The Magic of a Melbourne Marriage

It was a typical Melbourne day…you know the kind, where it somehow can defy the laws of any scientific explanation and be both hot and cold at the same time, with a bit of cloud but bright sunshine. Think back to a time when Maroon 5 were rocking the charts with Moves Like Jagger, Obama was President and Geelong had just won the flag.

And, it was on a lovely Saturday afternoon on 8 October that Alicia Grabowski married Tom Hall – after having met through mutual friends a few years earlier.


A bit over eight years on from that special day, here’s what Tom and Alicia have to say about all things proposals, weddings and marriage:

The proposal…

Alicia says for six months, she got “proposal ready” at every holiday and dinner out together – ready to say ‘yes’ and to be photographed, full make-up and with the right outfit.

But as it turned out, the proposal came at a time she was least expecting it after a swim, with hair dishevelled at Diamond Bay – where after driving to the top of the cliff, Tom finally popped the question.

The ceremony…

An old school wedding, Tom and Alicia got married at St Mary’s church in Windsor.

Tom says that the best memory of his wedding day is Alicia walking down the aisle: “I often think about my wife walking down the aisle and having all of our friends and family there in one place…it’s something that really never happens again”.

Alicia says that the whole day goes by in a flash, particularly after so much planning…but without doubt, nothing beats walking down the aisle.

The reception…

For me, the thing that I remember most about Tom and Alicia’s reception, besides the dancing and wine (which may have caused things to become a little blurry), is the sweets table. I have never seen so many lollies in one place at one time. I was like a kid in a candy store (literally).

Alicia says the thing she loved about her reception was the photo booth – “we have so many hilarious pics of our guests from inside the booth” and the wedding video – “since our special day we have had guests that have passed away and our beautiful wedding video shows them having a ball and dancing the night away…how precious is that???”


Looking back, 8 years and three kids later…

Tom says the thing that he is most grateful for in his marriage is that he can 100% trust his wife. Meanwhile, Alicia says she loves that she has a best friend and a husband wrapped up in one.

The best thing about your partner???

Tom says the best thing about Alicia is that she’s a great mum. Alicia says that she loves Tom supporting everything that she wants to do, 100% -“if I ever want to do something, he will support me”. She adds, “He’s also an amazing dad”. 


Your partner’s worst habit?

Alicia: Just one??? Tom doesn’t put his clean clothes away!

Tom: The yelling and the screaming…

What’s the one thing no-one tells you about marriage?

Tom says the best thing about marriage that no one tells you is the benefit of consistency – there is something great knowing what you are coming home to every day. For Alicia, it’s having someone you love to share your day with each and every night.

And, what’s the secret to a happy marriage?

Alicia thinks the secret for their success is “having our own time and our own success”. Meanwhile, Tom has trouble naming just one…but thinks it’s a combination of trust and respect and understanding your partner’s needs.


Couples of Cobalt – Lee Jeloscek & Sally Cummine

When I was training to become a marriage celebrant the most important thing I learned was that weddings should be fun

And, that’s exactly the reason that I became a marriage celebrant – I wanted to share in the fun and frivolity that comes when two people get married.

To this day, it still absolutely blows my mind that two strangers, from the billions of people that live on earth and through the maze of faces we see every day, can find each other.

And, not only find each other, but also have a connection that is so strong and so intense that they want to commit their lives to each other for eternity.

I think that is just awesome and explains why weddings are the bestest days ever – filled with happiness and laughter; and with a whole lot of colour and excitement.

What I have just described is the wedding of Lee Jeloscek and Sally Cummine – my first-ever as a registered marriage celebrant.

Being the first official wedding that I presided over, I will forever remember that bright and sunny Saturday afternoon in October 2014, when Lee and Sally exchanged their vows on the beach at Killcare on the Central Coast.

And, three and a half years later, Lee and Sal’s wedding remains strong in my memory as a cracker!  A cracker of a couple; A cracker of a venue; and a cracker of a day!


From push-ups by the groomsmen mid-wedding ceremony through to Sal being whisked up in Lee’s arms as they entered their reception – this day had Lee and Sally written all over it.

As Lee explains, I think there was a lot of “us” in our day, “it was the style we wanted; from the vows through to our wedding dance, which was a medley of songs from our favourite movies”, he says.

As a celebrant, I love when couples get involved and get their hands dirty when it comes to planning their ceremony.

I also think that when couples take the time to add their own unique touches, it makes their day so much more special – not only for them, but also their guests.

Sally remembers, when it came time for her to walk down the aisle, she was feeling incredibly nervous.

But, as soon as she stepped out and saw Lee, she couldn’t contain her excitement, “I just wanted to jump into his arms straight away!”, Sally says.


From that very first moment, Lee and Sally’s wedding  was pure joy!



And, what is Lee’s tip to other couples planning their big day?

He says, it’s important that the new bride and groom take the time out of their day to enjoy it and to soak-in as much of the atmosphere as possible.

It’s a day full of people you love, celebrating the love that you have for each other – it really is such a high”, he says.

And, Sal’s advice?

Make sure you have a cheeseboard for dessert – it’s a must”!

However, I think the best piece of advice I have ever heard parted at a wedding, came from the father of the bride…when toasting the happy couple Sal’s dad hoped, “that the fights must always be clean…and the sex, always dirty!”

Amen to that!

Best Wedding Venues in NSW

For those of you in the market for a wedding venue or location ideas – the Urban List has recently released its Best Wedding Venue List for NSW.

It’s certainly worth a look and you can check it out at the link below:

Best Wedding Venues in NSW

When it comes to planning a wedding, remember they can come in all shapes and sizes: they can be big brash affairs with all the bells and whistles; or they can be simplest of gatherings with the closest of friends followed by an intimate dinner.

The most important thing is that you create the wedding that you want – and not the wedding that you think your mum wants or that you think your friends expect.

Remember, whatever you decide, this is your day and it should reflect both of you as a couple.

If you want a wedding with all the trimmings, go all out. But, if you would rather share your day with only a handful of your closest friends and family – this can be even more special than having hundreds of people witness your nuptials, half of whom you probably have not spoken to for the last six months.

And, that’s the thing with weddings – there are no rules…therefore, you should start your planning with no expectations, other than your own.

A wedding is like a blank canvas – it is yours to colour as you wish. So be sure to leave your own indelible mark and create a day that you will enjoy and will remember forever!

Over the years I have been to many different weddings – from destination weddings in Byron Bay, Port Elliot and Bowral, to farmyard weddings in the Blue Mountains.

I have been to garden weddings in the Barossa in country South Australia and Burrawang in the Southern Highlands,  resort weddings in Queensland and to wedding receptions in a converted convent in Melbourne and an Orangerie in the UK.


A garden wedding in the Barossa

Main Hall interior, Burrawang Ball 2012

The Burrawang School of Arts Centre

wedding 2

Peppers Craigieburn – Southern Highlands

There have been weddings on the beach in the middle of an Australian summer where the bridal party wore shorts; a Las Vegas themed wedding at a bowls club with magnificent views over the Pacific Ocean; and more formal affairs set on Sydney Harbour and ‘black tie’ events where ballgowns and tuxidos prevailed.

Each of them was special; each of them created memories not only for the happy couple, but also their guests; and best of all, each all of them proved that every wedding is unique in its own very special way!

Couples of Cobalt – Introducing Angie and Brendon Argyle…

As part of my blog, I will from time to time be sharing stories of some happy couples that are in my life. Some I have married, some I have not – but all have a unique and wonderful story to share.

You can follow those stories via the Instagram Account: Couples of Cobalt:

So here goes, with my first ever Couple of Cobalt!


It was the beginning of May 2015, a Friday afternoon where the weather was subtly reminding us all that the seasons were about to change.

The setting was perfection – Vaucluse House, where lush greenery filled every sense, as light droplets of rain fell almost silently from the grey clouds above – playfully bouncing off everyone’s cheeks.

In a moment, the iconic words of John Denver would fill the air, as a stillness overcome:

You fill up my senses like a night in a forest,

Like the mountains in Springtime,

Like a walk in the rain…

This was the wedding day of Angie and Brendon Argyle – a beautiful day, where they formalised their relationship and become husband and wife.

Looking back, Angie remembers most fondly the moment she stood next to Brendon ready to say her vows, seeing everyone she loved, in one place, smiling back at her.

“It really was a moment to treasure” Angie says.


As Angie and Brendon’s celebrant, for me, the day was extra special as I was able to unite one of my oldest and dearest school friends with her new husband in the union of marriage – the most sacred and special relationship of all.

I really enjoyed planning the ceremony with Angie and Brendon – as they made their ceremony their own, complete with their own special touches such as ringing a bell at the end of the ceremony to signal to the world that they had now started their own family.

As Brendon explains, “we rang a bell to announce that we were man and wife, which is the same bell we ring today when we want to commemorate a special family occasion”.


Almost three years later and Angie and Brendon’s life has been a whirlwind.

From setting up a new business to relocating from the big-smoke – they now find themselves living in Orange in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales farming saffron, having added a plus-one, little miss Poppy Hazel, with another on the way.

And, three years on, what are Angie and Brendon’s reflections on marriage?

Angie says, “Marriage is not all butterflies and roses…rather, it is about overcoming challenges together, which makes you closer and stronger as a couple and means that you never really stop learning about each other”.

“It also means that you can walk around the house in your undies, without being judged”, she says giggling.

Meanwhile, Brendon says the thing about marriage that no-one tells you is that marriage will bring out your best!

“It makes you want to be the best person you can and it makes you want the best for your family each and every day”, he says.


So as they wait the pending arrival of child number 2 in April 2018, looking back, what is Brendan and Angie’s secret ingredient for a happy marriage?

They both agree that a good marriage is built on “trust, humour and perseverance”.

And for that, Angie and Brendo are the first Couple of Cobalt!



Well, he’s done it again – is there anything that Ed Sheeran can’t do?

As he gets ready to embark on his 2018 Australian Tour, he’s latest single sits a #1 in the Aussie charts.

And, to add further popularity to his song – this time he’s teamed up with Queen B (that’s Beyonce for those a little long in the tooth) to give us what is bound to be a wedding favourite.

With lyrics that include:

Well I found a woman, stronger than anyone I know
She shares my dreams, I hope that someday I’ll share her home
I found a love, to carry more than just my secrets
To carry love, to carry children of our own…

Baby, I’m dancing in the dark, with you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favourite song
When I saw you in that dress, looking so beautiful
I don’t deserve this, darling, you look perfect tonight,

this song has wedding written all over it.

I’ve been a bit late to the party following this song up the charts, but when I did finally hear it last week there were two things I knew instantly: (1) who was singing it; and (2) this is going to be high rotation at the Summer and Autumn weddings across the country.

It reminded me of the time that I first heard Savage Gardens’ I knew I loved you Before I Met You back in my youth when I was at university in Brisbane in 1999.

I can still clearly recall driving through the Valley as B105 played the song for the first time and the response was crazy – the number of brides-to-be that called in to say they had finally said they found their wedding song, was unbelievable.

Clearly a song written to pull at the heart strings or, for those cynics amongst us, marketing genius!

Either way, Ed has yet another certified hit on his hands and one that I expect many couples will share as their first dance.

Which brings me to my question…what is your favourite wedding song of all time??? Or, what is your song that makes you think of that someone special???

To hear Ed’s new song – check it out on YouTube here:

Welcome 2018!

So, as Australia has finally arrived in the 21st Century, I thought it was time for a refresh, a new start.

And, with the commencement of a new year, I have updated my webpage, started a new Facie page that you can access via the link on my site and with plans in the pipeline for a new Insta account.

I genuinely believe 2018 will we be a good one – we are starting the year with the sun burning its molten gold, with skies of blue and with a spring in our step.

It is a year that offers so much hope – where marriage equality in Australia becomes a reality and where love of every kind can finally be celebrated.

Throughout the year I will be providing regular updates, anecdotes and stories of all things weddings, couples and love – think of it as an escape from the realities of life – a happy place, where you can enjoy the stories of others and learn a thing or two about me.

So happy new year to all and welcome to January 2018 – a year where Cobalt Ceremonies finally gets serious about this wedding caper and the thing we all love the most – love itself!

Here comes the Bride…or should that be the Groom???

Today is a momentous day for marriage in Australia because today, Tuesday 9 January 2018 is that day that same-sex couples are legally able to get married.

Love is certainly in the air!!!

And, while the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 commenced late last year, same-sex couples have had to wait until today to be legally married – as all married couples must submit a Notice of Intention to Marriage at least one month prior to their intended wedding day.

What has changed?

For all the rigmarole that preceded it – in December last year the Australian Parliament overwhelming voted in favour of making some fairly innocuous changes to the Marriage Act.

Those changes, now see marriage defined as ‘the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life‘.

What does it mean for couples getting married?

All celebrants are required to include a statement as part of all marriage ceremonies they perform that explains the nature of the marriage relationship.

This statement is called ‘the monitum’ and in almost every ceremony that I have performed, the monitum has been the cause of much unhappiness with the couples that I have married.

And the cause of that unhappiness was the fact that prior to the Marriage Act being amended – it included wording to the effect:

Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

Many couples I have married did not agree that marriage should exclude same sex couples and often requested that reference to ‘man and woman’ be excluded from the montium.

However, as the monitum is a legal requirement in all civil ceremonies, to address couples’ concerns, I would include additional wording at the end of the monitum that indicated the couples’ hope that same sex marriage would one-day become a reality in Australia.

Thankfully, under the recently amended Marriage Act, the monitum has now been changed to:

Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life,

So, while there will not be scenes of jubilation today, similar to that seen on 15 November 2016 that accompanied the announcement of the postal survey where Australia said ‘yes’ to treating gay Australians as their equal and ‘yes’ to gay marriage, there is no doubt that today is a momentous day – as Australia has become the 26th country in the world to legalise gay marriage.

And for those playing at home, I have included a list of the countries below who also treat their gays like they should – as equal citizens.



Australia: December 2017

Austria: December 2017

Malta: July 2017

Germany: June 2017

Colombia: April 2016

United States: June 2015

Ireland: May 2015

Finland: February 2015

Luxembourg: January 2015




Luxembourg: January 2015

United Kingdom: July 2013

Brazil: May 2013

France: May 2013

New Zealand: April 2013

Uruguay: May 2013

Denmark: June 2012

Argentina: July 2010

Portugal: June 2010




Iceland: June 2010

Sweden: May 2009

Norway: January 2009

South Africa: Nov 2006

Spain: July 2005

Canada: July 2005

Belgium: January 2003

Netherlands: Dec 2000