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vow renewal ceremony

A Very Special Vow Renewal Ceremony – Brisbane

Not long ago I photographed the fabulous vow renewal ceremony of Emma and Bruce at Wantima Country Club, just north of Brisbane. Now these guys love being married SO much, they do it a LOT! This vow renewal makes it their third ceremony! How’s that for a true love story?

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and although many of Emma and Bruce’s family and friends couldn’t make it because of COVID restrictions, the couple organised Paramount Video Productions to livestream the event so no one missed out on the excitement.

Don’t you just love how awesome technology is these days?

And given that so many weddings have been postponed because of COVID this year, it was so lovely to have a couple decide to get married again, despite all the dramas COVID has caused.

So a massive thank you for choosing me to photograph your special day and congratulations!

Emma and Bruce are such an inspirational couple who are full of love, laughter and good humour.

It was a pleasure to share the afternoon with you.

And here’s a little of their real life romance…

How did you meet?

Bruce and I met in Kuwait, where we both lived as expats. Initially we met online, as a mutual friend was trying to match us up. We chatted for a while but nothing came of it. Our paths crossed a few times at parties but again, nothing much came of it. We finally sat and talked one night after paintballing in the desert. He was paintballing; I was drinking. Socialising around the campfire that evening, he offered me his chair, which was pretty big, so I offered to share and that’s where we spent the rest of the night; cuddled up together in his big red camping chair.

Any funny stories about that meeting?

Having spent that evening getting along famously, fuelled by several days of convincing by another mutual friend, I gathered the courage to ask him out…he said no…THE SHAME!

So, mission ‘avoid Bruce’ was launched, quite unsuccessfully however as our paths crossed again the following weekend (again, the shame). It was soon forgotten as we fell back into our groove and from that night we were inseparable.

The engagement?

We don’t have a romantic engagement story, which I tease him about endlessly. While Bruce was visiting his parents in Australia a few months after we’d met, we were in touch constantly by email, message and phone. We talked about living together and decided that was a good idea; in Kuwait it’s illegal to live together unless you’re married.

Bruce said: “Well, we could just do that”.

I said: “Yeah, makes sense, let’s do it”.

It wasn’t something we needed to think about, it was a logical step for us.

How long have you been married?

We were legally married in Kuwait in August, 2012. Then we had our wedding with family and friends in Thailand in April, 2013. So, legally married just over eight years.

How would you describe your married life?

Anything but dull. Our life together has been and continues to be quite the adventure. We take nothing for granted; value each day and never go to sleep angry. Everyone is welcome in our home; we see no importance in social standing, titles or the numbers on a pay cheque, but in how you treat others. We live our life following simple rules; these are the rules of our family and our home and they serve us well: we don’t hurt ourselves or others, we speak freely but always respectfully, we treat others how we want to be treated, we respect the world around us and if you wouldn’t say it to grandma you probably shouldn’t say it to anyone!

How would you describe each other?

Bruce: She’s strong-willed, fights for the underdog, beautiful. She has a way with children – it’s not obvious as her humour is very dry and sarcastic when in adult company but watching her do what she does professionally is very special. Emma is an amazing advocate; she gets things done – things that should be impossible, she somehow achieves them. I’m not sure how. She loves animals too, we definitely bonded early over that.

Emma: Bruce is kind, compassionate, hardworking, committed, absolutely rubbish at having too much time on his hands! He’s a gifted craftsman. Intelligent, an animal lover and tells some awful jokes. Plus I think he’s pretty handsome. Bruce is definitely the most supportive person I know – he never questions my goals or anything I want to achieve; he’s amazing in that way.

Why did you choose Alison Cooke Photography to photograph your vow renewal ceremony?

Following a recommendation from our celebrant Renee Wilkins, I checked out the website and was hooked!

Can you describe your experience having Alison as your photographer?

It was like a good friend was behind the camera!

What prompted you both to renew your vows?

We always said we would have a vow renewal after five or ten years. We hadn’t ever discussed it as something we’d do as a ceremony as such, or even something we’d invite anyone to; it was something we were thinking of as a family event for the four of us, to involve the children and make it a family commitment. Following Bruce’s cancer diagnosis, we have learned that the one thing you can definitely rely on is time moving too quickly. We attended the wedding of good friends a little while ago and it was beautiful; it prompted us to do it now.

What was the one thing you just had to have for your vow renewal ceremony?

Bruce: a chauffeur.

Emma: a VW Kombi.

Did you have help planning your vow renewal ceremony?

I didn’t have help outside of the vendors. I had a really good friend who came dress shopping with me – I think we all know how vital a trusted opinion is on that day! She also helped me find the venue; being fairly new to the area I was just relying on google searches which was taking me hours. The celebrant was fantastic in recommending other vendors/suppliers which was incredibly helpful and the One Stop Wedding Shop is a fantastic place to take care of all your decoration needs – they can sort out your stationery, flowers, favours and pretty much whatever else you need too – those ladies are amazing!

What tips or ideas would you pass onto couples for their Vow Renewal Ceremony?

I’d definitely give yourself more than two weeks to pull it off!! It was way less stressful this time around as there was no worrying about offending anyone. Who knows why we allow ourselves to get so wrapped up with all of those wedding politics? Also, do what you want! But my advice – you’re married already, people already came to the wedding, so take the opportunity to make it a little less formal this time around.

What was something unique about your renewal ceremony?

The whole thing was pretty unusual, but the best part for us was sharing it with our children. Being able to livestream it for our family and friends who couldn’t be there was also wonderful – it seems the Covid rules is the new norm and we’re grateful we were able to find a way of sharing it with everyone who is important to us.

Did you honeymoon, where and for how long?

After our first ‘wedding’ in Kuwait we honeymooned in Phuket, Thailand. It was a few months later but it was a fabulous trip – two weeks in a little villa with a private pool a stone’s throw from a busy street full of restaurants and markets.

We’re not honeymooning this time, although we did take a few very lazy days afterwards!

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Supplier list:

 Photographer:  Me 🙂 Book me for your fabulous event here.

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Wantima Country Club

Hair and Makeup: Plaitinum Hair and Beauty, Samford Road Mitchelton

Videographers: Paramount Video Productions

Flowers: One Stop Wedding Shop

Décor: One Stop Wedding Shop

Wedding Planner: Emma!

Dress: Sugar & Spice

Transport: Kombi Celebrations

Entertainment: Mick Danby Music

Celebrant: Renee Wilkins of Renee’s Weddings


About Alison Cooke Photography

Alison is a Brisbane based wedding photographer with over 22 years’ experience in the wedding industry. Alison Cooke Photography was voted one of the top 10 wedding photographers in Brisbane by the Courier Mail and one of the top 30 wedding photographers by The Wedding Diaries. She is also an experienced portrait and newborn photographer and an award-winning member of the AIPP.  Alison has over 22 years’ experience in the wedding, family and newborn portrait industry. So, if you’re looking for a photographer for your Brisbane wedding or vow renewal ceremony get in touch here. You can check out Alison’s pricing and wedding information prices here.

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