Married on Mapleton ridge

Married on Mapleton ridge

Married on Mapleton Ridge

Seeking a Mapleton celebrant

Rebecca and Justin didn’t actively look for a celebrant.

They simply picked up a flyer one day and intuitively knew Kari was the right celebrant for them.  They were looking for a  non-traditional, creative, free-thinking, down to earth, grounded but a lively person for their wedding at Coolabine Ridge Estate.

Couple have a cosy laugh while Kari celebrant looks on

Coolabine Ridge Estate in Mapleton

This property is magnificent, looking down towards the Kenilworth plateau and the Conondale Mountain Range beyond.  And for a wedding it is the perfect outdoor setting.

In fact Coolabine RIdge has many settings. Bec and Justin chose the secluded view peeping through the forest, the outdoor glade, with the trees all around.

Peeping out from the treeline towards Conondale ranges
Guest wait at the wedding at Coolabine Ridge Estate

But who is getting married?

Guests gathered near the spectacular view at this ridge top retreat.  However there was no sight of either bride or groom!

The guests asked me……vintage sweets bike

….but I didn’t let on.

Instead, I encouraged everyone to have a guess.

There were suggestions of a vintage car or horse drawn cart…..perhaps a vintage bicycle.

Arriving to the wedding by Helicopter

No-one guessed they would arrive by helicopter, especially given the tree cover.  An expert pilot, manoeuvred his giant chopper in through a gap in the trees and settled on the grass.

And the harp started to play…. Kim Kirkman strummed his strings and the ceremony began.

Harpist plays for the wedding on Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Coolabine Ridge Estate

This estate on Mapleton ridge seemed perfect for Bec and Justin, with the relaxed outdoors feel, the incredible bushland surrounding them, and the availability of cabins for guests to stay, a pavilion for a reception dance floor, and plenty of grassy areas for marquees and partying.

A love story for a wedding

We celebrated a unique love story that day.  Justin told their story.

When some people meet there are instant sparks, but for Rebecca and Justin, it took 5 years of friendship before the romance was set ablaze.

It begs the question, Is it fate that brings two people together?  Do their stars align in such a way that Universal Forces draw one person to another, like a magnet?

Well, one thing is for sure, nothing was going to stop Rebecca and Justin from forming a union, as one. Not even they could stop it!!!

You see, Rebecca and Justin were friends for years before something clicked and the romance began.  They met in a meditation class in 2002. A group of friends from the class would regularly meet for brunch and a friendship between the two grew from this.

As fate would have it, sometimes the brunches would end up just being the two of them together, as friends.  They found they had much in common and their bond grew strong and heartfelt. It was a close connection that resembled being with your life partner, except….not.  Everyone else could see the writing on the wall but them.

Then one night the winds of fate took over. Destiny was knocking at the door, acting very impatiently “if these two can’t wake up and see they are meant to be together, then we will have to wake them up and knock some sense into them!!

Justin took a brave plunge, bringing us eventually to this happy wedding day.

Thanks to AA Photography for these images.  (Sadly AA Photography have closed their doors)

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making poetry of legal wedding vow

When I begin planning a unique ceremony with couples, they often ask what they must do, and what they can do.

Well the answer is that the Australian marriage law is very flexible.  There is no compulsion to be in a registered marriage office, as in Europe, nor to mention God in a civil ceremony. There is so much leeway to have the wedding ceremony of your own style and tone.  

There are however a set of words that must be said.  Some by the celebrant and a sentence by the couple.  The marriage vows must include a set of words that could be considered a little dry.  Of course you can add any other words of your choice.  Have a peek at David and Amber’s Day at Maleny Manor then read on to see how he managed with those words.

Thanks to LM Images for the amazing photos.

Amber and David’s is a love that grew over time, having begun when they first met on the hospital touch football team. As they got to know each other, through social outings with mutual friends and through their work at the hospital, Amber and Dave discovered that touch was just one of the many passions that they had in common.  Both being doctors, they have a wealth of education to draw inspiration from.  

David is an especially creative soul with words.  He managed to take the legal sentence from the marriage vows and turn it into poetry. David promised ……

I call upon the people here today,

To witness these words I’m about to say: 

I, David Liu

Take Amber Peckston – you

To be my lawful wedded wife 

Starting today for the rest of my life

I will be your partner in all things

No matter what challenges life will bring

I promise to help you cook and clean,

And try my best to stay reasonably lean

I promise I’ll try to stay alive 

When I’m hanging out with these 2 guys 

(at this point he gestured towards the groomsmen, his partners on adventures of the extreme kind!)

I promise to amend and shake my fist

When people call you a psychologist 

You’ll never fight your fights alone 

I’ll share your dreams like they are my own 

I promise in 50 years I will still say

I love you, as strongly as I did today.

It was a delight to work with Amber and David, in creating their wedding ceremony

What they said of Kari:

David and I would like to sincerely thank you for all of the hard work you put into creating a beautiful ceremony for us. You were always there when we had questions and so prompt with your replies. Your interactions with our guests and your delivery of our ceremony was flawless.

Amber & Dave

Soren the eagle brings the wedding rings

Soren the eagle brings the wedding rings

And who brings the rings?

There is that moment in a wedding when the marriage celebrant looks up and asks who brings the wedding rings.

Sometimes its grandma. Occasionally a favourite pet or a child with a cushion.

Generally it is the moment for the Best Man to pat every pocket in his suit and pretend he has forgotten the rings. It gets a little laugh, and then he breaks out in a smile and fishes a ring box from his pocket.

I encourage this little game to lighten the mood at a wedding ceremony. The best man has his moment of fame, and everyone is relieved that nothing is going to go wrong. “Just joking”, his smile says!

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From the beginning

Jason and April’s wedding began like expected.  Jason waited patiently for his bride, accompanied by his groomsmen. As the marriage celebrant I waited with the guys, calming them about late brides & would she arrive.

Held on the shores of Lake Baroon in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, at Secrets On the Lake, we all enjoyed being outside in the warm sun with rainforest all around.

The girls soon arrived, to oohs and aahs, and the wedding ceremony got underway.

It was, so far, what the guests expected; a little emotional, some laughs, a sweet and funny love story.

The ceremony approached the moment to exchange rings.

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What if he doesn’t?

But what happens when the best man looks genuinely worried, and gives a meaningful but slight shake to his head, looking back at the celebrant with a “Don’t ask me!” expression on his face.

I continued the charade and asked him to check all his pockets.  Fortunately Matt was a good sport, and didn’t mind when we all looked at him expectantly.    He just continued to shake his head and look at me, the celebrant, with expectation.  Perhaps he might have guessed something was up.  Note the groom looking away…..

Enter an eagle

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Suddenly everyone felt the air above their heads move, as Soren the eagle swooped down almost touching the hairdos of the entire guestlist.

There were many audible gasps as the wind from his wings lifted spirits in surprise, startled us all and brought an emotional tear even to my eye.  At that moment I felt the awe of nature, of the power in one creature, the wonder in life around us.  This huge bird swooped over us all, and landed on the arm of Jason, the Groom who by this stage had donned a leather glove for protection.

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Soren

Soren, the eagle, is specially trained to carry wedding rings.  They hang from his tresses on his ankles.  Paul, his trainer keeps a nature refuge, a training and conservation centre for wounded animals.  Soren is a star of Broadwings Events.

Paul very kindly allowed me to hold Soren for a photo after the ceremony and photos were over. I can assure you there is  nothing like holding a powerful bird on your arm, and experiencing a wild creature so close.Wedding_with_an_eagle18

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Allowing nature in

Many say that the presence of water blesses a marriage like no other.  There is plenty of water at Secrets on the Lake, one of the most beautiful wedding venues on the Sunshine Coast.  The lake over which the tree houses look is actually the drinking water for this area.  It is special water, clean water, and was a very special blessing for this couple.  To honour the place and the water, April and Jason chose a finale ritual for their wedding.

The pebble toss…

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Guests were invited  to participate in a Celtic wedding tradition, that of the Pebble Toss.  Stones were handed  to each guest at the conclusion of the ceremony.  Behind this tradition is the notion that natural things can anchor a thought.  It is important that water is involved in the pebble toss.  Water is the element that represents emotion and spirit. In a wedding it is about wishing prosperity and flow.  The stone is the carrier of  wishes and prayers, happy hopes and cheeky thoughts for April and Jason’s future.

Holding their pebble for a moment, each guest waited by the shores of the lake.  Imbued with warm thoughts and story the stones were tossed into the water, sending wishes into the ether to come true for April and Jason.

Thanks to Malin from Love Is A Place Photography for the images.

This is what the couple said:

Kari was one of the vital pieces of our wedding that we couldn’t have done without.  We are so glad to have chosen her as our celebrant after a lot of careful searching.  We were quite lost as what we wanted, but she listened carefully and crafted for us an amazing ceremony which both we and our guests loved.  She also helped us keep our “ring delivery” secret a huge surprise from everyone (rings flown in via wedge-tailed eagle).   Kari is a fantastic celebrant and also a truly talented lady.  I hope many other couples get to experience the same joy she brings to their ceremonies too.  April & Jason

See this wedding story in pictures by Malin from Love Is A Place Photography :

Read about another unusual ring bearer:

a simple yet meaningful wedding

a simple yet meaningful wedding

Congratulations to Tom and Ben finally wed in Australia, so they could be together.

Simple with no unnecessary frills

Tom&Ben_a_simple_wedding

Tom and Ben needed no frills to show they love each other; no huge flowers, fancy clothes or other frilly stuff to declare their commitment to each other.  Their wedding was a simple ceremony to declare what is deep and meaningful in a natural way amongst the big trees and forest sounds.

They found each other many years ago actually, in New York at a youth Democratic Education conference.  They have since traveled across the world to see and be with each other in their respective countries.

Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens

This year they were able to wed in the glorious Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens with the sounds of the birds and animals as the backdrop, and their close family around them.

Kari, the celebrant gathered the family in the Mossy Log Grove under the canopy of the trees.

Coo – eeTom&Ben_a_simple_wedding2

We all cooo-eeed to call the couple.  And the birds above answered us too!!

Tom and Ben walked in along the garden path, already hand in hand already joined in spirit, and so happy to be together at last.

And the ceremony began.

Tom&Ben_a_simple_wedding6But the rings!

Oops, the rings had been left in the car.

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No problem, a friend was despatched with the car keys, and he came running back in plenty of time for the vows and the exchange of rings to seal the promises made.

A wedding does not have to cost the earth.  Ben was keen to make sure it cost very little, if anything.  He was most miffed when he had to pay for a haircut to fix the one he had insisted his mother do!

The family made delicious and healthy decorative picnic fare to share after the ceremony.  The gardens are open to the public every day.  The couple even chose their wedding clothes from the op shop.  Ben found a local artisan to craft rings from reclaimed silver cutlery.  And Mum crafted the lovely floral headpiece for the bride from garden flowers.

Friends and family, and even grandma gathered to enjoy the gardens.  A teensy early mist of rain meant the gardens were private just for us that day!!!

It was a day about joining two people, not about spending money.  A day to celebrate two people in love, who simply want to be together.  And they are so happy!

It was a true and simple joy to be there.

Tom said afterwards:

We actually never had to look for a celebrant, the universe just pointed to you. I can remember one year ago Ben was telling me on the phone he met our celebrant and set up a date and place for our wedding. It felt so distant to me… Being on the other side of the globe, not even ready to apply for a visa let alone see it approved. It all sounded like a dream.. Or more like some kind of a rough plan.  But still from that point on we were one step closer towards being able to live together.  What I find amazing is that I couldn’t imagine us finding anyone else taking your part. I think most celebrants out there wouldn’t relate or able to understand as well as you did. The way we wanted to keep it all simple (but still meaningful). Both of us just felt so happy with it. Thank you so much!

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a naughty wedding veil

a naughty wedding veil

A marriage celebrant well might ask, “What does one do with a naughty wedding veil during a wedding ceremony?” Hmmmm….

Congratulations to Gayle and Keith who were married on top of the hill at Ruffles Lodge on the Gold Coast Hinterland.

married on thelawn

But my story gets ahead of itself.  Let’s back track a little….
With spectacular views down to the coast, the exclusive mountain retreat is simply gorgeous.  Gayle and Keith chose this place so their family and friends could all join the retreat and have some time away from the hum of life in a relaxed and luxurious location.

So the groom and his blokes are waiting on the lawn, the guests are assembled.

Beautiful Gayle arrives on the arm of her Dad, her long bridal veil trailing behind.

Here Comes the Bride

The ceremony begins, and the breeze picks up a little. Not looking too naughty yet!

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Slowly the naughty wedding veil starts to make an entrance.

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The wedding veil wafts romantically around, then starts to assert itself more strongly until a moment is made
behind which a bride and groom could steal a kiss!

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We laugh, and finally a Bridesmaid catches the cheeky veil and tames it a little for the rest of the ceremony.

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the first wedding kiss

the first wedding kiss

That’s what bridesmaids are for!  Just one of the many jobs a bridesmaid takes in her stride on her friend’s wedding day!
Thanks girls.

Check out the amazing purple and lilac.  What glorious colours!!!

And thank you to Justin from Bush Turkey Studio for the photos.

“Kari, Thank you for your help for our ceremony in October, it was everything we were looking for. You were fantastic!” Gayle & Keith

bridesmaids dressed in purple who tamed the naughty wedding veil
Unusual buttonholes for groomsmen

Unusual buttonholes for groomsmen

Unusual Buttonholes for grooms

Even the celebrant received a buttonhole for this particular wedding….. more on that a bit later….

But first – Preparing the bridal party

It can be such fun preparing for your wedding ceremony.  Once the reception venue and marriage celebrant are booked, and a few legalities for marriage in Australia taken care of, then the fun of creating your wedding day look begins.

You’ve chosen your bridal party, been shopping for bridesmaid dresses, and selected your bouquets.  The girls are set.

Now for the Groomsmen

Attention turns towards the blokes. Hmmm, you have chosen a suit or casual attire, and the shoes, added funky coloured socks or an outrageous tie. Perhaps you’ve added a vintage flair like braces or waistcoats.

pinning the buttonhole on the groomsmen

Next you turn your attention to the groomsmen’s buttonholes.

Most couple’s would try to match the buttonhole to the girls bouquets.

It can be as simple as a rose pinned on a lapel.

pinning a white rose on the jacket of the groom at a sunshine coast wedding

Or something a little more fancy with a leaf curled behind.

And may I say that I have pinned on dozens of groom’s buttonholes.

The pinning process

Could I even consider myself a master of the pinning the buttonhole on the groom? Does it sound like a party game?

Actually, there are ways to make sure the groom’s buttonhole doesn’t flop or droop. And you may ask why do the florists provide two pearl ended pins?

The answer is to stop the droop!  One up one down.  I

As a celebrant, I have become an expert in pinning buttonholes in a manner to stop the droop.

Did you know there are other buttonhole alternatives! The buttonhole does not have to be flowers.

Renée and Gareth are a funky modern couple, with clever ideas, and a fabulous wit.  Their wedding was particularly unique, and will be featured in another story to come.  Today we peek at their buttonhole ideas.

Unusual buttonholes

They chose lego characters for each of their bridal party, including the bridesmaids who carried them with their flowers.  Each lego character is a humorous reflection of the role or person who wears it.  Here is a peek at the bridal party all lined up….at the altar.

lego men decorations for the bridal party of an unusual theme at a wedding. Each member of the bridal party had their own character

Check out these on the wedding day:

robot lego man buttonhole for the groomsman

Chicken costume  lego man buttonhole for the groomsman

businessman with briefcase lego man buttonhole for the groomsman

And for the Groom…..

skinhead lego man buttonhole for the groomsman

And for the piece de resistance…..

They even provided one for the celebrant.

Thanks guys form the bottom of my heart.

Thanks for including the celebrant (the ringmaster) in your design.  I am humbled.

master of ceremonies lego man buttonhole for the wedding celebrant

For another creative look at wedding flowers check out Cherie and Josh’s story: