How not to be a dick!

All you need is love … and to not be a dick when planning your wedding.

Weddings are stressful, and expensive and hard work. There we said it! The process of planning a wedding will probably be one of the biggest, most expensive  things you will ever do in your life, and because you’re only planning on doing it once, you absolutely want to do it right the first time.

But … that doesn’t mean that you get to be a dick!

How not to be a dick to your vendors: Yes your wedding is super important to you, and you want it to go perfectly, and you want to get the most bang for your buck, and weddings are expensive. Vendors all know this, and most vendors have been around the block a few times so will definitely have advice and maybe even tips and professional tricks to help you make your day the absolute best. The old saying “You get more flies with honey” or something along these lines, definitely rings true here. Vendors are people too, who have lives and kids and sometimes other jobs too, so they will not necessarily be at your beck and call all hours of the day and night, to answer those 3am questions that you just have to ask at 3am! All vendors ask is that they are treated with respect, that you respect that they are people too, and should be treated with courtesy and like the professionals that they are. Building a relationship with a vendor starts from that very first enquiry.

How not to be a dick to your bridesmaids: You’re excited about planning your wedding, and are just as excited that you’re going to have your girls beside you to enjoy the journey with you.  Sometimes your girls are not as excited (and/or consumed) about the wedding as you may be, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be a tremendous support and help to you, leading up to the wedding and of course on the day. Weddings can make or break some friendships, usually because the bride has very high expectations for the level of involvement they require of their bridesmaids.  You need to think carefully before you choose your girls, especially if you have friends who have high flying careers and work alot, or friends who are planning on getting pregnant or have small children, or friends that live on the other side of the world. In my honest opinion when asking your friends to be bridemaids, have a very honest conversation about the level of involvement, and cost of the wedding. If you require your bridesmaids to attend weekly planning meetings and pay for an overseas hen’s weekend and a very expensive dress (that they probably won’t ever wear again, let’s be honest), then lay that out on the table before it becomes ugly and friendships are strained.

How not to be a dick to friends and family: Sometimes your family wants to pay (or help pay) for the wedding, sometimes they don’t. And sometimes if they want to pay or at least contribute, then they may impose some conditions on their offer. They may feel as though that entitles them to add some extras to the guest list, or decide what alcohol will be provided. Once again communication is key when dealing with these issues, you need to be able to stand up to the family (as a united front), if you need to, and you need to be able to walk away from any offer if it feels like you’re going to be held to ransom. I think the most important thing is to have a clear idea of how you see your day going, stick to your guns, if you need to and be polite but fair with well meaning friends and family.

How not to be a dick to each other: Just because you’ve finally snagged your partner and promised to marry them, doesn’t give you licence to be a dick to them. After all this is the person you’re choosing to spend the rest of your life with. Weddings, and especially the last couple of weeks, can be incredibly stressful for a couple. You have friends and family giving you their two cents worth, you may have different priorities and ideas about your wedding, and there may be huge financial pressure on you both. So it’s incredibly important to communicate and be kind to each other. I’ve seen many a bride go off her nut at a groom at the rehearsal because he didn’t do what he was supposed to do when he was supposed to do it, or usually it’s because he just didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

Being a bride doesn’t mean you get to be a dick too.

 

Why the nerves? You’re only getting married!

All you need is love and … to remember why you’re there.

It’s pretty common knowledge that weddings bring out the nerves and stress in almost everyone, and if they say they’re not nervous they’re normally lying.

But, why are we nervous? There are normally two reasons why a bride or groom are nervous of their wedding day.  They are freaking out about  the actual act of getting married, because OMG I’m committing to spend the rest of my life with one person, or it’s OMG I’m standing up the front of 100ish people and they are all looking at me!  In my experience it’s door number two 99% of the time (the OMG I’m standing in front of everyone reason)  In most cases a really really jittery bride or groom (like full on cold feet, I don’t know if he’s really the one for me, can I do this for the rest of my life) will have resolved those feelings before the wedding, or they should have.

So let’s break down some of the reasons, you may be nervous on your wedding day.

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“I’m worried I’m going to trip over, because I’m not used to wearing this big puffball of a dress or these heels.”  In this case you practice, practice, practice walking in that dress with those shoes until you can do it with your eyes closed, you walk slowly, and you lean on the arm of who ever is escorting you. And if you trip, then you shake it off, laugh and keep going. In my experience I have had one bride trip (not fall over) and she laughed, and the guests laughed and it broke the ice, and you could visibly see her relax.  And of course there’s no rules that state you have to wear heels under that puffball of a dress, flats, chucks, sneakers or even jandals will all be perfect if no one can even see them.

“I’m worried because everyone’s going to be looking at me.”  If you are one of those people that get in a cold sweat and break out in hives at the thought of having to walk down the aisle and have everyone stare at you, then maybe a big wedding isn’t how you should celebrate the start of your marriage, maybe you should go with a small intimate wedding and then have a big party with all 200 of your family and friends.  If you’re worried about the actual walk down the aisle, then feel free to mix it up and not walk, but just appear at the altar from the side, or ask your partner to meet you from the car and then walk down the aisle together, or even just mingle with your guests before the ceremony and then come together when you start.

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“I’m worried that something won’t go according to my schedule, and the whole day will be ruined.”  In essence a wedding is about two people who love each other the mostest and are committing to spend their lives together, and it’s also about friends and family, it’s not about centerpieces and place cards and chair covers, they are all nice to have, but your wedding is about all the feels, and your chair covers not matching your place cards matching your centerpieces should not affect the feel of your wedding day.  Once you have done everything you can leading up to the wedding day, on the day you need to relax and let it go and enjoy having everyone you love in the same room.

“What if I stuff up my vows?” Take your time, everyone there at your wedding, doesn’t have any where else to be, otherwise they wouldn’t be there in the first place. You are standing in front of your friends and family, and the reason they’re all there is because they love and support your and your partner, so what if you stuff up the lines? A good celebrant will make you feel relaxed (well as relaxed as you can be, considering) and help you if you stumble.

Just remember that it’s completely normal to be a tad nervous on your wedding day, but don’t be so overwhelmed that you forget why you’re there and actually enjoy yourselves.

 

 

 

 

Different is good!

I love what I do, and I’m pretty sure that’s no secret to anyone who knows me or has been married by me. I have a really incredible job (and if you love what you do then it definitely doesn’t feel like a job, right?) I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet couples, all different types of people, from all different backgrounds and jobs and lifestyles and income brackets who all have one thing in common.

They have found the one person, out of all the billions of hearts in the world, who they love and who loves them, and they want to tell that person “I’m  all in!”

New Zealand Wedding Photographer
Photo provided by Acorn Photography

I believe love and our love stories should be treated with respect and delicate hands, they are after all, our stories, the narration of our journey as a couple. I believe our stories should be listened to, and commented on, and sometimes I shed a tear over the good or the hard, or the unjust of the story, and usually we laugh over the fun, the awkward and the miscommunication of feelings, and a lot of the time I have to coax extra ‘stuff’ out of you, like ‘how did you feel about that’ because more often than not talking about all the ‘gooey’ feelings is hard. It’s not the usual Friday night activity of anyone to sit around and tell your loved one, ‘this is what I want to promise you in the future’ (maybe it should be, but that’s another story)

One of my favourite parts of the journey to get you married, is to find out more about you, your personalities and your relationship. I aim to find out as much as I can about your story so I can honour that and write you the best damn wedding ceremony I can! The more ‘gold’ you give me the better the ceremony will be! That’s why every wedding ceremony should be different, because every bride and every groom is different, every story is different, every relationship is different, every family is different,  so in theory every ceremony should be different.

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Photo provided by Kerry Hodge Photography

I have had a lot of guests come up to me after I’ve performed a wedding and say  ‘wow, that was different’ and ‘that’s not what I was expecting’ and ‘that ceremony was so them’ and the first few times I was a little taken aback, thinking that there was something wrong with my ceremonies being ‘different’ or ‘not the norm’ but the more I reflected on it the more I agreed with the statements. Yip my ceremonies are different, and they should be different, because every love story is different, and yes they are different, because I’m aiming to create a ceremony that you will remember, that the bride and groom will remember and the guests will remember, because two people have decided they’re in it for the long haul, people! That’s huge, and we should remember it! A ceremony should bring all the feels, it should take you on a journey, it should represent and narrate a love story between two amazing people who want to share these feelings with you, their loved ones. I believe a ceremony should be interactive, guests should feel comfortable sharing their feelings, they should feel comfortable laughing when they hear something they like (like when the bride shares her first impression of the groom and that hipster moustache he was trying to grow) applauding when they see something epic (like that first kiss) they should ugly cry if the mood strikes them (like when Dad is wiping tears away when he hands his little girl over at the altar) and they should be comfortable making some noise and waving their hands in the air (like they just don’t care) when the new Mr and Mrs (or Mrs and Mrs, or Mr and Mr) walk back down the aisle!

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Photo provided by Simone Jackson

For many many years, wedding ceremonies where ‘one size fits all’ there was a certain way you got married, with the same ceremony that was preformed for all the other weddings that took place , and it was boring as! If that’s how you want to get married then ‘go you!’ you do you, and more power to you! There are definitely people who are happy with that, and there are definitely people out there that will happily oblige you, but if you want a ceremony that reflects you and your relationship, one that is actually part of the day, one that sets the tone for the celebrations (not just the boring bit that needs to be done to get to the good stuff, like the cake and the champers) one that is fun, and personal and relaxed and different, then let me know I’d love you help you out!

 

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?

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?

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 

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.

 

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?