How to include absent wedding guests…

We are all going through unprecedented and unpredictable times as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out across the globe. Tucked away in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the stunningly intimate Secrets on the Lake is very happy to once again be able to open our treehouse doors to excited guests, our Dining on the Deck Restaurant to 40 people across 2 different dining areas, and our Secrets Wedding Garden to ceremonies of up to 20 people. Roll on July 10th when gatherings can be up to 100 people again!

From the Secrets on the Lake family to your family… we hope everyone is keeping their heads and back pockets above water. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the media’s fear machine of bad news and stories of heartache. While we don’t dismiss or diminish the hardships many suffer… it is so important to balance the bad news with a celebration of  the good that is also happening all around us in random acts of kindness, healing and creative connection. The human spirit is truly indomitable. And it is quite inspiring to see how creativity kicks in with some new and different kinds of weddings, weddings that might not be exactly what you imagined your special day to be, but weddings that focus on the most important thing – two people in love saying ‘I do’.

My partner and I have been one of those wedding couples trying to juggle the ever-changing social distancing regulations, venue number maximums, travel bans, and a myriad of other restrictions. Our wedding date was meant to be May 1st 2020. We have since had to reconcile that some of our special people living abroad still won’t be able to be there for our new date in November… but no more postponements. Just because your parents from England, your best friend from Amsterdam, or your brother from New Zealand can’t be physically part of your wedding day… doesn’t mean that they need to miss out on the excitement and ‘feel goods’ of the day.

Here are some of the things we have come up with to best share your special day with the special people who can’t be there… and a shout out to the amazing suppliers who have happily postponed and rescheduled, and helped us make it all happen.

  • The biggest thing we have decided to do since the COVID crazy, is to hire a videographer to capture the day! With today’s technology our ceremony can even be livestreamed so that our absent loved ones can watch the event in real time! Ashlee from Jensen & Young has been awesome in creating an affordable package to capture the ceremony and reception. She will capture all the details, as well as the smiles and tears, and the crazy family dance we have been practicing for the dance floor.  And for us… it’s the best way to let our absent loved ones relive the experience and still be as much a part of the day as we can possibly allow.

Time goes by so quickly, and especially seems that way on special occasions – I want my couples and clients to truly be in the moment. Having someone solely focused on capturing it allows couples to be present with their partners, friends and family. I love the film medium for how it allows us to relive past moments; we hear voices again, laughter and tears. We re-watch our younger selves, our family and children and reconnect with the atmosphere and energy of the day. Film tells a story and creates an experience that you can share with others in a way that brings the experience to them so they feel part of the celebration as well. I’ve never had clients that regret getting a film and it’s a beautiful compliment to photos. 

Ashlee Jensen

  • Our award-wining photographer Ben Connolly will be in his creative element capturing images of the ceremony and reception for us to enjoy and share with everyone there and abroad. I can’t recommend his work highly enough! The Sunshine Coast Hinterland has some great photographers available to capture your special day.
  • Even though travel bans are in place for overseas and interstate travel… we have sent the invite out anyway to let our loved ones know just how important they are to us.
  • We are going to mention our absent loved ones with a shout out in our speeches and in the words of our lovely celebrant Merlin Coughlin
  • Our DJ Cut-A-Rug has a list of special songs to play over the course of the night… each of them significant for that friendship or relationship.
  • We have made some time to give our special people a call on the big day so we can have that one-on-one moment with them.
  • And for those that have been able to postpone or get refunds on flights, we are freezing some wedding cake to share with them down the track.

If you have had to postpone your wedding, or are wanting advice on how to Elope or get married at our stunning lakeside wedding venue at Secrets on the Lake… don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly staff on 07 54785 888 or email or visit

Enquire Now