Month two – from engaged to married.

All you need is love .. and to follow are real life wedding

Sharmain and Jeremy

Month two


The day before they became engaged people.

When you start the wedding planning process, usually the first couple of things that are decided are the date, venue and the budget. The budget generally determines the venue and the venue can in turn determine the date (if it’s already booked or not) which is turn determines the number of guests, style of the event, food, drink etc.

So this month has been all about the wedding ceremony venue, and after alot of discussion among themselves and friends and family who have been through the wedding planning process, we have a winner, and it’s locked in!!

When they thought about what was important in choosing their ideal venue Sharmain and Jeremy had to think about the guest list, and nearby spots for photo opportunities, they also want their dog to be able to be a part of the special day in some way, so they had to consider somewhere that he would be welcome at or where he could maybe be bought at some point of the day for some photos with them.  Possibly the biggest challenge when deciding on the venue was finding somewhere which they both liked, which was semi private (no random strangers walking in) and a place that none of their family members had gotten married at before, there has been alot of weddings in the family in the last few years, so this was easier said than done.

This handsome fellow needs to be part of the ceremony

Because they were lucky enough to find the venue, view it and then book in, they have actually moved the wedding date up by a year, (yes it’s all about to get real, real fast!)

They have decided on who will be in their wedding party, but have yet to actually ask everyone, and have been lucky enough to secure one kick-arse celebrant (me) for the day.  Sharmain feels like everything is nicely falling into place .. so far.

‘Save the date’ cards will be sent out to friends and family who will need to travel to attend the wedding shortly and once whe’ve told our friends and family the date and venue, it will be all go.

The next big decision will be the reception venue, they are yet to decide between two different places, but that’s another blog post.


Celebrant Secrets

All you need is love and … some insider info from a celebrant.

shannon and sean
Shannon and Sean

I’ve been lucky enough to do a job I adore and have been the celebrant at a lot of weddings, and every single one, I try and learn something from, especially the one’s where things maybe don’t go according to the plan.  I thought I would put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard in this case and share some of the things I’ve learnt to assist you in your wedding planning.

  • There will always be someone who turns up in jeans, regardless of the dress code.  My personal belief is that there are only two occasions where you should show your respect for an occasion and dress accordingly and that is a wedding and a funeral. Unless of course the dress code is super casual (eg jeans and t-shirt) you should always put on a nice pair of pants.
last chance
  • There will always be that one person who thinks it’s funny to say “There’s still time to run” to the groom before the ceremony.
  • Make sure your dress fits properly.  Make sure it is tailored specifically for your body, so you don’t have any gaping areas, or are not worried about ‘the girls’ accidentally falling out at any time.  It will look better for photos and you will feel and thus look better if you know it fits perfectly.
  • Make sure that grooms/groomsman have ironed their shirts and not just pulled them straight out of the packaging moments before the ceremony, and in advice from another celebrant you can read about here: People we love: Nicola Wall – Celebrant, make sure the gents have also tried on their pants, to make sure they are the right length, especially if they have been tailored for them.

    Every bride looks beautiful on their wedding day

  • Allow a lot more time for everything the week and day of the wedding, everything will take longer than you anticipate, in my experience with brides, especially hair and make-up. It will be easier to fill in extra time (think a sneaky champers with the girls) than to be in a panic because you are late. If you are having your photos before your ceremony then making sure you have budgeted enough time in the morning will make sure you have ample time to relax and get those awesome photos.
  • Weddings bring out the worst in people.  Especially family. Make sure everyone is on the same page with duties and expectations, otherwise it will drive you crazy and take the shine off your wedding.


  • Lollipops are awesome distractors for little people on the big day during the ceremony.  Lollipops encourage them to generally stand still and they find it hard to make too much noise with their mouth full of lollipop.
  • Even the most chilled out bride will be stressed the day before the ceremony.  The key is to be organised, not just yourself but your groom, family and wedding party.
  • Don’t leave writing your vows till the day/evening before your wedding. It will put too much stress on yourself and make your celebrant tear her/his hair out.
  • Remember your wedding day should be a reflection and celebration of your love, not what great Aunty Fanny thinks you should have.
  • Have a plan B, just in case.
  • Every wedding is beautiful, whether it is big, small, expensive or on a budget.

I am absolutely honoured every time I get to bring together two people who have decided that they want to spend the rest of their lives together.  Every wedding is full of love and joy and those looks that lovebirds share with each other, and it makes my heart sing to be able to witness and share that each time.

When it’s all too much

All you need is love and … how to elope!

run away

Sometimes it all gets a bit too much.  Maybe every man and his dog is putting their two cents worth into your wedding planning, maybe the two of you are constantly arguing, maybe the mother in law is being well.. a mother in law, maybe the costs are spiralling out of control, maybe you’re looking at each other and thinking ‘maybe we should just elope?’ You definitely wouldn’t be the first people to have these thoughts and you probably won’t be the last.  So here’s the skinny of whether it’s a good idea for you and some things to consider when you’re making the decision about running away to get married.


  • Prepare yourself for family and friends reactions- You will probably be on the receiving end of some strong reactions from your loved ones.  You need to be steadfast in your decision and not apologise.
  • Take care of the legal details – Different countries have different rules and legalities when it comes to marriage, make sure you are aware of the requirements for the area you are getting married.
  • Make a list – Make a list before of all the important people you will want to contact on the day, after you get married, parents, siblings, best friends, and make sure you call them to let them know the news before you make a larger announcement.  It will lessen the impact and surprise if these important people know first.
  • Send out a marriage announcement – Maybe when you get back from your honeymoon or just your wedding day, make a more formal announcement, most people do this on Facebook etc to let the rest of your people know that you got married.  This means that people that came to your engagement party etc know what’s going on.
  • Don’t down play the day – Just because it’s not the big white extravaganza, doesn’t mean that you can’t make it special and important.  You can still have a special dress/suit, maybe a favourite meal/bottle of bubbles, whatever you like to make the day special and memorable.  Remember it’s still your wedding day.
  • Get good photos – Photos are all you will have left of the day, because you won’t have many (if any) guests, so take the time and expense to get good photos of the ceremony and day.  It helps the guests that didn’t get invited feel better if they can see photos of the day.
  • Post wedding party – You can opt to have a post wedding party when you get home, to celebrate with family and friends.  This will be more relaxed than a wedding would be and you still get to share this special time with your closest ones.
big deal

No doubt whichever way you do it, you will still hurt people’s feelings.  But remember that your wedding day should be about you and your love and your lives together, not petty bickering and jealousy among those important to you.


Wedding Ceremony Backdrops

All you need is love and … something incredible to stand in front of.

Depending on your wedding ceremony location you may want to spend some time thinking about what you will use as a backdrop to your ceremony. People will obviously be looking at you, but it’s kind of nice to have something else attractive for your guests to look at, and to feature in your photos.

Many of these suggestions will work for either outside or inside.


tree backdrop
  • Tree – if you’re ceremony is in a garden/park surround, and you’re planning to stand under a giant tree, there’s  a few ways you can pimp it. You could use a huge piece of fabric and drape it over and around a few of the branches on either side of you.  You could also use the branches to hang fairy lights, or hanging glass jars filled with flowers or candles.
flower backdrop
  • Flower wall – either real (the more expensive option) or artificial, you can DIY yourself a large floral backdrop, incorporating your wedding colours or your wedding flowers.
  • Blackboard wall – You can have a large wall made, which stands up by itself and then either DIY it yourself or have it professionally sign written, either with a personalised message or quote or your names etc, the possibilities are endless.
flower arbour
  • Arbour – These can be adapted into many different ways.  You can have a wire one decorated with fabric, or a wooden one made decorated with fresh/artificial flowers.  You can use streamers, in your wedding colours, hanging lights, curtains, hanging lines or flowers, or paper cranes or whatever you like really, they really are very versatile.
  • Giant letter – Giant letters, LOVE or KISS or your initials or a red love heart would look very effective, and a bit different.
hanging picture frames
  • Hanging picture frames – Hang various shaped and sized picture frames either from an arbour or a tree branch.
  • Doors – You could purchase and DIY yourself a beautiful backdrop (especially if you’re doing a rustic theme) to stand at your altar. These could be painted to your wedding colours or left unpainted and rustic.
Ruffled - photo by -
  • Hand written sign – Paper hand-written signs are probably more suited to inside weddings, because of the fragility of them.  You could have a special poem or saying or quote professionally written onto a roll of brown paper and then hung at the altar and the end could trail down the aisle. Alternatively you could create the same effect on material which would be a little bit more robust.

These are just  a few options for creating a beautiful altar/backdop for your ceremony space.


Guest Book Ideas

All you need is love … and a creative guest book idea.

Not everyone wants an actual book guest book.  There’s heaps of ways you can get creative when it comes to asking your guests to note that they were at your wedding.  You can even end up with a beautiful piece of artwork to display in your house to remember the day.

  • Jigsaw puzzle – You can get a blank puzzle made and ask everyone to sign a piece of it.  Or you could have a picture of the two of you made into a puzzle and then ask everyone to sign the back of it, either way pretty neat idea.
puzzle piece
  • Jenga pieces – Either use an actual jenga game and ask your guest to sign a piece of the game, or have a game made for you, and maybe have pink and blue pieces made and have a grooms side versus brides side.
  • Polaroid camera – Use a polaroid camera to encourage your guests to take a photo of themselves and write a message on the bottom.
  • Decorative stones – Ask your guests to sign or place a message on stones that you could then use in your garden.
  • Date night jar – Ask your guests to come up wtih a date night suggestion and sign it and place it into a jar, then when you pull out a suggestion you’ll be reminded of your guest who made the suggestion.
  • Globe – Use a beautiful old fashioned globe as a guest book, and ask your guests to sign it.  Would be perfect if you had alot of guests attending your wedding from overseas. It would be beautiful to display in your home.
  • Special wine bottle – You could use a bottle or magnum (larger bottle) of your favourite champagne or wine as a guest book and ask your guests to sign it using a gold/silver sharpie.  You could have a custom wine label printed for the event.
  • Piece of artwork – Have a photo of the two of you blown up and then ask your guest to either sign the back of the artwork or on the frame.
  • Wooden letter – You can purchase large wooden letters (maybe the first letter of your married name) and then have your guests sign it, it would be stunning displayed in your home.
  • Tree guest book – There are some beautiful artworks you can purchase of a tree/ bunch of balloons etc where your guests place a inked thumbprint upon.
  • Shadow box filled with hearts – Ask your guests to write a message o sign a heart shape and then insert it into a shadow box to display.

There are alot of creative ways to make sure you capture a snapshot of all the lovely guests who shared your special day with you.

How to full your dessert belly

All you need is love … and an alternative to a wedding cake.

So you’re in the middle of wedding planning and it’s time to choose the wedding cake.  But what if you don’t want the traditional 3 tier fruit cake covered in thick white icing?  Every one knows there always room for dessert no matter who much you’ve already eaten. So here’s some alternatives to the traditional wedding cake.

macaroon tower
  • Cupcakes- You can hire/buy some pretty fancy cupcake stands to create a beautiful display.  You can still have a smaller traditional cake for the top and to do the cutting of the cake, if you still want to have a little tradition.
  • Donut tower – As with a cupcake tower the good thing about these options is you can have a variety of flavours to accommodate varying tastes.
  • Macaroon tower – These look absolutely stunning.  You can have different flavours and colours to create one of a kind displays.





  • Cake pops – These are heaven on a stick, you can have numerous flavours and decorations, and there are alot of different ways they can be displayed.
  • Pies – You could use either big family size pies (apple, apricot, pumpkin, banoffee etc) and serve slices with whipped cream or ice cream or have smaller individual size pies.
  • Cookies – There are 100’s of different kinds of cookies and you could have big cookies or mini cookies.  Imagine serving a wee shot glass of milk and a choc chip cookie as desert.


  • Ice cream sundae bar – People love a good make your own situation, and you could have a build your own sundae desert bar at your wedding. You could include numerous types of ice -cream and then sprinkles, sauces, nuts, fruit the combinations are endless.
  • Desert bar – A combination of cookies, cupcakes, cake pops, lollies, pies so your guests have a choice.
  • Choc fountain – Have one or a couple of chocolate fountains (one milk choc and one white choc) and an assortment of fresh fruit.
  • Croquem bouch – These are a tower of choux pastry covered in spun sugar, they look pretty spectacular.
  • Mr Whippy Ice Cream Truck – you could have the ice cream truck turn up at the end of the night, so guests can re-live those childhood memories of soft serve ice cream.
cheese cake


And my personal favourite, the cheese cake. A cake made of rounds of different types of cheese for those who prefer a more savoury option.