Like many couples, Mary Ann and Martin were both ready to meet someone to share their life with, and they went about creating an online profile to reflect their personalities and criteria.

Martin thought Mary Ann looked adventurous in her kayaking profile pic, and once Mary Ann read that Martin was looking for a fellow “lover of cheese”, she was sold. The two agreed to meet up in person. The click when they met could be heard around the world. (I love this line – I didn’t write it, but I’m determined to find a spot for it in every wedding from now on!)

The brief for their wedding was for a low-key, relaxed, enjoyable, family focused celebration. They didn’t want drama, cliches, pomp, or formality. Both from the UK, Mary Ann and Martin had previously only attended weddings in stuffy churches, town halls and manor houses so they relished the prospect of an outdoor wedding, bathed in Queensland sunshine, and cooled by the fresh bay breezes.

To avoid the need for designated drivers, Mary Ann and Martin hired a bus to collect their guests and transport them to the wedding location. The guests all piled off the bus in high spirits, setting the vibe for a festive ceremony.

Their chosen venue was the historic Grand View Hotel, Queensland’s oldest licensed pub. Built in 1851, the hotel features wrought iron balconies and views out over Moreton Bay towards North Stradbroke Island. Mary Ann and Martin chose to marry under one of the outdoor gazebos on the hotel grounds, aptly named the Stradbroke Gazebo. The couple hired Mel from Miss Weddings to place a circular foliage arbour with white Tiffany guest chairs.

The couple’s favourite memory of the ceremony was when I reminded them to take in all their surroundings to remember the moment – the smiles on the faces of their guests, the bay views, the sunshine, and the look in each other’s eyes. The wedding ceremony is over so quickly, even practical Martin was lost in a sea of blue as he gazed into Mary Ann’s eyes.

After the relaxed and joyous ceremony, the couple and their guests snapped a few photos before heading upstairs to the verandah for a celebration lunch, heeding the advice of Thorin Oakenshield: “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” They enjoyed a delicious meal, the fresh breeze, excellent service, and the sunshine streaming through the trees.

Venue: Grand View Hotel Cleveland

Celebrant: Cheryl Landsberry – Marriage Celebrant

Stylist: Miss Weddings