How to include your children in your wedding ceremony.

All you need is love and … a way to include your children in your wedding ceremony.

As a celebrant, I find a large percentage of the couples I marry already have children, either together or they are blending two families when they marry.  Most couples want a way to include or at the very least acknowledge their children in their wedding ceremony.  Here’s a list of some of the different ways you can do this.

Bridesmaids or groomsman – you can include your children, depending on their age as a bridesmaid or groomsman/best man.  This type of role is best suited to a child who understands what’s going on, and can stand still long enough.

Unity ceremony – the whole idea behind a unity ceremony is the joining together of (usually two) people, but it’s an awesome way to incorporate your children into the ceremony. You could preform a sand ceremony (where you pour different coloured sands into a vessel) or a candle ceremony ( where you each light a central candle with a smaller candle)

Write children into vows – Use the platform of your vows to include a mention to your children. I like to use the I Do’s part and write a portion about supporting the other person to be the best mum/dad to your child. It’s a very effective way to make a small acknowledgement of the children if that’s what you’re going for.

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Walk down the aisle – You can have your children walk down the aisle with you. If your children are older they could actually do the ‘giving away’ part, or if they are smaller they could just walk hand in hand with you.

Reading or poem – Depending on the child’s age and confidence level, you could ask them to perform a reading or poem, or ask them to write a poem themselves to read out at the wedding.

Flower girl/Ring bearer – Little people are super cute as flower girls or ring bearers.

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Vows – There are numerous examples of children saying vows as well as the couple. Again the decision should be based on age, and their understanding of the wedding process.  It could be as simple as a question and the child simply saying “I Do” or in the case of a blended family, the step parent saying vows or promises to the child.

Picking the ring, or helping plan the proposal – Depending on the age of the child, you could include them in the picking of the engagement ring, or involve them in the planning and execution of the proposal.  Just make sure they can keep a secret.

Invite them to join the first dance – Ask your children to join you a little bit after the first dance starts, super cute.

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Sign the marriage certificate – Your children can sign the marriage certificate, as long as they understand entirely what they are signing.  If you don’t think they are quite age appropriate to do that, you can ask your celebrant to produce a family certificate (not legal) and all sign that on the day as well.

Hand fasting ritual – Include your children in a hand-fasting ritual, as part of the ceremony.

Exchange gifts with children – You can exchange rings with your children as well as your husband/wife or another piece of jewellery altogether, maybe a necklace or pendant or a signet ring.  I do know of a couple who had 4 rings made, and the children’s rings fit into adults rings, very cool.

Handing out ceremony booklets – Use children to hand out ceremony booklets or bubbles or confetti to guests before the ceremony starts, and usher people to their seats.

Play music – If your child is a talented musician, ask them to showcase their musical abilities before the ceremony begins.

Getaway car – Ask them to help decorate the getaway car, you know the deal, tin cans, streamers, ‘just married’ sign.

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Photographer in training – Give them a cheap camera, with a strap for added security, and ask them to take photos after the ceremony and during the reception.  You’ll be amazed at the shots you’ll get, and you’ll see the celebration from their point of view.

Just remember to think about the age of the child, what are they going to be able to handle on the day? What type of personality do they have, are the super confident or very shy? Are they liable to say something inappropriate at the wrong time? Also think about to what extent you want to include your children.  Some couples just want a small mention of their children in the ceremony, and the rest focused on them as a couple committing, while others want to include the children saying vows to the family unit as well. Your celebrant should be able to point you in the right direction, and give you lots of options.

Remember as always that it is your day, and to do it your way.

 

 

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What is a naming ceremony?

All you need is love and … a naming ceremony.

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As a celebrant I am able to perform many different types of ceremonies, and as well as wedding ceremonies I am also available to conduct naming ceremonies.  Back the truck up, but what is a naming ceremony? How does it all happen? Sounds like fun! How do I go ahead with it?

What is a naming ceremony? A naming ceremony is a non-religious celebration of the arrival of a new child, a way to introduce him/her to family and friends. It is usually organised by parents who want to mark their child’s arrival with a celebration, but in a non-religious way.

Is a naming ceremony legal? A naming ceremony is a private occasion, so there is no legal status to the ceremony.  It is not the same as legally registering a child’s birth through Births/Deaths and Marriages.

Who can have a naming ceremony?  Naming ceremonies are appropriate for any age, a new baby, and adopted child or uniting step children, or even a adult name change.

Where can we have a naming ceremony? Naming ceremonies can be performed anywhere, as long as you have the permission of the owner. Popular spots are homes, parks, halls.

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What kinds of things are included in a naming ceremony? The sky is the limit for this one, because it is not a legal ceremony, there are no real “have-to’s” attached to the process so there are lots of ideas, including poems, readings, quotes, time capsule, tree planting, candle lighting, wish making, video for guests, wishing well cards etc.  Your celebrant will be able to point you in the right direction and offer you heaps of ideas to make your ceremony perfect

I don’t know of any quotes or readings I want. Do I have to have them? No, your child’s naming ceremony will be completely unique to your family, so if you’ve not sure about poems or readings then you don’t have to have them. Your celebrant will be able to share with you some appropriate examples of readings, if you do want to include one but aren’t sure where to start.

I want to include my child’s grandparents.  Is there a way to do this? Absolutely.  I recognise the importance of a child’s extended family, and there are many different ways we can recognise, acknowledge and include any of the extended family into a naming ceremony.

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When can we have a naming ceremony? There is no time limit for when you can hold a naming ceremony for your child. A lot of families combine the first birthday and naming ceremony.  It’s a great way to have a double celebration at a time when you may have gathered friends and family together already.  Some couples like to wait until the first few months are out of the way, when things are a little more settled in the family.  Older children also love to have a day of celebration all about them, so any age is fine.

Does it matter if I’m a single parent/we’re not married or a same sex couple?  Absolutely not! I’d be delighted to be involved in helping any parent or couple celebrate and mark their new arrival.

A naming ceremony sounds right up my alley. But I hate public speaking, as a parent do I have to say anything? Most naming ceremonies do actually include the parents making some kind of commitment or promise to the child. However if you would prefer not to speak there are definitely ways around it.  For example you could do a “we promise” answer after the celebrant has read your promises.

How much work will I have to do to organise the naming ceremony? I completely understand that first year brain fog of child-rearing.  So much like a wedding ceremony I will come and visit you at your place, no need to drag your family out to see me. We will discuss what your thoughts are, I will offer suggestions and examples, ask you a whole lot of questions, and then head off and write you a naming ceremony.  I will send this to you to take a look at, we will fine-tune it, and then that will be what is performed on the day.  I will have all the props and tools for the day with me, so you don’t have to remember to bring anything with you. My aim is for it to all go smoothly, well as smoothly as a ceremony involving a small child can (I know they can be unpredictable) and for you as parents to totally enjoy the experience and day.

Is there any way to add a  momento of the day? I have totally customisable certificates that parents and guide-parents can sign on the day as a keepsake of the special day, for the child to treasure in days ahead.

How is a naming ceremony structured? Below is a loose structure for a naming ceremony, of course everything is customisable to the family.

  • Introduction and welcome to guests
  • Reading or poem
  • Information about the child – their arrival, personality, traits so far
  • Words about the importance and responsibility of parenting
  • Parental promises to the child
  • Reading or poem
  • Importance of wider family in the child’s life (grandparents/cousins/aunts etc)
  • Appointment of guideparents/mentors/support/godparents
  • Guideparents promises
  • Reasons for choice of name
  • The naming itself
  • Concluding words

If the idea of a naming ceremony sounds like the perfect way for you to celebrate the arrival of a new member of you family, then get in touch and we can discuss the best way to mark your new arrival. And of course you can include cake and wine!

The most over-looked part of wedding planning.

All you need is love and … a great wedding ceremony.

“It doesn’t really matter” “Don’t make it too long, I don’t want the guests to get bored” “It’s not the most important part of the day” “Just make it short, so we can start drinking”

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All statements I’ve heard or seen when talking about planning the actual wedding ceremony. Which kind of breaks my heart a little bit every time.  Now I’ve said this before, and, I may be slightly biased based on the fact that I’m a celebrant and am lucky enough to help couples on their wedding planning journey. But time and time again I hear about people who have the entire wedding planned out, either in real life or on Pinterest, but have not had a single thought about the actual ceremony.  And to a degree I get that. Often when I meet couples we establish that they are in the camp of “we’ve never done this before and we don’t know what we’re doing” and that’s cool, because that is where a awesome celebrant will hold your hand (figuratively, not actually, well maybe if you’re really nervous) and explain the options and the process and the importance of your wedding ceremony.

Your wedding ceremony should set the tone for your entire wedding day. It is in fact the party starter.  Way back in the day, wedding ceremonies had to follow a certain script, and they were all pretty much the same.  You said exactly what the officiant wrote for you. I can imagine that not a lot of brides and grooms can even remember what they said to each other. But times have changed, big time. Couples have so much more say in what they want to include as part of their ceremony, and I for one am excited about this.  There are so many different ways you can structure your ceremony, and so many different elements you can include. It definitely gives a couple more control and choice to help their celebrant create their perfect ceremony. If you are serious and believe that a wedding should be a restrained and solemn occasion and want a ceremony that reflects that, then great, you can absolutely have that, and you need to choose a celebrant who can deliver that. If the two of you have any interesting, quirky or fun elements to your relationship then I believe it is your responsibility and right to roll in that direction.  A ceremony should reflect your different personalities and your relationship together. I believe if you do not have a ceremony that reflects you two together then you are doing a dis-service to your guests, and to yourselves.  You do not want your guests to walk away from your ceremony thinking “what on earth was that. I don’t even know who the celebrant was talking about!” So in saying that no two wedding ceremonies should be the same, (except for the legal parts that have to be done) and if your celebrant is just going to ‘cut and paste’ your ceremony then find another celebrant.  You, your guests and your love deserve a personalised and original wedding ceremony.

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Yes I understand the wedding ceremony, can be uncomfortable, and for most people it is the most nerve-wracking part of the day. Of course it’s not everyday that you share a piece of your heart with your loved one and your friends and family. And I know that public speaking is not every-ones cup of tea.  But in saying that how many times in your life will you be able to make such a grand gesture and acknowledge all the reasons you love  your partner and share your promises for the future, to them, and your friends and family?  I believe it’s an extremely memorable and emotional act of love, and should be treated as such.

Yes wedding planning can be fun. It can be so exciting to choose the dress and the colours, and the table decorations and share the experience with your girlfriends or your mum.  I also know for some people (mainly brides) it can become all consuming.  It can literally take over your life.  It is also really easy for a couple to lose sight of what the day is really about.  It is about celebrating your love story.

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When you are getting married you are committing to your loved one  for the rest of your lives.  You are making declarations to each other in front of your family and friends that you will love each other, despite the fact that she wears leopard print a little too much, and he always leaves his shoes in the middle of the doorway. You are becoming a team, where you know the other person will always have your back.  And if that is not worth focusing on and totally celebrating then I don’t know what is!

 

I Love You

All you need is love and … creative ways to say I Love You.

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Falling in love can be relatively easy, staying in love can be a little harder. Sometimes life happens and gets in the way, and it’s easy to take each other for granted and not put the effort in. It’s important to show  your loved one how important they are to you, and it doesn’t need to be extravagant (sky sign-writing) or expensive (round the world trips) Below is a list of cute, creative and inexpensive ways to show that special someone how much you love them.

1 Mixed tape (or CD or USB stick) – use a selection of your and their favourite songs.

2 Go screen free – set up a media free day/evening/time and just be present.

3 Plan a surprise date – maybe take them back to where you first met.

4 Hand made card – nothing beats hand-made with love.

5 Freshly baked cookies.

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6 Love letter – a hand-written love letter never goes out of style.

7 Mirror message – write a message in the steam on the bathroom mirror.

8 Lunch love note – slip a little love note into their lunch box.

9 Make their lunch for them.

10 Flowers – you can never go wrong with flowers.

11 Breakfast in bed – surprise your loved one with breakfast in bed.

12 Funny video – send them a funny video/meme or youtube video.

13 Cook dinner – surprise them with their favourite dinner.

14 Early morning text – Text a sneaky cute ‘good morning. I love you’ text.

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15 Cute photo – send them a photo of the two of you together.

16 Ask how their day was – and actually listen.

17 Let them pick the movie.

18 Teach them how to do something you love – share your passion, and be patient.

19 Walk on the beach together – build sandcastles, write you names in the sand.

20 Go window shopping together – pretend you’re mega rich and can buy anything.

21 Write them a poem – not all poems need to rhyme.

22 Take a bath together – bubbles, wine, candles.

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23 Go for a park up – find a secluded spot with a great view and enjoy a picnic in the car.

24 Back row at the movies – sit in the back row of the movies and snuggle.

25 Fill up the car – fill up their car for them as a surprise.

26 NSFW text – send them a little X rated text.

27 Board-games – play a favourite board-game together.

28 Favourite magazine – buy the latest issue of their favourite magazine.

29 Dessert – pick up dessert on the way home, even if it’s a magnum ice-cream.

30 Toothpaste – put toothpaste on their toothbrush for them.

31 Post it note – use a post it note to send them a sweet message, on their steering wheel.

Remember it’s the thought that counts, not how expensive it is. So go forth and spread that love around all over the show.