How to choose your wedding date and time.

All you need is love and … a date and time.

How do you choose your wedding date and time? The majority of weddings I attend  take place in Summer, on a Saturday at 3pm. And there’s a good reason for that, it’s warmer in Summer (well sometimes, although not always in Dunedin) a Saturday means no-one has to go to work early the next day, so they can party late into the night, and 3pm works well, for the ceremony, photos, dinner time line.

But…

Is it really the best time?

Ask any photographer, and 3pm in Summer is not always the best time for those magical wedding photos. There are times of the day (morning and late afternoon/dusk) that they call the ‘golden hour’ because it provides stunning light, and thus equally stunning photos. It can be harder for a photographer to work with the light in the middle of the day in summer to make sure the bride and groom aren’t squinting during the ceremony, or that half the bridal party is in direct sunlight and the other half are in shadow, a bit of a nightmare to make everyone look great.

Summer, while it should be warmer, and less chance of rain, is peak wedding season, so all the good venues, celebrants, photographers will be booked up really fast. You snooze unfortunately you lose in some cases. And I know not everyone’s that organised to plan 18 months ahead. Where as Autumn, you get great colours, leaves falling, it’s still not that chilly yet, and the light is better for photos. Google search ‘weddings in Queenstown’ and you will see the most stunning winter wonderland images. There are also some absolutely stunning venues around that lend themselves to the perfect winter wedding, and if you plan a winter wedding inside, you don’t have to stress about whether it’s going to rain or not. I know many a bride to be who has been constantly checking the weather app on their phone the week leading up to their wedding.  One less stress in my opinion.

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Photo via: Heliweddings.co.nz

 

3pm, or as I call it “wedding o’clock” is the most popular time for a wedding. Why?  Well most people figure it gives the girls long enough to get hair, make-up, maybe a glass of champers under their belt, and then it leads nicely into canapes after the wedding, while the couple go off to have their photos taken, leaving the guests to their own devices, and the open bar, then back after photos straight into speeches or dinner and dancing the night away. But what about exchanging your vows at sunrise, then having a wedding breakfast with your guests?  Or having an 11am wedding, then heading into a beautiful lunch somewhere fancy, or having your ceremony at 5pm (having your first look and photos before hand) and then not having to leave your guests, who you invited because they are your favourite people, and starting the party straight away?

Why Saturday? Fridays are awesome for a wedding, you get to spend a long weekend with your loved ones, especially those who have travelled a long way to hang out with you. And if you give everyone enough notice, then most people will be able to get the time off work, and still not have to go to work the next day. And you’ll have a better pick of venues, celebrants, photographers etc. Having a wedding out of season could also let you take advantage of specials that many photographers, venues etc may have to build business in the less busy season.

If you’re looking for a way to stretch the budget, then consider thinking outside of the 3pm on a Saturday in Summer square. There’s plenty of other options around if you just be open minded.

Just remember it’s your day, and of course you should do it your way, whether it’s 3pm on a Saturday in Summer or not.

How to get the most out of your celebrant.

All you need is love and … a great celebrant.

Ok, so you’ve locked in your dream celebrant. They’re organised, down to earth, a wealth of ideas, and get your vibe. Yay for you, now how are you going to get the best out of your celebrant.  Getting the best out of your celebrant, doesn’t mean they’ll be doing your dishes for the next 6 months. But it does mean that doing and remembering a few key ideas will ensure you get the best possible ceremony, and the best execution on the day.

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Pic by Kerry Hodge Photography

Be open-minded – I’m not talking keys in the bowl type of open minded (but if that’s your thing, more power to you) I’m talking, ask your celebrant for ideas, what are the different ways we could do this? Does it have to be done this way? Could we do it like this? Your celebrant has done more weddings than you have, probably (hopefully) so they will know what will work, and what may be awkward. Listen.

Be engaged – Not just with the ring type of engaged, but the listening, and asking questions, and putting your phone down for 10 minutes type of engagement. I know weddings can be a subject that completely makes the groom zone out, but if you want it to be your day too then listen. A good celebrant will make sure they talk to both of you, not just the bride, and you should both have a good feeling about the celebrant.  I know meeting new people, especially a celebrant, can be daunting to some people, but most of us are warm, personable and down to earth.

Short and sweet isn’t always best – I know some people just want to get the ceremony bit over so they can move onto the more fun bit of drinking, dancing, and cake eating. But, and again I may be biased because I’m a celebrant, the focus should be on the ceremony. You are going to be standing in front of your nearest and dearest, and maybe Dave from work, telling your soul mate how important they are to you, and sharing your love story, surely that deserves longer than a 5 min ‘wham bam thank you ma’am?’

Don’t leave booking a celebrant till the last minute – In my opinion it’s never too early to book your celebrant.  The good ones, like venues and photographers will get booked out pretty early on.  You may get lucky with a last minute phone call, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

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Pic by Nicole Pilgrim Photography

Feel free to interview, or chat with more than one celebrant – It’s not like dating, we won’t mind. What we do mind, is if you don’t tell us that you have booked someone else, and we keep the date open for you.  A simple “we have decided to go with another celebrant” is great. No hurt feelings, honest! We want you to have the best wedding possible, whether it’s with us or not so if someone else floats your boat and gets your vibe, go for it!

Don’t change anything about the ceremony, and not tell the celebrant – Especially if you want the celebrant to be there on time! I usually double check at the rehearsal what time the groom will be at the venue, to make sure we’re all on the same page regarding start times. But I have heard of angry calls to the celebrant when everyone’s at the ceremony inquiring about their whereabouts, when the couple have changed the time and not told the celebrant.

Give us the dirt, all the dirt – Most celebrants will send you a questionnaire to fill out (I call them my homework questions) to get to know you better, they will either come and visit with you again to discuss the answers to your questions or just write your ceremony from those answers. Give us as much info as you can on your questionnaire, the more info you give the better ceremony you are going to get. It’s really hard to personalise a ceremony (which is what most good celebrants will want to do) when you give nothing personal to work with. I for one, want to know what you love, what you don’t love, what you enjoy doing together, all great fodder for a ceremony.

Try to be organised – I know there are a million and one things that need to be organised for a wedding, but if you can get back to us sooner rather than later when we request information that would be grand. It’s no fun for a celebrant to be waiting the day before the wedding for the groom to get his vows to them. It creates stress not just for the couple but for the celebrant. If you can’t make a designated time for a catch up, let them know as soon as you can.

Send us an invite – We love weddings, all the weddings. So if you want us to get an idea of your style, colours and personality then give us an invite. Also helps so we know where we’re going and at what time (see point Don’t change anything about the ceremony and not tell the celebrant)

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Pic by Kerry Hodge Photography

Good manners – Like your mumma always said, good manners go a long way! If you like the vibe and style of a celebrant, then they will probably either have a Facebook page, Instagram account, or website, do a bit of stalking, and you can probably find out their price. We don’t love texts/emails/Facebook messages that just say “how much?” We do love texts/emails/Facebook messages that say “Hi Angela, We are getting married 9/12/2017 and are after a celebrant, are you available and what is your price?”

Thank you’s – If you are the type of bride/couple who are going to do a thank you post/wedding post on Facebook, please please please thank or acknowledge your celebrant, if they did an awesome job, if they didn’t then maybe contact them and tell them why, don’t splash it on Facebook.  For us reviews are like gold, so go ahead and give your celebrant a review, tell them what a great job they did. They will love you for it, and it only takes 5 minutes, and you are helping other couples out by leaving honest feedback.

Try not to turn bridezilla on us – I know planning a wedding is stressful, and expensive, and not everyone wants to do what you want them to do as fast as you want them to, but your celebrant is a professional. We will act like the professional we are, and should be treated as such.

Remember, we may only be a part of your wedding day for a short time, but we are emotionally invested in your day. We have taken the time to get to know you, spent time with you and your family, helped bring your plans/dreams to life, written and performed an amazing ceremony for you about you, met your friends and family, calmed you down, made sure everything is perfect for you and your guests. A little acknowledgement goes a long long way, kilometres in fact, like from here to the moon!

Show your celebrant some love!

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo, How to choose your celebrant.

All you need is love and … a great celebrant

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Photo by the talented Kerry Hodge Photography

Congratulations, you’re engaged.  Yay!!

“Let the adventure of planning your wedding begin!”

If you’re planning on getting married anywhere that isn’t a operational church (a church that only allows priests etc from that church to marry people) then you are going to need a registered wedding celebrant.

Like everything else wedding related there are a million different choices, which is a good thing, generally speaking. But where do you start? 

  • Other vendors – If you’ve already booked a venue, or photographer, or florist, or make up artist then ask them. They would have seen/done enough weddings to have a general idea on who they like. They have often seen way more than one celebrant, and a venue and/or photographer would have been present while a celebrant has lead a wedding previously.
  • Facebook – The internet is a great place and can bring the whole world to your computer. There are numerous private wedding groups on Facebook, and they are a great place to ask for recommendations, and you will get honest feedback. Facebook is also a great place to stalk some of the celebrants you have heard about, most celebrants these days will have a professional Facebook page, and looking at this will give you an idea of the style of a celebrant, and if they have photos of previous weddings, you’ll get to see them in action. A good Facebook page will probably also have reviews, so take a look at these too, find out about what couples have said about them.
  • Friends/Relatives etc – Ask around your friends, rellies, work mates and get recommendations from who they may have used, or celebrants they may have seen at weddings they have attended.
  • Wedding shows – Check out your local wedding show, they always have a few of each vendor, and that way you get to have a chat, ask any questions, and maybe organise a time to meet up and talk in more depth.
  • Uncle Google – Just type in “Celebrants in Dunedin” and you’ll get pages of info, from there you can check out their website (if they have one) and any social media they may have.
  • Celebrants Association– The Celebrants Assocation is a voluntary association for Celebrants in New Zealand. Belonging to the Celebrants Association means that a celebrant is governed by a code of conduct, and has access to on-going education. The website is pretty easy to use, just type in your area, and it will come back with all the celebrants in your area that are members of the Celebrants Association.
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Photo by Kerry Hodge Photography

So, once you’ve have a look and seen one or more that you like the look of, then contact them to see if they are available for your wedding date. Good celebrants can be booked a year or more in advance, so it’s best to get in early. If they are available on your date, then it’s a great idea to organise a meeting (either at a cafe/pub/your home or theirs, or if you are out of the area or country then Skype) I always offer a non-obligational first meeting, it gives you a chance to have a look at some of my work, chat about my style and what you have planned and your ideas for your day.

It’s a good idea to meet with more than one celebrant, you’ll learn a bit more about what you’re looking for, don’t worry we won’t be offended if you do, we want you to get the right fit for your ceremony too. Feel free to ask a lot of questions, it will make you feel more comfortable with your choice. Make sure that once you have made a decision on which celebrant you would like to book, that you contact the other one to let them know you are going with someone else.

I know weddings can be mega expensive, and I know it can be all about making that dollar stretch as far as it can go. But there are certain elements to a wedding day that you really don’t want to skimp on and I believe a celebrant is one of those things. I know there are also a lot of different price points for celebrants, but don’t just go with the cheapest. Make sure you do your research and find out what you are getting for your money. There is a common mis-conception that a celebrant just turns up on the day, says a few words and then leaves, and then pocket a bucket full of cash to do so. A good celebrant will want to build a relationship with you, to ensure that you have a ceremony that is heartfelt, but is also a reflection of your personality and your love story. A good celebrant will meet with you at least on two different occasions, write you a ceremony from scratch, that is personalised to you and your love (there is no cut and paste), they will be there to answer all your questions/texts/emails/phone calls, provide you with inspiration to write your own vows (if that is what you choose) they will offer suggestions for different elements you may like to include in your ceremony (readings, ring warming etc) they will facilitate a wedding rehearsal, to ensure everyone knows what is going on, when and how, they will be there early to liaise with your other vendors (photographer/video/venue) to ensure everyone is on the same page, and that the ceremony runs smoothly. They may run your music for the ceremony (creating a personalised playlist for you) and have their own PA system, and microphone.

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Your celebrant should make you feel excited about the wedding, they should inspire you with suggestions, they should empower you to make the ceremony and day about what you want, they should be organised, and calm and relaxed on the day. They should be the person who sets the scene for the entire day.

 I believe a celebrant should have a passion for the job they do, it should show in their eyes, that they love being a celebrant, otherwise it will reflect in a lacklustre wedding ceremony, lacking in personalisation, warmth and professionalism.

 

Including your fur-baby in your wedding

All you need is love and … how to include your fur baby in your wedding.

 

Many couples have pets together before they get married, and a lot of couples consider their pets as their fur babies and so want to include them in their wedding, naturally. So here’s a round up of ways to include you pets in your special day.

Use your pet to propose – How super cute is it to include your pet in your proposal? You could tie the ring on their collar, and then tell your partner that you have a new collar for the pet. Instant brownie points. You could also have a sign made to go around the pets neck with “will you marry my dad” on it.

Save the dates – Use your pet to announce to your guests your wedding date.

Engagement photos – Include your pet in your engagement photo shoot.

Wedding photos – If you’re not sure about your pet coming to the ceremony or reception then ask someone to bring them along for the wedding photos. Brides all dressed up with their pets make magic photos.

Flower Girl Escort – Let your flower girl escort your pet down the aisle.

Pet instead of bouquet – Carry your pet down the aisle instead of a bouquet. Obviously dependant on the type and size of pet. But a rabbit or kitten would look super cute in a flower adorned basket.

Have them by your side during your ceremony – If your pet is the sit still and not move type of animal, and would no be phased by all the attention and people around, it would make for an adorable photo.

Include them in your vows – I have included many a mention of a pet in a wedding ceremony. You could include them in your vows “I promise to love you as much as Oscar (the dog)”

Dress them up – there are a few ways you can dress up your pet for the big day, without hindering it’s movement, or dignity. Try a cute bandana around it’s neck for something understated.

Cake topper – Order a customised cake topper which includes a nod to your fur baby as well.

Table numbers – Incorporate photos of your pet as your table numbers, that way everyone gets to see your pet.

Cardboard cut out – Have a life size cardboard cut out of your pet made, that could be displayed at your reception, or used as a prop in a photo booth.  It would be just like they were there.

There are a few things you may need to consider when deciding if your pet is going to be a part of your big day. How are their socialisation skills? If you have time to get them training, then that would be wise, if they are the type of pet who will wander in and then fall asleep at someones feet, then they are the perfect candidate.  If they have not yet been trained and bark at everything that moves then it’s probably not a good idea.

Take your pet to the venue well before the big day, so they get comfortable and familiar with the place. And make sure that your pet is allowed at the venue.

Make sure there is adequate food and water available for the pet during the day.

Let your guests know before the day that your pet will be attending, that way if they are allergic to animals they can take precautions before hand.

Ensure you have a pet wrangler available on the day, who isn’t yourself or your partner. I recommend someone who the pet knows and is quite happy to look after your pet during the day.

Pets are very special members of the family, so of course they should be included in your wedding day.

Engaged to Married – August/September

All you need is love and … and update on Sharmain and Jeremy.

We’re now on the home stretch, we have less than 100 days to go, so everything is ramping up. The last two months have been very busy with lots of organising, and finalising, but there’s still the little details to go.

Bridesmaid dresses have been purchased and they have arrived, and the girls will all be together to try them on in the next couple of weeks, with possible alterations being scheduled closer to the wedding date.

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Wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses.

The cute flower girl and ring bearer outfits have also been purchased.

There will be gorgeous wedding favours (which have now been paid for) for the guests and other little bit and pieces to personalise the day.

The table centerpieces are being finalised and finished, just need a bit more tweaking to make them perfect.

Wedding rings have been chosen and paid for, and are now tucked away in a safe place away from the dog.

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Ring boxes minus the rings, that have been tucked away for safe keeping.

I spent some time transferring everything into clear plastic tubs, so it’s all together in one place and easily transported, and more importantly away from the dog.

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Plastic clear boxes are a life saver for keeping everything together.

We had our second meeting with our awesome celebrant, we now have a better idea on the structure of our ceremony. She asked us a lot of questions, which she will use to personalise our ceremony, that’s what we love about her style of ceremony. We also have some ideas for writing our own vows, which we will keep secret from each other until the ceremony, something to look forward to on the day. She also gave us information on obtaining our marriage licence (an essential part of the day!!) and we are nearly  within the 3 month time period to obtain this. (Awesome celebrant has just about finished your ceremony, you should have it in a couple of days, whoop, whoop!!)

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We have our final meeting with our photographer in a couple of weeks.

Invites have been sent, and we are now just waiting for the RSVP’s to come back in.

It feels good to have all the big things ticked off, but now it’s time for all the finalising (caterers, RSVPs) and all the fiddly little jobs (centerpieces, finishing DIY projects)

It’s getting really exciting now it’s less than 100 days to go.

 

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 include your children in your wedding ceremony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The most over-looked part of wedding planning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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?

Some Lovely Things

All you need is love and … some lovely things.

A curated list of things, people and places I’ve discovered this week that I love.

Bridal Headpieces

I have been lusting over  these gorgeous bridal headpieces all week.  If you want something a little bit different from the traditional veil option for your wedding headwear then these pieces totally fit the bill.  ‘Shut the front door’ create these completely original bridal headpieces and other beautiful headpieces for other events.They are truly stunning, and would add that ‘wow’ factor to your wedding day outfit.  Check out www.shutthefrontdoor.com.au for more beautifulness.

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The stunning Aurora Wings piece.
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The Bijou piece

The Penguin and the Stone

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Look, they even look like they’re holding hands.

I was reminded of this cute story during the  week, by a friend of mine.

After a long winter, the Adelie penguins make their way to their mating grounds throughout the area of coastal Antarctica. The male and female penguins strut and bray, a little bit like the guys at the pub on a Friday night, hoping to attract the attention of another Adelie penguin. When a special (read: attractive) penguin catches their eye, the Adelie penguin presents the other penguin with a stone. If the penguin accepts the stone, they start a bond for life. Each new spring, the courtship continues, the couples find each other again; and again, a new stone is presented as a token of affection. The penguin pair continues to gather stones for their nest, looking for each precious stone in the frozen ground.  I’m not 100% sure if this is true or a urban myth, but I love the cute story anyway.

Wedding Planning Mini Milestone Champagne Labels

Wedding Planning can be tough, and long, and stressful and expensive. So it’s important to take breaks and celebrate the mini milestones that you tick off on the wedding planning checklist and celebrate with your fiance or the girls, and Studio B Label Co have the perfect way for you to do this.

“Studio B Label Co make wedding planning even more fun with their custom Engagement Milestone Mini Champagne labels! The bride can celebrate every stage of her engagement and wedding planning with a mini bottle of bubbly! Perfectly sized to fit mini split champagne bottles, this label is personalized with the bride’s name.  Done in a bridal white label with black and hot pink text (customisable), each label is printed on weatherproof stock.  Just peel and stick!”  As you can see from the two photos below there are a few different options for the stickers, but how cute and fun are they?

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