Love is …

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

 

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

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.

 

When to say no, when to compromise and when to go with the flow.

All you need is love and …to learn when to say no, when to compromise and when to go with the flow.

When I sat down to research and write this piece, it became apparent to me that the principles for the successful navigation of the wedding planning process and  successfully navigating marriage are quite similar. Although I have yet to find a need for a seating chart in my marriage, and 17 years in I don’t think there will ever be a need for one, so in that respect they are different. So while you are reading this piece, be mindful that you can take some of the advice and apply it to marriage as well as wedding planning.

Wedding planning is hard, this we know. In fact if anyone says to you “Oh I loved every minute of planning my wedding, it was all so much fun” they are lying. They are a big fat liar McLiarsons.

With my experience in the wedding industry, and the many articles I’ve read, blog posts I’ve perused and Facebook rants I’ve been privy to, the number one issue couples (well let’s be honest, mostly brides) have is every man and his dog seems to have an opinion on how you should plan your wedding.

So with that in mind I’ve put together some tips for how to handle those sticky situations and those well-meaning friends and family (who we know only want to help) during the wedding planning process.

Come up with a budget, and stick to it – When you first start planning your wedding, you need to sit down together and have a conversation about money (I know boring as hell, but so important) You both need to decide on how much you can realistically spend on your wedding day, and what type of wedding you want. Is it going to be all out, over the top, dream wedding, or maybe something a little more scaled back? This will help you make all the big decisions (venue, photographer etc) when you know exactly how much you’ve got to spend on each element. Having a set budget means that you also have a good excuse to say ‘no’ to suggestions “Sorry I really can’t incorporate those swans  you really want into the wedding Great Aunty Fanny. I can’t afford it!” Soz not soz!

Make sure you’re both on the same page – Make sure you both converse about what’s important to you for the big day. Are there some non-negotiable items that you must have or that are priorities to you? For example, he may be a big fan of a particular type of car and really want those as the wedding cars, where you couldn’t care less what type of cars you arrive in. So you budget for those cars, and if someone offers their opinion on another type of car, you can say ‘no’. If you are both on the same page you will be in a better position  when people start questioning or offering their opinions. You will know exactly what the other person thinks and wants and can stick together.

Make sure your partner will back you up – Weddings and wedding planning can bring out the worst in people. A lot of people in your lives will have set opinions, whether solicited or not, on your wedding plans. If you’ve already had the discussion about the budget and your priorities, then you’re in good shape.  You also need to know that your partner will back you up if/when you have to say ‘no’ to a suggestion. Also be aware that some people will go for  the “divide and conquer” technique, where they will offer their suggestion on you first and if you say ‘no’ then they will try your partner. But once again if you both know the plan and know that you both  have each other’s back then you’ll come out on top.

Stick up for what’s important to you – It’s your wedding day, you get to do it your way. If there is something that you really want (priorities and non-negotiable items) and someone questions your decision then make sure you stick up for what’s important.  You don’t want to look back on your wedding day with regret on something that you gave up to keep someone else happy.

Don’t be emotionally black-mailed, especially by family – Split families can be  a hotbed for emotional blackmail (the whole if he’s coming then I’m not type of childish behaviour, can rear it’s ugly head) Make sure all your family members know that you will not be held to ransom on your wedding day. Remind them that it is your day, and that they need to ‘pull their heads in’ and if they can’t then maybe they should not come.  You’ll find nine times out of ten, they will start behaving. No-one wants to miss a wedding.

Every-ones on the same page – If your parents or other relatives are financially contributing to the wedding then you need to have discussions at the beginning with them all about your plans. There can be times when their money will come with strings attached ( an example: if they are paying for flowers, then they want to pick the flowers) and if you’re all good with that, then great, if not then you need to discuss and come to a compromise. I know, maybe easier said than done, just make sure they know how much you appreciate their contribution, but, that you have your hearts set on your plans. And if they still won’t play ball, then you need to decide if the money they are contributing is  worth all the hassle.

What can you let go of – There may be times where you just need to let go of some of the control or your expectations and go with some-one else’s idea to keep the peace. But only if it’s something that is not one of your priorities. For example one bride let her mother in law choose and order the wedding favours, because it kept her involved (and happy) and it wasn’t really a priority for the bride. Win, win I say!

Remember what’s important -You love each other. You  are choosing to share your love story and commitment with your friends and family on your special day.

 

How to travel together without killing each other!

All you need is love and … some advice for travelling together.

They (I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but you know who I mean) think there are certain things that you should do as a couple before you get married to test whether this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.  The list includes using a slow internet connection, untangling Christmas tree lights, putting together flat pack furniture and travel.

I’m a huge fan of travel, whether it’s just a weekend away some where close or a huge overseas blow out, I’m in, all in, every time!  Travelling has a way of broadening your mind I know it’s cliche but it’s so true. It allows you to see how others live, different cultures, landscapes and people. It also has the ability to show you so many more sides to your mate. So along with a heck of a lot of reading on the topic and my travel experiences with my darling husband, I’m come up with some thoughts and advice on travelling with your partner.

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New Zealand to Hong Kong  March 2016 Yay!!

You will learn so much more about your partner – Travelling takes you out of your comfort zone, both as an individual and as a couple. It opens your eyes up to the world around you.  It forces you to engage with other cultures, foods and etiquette. All of which may be scary, and new and different, and exciting and tiring and fun. It has the ability to show you how your partner deals with frustration and being tired and hungry.

One of the biggest challenges will be spending all of your time together – My husband and I are not the type of people who need to spend every minute together, in fact we start getting on each others nerves after a long weekend together.  It has taken us a long, long time of both marriage and travelling together to figure this out about ourselves and to know that it’s OK.  We make sure we have some down-time (alone time) when we travel, some-times it’s just having a few hours of time apart to wander around, or even if it’s just putting the headphones on and reading a magazine in another room.  It stops us from annoying each other, and it absolutely works for us.

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Hong Kong to Beijing, China.

Compromise – Like relationships full stop, travel requires compromise.  It requires knowing what each other wants to do and not do and then making a decision and itinerary based on making sure you both get a bit of what you want. Example, just over 10 years ago (before our son was born) we planned a 5 week overseas trip (both of us had regrets over not having done our OE when we were younger, so decided to go for it together, before we started a family) we each had a list of places we wanted to visit on our trip, so we had to compromise and make decisions so each of us got what we wanted.

Communication – Keeping the lines of communication open when travelling is essential.  You need to voice your opinion, you need to be able to say when you’re not happy, talk it through and then let it go, otherwise it’s going to be a long, long trip.

Manage expectations – Take some time before your trip to talk about your expectations for the trip.  How do you see yourselves spending your time, are you going to be up at the crack of dawn, and going all day, or are you going to be lounging by the pool all day?

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Cruising the river in Vietnam.

Budget – The dreaded B word. What are you willing to splurge on, and what are you happy to save on. Do you want 5 star hotel rooms, but eat cheap street food, or do you want to spend the dollars doing all the tourist things, or just wander around town and soak up the (free) atmosphere.

Each others schedules – Are you an early riser and he prefers to sleep in? Then you’re going to have some trouble and arguments, unless you have a conversation about it and manage your schedules.  This is where that magic word “compromise” comes into play, and managing your expectations.

Eat before you get “hangry” – I think this advice has the potential to save many a relationship in any situation, not just travel.

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Great Wall of China ticked off the bucket list.

Travelling together will definitely strengthen your relationship, it will help you to accept each other as you are warts and all (and you will probably see all the warts, and dodgy tummies and stinky feet, when you travel together). You will get an insight into your partners ‘preparation style’ my husband and I have completely different ‘preparation styles’ when it comes to travel, I pack about 2 weeks ahead of time and think of every possible scenario I will need to pack for, and probably pack too much, he on the other hand packs about 2 hours before we leave, by just randomly throwing things into the suitcase, and then forgetting essentials, which we inevitably  end up having to buy while overseas, which may not sound that bad, until you are scouring the streets of Hong Kong for deodrant (tip – it’s very, very hard to find)

The more you travel together the more of a team/unit you will become, you will become more efficient together, and learn which of you is better at holding the passports and who can read maps better. I always hold the passports and tickets and he deals with the suitcases.

Travelling together allows you to create fantastic life-long memories together.  And you’ll have so many of those “Remember when we saw that thing in that place” conversations (that is actually how we start a lot of your conversations, but they may be more about old age than anything else)

There’s nothing quite like experiencing a new place with a loved one.

 

 

 

 

 

I Love You

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

Letter to a bride on her wedding day.

All you need is love… and a letter full of marriage advice.

 

I have a niece who’s getting married, and that made me think about what advice I would give her (or any bride) about to embark on the road to marriage. I’m a huge advocate of marriage, I’m a wedding celebrant for petes sake. I adore seeing a couple flush with love, ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives as husband and wife, so I support marriage whole-heartedly, but I also know that it’s not always plain sailing. With that in mind I thought I would share some of my own thoughts on marriage (of course it’s not a ‘how-to’ guide to being married, because I have made my fair share of mistakes, just ask my patient husband) I’ve been married myself for 17 years, so while I haven’t made it to the 46 years of my in-laws, I think I have a reasonable grasp on the whole being married thing, and thought I’d share my musings.

It’s bloody hard work

and anyone who tells you it’s easy and they never fight, is lying!  And anyone who has been married to the same person for any length of time will probably agree with me.

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My wedding day 17 July 1999
  • You will love them, but may not like them all of the time. Yes of course you love them, but there will be times when they will annoy the crap out of you.  Times when you need to leave the house because you fear you may ‘accidentally’ stab them in the face with a fork.  And that’s OK. The leaving the house, not the stabbing them.
  • You will not agree with them all the time, but it is how you deal with a disagreement that  matters.
  • You will need to compromise, a lot. And that’s OK, as long as you’re both  getting some of the good stuff.
  • You will argue, a lot. But once again it is how you deal with the argument, and talk it through, and resolve it that matters. And ‘better living’ tip: you need to resolve the argument, otherwise it will continue to rear it’s ugly head sporadically. Of course not all arguments can be resolved over a cup of coffee, but you need to realise when you need a second opinion, or professional help.
  • You will both change.  Of course you will, you are not the same person you were 5/10 years ago, and neither is your husband, and you won’t be the same person in 5/10 years from now.
  • Communication, communication, communication. It is key, you need to keep talking.
  • There will be times when one of you is strong, and will need to take the lead, and the other is weak, and needs to be cared for, and then it will change.  Being married, in my opinion, means that you know the other person always has your back.
  • Kids will change everything.  Of course they will, how can they not. They come into your nice, settled, comfortable, disposable income filled life and turn it upside down. Don’t get me wrong I love our kid, but it can be very stressful and taxing on a relationship to have this other little person, who takes up so much of your time, money and attention.
  • Pick your battles. You’ll get sick of the sound of your own voice if you nag about everything that the other person does that drives you crazy. Just focus on the things that you can’t overlook. See the section on compromise.
  • You need to maintain your own life outside of the marriage.  It’s important to maintain friendships, hobbies, interests etc that are separate to your partner.  It helps keep your own identity, and gives you something to talk about at the end of the day.
  • Everyone brings baggage to the marriage. Everyone has a life before they get married, and depending on your past relationships and family dynamics, everyone has ‘stuff’ and it can be challenging to sort out how your new family is going to work.  Marriage is essentially asking two different people from different backgrounds to come together and live their lives together.  Of course it’s not going to be seamless.
  • Your marriage needs to be a priority in your life.  It is so easy to get complacent, and busy and not put the effort in.  But if you don’t tend to your marriage it will not work.
  • Marriage is not the same for everyone.  It is not a one size fits all.  You do not have to have a marriage like the Jones’s. You need to negotiate what works for you both, your happiness and your family. Marriage is not a noun, it is a verb, it is constant work, and change and discussion and negotiation.
  • There will be times when you think ‘what the hell have I done?’ but you work through it and come out the other side.
  • Marriage is awesome If you pick the right person, you will have a friend that you can laugh with, love with, have adventures with. Someone who will challenge you, help you to grow, and help make you a better version of yourself. 

I’m keen to hear what your advice to a bride on her wedding day would be.  Is there anything I missed?

Date Nights

All you need is love and … date nights.

So you’re in the throes of wedding planning, it’s stressful, time consuming, expensive, he’s not agreeing with you, Great Aunty Fanny is trying to tell you what to do! You’re getting a bit overwhelmed, you have a job, maybe some kids, a mortgage and a wedding to plan, aaaargggh!

It’s time to remember who you’re planning to marry and why!

It’s time for a date night.

Date nights are a great way to re-connect with each other, and remember that you guys had fun together, before the wedding planning and the kids, and Great Aunty Fanny. And the good news is they don’t have to be expensive, (which is awesome if you’re saving manically for a wedding) it is after all about just spending time together. You don’t even have to leave the house (which is great if you don’t have a babysitter for the little people) And while a dinner and movie, is cool, if that’s what floats your boat, there’s heaps of other ideas for some different date nights.

Here’s a list of ideas

  • Learn to dance together – you could include this as part of your wedding planning, but learning a dance for your first dance, or try something completely different, hip hop any-one?
  • Night classes – great opportunity to learn a new skill/language together.
  • Walk – just go for a stroll around your neighbour-hood, it’s free!
  • Go out for dessert/coffee – a way less cheaper option than a full meal.
  • Cook a new meal/dish together – choose an interesting/new/yummy sounding meal off the internet, or a magazine/cookbook. And prepare the meal together, put on some music, pour a glass of something nice, and enjoy each other’s company. Bonus is you actually have a meal to share together at the end of it.

 

  • Do something touristy – is there something in your town/city that all the tourists visit, but you’ve never been, check it out.
  • Head out of town – just jump in the car and drive, stop along the way for fish n chips or an ice-cream.
  • Picnic – prepare a picnic and head to a local beach or park.
  • Coffee and a walk on the beach – grab a takeaway coffee and head to the beach for a stroll.
  • Board game at home – dust off the old monopoly game (or whatever game takes your fancy), even a card game. Grab some snacks, a bottle of something and enjoy the game.
  • Visit the local pet shop or SPCA – take some time to play with the animals.
  • Pot luck dinner – organise a pot-luck dinner, that way you don’t have to do all the work, and it’s cheaper and have a adult dinner with adult conversation.
  • Star gaze together – super cheap and super romantic. Lay a blanket on the ground and gaze at the sky. Of course there’s an app for making sure you actually know what you are looking at (Nightsky)
  • Surprise – One of the couple is in charge of organising the date night.
  • Share items on your bucket list – it may inspire future date nights.
  • Brunch – Brunch may be easier to wrangle a babysitter for, and will generally be cheaper than a dinner out.
  • Karaoke – You either love it or hate it. If you love it hit the local karaoke club and sing a duet together.
  • Hire a kayak – Take a trip around your local harbour together. You can usually hire kayaks by the hour reasonably cheaply.
  • Quiz night – Check out your local bar for when their local quiz night is. Form a team with others and be amazed at the obscure general knowledge your partner has.

 

In the midst of wedding planning, or just life in general, it’s so easy to get caught up in just getting through the day. It is so easy to unintentionally disconnect from each other. We live in a society where FOMO (fear of missing out) means a lot of us are glued to our phones/laptops and not paying attention to the person sitting on the other end of the couch.

How well do you know each other?

All you need is love and … a cute/fun (I can’t stress the fun bit enough!!) quiz.

 

I saw this cute little questionnaire on social media a few weeks back, and I thought it would make a great post. So ask your partner these questions and record the answers. It’s supposed to be fun, so don’t punish the other person if they can’t answer the questions or you think their answers are wrong. And I take no responsibility for any arguments that may or may not happen as a result of any answers to  this quiz 🙂

Who knows you may learn something new about how your partner sees you!

 

1 What is something I always say to you?

2 What makes me happy?

3 What makes me sad?

4 What was I like as a child?

5 How tall am I?

6 What is my favourite thing to do?

7 What do I do when you’re not there?

8 What am I good at?

9 What am I not very good at?

10 If I became famous what would it be for?

11 What do I do as a job?

12 What makes you proud of me?

13 What is my favourite food?

14 What do you and I do together?

15 How are you and I the same?

16 If I was a cartoon character who would I be?

17 How are you and I different?

18 How do you know I love you?

19 Where is my favourite place to do?

20 How old was I when you met me?

Feel free to let me know how you got on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from the front.

All you need is love and … what the celebrant sees.

As a marriage celebrant I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of many weddings, and it is always an absolute honour and privilege to be present and to guide a couple into married life.  All the weddings have of course been different, some have been big affairs with hundreds of guests in castles, and some have been very intimate, with only a few guests, on the beach.  One of the things they all have in common is the feeling of love and happiness that hangs in the air and surrounds the couple, it’s quite magical to witness.

Lately I have  been open and aware to experiencing and noticing the different ‘looks’ that you always see at a wedding, whether it’s big, small, on the beach or in a church.

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Leah and Keirin pic by SVZ photography

Look 1 – This is the look that is exchanged between the groom and a flower girl and or ringbearer, especially if said flower girl/ring bearer is their own child.  This is a look of pride ‘that’s my kid’ normally the child is nervous and a little shy, but once they see their dad at the end of the aisle all that disappears and they break out in a smile.

Look 2 – This is the look exchanged between the bridesmaid and the groom.  Normally its a full on smile because she knows how fantastic the bride looks and knows how nervous the groom is and wants to reassure him ‘it’s going to be ok, and just wait till you see her.

Look 3 – The father/mother of the bride as they escort the bride down the aisle.  This look is pure joy, they are so proud to be able to escort her to her awaiting groom, sometimes a little sadness (their little girl is growing up) but normally big smiles.

Look 4 – That magical moment when the groom sees his bride walking towards him, sometimes there are tears, but in all the weddings I’ve been part of there has been a huge smile, a ‘she looks stunning, I can’t believe she’s marrying me’ type of look.  Its magic and one of the best parts of the ceremony.

Look 5 – When the couple are finally standing in front of each other at the altar, shes given her flowers to her bridesmaid, the music has faded down, they are holding hands and we’re ready to start.  When they get to look each other in the eye and know that their lives are about to change forever.  Usually it’s a giant smile, a little trepidation, and sometimes the giggles come out.

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Amber and Jeff pic by lisa reid photography

Look 6 – One of my favourite parts of my job is to witness the little things that make a couple, a couple. I usually suggest a couple hold hands during their ceremony. Some don’t but most do. And I think those that do love that feeling of contentment they get when they hold the others hand, almost a “OK I can do this now!” it seems to help with the nerves. I love it when I look down at them holding hands and one of them in gently stroking the others hands with their thumbs, it’s such an intimate and loving action to perform to re-assure the other “don’t be nervous, it’s just me you’re talking to”

Look 7 – During the ceremony I suggest to the parents that they sit on the opposite side to their child, that way they get to look at their own child’s face during the ceremony.  When I am performing a ceremony I look into the faces of the guests and I always see a look of pride and absolute love on the parents faces as they witness their child getting married.

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Emma and Malcolm Pic by Wedding by Melt photography

Look 8 – This is not always a look but more of a conversation, after I pronounce a couple married and they share their first kiss, we then step to the side and sign the marriage licence, this is normally the first time a couple have had a chance to speak privately to each other on the day, and usually it’s a ‘you look stunning/beautiful/pretty’ type of conversation.  It’s always lovely to see a couple standing together, arms wrapped around each other, normally a bit relieved because the ceremony is out of the way and they can now get to the party section of the day, just enjoying the fact that they are surrrounded by their favourite people on such a magical day.

These looks are the kind of things that absolutely make me love my job.  The fact that I get to witness these types of looks, emotions, love, tears, declarations and laughter and see couples who are pledging to love and care for each other all their days, it absolutely makes my heart sing.