Thursday 20 April 2023

Finding the right wedding celebrant

When he gets down on one knee and pops that big question, for one amazing split second the world stops. The future flashes before your eyes and that flash usually involves a gorgeous dress, vibrant flowers and adoring eyes all focused on us. But…..unfortunately as plans begin to take hold and arrangements are booked the reality of how much works is involved in planning a wedding begins to set in.

Finding the right celebrant is sadly often given little thought initially and left to near last. Whether that is because it is perceived as a ‘less fun’ task or perhaps couples just find picking cakes and flowers more fun, but whatever the reason, finding the celebrant is something that should be given time and consideration and can mean the difference between having a fabulous day and having a disaster.

In selecting the celebrant for you it is really important that you have some idea of what you are looking for to begin with - male, female, older, younger, traditional, modern. You need to take some time to work these details out in advance and ensure that as a couple you are clear about what you are looking for.

So, why is it important to find the right celebrant? Well your celebrant will play a major role not only on the big day, but will be your main source of ideas, information and guidance on planning your ceremony. While a celebrants main objective is to help the couple to create a ceremony that reflects who they are, they also bring to it their own perspectives, beliefs and ideas on ceremony which can often impact substantially on the end result.

Some celebrants may be more traditional and believe that a ceremony should be a very serious and formal occasion while other celebrants may believe that a more easy going, casual and fun ceremony is perfectly acceptable.

In working with you they will bring these ideas to your ceremony in the planning stages that's why it is a good idea to take the time to select wisely.

Choosing someone to trust in guiding you to plan your big day can be a little daunting, so we’ve put together a few top tips to help you:

Tip 1: Do some research based on your initial decisions of male/female etc.

Tip 2: Select 3 who appear to fit all of your criteria and either call or email them for information. Remember to ask each one to provide you with an information pack (or an outline of the services they provide, fees, inclusions etc.)

Tip 3: Compare the 3 packs based on what is provided. Consider total cost and a rating of the information given. Pay careful attention to the price inclusions, all celebrants charge different amounts and provide different things for that price.

For example: Celebrant 1 charges an all inclusive price of $500 including signing table, all documents, travel in metro area, PA use etc. Celebrant 2 charges $400, however there is a $50 fee for a table, $70 for the PA, $50 for documents and travel charged per kilometer. It’s easy to see the initial price as being the best only to discover that there are lots of ‘add ons’

Tip 4: Choose the celebrant who provides everything you are looking for at the fairest price and who you feel will best work with you to create your dream ceremony.

Tip 5: Make contact with them for an initial introduction or meeting to see if your personalities match and that they understand your vision for your day.

When you meet with the celebrant you will soon know if they are right for you, however if you feel they are not suitable simply go back to your top 3 list and organise another meeting.

We have all heard the old saying "you get what you pay for" and like anything else this is true when it comes to weddings. Very experienced and knowledgeable celebrants charge a reasonable fee for the service that they provide to couples and the time and effort that they spend personalising ceremonies to ensure your ceremony is exactly as you envisioned it to be.

While there are many cheap options available couples need to ensure that they are meeting the legal requirements and consider the standard they expect for their wedding day. Be sure to ask friends and family for recommendations as chances are if they come highly recommended, they are providing fabulous service.

We hope this has helped you to find the right celebrant for you and don't forget to check out The Wedding Gurus preferred celebrants page by clicking this link:

The Wedding Gurus

xx

 


Sunday 26 March 2023

Wedding Rituals & Traditions - Our version of a Rune Stone Ceremony

The ‘Stone Ceremony’ is a tradition that takes us back to a much simpler time, when gold was far less affordable and not readily available to hard working people. Instead of an exchange of rings, the bride and groom would cast stones, etched with ancient Nordic runic symbols, into a nearby water source, most commonly a river, lake or sea.

While couples today can usually afford and easily access rings to celebrate their nuptials, the meaning and sentiment behind the casting of the stones can be a wonderful addition to a wedding ceremony. This ritual can be performed in either of its traditional settings or easily adapted to the modern era, with the use of a fountain, pond or something similar and the stones can be made by the couple themselves or purchased online.

***

Requirements: 2 stones, a river or brook (or a pond)

Example:

“Many early settlers on Australian soil had very little wealth and did not have access to the fine things that life now has to offer. They could not afford the symbolic presentation and exchange of rings that we see at a modern wedding ceremony. To show their love, eternal commitment and to confirm their vows, they would instead each cast a stone into a nearby river or ocean. The water was a natural and lasting reminder that symbolised their intention of remaining together forever, while the tides of time ebbed and flowed over their lives, with joy and sorrow, highs, lows and great love. John and Alice will now cast two stones into the brook behind us. The stones they have chosen for this ceremony have been etched with ancient Nordic symbols, called 'Runes'.

The use of Rune stones today is deliberate and John and Alice have chosen the symbols that are significant for them. Rune stones hold strong meanings and symbolise the merging of past cultures, with the joining together of these two lives as one.

The red stone, carved with the rune 'Berkana'.

This is a rune of new birth and new beginnings. Although it can be indicative of an actual birth or marriage it can also refer to personal growth and development and prosperity. It can indicate the start of something special and the cleansing of doubts before moving forward.

The Gold stone, carved with the rune 'Ansuz',

Represents blessing and joy, a time for new beginnings and to expect the unexpected. It offers harmony, order and Wisdom.  These symbols remind us that, we must always move forward and openly accept the unexpected things that life may cast our way. We must ride the ebbs and flows of the tide together.

John and Alice, please now cast your stones.

***

We hope you enjoy and feel a sense of connection to place when using this type of ritual in you ceremony. If you do use it, we'd love to see some pics!

The Wedding Gurus xx

Thursday 23 March 2023

Is your partner just not getting it when it comes to wedding planning?

 Is your partner just not getting it when it comes to wedding planning?


The wedding Gurus like to keep up on all the gossip around town when it comes to wedding planning and one thing that we see on a regular basis is where one partner is struggling to get the other to come to the party when it comes to planning their big day and spending a little money.

Now, we say spending a little money, but we all know that weddings can begin to burn a hole in those hardworking pockets pretty darn quick. In many situations your partner is probably right to try and keep things in check and make sure that costs are staying within the agreed budget (did you make one of those in the first place? If not, now might be a good time)

But what we’re hearing is that some brides are struggling with partners who are not only irritated and overwhelmed by the planning of it all, but also want the whole thing done and dusted on a few hundred dollars and this is causing some real relationship stress for some couples.

So, if your partner is finding the whole wedding planning stage a bit too much what are some strategies for dealing with it before it gets to breaking point?

1. Ask them to set aside a specific time to have a chat about things. In the lead up to that time, try not to harp on about he wedding or costs or anything else. Where possible, be the couple you’ve always been and save the wedding talk for the allocated time.

2. When you do sit down at the arranged time, be prepared. Have a list of things that need to get sorted out and tackle them one at a time. Having an agreed total budget amount will definitely make it easier to make decisions and ensure that both of you are clear about what is expected. The budget is definitely the first thing to tackle and this can take some time, so have some estimates ready in order to help your case and ensure the budget is realistic.

3. Some people just don’t love this stuff, so if you have a partner who is struggling with the ‘big picture’ visuals that you have in mind, you might need to take it slow, perhaps show them some pictures and be willing to negotiate. It’s so easy to get caught up with flower walls, lighting backdrops and chandelier candelabras, but if you’re mortgaging your house to pay for it, then some things might have to go. Be prepared to listen to what they think and scale back on some things that may be a little over the top.

4. Have a set list (yep another one!) of things that you each need to do or be a part of. For example, your partner may need to organise the fittings for the outfits, the transport, alcohol and a number of other things. And you will be organising the invites, hair trials, etc. Include the tasks that you will also need to do together, eg, seeing the caterer, photographer, celebrant etc. It is also a good idea to have required completion dates next to each task so that you both have a timeframe to work within.

5. Once you’ve had your set time to chat about all of the wedding details and plans, try to let it fall into the background while you each work from your list. No one likes to constantly be asked where they’re at and if things have been done, especially is the topic is a little sensitive and one partner is feeling a little ‘managed’. When the tasks reach their completion date, check in and see if they have been done and re-visit the next set of tasks in the planning.

Planning a wedding can be great fun for a couple, but it can also be absolutely awful and bring about a questioning of the relationship. Try to remember that we each have different ideas and place different values on things and sometimes your partner may not be completely on the same page as you. While one partner may have been dreaming of the perfect white wedding, a gigantic cake and a wall covered in flowers, the other might be placing more value on having family and fiends present and committing their lives to the other person. Marriage, after the party, is constant negotiation and compromise so now is a great time to get some practice!

Good luck xx

Monday 13 March 2023

Writing your own wedding vows - a guide for planning

 Should we write our own vows?


If I had a dollar for every time couples asked me this question, let’s just say I would be lying on a beach in the Bahamas sipping a cocktail.

There is really no right or wrong answer to this question and it is honestly nothing more than a consideration of what kind of person you are and if you feel confident with words and your ability to deliver them in front of a live audience. One thing that I have definitely noticed is that the ladies are always far more eager to take on this task than the gentlemen. Why? I really have no idea but for some reason it almost always seems to be the case all but for a few exceptions.

When I sit down to put together a ceremony with a couple, the vows is always the section that takes us the longest to work through. There are lots of options and different methods of delivery and it’s often hard to decide in advance what your level of confidence will be like on the day.

The easiest way to do this is to break it down into 2 sections and they are Delivery and Content.

Firstly, delivery –    Do you want to repeat them after the celebrant or priest?

                                Read them from a card or

                                Recite them from memory

Making a decision about which method of delivery you will use greatly affects your content but we will look at that in a moment.

Secondly, content –  Do you want to write something personal from the heart

                                  Choose a standard vow(modern or traditional)

                                  Adapt/reword a standard vow or one personally written by someone else

Choosing a particular mode of delivery directly affects your choice of content due to the fact that if you really want to repeat the words after the Celebrant/Priest then 2-3 lines is about the maximum length you can use. Something personally written is usually not a good choice in this instance because it tends to be longer than 2-3 lines and does not come across well to guests. Vows longer than 2-3 lines are not pleasant when repeated because as you can imagine the guests feel like they are watching a tennis match, celebrant says a couple words, bride repeats the words, celebrant says a couple more words, Bride repeats and so on and on and on and then it’s the grooms turn to do it all over again!

Repeat: If you choose the option repeating after the Celebrant/Priest, by far the best idea is to choose either a short standard Vow or a personal vow that is no longer than about 3 lines in length (including the legal wording).

Read: If you are happy to read your Vows from a card then you are free to write anything you want as long as you ensure that the approx 2 lines that the Commonwealth stipulate must be said in order for your marriage to be valid (your celebrant or priest will discuss this with you).

HANDYHINT: If you decide to write your own vows then a great thing to bring it all to life is to write your vows to each other secretly and submitted them to the Celebrant/Priest separately so that the other does not know what will be said on the day. This is wonderful and adds an element of excitement for you as the couple on the day. I have seen this leave couples sobbing when the words are spoken.

Recite: The final option is to recite your vows from memory. When I got married many years  ago, I remember the Deacon who married us saying that we MUST learn our vows because it is the one thing that we have to do for ourselves on the day. I understand his point about he fact that each person should make the effort to at least remember what they want to say to the other, but in all honesty it ruined my experience of my ceremony because I was so petrified of forgetting the vows that it was all I could think about or concentrate on rather than really enjoying my wedding day and having all of my family and friends together.

Since then I have only ever had two couples who were absolutely sure that they wanted to recite their vows from memory and they were practising right up until the last moment and ………. in both cases I ended up having to prompt them through it. It is not because they just suddenly forgot, it is because it is very difficult to anticipate how powerful it is standing up there and the rollercoaster of emotions that is consuming you as you look at each other with all of your loved ones looking on.

My final bit of info on this topic is just a small caution. If you are going to write your own vows and especially if you are going to keep them secret, MAKE SURE that you are on the same page in terms of the tone. For example I had a couple who submitted their vows separately and while his was a full page of gushing about how divine his beautiful bride to be was and how he had fallen in love with her from the instant he saw her, when I read her vows my heart almost skipped a beat. Her vows were a hilarious account of their life together and all of his bad habits that disgusted her and drove her crazy and how she loved him for it. Both were great stories, but it would have been a disaster for him to give his loving speech only for her to follow with her comedy routine.

When deciding on what to choose for your vows, talk to each other about it and try to find an option that you are both comfortable with. A good Celebrant or Priest will always have a stack of options and ideas so rely on their expertise to guide you in the right direction.

If you have any problems or questions at all, feel free to comment. We're more than happy to help you out.

The Wedding Gurus xx

Saturday 11 March 2023

10 Ideas to Plan the Perfect Hen's Night

Here are our top 10 tips for planning a Hen's night the bride will love!



1. Ask the Bride First

If you’re looking for pointers on how to plan the perfect hens night, who better to talk to than the bride herself? She’ll either leave it all up to you or she’ll have a few ideas of her own. Either way it’s always best to hash it out first. If she wants to help you plan, add a few extra surprises along the way.


2. Start Early

If you’re planning a hen’s night, day or weekend it’s best to plan well in advance. This will ensure that all the guests are available and you’ll also be less stressed come the big day.


3. Guest List

Again, you should ask the bride before sending out the invites. You might have a few ideas and want to surprise her but it’s best if she knows who’s invited first so that no one is left out.


4. Pick a Date

Once you’ve got the guest list sorted you can start hashing out dates. Have a few options handy and ask around. One of the dates will ultimately be better suited to most people. Unfortunately when planning parties it’s almost inevitable that one or two people won’t be able to make it but always choose a date that fits the bride, VIP’s and majority of guests.


5. Budget

Once you’ve planned the events you should be able to stick to a budget. You can have a great time without spending a whole lot of money. Keep in mind any accommodation, meals, activities etc. It’s a good idea to let everyone know well ahead of time if you need them to chip in.


6. Accommodation

Whether you’re all staying the night in a fancy hotel or you just need somewhere to play party games, you need to plan your accommodation and book well in advance.


7. Activities

Sure there’s the good old pub crawl but that’s not going to fit with every hen. Instead of coming up with traditional hen night ideas think about the hen’s personality and favourite things and come up with some ideas based around that. It’s hard to go wrong with spa treatments and anything that will pamper your hen and guests.


8. Gifts

The hen’s night is the perfect time to give the hen those cheeky gifts for the wedding night and honeymoon period. Why not buy some beautiful lingerie or some bedroom games for the hen and her rooster.


9. Dinner

Pick a restaurant you and the girls haven’t been to before. Ask for recommendations and always check the place out before you book. See if there’s a secluded area where the party can reside and always check the wine list.


10. Girls Night

A lot of hens would rather a girl’s night in than a pub crawl. Host a girlie sleepover, complete with pyjamas, sleeping bags, beauty kits, romantic comedies and magazines.




Special thanks to Guest Blogger, Sandra Worsley


Author Bio: Sandra Worsley is an experienced Australian writer. She often provides great tips on wedding preparations and organising special events.

Sunday 5 March 2023

Wording for a Wedding Ceremony - Pagan Elements & Handfasting

If you're the kind of couple who haven't attended many weddings, it can be difficult to come up with ideas when it comes to thinking about your own wedding ceremony. It's easy to get caught up in planning the party, the food and the cake, but many forget that it is at the ceremony they actually become husband and wife. It is the words they say to each other and the declarations made in front of their guests that will be looked back upon as the years pass.

Usually your celebrant or officiant will provide you with plenty of options to consider for your ceremony, but a ceremony that has been personalised with some of the things that are truly special to the couple and reflect who they are always leave those in attendance with a sense of connection and sincerity. 

Today we thought we would bring you an actual ceremony that was put together by a couple who wanted to incorporate some Pagan elements to their day. We hope you enjoy it and we look forward to bringing you some more ceremony options.





The Ceremony


Welcome:

(Warming of the rings) On behalf of Andrew and Kathryn I would like to welcome you here today to celebrate with them as they pledge their commitment to one another in marriage. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being here and showing them your support.

 

Introduction:

We have come together here in celebration of the joining together of Kathryn and Andrew. There are many things to say about marriage. Much wisdom concerning the joining together of two souls, has come our way through all paths of belief, and from many cultures. With each union, more knowledge is gained and more wisdom gathered. Though we are unable to give all this knowledge to these two, who stand before us, we can hope to leave with them the knowledge of love and its strengths and the anticipation of the wisdom that comes with time.

 

The law of life is, love unto all beings. Without love, life is nothing, without love, death has no redemption. Love is anterior to Life, posterior to Death, initial of Creation and the exponent of Earth. If we learn no more in life, let it be this.

 

Marriage is a bond to be entered into only after considerable thought and reflection. As with any aspect of life, it has its cycles, its ups and its downs, its trials and its triumphs. With full understanding of this, Andrew and Kathryn have come here today to be joined as one in marriage.

 

Giving of the bride:

Celebrant: Others would ask, at this time, who gives the bride in marriage, but, as a woman is not property to be bought and sold, given and taken, I ask simply if she comes of her own will and if she has her family's blessing.

 

Celebrant: Kathryn, is it true that you come of your own free will and accord?

 

Kathryn: Yes, it is true.

 

Celebrant:  And with whose blessings accompany you. 

Bride's attendant: She’s accompanied with her father’s blessings.

 

Envoking the elements:

In times past it was believed that the human soul shared characteristics with all things divine. It is this belief which assigned virtues to the cardinal directions; East, South, West and North. It is in this tradition that a blessing is offered in support of this ceremony.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East. Communication of the heart, mind, and body Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun. The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South. Warmth of hearth and home The heat of the heart's passion The light created by both To lighten the darkest of times.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West. The deep commitments of the lake The swift excitement of the river The refreshing cleansing of the rain The all encompassing passion of the sea.

 

Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North Firm foundation on which to build Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives A stable home to which you may always return.

 

Each of these blessings from the four cardinal directions emphasizes those things which will help you build a happy and successful union. Yet they are only tools. Tools which you must use together in order to create what you seek in this union.

 

Any Legally Required Words

 

Reading: Why Marriage? - Mari Nichols-Haining

Why Marriage? Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person, with all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body .

 

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me, who won't hold them against me, who loves me when I'm unlikable, who sees the small child in me, and looks for the divine potential of me.

 

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night with someone who is thankful, with someone I feel blessed to hold.

 

Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love in friendship.

 

Because, knowing this, I promise myself to take full responsibility for my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness, I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage together we create our marriage.

 

Because with this understanding the possibilities are limitless.

 

  

The Handfasting:

Celebrant:  

Please join hands. As your hands are joined, so now are your lives.

Above you are the stars

below you are the stones

as time does pass

Remember

Like a star should our love be constant

Like a stone should your love be firm

Be close, but not too close

Posses one another, but be understanding

Have patience with one another

For storms will come, but they will go quickly

Be free in the giving of affection and warmth

Make love often, and be sensuous with one another

Have no fear and let not the ways or words

of the unenlightened give you unease for the Gods are with you.

 

Vows: 

I ask you now to exchange your vows. We’ll start with you Andrew.

 

Andrew:  I ask all present to witness that I, Andrew James Lane, take you, Kathryn Cameron, to be my lawful wife. I pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honour and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your own fulfilment as an individual for the rest of my life. I am honoured to call you my wife, my soul mate and I will love you unconditionally forever and some more.

 

And now it’s Kathryn’s turn.

 

Kathryn:  I ask all present to witness that I, Kathryn Cameron, take you, Andrew James Lane to be my lawful husband. I pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love. I promise to honour and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your own fulfilment as an individual for the rest of my life. I am honoured to call you my husband, my soul mate and I will love you unconditionally forever and some more.”

 

Celebrant:  Andrew and Kathryn have made their vows to each other in the presence of those dear to them; I then take this cord and bind them to those vows.

 

(Celebrant ties the ribbon around hands).

 

The Asking/Exchange of Rings

Celebrant Kathryn and Andrew, as these circles are designed without an ending, they speak of eternity. May the incorruptible substance of these rings represent a love glowing with increasing lustre through the years. Bless these rings which you give to each other as the sign of your love, trust, and faithfulness.

 

Celebrant: Andrew will you take Kathryn to be your wife and soul mate, to travel through all your lives together, to love, laugh, cherish, communicate and understand each other as long as love may last?

 

Andrew; I Will.

 

Celebrant to bride;

Kathryn will you take Andrew to be your husband and soul mate, to travel through all your lives together, to love, laugh, cherish, communicate and understand each other as long as love may last?

 

Kathryn; I Will.

 

Bride and groom say together

“Heart to thee, soul to thee, always and forever, so mote it be.

 

Celebrant: So mote it be

 

Guests: So mote it be.

 

Announcement:  Now that you have joined yourselves in marriage, may you strive always to meet this commitment with the same spirit you now exhibit. We all bear witness to this ceremony you have just performed, may the gods bless this union, and may the majesty of this earth protect you in your joined lives together. You may now kiss your bride.

 

Signing:

We will now be taking a few minutes to sign the legal paperwork. Please Feel free to take photos.

 

Presentation:

Having said that It now gives me great pleasure to introduce to you for the first time as a married couple……Andrew and Kathryn Lane.

 


Sunday 12 February 2023

Valentine's Day - What's it all about?

 


Every year, the 14th day of February sees all of us, no matter what age or sex, scurrying about organising surprises, no matter how big or small and presenting our loved ones with flowers, chocolates and whatever other treat or gift we can think of to show our love.

Every table in every good restaurant is usually taken well in advance and God help the poor boyfriend, husband or fiancĂ©e who didn’t get a chance to shop!

While we give cards and gifts and hope we have someone care enough about us to leave a little surprise the history of St Valentine's day is actually very sweet and deserves some recognition.

Valentine's day, some say, originates from a bishop named Valentine, who was stationed in the Roman Empire. At that time the Emperor was Claudius II, who took it upon himself to decide that men who were not yet married actually made better soldiers than did the ones with wives and families.

It was this belief that brought about his decision to make it a rule of law that young men could not marry. Such an outrageous decision caused distress for so many young men and their sweethearts that round 270 A.D., it was bishop Valentine who took great pity on these poor and lonely soldiers who were pining for their loves and he began performing secret marriages against the ruling of the Emperor.

Once the secret marriages were found out Claudius II was enraged and jailed Valentine. While imprisoned Claudius II began his attempts to convert Valentine insisting that he worship only the Roman Gods, but Valentine refused and Instead, he began his own campaign to convert Claudius to Christianity.

Valentine was sentenced to be executed on February 24, 270.

There is also another version of the history of Valentine’s Day which tells a more romantic side to the story (which we all love of course!)

While imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Just before his death, he sent his beloved a note telling her of his love and at the end the signature read “from your Valentine.” With the tale of deceit, romance and death, those who knew the story began to talk of the demise of Valentine and over time his fame was far reaching.

Bishop Valentine, having not only sacrificed his own life to help the young couples in love, also overcame the reality of his predicament to fall in love with his executioners daughter, became what a “Patron Saint” of love.  As time passed his legend lived on and many considered him the patron or spiritual overseer of an annual festival held on the 14th of February, in which young couples would give cards of love and affection to those they were not only already in love with, but to those they wished to date.

There are even Valentine cards in museums worldwide that date back to 1415.

We will leave you on this day of celebrating the uniqueness and beauty of love with this:

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments.

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

0, no! it is an ever-fixed mark, that looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

 

 Happy Valentine's Day!

 

Wedding Photos - What Does Your Photographer Need to Know From You?

Planning a wedding is one of those experiences that will be forever remembered. You'll recall the moment you found the perfect dress, th...