surprise vow renewal

Melissa & Aaron

What could be better than a surprise renewal of vows at a beautifully styled wedding inspiration shoot? Today’s couple Melissa and Aaron were originally asked to be models for the retro inspired wedding shoot, little did they know the team of wedding professionals had a surprise for them!

Deborah of Boots Photography tells the story of how the surprise ceremony came to be. “I was teaming up with a few wedding vendors for a styled photoshoot with the plan to use a pretend bride and groom. Only the next day a celebrant I’ve worked with brought this story of a couple she had married a year prior. The couple had a terrible experience with their photographer and still don’t have any images.” Today’s team included The Rose Room, Blossom & Twine , Brisbane City Celebrants, Brisbane Wedding Decorators  and  Atomic Martini Vintage .

Deborah says, “We then heard the entire story of the couple … the bride also had an accident on her cruise honeymoon and as a consequence was in pain and didn’t enjoy the honeymoon, to return to Brisbane to have to have an operation. Also prior to the wedding the bride was a size 26/28 and had a scare by the doctor to say if she didn’t lose weight it could be fatal. Through surgery and dieting the bride managed to lose weight before her wedding and married at a size 18. A huge weight loss that she should have been proud of, but she loved Vintage/Retro but because of her size felt limited in her dress options and only tried on two dresses so she didn’t have the wedding she truly dreamed off … and realised there wasn’t a more deserving couple to be involved in the shoot. We then approached the couple to be our ‘bride and groom in our ‘photoshoot’ which we told them was a portfolio shoot to promote vintage/country weddings, which it did actually begin as, but in the planning process we came up with the idea to do a surprise vow renewal on the day. And surprise surprise we all managed to keep it a surprise right up till we told the couple seconds before it happened. Lucky for us too that we found at that the bride Melissa loved vintage/retro and that is what she dreamt she could have had for her wedding.

So when the celebrant told me and one of the other vendors of this story, we both jumped up and said they can be our pretend bride and groom. Well over the course of planning after hearing the sad story, we decided to surprise them on the day with a surprise vow renewal ceremony. And happily we all managed to keep it a secret and even on the day the couple had no idea what we had planned, right until we were doing a supposed shot of the wedding aisle and wanted a photo of them, “surprise” !!”

“I will never forget how excited Melissa was from the time we told her about the shoot and secretly knowing we had even more of a surprise for her and Aaron on the day. The location for the shoot was on a property in Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast (Queensland) on public holiday Monday 1 October. The day came and the weather was predicting storms but as a lot of time and money was invested in the shoot (and an excited couple we didn’t want to disappoint) the plan was to still go ahead. Throughout the day we battled intermittent showers but there was enough clear sky and flat overcast light which I as the photographer was mighty pleased about. From day dot we had always planned to do the reception table setups on the dirt road at the bottom of the property which is a public road but there are only 2/3 neighbours that would access it so we thought we’d be pretty right as it was a public holiday … they often have the neighbour’s cows wandering on to the property and I was hoping they’d wander up the day of the shoot but sadly they didn’t, but we did have to move the table setting of the dirt road a few times for the garbage truck (what council workers work on a public holiday), a Blue Care worker visiting an elderly neighbour and a couple of neighbours … all of whom I’m sure wondered why we had a beautiful table setting on the dirt road.”

“Melissa & Aaron arrived with their three kids and Melissa’s mum to supervise and were unsuspecting of our planned surprise vow renewal. Melissa went straight into hair and makeup while we did part of the portfolio shoot, then we added them in our our mock bride and groom. It was time to do some portfolio shots of the ceremony aisle and alter and they were still unsuspecting. Ciara from Brisbane City Celebrants suddenly came down the yard all dressed up and compliments were made and then Ciara announced we are doing a vow renewal. Ciara even had Melissa & Aaron’s 3 daughters participating in the vow renewal by asking them ‘do they give permission’ and also had them kiss their parents rings as a blessing.”

Deborah remembers, “During the vow renewal, the celebrant asked if their three children agreed and had them come up and kiss their wedding rings.”

“Following the vow renewal, Jamie Galloway who is a chef and had catered for the day (and also the property resident) had made some beautiful treats for us all to have a small reception, but unfortunately due to the intermittent rain we had to do that part of the shoot earlier and I took the couple straight off for the couple’s location shoot. There were so many great spots on the property to photograph them in and we had such a blast. I can’t say how excited it is to be apart of giving such a lovely and deserving couple a happy wedding experience.”