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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

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Jeremy and Sharmain

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.

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Danni and Andrew Nicole Pilgrim Photography

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.

 

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Haily and Norman Kerry Hodge Photography

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.

 

 

When do you celebrate?

All you need is love and … a reason to celebrate.

I’ve decided that I’m a professional celebrater! Is that actually a thing, I’m not entirely sure, but I know I’m a professional celebrant, and yes I officiate weddings, where two people share their love story and commit to loving each other forever, and then generally celebrate the bejezzus out of the occasion by bringing together their favourite people and kicking up their heels. So I essentially help people celebrate one of the biggest days of their lives.

But..

Yes there are a lot of different big occasions that people celebrate, weddings, birthdays, Christmas, Easter to name a few on the calendar. But why do we wait to celebrate just these occasions? What about the fact that it’s Friday, and so take the kids down to the local cafe, and “hot chocolates, all round!” why not celebrate ‘hump day’ by having Fish and Chips for dinner, or celebrate the fact that it’s May 3 by getting out the fine china and having an afternoon tea party?

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Life can whizz past us so quickly, and I swear the older we get the faster it seems to go, and throw in kids, jobs, after school activities, play dates etc and the weeks can fly by before you know it.  It can seem so easy to just put your head down and just ‘get’ through the day/week/year, and then relax on the weekend, and do it all again the next week, and before you know it the kids are leaving home and you’re wondering where those 18 years went.   Why not bring some surprise and magic and naughtiness and spontaneity to your day/week/year by remembering to have more fun. Life is so serious, but does it have to be all the time? Hells No!

Why are we only saving the celebrations in our life for big events? Weddings, big birthdays, graduations? Why aren’t we celebrating the people in our lives more often, instead of when they die? Why not get your girlfriends together one Saturday morning a month and have a brunch date? Why not grab the mates once a month and have a few beersies down at the pub? We should be celebrating and acknowledging the people in our lives on a regular basis, because it will make you feel great, and make the other person feel amazing too. Where’s the harm in that?

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Why do we only celebrate the dates we’re told to celebrate, birthdays, weddings etc? Why don’t we celebrate the day we moved into our first home together, or when we bought that new car? Yes, you may be looking at me a bit sideways now, thinking this lady is a nutbar, but is there anything wrong with creating our own traditions and rituals and customs, as well as celebrating the more well known ones that society tells us to celebrate, why not create some of your own?

If you really want to fully embrace the idea of celebrating, then there are a multitude of things that you can celebrate, take a look at days of the year who have a huge list of reasons to celebrate each day of the year.  It’s also a good idea to come up with some of your own, things that are important to you and your family. Ask the kids what things they want to celebrate, and how. You may be surprised by what they think are reasons to celebrate.  They don’t have to be elaborate or cost millions of dollars, one family I know choose every Wednesday night dinner to have a different accent to accompany dinner, so if it’s Italian night, everyone has to speak in an Italian accent, huge fun, and doesn’t cost a thing. Or choose a different day each week to add a wee note into one family member’s lunch box, once again free!

Let’s face it life can sometimes be monotonous and boring, but wouldn’t you rather look back on your life and think about all the fun you had?

From engaged to finally married ….. Mr and Mrs Bray!

All you need is love. That’s it, that’s all you need.

So we’ve followed the journey of Sharmain and Jeremy as they went through the process of planning their wedding day.  We saw what went well, and what was more challenging, and finally we get to share the last installment, The Wedding Day! Here Sharmain and Jeremy share how that final week was, and of course the day itself.

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All photos supplied by the very talented Chris Garden.

What was the week before the wedding like? The week before the wedding was a very busy one.  Luckily, we had both taken that week off work, so that helped a lot!  It was very stressful for me as our reception venue was still far from finished and by Wednesday I was nearly in panic mode no matter how much Jeremy tried to assure me it would all work out.  Thankfully, the place was finished enough for use by Thursday night and on Friday we were able to set up for the reception.  There were a lot of last minute jobs that needed done in that last week, and I’d definitely recommend to anybody to take that week off, if possible.

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What surprised you the most about the wedding planning process? Overall i did find the wedding planning enjoyable.  There were a lot of hiccups along the way and many stresses that came with it, but I think knowing that in the end, after it all, I’d be marrying the man of my dreams, made all those little glitches worth it.  I honestly can’t describe the excited feeling I’d get every time I thought of a new idea or something for our wedding.

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How did you feel the day before the wedding? The day before the wedding I’ll admit, I think I was a mess.  My Mum took me out to get my nails done for the wedding and all I could think about was how the venue was going to look and why wouldn’t it stop raining.  When we returned to the venue and I say how everything looked I broke down in tears.  Jeremy’s family and my litte brother had spend the last few hours placing everything exactly where I’d wanted them to and how I’d wanted it and I was so overwhelmed with how everything looked that I couldn’t hold back my emotions.  Everything was perfect.  Later at the rehearsal I saw how badly the rain had affected our ceremony venue and almost broke down again, for a different reason.  There were puddles everywhere and I went in to a panic about how it would be the next day.  Thankfully it, somehow all dried out overnight and was perfect.

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Did things go well on the wedding morning? On the wedding morning I swear there as just a blanket of calm over the both of us.  I was up early making breakfast for the bridesmaids and Jeremy fed the dog and checked into our hotel for that night.  There were no hitches and I just couldn’t wait to see my soon to be husband.  Our photographer commented that he’d never had a couple, or wedding party in general, be so calm on the morning of their wedding.  We were too excited and too happy to be nervous.

Do you remember what you were thinking as you walked down the aisle? As I walked down the aisle everything was a blur, all my focus was on Jeremy waiting for me at the end.  There were people at the ceremony that I didn’t even realise were there until looking at photos weeks later.  The world felt like it stood still and he was the only thing that mattered in that moment.  All Jeremy could think was simply ‘wow’

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What were some of the highlights of the wedding day? Jeremy’s biggest highlight of the day was seeing me walk down the aisle.  I think my biggest highlight was seeing his face once I reached the end.  I swear I’ve never seen that man so happy.  Overall though, I think the entire day was amazing, the best day of our lives so far.

Any thing you would have done differently? I think if I could’ve done anything differently it would be to practice our first dance before performing it, preferably in similar clothing to what would be worn on the day.  As we found out, on the night it wasn’t as easy as we thought it was going to be, as I couldn’t step backwards in my dress because of the train, which was not something I’d thought about until I stood on it.

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Advice to other brides/couples? Our advice to other couples would be to try not to stress.  As difficult as that sounds at the end of the day all that matters is that you’re marrying the love of your life.  Throughout our entire planning process and wedding day and everything Jeremy was very laid back and easy going, it was me who stressed over every little thing and at the end of it I look back and just wonder why I ever let some things get to me. Also remember, it’s your day, so have it the way you want it, not everyone else.

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Would you recommend your vendors on the day? We were very happy with all of our vendors for the day.

  • Michelle and her team from Just Essence Catering did an amazing job, and were more than happy to work with every requirement we threw at them. Including setting up a children’s buffet table to keep their meals separate for the adults food.
  • Kate and the team at The Dessert Room were amazing too and worked with us very well. Plus they were far more reasonably priced than we expected.
  • Hirepool was one we didn’t expect to use but ended up needing to hire the tables and chairs for the reception from, they were very easy to work with, and allow 3 day hire which was definitely easier than trying to set up and clean up all in the same day.
  • Our photographer Chris Garden, was great! We had a lot of communication with him leading up to the day and he was happy to do whatever we asked of him, and his photos are amazing.
  • And of course our amazing celebrant Angela Port.  She worked with us so well, and helped out with everywhere we needed it.  She was happy to give us any advice we needed and help with vow writing, and we both love her ceremony and working with her.

What was your biggest surprise on the wedding day? Our biggest surprise on our wedding day has to have been the weather.  For the days leading up, it was absolutely pouring with rain, right up until 2am that morning (yes I was still awake) and then on the Sunday it again was pouring down.  But you couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day on the Saturday, it was absolutely stunning.

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What is your favourite memory of your wedding day? I don’t think we’ll ever forget our wedding day, but I think my most favourite memory would be learning Jeremy’s reaction as I walked down the aisle, more happy tears were shed then. Jeremy’s favourite memory is seeing me, at the end of the night walking around cradling my baby cousin in my arms.  I absolutely adore babies and Jeremy says I looked so peaceful and happy in that moment.

Anyone you would like to especially mention for their help? So many people helped us out in so many ways.  Friends giving advice and support, family giving advice and helping us out financially.  I don’t think we could really thank one person in particular without listing many, many names.

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How did you feel the next day, once it was all over? The day after the wedding, we had to go clean up the reception venue and start returning hired things back to the companies.  It was a very busy day and felt like we’d just had a great big party, but we didn’t feel any different.  However it was a very stress free day, like a great weight had been lifted from our shoulders.  And I know I saw Jeremy playing with his ring, just as much as I played with mine.

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At the end of the day I believe just do what makes you happy.  We were both so happy with how everything turned out for us, we couldn’t have asked for it to be better.  The day definitely does fly by though and I think the best piece of advice I could give to any couple is to try take a moment for themselves out of their wedding day, away from the guests, and just enjoy each other.  It’s something we didn’t do and in the end we didn’t really see a lot of each other once we got to the reception.

I wish you a life time of happiness together, and thank you for allowing me to share a part of your special day with me – Angela Port 

Help spread the LOVE

All you need is love and … a ‘all you need is love’ t-shirt.

Help me spread the message that I live by.  I have teamed up with the very clever Peg and Pencil Design Studio to come up with a very exciting project.

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These gorgeous T-shirts are now for sale for a limited period. Black, because everything is better in black, with white lettering “all you need is love” on the front, and “🖤 to the max” on the right sleeve.

$35 NZD each which includes $1 donation to the NZ Heart Foundation (because hearts are fairly important) and postage anywhere in NZ.

Check out below for sizing.

Regular fit
Crew neck
Mid weight, 180 GSM, 28-singles
100% combed cotton (marles 15% polyester)
Neck ribbing, side seamed, shoulder to shoulder tape, double needle hems, preshrunk to minimise shrinkage

 

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Pre-sales are for 2 weeks and then delivery up to 2 weeks after that.

Hit me up via email to place your order: angelaport@xtra.co.nz before Sunday 16th April 2017.

Help spread some love, and where you heart on your sleeve.

 

Love is …

All you need is love and… well that’s all really.

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This past weekend I was sick, and not the pretty girl kind of sick, but the horrendous ‘wish I was dead’ kind of sick, you know the one, like the hangover but without the fun times before hand. So my darling husband had to take care of me, and by take care of me I mean clean out ‘the bucket’ and it got me to thinking ‘if this ain’t love then I don’t know what is”.

Now I’m a Disney/rom-com kinda girl, and love a good happily ever after story with the best of them, but I think love is so much more than the extravagant flowers and choccies and love hearts that are portrayed in those movies, so I came up with a list of things that I think love is.

Love is:

A cup of tea in bed

Saying ‘thank you, I appreciate the job you do”

Knowing your coffee order

Eating the tomatoes off your plate at the cafe, because they know you don’t like them, before you have to ask

Holding hands

Facing the world together

Knowing they have your back

Agreeing to disagree

Pushing you forward, when they can see your potential, even when you can’t

Standing back sometimes to let you shine

Kissing you first thing in the morning, even when you have morning breath

Cold feet on warm legs in bed

Putting the heat pump on before you get up in the morning

Preparing a meal for you

Knowing when you need to be big spoon, and when you need to be little spoon

Making sure you have clean clothes for work the next day

Getting up each morning in the freezing cold to go to a job to support their family

Rolling eyes with you over the heads of your mini army you have both created, when you really want to laugh but can’t

Having secret code words

Listening

Saying ‘Yip, I agree there is a problem, let’s sort it out’

Forehead kisses

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Taking the screaming baby from your outstretched arms the minute they walk in the door from work, and you not needing to say a word

Showing up, always

Honesty

Choosing love, over and over again

Giving up the right to be right, sometimes

Apologising

Bear hugs

Knowing that a family is not always blood, but loving everyone as though they are anyway

Wanting you to be happy

Questioning you and holding you to account when the need arises

Those 4am conversations

“What can I do to help?”

Letting you be yourself

Hard work, but so worth it

Laughing together

Holding your hair, rubbing your back and telling you ‘it will all be ok’

Loving you when you aren’t being very lovable

Being open-minded and able to change your mind/opinion

Being your ‘soft place’ in the hard world

Seeing you at your worst and still choosing you

Being your constant cheerleader

Knowing when you need space and quiet

Knowing the difference between laughing with you and laughing at you

Eating salad and pretending to enjoy it, when you really want a steak

Picking you up when you don’t think you can

Admitting when you don’t know

Wanting to share a future with you

Knowing that everyone has a past, accepting it and moving on

Sitting together in silence and being quite content

Loving all of you, the quiet, the loud, the crazy

Standing together, looking at the beautiful sleeping little person you’ve made, and smiling

Of course there is a miles and mile of others to add to the list, and we should not forget there are also all the big things, like love hearts, and fireworks and that feeling you get in your tummy when they’re around, but I believe that love is found in all the little things too.

Love hard.