A list of 12 of the most overlooked elements of a wedding day.
I’m married AF
I’ve been married nearly half my life, coming up 20 years July 2019, so I feel somewhat qualified to talk about marriage. I can actually only really talk about my own marriage, because I have no idea how other couples navigate their own relationships, and quite frankly that really has nothing to do with me.
If you can’t be silly with your husband, who can you be silly with?
So what does marriage mean to me?
To me it means sharing my life with someone who I love.
To me it means that I will share the great experiences, the fun stuff, the adventures, the travel, the life-changing stuff (like the kid arriving and the raising of him) and the silly conversations, it also means that he’ll be there for the not so great things too, like sickness, like grumpy days, like depression, like those times when things don’t turn out the way you wanted them too. He’ll be there for those times, when I can’t make up my mind what I want to eat, when I really want to figure out how to do something myself and get frustrated when I need to ask for help, and when I make less than stellar decisions, and I need him to help me pick up the pieces. For me it doesn’t mean that I become one with him, because literally I’m not sure how that would happen, and I’m my own person, always have been, always will be, just like he is. It also doesn’t mean that I love everything little thing about him, because there are definitely things about him, that absolutely drive me up the wall, and I’m sure there are things that he is not so enamoured by me either, but it does mean that I love his vibe, I love his values, and his outlook on life.
For me it means that we’ll dig in deep when the sh#t hits the fan, because we’re both committed to making this work. It means that we always love hard, but that we love harder when things are not quite as amazing as they can be. It means that I can be completely honest with him, about how I’m feeling about all the things, because that is what he signed on for. It also means that I will stop and listen to him when he needs to off load. It means that I can’t promise to fix all the things that are wrong, but that I will always be there to help him figure it out, and then cheer him on. It means that I honour and respect myself, and know that occasionally I need time to myself to work on myself, to help me grow into the person I need to be and that I know he needs time to follow his own passion, whatever that looks like.
It means knowing that I will continue to love him, in all the different forms he will encompass throughout our lives together, just as I hope he will for me. Because we are definitely not the same people we were when we stood before each other, and our friends and family and promised to love each other on our wedding day.
And frankly I can’t think of a better person to share this crazy thing called life with!
Banish the word should from wedding planning
The word “should” it’s quite a small word, quite simple, but it has the power to make you reassess your ideas about what you and your partner want your wedding day to look and feel like.
It has the power to create arguments and resentment between you and your family and/or bridal party.
It has the power to make you spend way more money than you actually need and/or want to.
It has the power to make you feel like you’re not good enough, or your wedding isn’t going to be good enough.
So let’s remove the word ‘should’ and give yourself the freedom to use the word ‘could’ instead!
How to be the most awesome wedding guest ever.
How to be the most awesome wedding guest ever!
To be invited to a wedding is an absolute honour and privilege, it is absolutely not a give in, just because you’re the bride’s best friend’s mother’s brother, and it should be treated as such!
There are some things that will make you the absolute best wedding guest ever!
*Never assume you will be invited (and don’t hassle the bride) there are so many factors that go into planning a wedding (budget, venue, location) that not everyone will be invited.
*Always RSVP, this is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, co-ordinating the RSVP’s, so make the brides day by yes’ing or no’ing as soon as you can.
*Don’t ask to bring a plus one, if it hasn’t been stipulated on the invitation for you to bring one.
*Adhere to the dress code – there are only two occasions in life where dressing up is required, weddings and funerals, so honour the occasion, by leaving the tracksuits and crocs at home and donning a suit or appropriate dress.
*Arrive on time – don’t make the bride wait because you’re late, don’t be the person creeping in at the back late. If you’re not sure where you’re going beforehand, google it and download the map!
*Don’t take photos, especially if you’re told by the celebrant etc not to. Some occasions in life don’t need to be seen through the lens of a phone or ipad!
*Don’t think that you’re the funniest person alive by mentioning to the groom when he’s waiting for the bride “it’s not too late to run” it is possibly the most disrespectful thing to say at the wedding.
*Don’t get stinking drunk and hit on every one with a pulse.
*Dont spend the whole wedding reception on your phone, not engaging with the other guests.
Be excited to be in a space where love is honoured and act accordingly.
How to fight.
Any one who’s been in a relationship longer than five minutes knows that you will inevitably have an argument at some point. I mean of course you will because you are expecting two people to come together and share their lives together, two people who come from completely different backgrounds, have different relationship role models and have different personalities, it’s a wonder any relationships make it at all!
Yes, you’re going to fight, but how are you doing it, and is your style of fighting a help or hindrance in your relationship. Here’s a few things to think about before that little petty, nagging argument turns into WW3.
Agree that fighting is normal and a sign of a healthy relationship. If you didn’t fight it meant that you didn’t care enough about your relationship, and it’s completely normal to disagree, but it’s how you argue that’s going to make or break your bond.
Don’t go for the low blow. Don’t resort to name calling or playing on your partners insecurities, it’s not cool, and it’s not really going to do anything in helping you resolve the issue your arguing about. This is the person that you love, do you really want to hurt them like that?
Be honest. Don’t say what you think your partner wants to hear, instead of what you actually think.
Don’t read your partners mind. You don’t always know what’s going on in the other person’s head, and it can be a dangerous game to assume.
Take responsibility for your own part. Successful partnerships require both partners to take ownership of their own stuff, their mistakes, assumptions, and not blame everything on the other person. As the saying goes “It takes two to tango!”
Don’t run from the fight. It’s definitely easy to walk away from a fight, and bury your head in the sand and pretend that everything’s hunky dory but … it won’t go away, it will continue to show up in your relationship over and over again, until you deal with it.
Don’t fight when you are hungry (hangry) or tired or distracted. These three scenarios are the perfect storm for a fight to escalate to the next level, and sometimes the very reason that could be arguing in the first place is that you are hangry, tired or distracted.
Acknowledge the other’s feelings and point of view. Just because you acknowledge the other’s feelings, doesn’t mean that you are agreeing with them. All anyone wants in an argument is to know that what they are saying and feeling is being heard by the other person.
Fight about one thing at a time. It’s so easy to go from fighting about spending money to move on to why the other person is never home, to how they don’t pull their weight around the house to how they always leave the toilet seat up. You need to stay on track and if you go off on a tangent then rein it in back to the original issue you started with.
Don’t text fight. Or email or DM or any of today’s modern ways of communicating. Texting is possibly the easiest way in the world to misconstrue the meaning behind a message, because there are no facial expressions, or tone of voice to help frame a message. Keep it to face to face or phone.
Take turns talking, and let the person finish what they want to say before you start talking. Listening with out interrupting or mentally thinking about your response is one of the hardest skills to master, but one of the most important. Each person needs to have the opportunity to state their case.
Ultimately you need to remember that it’s completely normal and even healthy to argue, it means that you are passionate about your relationship, and feel safe and secure enough to share how you feel with your partner. One thing that sticks in my mind is the thought that in the big picture we are a team, and that we both need to feel happy, fulfilled and content with our relationship.
How not to be a dick!
All you need is love … and to not be a dick when planning your wedding.
Weddings are stressful, and expensive and hard work. There we said it! The process of planning a wedding will probably be one of the biggest, most expensive things you will ever do in your life, and because you’re only planning on doing it once, you absolutely want to do it right the first time.
But … that doesn’t mean that you get to be a dick!
How not to be a dick to your vendors: Yes your wedding is super important to you, and you want it to go perfectly, and you want to get the most bang for your buck, and weddings are expensive. Vendors all know this, and most vendors have been around the block a few times so will definitely have advice and maybe even tips and professional tricks to help you make your day the absolute best. The old saying “You get more flies with honey” or something along these lines, definitely rings true here. Vendors are people too, who have lives and kids and sometimes other jobs too, so they will not necessarily be at your beck and call all hours of the day and night, to answer those 3am questions that you just have to ask at 3am! All vendors ask is that they are treated with respect, that you respect that they are people too, and should be treated with courtesy and like the professionals that they are. Building a relationship with a vendor starts from that very first enquiry.
How not to be a dick to your bridesmaids: You’re excited about planning your wedding, and are just as excited that you’re going to have your girls beside you to enjoy the journey with you. Sometimes your girls are not as excited (and/or consumed) about the wedding as you may be, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be a tremendous support and help to you, leading up to the wedding and of course on the day. Weddings can make or break some friendships, usually because the bride has very high expectations for the level of involvement they require of their bridesmaids. You need to think carefully before you choose your girls, especially if you have friends who have high flying careers and work alot, or friends who are planning on getting pregnant or have small children, or friends that live on the other side of the world. In my honest opinion when asking your friends to be bridemaids, have a very honest conversation about the level of involvement, and cost of the wedding. If you require your bridesmaids to attend weekly planning meetings and pay for an overseas hen’s weekend and a very expensive dress (that they probably won’t ever wear again, let’s be honest), then lay that out on the table before it becomes ugly and friendships are strained.
How not to be a dick to friends and family: Sometimes your family wants to pay (or help pay) for the wedding, sometimes they don’t. And sometimes if they want to pay or at least contribute, then they may impose some conditions on their offer. They may feel as though that entitles them to add some extras to the guest list, or decide what alcohol will be provided. Once again communication is key when dealing with these issues, you need to be able to stand up to the family (as a united front), if you need to, and you need to be able to walk away from any offer if it feels like you’re going to be held to ransom. I think the most important thing is to have a clear idea of how you see your day going, stick to your guns, if you need to and be polite but fair with well meaning friends and family.
How not to be a dick to each other: Just because you’ve finally snagged your partner and promised to marry them, doesn’t give you licence to be a dick to them. After all this is the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with. Weddings, and especially the last couple of weeks, can be incredibly stressful for a couple. You have friends and family giving you their two cents worth, you may have different priorities and ideas about your wedding, and there may be huge financial pressure on you both. So it’s incredibly important to communicate and be kind to each other. I’ve seen many a bride go off her nut at a groom at the rehearsal because he didn’t do what he was supposed to do when he was supposed to do it, or usually it’s because he just didn’t know what he was supposed to do.
Being a bride doesn’t mean you get to be a dick too.
Why the nerves? You’re only getting married!
All you need is love and … to remember why you’re there.
It’s pretty common knowledge that weddings bring out the nerves and stress in almost everyone, and if they say they’re not nervous they’re normally lying.
But, why are we nervous? There are normally two reasons why a bride or groom are nervous of their wedding day. They are freaking out about the actual act of getting married, because OMG I’m committing to spend the rest of my life with one person, or it’s OMG I’m standing up the front of 100ish people and they are all looking at me! In my experience it’s door number two 99% of the time (the OMG I’m standing in front of everyone reason) In most cases a really really jittery bride or groom (like full on cold feet, I don’t know if he’s really the one for me, can I do this for the rest of my life) will have resolved those feelings before the wedding, or they should have.
So let’s break down some of the reasons, you may be nervous on your wedding day.
“I’m worried I’m going to trip over, because I’m not used to wearing this big puffball of a dress or these heels.” In this case you practice, practice, practice walking in that dress with those shoes until you can do it with your eyes closed, you walk slowly, and you lean on the arm of who ever is escorting you. And if you trip, then you shake it off, laugh and keep going. In my experience I have had one bride trip (not fall over) and she laughed, and the guests laughed and it broke the ice, and you could visibly see her relax. And of course there’s no rules that state you have to wear heels under that puffball of a dress, flats, chucks, sneakers or even jandals will all be perfect if no one can even see them.
“I’m worried because everyone’s going to be looking at me.” If you are one of those people that get in a cold sweat and break out in hives at the thought of having to walk down the aisle and have everyone stare at you, then maybe a big wedding isn’t how you should celebrate the start of your marriage, maybe you should go with a small intimate wedding and then have a big party with all 200 of your family and friends. If you’re worried about the actual walk down the aisle, then feel free to mix it up and not walk, but just appear at the altar from the side, or ask your partner to meet you from the car and then walk down the aisle together, or even just mingle with your guests before the ceremony and then come together when you start.
“I’m worried that something won’t go according to my schedule, and the whole day will be ruined.” In essence a wedding is about two people who love each other the mostest and are committing to spend their lives together, and it’s also about friends and family, it’s not about centerpieces and place cards and chair covers, they are all nice to have, but your wedding is about all the feels, and your chair covers not matching your place cards matching your centerpieces should not affect the feel of your wedding day. Once you have done everything you can leading up to the wedding day, on the day you need to relax and let it go and enjoy having everyone you love in the same room.
“What if I stuff up my vows?” Take your time, everyone there at your wedding, doesn’t have any where else to be, otherwise they wouldn’t be there in the first place. You are standing in front of your friends and family, and the reason they’re all there is because they love and support your and your partner, so what if you stuff up the lines? A good celebrant will make you feel relaxed (well as relaxed as you can be, considering) and help you if you stumble.
Just remember that it’s completely normal to be a tad nervous on your wedding day, but don’t be so overwhelmed that you forget why you’re there and actually enjoy yourselves.
Different is good!
I love what I do, and I’m pretty sure that’s no secret to anyone who knows me or has been married by me. I have a really incredible job (and if you love what you do then it definitely doesn’t feel like a job, right?) I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet couples, all different types of people, from all different backgrounds and jobs and lifestyles and income brackets who all have one thing in common.
They have found the one person, out of all the billions of hearts in the world, who they love and who loves them, and they want to tell that person “I’m all in!”
I believe love and our love stories should be treated with respect and delicate hands, they are after all, our stories, the narration of our journey as a couple. I believe our stories should be listened to, and commented on, and sometimes I shed a tear over the good or the hard, or the unjust of the story, and usually we laugh over the fun, the awkward and the miscommunication of feelings, and a lot of the time I have to coax extra ‘stuff’ out of you, like ‘how did you feel about that’ because more often than not talking about all the ‘gooey’ feelings is hard. It’s not the usual Friday night activity of anyone to sit around and tell your loved one, ‘this is what I want to promise you in the future’ (maybe it should be, but that’s another story)
One of my favourite parts of the journey to get you married, is to find out more about you, your personalities and your relationship. I aim to find out as much as I can about your story so I can honour that and write you the best damn wedding ceremony I can! The more ‘gold’ you give me the better the ceremony will be! That’s why every wedding ceremony should be different, because every bride and every groom is different, every story is different, every relationship is different, every family is different, so in theory every ceremony should be different.
I have had a lot of guests come up to me after I’ve performed a wedding and say ‘wow, that was different’ and ‘that’s not what I was expecting’ and ‘that ceremony was so them’ and the first few times I was a little taken aback, thinking that there was something wrong with my ceremonies being ‘different’ or ‘not the norm’ but the more I reflected on it the more I agreed with the statements. Yip my ceremonies are different, and they should be different, because every love story is different, and yes they are different, because I’m aiming to create a ceremony that you will remember, that the bride and groom will remember and the guests will remember, because two people have decided they’re in it for the long haul, people! That’s huge, and we should remember it! A ceremony should bring all the feels, it should take you on a journey, it should represent and narrate a love story between two amazing people who want to share these feelings with you, their loved ones. I believe a ceremony should be interactive, guests should feel comfortable sharing their feelings, they should feel comfortable laughing when they hear something they like (like when the bride shares her first impression of the groom and that hipster moustache he was trying to grow) applauding when they see something epic (like that first kiss) they should ugly cry if the mood strikes them (like when Dad is wiping tears away when he hands his little girl over at the altar) and they should be comfortable making some noise and waving their hands in the air (like they just don’t care) when the new Mr and Mrs (or Mrs and Mrs, or Mr and Mr) walk back down the aisle!
For many many years, wedding ceremonies where ‘one size fits all’ there was a certain way you got married, with the same ceremony that was preformed for all the other weddings that took place , and it was boring as! If that’s how you want to get married then ‘go you!’ you do you, and more power to you! There are definitely people who are happy with that, and there are definitely people out there that will happily oblige you, but if you want a ceremony that reflects you and your relationship, one that is actually part of the day, one that sets the tone for the celebrations (not just the boring bit that needs to be done to get to the good stuff, like the cake and the champers) one that is fun, and personal and relaxed and different, then let me know I’d love you help you out!
Letter to my little boy
All you need is love…
I am the lucky mother to a loud, rambunctious, gorgeous, funny, smart 10 year old boy. And I know every mother thinks their child is the best thing since sliced bread, and I of course am no different. Everyday he delights me, makes me laugh, frustrates me and amazes me, and I thought I would take this chance (because I can and it’s my blog) to reflect on the last 10 years and to share some of my dreams for him going forward.
Max and his Dad (Tristan) have been some of the greatest teachers in my life, they have both made me question my thoughts, my upbringing, my opinions, my beliefs and made me see what is truly important in life. I’m not saying that everything I thought was wrong, but when you choose to spend your life and start a family with someone then that’s when the fun really begins. But shh don’t tell Tristan that he was occasionally right. I’ve found that having a life partner and child who challenges and questions you is not a bad thing, it is in fact how we grow.
What others think of you is none of your business Max has for the entire time he has been able to dress himself, not cared whether his pants have been on forward or backwards, and it absolutely drives Tristan crazy. I on the other hand have just learnt to live with it, ‘hey it’s not my pants’ and one time I said to him when I was taking a photo of him, ‘Hey Max, why don’t you put your pants on the right way, people will think you look weird?’ and he replied ‘Mum I don’t care what other people think!’ Boom, mind blown! Lesson learnt for me anyway. Why do we care what others think of us? Don’t ever lose that, ever! One of the benefits of having a boy, is that he doesn’t give a monkeys butt what he wears, as long as it’s comfy and he can run, and climb and kick a soccer ball around he’s happy. Of course I am not so naive as to think this won’t change as he gets older, but I’m just going to enjoy it for as long as I can.
Walk to the beat of your own drum There is no one else in the world exactly like you, and what a great responsibility that is. You were put here to share your gift with the world, and everyone has that one special gift that is uniquely you, and must be shared. Don’t let the world beat you down. I believe that part of my job as a mother is to build you up and fill up your self-confidence bucket to overflowing. Because life is hard and people can be dicks, but if you are so full of confidence in who you are and that you are awesome, it won’t matter what people say or do to you.
Find your lobster There is no better feeling in the world, than finding that one person who lights you on fire. That person who makes you want to be a better person. That person who sees both your strengths and weaknesses and loves you anyway. All I want is for you to find that person. Frankly I don’t care whether that person is a girl, a guy, black, white or red if you love them and I can see that in your eyes, I’ll be a happy camper.
Treat everyone with respect Life is hard, and we have no idea what everyone else is going through so treat everyone you come in contact with, with the same level of respect and kindness. You are no better than anyone else on this planet, and no one else is better than you, but if you leave everyone you have contact with a little better than before then you are winning.
Travel as often and as far as you can. The world is a huge, fun, colourful, mind expanding place and you should enjoy as much of it as you can. Your little corner of the world is so different to almost every where else, and there is so much to see and do and eat. You will come home with a new appreciation for where you live.
Find your passion I don’t really care what you do for a job, all I care about is that you find something that you are passionate about and work out how to make a living out of it. I don’t care if you make $500 or $5,000,000 as long as you can support yourself and be a productive member of society then I’m happy. We spend so much of our lives at work, so it makes sense to do something that we love, not just tolerate.
Make fun a priority Life is definitely way to short, so don’t get stuck in a rut of doing what you have to do and forgetting to do what makes you come alive. Mix things up occasionally, think outside the box, bring your family and friends together as much as you can. Sometimes it’s ok to just be silly. I’m pretty sure that no-one looked back on their life from their death bed and wished they had way less fun in their lives.
Feel the fear and do it anyway Some times you need to push through the fear and like Nike say “Just do it!” Life is full of scary situations, and if it is big and scary and pushes you out of your comfort zone, then it can be a great thing to try. Of course that doesn’t include dumb things that could kill you! I am still your mother!
Love Hard When you find your lobster love hard, make sure that your partner knows what they mean to you and how they make you feel, all the time, not just on special occasions. Treat them with respect, and always put them and your relationship above everyone and everything else. Know that there will be times when they will need your strength, but that it’s ok to need their support too. It’s OK to be soft and vulnerable and loving and still be a man, that is what in fact makes you a man. Know that all relationships require work, and marriage is no different. Communication is key. You will both need to learn how the other communicates and that will probably be one of the hardest lessons to learn but one of the most important.
And know that you will always be my little boy, even when you are taller than me, smelly, hairy and eat like a horse. And that I am immensely proud of you and will love you forever. And that all you need is love.
How much fun do you have?
How much fun is in your life?
Have you forgotten how to have fun?
Have you forgotten when the last time was you laughed, not a polite little chuckle to make the other person feel good, but a good old belly laugh, where you seriously thought you were going to wee yourself, just a little?
Do you even remember what fun feels like?
It’s so easy in today’s age to put fun on the back burner. There’s children to wrangle and jobs to go to and bills to pay, and being an adult and all that stuff. And is there really time to have fun anymore?
Of course there is, and it’s vitality important too!
Having fun, makes us feel good (of course it does otherwise we definitely wouldn’t do it) it helps us connect to our families, and friends, and even to ourselves. It helps create memories, everyone remembers those times when you had fun with your family or your besties. It helps cements family dynamics, your children will always remember those times you spent together having fun, probably over anything else you tell them.
Having fun and laughing is a fantastic stress relief, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need a little (or a lot) of that in their lives.
But how do I have fun? It doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive or a big deal. Do you want to just do something that you enjoy yourself? Maybe you love drawing or rollerskating and that indulging in those pastimes will allow you to have fun, or maybe you love sitting around the table with your family enjoying a great meal, laughing and enjoying their company. Maybe your friends and you enjoy exploring new restaurants, or bars or going on bushwalks.
So how do we incorporate more fun into our lives?
Step One: Identify what it is that brings you joy. What do you love doing? What makes you have fun?
Step Two: Do it
Step Three: Schedule more of it. Everyone has some time that is available for fun. Identify when your time is and then schedule to do whatever it is then. You may have to get others to jump on board, babysitters, partners, friends. But it will be so worth it.
Step Four: Write “have more fun” somewhere where you will see it every day, to remind you to embrace life, and think of ways to bring more fun to your life. We have this saying on the whiteboard on the side of our fridge, and it’s a little reminder to be to mix things up sometimes at home, because it is so easy to get stuck in a rut.
Life is so short, and I’m pretty sure that no-one looks back on their life (on their deathbed) and wishes they didn’t have so much fun.
That’s me done!
All you need is love and … love and fun and celebration.
This wedding season 2016/2017 is officially over for me. It’s been my biggest yet, with over 25 weddings performed, and I have absolutely loved every moment of it. Well, what’s not to love, I get to be right in the thick of a whole lotta love, and people pay me for it, crazy, I know.
My wedding season, here in Dunedin, pretty much runs from September to May, because not a lot of people down here choose winter weddings. This season has seen my marry 4 different Sarah’s, one Angela (in fact every year I’ve married an Angela, which is crazy, and I even have one lined up for next season) and one friend, and second brother from the same family.
I have married couples in their favourite restaurants (at least they knew the food was going to be outstanding) and in their living rooms. I have performed weddings in gardens, in beautiful chapels, in tiny little churches in tiny little places with magnificent views, and on beaches. I have wed couples on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and even Wednesdays. There have been morning weddings and late afternoon weddings, and even a surprise wedding, where the guests didn’t know there was going to be a wedding. There were weddings with 200 guests and weddings with only 10. I have had brides arrive by tractor, and a groom land in a helicopter. I have had brides be late, early and right on time. I have had some of the cutest ring bearers and flower girls you could imagine.
I have worked with some amazing suppliers who have toiled tirelessly to make sure that a couple’s dreams and ideas will come to life and exceed their expectations, and have been gracious enough to share their work with me.
I have offered advice on everything from dress choices to photographers, to time lines to invitations to florists, and of course wedding ceremonies.
Every single wedding is different, because every single couple and love story is different, I have married couples who met at Intermediate School, and other couples who met on Social Media. I have married couples who have been together for a short time, and others who have been together for 18 years. Every single wedding makes my heart sing, because every single bride and groom are being brave enough to put their hearts on the line, and share what it means to love and be loved, and you can’t really get better than that.
Yes there have been moments when things didn’t go according to plan, little people didn’t want to play ball, or some-one forgot to use the fancy thingy the bride bought especially, but you know what, no-one cared, because everyone was too swept up in the love filled moments which were happening all around them.
I can’t think of another job that exists where everyone’s happy. Maybe not a the rehearsal, generally brides are overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, and can be a little stressed, but that smile on a bride’s face when she walks down the aisle is absolutely priceless.
I can’t wait until September when I get to do this amazing job all over again.