Australia

Coast nurse on virus frontline launches dream business

A Sunshine Coast nurse will transform community halls into unique wedding venues as part of a new business venture.

Rachel Okuma is turning her wedding business dream into a reality after launching Weddings with You and Me this week.

Mrs Okuma and husband Sam are partnering with Coast community halls and Rachel's brother, former Masterchef contestant Matt Sinclair, to offer a one-stop shop for wedding styling, planning, co-ordination and hall hire.

Mrs Okuma, who is working on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, said she always wanted to launch her own wedding business.

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But it was after the death of a patient who was also a close friend, that she realised she did not want to wait any longer.

"I lost a dear friend who was actually a breast-cancer patient of mine," Mrs Okuma said.

"That's been the catalyst to make the change and to do something I really wanted to do but haven't been brave enough."

Rachel and Sam Okuma, pictured with Rachel's parents Vicky and Craig Sinclair and brother and sister-in-law Matt and Jess, are excited for the launch of Weddings with You and Me. Picture: Jesse Purcell

Rachel and Sam Okuma, pictured with Rachel's parents Vicky and Craig Sinclair and brother and sister-in-law Matt and Jess, are excited for the launch of Weddings with You and Me. Picture: Jesse Purcell

Her brother Matt, owner of Sum Yung Guys, will also be involved in the business.

For the first time Mr Sinclair will offer catering for weddings, as part of one of the wedding packages.

The siblings formerly worked together in the wedding planning industry in Sydney.

Mrs Okuma said Conondale Hall was the first venue to partner with Weddings with You and Me and discussions had begun with Mapleton Hall.

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She said some of the Coast halls had untapped potential as wedding venues.

Conondale Hall is the first hall on the Sunshine Coast to be available for hire through new wedding planning business Weddings with You and Me. Picture: Jesse Purcell

Conondale Hall is the first hall on the Sunshine Coast to be available for hire through new wedding planning business Weddings with You and Me. Picture: Jesse Purcell

"The halls have really sparked something in me in terms of their interesting history and I feel like there's plenty potential there for weddings," she said.

"I'm hoping to eventually have a portfolio of halls of different sizes to work with."

The business will offer three packages with a personal touch based on the bride and grooms' wishes.

The packages range from basic venue hire, decorations and planning to a full package with catering.

"I've been mindful that weddings can be expensive, and I wanted to be able to offer something to a broad range of budgets," she said.

Rachel and Sam Okuma with children Harry and Ruby.

Rachel and Sam Okuma with children Harry and Ruby.


"We won't have a particular style because I feel like each wedding is unique and it's really important to give people their dream wedding.

"Weddings are all about the bride and groom and what they're after.

"We'll be really big on working with people's budgets to give them exactly what they want."

Mrs Okuma said they would accept bookings for weddings from March 2021.

For more information follow the business's Instagram.

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