I’ve been married nearly half my life, coming up 20 years July 2019, so I feel somewhat qualified to talk about marriage. I can actually only really talk about my own marriage, because I have no idea how other couples navigate their own relationships, and quite frankly that really has nothing to do with me.
If you can’t be silly with your husband, who can you be silly with?
So what does marriage mean to me?
To me it means sharing my life with someone who I love.
To me it means that I will share the great experiences, the fun stuff, the adventures, the travel, the life-changing stuff (like the kid arriving and the raising of him) and the silly conversations, it also means that he’ll be there for the not so great things too, like sickness, like grumpy days, like depression, like those times when things don’t turn out the way you wanted them too. He’ll be there for those times, when I can’t make up my mind what I want to eat, when I really want to figure out how to do something myself and get frustrated when I need to ask for help, and when I make less than stellar decisions, and I need him to help me pick up the pieces. For me it doesn’t mean that I become one with him, because literally I’m not sure how that would happen, and I’m my own person, always have been, always will be, just like he is. It also doesn’t mean that I love everything little thing about him, because there are definitely things about him, that absolutely drive me up the wall, and I’m sure there are things that he is not so enamoured by me either, but it does mean that I love his vibe, I love his values, and his outlook on life.
For me it means that we’ll dig in deep when the sh#t hits the fan, because we’re both committed to making this work. It means that we always love hard, but that we love harder when things are not quite as amazing as they can be. It means that I can be completely honest with him, about how I’m feeling about all the things, because that is what he signed on for. It also means that I will stop and listen to him when he needs to off load. It means that I can’t promise to fix all the things that are wrong, but that I will always be there to help him figure it out, and then cheer him on. It means that I honour and respect myself, and know that occasionally I need time to myself to work on myself, to help me grow into the person I need to be and that I know he needs time to follow his own passion, whatever that looks like.
It means knowing that I will continue to love him, in all the different forms he will encompass throughout our lives together, just as I hope he will for me. Because we are definitely not the same people we were when we stood before each other, and our friends and family and promised to love each other on our wedding day.
And frankly I can’t think of a better person to share this crazy thing called life with!
To be invited to a wedding is an absolute honour and privilege, it is absolutely not a give in, just because you’re the bride’s best friend’s mother’s brother, and it should be treated as such! There are some things that will make you the absolute best wedding guest ever! *Never assume you will be invited (and don’t hassle the bride) there are so many factors that go into planning a wedding (budget, venue, location) that not everyone will be invited. *Always RSVP, this is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, co-ordinating the RSVP’s, so make the brides day by yes’ing or no’ing as soon as you can. *Don’t ask to bring a plus one, if it hasn’t been stipulated on the invitation for you to bring one. *Adhere to the dress code – there are only two occasions in life where dressing up is required, weddings and funerals, so honour the occasion, by leaving the tracksuits and crocs at home and donning a suit or appropriate dress. *Arrive on time – don’t make the bride wait because you’re late, don’t be the person creeping in at the back late. If you’re not sure where you’re going beforehand, google it and download the map! *Don’t take photos, especially if you’re told by the celebrant etc not to. Some occasions in life don’t need to be seen through the lens of a phone or ipad! *Don’t think that you’re the funniest person alive by mentioning to the groom when he’s waiting for the bride “it’s not too late to run” it is possibly the most disrespectful thing to say at the wedding. *Don’t get stinking drunk and hit on every one with a pulse. *Dont spend the whole wedding reception on your phone, not engaging with the other guests. Be excited to be in a space where love is honoured and act accordingly.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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!”
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!