Katie & Romaine
With a destination wedding in France well under way, an after dark surprise rooftop wedding was the last thing anyone suspected for Kate and Romaine’s big day. But they managed to surprise their guests at their “engagement party” by tying the knot! Luckily Lauren Olivia was there to capture the moments – right down to the big reveal!
Katie tells the story of all those years ago. “We met in London. Romaine met a mutual friend through work and was introduced to a crew of Australian friends (he is French), whom he ended up moving into a share house with.
The day we met was the day he moved in and it was Halloween. I showed up dressed like a cave woman for my costume as I was headed out with the friends for a party. Romaine did not come that night but this was his first impression of me.”
As the sun set, guests began arriving for the “engagement party” Katie explaining “It was an evening, smart casual cocktail style soirée in a rooftop venue in the heart of Brisbane, with a group of about 55 close friends and family. It was also a surprise as we had originally planned to have a small family wedding in France but due to health issues with my family, they could not travel. So about four months out from the wedding, we changed our plans but kept it a secret. We still had a part 2 wedding celebration after in France but I’ll get to that in a bit. Originally it was an engagement party, to celebrate our pending wedding in France, so our guests were under the impression that this was still the case. As for my parents, I told them that we would have the party then go to the wedding registry the next week to get married in Brisbane as they could not travel with us.”
Of the big moment, Katie notes this down as one of her favourites. “I think just orchestrating the moment where we pulled together the ceremony was the biggest feat. It took a lot of coordinating with the staff and some members of my family. We have been told we pulled it off with aplomb.
I originally was wearing a different dress, we then had our event coordinator, Donna, tap us on the shoulder when the celebrant arrived downstairs. We went down to change. Sent the groom up with the celebrant. Once my brother the emcee, pulled the crowd into place, Donna sent me a text, I went up in the lift, stepped out and walked down the aisle. Boom – wedding!”
Of her walk down the aisle, the bride remembers “We chose the song ‘La Ritournelle’ by an awesome French pop musician named Sebastien Tellier. Romaine introduced this artist to me and it has always been our song since we met. My dad walked me down the aisle – but he had to catch me! We had teed up the ceremony for me to get ready downstairs, then I was sent a text to come up in the lift when it was time and they would put dad at the rear of the crowd to meet me. They put him right next to the lift, so when I charged out to meet my groom like ‘it’s go time!’ I did not see him! He caught up though, so it was fine in the end.”
Benjamin Breitenstein officiated the ceremony, Katie remembering “I wanted it to surprise and delight our guests – and it did. I wanted it to be fun but also an honest moment for all our guests to be part of.
I started to cry when I said my vows, which made almost everyone cry. But when we sealed it with a kiss – everyone was whooping and cheering. It was so many emotions in such a short time and the atmosphere was electric!
Our celebrant, Ben Breitenstein, was so great – he made everyone laugh and was really down to earth and super engaging.”
Katie and Romaine chose the rooftop venue of Sage on Ann for their surprise, Katie remarking “I had been to a couple of parties at the rooftop venue we chose before – it was always such a beautiful atmosphere overlooking the city and Brisbane’s heritage City Hall.
The event was also catered by Sage, the on-ground level that I would regularly buy my morning coffee from.
The venue was so helpful and flexible helping us to plan the event. When we told them our plans had changed and that we were going to get married that night – they helped devise a plan to quickly pull together the seating together from a stand-up event for the ceremony. I loved working with them and the food was great on the night.”
“When I think about our wedding, I smile every time – it really was so much fun. My favourite detail was how taken back and delighted my mum was when we did it. She absolutely loved the surprise and it made it even more special as we were all disappointed that they could not make it to France with us.
“I love the photo where my dad actually catches me when walking down the aisle and I love the one where I’m holding my bouquet in the air cheering once we sealed the deal. ”
Katie wore a modern long sleeve gown from Modcloth, explaining “I didn’t want a traditional look and I really couldn’t find anything I liked when visiting bridal stores locally. Plus I didn’t want to spend mega bucks on a dress. But it was everything I wanted and at an amazing price!
It was funny because I did my measurements and bought the dress and it came in a US 12 (I’m an Aus 12) – so it was two sizes too big. This ended up being great though as I had a very talented seamstress at Mabin’s Dry Cleaners, Capalaba take it in to fit me like a glove. My advice to ladies is, don’t get hung up on the size – you can get it altered!”
Of her bouquet, found at Rocklea Flower Market Katie tells “I went to Flower Lovers at Brisbane’s Rocklea Market Place for my flowers. I just got my bouquet, a buttonhole for Romaine and baby’s breath to decorate the venue.
I absolutely loved my bouquet – it was gorgeous. I’m not too fussy, I just gave them a colour palette and got the seasonal posy bouquet and requested some native Australian flowers. So it was a mix of red and white roses, native flowers, gum nuts and greenery.
Of their photographer, Katie exclaims “I could not have asked for a better photographer, I’m absolutely delighted with our photos.
As I mentioned, we had wedding photos at night, which is unusual, and she did a great job with the use of light and shade and creative angles when photographing us. I also love her style in capturing candid moments and that really stood out to me when I was researching her.”
The surprise had a little help from family. “Being a surprise wedding, we did not have a bridal party. However, my two brothers, sister in law and niece and nephew were all in on the surprise and pulling it together.
My younger brother was emcee that night, my niece was the flower girl and my nephew the ring bearer. My older brother and his wife helped tee up the timing and put my dad in position so he could catch me when I came up in the lift to walk me down the aisle.”
The bride loved “the speeches on the night. We had some beautiful poems, some written by friends, some hilarious (and quite inappropriate) speeches, heartfelt words and a few who jumped up to say unscripted words off the cuff. I can’t think of any other setting where people say such kind, honest things in front of everyone – without fear of judgement.”
There was no first dance, tells the bride “this was a battle I lost with Romaine – he didn’t want to do this part so I gave in. It’s OK though, I think us girls get our own way with most of the wedding so I was willing to let this one slide. There was plenty of dancing later that night!”
“Our cake was a brownie tower from Brisbane brownie legends I Heart Brownies. They looked beautiful, tasted amazing (guests loved them) and were perfect for a stand up affair as you could just pluck one off the tower, no need for a fork and plate. Also – they are GF free. Bonus!”
“After cake, I just wanted to dance for the rest of the night. We chose lots of fun tunes and plenty of ‘cheese’ and the dance floor was pumping. I have a great memory of my mum singing Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ on the D-Floor at the top of her lungs.”
Congratulations on your marriage Katie and Romaine! Thank you for sharing with us, the stories of your day. Thank you also to Lauren Olivia for sharing today’s celebration.