When we think of The Ceremony Issue, we think of how the ceremony is the centre of your wedding day. For Tegan and Miranda, there was nothing proven more, than how much that was true. With a surprise wedding many months in the planning, an “engagement party” invitations sent to 140 guests, a food truck book, decorations ordered, Brisbane went into a snap lockdown. Their guest list slashed immediately to just twenty, their friends and vendors pitched in to make it magical. “We have so many people to thank for our beautiful, quickly organised, day.” And one of those? Wedding photographers Maple + Ochre Photography who caught and snapped every beautiful moment (including the incredibly coloured paper flowers, handmade!)

“I would say our wedding was “covid-chic”- light on the people but stylish…” explained Tegan. “We were devastated when we got locked down before the wedding. Things changed. So we’d describe our day as “the sort of wedding that is rushed to prepare but ends up 1000% better than you imagined because you end up celebrating under a Brisbane icon with 5-star food and service.” We had originally designed it as a surprise wedding, a lot of our initial decisions we made were made to build a small lunchtime carnival picnic vibe – with wildflowers in little jars, lawn games and picnic rugs etc.” Add to that a brand new surname (Tegan and Miranda merged their surnames to create a unique hybrid surname) a beautiful “Welcome to Country” ceremony and their guests chiming in via a “Love stream” and this is a wedding where the ceremony completely stole the show.

The couple’s paths first crossed back in 2017 at work, when they both attended a Queer Network meeting, Tegan (the voice behind most of today’s stories) fills us in. “We noticed each other from across the table and individually thought the other person was a little “bit of a hottie”. Miranda was drawn to Tegan’s soft brown eyes and warm energy. It was sweet because we had both noticed each other in the meeting, but hadn’t had an opportunity to speak to each other.

Not long after that, Miranda’s contract with the department ended and she felt a pang of sadness that she wouldn’t get to see Tegan (the person with the nice smile, whose name she didn’t remember) ever again. But as fate would have it, after a short sabbatical, Miranda applied for a new position in the department and was so glad to accept another opportunity working in the same organisation that enabled her to see “her” cute person again (and potentially learn her name). Lucky for me, as I had the chance to become aware of her interest and ask her out a couple of months later – and the rest is history…”

Miranda was the one who decided to pop the question, inspired to do so in December 2020 says Tegan. “After the aftermath of 2020, Miranda made a grand plan to treat a group of our family and friends to a Christmas treat – hiring a cinema and holding a private screening of a queer Christmas film called the Happiest Season. She knew I wanted to see the film and she thought that it seemed like a great opportunity to bring people we loved together to celebrate the Christmas season (and being alive – because 2020 was a bit of an uncertain year).

Miranda had seen the perfect ring, at an antique jeweller in Brisbane. Miranda tells  “The ring had a huge ‘Tegan’ energy – it was a beautiful band, with character and I was drawn to it. I just felt like it should belong to Tegan and I knew that I should propose to her with that ring. I knew I had to set a plan in motion to propose to her, as I had previously said I would never get married. I went back a few days later to see if it was there, and it was, I knew the universe was inviting me to make this union happen. I asked Tegan’s parents if they would be ok with me asking Tegan to marry me.”

Tegan follows with “I thought we were going on a date to the movies. Miranda filled the cinema with our best friends and made a surprise movie trailer which was played before the movie. While there were a few “giveaways” (some guests weren’t seated when we arrived at the cinema, so I became suspicious…), I had no idea that a proposal was on the way because the lights at the cinema didn’t “go up” at the part where the trailer said “surprise!” There was an uncomfortable silence for about a minute when Miranda was supposed to propose… the whole cinema stayed dark and everyone stayed in their seats. But then Miranda’s trailer ended and the lights came up.

Everyone jumped up and yelled “Surprise!” but Miranda was too nervous to propose, so I made a quick thank you speech (while Miranda cowered in her seat, embarrassed her plan hadn’t gone according to plan) and then the movie started… I leant over and asked if she had wanted to ask me anything and she just shook her head “no” – too embarrassed about the lighting failure to say anything else. Miranda organised a celebratory “engagement” dinner at Hellenika afterwards (assuming everyone would be celebrating their engagement (also assuming that I would’ve said “yes” – presumptuous!). And while no one knew Miranda had the ring in her handbag the whole time, everyone had an amazing dinner and pre-Christmas fun time.

When we made it home later that night, Miranda asked if I wanted to watch the beautiful trailer again… and of course, I said yes.  Miranda got on one knee and asked me the most romantic question “would you like the legal authority to turn off my life support system?”. [Miranda: luckily I had paved a romantic foundation – I hope – that conveyed to Tegan how much I love her and think she is so special. In hindsight, I would’ve said more romantic things and told her all the things I love about her. I hope I have shared those with her through my wedding vows.]”

The original plan was to hold the wedding at Pullenvale Hall, luckily Tegan and Miranda were still able to wed at the venue, says Tegan. “We had intended for the whole event to be held at the Pullenvale Hall – a beautiful little hall surrounded by rolling hills, trees and a couple of cheeky horses. When the lockdown happened, and we got the news that we had to take the guest list from 145 to 20, we had to pivot and find a new wedding venue/plan.

The Hall Committee was so accommodating and allowed us to have our ceremony there, and postpone our original booking until next year (for a lovely anniversary party). Then, we needed to find a new wedding venue in 5 days. We sent out a bunch of emails to a bunch of lovely venues, asking if anyone would have a room available for a small wedding celebration at short notice.”

The beautiful paper flowers were a clear highlight for the day, they were handmade by Savage Darling Creative. Tegan telling “The most special detail from our day were the hand-crafted paper flowers made by Sandi Darling Creative, #savagedarlingcreative. Miranda sent a picture of the fabric of her dress to her friend Sandi (like she did with me, and the bowtie) and, yet again…. a perfect detail from our day came from just one close-up photo of the material of Miranda’s dress and as you can see – they were perfect! Thanks to Sandi!

Sandi made and hand-painted the flowers. Sandi and her husband Lee installed them at the hall on our wedding day. You can’t ask for better friends. We love them so much, and we are enamoured with everything Sandi creates and as we said earlier – if you want a wedding with a difference then get in contact with Sandi for a bespoke creation.”

“We walked into our mini-ceremony at the Pullenvale Hall, and firstly noticed the beautiful flowers made by Miranda’s beautiful and talented friend Sandi Darling (who had arrived at the hall with her husband very early on the day to install the paper flowers around the hall and the arbour).” says Tegan, Miranda adding “My breath was taken away instantly when I saw the paper flowers on the hall, and almost burst into tears! And then when I saw them around the arbour, I shed a tear… The amount of effort and love Sandi put into the flowers blew me away!”

Miranda carried a bouquet of coral orange and deep red flowers – a last-minute beauty created by Floristrie Tegan explaining “We planned to have Australian native wildflowers scattered across the picnic in small jars of various sizes.

We had never planned for a bouquet, as this was supposed to be a surprise wedding and either of us walking into the picnic with a bunch of flowers may have been a bit of a giveaway… so when we knew the wedding was going ahead, Miranda popped into our local florist (Floristrie at Ascot) on Thursday (before the wedding on Saturday!) and asked if they could make a bouquet and some buttonholes, for pick-up the next day.

The Floristrie team were SO obliging and we collected the flowers on Friday. Miranda even ordered an extra buttonhole Friday morning, and it was no problem. The flowers completed both of our outfits and my parents’ outfits.”

Miranda and Tegan have all the rave reviews for their photography team. “We first met Em and Tom from Maple and Ochre when we won an engagement photoshoot on Valentines’ day of 2021. From the first moment we met them, we loved their energy, kindness and remarkable talent. In the lead up to the wedding, they did everything they could to keep us calm, to show they would make everything work and to simply find a way. With only about 10 days to go until our big day, Tom built an incredible freestanding zoom robot (that’s what we call it anyway – the live streaming device), which was a screen, camera and microphone on a stand providing us with a two-way loop to both share our ceremony across the globe and also connect virtually speak with our loved ones in real-time. What an exceptional device! Far better than someone holding a phone and trying to record everything… we loved being able to talk to people after the ceremony and everyone reported that they loved being able to tune in.

To say we love our photos is an understatement – we cannot stop looking at them. Em has a way of capturing moments, people and places in such a beautiful and unique way. We recommend them to anyone and everyone who wants beautiful photos, well-organised events and endless levels of support.”

Although both Tegan and Miranda skipped the walk down the aisle, they did ask musician Kelsey Berrington to play his take on Tina Turner’s Simply the Best, inspired by Noah Reid’s version from Schitt’s Creek, a favourite of the couple.

The ceremony began with a “welcome to country” performed by Songwoman Maroochy. Tegan noted it as the favourite part of the day for her. She explains “We engaged Songwoman Maroochy, a Turrbal elder, to welcome us (and all our guests – in person or online) to country (the Turrbal peoples’ country) at the beginning of the ceremony because we felt that would be respectful, whether our guests were online or in-person. We respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Elders past and present and acknowledge this land we stand on was never ceded. Songwoman Maroochy’s welcome and blessing at the ceremony moved us and our guests, both in-person and online. We hope Songwoman Maroochy will join us to welcome everyone to country next year at our anniversary party too.

We are so grateful to her for taking the time to connect with us, get to know us and bless us as we carry on in this life together.”

Tegan and Miranda chose Kate Mackie Celebrancy to officiate on the day and make the fun legal. They tell  “Kate Mackie, our celebrant, kept proceedings light-hearted and full of joy. Every one of our vendors was incredible – especially given the circumstances we were facing. Kate was so supportive and even lent us her wedding Champagne glasses to toast with on the day.

She acknowledged the people who couldn’t be there, and, through Maple and Ochre’s live-stream device, we could see our guests online and they could also see us and interact with us. (Including our two tuxedo cats, who were brought into the “lovestream“ by our beautiful neighbours Tim and Deb.) We were SO delighted to see everyone online – to our surprise and delight. The lovestream was experimental and Maple and Ochre exceeded every expectation we had for their device. Our ceremony was so amazing, thanks to Em and Tom.

We think our cats will be glad to know that we have made this commitment to each other, thus ensuring their future financial and emotional needs.”

Tegan and Miranda offer up this advice if you’re yet to walk down the aisle. “The day is going to go way too quickly, so try to be in the moment as much as possible. Work with people who you like. If you don’t like them, find someone else – because great vendors make ALL the difference. Finally, your day is about you and your future partnership – so do things your way. Remember to dream. Because dreaming of things leads to the creation of things…. And why not live life your way and be unique in all the decisions you make?”

The couple dialled in their (now absent) guest list via Zoom. “Our amazing wedding photographers Maple and Ochre built a ‘love-streaming’ device that enabled us to “televise”/broadcast our wedding vows to our friends and family who couldn’t attend our ceremony. Our parents and friends joined us via the “love-stream” – our family were all in a room together at the wedding reception venue and we were able to connect with friends in NSW, Victoria and overseas. We loved experiencing the country vibe and rustic feel for our special moment and loved that this was shared with everyone who signed into the Zoom call.”

“Simply deciding to go ahead with getting married was the most special part of this day for me” notes Tegan.  “We spoke about postponing, but with the uncertainty of lockdowns, I just didn’t want to face the idea that this could happen again in the future. Getting married to the love of my life was the real point of our day… and all the people who shared the day in person or via the love stream was just the cherry on top.”

Tegan and Miranda were able to involve their favourite people in special ways. “As we were intending to have a surprise wedding, we didn’t have a wedding party because that would’ve given the surprise away. (Also why neither of us wore white.)” explains Tegan, “My witness was a long-time friend and Miranda chose to invite her brother, who she is super friends with. Our witnesses organised their outfits. When we knew the wedding was no longer going to be a surprise and the ceremony was going ahead, we arranged for buttonholes for me, my mum and dad and brother. Miranda’s Mum and brother wore matching Erstwilder batching protea brooches.”

Let’s talk attire! Miranda’s incredible floral print wedding gown, which was made by Saloon Design House,  shares Tegan. “As we were planning a surprise wedding, we chose attire that was suitable for a lunch-time engagement party. Our outfits still transitioned beautifully to our wedding, and we’re both so happy with the outfits we chose to wear.
Miranda wore a beautiful, country-style dress, designed and made ethically in Australia by Saloon Design House. They were so willing to alter from afar if needed, but the dress fit perfectly. Her white leather boots were made in Italy, sold by Australian designer, Viktoria & Woods. Miranda also bought a beautiful Australian-made coat from Viktoria & Woods, which she didn’t wear because it was too warm.”

Tegan donned pieces from, inspired by the fabric of Miranda’s gown. “I was given a screenshot of the Liberty print material from Miranda’s dress and worked from there. I reverse image searched the photo and found the name of the material, which I was then able to Google search and find a maker in Germany who was making bowties from the exact material. So, my bow-tie matched Miranda’s dress.

I knew I wanted to wear a hat and searched out the beautiful Ace of Something brand, which finished off the natural tones and lovely textures of my velvet jacket. Finding our outfits was fun for us. We chose our adventure re: what to wear.”

Tegan offers up a shout out, to two of the couple’s original vendors. “We only had a couple of days to turn around our “new wedding” plan, so… re-planning a wedding was quite stressful for us. But, in terms of our original plan, food tastings were an absolute highlight for me. (Thanks to Sorella for that!) We also had really lovely experiences interacting with the Curious Caravan staff at the Pullenvale Hall – they were going to do our drinks service, and their lovely caravan travels. I would recommend them if you’re thinking about a drinks service at a wedding.”

The couple’s dear friends pitched in to make handmade details. “The flowers in vases at our reception were DIY (thanks to our friends Sarah and Abra for donating their wedding vases to us), as was our confetti (which was hole punched from eucalyptus leaves into the shape of flowers and hearts).

The confetti was showered upon us from paper cones made from an old book of “New Yorker” comics from the 1950-70s. We found the old book at a second-hand bookstore in the city. We thank our friend Chantelle and her dog Molly for finding all the leaves for us, and for Chantelle and Siobhan for creating the cones and making enough confetti.”

The newlyweds celebrated with an intimate dinner at Crystalbrook Vincent, a venue that stepped up when Tegan and Miranda cried out for help just days before the lockdown, their original venue no longer an option. Says Tegan “We received several responses, but Sophie at the Crystalbrook Vincent (which was where we were staying on our wedding night, and we would highly recommend to anyone, irrespective if you’re getting married there) was such a wonderful help.

While we were thinking of going to an alternative venue that was offering us very competitive prices, she helped us to make the best decision for us – Sophie and the Crystalbrook Vincent pulled off the perfect menu, the perfect location and the perfect vibe on the day. Sophie listened to what we wanted and asked the chef to amend the whole proposed menu. (We wanted shared style – they were proposing set menu style – the outcomes was amazing.)

We ate the most delicious foods, with our family and close friends, beside the most beautiful scenery (under the Story Bridge and beside the river) with an Italian feast (that is one of the best we’ve ever eaten) in a share-table format.”

Big congratulations to you both Miranda and Tegan. We are so glad you got to tie the knot, and even more thrilled that we got to share your stories. Thank you both and thank you to Maple + Ochre Photography for sharing today’s celebration with us.