Weddings can be complicated, busy, and often expensive ways to celebrate the love and commitment shared by two people.
Once the dresses, suits, cars and flowers have been arranged, it's onto the venue, the food, the music, decorations, invitations, confirmations... the list is endless.
Once all that is organised and ready to go, there are still weather changes, technical glitches, flight delays, traffic jams and illness to contend with.
And of course, there's the cost.
In today's world, with a cost-of-living crisis and ongoing uncertainty colouring most peoples' plans, more couples are looking for an easier way to honour their love.
Heading in a new direction
No one knows more about the hidden complications - and sometimes, heartache - behind weddings than Mandurah-based celebrant, Michelle Dobbs.
After attending a friend's wedding, Michelle said she was mesmerised by the love and magic of the moment, and decided to qualify as an Authorised Civil Celebrant.
"Since then, I have had the pleasure of officiating a number of local weddings and leading many beautiful funeral services," the ex-teacher said of her newfound career path.
I always felt like I had let them down. So since then, I have been thinking about ways I could reach couples like them.- Michelle Dobbs, celebrant
"However, something was always niggling me about the weddings.
"Celebrants are in their plentiful in WA, and everyone I have come across are so warm and friendly and many are professional and very well established.
"But I felt a little out of my comfort zone and intimidated at times."
A meeting early in her wedding career left Michelle wishing she could have made the process easier for one couple in particular.
"My very first enquiry was from a couple from Golden Bay," she explained.
"A blended family juggling work, and life in general.
"They wanted a simple elopement ceremony, no fuss and didn't want to spend all of their life's savings.
"They found the whole process overwhelming, and in the end, didn't go ahead with booking their special day.
"That was a while ago now, and I truly hope they managed to marry in the end. They were such a beautiful couple in love.
"I always felt like I had let them down. So since then, I have been thinking about ways I could reach couples like them."
Michelle said dealing with WA's beautiful, but often unpredictable natural elements had created chaos during otherwise delightful moments.
"The Fremantle Doctor...Oh the wind in the afternoons!
"Some beautiful outdoor wedding locations are wind tunnels, distorting the sound of the PA system and playing havoc with your hair, and the flies, the heat, the rain... crikey I sound like a whinging Pom," she laughed.
"It wasn't that bad really, but it did take the fun out of it a bit at times."
A different kind of special day
In Michelle's hometown of Nottingham in the UK, registry offices are everywhere.
And it got her thinking.
"I was surprised that there was no 'go to' place locally for a registry style wedding," she told the Mail.
"I live in Secret Harbour, so I'm local to Mandurah, and it is so pretty and has so much to offer.
"Hospitality, accommodation, attractions, you can really make a weekend of it... a honeymoon of it.
"So, it seemed obvious to me to set something up here."
Michelle set out to find a venue that would offer a great location, amenities and access - while harnessing the beauty of her adopted hometown.
"I walked the streets of Mandurah, approaching many local businesses with no success. My confidence was low, and I thought it was never going to happen," she said.
"So I threw myself in to the funeral industry, as many of the external variables are not an issue delivering services in Chapels.
"I felt at home, and I couldn't understand why, as the industry was very new to me, but then it dawned on me - it felt like being in a classroom again. Safe, and everything at hand."
With a plan in place, Michelle focused on opening Marriage Office Mandurah, a space for people wanting a new way to tie the knot.
The new space overlooks the Marina and boasts a crisp, white decor with luxurious green velvet touches.
Seating for twelve guests and standing room for a handful more means even a simple wedding can be celebrated with friends and family.
"If you decide to get married on the Marina edge, there's room for more," Michelle said.
"It is a public space, but on wedding days we put our white picket fencing outside, which adds a bit of grandeur and leads you down to the Marina edge for some beautiful photos."
While the office is surrounded by popular hospitality venues, Michelle said many of them closed during the afternoon.
"So it's almost like we have the Marina to ourselves in the afternoons. It's just stunning."
Changing values in a changing world
With a space of her own and the freedom to put her planning and organisation talents to use, Michelle is hoping the Marriage Office will help families enjoy a stress free wedding experience.
"The Marriage Office Mandurah may appeal to second-time-around couples, blended families, couples wanting to get married close to home, and then travel interstate to party with family and friends or jump on a plane overseas," she said.
"Couples who may not have much spare money or may not want to spend much money, couples eloping... the list is endless.
"We also welcome overseas travellers who wish to get married here whilst on holiday.
"It's a go to place, keeping it simple."
Loved-up couples looking to marry overseas can elect to complete what Michelle calls 'the legals' at the Marriage Office, before jetting off for their destination celebration.
"This allows for all the legal documentation and marriage registration to be formalised here in Australia," Michelle said.
She explained that some overseas marriages required an additional change of name application, whereas that process can be automatic with an Australian Marriage Certificate.
"'Legals only' is ideal for couples just wanting the paperwork signed and sealed, which works for couples wanting ceremonies and celebrations interstate or overseas," Michelle said.
"We do this at the wine barrel, overlooking the Marina - a wine barrel wedding!"
Registry-style weddings are also available, including a scripted ceremony and the option to read personal vows on the day.
For a small additional fee, decor can be moved outside alongside the Marina, and everyone is welcome - even well behaved dogs.
"It's a very easy and stress-free process and the services I offer are sweet and simple."
The next moves...
With the space completed and ready to welcome guests, Michelle's plan is to hold an official open day, and to begin networking with nearby businesses.
"In the meantime, anyone can get in touch, ask questions, have a sneaky peak at the venue and get a feel of the place," she said.
"I'm working on appointments only, so I can give couples private and quality time to ask questions.
"I am very excited for what the future holds and looking forward to meeting couples in love, working alongside local businesses and being part of the Dolphin Quay family!"