Who’s walking down the aisle?

All you need is love and … someone to walk down the aisle with or not!

The whole wedding process is steeped in so much tradition, and one of the traditions is the father of the bride walking her down the aisle and ‘giving her away’. It is said that the custom dates back to a time when the daughter was considered to be property and the groom had to pay a price before he was permitted to marry his intended. Another theory is the ‘giving away’ symbolised the transition of authority from the bride’s father to her husband as she moved from the family home into her married home. Today the act of ‘giving away’ the bride is seen more as a symbolic blessing by the parents of the marriage to the groom.

If the idea of walking down the aisle scares the bejesus out of you, or just doesn’t sit right with you, either because you don’t want the attention, or the traditional father/bride relationship or non-relationship does not fit the circumstances, then there are a number of alternatives to the whole ‘walking down the aisle” Instead of the traditional view of ‘giving away’ you could think of it as the person is supporting you through this life transistion.

Someone else

It’s extremely common for a bride to choose someone other than her father to walk her down the aisle: mother, grandparents, siblings, good friends, both mum and dad, own children and even the family dog.

 

Walking down together

I have seen this done at a wedding, one of the reasons being that the groom was very shy, and didn’t want the focus before the ceremony to be on him. There is something very sweet, and I imagine, reassuring to walk into your wedding ceremony hand in hand.

Go Solo

If you feel confident and comfortable enough, just mossey up the aisle yourself.

Meet your groom halfway

Start the journey by yourself, or even with someone else and meet your groom halfway up the aisle.

Make a bouquet as you walk

Have someone give flowers out to your guests either the guests sitting on the end of rows, or maybe close family and friends, before the ceremony and gather these flowers up into a bouquet, as you walk down the aisle. It is a nice, meaningful way to include some of your guests in the ceremony.

 

Ceremony circle or spiral

There’s no rules that say your ceremony space has to have a straight up and down aisle. You can create a spiral shape using your chairs, and walk along this spiral. This gives you a chance to see all your guests on your journey. Alternatively create a circle shape, and just leave a small hole for you to enter into, and then you and your groom will be encircled by your loved ones.

No walking down the aisle

If you don’t want to walk down the aisle at all, you can just mingle with your guests before the ceremony begins and then just move to the front when it’s time to start. One bride I know had alot of fun running around with the kids, barefoot before her wedding started.

Have the guests enter after you

Keep your ceremony space private and closed prior to the wedding starting, and then position yourselves in your desired spots either with bridal party or not and then open the doors and invite your guests in to be seated.

Lead a processional

Lead your guests, you could even use a musician, to your ceremony space with a processional. When you get there, make your way to the front and let your guests be seated before you begin.

Enter from the side

Enter the ceremony at the same time from different sides, takes the emphasis off the bride, and there’s no need for an aisle at all.

Two aisles

Create your ceremony space with two aisles, and both walk down your own aisle. This is very popular with same-sex weddings, and can be appropriate when parents don’t have any daughters and want to walk their son down the aisle.

I think there are more than enough options if you don’t want to do the traditional walk down the aisle. Just remember it’s your day, so do it your way.

 

 

 

Wedding Day Cards

All you need is love and … a wedding day card.

I’m not actually sure if this is a thing already, but I thought how cool would it be if there was a way to share a cute/funny little message with your wife/husband to be on the morning of your wedding, just a small way to let them know you’re thinking of them.

So I created these cute “wedding day” cards. There’s 11 different designs, so there’s bound to be something that floats your boat.  They are A5 size and all come with an envelope, ready for you to write a special message inside.

They sell for $6 each plus postage.

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Let’s get our wedding on. See you later. I’ll be the one in the fancy dress.
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Thanks for marrying this hot mess. Love you.
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Holy Crap! We’re getting married. Bring It On!
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Lets be in love until we’re dead OK?
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You’re my favourite. I love you the mostest.
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Can’t wait to do rude things with my new husband later.
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Dude! We’re totally getting married today! Can’t wait!
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I can’t wait to marry the crap out of you.
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Fancy getting married later?
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Thanks for being the person who can handle my crap. Love you.
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Thanks for being my person. I can’t wait to marry you.

What’s a Ring Warming Ceremony?

All you need is love and … maybe a ring warming ceremony.

 

You may have heard the term ‘ring warming ceremony’ before, or you may never have heard it described before, and are unsure of what it is, and whether it’s something you’d like included in your wedding ceremony.

What is a ring warming ceremony?

A ring warming ceremony is a special and simple way to include all your guests in your wedding ceremony.  A ring warming is when you give all your guests the opportunity to hold and imbue your wedding bands with a silent wish, blessing or prayer for your marriage.  The rings are passed among your guests during the ceremony for each of them to touch, hold and essentially ‘warm’ before you exchange them with each other.

Why have a ring warming ceremony? 

A ring warming ceremony is a really unique and nice way to include all your guests in your wedding ceremony. My thoughts are that it is best suited to smaller weddings, with less than say 50 guests, only because if you have a large amount of guests the rings may not get around to everybody during the ceremony and then you have the awkward situation of not everyone getting their turn, or having to pause the ceremony while you wait for everyone to get their turn, not ideal.

I have incorporated this concept into numerous more intimate ceremonies and it has been very successful. You can see the look on the guests faces as they hold the rings and say a silent wish, many of them closing their eyes while they do so.  Very sweet

And the rings are actually very warm when they get back to the couples ready to be exchanged. I encourage couples to tie the rings together with a piece of ribbon, matching the colour scheme of the wedding or in a small bag, that way everyone can actually feel and hold the rings.

How do you incorporate a ‘ring warming ceremony’ into our ceremony?

Each time I have peformed this ceremony, I prep the ring bearer or who ever will have  the rings on the day, (at the rehearsal, another reason to have a rehearsal, there are many more reasons explained here Rehearsal? Hells yeah!! ) so they know what’s going on. At the beginning of the ceremony, after the initial welcome I explain to the guests what’s going to happen, and then the ring bearer or best man hands the rings to the first person and then they start and then we start the ceremony, generally everyone will have their turn before the ring exchange part of the ceremony and then the last person who is holding them gives them back to me. Simple and lovely and very meaningful.

How does the celebrant explain the ‘ring warming ceremony’ to my guests?

I start by inviting the guests to take part, by using these words, or similar ones:

“Today I invite you all to take part in the ring warming for Brad and Angelina. Please hold their wedding rings for a moment, warm them with your love and a silent wish for Brad and Angelina. When the rings are exchanged they will contain in their precious metal, that which is more precious, that which is pricelss – your love.”

A ring warming is just another way you can infuse more of your personality into your wedding ceremony.

 

Engaged to Married – Month 3/4/5

So wondering how Sharmain and Jeremy are going on their journey from engaged to married?

Well, we’ve been a bit behind the eight ball, but there’s been tons going on.

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This would be the dog, playing up to the camera for the ‘save the date’ photo

 

These past months Sharmain and Jeremy hit their first major speed bump in the wedding planning, as the venue they had booked for their ceremony unfortunately fell through, and then they were under pressure to find a new venue for the same date.  They couldn’t change the date as they had already booked their celebrant and photographer for that particular date and had relatives from overseas who had already booked leave, for that date, so they really knew they couldn’t change it.

But luckily they have a new ceremony venue sorted,

BUT they are now playing a waiting game to find out whether they can have the venue they want for the reception.  Sharmain prefers not to think of the next level stress that they will have to deal with if that doesn’t work out.

Good news: Sharmain has bought the bridesmaid bracelets for the girls to wear on the big day, these are also going to act as a gift for them, for being a part of the day with her.

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Beautiful bridesmaid bracelets for the girls

Other good news: Save the Date cards have been made, they made this by hand, but now have an issue finding envelopes big enough to fit in, so they can be sent out.  The dog had a ball during the photo shoot, but has almost made them second guess whether or not to do wedding day pictures with him.

As expected there have been hiccups along the way, but they feel the whole process of planning the wedding and all the stresses that come with it, will all pay off on the day when they get to exchange vows and become husband and wife.

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Here’s the dog behaving itself it.

Currently there’s not much more planning that can be done until we have both venues sorted.

Sharmain has been looking on-line for ideas for readings for the ceremony and also vow ideas, but she sometimes feels overwhelmed with how much there is and trying to find something that they both like and are happy with.

At this point, google and pinterest are her best friends.

Another month closer to wedding day!!

 

 

 

Rehearsal? Hells yeah!!

All you need is love and … a wedding rehearsal.

Fridays in wedding season are rehearsal days for our house hold.  Why? … because I believe a rehearsal is an essential part of the wedding planning process.

I have a checklist that I use for every wedding rehearsal to ensure that I cover all the essentials before the big day.

Here’s whats on my checklist:

Logistics – where is everyone going to stand, the guys – hands in front vs behind, suits open vs closed, how far apart will they stand?

 

 

Rings – Who will have them, are they carried by the ringbearer, or just held by the best man? If carried by the ringbearer when will he give them to the best man at the beginning or will he be responsible enough to hold onto them throughout the ceremony and then give them to me for the ring exchange?

Signing of the marriage licence – who are the witnesses, do they know they are signing, where are we going to do the signing?

Procession (walking in) – the order of the processional, how the bridesmaids should walk, where to, where they should stand.  Where should the flower girl/ring bearer walk to and stand during the ceremony.

 

Double check of all pronounication of names – do I have the pronounication correct?

Recessional (walking out) – where to walk to, who’s walking with who (sometimes its the first time bridesmaids/groomsman meet each other)

Touch base with the MC – who are they, what time will they be there on the day, let them know I will be giving the couples copy of the marriage licence to them on the day, and remind them not to leave it on the back seat of the taxi (haha)

Music – who will be controlling the music? If we are using my PA then teach who ever is going to be in charge of the music how to control the volume etc. Also use the rehearsal to time the music to make sure the bridesmaid and bride know when to start walking etc.

 

Any special elements – if there are any special elements to the wedding – ring warming/unity ceremony etc, its a good chance to make sure everyone knows where that’s going to be done, and how.

Microphone – test the volume for the event.

Pick up the licence – take the licence from the couple, so I have it for the wedding day, and there’s no chance of it being forgotten.

Vows/Readings – show the bride and groom how the vows are written out for them and that I will have them on the day for them, and show whoever is doing a reading how that is written and where they will stand while they are doing the reading.

Wedding rehearsals can be done anytime during the week leading up to the wedding, if you have little people in your bridal party I think it’s best to do it the day before, because they have such small attention spans/memories, they need to know what they are going to do tomorrow, not in 3 days time, they won’t remember that far away.

A rehearsal settles everyone’s nerves, a wedding day can be stressful enough, so my aim to to make sure everyone feels happy about where/what/how they are going to do on the day.

Real Life Wedding – Amber and Jeff

All you need is love and … a sneak peek at Amber and Jeff’s real life wedding.

On April 18 2015 I had the pleasure of joining Amber and Jeff and their friends and family at the beautiful Larnach Castle as Amber and Jeff committed to each other and became husband and wife.

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Amber and Jeff

18/04/2015

Venue: Larnach Castle, Dunedin

Wedding Dress: Brides by Mancini – Belle

Bridesmaid Dresses: JJs House – Online

Photographer: Lisa Reid

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Hair: Aurum Hairstylists

Make up: Kristine at Body Shop

Grooms Attire : Online

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Shoes: Overland

Celebrant: Angela Port (woot, woot!)

Flowers: Hand-made by the bride

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Catering: Larnach Castle

Cake: Family friend made the cake – a restounding success

Anything else you want to include: we had our photo’s taken before the ceremony, which meant we could spend more time with the guests. (Larnach Castle only allows weddings to take place after the castle is closed to the public after 5pm, so having the photos taken before the 5pm ceremony actually works out well)

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When was the best part of the day: after the ceremony and the photos, when I could kick back and relax.

Is there anything you would have done differently? Worried less beforehand – it all works out in the end.

How did you pick your wedding party? Easy – family.

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Best piece of advice you were given: Enjoy it, it really goes so quickly, so it’s important you enjoy your time.

Any tips you want to pass on to future brides? Relax as much as possible – it should be fun.

Anything that didn’t go according to plan? Nothing major, some theatrics from our daughter during the ceremony, but that was to be expected (and was cute, so ok). I do remember wee Violet wandering off during the ceremony behind me – Angela

Thank you Amber and Jeff for sharing your beautiful wedding day. I hope you and your family and friends enjoy rel-living your special day.

To read or not to read?

All you need is love … and, well do you need a reading at your wedding?

 

First of all, why do we need or have a reading at a wedding?

Sometimes couples want a ceremony to last a certain amount of time, maybe the couple wants to include someone special in the ceremony (a reading is a good way of doing that), maybe there is a theme to the wedding the couple want to continue through the reading, maybe the couple have a favourite poet, author that they want to acknowledge, maybe they want to include a little bit of religion in the ceremony without going overboard (or just enough to keep certain family members happy)

These are all valid /good reasons to include a reading in a ceremony.

A wedding reading can in fact be anything you like (you could ask someone to read out the instructions for how to service a lawnmower, if you liked, not sure what the guests would think, but hey it’s your wedding)

I always explain to a couple when we are compiling/planning/writing their wedding ceremony to choose a reading that has meaning to them.  Make sure it is a reflection on your beliefs, not what Great Aunty Fanny thinks you should have.

 

 

You also need to be mindful of the person you are choosing to perform the reading, somthing that is appropriate for an adult to read, may not sound that flash coming out of a pre-teen’s mouth.  Wedding readings can also be effective if two people read it, one line each style. I always have a copy of the reading myself on the wedding day, whether the reader says they will have their own copy of not, just incase, I always type it out in nice big font for the reader, makes it easier to read.  I also give that copy to the bride and groom, along with their vow cards and their licence as a keepsake of the day.  If you are reading a passage from a favourite book, then it’s a lovely idea to read straight out of the book and then write a lovely note in the book, and present the book to the couple after the ceremony, as a beautiful keepsake of the wedding day.

What can be used as a reading? A wedding reading can take many forms.  You can choose a piece of poetry, a passage from your favourite book, a quote from a movie (think “The Notebook”) the lyrics from a favourite song, a religious passage, a piece of wisdom passed down generation to generation.

There are thousands of wedding readings available in cyber-space, or you can ask your celebrant to recommend some if you want to include this element in your ceremony.  Just make sure that is resonates with you, that it touches you and has meaning for you, that its not just a time filler.

Here’s two of my favourite readings:

He’s not perfect, by Bob Marley

HE’S NOT PERFECT. YOU AREN’T EITHER, AND THE TWO OF YOU WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. BUT IF HE CAN MAKE YOU LAUGH AT LEAST ONCE, CAUSES YOU TO THINK TWICE, AND IF HE ADMITS TO BEING HUMAN AND MAKING MISTAKES, HOLD ONTO HIM AND GIVE HIM THE MOST YOU CAN. HE ISN’T GOING TO QUOTE POETRY, HE’S NOT THINKING ABOUT YOU EVERY MOMENT, BUT HE WILL GIVE YOU A PART OF HIM THAT HE KNOWS YOU COULD BREAK. DON’T HURT HIM, DON’T CHANGE HIM, AND DON’T EXPECT FOR MORE THAN HE CAN GIVE. DON’T ANALYZE. SMILE WHEN HE MAKES YOU HAPPY, YELL WHEN HE MAKES YOU MAD, AND MISS HIM WHEN HE’S NOT THERE. LOVE HARD WHEN THERE IS LOVE TO BE HAD. BECAUSE PERFECT GUYS DON’T EXIST, BUT THERE’S ALWAYS ONE GUY THAT IS PERFECT FOR YOU.

All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned…

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.

Take a nap every afternoon.

Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

As you can see readings don’t have to be super serious, they can be light-hearted, and they can be super cute.

Real Life Wedding – Leah and Keirin

All you need is love … and a sneak peek at Leah and Keirin’s real life wedding.

Leah and Keirin Tutty

19/09/2015

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Meet Mr and Mrs Tutty

 

I was lucky enough to be the wedding celebrant as Leah and Keirin finally (after 19 years together) tied the knot. They were lucky enough to have their 3 children and closest friends by their sides as they exchanged their vows. You have to agree this venue is stunning, and needs absolutely no decoration. Here’s the run down on their dream day.

Bride: Leah Tutty

Groom: Keirin Tutty

Bridesmaids: Aimee and Samantha (Leah and Keirin’s daughter)

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Best Man: Ian

Groomsman: Dylan and Daniel (Leah and Keirin’s son’s)

Wedding Dress: From Watters

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Groom: Esquire Suit Hire

Bridemaid Dress: Pagani

Photographer: SVZ Photography

Hair and Make up: Arrum

Venue: Tropical Rainforest, Otago Museum

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Wedding Celebrant: Angela Port

Reception Venue: Alhambra Rugby Club

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Cake: Ka Pow Cakes

Music: Jumping Jacks, Jukebox Hire

Wedding Cars: 2 Black AP5s

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Wedding Colours: Green, Black and White

Ceremony music: “Nothing else matters” Metallica, “Signed, sealed, delivered”  “Ho Hey” Lumineers

Best part of the day: Just hearing the music start, and the moments after the ceremony when we felt relaxed and happy.

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Things I would have done differently: We had a small wedding, only 50 people, it was so hard choosing the guest list, if I could I would have added to the guest list.

Where did you get ideas/inspiration: OffBeat Bride site, Pinterest and just surfing the net.

How did you pick your bridal party: We picked out children and closest friends to be by our sides on the day.

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Best piece of advice you were given: From Grandma “Just do what makes you happy, bugger everyone else”

Advice to other brides: Make sure you have lots of reliable helpers to do the running around and any last minute things, so you don’t stress out on the day. Also make sure you eat, it’s a really long day!

Anything didn’t go to plan: We were late all day, hair and make-up, photos everything.

Thanks for sharing your special day Leah and Keirin, it was an absolute honour to play a small part in your big day.

 

 

 

A day in the life of a celebrant

All you need is love and … here’s what a saturday looks like for a celebrant.

So generally Saturday’s are game days for me.  That is wedding day for most couples and while a bride is getting herself made up and sipping champagne, and a groom and his boys may be sneaking in a round of golf, this is a run down on how I prepare.

Gym

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Every Saturday morning starts with a 6.30 session at the gym.

Coffee

coffee

 

The best celebrants are fuelled by coffee.

Paperwork

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Checking that everything is sorted, filling in the date and address of the venue, making sure that I have everything, and then I pack it all into an envelope ready for the ceremony.  Checking that I have my pen, incase the couple don’t have a special one they want to use for the signing of the licence.

Practice

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I always practice every ceremony 4-5 times, running through the entire ceremony, paying special attention to timing, and jokes and pronounication of names.  Doing this means that I feel completely comfortable with the ceremony.  I also practice with the microphone to make sure I can juggle it and the folder, and rings etc.

Testing the tools

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Testing the public address system, making sure it’s charged up, making sure the volume is set correctly (it needs to be changed between inside and outside) checking the batteries in the cordless microphone, running all the songs for the wedding through to make sure the volume is correct and songs are all in the right order on the playlist.

Packing the car

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The car gets packed up, with everything I’m going to take. PA System, bag of essentials (paperwork, microphone, water bottle, lollipops etc) The car always gets a bit of a wash the day of the wedding, it is my mobile business card after all.

Getting dressed

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I pretty much always wear black to weddings.  When I meet with a couple in the planning stages I always ask what colour theme they are going with, this determines what I will wear. I wear black so that I don’t stand out, the attention needs to be on the bride and the bridesmaids.  If the bridesmaids are wearing black then I will wear another dark colour so I don’t look like I’m part of the bridal party.

Hair and Make-Up

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Not the same at the bridal party, but it’s important that I look my best, it is after all a wedding and I will be in a few of the couples wedding photos. I also make sure my toe nails are painted, because I nearly always wear open toed shoes.  It’s really important to me that I look my best.

On my way

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So after a double check that everything I need is loaded into the car.  I’m on my way.  I always arrive at least 45 mins before the service. I recommend to the groom and his boys that he arrive at the same sort of time, because guests will always arrive early to a wedding, and it’s nice for him to be there early to greet his guests and make sure everything is spot on.  I set up my PA, make sure everything is working properly, brief the MC on using the music system during the ceremony. I set up the licence, on the table where it will be signed, checking to see if the couple needs my pen or they have their own. Then it’s time to check with the groom to see if he needs help with anything, quite often I’m pinning on buttonholes, making sure all the boys look great. I usually get a quick word with the photographer when they arrive to check if they need anything, and to brief them if anything special is happening during the ceremony, sand ceremony, candle of rememberance etc.

Ceremony time

Sorry no photos of the ceremony, it was an unplugged ceremony, so I asked the guests to refrain from taking photos during the ceremony.

After the ceremony

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After the ceremony the photographer normally tries to get a group shot of all the guests, this is when I make sure all the paperwork is signed correctly, I place the couple’s copy of marriage licence into an envelope containing a copy of their ceremony and the cards that they use when they recite their wedding vows (as a keepsake of the day).  I then find the MC and give them this package to keep safe for the day, to give to the couple the next day. I pack everything up, and then have a little mingle with the guests, and go and find the couple to congratulate them and give them a quick hug.  I then make my exit, usually I get asked if I want to stay for a drink, but I think that a couple should celebrate with their family and friends, so I quietly leave.  Happy that I was able to share a couples special day with them.  It truly is a privilege, and I thank my lucky stars every time that I get to do this amazing job.

Mailing the paperwork

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The next day the paperwork is placed in the mail box, on it’s way to Wellington, to make the marriage official.  I always message the couple the next day to congatulate them to let them know their paperwork has been mailed and to make sure they are happy with everything.

So there’s quite a lot of preparation for me on a wedding day, alot of behind the scenes work that needs to be done to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.

 

Why you need a Plan ‘B’

All you need is love and … a Plan B.

This post is bought to you by the letter B, as in Plan B!

Sometimes as much as you plan your little heart out, the weather gods don’t understand and don’t play ball.  You can cross your fingers and toes and anything else you can cross, but sometimes it just doesn’t work in your favour.

It’s really important when you’re planning your wedding to have a ‘Plan B’, you may not want to think about it, or talk about it, or imagine it or dream about it, but it’s a necessary evil.  Your guests will thank you for it, in the long run.

When you are visiting potential venues, you may like to ask about what the Plan B option is.  Do they have somewhere where you can hold the ceremony if (god forbid) it’s not ideal weather?  Do they have somewhere onsite or will you need to have another location as backup?  As much as your heart may be set on an outdoor location in the sunshine (and as Kiwi’s we love a good outdoor wedding), you need to consider, if it’s threatening to rain on your day, do you want to be stressing about whether that downpour will will show its face  just at wedding 0’clock, also think about your guests having to traipse around on sodden grass in high heels, do you want your and your bridesmaid’s dresses dragging through mud on the way to the ceremony?  Do you think gumboots are appropriate footwear for a wedding?

 

Other things to consider: when are you going to make the call about the change of venue? Who’s going to make the call? How are you going to contact your guests, vendors, celebrant if you do need to change location? Do you need to decorate the back up location in a different way than your original location, what may work in one spot may not work in your alternative.

If you are having an outdoor wedding, you will need to nominate alternative location on your marriage licence, just incase.

It may be slightly devastating to not have your wedding in the location of your dreams on a warm sunny afternoon, especially if you have been planning it for a loooong time.  But what I say to all my brides is ‘remember what the day is about, it’s about marrying the love of your life, and at the end of the day that’s all thats important’