In May (15th) last year I had the pleasure to attend my friend, Angela's wedding to her beloved Peter in Brisbane, Australia. It was a great, mostly casual wedding, and a lot of fun! Ange was quite late to the ceremony - of course - you can read why below... Luckily the weather held off while we were using the jetty at Roma Street Parklands, before the reception (at Hotel Urban, Spring Hill) where the chef had catered for his first vegan event. I also had MC duties, but managed to make sure I spent most of the night on the dance floor!
Venue: The Flying Duck, Roma Street Parklands
Venue Style: Garden/Lakeside
Dress Code: Formal
Reception: Hotel Urban, Spring Hill
Food: Vegan canapes and 3 course alternate drop
Cake: Cake That
Photography: Carol Slater Photography
The Honeymoon: Kakadu and Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Invitations and website
I'm proud of the invitation because I created it using Greenvelope - and it was environmental. The invitation has a picture of a lock on it that I attached to a park bench at Kangaroo Point, which Peter found through a treasure hunt on his birthday in 2013. I chose that particular park bench because we had a kiss and cuddle (that's all the detail you need for the website!) there in our early dating days in 2012. Later we threw the key from that padlock in the Brisbane river nearby to where the padlock was fixed (not environmental I suppose!). Roma Street also has a similar park bench (ie. cuddled etc. on early in our dating time) just near The Flying Duck. We had a wedding photo taken of us sitting on that one. It's just the KP bench came first and that's why I attached the lock there.
Makeup & Hair
Carly Stone who used vegan makeup and brushes etc.
I wanted my usual hairdresser to do my hair - Caitlyn at Establishment Hair Skin Body in Newstead. I have been getting my hair done there for many years now because they use De Lorenzo products and at the time I found them I knew of no other hair salon that used vegan products, at least not nearby. The hairpieces (bride and bridesmaids) were specially made for us by Koochooloo. She did not use any animal products as per my request.
I was determined to have native Australian flowers, particularly banksias as they are a quintessentially Australian plant that I like (only one of the 173 species is found outside of Australia). I also love our bush and wonderful eucalyptus trees. Further, the flowers didn't have to be transported from the other side of the world. The bouquets included proteas, leucadendrons, eucalyptus leaves and another small flower I have forgotten what it is called. I was warned the bouquet would be heavy! The florist picked colours to blend with bride's dress and somewhat the bridesmaid's. The flower girl had non-native small roses.
We originally wanted to get married in our local cave where I proposed to Peter but the council does not allow anybody in there anymore, let alone hold functions there. Then we thought about Mt Gravatt lookout outside area and then reception in the cafe up there but both were closed. So as an alternative, I wanted another outdoor setting preferably with lots of trees around - a garden, bush or rainforest setting (not a beach, church or indoor of a building). The Flying Duck at Roma Street is a jetty that juts out into a lake which has a fountain in it that we thought looked impressive. We both like water so when we found The Flying Duck we agreed it was perfect. The jetty also forms a natural aisle and we were able to throw the key/s from our padlocks into the lake.
Beautiful Weddings provided the chairs and decorations for the jetty and I advised them we wanted colour rather than the usual white, ivory or cream etc. not just because my dress wasn't white but because I love colour.
The happy couple:
Dress and Attire?
We decided to make it formal as it is a special day and we were having the reception set up in a formal way but people could interpret ‘formal’ any way they liked.
Tell me the story of how you two met.
We were both at the Orient Hotel in Brisbane attending two different functions. I was at the bar and Peter saw me and said hello. When I said I was there on my own, he introduced me to some people then went away and came back to have a chat later. When I asked, he said that he was looking for someone with emotional intelligence and was happy that I appeared to know about that - partly because I am a psychologist. When I told him I was a psychologist he jumped back a bit…. He asked if we could catch up for a coffee sometime and he took my phone number when I said I would like that. We had an immediate chemistry between us.
How did Peter propose, Angela?
The future bride was taken on a weekend proposal adventure! I had no idea what was planned, I was just told that we were going away and be prepared for two nights away. The first afternoon was a walk to the Natural Arch and vegan cheese and snacks in the rainforest (with a tasty white wine).
We had an unplanned first night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The next night I was advised I would have to be ready at a particular time and then we were whisked away by limousine to then be taken up by helicopter to see the lovely view over the Gold Coast. Afterwards I was led to a gondola and we had dinner in the gondola where Peter presented me with my engagement ring. The date was the 14/4/14.
On the 24/4/14 I surprised Peter by saying we were going on an evening bush walk. He didn’t really feel like walking in the dark but humored me. I took him to our local cave and asked him to wait briefly outside. When he came in I had set up a table with a cloth, candles, wine and vegan cheese and dip. I brought our favourite picnic rug (“beary” because it is dark brown and like I would imagine the fur of a big brown bear would be) which I put on rocks that we sat on. A bit later he was most surprised when his favourite meal from a local Thai restaurant, tofu yellow curry, was delivered to the cave by (my daughter) Bridie, (her partner) Luciano and (her daughter) Ella. They stayed briefly and then after they had left I presented Peter with an engagement ring.
How did you both feel on the day of your wedding?
Really happy and excited- I had a great time the whole night and even though there were little hiccups it all went splendidly.
How did you choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen?
I always said my daughter Bridie would be one of my bridesmaids but apart from that I had thought originally maybe we didn't need a bridal party.
Tell me about your dress, Ange
I did not want a traditional wedding dress. I know some are lovely but they all seem pretty much the same to me. The other reason is I'm not traditional in many ways and I love colour. I found it at a formal dress shop. I had spied it as I looked at their dresses and thought it looked great but both the shop assistant and I thought it may not suit my shape so it was left till last in the dresses picked to try on. When I did we both exclaimed that it did actually look good and much more special that the other two 'maybes.' I tried on others at different places but none compared to this one. Lucky I had put a layby on it!
Picked to match some of the colour in the brides dress -the 'jewels' on the bodice. One that the bridesmaid liked and suited her but no tulle like the bride's dress.
Tell me about your outfit, Pete
Bought for a wedding where he walked the bride to the altar and we had both agreed it was primarily bought to use later at our wedding. It is a lovely suit and looks great on Peter. Light green shirt was to match the bride’s dress.
One groomsman hired his suit, the other borrowed one of Peter’s suits.
What was the main inspiration in having your wedding in Brisbane?
Because we met in Brisbane and it’s where we live. We wanted to make the ceremony and reception nearby or related to where we may have been or did something/spent some time together. Hence the cave as the original location of choice and a reception nearby on Mt Gravatt or overlooking the bush. However, Roma St and the hotel ticked our boxes well too.
Was there a theme involved?
The bush theme and the padlock theme as mentioned above. I had shown my love by locking a padlock with our initials engraved on it at Kangaroo Point park and throwing the key in the river.
Did you have any obstacles with organising a destination and vegan wedding?
Some reception places would not provide what we asked for or did not get back to us. It often happened after we said we wanted an all-vegan wedding. Also, the extra cost applied when you request vegan as with Hotel Urban.
Why did you chose Carol Slater Photography?
I have seen her work and I know Carol personally. She took the photos of my grandchild when she was a few weeks old. Plus she is vegan and looks after vegans.
Tell me about your plans for the Reception
We loved the fact that the reception room at the Hotel Urban overlooked the park where we had our reception (Roma Street) and also Brisbane city. We like good views from a height. The city lights perhaps added a touch of sophistication. However, being so busy having fun we didn’t get time to stare out the windows.
We wanted it to be fun and have our favourite and music meaningful to us playing. Initially Angela wanted to control the music and have only what we wanted to hear but we decided to let the guests have requests played, which was well received. We also wanted the guests to be entertained so we had music, drinks and canapés for the guests prior to the reception. To continue the fun we decided to hire a magician. Engraving a message or their name on one of the small padlocks with the engraving tool or a pen and then attaching it to a gold chain was our alternative to a guest book and tied in with our theme. If people preferred there was a canvas with a heart on it that people could write on. Someone gave us a wishing jar which I only realized we had at the end of the night when someone asked if it was okay they put more than one wish in!
Brent the DJ from Decibels was chosen because we had seen him in action and chatted to him at a Bridal fair. Brent had also achieved awards from the ABIA. He discussed that he would set the mood based on the time and the people attending. We also wanted our guests to be entertained with live music while they were waiting for us at the hotel prior to us arriving so we requested he perform at the bar at the front of the hotel prior to moving to the reception room. Hotel Urban said they would reserve the area for our guests only.
We picked a variety of songs for the ceremony and reception based on their importance in our life. For example the song ("When you came into my Life" by Scorpions) played on the bride’s entry, and was one of the songs Peter had sent via email to Angela early in the dating period to express his feelings about the relationship.
With a choice of decorations provided in our package at the hotel we chose gold as the colour for the chair sashes etc. to tie in with the padlock theme and the cake. The centrepieces (gold vintage books and fresh flowers topping them) were also a choice from a selection provided by the hotel and they were chosen: 1. Because Angela loves books (second hand, vintage and new), libraries and reading; 2. Because they were painted gold which matched the colour theme; 3. They were environmental because they were old books painted gold; 4. Flowers look good and bring the outdoors in a bit (I love nature).
We tried to be as eco-friendly as possible - online invitations, short trip from park to reception, vegan food. We liked the idea of involving friends and family if possible and the cars were offered for use by our friends Trevor and Deb. Melissa, Peter’s daughter was asked to do the reading at the wedding. and you (Leigh-Chantelle) to do the M-C’ing! Frank singing when people were asked if they would like to make a speech was a lovely surprise.
Tell me about the Food
We advised the chef we liked an Asian theme, but that as long as it tasted good and was vegan we would be happy. It was three courses, alternate drop. We liked Hotel Urban’s attitude in this regard - we didn’t get the superficial agreement to it then being let down later as per other venues. We met the chef and he was keen to make a meal for us, we didn’t sense any concern from him that he wouldn’t be able to do it to our standards. Non vegans stated that the food was very tasty. Another comment was it was the best wedding food they ever tried. We would recommend Hotel Urban because of the great, friendly people and their willingness to be flexible.
Entree was Shitake and enoki mushroom, Asian ginger broth, baby carrots, green veges, kale, chilli and micro herbs:
Alternating with burnt pumpkin pearl barley, crispy sage, olive butter reduction, shiso:
The main dish was Heirloom beets, five spiced kumara puree, quinoa, pomegranate, beetroot salted courgettes, radish, sesame seed crisp:
Alternating with Tempura zucchini flowers stuffed with salt and pepper tofu, babaganoush, raddichio salad, orange:
Thanks so much to event executive Kate Dean for taking the above food photos!
Dessert was coconut creamed rice, Val D'Elsa salted caramel, pistachio crumb, coconut and lime sorbet, raspberries, alternating with Peach sorbet, maple oat crumble, black cherry compote, blueberries, mint. (Sorry there's no photos!)
Vegan Alcohol included Beer (XXXX Gold, Crown Lager, Toohey's Extra Dry), Wine (Rosnay Sparkling Chardonnay, Yulumba Y Series of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Shiraz, and Merlot), plus some non-alcoholic soft drinks, juices, and sparkling mineral water.
Cake & Dessert
The very professional Sarah-Jane from Cake That made the cake: vegan strawberry and vanilla flavoured. Decorated to look like an upright padlock with a topper underneath the arch of the lock of Angie and Peter holding hands on a park bench for reasons already described. The cake was provided in bags to either eat then and there or take home because we had dessert provided. It was so very delicious!!
“The best cake I have ever tried” -Peter. Well done Kate.
Tell me about the Gifts
We did not specifically request gifts and left it to the guests to either bring or not. There was meant to be a wishing “well” in the shape of a bird cage (provided by the hotel) which I was going to put a sign on saying “may all creatures be free, go vegan” but it did not appear and what with all the excitement we forgot. However, we did use some of the money that we received to go towards enjoying our honeymoon. You could say the money either went towards drinks and boat rides or some Aboriginal art we bought. We also received a box of organic vegan wine and a couple of household items - a clock and photo frame and beautiful wine glasses.
The cake. Actually, we ran out of time to organise them but we hoped people would have a great time and remember the wedding without favours.
Here's the vegans at the wedding (L-R): Carol, Gary, LC, Ange, Pete, Amanda, Camina:
Tell me about your Honeymoon destination
Kakadu and Darwin, Northern Territory, were chosen because neither of us had been to either destination, and Angela had always wanted to see Kakadu because it is a wonder of the natural world. It is heritage-listed because it is environmentally and culturally significant. I hoped to see the animals there, predictably the crocodiles in their natural habitat, and the aboriginal rock art. We did see animals, ones you don’t see anywhere else - this is exciting for someone who completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology. Darwin was wonderful too and a barefoot boat trip where we took vegan snacks and watched the sunset was special. Peter was very pleased with the weather as it stayed in the 30’s the whole time.
Is there anything you would change if you had your wedding and reception again?
Asking for more assistance e.g. for someone apart from the bride to pick up the flowers from the florist in the morning and sort the seating arrangements, so that did not have to have been an issue that morning while I was trying to get ready. Someone did step up to that but it did involve my time as he asked questions about where to find documents on the computer etc. Also, that I didn’t have to worry about the dog running off, because when I did get time I also looked for her and when I looked out the side window there she was in the garden escaping from the excitement, meanwhile the rest of the people here hadn’t even looked there!
Not to eat chewing gum because when I tried to expel it I dropped it on the tulle of my dress, which held up things too. Tulle and gum don’t mix. I never eat it because I consider it bad for the environment but I did that day because I didn’t want to wreck my makeup by cleaning my teeth. Moral of the story - don’t go against your environmental values!
We organised quite a lot of the wedding at the last minute even though we had been looking into receptions and other arrangements for over a year. We had visited and contacted many places and services and been to three wedding fairs in that time, but hadn’t put anything concrete in place because we wanted to be sure we could do it and I’m so indecisive. Would we elope, would we just do it with a very small group up on Mt Gravatt etc.? We also had booked a reception place tentatively at the end of 2014 and when I recontacted them to see if it was still available someone had taken that date. However, I wouldn’t change a thing because everything worked out brilliantly and we thought it was great and had a fantastic time.
See these Vegan and/or Eco Wedding Websites:
- Ethical Bride
- Ethical Weddings
- Green Bride Guide
- Offbeat Bride
- Vegan Weddings HQ
- Vegan Weddings on Pinterest
- Vegetarian Wedding
Also see the Viva la Vegan! Pinterest Wedding album.
- Published: 12 February 2016
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