With Celebrant Cara Hodge of Brisbane City Celebrants
Bride and Groom: Justine and Andrew
Wedding Date: 12th May 2013
Wedding Ceremony and Reception Location: Fix Restaurant and Bar (Port Office Hotel)
Tell us about your Ceremony and Reception:
When we thought about how we wanted to get married, we kept coming back to just wanting a big party with all our family and friends; so to do that, we had an engagement party/ surprise wedding.
We wanted it to feel like a party from start to end, only stopping for a short meaningful ceremony in the middle. Our engagement party was a black and white cocktail theme with a splash of colour. I (the bride) started the night in a black dress and 90 minutes in, I snuck away to change in to my knee length white wedding dress, wearing a pair of electric blue pumps with both dresses. While I was out of the room my then fiance mingled with the crowd, there were enough people there it was assumed I was just off talking to someone else, plus allowing the guests 2 hours until the actual ceremony gave ample time for the late comers to arrive in time for the big surprise.
At 6pm the Wedding Coordinator (who also happens to be my sister) gathered everyone together for the ‘speeches’ to start and asked where I was, but really this was just code for the very few in the know that the ceremony was about to begin. The band started playing Pachelbel’s Canon, I appeared from a door at the back of the room and the guests were surprised and delighted to see the engagement party had just become a wedding. There were lots of gasps, cheers, clapping and a flourish of tears. The reaction was better than we had ever imagined and quite unlike the usual response you normally get to a bride walking down the aisle.
Our actual ceremony would have been around 10 minutes from start to finish, but in that time we included our unique meeting story, some meaningful vows (with a couple of humorous ones thrown in), exchanged the rings, and of course included all the required legal wording. To us, it was just perfect!
Engagement party turned surprise wedding with Brisbane Celebrant Cara Hodge
What we loved:
The venue was set up superbly, the existing decor is dark leather and wood, and the elegance was enhanced by little lantern lighting placed throughout the venue. To top it off the centre piece of the room was an amazing 3m tall, cherry blossom LED tree – it was definitely a talking point, and a perfect backdrop to the ceremony.
We also loved the laid back feel a surprise wedding had, everyone was having fun from the moment they walked through the door – only helped by the amazing band. We both really loved having kids there too, they entertained themselves for a lot of the night, at one stage the band gave them instruments and had them involved in one or two songs – it was fantastic. But overall my most favourite part was seeing everyones reaction to the ‘big surprise’. I will never forget that!
Describe your experience with Cara from Brisbane City Celebrants:
As mentioned earlier my sister is a Wedding Coordinator, so she has seen a LOT of Celebrants in action, so I knew the moment she recommended Cara to be my Celebrant, that she was going to be fantastic.
I was always imperative from the start that we thought Cara could successfully help us ‘pull off’ the surprise component – and she was really an integral part. She gave us guidance from start to end, but also allowed flexibility for us to put our own touches in to the ceremony.
Cara also allowed us to prepare everything in our own time, so we never felt any unnecessary pressure. It really was an easy, stress free experience – and for that we are very grateful!
Tell us about any wedding suppliers that you were impressed with and why:
The following suppliers were exceptional:
– Emma Stephenson at The Port Office Hotel was outstanding even though we are sisters she treated me as she would any client, she was thorough and professional. There was nothing that was not thought of, planned, or executed perfectly. The staff serving us on the night also need to be congratulated.
– Benjam (band) if you ever wanted the most outstanding wedding band in Brisbane these guys are it. They add to, and create the perfect atmosphere. You can choose between having 1, 2 or 3 band members for differing prices, but we went the whole 3, and it was outstanding. You can indicate the kind of music you want, but apart from choosing the ‘walking down the aisle’ song and the ‘bridal waltz’, we left the rest up to them, they really knew what they were doing. The bridal waltz song we wanted wasn’t very mainstream, but they happily learnt it and executed it fantastically.
– LED Tree Hire by Creative Loop, hiring the LED tree helped us add that point of difference to our wedding. The amazing cherry blossom tree stood 3m tall and really became the centre piece of the room. I am still hearing really positive comments about how amazing it was. They came in to set it up and took it away at the end of the night, so all we had to do was enjoy it’s beauty.
– and of course Brisbane City Celebrants Cara Hodge, she was just amazing.
Your advice to bride and grooms to be:
Our advice is…… a wedding doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out, overly expensive, or stressful affair. If you choose professional suppliers, they will take care of all the stuff that bogs some couples down. We were the hosts of the engagement party/ surprise wedding, but we just showed up and enjoyed it like the rest of our guests. Although we always knew we were going to have a surprise wedding, we only gave ourselves 8 weeks to prepare, but to be honest over 90% of it was organised in less than 4 days.
We would highly recommend a surprise wedding too, there were no preconceived ideas of what should happen, we had no pushy opinions, we saved quite a lot of money and we didn’t need to organise things that often get forgotten e.g. table arrangements, what colour the napkins are, bonbonnieres etc.
We just wish we could do it all again!
Surprise Wedding at Fix Restaurant with Brisbane Celebrant Cara Hodge.
Images courtesy of Max Loxton Photography.
If you enjoyed hearing about this surprise Brisbane wedding ceremony 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.