By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant
When my dear friends Shan and Paul asked me to conduct their wedding ceremony I was truly humbled. Not merely because Shan's a very popular and well respected Celebrant at Cloud9 Celebrations, not merely because I knew that the who's who of the wedding industry would be there, but because of the beautiful people they are.
Shan and Paul are compassionate, generous and thoughtful souls - the type of people who delight in surprising loved ones with unexpected and quirky gifts and helping those less fortunate than themselves. They're also fun and active - the outdoorsy type who can dive and surf like pros. In short, they're impressive people.
Shan and Paul envisaged a structured, yet fun and casual ceremony, one that would celebrate their deep love and respect for each other, their close relationships with family and friends, reflect their love of the beach and their personal passions.
It came as no surprise that they chose the rooftop of the beachside Encore St Kilda for their ceremony. With palms and pineapples, green turf and blue skies and a bridal party in royal blue and eye-popping orange, the rooftop was completely transformed into a colourful oasis.
As I recall Shan and Paul’s ceremony, I can’t help but smile. It was simply wonderful watching my dear friend and fellow celebrant assume the role of bride. Shan happily trusted in her suppliers and simply enjoyed the day as it unfolded around her - something I know we both urge our couples do.
She looked absolutely radiant in her exquisitely beaded One Day Bridal gown and when she entered the rooftop to No One Knows’ rendition of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow', the crowd collectively gasped. Paul, who cut a very handsome figure in his royal blue Briggins suit grinned as his bride walked the white carpet on the arm of her proud father. The two most important men in Shan's life shared a private moment, before Paul offered Shan his arm and led her into position by the stunning tropical arbour created by Botanics of Melbourne.
Flanked by a bridal party of ten, Shan and Paul stood hand in hand as I shared the story of their new year’s eve meeting at Train Trak Winery, their first impressions of each other, their long distance courtship and Paul’s perfect proposal at their favourite stretch of beach. I shared the qualities they’ve come to admire in each other, their shared passions and their hopes for their future - zinc smothered nippers and grommets included.
As very proud Wish Granters for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Shan and Paul invited their special friend Josh and his sister Mia to share their thoughts on love and marriage. With observations such as "Love is sharing… like when there is only one ice cream left and you let the other person have it....even though you really, really wanted it. Love is patient….like Paul plaiting Shan's hair everyday in Bali so it didn’t get knotty in the surf”, the adorable duo brought smiles to every face and reduced quite a few people to tears.
After a romantic exchange of vows and rings Shan surprised Paul with a beautifully written speech. Following the line “...you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf them”, she presented Paul with a custom made Al Merrick surfboard - a board that would, moments later, double as their signing table.
To the loudest of cheers, Shan and Paul embraced in the warm afternoon sunshine and together walked down the white carpet to greet their large gathering of guests.
Celebrations continued on the beach side terrace below as the newlyweds were whisked away in a Kombi to spend some time together on the sand.
Congratulations to the #latestpairofjeans! Shan and Paul, thank you for the honour of composing and conducting your ceremony and for the honour of your friendship. May you continue to surround yourselves with love, laughter and pineapples... today, tomorrow and forever. xx
Watch the highlight reel by C2 Video - Today, Tomorrow & Forever
Celebrant: Sally Hughes
Photography: Red Butterfly Photography
Videography: C2 Video
Ceremony Venue: Encore St Kilda
Floral Styling (Ceremony and Reception): Botanics of Melbourne
Shan's Dress: One Day Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Seduce
Ceremony Musicians: No One Knows
Reception Musicians: Soltribe
Cake: Cherrytree Bakehouse
Car: Kombi Celebrations
Other Ceremony Suppliers: The Wedding Zone