Amy and John

I am so excited to share today’s wedding with you, because there is something so very special about sharing the wedding of someone you have come to love and know the work of. Meet Amy, you might know her better as the designer behind stationery brand Saint Gertrude Design & Letterpress but today, you’ll know her as the bride who hijacked her daughter’s birthday party to get married!

Amy starts their story. “We met 8 years ago at a work function and have barely been apart since. We’re not particularly traditional people and never considered ourselves ‘the marrying kind’. In fact, we kinda skipped over marriage opting to travel and live overseas together, made a home together and then started a family together. But a few tough moments in 2012 made us realise that the only thing standing in the way of ‘being married’ was ‘getting married’. So we decided to forfeit the usual hype of a traditional wedding by hijacking our daughter’s 2nd birthday party and having a surprise wedding.”

Photographs today are by Luke Lornie Photography who has such a fun, fresh feeling to his photographs!

The day kicked off with the decorations, Amy remarking, “Every detail was DIY’d! The paper chains, the giant balloon garlands, the tissue paper pom poms. Technically, even the invitations were DIY’d. My friend, Caroline Buckle of The Creative Type, helped me to style and decorate the back yard so that it could easily pass as both a little girl’s birthday party as well as a laid-back wedding.”

And where does one hold a surprise wedding? There was no better place than the couple’s backyard! Amy says, “The venue was our own back yard! We love our little home so much and I have worked particularly hard on the garden over the past year so it was great to be able to show it off.”

For music, Amy says “A dear family friend gave us her old stereogram as a gift. For music, we ran an iTunes playlist through the AV input, then rocked out to some old vinyls later in the evening.”

Amy recalls “The element I am most proud of is the invitations. I’m a wedding invitation designer and letterpress printer so having a surprise wedding really made the invitation element redundant. I wanted to create an invitation to Hazel’s 2nd Birthday that somehow hid a message underneath so I created a design with a decoded secret message. The invitation that the guests received in the post said they were invited to Hazel’s 2nd Birthday. Once they were at the party and settled in with a drink and a sausage, we handed out envelopes with the invitation and a pair of 3D decoder glasses, revealing that this birthday was actually a wedding. The design took months and the printing was experimental to say the least. But it worked and there are some incredibly beautiful photos of our unsuspecting family crying with surprise through their 3D glasses.”

One of Amy’s favourite memories? “We walked down the ‘aisle’ (our back steps) hand-in-hand. No music played but we had the beautiful and comical sight of a sea of shocked faces wearing 3D glasses!”


When it gets down to business, Amy had the right idea, recalling, “My dear groom started to panic the night before about funny little details (such as the fact I burnt the wedding cake). I told him that as long as we ended the day as husband and wife, then nothing else mattered.” Amy wore a gown from BHLDN while John wore his own clothes with a dapper bow tie from His Handsome Self.

Melissa Polimeni married the couple, Amy telling “Melissa Polimeni our celebrant was wonderful. And when we found out she was actually going to be 6 months pregnant at the ceremony, even better. Nobody is going to suspect the pregnant lady is actually a secret celebrant!”

Of their photographer, Amy says, “Luke Lornie is my friend and professional collaborator. He was invited as a guest and to take photos and he managed to capture some of the most candid and emotionally charged moments of the day. The photos are more than I could have ever wished for.”

Of their first dance, Amy tells, “We didn’t intend to have a first dance. But as the day was winding down, and most guests had gone, we played the Rufus Wainwright cover of John Lennon’s ‘Across The Universe’ and had a very intimate dance in our car port with just the last few guests standing. This song has particular meaning for both of us because it was playing when our daughter was born.”

Thank you Amy and John for sharing your story with us! Congratulations on your marriage! Thank you to Luke Lornie Photography for sharing today’s wedding with us!