You’re the Maid of Honour! So, what do you have to do?

Tips to help you be the Greatest Maid of Honour (or Man of Honour…) of All Time

By Lorraine Wright, Marriage Celebrant

14 April 2023

Congratulations! The bride-to-be has asked you to be her maid-of-honour (or man-of-honour). That means she trusts you, and wants you by her side on this important day.

But what does a maid-of-honour actually have to do?

It really depends on the people involved, and the type of wedding they’re having. But the most important things for the MOH to do are to:

  1. help the bride prepare, so she is ready on time
  2. help her feel as calm and relaxed as possible, and
  3. help her look her amazing best … not just at the start of the ceremony, but throughout the whole experience.

Before we move on, let’s get the terminology thing out of the way. Traditionally, an unmarried chief bridesmaid is called the Maid-of-Honour, but if she’s already married, she’s the Matron-of-Honour. But seriously, this doesn’t have to be a big deal these days. Choose your own title! And if your bestie is a guy, go for it and have a Man-of-Honour by your side!

To keep it simple, from here on I’ll be referring to the role as “MOH”, and to the person they’re assisting as the “Bride” (or She). But please don’t feel excluded by my brevity. The gist of this article is applicable and inclusive for all genders, but some of the specific tasks will vary, depending on the person’s wishes. 

Amie Forbes Photography


Well before the wedding, sit down with the bride and work out a plan (or run sheet), so everyone involved knows what their tasks include. Then, regularly check that you’re all on track.

  • Does she want you to be in charge of the hen’s party, dress shopping trips, nail and spray-tan appointments?
  • Does she expect you to be present for a ceremony rehearsal?
  • Does she want you to make a speech at the reception?
  • Is there anything she wants you to collect and bring home for her at the end of the night?

Bride’s prep list:

Encourage the bride to make a list of everything she wants to wear, carry with her, or have someone take for her, and check these things off on the day so nothing is forgotten.

  • Dress, veil, shoes, underwear, bra, Hollywood tape, bouquet, earrings, necklace, bracelet, rings, hair pin/decoration, card for her new spouse?, keepsake from her grandmother?, grandfather’s pen for the signing?, (or whatever is relevant);
  • Purse – containing phone, tissues, lipstick, mascara, face powder for touch ups, breath mints, and lots of cotton tips for dabbing tears without ruining her makeup
  • Jacket/wrap for later in the evening
  • Comfy shoes to change into


Amie Forbes Photography

Pre-wedding activities:

You’ll most likely be in charge of booking the pre-wedding activities, such as the hen’s night/weekend, bridesmaid-dress shopping trips, and possibly nail and spray-tan appointments, if these are part of the plan.

  • Some brides prefer to have total control over what their bridesmaids wear; others want it to be a mutual decision, while a few give their bridesmaids carte blanche to decide for themselves, perhaps with just a colour scheme in mind. My best advice is to be honest, because most brides prefer you to look and feel your best, too. If you know the dress that’s being considered will not suit your colouring or body shape, mention it, and suggest something more suitable.
  • You should also have an open and honest chat about the bride’s expectations in terms of who is paying for the bridesmaids’ outfits, shoes, jewellery, hair and makeup. In most cases, the bridesmaids pay for their own outfit and shoes, while the bride covers hair and makeup. She might also gift her bridesmaids some earrings or a necklace to wear on the day. But there are no rules with this stuff, so talk it through.
  • Regarding the hen’s night… ask the bride exactly what she wants to do, and have some suggestions up your sleeve, based on what you know about her, in case she hasn’t had a chance to think about it.
    • Is she a party girl, or is a relaxing weekend at a spa retreat more her thing?
    • And what are her expectations in terms of who will be paying for what? (Generally, attendees pay their own way, but because everyone’s circumstances are different, you may have to be the voice of reason if she has her heart set on something that is unaffordable for some.)
    • Avoid having the hen’s night within 2 days of the wedding… she’ll want to be well rested so she can look her best on the day.

On the day:

  • Make sure the bride has something to eat, and plenty water to drink while getting ready. Same for you, too! It’s amazing how these simple things can be forgotten in all the excitement, and that’s a recipe for light-headedness or even fainting.
  • Get yourself ready ahead of time, then you can focus on helping the bride prepare.
  • You might want to wait to put your outfit on fairly last minute, to keep it in perfect condition. However, here’s a special note for bridesmaids who are wearing infinity dresses (those ones you can wear a multitude of ways): give yourselves a little extra time, so you can figure out exactly how each person is styling their dress. Not everyone gets it right the first time!
  • If the wedding is outdoors, consider applying insect repellent and non-staining sunscreen before getting dressed.


Getting ready:

  • Amie Forbes Photography

    When it’s time for the bride to get dressed, help her if she needs assistance to get into her dress.

  • If the wedding is outdoors, consider applying insect repellent and non-staining sunscreen before the dress goes on.
  • Once she’s in the dress, check every detail… Are all the buttons done up correctly? Is her bra showing? Does she need some Hollywood tape or safety pins? Does she need help with her shoes?
  • Who is attaching her veil – the hair stylist, or will she need you to complete this step? If you’re to do it, ask the hair stylist to show you how before they leave.
  • Check her jewellery. Does she have her earrings? Necklace? Rings? (All the items on her list?)
  • On the subject of rings, traditionally, the bride does not wear her engagement ring to the wedding ceremony. (Her wedding ring goes onto her bare finger, then the engagement ring is placed back on over the top). So, where does she want to keep her engagement ring in the meantime? Will it fit on her other hand? Does she want you to mind it?
  • Finally, make sure she has her bouquet (and don’t forget your own, or the petals for the flower girls).

The ceremony:

Amie Forbes Photography
  • Before the bridal party starts walking down the aisle, cast your eye over the bride again. Is everything as it should be? Then ask her if she feels ready.
  • Take a calming breath, relax your shoulders, and hold your flower bouquet down low. (The joke which will help you remember where to hold them is ‘pubes, not boobs’). Then, begin to walk slowly but naturally down the aisle.
  • Look up and smile as much as possible. Make eye contact and engage with people in the crowd as you make your way down the aisle. This will slow you down so you don’t rush, and make your smile all the more natural and authentic.
  • When stepping into position at the front, glance over at your counterpart on the other side, so the bridesmaids are evenly positioned relative to the groomsmen, and there is a nice symmetry to the set up.
  • Once the bride has arrived at the ceremony spot, help to arrange her dress, train, and veil.
  • If you notice the couple are not centred in front of their arbour, whisper to them to shimmy left or right. They’ll appreciate the intervention, once they see their photos!
  • On that note, photos will be taken constantly throughout the ceremony – some you’ll be aware of, and others will be happening when you don’t realise it. So, remember to look up and smile as much as possible. Look at the couple; look at guests you know; look at the photographer occasionally. And try not to slide into what I call, ‘resting concentrating face’, which bears a striking resemblance to ‘resting b_face’. This goes for all members of the wedding party!)
Amie Forbes Photography


  • Immediately after the ceremony, the bride might need you to hold her flowers, grab her jacket, hold her drink, check her makeup or her teeth for errant lipstick, as guests crowd around to congratulate the happy couple and have photos. Do your best to be her right-hand person, and don’t wander too far away at this stage.
  • Remember to bring water along for the post-ceremony photoshoot, jackets or wraps if it’s chilly, umbrellas if it’s rainy, insect repellent, and makeup touch-up kit.


  • The couple may ask their wedding party members to make a grand entrance to the reception. So check, do they want you to simply walk in, or dance, twirl, or do something unique on the way in? (Check your favourite video-sharing platform for tons of inspiration!)
  • Throughout the reception, remember to check in from time to time with the bride in case she needs assistance with anything from passing her a tissue, to makeup and hair touch-ups, to helping her find the restroom.
  • If you’re doing a speech, take it easy on the alcohol till you’ve had your moment with the microphone. Keep it brief, meaningful, and funny if you can.
  • If the couple choose to do a first dance, be ready to hit the dancefloor with them to encourage the crowd to get into the party spirit.
  • At the end of the night, be sure to collect anything you’ve been made responsible for. (For example, polaroid cameras, guest book, wishing well, marriage certificate in its envelope, leftover cake, table decorations, bouquets…) Then go and put your feet up! You’ve earned it!

Stunning Hillside Elopement on a Farm

Stunning Hillside Elopement on a Farm

Written by Lorraine Wright, Marriage Celebrant

Images by Amie Forbes

In November 2020, I teamed up with photographer Amie Forbes and a collective of talented local wedding pros to create two very different, yet equally ‘Samford’ styled elopements. Here, in part 2, we bring you our Hillside Paddock Elopement on a beautiful local farm.

What was the inspiration behind this shoot concept?

For this shoot, our aim was to capture the rustic beauty of this idyllic rural hillside scene on one of Highvale’s original dairy farms, with its glorious shades of gold and green, and to incorporate sustainable choices and bespoke design throughout.

“I’m so fortunate to be able to bring clients to this special place for photo shoots. It’s perfectly positioned to let me take advantage of the late afternoon light as the sun sets behind Mount Nebo,” says Amie Forbes. “I love the natural summery tones of the grasses; the gravel road; the original fenceposts and gates. It’s a quintessentially Australian setting, and so photogenic.”

Bridal and groom kissing in front of a floral arbour on a hillside
Idyllic Rural Elopement Setting with Spectacular Arbour by Branch and Sea

Even without any styling, a scene like this is perfect for an elopement ceremony. But when you add a stunning floral arbour like this one, created by the uber-talented Annie Donaldson from Branch and Sea, the result is awe-inspiring! Undoubtedly the most beautiful arbour I’ve ever seen.

Bride carries a rustic bouquet as she walks to her elopement ceremony on a farm
Stunning sustainable blooms by Branch and Sea

“I started Branch and Sea just over a year ago with the aim of creating sustainable floral designs, founded on environmentally and ethically sound practices,” Annie explains. “I love working with clients who share my passion to protect our environment, animals, and people through sustainable choices – and this is definitely something you can bring into your wedding planning,” says Annie.

“For the shoot, I stayed true to this ethos, designing the arbour, bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere using seasonal, locally grown flowers to complement the scenery, the couple’s colour palette and overall styling. And of course, I repurposed as much as possible after the shoot.”

Bride and Groom Kiss in front of Tesla Wedding Car
Stylish Ride!

The sustainability aspect of this shoot was particularly close to the heart of photographer, Amie Forbes. “I live off the grid, so making environmentally-conscious choices is part of my everyday life,” says Amie. “I share this lifestyle I love so much, through my vlog, @Pocket.Life and my You Tube channel.”

Our models for the shoot were real-life couple, Sam and Samantha Clark. “I had photographed their beachside wedding in October, but I knew they had always dreamed of marrying on this farm,” says Amie. “So, they were the perfect models for this shoot… happy-go-lucky people with beaming smiles, and their love for each other written all over their faces. In fact, I nicknamed Samantha ‘Miss Sunshine’ on her real wedding day!”

“We were beyond excited when Amie invited us to be part of this shoot, and it exceeded our expectations in every way!” says groom, Sam. “It was so much fun to dress up again and recreate our special day, in this dreamy location,” says bride, Samantha. “The team made the day so incredible – they thought of literally everything!”

Hair and makeup artist Ashley Sparks created Samantha’s look, with natural tones and on-trend, loose waves. “Samantha has gorgeous blonde tresses, and I wanted to give her a simple but beautiful ‘down-style’ so the late afternoon sun would pick up her natural highlights,” says Ashley.

Wedding Rings Sitting in Apricot-Coloured Flower
Bespoke Blooms and Bling

Samantha wore her own bridal gown and veil (Madi Lane), and we complemented her look with a stunning bespoke diamond necklace and earrings, handcrafted by Samford’s own master jeweller, Daniel Arnold.

“I got my first taste for jewellery design and manufacture when I was 15 years old, doing work experience with a jeweller. I knew instantly, I’d found what I wanted to do with my life,” says Dan. “My job is to get into the head of my client, so the end result is more than they could have ever imagined. The experience is completely bespoke, and very personal.”

Sam and Samantha arrived at the farm in a Tesla Model S, which ticked all the boxes from practicality to aesthetics to environmental-consciousness. “Who doesn’t love a Tesla?” says Amie Forbes. “I couldn’t wait to capture the juxtaposition of that sleek, modern car driving up the old gravel farm road. I knew the camera would love it.”

Bridal Couple Exchange Vows while Celebrant and Guitarist watch on
Intimate Vibes Abound

As their Celebrant for the Elopement Ceremony, I greeted Samantha at the farm gate, then she walked across the paddock to meet Sam at the arbour.

The exquisite sounds of classical guitar filled the country air as Clancy Anderson played acoustically for Samantha’s arrival. This was musical perfection somehow made to look effortless, and it set the tone for a romantic ceremony beautifully. (For a taste of Clancy’s talent, head over to You Tube for a listen.)

I then ‘upped the romance ante’ by asking Sam and Samantha to reaffirm their original wedding vows to each other, and this was such a joyful moment, filled with genuine emotion.

Both Sam and Samantha had written their own vows, combining heartfelt with hilarious, and the result was totally authentic – and every bit as much fun as on their real wedding day.

Couple laugh as they say their wedding vows
Wedding Vows with All the Feels!

Grazing Platter on Engraved Wooden Board


After the ceremony, Samantha and Sam enjoyed a delicious picnic curated by Rebecca Worton, of Graze at Samford. 

The luxe spread comprised locally sourced cheeses, charcuterie, fruits and crackers, artfully served on a personalised grazing board. 

And to toast their good luck, Yasmin Mays of Booze Box Co provided a fabulous Margarita Gift Box for the newlyweds to indulge as the sun set behind the mountain.

Sam and Samantha couldn’t resist having their first dance in the paddock, as Clancy played while the rather bemused cows watched on. It was the perfect way to end an afternoon of fun, love and laughter.

Couple kiss and hold cocktail glasses as they sit by a picnic platter
Cheers to That!
Bride and groom dance in the paddock as guitarist plays
First dance

If you see anything here that you’d love to incorporate in your wedding, or if you’d like to chat about eloping in Brisbane or Southeast Queensland, I’d love to hear from you!

I’d also like to acknowledge the team of creative wedding professionals involved in this shoot.

  • First and foremost, talented photographer and all-round lovely person, Amie Forbes, for her gorgeous images, and for her part in planning the concept for our shoot.
  • The completely delightful, talented hair and make up artist, Ashley Sparks.
  • Passionate floral designer and carer for our planet, Annie Donaldson from Branch and Sea.
  • Up-and-coming, supremely talented classical guitarist, Clancy Anderson.
  • The lovely Yasmin and Linden from Booze Box Co. All I can say is, brilliant idea!
  • Culinary queen, Rebecca from Graze at Samford.
  • Samford’s Secret Jeweller, Daniel Arnold.
  • Envirolimo for the Tesla hire.
  • Sam and Samantha for being such fabulous good sports, and reliving their happy wedding vibes for our photo shoot.
  • And then there was me… ‘The Wright Celebrant‘, Concept Planner and Writer.

    Cute wedding couple lean into each other under the veil
    A Veiled Moment To Themselves
Bride and Groom walk hand in hand up the hillside near a picnic
From this day forward…

Romantic Creekside Elopement, Samford-style

Barefoot Wedding by the Creek

Written by Lorraine Wright, Marriage Celebrant

In November 2020, I teamed up with photographer Amie Forbes and a collective of talented local wedding pros to create two Samford-inspired styled elopements. Here, in part 1, we bring you our Creekside Elopement. We hope this gives you some inspiration and new ideas for your elopement or micro-wedding.

The Concept

The concept for this elopement shoot was to create something stunningly simple, yet brimming with romance. This one is for the lovers… a dreamy elopement for couples who simply seek each other; not a crowd.

“Elopements are the ‘new black’ in weddings,” says photographer, Amie Forbes. “When you choose to elope, you can really focus on the things that are truly meaningful to you, without all the trappings of a big wedding. How liberating is that?”

You may be looking to simplify your wedding plans, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for ordinary. Small and simple can be extraordinary.

Imagine just the two of you standing together, feeling connected and really present as you make your vows to each other. The intensity of that moment will live with you forever. This is at the heart of our creek-side elopement shoot in Samford; the beauty in simplicity.

This romantic set up would also lend itself to an intimate proposal with a definite WOW factor!

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

And because we love where we live and appreciate our local community, it was a joy to dip into the deep well of local talent and team up with some wonderful wedding professionals as our ‘co-creators’ on this shoot.

Amie Forbes explains, “I love shooting around our local region of Samford Valley and Highvale. You can really immerse yourself in nature, and I’m such a down-to-earth person – it suits my style of photography. I’m all about natural light and muted, earthy tones, and I like to bring a sense of playfulness to my shoots, so if bare feet are an option, I say go for it!”

We also wanted the shoot to feel and look entirely authentic, so I invited one of my gorgeous ‘real life’ couples, Sally and Dean (whose marriage I officiated in a scaled-back wedding during tight COVID restrictions) to be our models, and they jumped at the chance. I mean, we all talk about ‘wearing the dress again’, right? But who ever does, really? And this was a chance for them to have the fabulous wedding photo shoot they missed back in May.

We chose not to tell Dean and Sally every detail in advance, because we wanted the set up to elicit genuine emotion, and feel every bit as incredible as their actual wedding day.

Getting Ready

The shoot began with ‘getting ready’ photos at my home in Samford Valley, with views of House Mountain.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Hair and makeup artist Ashley Sparks devised the look for our bride, opting for simple, natural styling to complement Sally’s own strapless ivory lace gown (Jadore Australia) and vintage-inspired pillbox headpiece.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“My goal is always to help my brides feel their most beautiful self on their special day, and to radiate that self-confidence all day long,” says Ashley. “That means carefully considering which products and techniques to use, so the bride’s look will hold up beautifully till the end of the day.”

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Chelsea and Madison from Wattle and Daisy in Samford created a soft, romantic bouquet for Sally and matching buttonhole for Dean, featuring locally grown Queen Anne Lace and colourful Cosmos from Woggoon Farm, and the result was elegant simplicity itself.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Creekside Elopement

We chose a secluded creek-side location for our elopement ceremony, where the branches of huge trees reach across from both banks of the river to form a cathedral-like roof.

“The air by the creek feels cool and fresh; you’re surrounded by birdsong; and the river pebbles under foot make an amazing foreground for the images. It’s very Samford,” says Amie.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Music is incredibly important in creating the atmosphere for a ceremony, and we were thrilled to have up-and-coming classical guitarist, Clancy Anderson on board. Clancy’s music was one of our little surprises for the bride and groom, and when he began to play, the effect was sublime. (For a taste of Clancy’s talent, head over to You Tube for a listen.)

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

As Sally walked barefoot across the river stones to meet Dean, the emotions were intensely real. The way they looked at each other was romance on toast. I think all of us watching on had a tear in our eye.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
bride walks barefoot across stones near a creek
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

In another little surprise, I handed Dean and Sally cards printed with their very own marriage vows. There were huge smiles and more tears as the realisation dawned; they were about to reaffirm their promises to each other. Sally and Dean’s vows were the pinnacle of their emotion-charged wedding earlier in the year – written in secret and revealed to each other in that special moment, and I’ve got to say, those words were every bit as relevant and compelling, months on.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Next, they signed on each other’s backs – a cute trick for keeping things simple, and adding a perfect light note.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“I think my favourite images of the day were of Dean and Sally crossing the creek for their post-wedding picnic,” says Amie. “I loved capturing their connection. There were some gorgeous, intimate moments.”

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

The newlyweds’ gourmet picnic was expertly curated by our favourite local foodie and founder of Graze at Samford, Rebecca Worton. “Graze at Samford is all about sharing the awe-inspiring goodness of our region with anyone who craves fresh air, green spaces and fresh local produce in their life. We can create a heavenly grazing board or picnic to suit any food preferences, sourcing the very best local ingredients,” says Rebecca. “We also do boutique events and gifting experiences, such as these personalised boards engraved with your family name. What a perfect reminder of the romance of your special day. Or get creative with your message – who doesn’t love a play on words?”

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“It wouldn’t be a proper celebration without a toast, would it?” says Yasmin Mays from Booze Box Co. “We’ve put together gift boxes with everything you need to make your favourite cocktails. Here, Sally and Dean are enjoying our French Martini – as delicious as it is pretty!” says Yasmin.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“We also do Margarita, and Lime and Basil Mojito gift boxes. Our gourmet cocktail syrups, lime products and even the wood for our handcrafted boxes are locally sourced,” says Yasmin’s business partner and hubby, Linden.

First Dance

For the perfect end to the day, our newlyweds were spoilt with a fine dining experience (and a final, special surprise) at one of Brisbane’s most exciting restaurants, Pause at Samford. This restaurant is a true gem; the food is always superb, and the dining experience a joy.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

“Chef Rino crafts simple Mediterranean flavours with the highest quality, seasonal ingredients,” says Restaurant Manager, Luca Orion Marra. “Every food experience at Pause offers something to explore, and a reason to take a moment, to pause.”

And that final surprise? A romantic ‘first dance’ for Dean and Sally on the restaurant balcony, with talented local musician Stacey Brown giving a soulful performance of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. “I just love bringing music into people’s lives, especially at memorable moments like this,” says Stacey.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography
Image by Amie Forbes Photography

Oh. My. Goodness! This was my personal favourite moment. We were spellbound listening to Stacey, and witnessing this experience for Dean and Sally. He only had eyes for his beautiful bride, and she for him, as she snuggled into those protective arms. No staging or prompting was needed; this was real – the culmination of a perfectly simple, romance-filled day.

As we drew to the end, Dean and Sally gushed, “Today felt like a dream.”

And in those few words, I think they summed up the #1 wedding goal for most couples.

A dream in the making.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of images and gained some inspiration and ideas for your elopement or micro-wedding.

Please do get in touch if this sounds like your dream wedding! We’d love to help you bring it to life.

Image by Amie Forbes Photography

And, Roll Credits!

Planning and Concept  |  Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant, and Amie Forbes, Amie Forbes Photography

Photographer  | Amie Forbes, Amie Forbes Photography

Celebrant  |  Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

Hair and Makeup Artist  |  Ashley Sparks, Sparks Makeup Artistry

Grazing board and picnic styling  |  Rebecca Worton, Graze at Samford

Restaurant and First Dance location  |  Pause, Samford

Classical Guitarist  |  Clancy Anderson 

Keyboard/vocals  |  Stacey B Music

Floral design  |  Wattle and Daisy

Local blooms  |  Woggoon Farm

Cocktail box  |  Booze Box Co

Models  |  Real-life couple, Sally and Dean Gollan

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something ‘out of the blue’

Lorraine Wright, Marriage Celebrant

Bride wearing pale pink bias-cut wedding dress and groom wearing dark suit standing on a jettyWe’ve all heard the expression, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, right?
I think that last phrase could easily be changed to “something out of the blue“. Because for all the planning that goes into making a wedding come to life, you can bet on something quite unexpected happening at some point during your big day.
And my advice? Try to go with the flow. Sometimes those unexpected moments make the best memories. Yeah, okay, sometimes they totally suck, but even the sucky ones can give you a great story to share in years to come.
So let me tell you about the unexpected thing that happened on my wedding day. True. Story.
I stayed with friends the night before my wedding, so my car was parked on the street near their place in Balmain. Nothing unusual about that… I’d done the same many times before.
But the night before my wedding, some youths on their way home from a big night out (and up to no good), decided (… actually, decided might be the wrong word, as it implies some level of consideration and evaluation of options). Anyway, let’s go with ‘decided’ to vandalise my car, smashing in both windows on the driver’s side. They were spotted by neighbours and reported to the police. Thankfully, I was blissfully unaware of all of this in the middle of the night.
First thing the next morning, (ie. the day of my wedding), two police officers knocked on the door of my apartment, asking for my whereabouts. Can you imagine how shocked my fiance and parents must have been at this point in time? It was not a good start to the day for them!
The police officers couldn’t pass on much detail, but I think they managed to get across that it was my car that was damaged, hopefully not me.
Meanwhile, I’d had a lazy start to the day sipping coffee with my friends, before heading down the road to have my nails done… First job on the beautification check list for the day.
On my way, I walked past my car, and couldn’t believe my eyes! Two windows were shattered, shards of glass were strewn in every nook and cranny inside the car, and it was in the process of being dusted for fingerprints by two crime scene investigators. I’m. Not. Kidding.
The police officers at the scene asked if this was my car, and I said, “Yes, what happened?’ and they said, ‘Neighbours reported seeing some kids smashing the windows last night’, and I said, ‘Oh my goodness… do you know who they are?’ and they said, ‘We think one of them lives on this street. Can you notice anything missing?’ I had a quick look, said ‘No I don’t think so’, then realised the time and said, ‘Umm, it’s my wedding day, and I have to go and get my nails done. Can I talk to you later?’ They said, ‘Oh wow, it’s your wedding day? Helluva thing to happen on your wedding day.’ And I said, ‘You could say that.’
So off I trotted to the nail salon, all the while feeling a strange thrill of adrenaline at the shock, mixed with annoyance at the inconvenience of not having a car to get from my nail appointment to my hair appointment. This was NOT on the beautification checklist at ALL!
Of course, I had no idea that while this was happening, my poor fiance and parents were stressing out, because police officers had landed on the doorstep!
And do you know what? Everything was fine. Totally fine.
My car was repaired the following week; the culprit was full of remorse (once his hangover passed) and paid for the repairs; I got to where I needed to go by borrowing my friends’ beemer (noice!), making it to all my appointments and achieving desired beautification.
And the biggest inconvenience in all of this? I discovered I couldn’t do ANYTHING with those long, fake nails! Buttons? Nope. Zippers? Nope. Earrings? Nope. Sign my name? Nope. Nope. Nope.
Oh, and ‘chicken fillets’ (you know the kind I mean!) on a hot summer’s day make you sweat… a lot. 🐣🐣
Turns out these are things you shouldn’t try for the very first time on your wedding day.
I guess the moral to this story is that things happen – things that are totally outside of your control. And when they do, try not to let them get in the way of the big picture. Just enjoy the moment, and think of all those opportunities you’ll have to share your story in future!
What came ‘out of the blue’ on your wedding day? I’m dying to hear!
Here are a few funny moments from some of my beautiful clients’ weddings.
😆There was that time the flower girl (and daughter of the bride) yelled out ‘Err yuck!’ as the bride and groom kissed!
😆And the time the groom forgot to silence his phone – or put it aside for the ceremony. He received a text message IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS VOWS, and better still… his alert tone was a fart noise! (Not even kidding!)
😆Another time, the best man and groomsman accidentally switched suits… those guys were NOT the same height!
😆And then there was the two year old flower girl who ‘flashed’ the groom’s party, after reaching the front of the aisle!
😆And let’s not forget the 18 month old page boy who got distracted half way down the aisle at his parents’ wedding, and ran off to chase birds near a lake!

What do you do when the borders are shut, and your Celebrant can’t make it to your wedding?

Roses and two wooden hearts overlaid with text from wedding vows, I will show you how much I love you, even when words are hard to find.

Last Thursday, I met the most beautiful young couple, and on Saturday, I married them!

Things don’t normally move that fast, but with the recent closure of the Queensland/New South Wales border, I was privileged to jump in for a Celebrant who was unable to travel to Brisbane for the ceremony. It was time to put the wedding contingency plan in action! He briefed me and forwarded the all-important paperwork, then I took the ball and ran with it.

Even though I met R & M in person only days before their wedding, you could say we ‘crunched the timeline’ in getting to know each other! And we quickly came to an easy, comforting place of trust. R & M knew I had their backs; that was my promise to them.

Our rehearsal gave us the perfect opportunity to check that everything was coming together just as they envisioned, and by Saturday, it felt as though it was always supposed to be this way.

Many details made R & M‘s wedding ‘oh so special’, but three of my favourites were…

💍 Firstly the original poem written and read by the bride’s stepdad. (Goosebumps!)

💍 Secondly, the time we dedicated to one-on-one conversations between myself and the bride and groom at the rehearsal. Those meaningful, honest chats gave me the insight I needed to ‘ghostwrite’ deeply personal vows, just for them. And they delivered them from the heart. (Goosebumps on goosebumps!)

💍 And thirdly, the perfect rainbow that arched across the sky as I was driving away from their wedding. I’m sure that’s a wonderful sign. (Dare I say it, even more goosebumps!)

I’m so grateful for the trust R & M (and their original Celebrant) placed in me. It all led to an uplifting ceremony that flowed with natural warmth, and celebrated their love story in an authentic way.  

Big virtual hugs to Shirley and her lovely team at Boulevard Gardens – always wonderful to work with you!

Things happen the way they’re meant to happen. 

A Special Anniversary

Ten years as a Marriage Celebrant

by Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

This weekend is a special one for many reasons. Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mums, and big hugs to those who can’t be with their families this year. With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it really makes us stop and think about what’s truly important, doesn’t it? Happy Mothers’ Day to my own lovely mum in New South Wales. I’m hoping for an easing of travel restrictions soon, so we can cross state borders again and visit in person.

Also happening this weekend is a significant anniversary. It will be ten years since my friends, Coralie and Andy, were married. Congratulations, lovely people!

I remember their wedding like it was yesterday…

  • our good friends, looking gorgeous and so, so happy, as they tied the knot;
  • the Groom’s son, Jack (then just a teenager), playing guitar during the ceremony, and giving us an early glimpse of the musician he was becoming; (seriously – check him out! @Jack Botts Music);
  • and me, up front, complete with six-month baby-bump, officiating my very first ceremony as a Marriage Celebrant.

Bride and Groom signing the marriage register and celebrant showing them where to sign

Ten years as a Wedding Celebrant! I can’t believe it’s a decade since I took my first steps on this career path that I love so much.

From that very first ceremony, I was hooked. Hooked on the excitement and anticipation; the heady privilege of witnessing the love and sincerity between a couple as they say their vows; feeling their vulnerability, as they stand together, suspending the every-day for a little window of time as they publicly honour their relationship.

My celebrant friends and I call it ‘the Love Buzz’, and it never gets old. What a privilege.

May 2020 was on track to be my best month to date in my celebrancy business; that is, until the dreaded C-word came along and uprooted the plans of so many couples. The old 2020 wall planner is pretty much a series of scribbles and adjustments, but the 2021 calendar… that’s going to be a different story completely!

One of the unexpected bonuses over the last two months (and the months ahead) has been the opportunity to bring to life some incredibly special elopement ceremonies, as couples pivot to keep their dream alive.

Bride and groom wearing masks as they kiss

Each elopement has felt so beautiful and significant, with a unique intimacy and sense of fun brought about by their refusal to let the circumstances rain on their parade. I’ve adored this time with each couple, (all at a safe social distance, of course!) and can’t wait to see them again next year when we gather all their friends and families, and celebrate their marriage with a cracking Vow Renewal ceremony!

In the meantime, I’m doing my best to focus on all that we have to be thankful for, especially here in Australia, where – dare I say it – we have managed to ‘flatten the curve’ in most regions, for now at least. I am loving the laughs with friends over social media and video chats; I’m enjoying hardly ever having to put fuel in the car, and – like all the parents overseeing their kids’ online schooling, I’m trying not to pull my hair out too much. (Not sure I’m winning on that front.)

All the while, I’m really looking forward to the day when I can hug people again, and big weddings are once again, a thing.

So let’s stay safe, keep washing our hands, and truly relish life on the other side of this thing. Let’s make 2021 The Year of Togetherness!

#2021theyearoftogetherness #COVIDelopements #tenyearworkanniversary

Weddings on the wave of COVID-19

Couple kissing while wearing face masks
Photo credit: Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash.

By Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

Your plans may have changed, but your dreams have not.

If you are planning your wedding, this should be a time of great excitement and joy for you and your loved ones. But the COVID-19 pandemic, which is encroaching on just about every aspect of our day-to-day lives, is now causing genuine concern for engaged couples, their families, and those working in the wedding industry.

If you’re not sure whether everyone will be able to make it to your wedding this year, I truly feel for you. Your wedding is a milestone event in your life, and it’s natural to want to share it. So let’s talk about using technology to livestream your ceremony, so your more vulnerable loved ones can stay safely out of harm’s way, but still witness your “I Do’s” via a screen.

If you’re trying to decide, ‘should we postpone our wedding?’ or forge on, perhaps in a modified format, I understand your dilemma. It’s heartbreaking even thinking about changing your carefully crafted plans. But if your group is larger than the allowed gathering (100 guests at the time of writing), or you’d just rather wait until everyone can be with you on your big day, let’s talk about finding you a new date. I do have availability from October 2020 and throughout 2021, and I’ll bend over backwards to help you.

Or, you might consider having a small elopement-style ceremony on your planned date with just the two of you and your two witnesses, but waiting till later in the year (or even next year) to have your big party. I’m definitely open to helping you reimagine the style and logistics for your ceremony.

Until such time as the Australian government further restricts the gathering of people, and as long as I remain fit and healthy and you remain fit and healthy, I would be honoured to officiate for you. We will adapt to the circumstances, by incorporating social distancing and stepping up hygiene measures, for instance:

  • no handshaking, hugging or kissing anyone you don’t live with;
  • spacing out chairs to give everyone more personal space;
  • wiping down microphones and pens with disinfectant wipes;
  • liberal use of hand sanitiser;
  • ensuring no bubbles are blown over anyone;
  • and importantly, asking for strict compliance from anyone who has been in contact with a known case of COVID-19, or has any symptoms consistent with the infection (fever, sore throat, dry cough, shortness of breath) to NOT ATTEND the wedding.
  • You could even ask everyone to check their temperature before coming, as an extra safeguard.

Of course, please refer to the advice of our Chief Medical Officers and the World Health Organisation for specific information on COVID-19, as this is not my area of expertise. 

If I am unlucky enough to become unwell and unable to officiate for you, I will reach out to my amazing colleagues and find you a substitute celebrant, transferring the legal paperwork as per our discussion at the time of signing our agreement. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that, but contingency planning makes sense right now.

As this is a very fluid situation that is changing by the day, I will be continuing to heed the advice of our Chief Medical Officers and government leaders, in terms of any restrictions imposed on gatherings, in the days and weeks ahead.

But please, if you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, or send me a message. I’m here for you.

Let me finish by saying, your wedding is going to be amazing. Your plans may have changed, but your dreams have not. 

Who’s your MC for your wedding reception?

How do you choose the right MC?

By Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

Lorraine Wright standing under a tree wearing a petrol green Cue dress and holding an ipad and microphone and smiling at the camera as she waits for a wedding to begin
Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant, Brisbane Marriage Celebrant. Image by Natarsha March Family Photography,

If you’re planning your wedding, have you started to think about who you’ll ask to be your MC for your reception?

It’s one of the key roles on your wedding day, because a fantastic MC will have a big impact on the atmosphere and flow of your event.

  • Ideally, you want someone outgoing and bubbly, who’ll bring a ‘feel-good-factor’ and really connect with your guests.
  • At the same time, you don’t want someone who’s going to steal the limelight or make it all about them; after all, it’s your day.
  • Your MC needs to be confident and articulate, so they can carry it off with ease. You know what they say about public speaking – many people dread it more than anything else! So, it’s important to choose someone who will enjoy the role, and not be a bundle of nerves.
  • And, because your MC is your facilitator on the day/night, you need to know you can rely on them to be across all the details. They should map out a plan with you beforehand, and keep everything (and everyone) on track during the event. That means they need to be proactive about liaising with your photographer, videographer, venue team or caterers, DJ or musicians, and any guests you’ve asked to make a speech, so you can enjoy every moment and not feel rushed, or anxious about when things are supposed to happen.
Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant standing in the foreground with the Lakehouse at Secrets on the Lake at Montville in the background
Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant. Marriage Celebrant and MC. Image by Sunshine Coast Photographer, Lou O’Brien,

If you’re not sure who to ask to be your MC, or don’t want to put that kind of pressure onto a family member or friend, here’s a suggestion for you: why not consider asking your marriage celebrant?

  • Your celebrant is someone who totally gets your vision for your wedding, and is dedicated to helping you bring it to life.
  • Wedding celebrants speak professionally for a living; most are outgoing and bubbly, and great with detail.
  • Not only that, you’ll have gotten to know each other pretty well by the time your wedding comes around, so it will feel more like you’ve asked a friend to be your MC. Plus they’ll have the chance to build a rapport with your guests during your ceremony, so having them carry on as your MC is a great way to make everything seamless. It could be the perfect solution for you.

At the end of the day, I’m sure whoever you choose will be honoured to be MC for your wedding reception, and will do their best to bring their A-game for you.

Have an amazing wedding!

The Magic Art of Writing a Wedding Ceremony

The Magic Art of Writing a Wedding Ceremony

by Lorraine Wright, Marriage Celebrant

© 2019 Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

Lorraine Wright wearing a cerise Portmans sleeveless dress sitting at a wooden picnic table in a garden surrounded by pink Bougainvillea flowers holding an ipad and pen and smiling at the camera
Lorraine Wright, Brisbane Wedding Celebrant. Image by Natarsha March.

When I’m writing a wedding ceremony, inspiration is everything. And I take that inspiration from my clients; the two ‘lovebirds’ I’m working for in that moment. I’m humbled that my couples put their trust in me, and I want to live up to that trust, every time.

So my process is very much about focusing on them – the conversations and laughs we’ve had together, the anecdotes they’ve shared with me, and the heartfelt, hilarious and sometimes surprising things they’ve written in their Couple’s Questionnaire. All of these sources combine to give me great insight into who they are as individuals, and as a couple.

Then, with those two wonderful people ‘front and centre’ in my mind, I start to craft their script. And it’s all about creating the right atmosphere or feeling… or to quote that classic Aussie film, ‘The Castle’… “It’s the vibe.”

A great ceremony has a rhythm all its own; an ebb and flow, with moments of sincere, sometimes intense emotion giving way to laughter, and occasional tears… like the best kind of roller coaster. And don’t be surprised if the ones shedding a tear are those who least expected to! The laughter and tears show the depth of feeling they’re experiencing, and that’s what we want for your loved ones on your big day.

bride wearing a white veil looking down while groom looks lovingly down at her
Kate and Gerry – a beautiful moment captured by New Black Studios.

An important part of my role as your marriage celebrant is to help create an amazing experience for everyone who has come together to share in your wedding celebrations, and to set the tone for the rest of your day. Ultimately, you want YOUR wedding to be the best one you’ve ever been to! For me, that’s the goal, every time.

One of my favourite tricks for creating an authentic, conversational ceremony script is to say it out loud; try it again a few different ways; then write it down. By testing it out (my choice of words and phrases, tone and inflection), the smallest nuances then work together to make that script tell a great story.

I also like to use the Notes app on my phone to dictate ideas and snippets while they’re fresh in my mind, so I can come back to them when I start writing. It’s a handy way to keep track of some of the special tidbits you share with me during our conversations, and it means I can give you my undivided attention, rather than trying to write everything down as we chat. Very often, those notes I’ve dictated right after a meeting end up sliding perfectly into the final script. It’s an easy, non-intimidating way to inject your ceremony with your own words.

So there you have it… just a few little insights into the “method in my madness” for writing completely customised, personal wedding ceremonies. I’d love to write yours next!

For more information about my marriage ceremony services, click here, or contact me.

Lorraine Wright wearing a dusky pink top standing behind a white counter holding a pink coffee mug in a neutral kitchen with pale pink flowers and a fruit bowl in the background and a plate of cookies on the bench
Lorraine Wright, Wedding Celebrant. Image by Natarsha March.

Hot tips for keeping cool on a hot wedding day

by Lorraine Wright – The Wright Celebrant

I’ve put together my top tips, plus some from a few other fab wedding professionals, to help you ‘keep calm and get married’ on a stinking hot day.

These ideas come from my experience as a celebrant, but also from personal experience, as my hubby and I chose late January for our wedding, and survived – hair, makeup and (arguably) sanity intact. So here goes, in no particular order…

Stay hydrated

  • It probably goes without saying, but drinking plenty of water is a big deal on a hot day. It will keep you from feeling faint or headachy, help you concentrate and be present in the moment as you say ‘I Do’, and it’s a must before cracking open the bubbly later on.
  • Pop some half-filled bottles of water into the freezer the night before, then on the day, fill them up with water and take with you. You’ve got yourself a chilly drink and a cool-pack for the back of your neck, all in one. 
  • Prepare them for each member of the bridal party. Or better still – put one of them in charge, so that’s one less thing on your list.
  • And “Don’t forget to have plenty of water on hand for your post-ceremony photo shoot, to keep you fresh, fabulous and photo-ready”, advises wedding photographer extraordinaire, Lee Burgess of Life and Love Photography. Add to that some umbrellas for the bridal party, and you’re good to go.

Eat something

  • The same goes for having a bite to eat. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the beautifying, zhooshing and photographing that you totally forget to eat before the wedding.
  • Big mistake! No-one wants to be ‘hangry’ on their wedding day, so do yourself a favour… feed your body so you can still be merry later on. 

Set up for success

  • If you’re getting married in the hotter months, plan your ceremony for late afternoon. The heat can be pretty brutal at 3pm! 
  • Lee Burgess of Life and Love Photography suggests around 2.5 hours before sunset as the perfect time to tie the knot.
  • Choose a shady spot for the ceremony, and arrange the aisle and seating so that no-one is facing directly towards the sun. That goes for the wedding party and the guests.
  • Don’t be ‘fashionably late’ on a hot day, as your guests will be languishing in the heat waiting for you. Not cool.
  • White umbrellas for the wedding party and VIP guests are equally fab in the hot sun, and in a summer shower of rain. You can hire or buy them quite cost-effectively.
  • Here’s a seriously useful tip. Ask for the guests’ chairs to be set up a few extra inches apart, rather than right up against each other. Give your people some personal space. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being jammed shoulder-to-shoulder and thigh-to-thigh on a hot day. Not only will this make a big difference to your guests’ enjoyment of your ceremony, it gives them more latitude (literally) to pop up an umbrella if they need to.
  • Have cold water and little fans available for your guests. The fans make a lovely, practical wedding favour.
  • Mozzie repellent is also a great thing (in some locations, an essential thing) to have on hand.
  • Did I mention, don’t be fashionably late?
Set up for success
Image by Life and Love Photography

BYO hand towel

  • Especially awesome if you are decked out in a suit, or a heavy dress with lots of fabric or gorgeous beading.
  • Just before the ceremony, grab your towel and dab your forehead, upper lip (taking great care not to spoil all that zhooshing), your neck, arms and hands – and don’t forget that ring finger!
  • Even better than a regular hand towel would be one of those new chiller towels – pop it in water, wring it out so it won’t drip, then give it a few quick flicks and hey presto – a reaction causes the towel to chill down. Magic on a hot day. (My kids swear by these on hot sports days.)

Advice your grandpa would give you

  • Guys – wear a singlet! An extra layer on a hot day might sound counter-intuitive, but it works. Rather than your shirt clinging uncomfortably and showing nasty sweat marks, a singlet will soak it up and help cool you off. So grab yourself a Chesty Bonds, fellas!
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen. Even if your ceremony is going to be in the shade, you’ll probably be in and out of the sun for photos and mingling with guests throughout the day. You don’t want to rock up to your reception (or heaven forbid, your honeymoon) with a dose of sunburn.
  • While you wait for the ceremony to begin, stay cool by hanging your jackets over the back of a chair until the last minute.
  • Chill out in a shady spot (or air-conditioning) if you can. I’ve even had to step inside a catering cooler van to bring my core temp down between ceremonies while filming Nine’s ‘The Last Resort’ at Mission Beach. That was some intense heat!

    Nine Network

Wiggle it, just a little bit

  • If you do start to feel a bit faint or whoozy during your ceremony, wriggle your toes and squeeze your calf muscles a few times. No-one will know you’re doing it, and it can be enough to get the blood moving and stave off a fainting episode.
  • If that doesn’t do the trick, don’t be afraid to ask for a drink of water or a moment to sit with your head down – infinitely preferable to collapsing in an unceremonious heap! (If you need convincing or just want a chuckle, check out ‘fainting at weddings’ on YouTube.)

Cool tech

  • If you’re using a phone or tablet to play music for your ceremony, make sure it’s not sitting in full sun as most devices are programmed to shut down when they overheat. And regardless of the weather, have a back up plan, with your playlist ready to go on another device.

Style it up

Image by The Tsudons
  • If you have long locks, hair and beauty expert Sarah Thong recommends an up-do that will go the distance, as heat and humidity can make long tresses frizzy or flat, messy and clingy.
  • Using a hair ‘donut’ may help to offload the weight of hairpins, and add support and anchorage for your up-style.
  • Sarah also recommends using a light-hold hairspray during styling to add a beautiful, weightless volume and hold, and finishing off with strong-hold hairspray then a spritz of light shine spray.

Makeup for photo-ready brides…

  • Sarah Thong also shared these tips for longevity of makeup on a hot day:
  • Use face and eye primers as a base. Sarah’s favourites are Hourglass Mineral Veil Face Primer, and NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base.
  • For oily skin – lightly dust some translucent powder on top of the primer, and then apply foundation.
  • Use a hydrating eye cream before applying concealer to prevent creasing.
  • Set the oily areas such as the T-zone with loose powder.
  • Finish with a makeup-setting spray. Sarah’s top pick is Urban Decay All Nighter.
  • Keep your powder and lippie with you for touch ups at photo time.

All-ages gig

Image by Cloud Catcher Studio
  • If you’re having flower girls and page boys in your wedding party, your best chance of achieving that ‘cuteness overload’ factor you’re no doubt going for, is to really consider what’s going to work for them.
  • Be realistic in your expectations of what they need to do (psst. I can help with that); in your choice of outfits for them; and be ready to go with the flow if they back out in the heat of the moment… (no pun intended).
  • Bubbles are an awesome, cheap distraction for little ones during your ceremony, and they will add a magical quality to your photos. (I mean the kind you blow into the air, of course; not the kind you ‘clink’… at this stage, at least!)

Fur babies

  • If your four-legged family members are also joining the festivities, give some lucky person the job of keeping them cool, hydrated and loved. For expert care, talk to Gillian at First Class Pet Wedding Assistants

I hope you’ve found some gems among these ideas to help you be fabulous on your wedding day. Stay cool!

Image by Life and Love Photography