Our journey together
We met 15 years ago in Auckland, when our mutual friend ‘Abi’ spontaneously decided to set us up, we connected immediately and have been inseparable from day one. We will always be grateful for her matchmaking skills so we had a wooden sign made which we brought with us to show our gratitude.
During a trip to Europe Jamie booked a weekend getaway to Rome, we spent the day exploring the sights, before returning to our hotel room. We were stood by the shutter windows when Jamie dropped to one knee and popped the question, it was completely unexpected and a beautiful moment.
We married 5 years from the date we met, on a secluded beach in Australia, on an island off the coast of Brisbane.
With an intimate gathering of 32 close friends and family, most of whom travelled all the way from the UK and New Zealand to celebrate our day with us.
For our vow renewals, we envisioned a relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable day to celebrate 10 years of marriage surrounded by the crystal-clear sea.
When it came to what to wear, after seeing how good Jamie’s looked in his Urbbana suit jacket and chinos, I decided I needed something a little more special than what I had originally planned.
As this wasn’t an actual wedding, I decided against wearing white, and instead opted for a long sparkling champagne sequin gown, with a small train. Vanessa from When Freddie Met Lilly was fantastic, combining 2 of her dresses to custom make my gown all in a very tight time frame, I am so grateful to her and love my dress which was so comfortable to wear.
As our vow renewals took place in the Maldives, we went with the venues recommended Photographers, Digital Photography & Video Maldives. We followed each other on Instagram a year earlier so we got to know their style, and they got to know us a little too so when we met for the first time on the day of the wedding, we all felt so familiar with each other and we were instantly relaxed and at ease around them.
We had so much fun making our way to the ceremony together on a golf buggy with clattering coconut shells tied to the back.
En-route to renew our vows
When we arrived we walked through arches of plaited palm leaves, which was completely unexpected and we felt so special.
Our ceremony took place at the over-water wedding pavilion at Four Season Landaa Giraavaru, it truly was a dream destination wedding location! We sailed to the over water pavilion in a traditional Maldivian Dhoni boat, it was such a picturesque way to arrive and we were giggly with excitement by the time we arrived at the stunning over-water pavilion.
Our Vow Renewal Ceremony
On arrival the island’s band played the drums and sung a traditional song. We felt so special as we made our way up the clear glass aisle together which beautifully showcased the sparkling ocean beneath, then we turned to each other and joined hands.
Admittedly, our Celebrant hats went on for a moment as we both ensured we were perfectly centred before the ceremony commenced.
Our fantastic Wedding Coordinator Raneesh, did such an amazing job with styling the over-water wedding pavilion with white vendella roses and orchid arrangements throughout the pavilion shipped in from Sri Lanka especially for us. We brought our own custom-made sign for our wedding backdrop with the words ‘We Still Do’ which was placed with the ceremony backdrop floral arrangement and tied in with the ceremony wording, that being Celebrants, we authored.
Our ceremony wasn’t so much about renewing our original vows, it was more about celebrating our relationship and our marriage, recognising the challenges we’ve faced together over the past decade and celebrating the triumphs and how we’ve continued to grow together.
Being a Celebrant, I (Cara) couldn’t resist writing our own ceremony which reflected on our journey together and how we’ve continued to grow both individually and as a couple. I managed to keep this a surprise from Jamie who heard the entire script for the first time on the day, which made our ceremony even more special and a little fun too, with giggles, and spontaneous fist pumps!
For our vows, we agreed on 8 ‘sentence starters’ which we completed separately and shared for the first time during the ceremony. Needless to say our words to each other were very much in tune, we spoke each vow in turn and aww’d and giggled at the similarity of the words we’d each written.
The ceremony was both meaningful and at some points pretty damn hilarious, we looked in to each other’s eyes with love, we laughed, we fist pumped and we didn’t stop smiling. It was such a special moment. As we had no personal guests attending, we kept our ceremony fairly short and sweet and once we were re-pronounced as husband and wife, we had a Champagne toast, which was perfect.
Here is an extract from our ceremony:
“Cara and Jamie, 15 years ago today you met when you were introduced through a mutual friend Abi, who ‘spur of the moment’ decided it would be a good idea to set you up with each other.
You instantly connected and became an item, quickly becoming inseparable, falling more in love with each other, each day that you spent together.
During a visit to Europe, Jamie proposed in Rome and 5 years from the day you met, you married on a secluded beach on an island off the coast of Australia on a perfect summers day, surrounded by a small group of family and close friends.
You have experienced challenges and hard times, but your strength and support for each other has made those challenging times easier.
You describe your marriage as being about laughing together, sharing new experiences, creating beautiful memories, like today, and supporting each other as you smash your goals and chase your dreams.“
Following the ceremony we danced to the beat of the traditional island band.
Our Wedding Dance
10 years of love
After our ceremony we headed to the sand spit beach for sunset photos, the team of Photographers asked us to stand facing them and walk backwards towards the sea, walking backwards felt really unnatural, so I began to politely protest saying “this feels weird, isn’t it going to look funny” and the Photographer insisted, “No it won’t” so we just rolled with it.
With a drone hovering above us, we took a few steps backwards as instructed, then the Photographers all yelled “turn around now’, thinking they were just giving us direction, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we turned to see huge words dug out in the sand reading ’10 years of love’! It was such a special moment! We love how beautifully the drone footage in our highlights film captures this special memory.
Brisbane City Celebrants Wedding Vow Renewal Highlights Film
Jamie had briefly crossed paths with one of the beach staff earlier that day and had mentioned our vow renewal ceremony, and he subsequently spent much of his afternoon digging out the words to surprise us! We absolutely loved it and we just couldn’t believe how all the staff on the island would consistently go above and beyond like this to make our time even more memorable.
Four Season Landaa Giraavaru went above and beyond arranging for a boat to take us to a floating wooden deck in the sparkling lagoon. It felt so romantic and private and it was just amazing to watch the sun slowly set in it’s breath taking dramatic Maldivian style, lighting up the sky. We knew this was a once in a lifetime experience and we consciously savoured every moment. Our mid ocean dining experience included a delicious 4 course meal accompanied by chilled champagne, with the waiter returning by boat to serve each course.
A new tradition
We loved this experience so much and we would love to continue the tradition and renew our vows every 10 years, which I guess means we have 10 years to start planning our next vow renewals! We feel our own first-hand experience of renewing our vows has really equipped us better for writing genuine and authentic vow renewal ceremonies. It also allowed us to explore new ways of writing ‘vow renewal vows’ which we are so excited to share with our vow renewing couples.
Ms Zigzag says: We are so thrilled to share this wonderful occasion with our readers! Thank you to our special friends at Brisbane City Celebrants, Cara and Jamie, for sharing your “We Still Do” vow renewal ceremony with us. Congratulations on 10 years of love and we wish you many, many more!
About Brisbane City Celebrants: Brisbane’s most highly recommended Marriage Celebrant duo specialising in modern, simple, meaningful, sweet, happy weddings. With a choice of an experienced and passionate female or male celebrant, our couples describe us as warm, friendly and calming. You can find Brisbane City Celebrants on the Polka Dot Bride directory here.