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Unusual Wedding Locations

Not particularly religious?

Don’t have the money to fly and elope in Las Vegas?

Would rather host your reception at somewhere more glamorous than the local RSL or Bowls club?

Well, fear not. I’m here to help with some unusual locations for your special day. Whether it just be you, your partner, the Marriage Celebrant and a handful of witnesses, or a party of hundreds there for the spectacle, here’s some options to make your day (or night) all the more memorable.

Increasingly couples are choosing wedding locations outside the ordinary, often times these venues hold special meaning to them, such as the site of their first date or holiday, whereas other times people just want to host the event in a place neither they nor their guests are bound to forget. And besides, according to 2011 data the average Australian couple spends $36,000 on the day so you may as well go the extra mile just to make the occasion that much more special.

Whether it be the sublime – in front of Uluru, on a secluded beach in Fiji, among the grapes in a quaint vineyard, or the ridiculous – among cans of Campbell soup in a supermarket, bungee jumping in tandem off New Zealand’s Kawarau Bridge – the only real limit is your imagination.



Married in the canned soup aisle – ain’t that romantic!?

My only real suggestion would be to choose a location that fits both of your personalities, matches your values, follows your passions, and in which you are completely comfortable holding the ceremony. If you are a devout churchgoer, perhaps your local church is your best bet. If you just love the beach, why not book that pagoda on the headland overlooking the rips for your special day. If you and your partner are scuba nuts, go ahead and get hitched underwater with the Marriage Celebrant, bridal party and anyone else brave enough to put on the gear or hold their breath long enough!

Some of my favoured locations include: a secluded tropical beach, such as One Foot Island in the Cook Islands; a picturesque vineyard with rolling hills in theHunter Valley; and iconic Australian landmarks such as the Yulara resort nearby Uluru, on Cable Beach in Broome, on the promenade in front of the Sydney Opera House, or flying over the Mitchell Falls in the Kimberleys.

My favourite Brisbane unusual wedding location?

Well, that would have to be The Beach, of course!


beach bris


Streets Beach at South Bank Parklands, my favoured unusual wedding location in Brisbane

by Ben Graham for idocelebrant.com

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More and more couples are choosing to marry outdoors in Australia. Our weather is generally pretty amazing, and depending on the time of year and geographic location, temperatures can range from very mild to very hot.

While outdoor weddings can be extremely beautiful, couples need to consider their needs and the needs of their guests when planning to marry in locations that may afford little cover in the event of bad weather.

While many elements at weddings can be controlled by the relevant service providers, the one thing that no one can control is the weather. No celebrant, wedding venue host or other wedding provider can guarantee perfect weather for a couple’s special day. However, some careful planning well ahead of the day can ensure that if bad weather or an extreme weather event occurs on the day, couples have options to move their wedding to a more preferable and safer location.


When discussing wedding locations with their clients, celebrants will usually advise couples to ensure they consider and arrange a ‘back-up venue’ in case of bad weather on the wedding day. In many cases, the back-up venue (sometimes also known as the ‘Plan B’ venue) is often undercover or indoors at the reception venue. Whatever the location of your Plan B venue, it is important to ensure that this location can adequately shelter the wedding party, all the guests, and any onsite wedding providers such as musical groups.

If the reception venue is the Plan B venue, couples need to ensure the venue is aware of and approves of this action, as venue staff may have to rearrange part of the reception room to accommodate the ceremony. This should be discussed with the venue’s wedding planner well in advance of the wedding, with an agreement for the couple to notify the venue within a specific timeframe prior to the wedding so that the venue is ready if needed on the day.

Ideally, couples should add the location of their Plan B venue to their wedding invitations, or attach a separate note notifying the guests of the alternative location. This can be a very simple statement such as:

‘In the event of bad weather on our special day, the ceremony will take place at XXX location’.

Couples may also like to include space for guests to nominate their mobile numbers on any RSVP cards issued with the invitations.

To make their back-up venue planning complete, couples should nominate a friend or relative to act as the Emergency Usher in the event of bad weather. The Emergency Usher should be given a mobile phone and a complete guest list with mobile phone numbers for each guest or family group attending. Alternatively, couples could save their guest phone numbers in this phone for the Usher. It is unreasonable to expect an Emergency Usher (or the officiating celebrant) to use their own phone to make what could amount to potentially more than 100 phone calls to alert guests to the change in venue.

Through careful pre-wedding planning, couples can ensure that if they have to change venues on the day due to bad weather, their guests will be in the right location at the right time.

Couples can also reduce their own personal anxiety levels by understanding and accepting that they may have to marry in another location due to circumstances beyond their control.

© Sharon L Norris 2012


for idocelebrant.com

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Calming pre-wedding nerves.

nervous“IT IS MY WEDDING- ARGH!” I can hear you say. Everyone has butterflies leading up to the big event so take a deep breath. Make a list of all the things worrying you and chat with some friends and family to calm those nerves.  Go back to the list after chatting and you will realise that many wedding problems can be solved easily with some family support and forward planning.

When it comes to wedding planning –One very important thing to remember is that, no mtter how perfectly you can plan your wedding, something will go wrong; big, small or indifferent.At the end of the day there is little you can do so just accept that “these things do happen”.

Know yourself – Everyone has at least a few ways of winding down. Going for a walk, a round of golf, shopping or even going for a drive will help to ease the tension. If you can’t think of anything do something that would definitely have you calm down will be a massage, spa or a swim. Now that we know how to relax, it is time to forget about the hundreds of things that need doing and to set aside some time to focus on YOU for a while.

Take action – Now do it! Set aside time on the wedding schedule for leisure.  If you think it is impossible to get away, choose a ‘go to’ person to take over some of the responsibilities while you are taking some time out. Some other simple things will assist with stress before your big day including eating and sleeping well.

Have a ‘go to’ person – You are stressed, tired and worn out and you have a list of things to do before walking down the aisle. Forget it. Choose a ‘go to’ person that will do it for you responsibly and can delegate to get things down quickly.

All in all, accept that this is a day that started out to be a “small gathering” and has erupted to include far more than you anticipated, but at the end of the day it is all about you and your partner and the love you share.

In a nutshell: Rock up to the ceremony, meet your groom, smile, and let you marriage celebrant do the rest.  Easy!

By Eathen Smith

for idocelebrant.com

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Bonbonniere – the Flavour of the Favours….

bonbonniere(pp_w888_h710)“Bonbonniere” are many different gifts which are given at weddings but a hundred years ago they were something quite different.

Originally bonbonnieres’ were a little box, like a trinket box, that contains a small gift which expressed the bride and grooms ‘riches’. Within these boxes the most common gift was sugar cubes or sugar coated almonds – I originally found this odd compared to today’s version of bonbonnieres – but hundreds of years ago sugar was uncommon and used to be a symbol for health/a medical cure (ironic, right?). Well enough about a history lesson, let’s see the innovative and fun ideas for bonbonnieres!

Today, many brides and grooms prefer to be more personal and playful with their gifts, giving their guests something more useful. Popular objects are coasters, key chains, letter openers, magnets as well as plenty of other ideas. Depending on your wedding there are many different ways to incorporate a theme to your gifts. For example, a romantic wedding could consist of the following; a heart-shaped key ring (maybe even with a photo of the bride and groom inside), heart-shaped coasters or rose scented soap with the bride and grooms name engraved on it.

One very important point to consider is the packaging and placement of your bonbonnieres. The packaging you choose should match your wedding colours. The most popular way to package your bonbonniere is to have a personalized gift box tied with a ribbon (it’s always nice to have your wedding colours on the box with a white ribbon to tie it off or a white box with coloured ribbon – trying to add too much colour to your packaging can sometimes be too much).

Finally, the placement of your bonbonnieres should be thought about too. The most common two choices are to either include them to your table decoration (placing the box in front of the guests place at the table with a name card either on top, in front of or behind it) or to have them handed out at the end of the wedding by the usher (or even the bride and groom themselves while they thank everyone for coming). Another popular choice is when the guests arrive they head to a table to find their name cards with the bonbonniere underneath directing them to their place at the table.

That should have covered the basics of choosing your wedding bonbonnieres but always remember as hard as choosing the actual gift may be, packaging and placement are still in need of thought.

by Jasmine Bellinger

for idocelebrant.com


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A novel way for the bride to arrive…


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How to find a great DJ for your wedding

dj weddingWedding bells are ringing and the big day is fast approaching but with all the noise around you, has the obvious has been forgotten? Never fear the quick guide for finding a wedding DJ is here!

“Social Networking” – The modern form of word of mouth is now at our fingertips. You knew that those 767 friends that you added to Facebook would finally pay off. Friends, family and acquaintances will suddenly be giving you great ideas and recommendations for the perfect wedding DJ. A simple update on your Facebook profile asking if anybody knows of a reliable and experienced wedding DJ may come up with some surprising results.

“Word of Mouth” – Simple, effective and often surprising is the tried and true method of the Aussie ‘chin wag’. Start with the obvious leads and talk to recently married friends, friends in bands or people involved with the music industry. Then there are the people that are often overlooked but are sources of the best local information. They can be your friendly bartender, taxi driver, shop assistant or accountant; anyone that has a large client base. The results can be a surprise and who would think that your newly discovered wedding DJ is a singing taxi driver by day? Be specific about your requirements and remember to mention ‘experience’ and ‘reliability’ to your network of friends and acquaintances or risk a wedding DJ flop.

“Hit the clubs” – Do you or your friends enjoy hitting the clubs on the weekends and know some of the best local DJs. You might think that the ‘too cool for school’ DJ isn’t interested in some wedding gig however many DJ’s will jump at the opportunity for a bit of extra cash or experience. Again be specific about your requirements or risk turning the bridal waltz into something more psychedelic than you expected.

“Research” – Researching for a wedding DJ is no longer a case of dreading a chiropractic bill when you dig out the phone book. Think of all of the modern ways for finding what you need on the internet. Consider phone books, directories, forums, search engines, classified advertisements and business directories are all at the click of a mouse away. Suddenly you have found your DJ with little time and effort.

Without effort your last minute wedding DJ headaches have disappeared by combining some of the above searches with a little bit of help from friends, family and acquaintances.

By Eathen Smith

For idocelebrant.com

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DJ vs. Live Band

the_wedding_band-showWhen planning out your wedding the music chosen is often the essential piece to creating the mood and atmosphere of your day. Now I know traditionally you usually have a live band however today a lot more people are hiring DJ’s as well. The hard question here is which one to hire for your wedding; a live band or a DJ?

There are many pros and cons to both of these choices so let us begin with a live band. Live bands have the ability to create an energized crowd and get people ‘movin and goovin’. They can change the tempo depending on your guests and the sound quality is generally better than a DJ. Having a live band is excellent to set a theme for your wedding e.g. if you are having a 1920’s to the 1940’s themed wedding, a Jazz band would be the perfect cherry on the top of your wedding. As amazing as this all seems, hiring a live band is can be very expensive (usually a couple of thousand dollars and up) and a live band has its limitations (you may have a favourite song you want played but the live band isn’t guaranteed to play it well or at all).

I personally love the voice of Florence Welch (from Florence and the Machine) but I am sure only a select few live bands singers could hit the notes she does. This is where hiring a DJ has its advantages. A DJ (or just using your iPod) can play any song you request and it will always sound the way it did when you fell in love with it. The music will be a constant stream and never have a break and can also be changed to background music quickly or to a fast dance number in a matter of seconds. A massive downfall of a DJ is that they could make horrible jokes, say the wrong names of the wedding guests or just be on auto pilot and not always be as energetic as you hoped and “just sit there”.

The best thing to do when sorting between a DJ or Live Band is to try and meet the DJ or see the Live Band play before your wedding to see you if coincide. This will be the easiest way to decide as there is nothing worse than having the wrong styled live band or a bored/inappropriate DJ at your wedding.


By Jasmine

for www.idocelebrant.com

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