MADELEINE + DANIEL - Morning Micro

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant

Madeleine and Daniel flew from Brunei to Australia to be married in the morning sunshine at Zonzo Estate in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. They spent time among the vines with their photographer Suzie Potter of London Ivy Collective and then married before a small group of family members and friends.  After their micro ceremony (and a quick costume change) the newlyweds made their way indoors to The Stables, a stunning light-filled space, to enjoy a celebratory lunch. 

Madeleine and Daniel’s low-key celebration was a wonderfully unhurried and intimate one. Further proof that micro weddings can be just as beautiful, meaningful and enjoyable as the large-scale variety.

Related Blog: What’s a Micro Ceremony?

Celebrant: Sally Hughes for Signed and Sealed

Photography: Suzie Potter of London Ivy Collective

Ceremony Venue: Zonzo Estate

Flowers: Sugar Bee Flowers

Madeleine’s Dress: White Runway

Daniel’s Suit: Zara Man

What's a Micro Wedding?

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant

‘I’m sorry, but what do you mean by micro wedding? Is that a new thing?”

Put simply, yes! (well the term is, anyway). And you’re not the only person to wonder what on earth they’re all about.

The micro movement has been around for a few years, however only in the past twelve months have I noticed a significant growth in its popularity. So what’s it all about? Essentially, a micro wedding is a wedding that has all the big ticket items of a regular wedding, but on a smaller scale. So, yes, there’s a ceremony and a reception that follows, there’s a fancy wedding dress and/or suit, rings, flowers, music, photography and videography. The main difference is that the guest list is significantly smaller than what we’ve come to expect from a regular-sized wedding (think 20 not 120).

And the motivation? There are a few, however I believe the major motivator is to reduce costs. With only 20 odd guests to feed and hydrate, only 20 ceremony chairs to hire (or not) and a photographer whose presence is only required for a few hours, there’s usually a significant saving to be made (and perhaps a home deposit left untouched).

Another reason to go micro is to provide an arguably better experience for all involved. The overall spend might be the same as a large scale wedding, however the experience might be more, shall we say, discerning. With fewer guests, a couple could book out a private estate for a weekend, hire a celebrity chef, special entertainment, and/or provide accommodation for all. Alternatively, they might book a private dining room at a fine dining restaurant like Vue de monde (take a look at Brian and Nicholas’ micro below).

And then there’s the vibe of it all. When you can eyeball every single guest at your ceremony, when you can hear every giggle, every sniffle and every comment that is made, the experience is quite different. I find that micro ceremonies are a little shorter than those I present at large scale weddings, but they’re just as meaningful, just as interactive (perhaps even more so) and just as enjoyable. Couples feel every bit the Bride and/or Groom, regardless of the number of people gathered around them.

So, if you feel inclined to jump aboard the micro wedding train, get in touch! I can point you in the direction of some great venues and talented industry folk who love a small scale celebration as much as I.

Oh, and a quick tip! If you host your micro between Monday and Thursday, minimum spends are lower and venue availability will be far greater.

TING TING + KENNETH - Married in the Valley

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant

Ting Ting and Kenneth met in Hong Kong and relocated to Australia as young adults. Within a short space of time they not only mastered the English language, they earned university degrees, established admirable careers and adopted two fluffy white pooches. Though they’ll return to their homeland for a big wedding next year, they wanted their legal marriage ceremony to be a low-key affair, conducted in their adopted country.

Within minutes of my first conversation with Ting Ting, I was drawn to her bright personality and her sentimental nature. Though she had indicated that she and Kenneth wanted a simple “Legals Only” style of ceremony, I sensed that they might enjoy making a little more out of the occasion. And so I suggested that they dress up, ditch their backyard for a beautiful, wide open space and hire a professional photographer for an hour. They loved the idea!

Ting Ting & Kenneth eloped at Zonzo Estate, a stunning wedding venue, vineyard and restaurant in the Yarra Valley. Their parents flew over from Hong Kong to witness the happy event and to keep a close eye on pooches Christmas and Pinkie, Joanne from Lily Infusion Weddings acted as our official interpreter and the incomparable Rick Liston captured it all on camera.

Celebrant: Sally Hughes for Signed and Sealed

Photography: Rick Liston

Ceremony Venue: Zonzo Estate

Ceremony Interpreter: Lily Infusion Weddings

CHRISTINA + WARREN - Seaside Elopement

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant




run away secretly in order to get married.

Christina and Warren were married before four friends on St Kilda Pier in what was one of the happiest and most heartfelt ceremonies I've conducted.  While most of the world was busy going about their working day, time seemed to stand still for Christina and Warren.  They looked into one another's eyes and reflected on the decisions that had led them to each other. They spoke of their love and admiration for each other and of their gratitude for the relationship they had cultivated.  They laughed, they cried, they grinned as their friends gave impromptu speeches and then, we all drank spicy margaritas!

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JESS + ROB - Glasshaus Nuptials

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant




  1. the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

Jess and Rob met briefly while traveling through Europe.  Serendipitously, a year later they met again at a local football match.  The following week their paths crossed yet again at, of all places, at an ATM in the city and then, when Rob asked Jess to join him at a party the following week, they discovered that Jess was invited too.  And so it would seem that the universe was conspiring to unite these genetically blessed humans.

Jess and Rob were married at The Glasshaus in Cremorne - a garden nursery by day and event space by night, situated in a quiet street just off the hustle and bustle of Swan Street in Richmond.  It's a venue where fiddle leaf figs the height of giraffes adorn the walls and where ferns are suspended from timber ceiling rafters en masse.  It's one where the last rays of the afternoon sun filter through from directly overhead, creating magnificent opportunities for photographers and stylists alike. It really is a space unlike any other in Melbourne.

And so it made absolute sense that Jess, one half of the popular wedding photography duo  Flash 2 Flash Photography, and her Rob, chose this unique space to be married.  It also came as no surprise that they assembled a team of industry superstars; I Got You Babe & CoBelinda Fitzpatrick Events , Enriched Productions and Made With Love Bridal, to style, co ordinate and capture their day.

Jess and Rob's ceremony was informal, interactive and often humorous... oh and rather loud too (especially when their well-meaning Celebrant delivered a recap of their vows - a recap that several guests interpreted as a double entendre!)

Their reception followed nearby at Rupert on Rupert, another non-traditional wedding venue, where funny speeches, dancing and some clever DIY wedding dress alterations ensued.

Celebrant: Sally Hughes

Photography: I Got You Babe & Co

Videography:  Enriched Productions

Venue Styling, Florals & Event Co ordination: Belinda Fitzpatrick Events

Ceremony Venue: The Glasshaus

Reception Venue:  Rupert on Rupert

Jess' Gown: Made With Love Bridal

RENATA + NICK - A Wedding of Distinction

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant


Meet Renata, a Director at Weddings of Distinction, a premiere wedding and special events company based in Melbourne.  I’ve seen Renata style and manage some epic events, so I knew that when the time came for her to marry her Nick, their celebration would be beautifully styled and managed with the precision I have come to expect from WoD. I knew Renata and Nick would bring together a very large team of Melbourne’s most sought after suppliers too, industry professionals I very much admire.

And so you can image how thrilled I was when Renata and Nick asked me to conduct their marriage ceremony at The Glasshouse in Melbourne. 

Not surprisingly, Renata and Nick decided to do things a little differently to the norm.  They wanted the transition between ceremony and reception to be a seamless one and so decided that the spaces would be one in the same.  They envisaged a formal and traditional ceremony, one that would incorporate humour, theatricality and elements of their Russian and Greek heritage.  I couldn't wait to get started.


While guests enjoyed pre ceremony cocktails and canapes, Renata and Nick met for "first look" photos at the stylish Crown Towers.   

They then made their way to The Glasshouse together and waited in their bridal suite for their guests to enter the room.  When the doors opened, allowing family and friends to be seated at their tables, I lost count of the number of "oohs and aahs" I heard.  The room looked nothing short of spectacular.

Before 200 guests, all seated in the round, Renata and Nick stood under a magnificent suspended floral chuppah (which, to the delight of the crowd, slowly descended from the ceiling as Renata entered the room) to celebrate a relationship that came about as a result of a Groupon voucher, a rather persistent matchmaker and a touch of Facebook stalking.

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Not withstanding the jaw-droppingly beautiful floral arrangements, the many crystal chandeliers and candles, the perfectly placed table settings in gold and crystal, the cigar and cognac station, the champagne and dessert bar, the chilled vodka carts, the fantastic live music, the exceptional sound and lighting design, the motorised ceiling installation and the highly courteous and impeccably dressed staff, it was the love between two people and the strong sense of celebration in the room that impressed me most that evening.

Renata and Nick, thank you for inviting me to play a role in your big, fat, theatrical, romantic, joyful, loud and utterly beautiful Russian / Greek wedding. I wish we could do it all again (says the person who didn't spend countless days and nights planning it!).

Celebrant: Sally Hughes

Photography: Warrenphotography

Videography:  C2 Films

Venue Styling: Weddings of Distinction, Lulu Bird

Venue: The Glasshouse / The Big Group Melbourne

Decor: Weddings of Distinction, Place Settings, Complete Function Hire, Harry The Hirer, Dann Event Hire

Sound & Lighting - Prolight and Sound

Ceremony & Reception Music: Rumours Band

Cars: Always Classic Cars

Renata's Gown:  Leah Da Gloria

Renata's Make Up: Beauty By Julie

Renata's Hair: Frankie Salon

Nick's Suit: Hugo Boss

NAT + PETE - A Rooftop Elopement

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant


I have long admired Nat’s work as a stylist. On countless occasions I’ve seen her transform ceremony venues into jaw-droppingly beautiful spaces. When I met her many years ago, I was equally as impressed by her warmth and humility. When Nat and Pete asked me if I would conduct their elopement ceremony, I felt so very honoured.

Nat and Pete were married on a warm Autumn afternoon on a rooftop terrace in Sandringham.  Nat entered the rooftop with her mother to Evermore's I'll Never Let You Go  wearing a sheer lace gown she designed and made herself. She even assembled her own bouquet of white O'Hara roses.  She's seriously clever!

With the brightest of blue skies above them, Nat and Pete stood before their parents, grandparents and siblings to celebrate a relationship that began on the slopes of Mount Baw Baw some fifteen years prior. 

Nat and Pete’s ceremony unfolded in such a relaxed way.   Their small gathering of guests (including their good friends John from Warrenphotography and Marcus from C2 Films) involved themselves throughout - laughing, crying and commenting without reservation. Their love for Nat and Pete, their unrestrained displays of emotion and the strong sense of celebration is something I shall always remember.

"My thoughts go out to you my immortal beloved, I can live only wholly with you or not at all. Be calm my life, my all. Only by calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together.  Oh continue to love me, never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.   

Ever thine. 

Ever mine. 

Ever ours.”

(Ludwig van Beethoven)

Congratulations Nat and Pete and thank you for inviting me to share in the beauty and excitement of your intimate celebration.  I sincerely loved every moment spent with Team Jordan!


Celebrant: Sally Hughes

Photography: Warrenphotography

Videography:  C2 Films

Venue styling: The Bride - Natalie Jordan

Nat's gown:  The Bride - Natalie Jordan

Nat's hair: Dani North Wedding Hair

Pete's suit: Peter Jackson


OLIVIA + NATHAN - Kisses in the Rain

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant

Liv and Nath shared their very first kiss in the rain.  Six years later, in the Italian Garden at Coombe Yarra Valley, history repeated itself (fortunately to a far lesser degree) as they shared their first kiss as Mr and Mrs.  

When Liv arrived at the beautiful Yarra Valley estate and stepped outside her black Mercedes wearing a Pallas Couture gown, I wasn't the only person to gasp.  She looked absolutely breathtaking.  She beamed as she stood with her bridesmaids, dressed in classic white, excited to be marrying the man she had known for over a decade.

Liv, her proud father Vincent and six attendants entered the Italian Garden to Little Buster Brown's evocative rendition of Angels by XX.  Vincent warmly embraced his beautiful daughter and future son-in-law before Liv and Nath together walked toward the magnificent green hedge.  They stood before a white screen (made by the Father of the Groom), artfully decorated with the classic combination of white and green flowers and foliage by Sugar Bee Flowers.

And so began Liv and Nath's romantic, sentimental and joyous marriage ceremony. It was a ceremony that honoured family and friendships and the very deep love and respect they have for one another. We sighed and laughed interchangeably as I told the story of a friendship that began in their teenage years, the bond that was strengthened during university study dates and the romantic relationship that they were destined to realise.  The story of Nath's well planned Royal Botanic Gardens proposal was particularly well received.  It was a proposal which included both a surprise performance by an acoustic duo the moment Liv said, "Yes", and photographer friends hiding in bushes.... until an oh-so-excited Nath outed them!

Midway through Liv and Nath's ceremony distant rumblings of thunder sounded and spectacular bolts of lightning pierced through the clouds.  Fortunately, we only experienced a few drops of rain so decided to continue as planned.  Liv and Nath exchanged vows and rings; rings that were contained in a wooden box carved by Nath's Nunnu, blessed by immediate family and brought forward by a rather charismatic Best Man!  And then, to a tremendous cheer, Nath and Liv were declared to be husband and wife.

Given the likelihood of rain, we decided to move the marriage certificate signing to a sheltered area after the ceremony.  While guests happily made their way to the cellar door for canapes and refreshments, the bridal party, parents and grandparents gathered under the canopy of tall trees to witness Liv and Nath's final step toward newlywed status.

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Liv and Nath, the relationship you have is so very special. Your kindness towards one another and the importance you place upon family is clear to all.  It was an honour to share your day with you. Congratulations Mr & Mrs L. 

Celebrant: Sally Hughes

Photography: Beck Rocchi Photography

Venue: Coombe Yarra Valley

Flowers: Sugar Bee Flowers

Chairs: Feel Good Events

Screen: David, Father of The Groom (Contact me if you'd to hire it.  I'll connect you!)

Musicians:  Little Buster Brown

Olivia's gown:  Pallas Couture

Nathan's suit: Herringbone

SARAH + JARRYD - An Elegant Garden Wedding

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant

I remember this wedding as though it were yesterday.  The setting for Sarah and Jarryd’s black tie garden ceremony was perfect.  We were blessed with sunshine, blue skies and lush green lawn as far as the eye could see at the elegant Rippon Lea Estate.

As Jarryd took his place before a white metal arbour adorned with cascading white roses, orchids and lilies, 160 guests turned to observe Sarah’s four bridesmaids, all dressed in white, enter the private garden to ‘Higher Love’. Jarryd greeted each attendant, before taking his place with his four groomsmen, awaiting Sarah’s entrance.  


And then, on the arm of her proud father, Sarah appeared.  Dressed in a custom One Day Bridal gown designed by the incredibly talented KYHA, she looked breathtakingly beautiful.  Her dress softly billowed about her as she walked the long grass aisle toward Jarryd.   After her father raised her veil and gave her a kiss, Sarah then took Jarryd's arm and together they took their places with their bridal party of eight.


Hand in hand, the beaming bride and groom stood as I told the story of their first meeting at the Inverloch Esplanade Hotel on New Year’s Eve, their intimate Sunday afternoon engagement and the many qualities they’ve come to admire in each other.  Sarah and Jarryd then exchanged self-penned vows.  Observing Jarryd encourage Sarah as tears welled in her eyes was a touching moment. Jarryd’s Best Man and Hawthorn teammate Jordan presented the rings and then, to a very loud cheer, Jarryd and Sarah were declared to be husband and wife.

Sarah and Jarryd, thank you for inviting me to work with you to create your romantic and laughter-filled ceremony. I thoroughly enjoyed working with a couple as kind, easy going and humble as you. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Roughy!


Outdoor Wedding Venues - Private Places

By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant


Marrying outdoors in Melbourne?  There are so many breathtakingly beautiful gardens, vineyards and fields to choose from.  Earlier this year I shared my favourite Outdoor Wedding Venues - Public Spaces. Here are my favourite privately-owned outdoor spaces in Melbourne (and surrounds).

Yarra Valley


Alowyn Gardens, Yarra Glen

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Riverstone Estate, Coldstream

City & Inner Suburbs

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Lake House Daylesford

And what's the advantage of marrying at a private venue, as opposed to a public space?  You'll most often be able to have your reception onsite (guests love not having to drive to two venues) and you'll most likely able to head indoors with minimal fuss should the weather become inclement.  It's also likely that there will be venue staff on hand to assist, seating, restrooms and considerably better (and free) car parking options for guests.

With the exception of those credited to photographers, the images used in this post have been obtained from official venue web pages.  

Sally Hughes - Melbourne Celebrant

Outdoor Wedding Venues - Public Spaces

Melbourne is blessed with so many beautiful parks, gardens, beaches and reserves.  From time to time I'm asked by couples for recommendations. That's easy! Here are some of my favourite public places.

City & Inner Suburbs

Nymphaea Lake West - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

Nymphaea Lake West - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

Nymphaea Lake East - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

Picnic Point - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

Princes Lawn - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

Dog Flat - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

Tennyson Lawn - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

Tecoma Pavilion - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

Rose Pavilion - Royal Botanic Gardens, South Yarra

For information regarding permits for the Royal Botanic Gardens, contact Blakes Feast

Fawkner Park, South Yarra

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John F Kennedy Memorial - Treasury Gardens, East Melbourne

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Temple of the Winds Rotunda, Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne

Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden, Royal Domain, Melbourne

Lady Janet Clarke Rotunda - Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne

Flagstaff Gardens, Melbourne

Carlton Gardens, Carlton

For information regarding permits for Fawkner Park, Treasury Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, Pioneer Women's Memorial, Queen Victoria Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens and Carlton Gardens, contact the City Of Melbourne

Grollo Equiset Gardens - National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

For further information relating to the requirement of a permit for the Grollo Equiset Gardens, contact

National Gallery of Victoria and Peter Rowland Catering.

St Vincents Garden, Albert Park

For information relating to permits for St Vincents Garden, contact the City of Port Phillip


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Edinburgh Gardens Rotunda, Fitzroy


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Malvern Gardens, Malvern

Hedgeley Dene Gardens, Malvern East

For information regarding permits for Malvern Gardens and Hedgeley Dene Gardens, contact the

City of Stonnington

Alexandra Gardens, Kew

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Canterbury Gardens Rotunda, Canterbury

Maranoa Gardens, Balwyn

For information relating to permits for Alexandra Gardens, Canterbury Gardens and Maranoa Gardens, contact the City of Boroondara

Blackburn Lake Sanctuary, Blackburn

For information relating permits for Blackburn Lake Sanctuary, contact the City of Whitehorse

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen

Westerfolds Park, Templestowe

For information relating to permits at Westerfolds Park, contact Parks Victoria

National Rhododendron Gardens, Olinda

For information relating to permits for the National Rhododendron Gardens, contact Parks Victoria

The Secret Garden - Sky High, Mount Dandenong

Tim Neville Arboretum, Ferntree Gully

For further information relating to permits for the Tim Neville Arboretum, contact Knox City Council


Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne

For information relating to permits for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne, contact Blakes Feast

George Pentland Botanic Gardens, Frankston

For further information regarding permits for George Petland Botanic Gardens, contact  

Frankston City Council


Williamstown Botanic Gardens, Williamstown

For information relating to permits for Williamstown Botanic Gardens, contact  

Hobsons Bay City Council

Werribee Park, Werribee South

State Rose Garden - Werribee Park, Werribee South

For information relating to permits for Werribee Park, contact Parks Victoria

Footscray Park, Footscray

For information relating to permits for Footscray Park, contact the City of Maribyrnong


St Kilda Pier, St Kilda

For information relating to permits for St Kilda Pier, contact Parks Victoria

Catani Gardens Rotunda, St Kilda

St Kilda Botanical Gardens, St Kilda

For information relating to permits for Catani Gardens Rotunda and St Kilda Botanic Gardens, 

contact the City of Port Phillip

Brighton Bathing Boxes - Brighton Beach

Kamesburgh Gardens, Brighton

Band Rotunda, Sandringham

For information relating to permits for the Brighton bathing boxes foreshore, Kamesburgh Gardens, Brighton Town Hall gardens, and the Sandringham band rotunda, contact Bayside City Council

If you plan to hold your ceremony in a public place, be sure to check with local council or Parks Victoria to confirm whether a permit is required and the conditions of the permit.  Conditions may relate to site and insurance fees, bond payment, hire duration, maximum group size and whether structures such as marquees and market umbrellas can be erected. 

Looking for a little more outdoor inspiration? Take a look at my blog Outdoor Wedding Venues - Private Places

Sally Hughes
Authorised Marriage Celebrant



Royal Botanic Gardens courtesy of Blakes Feast

Pioneer Women's Memorial courtesy of John Torcasio

Carlton Gardens courtesy of Sally Hughes

National Rhododendron Gardens courtesy of Cosplay

Footscray Park courtesy of Sally Hughes

Band Rotunda, Sandringham courtesy of TappaNappa