sixty Photography

Celebrant: Jamie Eastgate, Brisbane City Celebrants

Venue: Old Government House

Stylist: Styled Events

Flowers: Kate Dawes Flower Design

Cake: A Little Cake Place

Suits: Wil Valor

Stationery: Paper Love Invites

Affordable Weekday Weddings

Affordable Weekday Weddings

With Brisbane City Celebrants

Brisbane City Celebrants are so excited to share the details of this affordable weekday wedding package!

We are so honoured to be included alongside the quality vendors, all carefully hand picked by the super friendly and ever organised Janette of Olive Rose Events.

Before we go in to all the fab little details, let’s cut to the chase – how much?

For less than $5k you can enjoy a 3 hour wedding package with up to 30 guests on this gorgeous ceremony lawn with a drinks package. Including professional Photography, a Celebrant (that’s us!) an elegant ceremony set up, dedicated wedding coordinator, flowers, cake, hair and make up plus all completely stress-free with every vendor already picked and everything arranged on the day. Literally all you need to do yourselves is pick your outfits and send out invites! How awesome is that!

Packages can be booked through Event Planner Janette who will liaise with all the vendors for you, making planning your wedding a breeze! Here’s a little more on what you can expect to receive:

Venue: Brookwater Golf & Country Club
3 hour wedding service for 30 guests including ceremony lawn, golf course photography, use of decking and a drinks package. Drinks package includes – 1 x punch bowl, water station and 1x glass of bubbles per person.

Wedding Planner / Coordinator: Olive Rose Weddings & Events
Main point of contact, planning and assistance, on the day coordination.

Photographer: Renee Brazel Photography
2 hour photography session.

Ceremony Decor/Styling: Brisbane Wedding Decorators
Provide and set up ceremony decor hire package of your choice from the Endless Love Deluxe Collection.

Celebrant: Brisbane City Celebrants
Choice of 2 amazing Celebrants (Janette’s description, not ours, isn’t she the sweetest!) includes a short and simple marriage ceremony.

Cake: Cake My Day By Jo
Choice of 1 of 2 packages – (1) Naked buttercream cutting cake with cake topper and single colour roses + 2 dozen plain swirl cupcakes in filigree cups with take home stand, or (2) 2 Tier naked cake with fresh roses.

Bouquets: TN Bloom
1 x Large formal bouquet and 3 x baby’s breath bouquets

Hair & Makeup: The Makeup Ladies
H&MU services (Bride only) – Hair up or down style.

If you would like more information on this package, contact Janette at Olive Rose Weddings who would be only to happy to answer all your questions and help with getting your affordable weekday wedding booked.

If you are looking for an affordable Celebrant for your special day, Brisbane City Celebrants offer a legals only marriage option at a reduced fee, which could be a great option.

Contact Brisbane City Celebrants for more information and to confirm availability for your special day.

A Married at First Sight Proposal

The Brisbane Celebrants Directory & Blog Admin team couldn’t be more excited to share this beautiful Married At First Sight proposal featuring the TV Show”s favourite and Brisbane local Keller and his beautiful fiancée Katie.

Tell us how you met, what drew you to each other and how you became a couple:

Katie and I have been friends for so many years, I remember going to band camp with her in grade 4 and we played the clarinet together.

Through high school I used to admire her every day but always knew she was out of my league.

After serving in the military after 6 years and then going on a reality TV show (Married at First Sight Australia) where I learnt how to date properly, I gained a great confidence in myself.

There was a lot of adversity I had to face after what I went through with the TV situation. I was out one night having dinner with the boys and in walks this drop dead gorgeous brunette in a long white dress, I literally had to pick my jaw up off the floor and HAD to talk to her.

Turns out it was Katie and she remembered me, we got to talking as I found out she loves the Beatles and has a full Beatles side tattoo and coincidently I have a full Beatles sleeve tattoo.

I could feel the electricity and chemistry between us so I just grabbed her face and forced a kiss and she kissed me back, time stopped and I knew this was different to anything I had ever felt.

We have spent every single day together ever since

Katie Describe Keller in 3 words

Kind hearted. Character. Bestie


Keller, Describe Katie in 3 words  

Mother. Goddess. Bestie

Tell us about the proposal (from how the surprise was pulled off, to the cars, colour theme, anything what he said and anything/ everything else that made it so special).


The amazing Cara at Brisbane Wedding Decorators and Amazing Proposals were a great help when it came to pulling off something extra special, I was planning on making this special for a long time but with my work I couldn’t put it all together myself.


I called this amazing human for help and honestly it was the best decision I could have very made for this process.

I told her Katie’s favourite colour was yellow and that her favourite flowers were chrysanthemums, and we designed an elegant setting based on this.

We nutted out a plan to tell Katie that we had a photo shoot with each other as I had to get her to get the day off work, luckily I could use my TV story as an excuse as to why we needed a photo shoot.

Cara got me onto Elite car hires owner Don who was more than happy to get us some cars to escort us to the location and add to the unforgettable day. Cara also organised us our wonderful photographer Leanne from Brischetto Photography and the film crew Mitch Richardson Films who have made the most perfect video to remember out special day.

On the day I was ready to go and got picked up by Don in the Lamborghini at 8am and Katie got picked up in the Mustang at 8.20am, giving me enough time to meet the team at the location and make sure everything was going to run perfectly.

I arrived to the most magical set up with Bublé playing in the background there were beautiful flowers and the most stunning arbour set up decorated with an abundance of yellow flowers!

The fine details made it so special even having our names on a “Will you marry me?’ sign, the beautiful yellow flowers with bees buzzing around them and the line of trees in the background, I got out of the car and my hart skipped a beat.

I just looked at it and thought yep this is it this is perfect I even let a tear slip. I got mic’d up by the videographers and waited for Katie to get there. We waited for a while and I thought oh no she had sussed this out and has turned around she’s not coming!! but the team kept me calm and soon enough I saw the mustang driving down the road.

Katie got there and was in full shock and I yelled out “Surprise baby this isn’t a shoot!!”

She walked over to me waiting in front of the sign and I just let my heart go and said everything I felt, how in love I am how she is my world and my best friend how lucky I am to have her and the kids in my life and then dropped down on one knee and popped the question “will you marry me?” ……. Boom she said yes and my heart filled with complete love and satisfaction it was in that moment my life was now complete and I knew I have made the right choice in my life partner because this is going to be us for the rest of our lives and I couldn’t be happier or more certain of anything. The day was perfect and she was even better. I couldn’t have brought it all together without the team, they honestly helped me achieve the most perfect proposal to the one I love most.

Tell us about the ring (describe the ring and tell us why you picked that style)

The ring was hard because I wanted something different and unique that could represent how Katie makes me feel and that she’s not like anyone else I have met so a normal ring wouldn’t do. I went to Prouds the Jewelers where my sister in law works and told her what I wanted.

We went through so many books and I got bits and pieces from all different rings and designed a custom ring which they made.

A heart of diamonds because she has the strongest heart to love me and the kids and honestly anyone else that comes into her life. Also the heart shape is unique like her.

I got pink diamonds put in it for the kids she has 2 of her own and I want 2 of my own. As soon as I saw the diamond I knew it was perfect it was the clearest and best grade money could get and I could not wipe the smile off my face. The hardest thing was when I picked up the ring not blowing the whole plan and proposing to her on the spot as I’m the worst with secrets.

Finally, tell us about the kind of wedding you envisage

Our wedding will be a very small family and friends event at my parents place on their property. We will have a live band who will be my mate max who plays in a Beatles cover band and is flying down from Darwin just for us. We envisage singing and dancing all through the night with the love of our family and close friends. I think there will be nice white chairs set up for everyone and some photo booths and a nice buffet. We will hire a bar to come and cater for everyone’s beverage needs. It will be beautiful elegant and simple, just for us.

Vendor Credits


Proposal Planning Styling Hire & Flowers:

Amazing Proposals and Brisbane Wedding Decorators


Cars Elite Car Hire

Photography Brischetto Photography

Proposal Film Mitch Richardson Films

Engagement Ring: Ashleigh Keller at Proud’s the Jewelers 

Katie’s Hair by Kristis Kuts

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.

Some of my Favourite Wedding Moments

Some of my Favourite Wedding Moments

With Celebrant Cara Hodge of Brisbane City Celebrants

I was so excited when the Polka Dot Bride wedding blog invited me to share some of my favourite wedding moments with their readers. With way too many amazing moments to realistically list, here are just some of my favourites, in no particular order

Favourite wedding moments

1. The first dance

I adore everything about this incredible shot captured by Milque Photography and Films of this very talented dancing duo.

Milque Photography Wedding Dance

From the perfect composition of this image with the ceiling drapes and opulent chandeliers framing the couple, to the guests cheering enthusiastically in the background.

I have no doubt a lot of planning and practice went in to pulling this dance move off and the happy couple are now rewarded with this very impressive image and wonderful memories.

2. The Hollywood style back bender first kiss

Riverlife wedding with Brisbane City Celebrants Jamie Eastgate

You really get a feeling of romance and a sense of the love this couple share in this image beautifully captured by Dreamlife Photos and Video. You can imagine the guests cheering enthusiastically and applauding as the groom Justin dips his beautiful bride Katie, and the bridesmaids squeal with happiness as they wave their bouquets in the air!

Jamie was the Celebrant for this couple and I love that he got well and truly out of shot (as every Celebrant should) for the photographers to capture this magical moment.

I also love the fresh greenery styled arch, designed by the bride who is a very talented florist.

3. Fresh Floral Arbour

Wedding arbour by Brisbane Wedding Decorators

I am absolutely besotted with this fresh floral arch by the talented creatives at Brisbane Wedding Decorators which was covered in beautiful fresh oversize Colombian roses and perfectly complements the brides white wedding theme. Image by Laura Slade Photography


4. OMG the wedding cake just toppled off the table!!!

Wedding Cake falling

Actually it was all part of the plan. My gorgeous couple, Gabbi and Dan love to laugh and have fun and they knew they wanted their wedding full of fun and laughter. Nothing stiff, boring or predictable.

Something about the traditional cutting of the cake just didn’t feel right to them, so together with their equally fun loving photographers from Naomi V Photography they came up with a plan to trick their guests in to thinking they knocked the cake off the table.

So they got a pretend polystyrene cake and had that iced so it looked like the real deal. As the cake cutting took place and the cake went flying off the table, the photographers captured the shocked look on the guests faces! Seeing Gabbi and Dan smirking then burst in to laughter raised suspicions and a guest ran up to the cake and confirmed they had all been tricked!

We love it when our couples do things their way, truly making their wedding their own and plus this made for a series of hilarious photos too.

5. Flower walls

Karen Tran Brisbane Event Brisbane City Celebran

Ooh look it’s me! It was such an amazing experience to be a guest of honour at the Karen Tran Gala dinner in Brisbane hosted by Event Planner Celebrations by Alysia. What you can see behind me here is a spectacular floor to ceiling water colour inspired flower wall, yes those are all real flowers! The fresh florals, the opulence, the decor, everything was simply breathtaking!

Image via Brisbane City Celebrants

If you enjoyed hearing about some of Cara’s favourite wedding moments and you 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.