With Celebrant Cara Hodge of Brisbane City Celebrants
I am so excited to share this story of a sweet surprise vow renewal ceremony – with a twist!
The twist being that it wasn’t the guests that were surprised it was the bride and groom who had absolutely no idea that their photo shoot was about to turn in to a vow renewal ceremony which not long after featured on the fabulous Polka Dot Bride blog.
I first heard from Melissa when she contacted me via my Facebook page where she inquired in to my availability to be their Celebrant for their wedding in the garden gazebo at the Glen Hotel.
I excitedly confirmed my availability and a few days later we met at a local coffee shop where we discussed the kind of wedding that would perfectly reflect them as a couple and as a family as they have 3 beautiful daughters together.
I love it when couples are eager to involve their children in their wedding day, there are many different ways to involve children of all different ages in weddings. I discussed various ideas with Melissa and Aaron and one of my ideas that they loved was the ‘rings blessing’ where each daughter would place a kiss on the wedding rings before they were exchanged to give their blessing to their mum and dads marriage.
Before we knew it their wedding day had arrived, the romantic gazebo at the Glen Hotel set amongst a purpose built ceremony garden set the scene for their special day. Rain clouds were lingering and I recall the Events Manager asking Aaron to make the final call of if the ceremony should proceed to take place outside, or be relocated indoors. Aarons thoughts were immediately with his bride and he responded by saying he wanted Melissa to have the ceremony she has been dreaming of, so he instructed the ceremony to proceed in the ceremony gardens as planned.
The ceremony flowed perfectly, there wasn’t a drop of rain and the super cute flower girls looked divine and completed their roles of blessing the wedding rings with perfection!
While Melissa and Aaron enjoyed a fantastic wedding day, when it came to collecting the wedding photos they were shocked to find out their photographer seemed to have significantly increased the price of their package from what was initially agreed, perhaps this was covered in the small print of their contract, I’m not sure but either way the amount their photographer was demanding was simply out of their reach and simply just not do-able for them meaning the couple ended up with no professional wedding photos, not even a sneak peek!
This also meant they didn’t have professional photos of their family to treasure from this special day.
Myself and Melissa stayed in touch via Facebook and when her 1st wedding anniversary came and went she had no wedding photos to share on her page, it was then that she explained to me what had happened and how upset she was not to have any wedding photos.
While you only have 1 wedding day and they can never get that day back, my mind raced and I contacted a reputable photographer that both myself and Jamie had worked with on a number of occasions, Deb from Boots Photography, and also a family member Anne who runs the Rose Room High Tea Café in Noosaville to share Melissas story and see on the off chance if they would be interested in doing a shoot with Melissa and her family.
The reason Anne came to mind to contact was because Melissa has a love and passion for vintage and retro, as does Anne with every item you find on the table at her High Tea café being carefully selected and from a former era.
Beside themselves with excitement I received immediate responses from both Anne and Deb they had been planning to do a styled shoot with Anne’s beautiful china and vintage furnishings and they were only too happy to work the shoot around Melissa and Aaron, they Deb had the brainwave – why not surprise them with a vow renewal on the day to make the day that bit extra special!
Deb did a fantastic job enlisting a team of wedding professionals who were kind enough to donate their time and services to put this shoot together, while they were all in on the surprise vow renewal ceremony we had to keep it all super secret from our unsuspecting bride and groom.
Usually our couples have a huge amount of input in to their ceremonies and we always get their approval on the final ceremony before their special day. However under these circumstances I had to create the ceremony without the couples sign off, so I wrote their vows for them and couldn’t resist including their children with a rings blessing just like on their wedding day!
The day arrived and the vendors were buzzing around busily passionately creating their own special part of the day.
The day commenced with Deb shooting various backdrops with the couple, then right on cue she led the couple over to the ceremony set up where she continued to shoot, suppliers gathered around the signal was given and a track from one of Melissas favourite bands the Foo Fighters played.
I surfaced from the acreage property dressed appropriately in a vintage style dress and with Melissa and Aaron already in their places under the lace draped wedding arch, I was the one to walk down the aisle. It wasn’t until the music faded out and I whipped out my ceremony folder and said “SURPRISE” that Melissa and Aaron realised what was about to happen, they responded ‘Are we getting married again?’ hehe! Love them!
I commenced the ceremony requesting their permission to renew their vows to which they both happily agreed. The vow renewal ceremony was so much fun for everyone present, the girls kissed their wedding bands just like on the wedding day and as I pronounced them husband and wife for the second time, they shared a kiss while Aaron spontaneously threw his hat in the air as everyone roared with laughter and Deb captured the moment.
We all enjoyed tasty treats whipped up by the resident Chef Jamie and a glass of celebratory champagne, except for Deb who continued to shoot the now re-married couple making the most of the beautiful afternoon sunset.
The ceremony was promptly snapped up and featured on the Polka Dot Bride blog which was a lovely way for all the deserving suppliers to receive recognition for coming together and giving Melissa, Aaron and their family not just a day to remember but this time beautiful photos to treasure.
If you enjoyed hearing about this surprise vow renewal ceremony and are looking for a Celebrant for your Brisbane wedding or vow renewal ceremony, Cara would love to hear from you. Contact Brisbane City Celebrants for more information and to confirm availability for your special day.