Download this perfect wedding checklist

Woohoo! You’re engaged – congratulations. Now comes the super exciting/hard/terrifying/fun part – planning your day.

Planning a wedding involves heaps of details, and having a checklist can help you stay organised and ensure a smooth planning process. Have a glass of your favourite bevie and talk about what you envisage your day will be like – is it in a forest, on a beach, at a gorgeous venue? Is it an elopement, a small wedding or a big wedding. Have the discussion so you’re both involved and work on the finer details from there. Check through the wedding checklist below – you can download and print the one page simplified version at the bottom of this page and stick it on your fridge to keep on track (Don’t forget to put key dates into your calendar (eg. your legal paperwork due date, RSVPs etc). Don’t forget to allocate tasks so you’re sharing the work and the commitment. Here’s a perfect wedding planning checklist:

What does your perfect day look like? Chat about it so you have a starting point.

12-18 Months Before:

Set a Budget $$$:

Determine the overall budget for the wedding and allocate funds to different categories (venue, celebrant, photographer). Be realistic about how much you can save during this time to make sure you don’t go into debt (unless you’re okay with that).

Create a Guest List:

Draft a preliminary guest list to estimate the size of the wedding. It’s likely this will change when you start hunting venues for per person costs. There’s loads of alternatives – you don’t have to spend a squillion dollars.

Select a Date and Venue:

Nothing happens without a date. Because this decade is all about the 20s – there loads of great number combos to create an unforgettable wedding date, eg. 2.4.24 or 24.4.24 – you get the picture. Once this is done think about what time you want the ceremony (when sunset will be for gorgeous romantic photos, what the tides will be doing for a beach wedding etc. then book your reception venue.

Hire Key Vendors:

Secure essential vendors, including a celebrant, photographer, videographer, caterer, and florist. Pre and post Covid means that many of the big ticket items are booked 18 months to 2 years out from the date, so don’t dally. Get dialling. If you need help deciding on a celebrant and other vendors, this might help you out.

Plan your wedding so everything is just perfect: Tom and Trindi did. Photography by Alan Hughes Photography

9-12 Months Before:

Choose Wedding Party:

Invite friends and family to be part of the wedding party – remember though that the number of attendants you have will impact the cost of your wedding.

Select Attire:

Begin shopping for wedding attire, including the wedding dress, suits, and accessories that will suit the colour and theme of your wedding.

Send Save the Dates:

Send save-the-date cards to guests so they can mark it in their calendar (especially important for those guests coming from interstate or overseas – they might need to save up for the event.

Research and Book Accommodations:

Look around for accommodations for out-of-town guests (ask them for a discount if there’s lots of guests) and then secure a bridal suite for the eve of, and night of your wedding.

It’s the little details that make your day so memorable – beautiful Alanna’s perfect day was a big and fancy and such a lot of fun

6-9 Months Before:

Finalise Guest List:

Confirm the guest list and gather addresses or emails if you plan on using a wedding website.

Order Invitations:

Design and order wedding invitations and send them out about three months prior to the day. Buy a glue gun if you plan on diy lol.

Book Remaining Vendors:

Hire additional vendors such as a DJ, band, cake, hair and makeup, ceremony styling and transportation. Ask your key vendors for recommendations if you need.

Lucy and Shaun planned a micro wedding on the Sunshine Coast for their perfect day

4-6 Months Before:

Plan Reception Details:

Decide on seating arrangements, and reception layout. Make sure you order meals for all the vendors who will stay for the duration: photographer, videographer, DJ or band. It’s polite and the venues largely don’t charge as much for them.

Purchase Rings:

Choose and order your wedding rings.

Arrange Transportation:

Book transportation for the wedding day. Will the guests need a bus to and from the venue?

Plan Honeymoon:

Research and book your honeymoon. Yippee!

Alexis and Molly’s loved-up wedding was planned so perfectly

2-4 Months Before:

Order Invitations:

Send out the invitations about three months prior to the day. Make RSVPing easy – one of the biggest complaints from couples is that people don’t RSVP – it’s very frustrating. Make sure the RSVP is a few weeks earlier than what the venue will need for final numbers.

Order Wedding Cake:

Cake trends are on the move – you might prefer a cheese wheel, donuts, cheese platters or a dessert table for the wedding.

Attend Dress Fittings:

Schedule and attend dress and suit fittings.

Complete your Notice of Intended Marriage (Noim) with your celebrant :

Your celebrant will need your completed, signed and witnessed NoiM a month before your wedding, so if your date is 25.5.25, they’ll need it back by 25.4.25. Emailed copies are acceptable though most celebrants will want to meet you prior to your ceremony, plan your wedding and finalise your paperwork – just ask what they prefer (I meet my couples 3 months prior to their wedding and go through everything – we do this either in person or by Zoom. We’re also allowed to witness your signatures electronically now = #winning). Make sure you have ID to prove that you are you. Think Passport, Drivers Licence or Birth certificate – electronic copies of originals are allowable – shoot these through to your celebrant.

Confirm Details with Vendors:

Confirm final details with all vendors.

It’ll all be worth the hard work – pinky promise

1 Month Before:

Finalise Seating Chart with the reception venue:

Create and finalise the seating chart.

Confirm Timelines:

Confirm timelines with vendors and the wedding party. Here’s a draft for you to use.

Pack for Wedding Night and Honeymoon:

Start packing essentials for the ceremony, the wedding night and honeymoon. Think, rings, asprin, shoes etc.

Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t sweat the small stuff (and wedding ponytail for the win)

1-2 Weeks Before:

Finalise all payments:

This varies for each vendor – some want payment months in advance, others are okay with weeks in advance. Confirm and make final payments to vendors.

Pick Up Wedding Attire:

Pick up wedding attire and accessories. Exciting!

Provide Vendors with Contact Information:

Email all vendors a contact list and confirm details. Including everyone’s Insta and Facebook labels will help them all tag each other in photos to help spread the joy.

Perfect planning means smiles like this on your wedding day

On the Wedding Day:

Get ready, Enjoy your day: and don’t sweat the small stuff:

Relax, get ready, and savour the special moments of the day. Remember to eat. Buy flat shoes if you’re not used to your wedding shoes and have some pain killers on hand. You’ve just spent a bunch of time planning this thing, but things can go wrong – if your flowers are the wrong shade – so what. Keep your eye on the prize (your marriage) and just roll with the day.

Remember, this wedding checklist is a guide, and you can adjust it based on your unique preferences and circumstances. Regular communication and teamwork are key throughout this planning process.

Download the simple one page version

How Much for a Wedding Celebrant? Budgeting for Your Special Day

Planning a wedding means making lots of decisions, and one crucial factor is determining how much to allocate for each aspect of your day. Among these decisions is the cost of your wedding celebrant. Your choice of celebrant can significantly impact the tone and atmosphere of your ceremony. In this blog, let’s explore the factors that affect the pricing of a wedding celebrant and offer some tips on how to budget for this essential service.

Alanna and her girls having fun before her wedding to her love Tom at Gabbinbar Estate, in Toowoomba

1. Location Matters

The cost of a wedding celebrant can vary depending on your location. Celebrants in major cities or popular wedding destinations might charge more than those in smaller towns or rural areas. It’s essential to consider your wedding’s location when budgeting for a celebrant, as local market rates can influence the price. For example, did you know that New South Wales (and Sydney specifically) have the highest prices across Australia for all their wedding vendors? So, my suggestion is to come up to sunny Queensland and get a holiday and a wedding in one.

2. Experience and Expertise

Experienced celebrants often charge higher fees due to their extensive knowledge and the quality of service they provide. These celebrants are well-versed in crafting personalised ceremonies, ensuring a memorable and unique experience for the couple. On the other hand, less experienced celebrants or newcomers to the field might offer their services at a more affordable rate. I guess it depends on what’s most important to you: quality -vs- price (hint: there’s no right answer for this one – it’s totally up to you).

Max and Kirra married at Sandstone Point Hotel – nice and close to me, so they saved $$$

3. Ceremony Complexity

The complexity of your ceremony can also impact the cost. If you want a simple, straightforward ceremony, it will likely be less expensive than one with intricate rituals, readings, or customised elements. Discuss your ceremony’s specific requirements with potential celebrants to obtain accurate quotes. For example, my coffee table wedding which is a legals only no-fuss wedding is my cheapest option, because there’s no ‘ceremony’ as such – and this is a great option for couples getting married overseas but who want their legals done in Australia. It’s also a popular choice for couples who just want to marry without all the bells and whistles.

4. Additional Services

Some celebrants offer additional services, such as pre-wedding consultations, script revisions, or assistance with legal paperwork. These services may be included in the overall cost or offered as add-ons. Be sure to clarify what’s included when discussing pricing with celebrants. A big white wedding will always cost more than a sneaky elopement because there’s different requirements for each.

Another beautiful Sandstone Point Hotel wedding – this is Nicky and Chris playing rock, paper scissors to see who goes first for vows.
Pic by A thousand miles photography

5. Date and Time

The date and time of your wedding can influence the price. Popular wedding dates, such as holidays or weekends, may incur higher fees due to increased demand. If you’re flexible with your wedding date and can choose a weekday or off-peak season, you may find more affordable celebrant options.

6. Research and Compare

To find the right wedding celebrant within your budget, it’s essential to research and compare your options. Don’t hesitate to contact multiple celebrants to obtain quotes and ask about their services (doing this will also give you an idea of their vibe). Meeting with potential celebrants in person or via video call can also help you assess their compatibility and determine if they’re the right fit for your day. A warning though, there’s an old quote which is very apt in this case: “There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little which is why my pricing sits in the middle.

Matt and Claire came all the way from the UK to elope in Caloundra with their best friends – what fun they had. Pic by Images by Lou O’Brien

7. Budget Accordingly

Once you’ve gathered quotes and compared services, create a budget that accommodates the cost of your chosen celebrant. Keep in mind that your wedding celebrant plays a significant role in the success of your ceremony, so allocating a reasonable budget is vital to ensure a memorable and meaningful experience. If you do find a celebrant you love who charges more than what you’ve bargained for, ask if they have payment plans. Most will be flexible, I know I am.

So, the cost of a wedding celebrant can vary based on location, experience, ceremony complexity, additional services, and the chosen date. To ensure you have the perfect celebrant for your special day, it’s important to budget wisely and prioritise this crucial aspect of your wedding planning. By considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can find a wedding celebrant who aligns with your vision and budget while creating a heartfelt and memorable ceremony.

Sunshine Coast Marriage Celebrant

How to find the perfect celebrant? Here’s 6 questions to ask

When you’re looking for a wedding celebrant, it’s important to find someone who not only matches your style and personality but also who understands your vision for your wedding day. To help you find the right celebrant, here are some questions to ask during your initial meeting:
Tom and Trindi had the most beautiful Sunshine Coast wedding with @lynettemaguirecelebrant and Alan Hughes Photography

What is your experience as a wedding celebrant?

You’ll want to know how many weddings they have performed and if they have experience with your specific type of ceremony (e.g., religious, non-religious, cultural, etc) and if you click with them – are you getting a good vibe? If you’re not feeling it, then move on – no celebrant can be all things to all people (even if their ego tells them otherwise). Also, ask how many weddings a year they typically do – most celebrants only do about 5 per year, so if they’ve been in business for 5 years, that’s only 25 weddings.

How do you personalise each ceremony to the couple?

A good celebrant should be able to create a unique and personalised ceremony that reflects your personalities, beliefs, and love story. Ask them how they go about this and if they have any examples of ceremonies they have done in the past. Because I specialise in fun ceremonies I always ask my couples about how much ‘fun’ and ’emotion’ they want and this is one of the guides to what I write for their day.
Tom and Alanna had the #bestdayever @gabbinbarhomestead wedding – such a fun couple and wedding with ALL the wow factors included.

How do you involve family and friends in the ceremony?

If you want to involve your family and friends in your ceremony, ask your celebrant how they can help make that happen. For example, can they include readings, rituals, or other meaningful elements that involve your loved ones? I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve for including the kids, the grandies, the besties – and many of these ideas have evolved from chats with my couples and have become a thing (ask me about shots at the ceremony 😉

How do you handle unexpected situations or last-minute changes?

It’s always good to know how your celebrant will handle unexpected situations, such as weather changes, late arrivals, or any other emergencies that may arise. Ask them if they have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Professionals know how to deal with these things, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a new celebrant, but the downside is they simply don’t have the lived experiences that us seasoned professionals do. Ask the question…if something does go wrong, you need to know you’re in capable hands.
I love the cheeky look on Melissa’s face – like she just won the lotto! Well she kinda did marrying Rhys who is hopelessly in love with her. #winning Photo by Ash from @jensencreative

What is your fee, and what does it include?

You’ll want to know how much the celebrant charges for their services and what is included in their fee. This will help you budget for your wedding day and avoid any surprises later on. It’s also helpful to know how the fee is paid – usually a booking fee then the balance a month prior to the day, but you might want to pay it off in installments so ask if you can do this (and if there’ll be an admin fee associated for this).

Are you willing to travel to our wedding location?

If you’re getting married outside of the celebrant’s usual service area, ask them if they are willing to travel to your wedding location and if there are any additional costs associated with that. I’ve had couples pay travel and accommodation when there’s no way I can get home in the same day – most couples are willing to do this to get the vendors they really want.
Tharushi and Chanaka – married at Woorim on beautiful Bribie – Photography by @HawthorneCreative
@lynettemaguirecelebrant – what all these weddings have in common

How to write themed wedding vows

Writing wedding vows can be hard. How can we stay in sync with whatever our theme is without too much pressure? Whether it’s an elegant, informal, funny or cosplay wedding, it’s great if you can keep the ceremony and the vows in keeping with the vibe of your wedding. So, because I’m experimenting with AI at the moment, I decided to ask Chat GPT to help write vows for three super popular themed weddings – and you know, they’re pretty good (though they’re not how I like to structure vows, for instance, having a final vow which you say together tends to make me think it’ll be messy. But maybe they can be read separately so it’s not so awkward lol ). Take a look and let me know what you think? Got another idea? Just download ChatGPT or you can email me and I’ll ask for you. Check here for some advice on how to write awesome non themed wedding vows.

Star Wars themed wedding
Marriage Celebrant Lynett Maguire dressed as Darth Vadar for a Star Wars themed wedding

Star Wars themed wedding vows

Vow 1 (Partner 1): In a galaxy far, far away, our destinies collided like starships on intersecting trajectories. From the moment I met you, I knew you were the droid I was looking for. Just as Han and Leia navigated the cosmos together, I promise to stand by your side, even in the face of an Imperial fleet. With you, my heart has found its true North Star, and I pledge to love you across the light years and back.

Vow 2 (Partner 2): As sure as the Force binds all things together, I pledge my love to you. Just as Luke Skywalker embraced his Jedi path, I embrace my path with you. Our love is stronger than the strongest Beskar, unbreakable like a lightsaber’s blade. With you, I’ve found a love more epic than the saga itself, and I promise to be your co-pilot, your partner, and your rebel ally through every adventure.

Vow 3 (Partner 1): Like Padmé and Anakin, our love defies the boundaries of time and space. I promise to be your anchor, your shelter, and your constant, no matter what challenges the galaxy sends our way. Through the highs of the twin suns and the lows of the dark side’s pull, I vow to cherish and honor you, my love, for as long as the stars burn in the sky.

Vow 4 (Partner 2): With the strength of a Wookiee and the grace of a Jedi, I take you as my partner in this grand cosmic adventure. Our love story is written in the stars, a tale of two souls entwined like twin suns on Tatooine. I promise to be your protector, your confidant, and your ally against any foe. Together, we’ll forge a bond stronger than durasteel, and our love will echo through the galaxy for all time.

Exchange of Rings: As we exchange these rings, let them be a symbol of the unbreakable bond we share. Just as Kyber crystals power a lightsaber, our love empowers us to face any challenge. May these rings remind us that like the Force, our love is a guiding presence in our lives, guiding us through the darkness and lighting our path with eternal hope.

Final Vow (Together): In a universe teeming with stars, we found each other, two souls destined to merge like galaxies colliding. With the wisdom of Yoda and the courage of Rey, we pledge to love, honor, and support one another on this epic journey. Together, we’ll navigate the uncharted regions of love, our hearts intertwined like the Force itself. With these vows, we seal our fate, bound by a love that is truly out of this world.

Disney themed weddings are always fun
Wizarding wedding – Disney has heaps of themes to inspire the wedding of your dreams

Disney themed vows

Vow 1 (Partner 1): In the enchanting world of Disney, where dreams take flight and wishes come true, I found my one true love. Just like Cinderella’s glass slipper, you are my perfect fit. Through every adventure, like Ariel exploring new horizons, I promise to be your partner, your friend, and your greatest supporter. With a heart full of love, I choose you to be my happily ever after.

Vow 2 (Partner 2): In the magical realm of Disney, where love conquers all and imagination knows no bounds, I discovered my soulmate in you. Like Aladdin and Jasmine soaring on a magic carpet ride, I promise to stand by your side through every thrilling escapade. With a love as strong as Hercules and a heart as brave as Mulan’s, I vow to cherish and protect you for all the chapters of our fairy tale.

Vow 3 (Partner 1): Just like Belle found beauty within the Beast, I found the beauty in your heart. Through enchanted forests and across oceans, I promise to embrace every part of you, just as Rapunzel embraced her destiny. With a love that sparkles like Tinker Bell’s pixie dust, I pledge to share in your dreams and make our own magical story come true.

Vow 4 (Partner 2): In the realm of Disney, where love’s true kiss breaks any spell, I choose you as my one and only. Like Woody and Buzz, our bond is unbreakable, and I promise to bring joy to your days like Olaf in summer. With a love as enduring as Mickey and Minnie’s, I vow to be your partner in laughter, your comfort in tears, and your constant in a world that’s ever-changing.

Exchange of Rings: As we exchange these rings, let them be a symbol of our fairy tale love. Just as magic wands bring enchantment, our love brings wonder to our lives. May these rings remind us of the love stories that have touched our hearts, and may our own love story be the most magical of them all.

Final Vow (Together): In the world of Disney, where dreams take flight and love is the most powerful force of all, we stand together as two souls united by an extraordinary love. With the spirit of adventure that guides Simba and the unwavering love of Elsa for Anna, we promise to create a story that will inspire others, a love that will endure like the timeless tales we hold dear. With these vows, we begin our own happily ever after.

Batman and Catwoman wedding
Yes, I married Batman and Catwoman

Super Hero themed wedding vows

Vow 1 (Partner 1): In a world filled with ordinary moments, you are my extraordinary. Just like a superhero, you swooped into my life, bringing light to every corner of my heart. With the strength of Wonder Woman and the grace of Black Widow, I promise to stand by your side, fighting alongside you through every challenge. With a love as powerful as a hero’s resolve, I choose you as my partner in this epic adventure.

Vow 2 (Partner 2): In a universe of possibilities, I found my greatest ally in you. Like Batman and Robin, we make an unstoppable team, and I promise to protect your heart just as I protect the city. With the determination of Iron Man and the loyalty of Captain America, I vow to cherish and honor you, not just today, but in every chapter of our heroic journey together.

Vow 3 (Partner 1): As heroes rise to answer the call, so too did you rise into my life. Like Spider-Man weaving his web, you’ve woven yourself into the fabric of my soul. With a love as fierce as the Phoenix and as enduring as the Hulk’s strength, I pledge to be your partner, your confidant, and your shield against any adversity we may face.

Vow 4 (Partner 2): In a world where legends are born, our love story is the stuff of heroes. Just like The Flash racing to save the day, you’ve brought speed and excitement to my world. With a heart as pure as Superman’s and a devotion as unwavering as Thor’s hammer, I vow to be your support, your inspiration, and your rock as we journey together as partners in this epic tale.

Exchange of Rings: As we exchange these rings, let them symbolize our unwavering commitment, just as a hero stands against the forces of darkness. Like Tony Stark’s arc reactor, our love generates boundless energy, propelling us forward into a future filled with adventure and purpose.

Final Vow (Together): In a world that can sometimes feel like chaos, we’ve found our anchor in each other. With the courage of a hero facing their greatest foe and the compassion of a hero extending a helping hand, we pledge to embrace our roles as partners and champions of love. With these vows, we embark on our own heroic journey, ready to face any challenge and conquer every obstacle that comes our way.

So, what do you think? Will you have a go?

Get the guests involved to spread the fun

Planning your beautiful Bribie Island wedding or popup

Bribie Island is a popular destination for couples wanting to elope or plan their big white wedding, and there are several council-owned spaces that are sought after for weddings, elopements or popups.

Adam & Jacinta chose stunning Sunset Park for their Bribie Island wedding

Bribie is situated 1 hour and 20 minutes north of Brisbane airport, and 2 hours south of Sunshine Coast airport.  The island books out during holiday season and is a popular destination for 4WDs along Ocean Beach, Woorim. 

If you’re wanting to plan a wedding here, Elope to Australia is the most popular wedding planner on the Island and they know the best suppliers to the area, so they’re the perfect choice to help you plan your wedding day.   One of the hardest things about choosing a Bribie Island wedding, is where to hold the ceremony.

Here are some of the most popular council-owned places to marry on Bribie Island, they each have a natural beauty and are all accessible:

Sunset Park, Banksia Beach

Marlee and Stuart chose Sunset Park, Banksia Beach for their Bribie Island popup

Probably the most popular wedding choice on the Island, it is somewhat private with beautiful park like gardens and lawns overlooking the Pumicestone Passage with the Glasshouse Mountains as a backdrop.  Sunset Park has walking paths and is the perfect location for sunset photos with a water backdrop – a rarity along Queensland’s coastline.  A downside, is the parking isn’t great.

Banksia Beach Foreshore, Banksia Beach

Jess and Paul chose the Bribie Island foreshore for their stunning ceremony

The Banksia Beach Foreshore is another waterfront location that offers scenic views of Pumicestone Passage. It has open grassy areas, walking paths, and access to the beach, making it a popular spot for beach weddings and outdoor ceremonies. The area is very Australiana with beautiful gums and other flora, and the parking is great.

Bongaree Foreshore, Bongaree

Jussie and Rochelle chose the Bongaree Foreshore for their lovely Bribie Island wedding

The Bongaree Foreshore is a picturesque waterfront area that stretches along the Pumicestone Passage. It offers beautiful views, grassy areas, and paved paths, making it a popular choice for outdoor weddings. There are several spots along the foreshore that can be used for ceremonies and celebrations. There’s some fabulous big trees you can marry under, and there’s parking within walking distance.

Brennan Park, Bongaree

Haydn and Hayley married in the heart of Bongaree at Brennan Park in a stunning ceremony

Located in the heart of Bongaree, Brennan Park is a large park with lush greenery and shaded areas. It has a gazebo and picnic shelters that can be used for wedding ceremonies or receptions. The park also provides ample space for outdoor activities and photography.

Sylvan Beach Esplanade, Sylvan Beach

Toni-Maree and Kaine chose the Sylvan Beach Esplanade for their Bribie Island wedding

This waterfront location offers stunning views of Moreton Bay and is perfect for couples seeking a beach wedding. It provides a picturesque backdrop with golden sand, gentle waves, and beautiful sunsets.

Edwin Schragg Lookout, Woorim

Tharushi and Chanaka chose stunning Edwin Schragg Lookout in Woorim for their ceremony

Oceanside at Woorim, the Edwin Schragg Lookout provides couples a grassed area to have their wedding if they wish to avoid the sand. The area is elevated and close to the Bribie Island SLSC if you’re looking to have your reception there. Edwin Schragg Lookout is also close to accommodation and the Woorim town centre and pub.

Vietnam Veterans Park, Bongaree

Opposite the Bribie Island RSL, the VV Park offers some lovely areas to marry in this quiet suburban neighbourhood. It’s perfect for couples wanting a garden wedding and who are having their reception at the RSL. This location is also just a quick drive to Red Beach for stunning beach photographs.

When planning to use council-owned places for your wedding, it’s important to contact the local council to inquire about booking procedures. Currently (May 2023) the cost is around $140. Your wedding ceremony location can be booked for a maximum of three hours and it’s recommended that you submit an application at least eight weeks before the ceremony. Applications can be accepted up to 12 months in advance. Council also requires you to have PL insurance of $20,000,000 and to complete a Risk Management Assessment. They will provide you with the necessary information and guidance to ensure a smooth and successful event. Don’t let the paperwork get you down – a Bribie Island wedding ceremony is totally worth it.