Vow Renewal – on a tropical island

Ana and Aung 

When Ana and Aung announced they were planning to celebrate their 25th Wedding Anniversary on a tropical island on the Great Barrier Reef, I didn’t hesitate to suggest that they incorporate a vow renewal ceremony on the beach. It was pre-COVID and none of us could have imagined what was ahead, as we enthusiastically booked our ‘glamping’ experience on the amazing Wilson Island, which is about 80 kilometres off the coast of Queensland, right on the reef. It is only accessible by boat from Heron Island and consists of nine ‘glamping’ tents. With no phone or internet access it is totally ‘off-grid’ but with all-inclusive gourmet food and wine, it is hardly a hardship.

Although we ended up ‘marooned’ there for an extra two nights due to rough seas that meant we couldn’t safely travel back to Heron Island, we weren’t complaining. Snorkelling directly off the beach amongst the most amazing array of colourful fish, turtles, manta rays and reef sharks was simply spectacular! We spent our days walking on the coral-strewn beach, relaxing in our hammocks, reading, enjoying the most incredible food and wine and just enjoying being cut off from the world, and constant COVID updates, for a few days!

But the highlight of the experience, of course, was the vow renewal ceremony on the beach at sunset!

What I loved most about this vow renewal ceremony

We opted to conduct the vow renewal ceremony on the day we arrived on Wilson Island, as we weren’t sure what the weather would be like on the ensuing days. It was a gorgeous, sunny, Spring day with no wind, and we chose a sheltered spot where we could perform the ceremony as the sun set over the horizon. We invited the other four guests on the island, who we had just met, and they enthusiastically assisted with photography and filming of the proceedings!

It was the most beautiful, simple and heartfelt ceremony which really reflected Ana and Aung’s approach to life and their relationship.

Probably the most special part for me was reading the words of their daughters – Katie (18 years) and Rachel (20 years). I had asked the girls to provide some words for the ceremony and hadn’t shown Ana and Aung beforehand. I had cried when I received them so I knew it would be a beautiful moment for Ana and Aung to hear their daughter’s honest and loving reflections. I hadn’t expected the tears to flow right from the first words, but they did – both Ana and Aung became quite emotional which is a lovely testament to the close-knit family they have nurtured.

Some unique ceremony touches

The theme for the ceremony was ‘relaxed island vibe’ so we all wore white, and also incorporated some yellow flowers in recognition of Ana’s favourite sunflowers. As it isn’t possible to bring real flowers onto the island, we organised some gorgeous silk flowers from local Gladstone business Ginger Says. They were really beautiful and looked incredibly real – and added that gorgeous splash of colour to the ceremony. Also, finishing the ceremony with champagne and some platters as the sun set was unique to say the least!

What made the renewal ceremony extra personal

Ana and Aung also chose to exchange rings and some personal vows, which were incredibly touching. They both read them beautifully through their tears and their honesty and obvious love for each other shone through. It was such a perfect reflection of their 25 years of life together.

Aung had also wanted to open a special bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace from the year they met – 1988. Although it isn’t usually allowed to bring alcohol onto the island, we were able to bring this special bottle and acknowledge it during the ceremony – as well as consume it over dinner!

The vow renewal ceremony – in the couple’s own words…

Maria was awesome and organised every tiny detail of our 25th wedding vow renewal ceremony to perfection. She made it so easy for us. It felt like all we had to do was turn up and enjoy the festivities. Maria was able to achieve the impossible by incorporating into the ceremony a really special bottle of wine that was not allowed onto the island. We will forever be grateful to Maria for making our day so special and memorable.


 And the team that made the dream ceremony come true…


Wilson Island

Celebrant’s dress

Alemais from Samantha Ogilvie


Ginger Says

Couple’s outfits

Mitchell Ogilvie

Veronika Maine



Wine ritual

Henschke Hill of Grace

If you enjoyed this article please feel free to leave a comment or share on social media.  If you have been inspired, contact me to schedule a time to discuss how I can help you to create your dream celebration. You can alsSubscribe to our Life Stories.

No Comments

Post A Comment