Jamie and Cara of Brisbane City Celebrants are a warm and friendly duo who have been celebrating weddings with couples as celebrants for over 10 years. They specialise in modern happy ceremonies and with your choice of either Jamie or Cara guiding you through your ceremony you know that you’re in good hands. Providing a calming and reassuring presence for the couple and at the same time creating and delivering a memorable and enjoyable ceremony is their thing – and isn’t this so important as you move into your married life? After all the ceremony should be the highlight of your wedding day!
All the feels, where do we even start! Honestly we really feel that as Celebrants we are so privileged to be so in and amongst all the happiness of the day. There is so much build up to a wedding and guiding a couple through conversations and decisions around their ceremony, to ensure we create something truly ‘them’ which makes it so rewarding when we see it all come together. Witnessing our couples full of love, laughter and happiness, is the greatest feeling and has us leaving every ceremony on a natural high.
What is something people would be surprised to know about your job or something that challenges you about your job?
The amount of admin! As Celebrants the paperwork has to be accurate and correct and there are requirements we have to meet to ensure this, from sighting ID, to name change certificates to checking parents and witnesses names are correct on the documents etc. Everyone has different circumstances so emails and questions are flying in constantly and even as full time Celebrants with efficient processes in place it’s always a challenge just trying to keep on top of the inbox. That said we thrive on being busy so we wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is it about the creative process that you most enjoy?
With over 10 years’ experience, we’ve really mastered what questions to ask, to enable us to create a ceremony that perfectly reflects each couple. However it’s delivering that ceremony on the day that is truly rewarding.
What are you hilariously bad at? Cara – micromanaging – poor Jamie! Hehe! In my defence, there is no room for errors at weddings, so I will always double, triple and quadruple check every little detail to ensure everything goes seamlessly. Jamie – my handwriting! I have the handwriting of a Doctor, thank goodness everything gets printed.
When you were small what did you dream of being and where have those dreams taken you? Cara – a Gymnast. I did go on to become a Group Fitness Instructor, teaching at all the gyms in Brisbane City. In hindsight this did so much for making me a confident public speaker which is a necessity as a Celebrant. Jamie – When I was young I loved wearing big and bright sunglasses, I later went on to work in Retail Management of a major sunglass store chain in New Zealand.
We’re set for a wander in beautiful Mount Barney today, thanks to photographer George Bowden
and very much in love (and generous with their story!) couple, Lisa and Christian. And I have to tell you, there is no way I can pick a favourite. There is something so special about the Australian landscape, and the magic beauty carries its weight, parallel to just how easy, how relaxed, and how clearly joyful this pair are together.
Although these two were lucky enough to tie the knot in late 2019 surrounded by their family and friends, before we get to the end, we have to start at the beginning. So here’s the tale of how they met, told in Lisa’s very own words. “We meet at a bar on a night out through mutual friends, it was a fun and crazy night enjoying each other’s company. We continued to see each other since the first night we met, as time went by we both fell in love with each other and realised our goals and dreams were much similar which now since five years being together we have been proud to mark off our goals list together as a couple with each other’s love and support throughout the journey.”
So what does Lisa love about her husband? It’s all about his love! “What I love about Christian is his big heart and humbleness. I love how open and understanding Christian is and always being my rock that supports and pushes me further to get to my goals and dreams.”
Mount Barney was just the kind of scenery that these two love, tells Lisa “We both love the scenery that shows off what nature has to offer, we had an idea of a background of the beautiful hinterland views however with the help of our amazing photographer George Bowden who recommends Mount Barney. This style was the perfect fit as our wedding location is also another beautiful scenery of the Gold Coast Hinterland.”
On Lisa, Christian shares “What I love about Lisa is her motivation and passion. I love how Lisa always lights up the room when she enters her contagious smile and beautiful eyes are what has had us hooked right from the start.”
These two have their fair share of memorable relationship adventures, but one of their favourites? It took place on one of the couple’s first dates, remembers Lisa. “On our second date Christian had picked me up from home to take me out for a nice romantic dinner, while we made our way in the elevator to our car Christian had stretched up and knocked the manhole in the elevator which caused the elevator to stop. We had become stuck in the lift for hours waiting for help, while we waited it became hot and stuffy. Christian himself started to panic and had sweat dripping off from him. It had come to the point where he started stripping down to his underwear, at the time Christian was so embarrassed that our second date had turned to bad luck.
Once we were rescued from the elevator looking like we had both ran a 10-mile marathon we soon ditched the fancy restaurant dinner plans and settled with a pizza and a nice view to look at. However to this day we always laugh how our second date turned out to be, and poor Christian still apologises for the event that had taken place.”
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Sometimes, you’ve got to strip a day completely back, and honour what truly matters to you. For Theresa and Grant, they opted for a day, that reflected their own love of natural, minimal style. “We wanted our wedding to look and feel very natural with minimal styling” shares the bride. “We wanted it to represent us as a couple and feel authentic and warm with a relaxed atmosphere.”
The pair, who chose Aleksandar Jason Weddings to capture their wedding, kept things simple, kept things beautiful, and were even lucky enough to have Mother Nature play her own special part. This is a story that finds beauty in the small details, in the love stories, and it finds them so very beautifully.
Beautiful Barcelona holds many happy memories for these two – it’s where they met. “Grant and I met in a hostel in Barcelona back in 2010” remembers Theresa. “He was travelling through Europe with friends from Melbourne and I was on a weekend away with my friends from Berlin. After bumping into Grant and his friends in the hostel lobby, our groups merged and we spent most of the weekend partying altogether. Once we had left Barcelona and returned home, Grant and his friends made sure to visit us in Berlin, and this is where the connection started to deepen.”
A hot autumnal day led Grant to ask Theresa the biggest question. “Grant proposed to me in a very hot March-Melbourne day where temperatures were up around 40 degrees. After a very busy period for us, Grant said he thought it would be nice to drive to our favourite beach cliffs down in Sorrento, to find a moment of relaxation. This was not an uncommon thing for us to do.
By the time we got there, the sun was at its hottest, and even though I love being outdoors, I was getting quite uncomfortable sitting in the burning sun, whilst looking out at the ocean.
Unlike Grant, this was a moment where he couldn’t find his words, and as I sat there talking about a range of random topics (most likely delirious from the heat), he quietly pulled out a ring from his pocket and nervously said; “actually I brought you here for a different reason today.”
He then showed me the most beautiful engagement ring, which he had designed himself. A delicate, yet elegant matte gold band with an oval shape diamond. It was simple but tailored to my style.
Even though we had been together for seven years, I did not expect a proposal on this day and so it came as a big surprise. And after saying yes and sitting there together for as long as we could handle the heat, we drove to a nearby house where our friends had been waiting to celebrate with us.”
Grant dressed in MJ Bale, his groomsmen choosing Oxford “Grant always said he preferred a classic and timeless look over something more modern that was in vogue at the time” explains the bride. “He chose the Saunders Black Tuxedo from MJ Bale and wore it with a black bow-tie.”
Theresa added special pieces to her look for the day, explaining “I wore a gold bangle from Grant’s cousin Emily who had passed away before we met. All the women in his family received one from their grandmother, and Emily had given it to Grant and asked him to pass it on to the woman he was going to marry. It was a very special memory for Grant and also meant a lot to me.
My mum also gave me an old gold bangle from my grandmother who had passed away a few years ago and so the two bangles were much more than just beautiful wedding jewellery.”
Theresa worked with D’Italia and Judith Penak Couture to make her dream gown. “I had a very clear vision of what I wanted my dress to look like. I loved the look of an A-line fit with a very flowy and lightweight skirt. I always pictured a dress flowing in the wind with sheer fabric. When I started to look at dresses I struggled to find what I was looking for and so I decided to look for bespoke dressmaking options, which is when I found D’Italia.
It was an easy process and I was able to pick the exact fabrics that would work for the look I was after. From D’Italia I was then referred to the seamstress Judith Penak, who ultimately finalised the design and fit of my dress. I loved the process and felt very happy with my dress that suited me as a person.”
The bride created her bouquet herself. “Similar to my wedding dress, I knew what I wanted straight away. Since the venue itself was naturally beautiful, we opted for minimal styling, with only a few vases of flowers set around the venue.
I actually arranged all the flowers including my bouquet and the boutonnieres by myself with the help of my bridesmaids the night before. We preordered eucalyptus, white delphinium flowers and olive leaf branches for the vases and I handpicked flowers for my bouquet from the garden of the house where we stayed down in Merricks Beach.”
Tells Theresa “I had my sister and three best friends from Berlin as my bridesmaids. They wore storm coloured dresses, designed by Jenny Yoo from The Bridesmaid Studio. I loved that the colour of the dresses shifted depending on the light, looking either charcoal, dark blue or deep green.”
We believe it’s our job to tell you all the little stories, the good and the and, so you can get into just a full picture of the day, but understand how much every moment is just fabric of the stories you will tell. Here’s Theresa’s near catastrophe. “Right before I was supposed to leave for the ceremony my dress was accidentally stood on and ripped, as the bridesmaids and I were having our photos taken. The fabric was so delicate and the top layer had ripped right at the front under the bust.
Luckily, we had a needle and thread on hand, so my mum, sister and I tried to repair the damage but time was running away from us and I was already late for the ceremony. After quite a few attempts and fails I finally managed to roughly fix it but as you can imagine my stress levels were pretty high at that point. On the car ride to the ceremony, we did a couple of deep breathing meditation “oms” to calm us down, which would have been quite funny to watch from an outsiders perspective. I never wanted to be a bride that arrived super late, but as soon as I walked down the aisle, all the stress had passed and I was able to fully concentrate and enjoy the moment.”
Beautiful Mornington peninsula winery Polperro set the scene for the day, the bride noting “Grant and I spend a lot of time down on the Mornington Peninsula. This is partly because Grant’s family live there, but also because we love its wineries, beaches, and serene nature.
Even though we had visited many wineries in the region, we hadn’t been to Polperro before, but from the moment we entered the gates, we both just felt that this was the place we wanted to get married.
We loved that the venue mixed understated and rustic vibes with modernity. With beautiful rolling vines, and most of all, the large gum trees that would ultimately serve as our wedding ceremony backdrop. The garden with olive trees and homegrown herbs reminded us of Tuscany, and we liked their sustainable approach to produce and catering. It was also a very intimate venue perfectly suited to the number of our guests.”
Theresa walked down the aisle with her father to “Nobody Loves Me Like You” by Low Roar.
“Our ceremony was beautifully planned and written by our celebrant Sweet Wonderful You – Erin McMahon.” remembers Theresa. “We both wanted it to feel authentic and pure with some humour and a relaxed vibe. Rehearing our story from in the words of someone else felt very special and reminded us once again what we had to go through to get to this point. I noticed all the nervousness and stress from before immediately dropping as soon as the ceremony started. We both really tried to be as present in the moment as possible, but each felt like we were in a dream bubble.”
“Our celebrant Erin McMahon did such a fantastic job at our ceremony. She was always so warm and comforting throughout the whole process. She listened to us and delivered our story the way we remembered it with the perfect mixture of humour and emotions.”
“Bring energy to the day, and try and park any nerves,” advises Theresa. “The guests will follow your lead, so you set the trend for the event.”
“By complete chance at 5 pm right during the ceremony, thick fog blew in over the vines, making the whole setting look magical. It wasn’t what we had expected for a summer day in February, but it almost looked like a well thought through special effect.”
Of their chosen photographer, the bride notes “Grant works with a fantastic photographer, named Aleks Jason. We both loved Alek’s style and ability to capture the most intimate and candid moments in such a natural way. We also really liked his treatment on the photography, with warm but muted tones, emblematic of our style. We couldn’t be happier with how our photos turned out.”
Need a unique idea for a guestbook? You’ll want to steal this one! Theresa shares “My friends and family from Germany had secretly organised an olive tree for us, which came in a beautiful big terracotta pot. During the ceremony, our guests were asked to write and hang personal messages from the olive branches, and to help us decorate the pot with small mosaic tiles.
It is quite common in Germany to give the bride and groom a meaningful and thoughtful gift, and our olive tree and pot is a lovely memento from our special day.”
The newlyweds used their dance floor as the ultimate party starter, the bride remembering “Grant and I both wanted a fun and energetic dance that reflected our personalities and got the party started, so we chose the song Dancing In The Moonlight by Toploader.
We decided to create our own dance, which we only started practising, two weeks before the wedding. It was quite a fun process. We still love looking at the video of our dance since it brings back happy memories.”
One of the newlyweds favourite parts of planning? All about the music! “We loved going through and altering our music playlists that we created. Music was always very important to us and we wanted it to be able to set the mood for different parts of the day such as the arrival of the guest, the ceremony, the in-between mingling and chill and later the dance floor and afterparty.”
And thanks to the crew at Duuet ? We’ve got the stunning wedding film of the day!
A big congratulations to you both Theresa and Grant! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us Thank you also to Aleksandar Jason Weddings for sharing today’s celebration!
Polka Dot Dream Team...
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