Category Archives: Stories of love

Beck and Vince

I have known Beck for more than 15 years. Two of her older siblings are two of my closest friends. So when she got engaged it felt like my little sister was getting engaged. I was so excited for her. When I got the phone call asking if I would conduct their wedding, I was rapt. I feel very privileged to be able to make people married, but it is especially special when it is someone that you have known for so long and someone that is special to you.


Vince and Beck got married on a beautiful Saturday in Warrnambool. In front of just 16 of their closest family and friends. I get to witness such beautiful moments and one of these moments was when Beck’s Dad saw her for the first time in her dress. It’s always a lovely thing to see, but when you know people for many years, these moments become extra special to be a part of. Beck and Vince got married under a beautiful arbour made by Beck’s older brother. There were some very special family and friends that were not at the ceremony, so a live stream was organised and those  people in New Zealand and in America were able to watch everything as it happened. I tried to not let myself be distracted by how amazing it is that people in another country were watching at the exact moment they are exchanging their vows. So special!


When I asked them when did they know that they wanted to be married the responses that they gave me were really beautiful.

Vince said: “Since dating we played with the idea of a future together, but on May 11th 2018 I knew that I wanted to marry Beck. It was the day of my graduation and my family came from outer state to celebrate the big occasion. Having the whole family together for such a special occasion can sometimes be difficult to get around to everyone equally but having Beck there and seeing her talking with both my mother and my father’s side of the family effortlessly and enjoying herself with them, on that day I knew two things, 1. I was graduating and 2. I am going to marry Rebecca.”

Beck told me:
“It came about as a slow realisation, a feeling, a knowing. No one has ever loved and supported me the way Vince does. No one has ever made me feel so happy and excited about mundane things like grocery shopping or doing the laundry. It has gotten to the stage that I cannot imagine my life without him in it. When we found out we were expecting our first child, the rush of excitement, connection and love I felt towards this wonderful human being I’d created a miracle which solidified in my mind that we would be the Ashford’s, and I was going to marry my soulmate.”


After the intimate ceremony, we had a quick afternoon tea before Beck and Vince left to have some photos taken. Later, their reception was held at the Laang Recreational Reserve. The hall was transformed into a beautiful space for about 100 or so guests. It was an amazing fairytale night. They had a huge lit up ‘LOVE’ on the stage and so many other beautiful, attention to detail touches. After Beck and Vince had their first dance, they had a ‘Father and Daughter’ dance, where dads danced with their daughters. Then there was a ‘Mother and Son’ dance. Such a lovely and emotional idea. I got to meet some amazing, lovely new people and see some old friends that I hadn’t seen for such a long time.

They had an amazing cake, made by Beck’s sister, with the best Cake topper, made by Beck’s brother Andrew from Second Chance Wood. Check out his facebook page here.


I’m now looking forward to the another wedding now. Beck’s younger sister is getting married next. The countdown is on.

Thanks to Pip for the use of his photos from the day!

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Filed under Recent Weddings, Stories of love

Tamara and Daniel


I was lucky enough to conduct the wedding of Tamara and Daniel on a windy, but lovely, day in September. They were married at the Seawinds Gardens in Arthurs Seat. If you haven’t been to the Gardens or up to Arthurs Seat, it is a beautiful and breathtaking part of the world. It is somewhere that I have driven past so many times and had only been when I was much younger. It is an amazing place. And what better place for a wedding! The views are spectacular and it is a place that has been very special to Tamara and Daniel so it was very fitting for them to have their ceremony there. They were married at the outlook in front of about 70 of their family and friends.

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Daniel and Tamara have been together for 7 years, meeting through some mutual friends. As a couple, Tamara and Daniel have spent a lot of time enjoying each others company. They love running, kayaking, hiking and cycling. If that isn’t enough hard work in itself, they spend a lot of time renovating their house too! So they obviously know that they can work together and through tough situations. When you still want to live with the other person after having lived out of one end of a house with only half a bathroom, it must be love.

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Daniel and Tamara have a beautiful proposal story. While in America, they were walking in a back section of Disneyland behind the castle when Dan asked if one of the staff would take his and Tamara’s photo.  Dan isn’t really one for having his photo taken, but they were away on holiday so Tamara thought nothing of it. The first photo was just of the two of them standing there nicely, then Dan got down on one knee in front of the disney castle and asked Tamara to marry him. Tamara didn’t say yes straight away, first she asked if he was serious, then gave him a hug. It wasn’t until about an hour later that she told him yes!! It was pretty much a given though she already had the ring on and was crying like a baby!

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One thing that made it obvious to me just how in love they are is when I asked Tamara and Daniel to describe their relationship to me in 3 words. There answer was really beautiful! They said natural, enduring and supportive. It doesn’t get much lovelier than that. Natural because they know that they can always be themselves. Enduring, as they face situations head on and always work through things together. And supportive, that no matter what life throws at them, that they always talk through things, and support the other to get over every hurdle they face. This has made for a wonderful foundation for their love, and they have always supported each other and pulled the other through any tough times.

I especially loved that I got to see people that I have conducted weddings for in the past. I was lucky enough to conduct the wedding of Daniel’s sister Candice, and also the wedding of his friends Philip and Judy. I love seeing these people that I have spent a bit of time getting to know but rarely see again.

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It was a stunning day, everyone looked wonderful and it was a beautiful part of the world.  What a day at the office!! It doesn’t get much better than that, getting to see such amazing parts of the world, with wonderful people. I’m pretty lucky to do what I do.

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A really big thank you to Chris Cooper for the use of his photos on the blog this weekend. You can look at some of his other work by clicking here. Also if you are down the Mornington Peninsula, check out the Seawinds Gardens. Click here to check out the website.


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Filed under Recent Ceremonies, Recent Weddings, Stories of love

Cindy and Shane



Cindy and Shane were married on a lovely Saturday in April. It was a stunning day at the beautiful Mrs Nicks Vineyard and the reception followed at the amazing Barn and Co conveniently on the Mrs Nicks Vineyard property. They were married under the beautiful love tree near the front of the vineyard.

I have known Cindy for almost 2 decades so for me it was a very lovely and emotional day. I always love making people married. It is really an amazing moment when you can help your old friend marry the person that she has found true love with. It really is a wonderful thing to be able to help them exchange vows. It was so lovely to see a lot of Cindy’s family whom I have watched grow over the years. I remember Cindy’s sister’s wedding when I photographed one of Cindy’s nieces  running across a courtyard as a small 8 or 9 year old and now here she is, a lovely and beautiful adult.


Shane and Cindy met through Cindy’s work. They were friends for some time until came the moments when they each realised that love had blossomed. Shane and Cindy started this wonderful love that they share by making a commitment to one another to always be honest and give the other their all…… and that is what they have done every day since.

When I asked them about their first impressions of each other were, Cindy told me that she got butterflies when Shane spoke to her and Shane immediately fell in love with Cindy’s eyes. They amazed him.

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They have adapted to the idiosyncrasies of the other and found ways to grow together and compromise. Shane’s always being right and maybe just a little bit stubborn, arguing his point while Cindy and the girls just look at each other.  Cindy is bossy, always directing what should be done and only for the best and protection of Shane and the girls, for example the time when they were watching the LUNAR eclipse and Cindy wanted them to all put on sunglasses to protect their eyes from being damaged .

Shane knew that Cindy understood from the very beginning that it was not only him but also 2 children that she would be joining and that the decision to join their family was not taken lightly. The respect and love she has shown each one of them from the beginning is something that he is grateful for, adores and respects, as there is now not only the unbreakable bond between the two of them, but the bond with Chelsea and Rachel.

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Cindy loves Shane’s strength and unwavering loyalty. She saw from the beginning the devotion Shane had to his children and that there was not one moment in their lives that he was ever going to miss, he is always there to stand strong for his family. Cindy knows as long as each day ends with the two of them together she can face anything!


One beautiful thing that Shane and Cindy mentioned and is really obvious to anyone who spends time with them, is their commitment to being a team. To having each other’s back. That no matter what is going on in their lives, they will always be on the others side. That through tough times, they don’t battle anything alone. They huddle together to weather the storm.

Their wedding was beautiful and had so many beautiful personal touches. Cindy had her sister as her matron of honour and her 2 nieces and step daughters in her bridal party and they all looked simply stunning in their beautiful blue dresses. There were so many candles and it was such a stunning set up in the Barn and Co restaurant area. They had about 70 guests and there was still plenty of room for a dance floor.


One of my favorite moments of the night was when Cindy and her Dad had the father and daughter dance. Cindy’s dad is a lovely and quiet man. Watching him dance with Cindy and sing the beautiful song to his daughter was just breathtaking and there were a lot of people who had a little tear in there eye watching the beautiful moment. I must say although I am really not good at it I love the greek dancing and the dance floor was the fullest it could be when the Zorba was on.

It was a wonderful day spent with fantastic friends. I do know how lucky I am to be be able to play such an important role in one of the best days in people’s lives. I realise it more so when it is someone that I have known for such a long time and get to make them husband and wife. Not only did I get to catch up with family of one of my oldest friends but I also met and spent time with lovely new people on Shane’s side of the family, people that have been key people in his life for years and his beautiful daughters.


A big thank you to Rochelle for the use of her photos on the blog. Check out her website here or find her on facebook by clicking here.


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Filed under Recent Ceremonies, Recent Weddings, Stories of love

Why I became a celebrant

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I have been asked on a number of occasions, why I became a celebrant. The main reason is that I was inspired, and not so much in a good way. I love a good wedding, (who doesn’t really?) and I have a degree in Photography, but wedding photography wasn’t really my passion. I love photography and I love a wedding but that was it. I didn’t like all of the things that go along with being a wedding photographer and lets be honest, it takes a love and an art to be a great wedding photographer, not every brilliant photographer is even a good wedding photographer. But I digress, back to the topic.

I attended a wedding ceremony, and it was… I don’t want to say terrible, or horrific, or as one person said “the worst wedding I’ve ever been to”… But it had potential to be lovely, and it just wasn’t. It wasn’t the couples fault. There were things that clearly they didn’t think of or that the celebrant hadn’t  mentioned. I’m not too sure what the celebrant had to say either it may have been really nice things, but it wasn’t memorable and I couldn’t hear all of it.

Firstly, the celebrant arrived early as any good celebrant should. They set up a table away from where the ceremony was being held and just waited. There had been no wedding rehearsal.  ( I know this as someone close to me was in the bridal party) the celebrant had the perfect opportunity then to tell the Groom and Groomsmen what would be happening, where they would need to go for the signing of the register, but none of this occurred. They just stood there.

The ceremony was in an area that was open to the general public, and it was a hot hot hot, stupid hot day. The celebrant didn’t speak to any of the people in the area and tell them that there was going to be a wedding taking place or to ask them if they would mind just staying out of the way while the ceremony was on. (It is always a good idea to think about the general public that might be around if you are getting married in a public place and check if their are permits that you need to get, as it is much easier to ask them to move on if you have booked the area)

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No one could hear the celebrant, the guests were standing a little way away from the ceremony (maybe 3-4 metres) and there was no PA system. I heard a bit of what was going on when I got up close to take photos. No PA system mixed with the fact that there were people in the area going about their day, made it almost impossible for guests to hear. I know a wedding is about the couple, but why have guests come along if you don’t want them to be witness to the promises that you make.

The confusion that ensued when they had to sign the marriage register baffled me. I remember driving home and talking about it with my husband saying, if the celebrant had just explained it to the groomsmen when she first arrived they could have told the bridesmaids what was happening and it could have at least looked a bit seamless.  I was upset and annoyed that things weren’t perfect for the couple. I really hope that they thought that it was and they weren’t too upset or that people didn’t whinge and moan about it to them. I was also quite baffled that the celebrant would have been paid a considerable amount of money to do the job. She didn’t seem to love what she did or be excited or happy for the couple. I then told my husband that I thought I could do a better job than that. He responded saying ‘why don’t you? You love weddings’. The next week I started looking into the course, and the rest as they say is history.

I just want to make people’s day about them, and have the wedding that they want. I must admit I do love it when guests come and tell me that they thought the wedding was wonderful, or just really suited the couple. I love what I do and always want it to be the best for the people that have chosen me to be a part of their day.

A big thank you to all the photographers who have captured me doing what I love, and letting me use the photos. Check out some of their work.

Thank you to : Amy Schultz, Kirralee, Ateia Photography, and Sarah Churcher!


Filed under Life, Stories of love

Unplugged weddings


I am reading more and more about Unplugged weddings.  I have previously blogged about turning off your phone at the wedding ceremony, but this blog is about taking it a step further.  Obviously people are going to set their phones to silent. (Well you hope that it is obvious) but in unplugged weddings there is a blanket ban on photography too.
On pintrest there are all sorts of examples on how to word this. Maybe using a chalk board at the ceremony or something extra that goes in with your invitations or your order of service booklets.  It’s not because the couple are shy or don’t want photos of their special day, it is about being present in the moment. Coming from a photographic background I can understand how people can feel this way. A camera definitely puts a barrier between yourself and anything that you are photographing. It removes some of your concentration, when you are busy photographing you are thinking about composition, flashes and camera settings.

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There has also been a lot in the media about living in the moment, not always photographing it, making actual memories rather than taking photos. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I get it, I understand that we spend all too much time on our devices when we should be spending time with our loved ones and the people that we are with at that moment. I understand wanting people to be immersed in the moment of your wedding, but shouldn’t it be their choice? Is the wedding ceremony the right time for this? Thankfully they will most likely have a professional taking photos.  The wedding ceremony can be an extremely surreal moment, especially for the bride and groom. I agree with living in the moment, but there are times too where photos are a must.

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I’m a highly visual person and I use photos and objects to prompt my memory a lot. I would have been devastated if there had have been no photos taken when my son was born. I can’t imagine how that would feel. I won’t ever forget the first time I laid eyes on him, but I’m glad that I have it recorded too.  I must admit, I’m a sucker for a good photo, I have to have photos of everything. I use photos for bookmarks.
It’s been a while since I have been a guest at a wedding ceremony, and I don’t think I can remember the last time that I was a guest at a wedding and didn’t take a stack of photos. I don’t know how I would go. For me now I would be paying attention to all the details as a celebrant and don’t know if I could give an objective opinion on an unplugged wedding.
I love that as a celebrant, photographers are usually happy to provide me with some images to use here on my blog, so I feel lucky in that respect to have lovely photos from each wedding that I am privileged to conduct. Although I don’t ‘need’ photos to remember, I have a marriage register, the photos are oh so lovely to have.

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I haven’t spoken to a lot of my photographer friends about this yet, but I am interested to see if they welcome the idea. I imagine that they would. No one getting in the way when the bride is walking down the aisle, no competing for spots in the chapel or having someone step into their shot trying to get their own.  Parents both enjoying the moment of their children’s wedding.

I like the idea from the stand point that everyone is paying attention to the vows that the bride and groom are about to make to each other, and somehow maybe it would give the ceremony a little more of a sacred feel.  What do you think? Could you go to a wedding and not take photographs or have your wedding and ask for it to be ‘Unplugged’?


Thank-you to Vision House Photography for the photos on this weeks blog. Check out their website here and head over and like them on facebook.


Filed under Recent Weddings, Stories of love, Uncategorized, wedding ideas

I give you my heart – proposal story

Recently I was driving with a friend and she shared a story of a close friend’s romantic proposal. I thought it was a lovely story and couldn’t stop thinking about it for quite some time after I heard it.

Not because of the trouble her friend’s partner had gone to, or the ring, it was the way he gave away the only thing he had to her – his heart, his trust and his devotion. He wrote a beautiful note and I think you will agree it was a truly lovely and romantic notion.

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A proposal doesn’t need to be about a fancy ring, or an expensive dinner, or hot air balloon, or a plane ride over the beach with ‘will you marry me‘ written in the sand. It is about the love two people share.

Do you have a romantic proposal story that you would like to share? If you do email me at


Filed under Stories of love

Wedding Proposals


I am currently in the process of writing a number of blogs dedicated to marriage proposals. The one question everyone asks without fail once a couple becomes engaged is; ‘how did he propose?’ or ‘how did you propose?’ I have asked this question many a time myself, to many friends and even people I’m not well acquainted with. I love to hear each couple’s story not only because I am a celebrant, just because I love to get caught up in the romance of it all.

It is a moment that can have a lot of pressure attached to it.  Most men feel pressure no matter how big the proposal. Regardless, you will always remember a proposal forever, even if it happens in a blinding romantic flash you will always remember the moment. Some guys are worried about the ring. Maybe she won’t be happy with the choice of restaurant? Could a beach be romantic enough? Will you know when the moment is right?  Personally I believe that your fiancé should know you well enough to gage how much effort you have contributed to the proposal. If you are not an overly romantic person, don’t feel pressured to change to fit the societal norm, be yourself, which is just as thoughtful as an extravagant proposal. I have a great blog about this coming up so stay tuned.


A friend of mine was proposed to in Central Park in New York, she thought that her partner was bending down to tie his shoelace, it was a total surprise.  My best friend was proposed to in front of the Mona Lisa – a very romantic setting I feel. Another one of my friends asked his fiancé to marry him while they were in a hot air balloon. Some people have been surprised by an aeroplane ride over a stunning beach and others have had a casual Sunday morning proposal in pyjamas. No matter how it happens you will never forget the moment shared with your nearest and dearest.

This weeks beautiful photos are from Untamed Images, check out their website here. Thanks Keith and Betty.

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Filed under Ceremony ideas, Stories of love, wedding ideas, Wedding Planning, wedding tips

Vanuatu Proposal

A friend of mine from work proposed to his now fiance in Vanuatu, I asked him to share the story about the proposal and this is what he wrote:

Picture 002 copyIt started as something small, a proposal on a beach was what was my first idea, something special. But every-time I started getting everything together, something else came up. So it got to the point that it had been seven years and still no proposal.

At this point Karajane pointed out that she was hurt that everyone else she knew had had a proposal except her.
I felt something more was needed, and started looking at different locations in Australia and then further into the pacific, finding places was difficult, keeping the details from Karajane was very difficult, someone who has been with you that long can usually guess what your doing and she studies psychology 😉
So the island changed quite a few times before I decided on Vanuatu,  the reason was because of the active volcano, that seemed like the kind of proposal that would make up for the wait.
Then the planning stated, how long, where were we staying, how much would we need…
After that was sorted it was time for me to look at rings and in my mind the best option would be the traditional one big stone.
Then as Karajane would be the one wearing it we talked about the idea of her making the decision.
She was looking at several rings and fell in love with a very pretty ring, that made the decision.

So after four months of panning and working we were finally ready to go.

The trip was a blur till we were finally going up the top of Mt Yassur and it was raining… which meant that I couldn’t use my camera, lucky there was another guy with us (Armund) who had a waterproof camera and agreed to take photos when “something happens at the top”
After walking through the ash, smoke and rain we finally make it to the top, after walking around the crater a little I found a spot that I liked.
Karajane knew about the proposal of course but the moment still surprised her I think. There is always a difference between planning and the moment.
As I got down on one knee and forgot all my carefully planned proposal and just said what I felt, I still don’t remember exactly what I said but I guess it must have been right, she said yes. After that we watched the volcano erupting behind us and the celebration of fire and the feel of the volcano made everything seem perfect.
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Have you got a lovely proposal story that you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email with your story to

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Filed under Life, Stories of love

My Wedding Day

wedding1My wedding was on a perfect Saturday in March, in Mildura. We were both young, and I thought I knew more about the world than I did. I knew nothing about weddings, nothing about what you can have and what you can do with weddings. I didn’t realise that we could make it so much more personal than it was. I didn’t know about writing my own vows about music that can be used or about anything except that I wanted to be married.

Looking back now there are things that we would change, but only small things, like music (definitely)  I would probably have a song that meant something to me coming down the aisle, rather than the traditional bridal march, something like Gorcki by Lamb, or Angus and Julia Stone’s, Wedding Song or  Forever by Ben Harper. Just something that said a little more about me and my husband. (some of these weren’t released I know) I would probably have a different hairstyle, and a handful of the guest list would be different, but all things considered it was 13 years ago and no matter when you get married there are little things that I’m sure everyone would want to change about their day.

All of that aside, we had a lovely wedding day. It was in a beautiful church, with all of our family and friends at the time. My step father conducted the ceremony, which was heartfelt and emotional.  My Mum walked me down the aisle, as I felt she should, she was the one that raised me and it just felt right to do. My sister (11 years old at the time) did a lovely reading. We had some of our best friends  (and I’m happy to say people that are still some of our best friends) stand beside us while we became husband and wife. We promised to share our lives together and stand by each other in sickness and health, for better for worse.

We had a beautiful reception at Trentham Estate Winery. We had lovely food and drank great wine with our family and friends. We had a small group of people because at the time the restaurant only held 50 people, we ended up having 46 people there, and even that was quite tricky to make sure that we got around to everyone and had a bit of time with them all.  The weather was perfect for drinking wine on the river. We had our photos done at Trentham Estate too, so that all of the family shots could be done and people could see us having our photos done by the river while they ate canapés.  I have really  fond memories of the day, spending time with people that I loved, in a perfect setting. I remember laying on the grass laughing with friends, feeling the sun on my face watching the river in my wedding dress, running downhill for our infrared wedding photos, sharing our first meal and husband and wife with special friends and family members, some of who are no longer with us, waving at little girls from the wedding car and wearing my wedding dress into Coles.  Yes, I did wear my wedding dress into Coles, I always said that if you spend that much money on a wedding dress you should wear it ALL day, and I made sure that I did that.


Filed under Life, Stories of love

The love of my Life

I have had a few people ask me about my husband in recent weeks not just people I’ve recently met but people who have known me quite a while. People who know me well will know that I find it sometimes a little hard to explain things like this. We have recently celebrated out 13th Wedding anniversary. There are hundreds of reasons that I love him, but there are a few that I will tell you about.

Number one and top of the list is that  he understands me –  I don’t think this is an easy task. Like everyone, I have issues and idiosyncrasies and he knows them, puts up with them and loves me just the same.  He knows my light and loves my dark. He knows the things about my personality that I like and knows all the things that I endeavour to improve about myself. He is there to help me when I am trying to be a better person and still loves me when I don’t always succeed.  I love that no matter the context he loves me, if I’m grumpy, sad, happy, hyperactive, silly or any other myriad of emotions. I think it is amazing to have someone that loves you for all that you were and remembers fondly all of the fun and wonderful things that you were. We all change, nothing stays the same but there are those special people  that they will still love you and will always love what you will become.

I love him for the way that he sticks by me, through most of our married life we have had trials and things to test us, but no matter what the obstacle is, we are always on one another’s team. He has slept in chairs beside me in hospital, watched me pressed into body scan machines and sat with me when I have been put into MRI machines through countless tests. He always supports me through them.  I have seen him sick with worry for me and my well being. He has cheered me on in times of celebration and has always believed in what I can achieve, even more than I believed in myself at times.

I am grateful that I do not have to walk through this life alone. I love the way that if I fall he will carry me through my struggles and if he his having a tough time with his own problems he can lean on me.


Filed under Life, Stories of love