Monday 28 August 2023

Your Wedding Day - How to make sure you soak it in

 


As a wedding celebrant I have the unique opportunity to be standing right there beside hundreds of couples as they take that huge leap into marriage and commit their lives, hopes and dreams to each other. 

It's an interesting vantage point because over the years it has really demonstrated to me how we all love and commit to another in our own unique way. Some couples are laughing and joking, others are teary and nervous, and others are so focussed on each other they barely notice anyone else is even there!

No matter what kind of couple you are, the most important thing is that your wedding day really reflects who you are. Sure, it's a serious occasion and you might have lots of guests there, but when those people who know and love you walk away from your wedding thinking, that was so them, then that is what really counts.

So, if you and your partner are the kind of couple who joke and tease each other, your ceremony should really have that feel. If you and your partner are serious and romantic, then that should shine through in your wedding ceremony and the vows you say to each other.

But, there's one very important thing I always try to reinforce when I'm working with couples, no matter how they intend to approach their wedding day - MAKE SURE YOU TAKE A BREATH AND SOAK IT IN. 

It is so easy to get caught up with all the noise, the details, the planning, who is where and whether everything is going to plan, but on that day, the most important thing is being there and being present with the person you love, in the moment, and committing your life to them. Even if small things go wrong, you'll still be married at the end of the day, which is the whole point of doing it!

Sometimes when I'm standing beside the groom (or the partner who is beside me) and the bride (or other partner) is about to walk down the aisle, I'll whisper, 'This is it. It's finally here. Look where you are.' and I'll hear them suck in a breath and hold it. The emotion, the excitement, the nervousness as their loved one is about to come and join them and take vows filled with promises of forever. It's a beautiful moment to be a part of and so very important for the couple.

Another opportunity to really soak it in is when signing the legal paperwork (if it's done that way in your country). The couple and celebrant go over to the signing table and the couple sit down. I often fuss around a little bit and give them a minute to chat and laugh and look at each other and then I'll say to them, Can you believe you're now married? and you see the way they look at each other in that moment. It's as if all the stress and worry melts away and their hopes and dreams and being set in motion.

There are also other opportunities to connect and bring yourself back to the moment throughout your wedding day. Every time it's feeling busy on the day, let that be a reminder to you to take a deep breath, look around you and commit it to your heart and memory. Squeeze your partners hand and let yourself feel the excitement of this life changing moment because in the coming years, and particularly in your older years, you will look back on this day and draw upon those feelings. it will become one of the defining moments of your life. 

Good luck!


The Wedding Gurus xx

 


Sunday 27 August 2023

Wedding Rituals and Traditions - Dance of the Crown from Finland

The stunning country of Finland, known to many as the land of a thousand lakes, is rich in beauty, culture and tradition. 

Like many, Finnish people love a good wedding and it is at the wedding ceremony that we see many of their rituals and traditions at work. We’ve chosen a few of our favourites that can be easily incorporated into your own wedding whether you are of Finnish heritage or not. On the day of her wedding, as the bride prepares for her big day, a golden crown is placed on her head for her to wear throughout the ceremony. She continues to wear the crown as they commence to their reception and it remains on her head until the time that the ‘Dance of the Crown’ is performed. 


 

This ritual dance sees the bridesmaids place a blindfold on the bride as they begin to move around her, dancing and confusing her of their place. Much like the tradition of the garter toss, the bride then places the crown on the head of one of the bridesmaids (it is left to fate as the bride cannot see who she is placing it on). It is this bridesmaid that is then, according to the tradition, the next one to be married. 

 

Another fun tradition that takes place at a Finnish wedding is the dance to end the celebrations. This is something that anyone could include in their wedding just for something different and fun. 


The last dance is known as the ‘Weaning Waltz’ and a group can be easily shown how to participate. To kick of the dancing an instrumental waltz is played as all female guests dance with only the bride and all male guests dance with only the groom. This works best if everyone gets in on it, even the grandparents and older guests and small children assisted by their parents. The bride and groom are whisked around the dance floor, briefly dancing with guests who endeavour to make them ‘forget’ their marriage partner. There is lots of laughter and fun until the bride and groom finally return to each others arms to complete the dance and show to all present that nothing can keep them apart. 

 

One of the most magical things about rituals and traditions in ceremony is that you don’t have to be a part of that culture to incorporate some of the fun and meaningful elements into your own ceremony. Find one that suits you as a couple and will add to your enjoyment of your day. 

 

The Wedding Gurus xxx


Friday 4 August 2023

Wedding Rituals and Traditions - Libation Ceremony

 

There are some traditions or rituals practised throughout the world which are not unique to any one culture. These rituals, while often similar in nature, may have different relevance or significance depending on the situation. This is certainly true for ‘libation’ rituals.

The term libation; ‘the pouring of a liquid offering as a religious ritual’, is a traditional part of ceremonies practised by the ancient Greeks and Romans, some African tribes and Burmese Buddhists, to name only a few. The liquid offered may be any number of substances (wine, water, oil), depending on the cultural origins of the ceremony.


Requirements: Liquid of your choice, pouring vessel.

In some African cultures, an essential part of any ceremony is the pouring of a libation. Sometimes water, but more often a traditional wine, is used for the ritual. A prayer calling all to attend and participate is given by an elder, who through this tradition, invokes both ancestors and Gods to be present.

Example: A Libation Prayer

We give praise to the Almighty power

Praise to our ancestors and the roots from which we came.

To truly know his Creator, a man must know his roots.

Let our ancestors and the spirit of the Creator bring us closer in unity.

This ceremony demonstrates the people’s recognition and obligation to their ancestors and to their Gods. The Ancient Romans were also great believers in the use of libation rituals in ceremony. The pouring of wine and perfumed oil was considered an eminent act of veneration.

Libation rituals are still found today in formal ceremonies, (eg. baptism, formal toasts and even in the launching of a ship), and in popular culture, (winning the Grand Prix or ‘drowning your sorrows’ at losing a football match).  In the United States, the term ‘tipping a forty to their memory’, involves tipping a small amount of liquid (usually liquor) from a glass before drinking, paying respect to and in memory of those no longer with us.

A Libation Ritual is a simple and practical ritual to use in a wedding ceremony.  It doesn’t cost anything extra and allows the  ‘head’ of either family, a grandmother or grandfather, the Celebrant, Best Man or anyone of the couple’s choosing to conduct the ritual and say a few words as to the sentiment behind it. A libation is a simple, yet powerful way to acknowledge and pay respect to those unable to participate; a family member separated by distance or a loved one who has passed away.

‘The two eldest members of these families have been seated in a very special place today - one on the bride’s side and one on the groom’s. They have been given pride of place at this ceremony for good reason - in the aisle, nearest the couple, to remind them that the wisdom of their elders is always within reach and close at hand.

‘I have been charged with the responsibility of offering a libation in the hope that the living and the dead, the young and the old, may come together. I pour a libation of ‘Uisge, Baugh’ (Irish Gaelic ‘The Water of Life’ - Irish Whiskey) itself a ‘spirit’, which represents stimulation, invigoration and energy. It is poured in the four directions -- North, South, East and West -- to open the way for the spirits of our ancestors and loved ones to be here with us’.

‘I call on our forebears, who stood for unity and togetherness, to stand beside us on this day, and I invite everyone present to call out the names of those who are dear to them, both ancestors and those more recently passed, in the hope that they too, will cast their love, wisdom and courage on these two people who are coming together to be married. They have, by their very presence promised to do their best to maintain this relationship and the unity of family.

May the love that has been bestowed upon you today remain with you through whatever may come and may this libation always remind you that your connections to past and present are ever near.’

The Wedding Gurus x

Tuesday 1 August 2023

What music should you have for your wedding ceremony

Music is a huge part of your wedding ceremony and to be honest, it really sets the tone and feel for the day. Live music is always amazing, but for some (many) couples, money is just too tight and it can't make the budget. 


It's really important to be clear about what options are available when it comes to the use of music on your big day. 

The following options might help you out:

Option 1.  Use the celebrant's PA system. 

Most celebrants will have their own PA system for you to play your music from (be sure to ask them in your planning meeting). 

On the day and you can just bring along a phone or iPad (or whatever device you have your songs on) to plug into the PA. 

Note: with this option, you may need someone from your group to press the play and stop buttons as the celebrant will be up the front with you and not near the PA and may not have a remote control. The celebrant can easily give the person a quick run through of what to press before the ceremony starts.

If you choose to play from a device, you might want to create 3 separate playlists. This is best done using an app like Spotify premium (no ads!) and downloading the playlist to the device in case there are any wifi issues at your ceremony location.

The playlists can be put into the following categories for ease of playing.

1.     Before – this is a playlist with about 10 songs that can be played in the 30 minutes or so while guests are arriving. This sets a nice tone and feel for the ceremony.

2.     Entrance – this is the entrance song for the bride/groom and bridal party if they are entering in the traditional way. This can be 1 song or 2 if you want the bridesmaids to have a different song from the bride.

3.     Signing – this is a playlist of about 5 songs to be played while the couple and their witnesses are signing the legal documents. It allows the guest to enjoy the moment and the atmosphere.

Option 2. Instead of using the celebrant's PA system, you can bring along a portable speaker of your own to play the music. You can have a friend look after setting it up and pressing play and stop. This options also means that you can test your music etc before the big day and give the friend a run-through.

Option 3. You can book an audio person to handle all of the sound/mic stuff for the ceremony on the day. this means you can relax and not worry about a thing!

Option 4. You can hire a live musician for your ceremony. This creates a fabulous atmosphere and is the best option if you can afford it. 

No matter which option you choose, putting a bit of time and planning into your ceremony music will ensure that you and your guests really set the tone for a fun and gorgeous day.

The Wedding Gurus x

Monday 31 July 2023

Wedding Rituals and Traditions - Song of the Bride (Romania)

There are a treasure trove of rituals and traditions that originate from Romania and people from different regions practice these in varied forms. The important ceremonial rituals practiced as part of a wedding are heavily dependant upon which region the couple come from.



One ritual/tradition that we came across takes place in the hours leading up to the wedding when the bride is preparing for the day. While she is dressing, the bridesmaids and best friends all gather and assist her.  This is a very important part of the preparation and can be a very emotional and moving moment for the bride and those closest to her. 

As they prepare her for her ceremony a song, "Say farewell bride to your family and house"- "Ia-ti mireasa ziua buna" is played and with an overflow of emotion, is often accompanied by tears and embraces  from all present. We found a rough translation of the lyrics:

Song of the Bride:
Say goodbye bride to your mother, to your father
To your sisters, to your brothers, to your garden with flowers
To your friends and neighbours, to the games or lover
Cry bride, today is the day
It's time to forget your father and love your husband
To forget your mother and to love your mother- in- law
To forget about your sisters and to love your sisters-in-law
 
You will go with your husband and you will leave behind everything you had.

Today with many couples living together before they are married, much of this significance can be lost, but for those who are coming from their parents home to join their husband in a new home and a new life, this rite of passage is still very special.

The Wedding Gurus xx

 


Saturday 22 July 2023

Wedding Rituals and Traditions - Paying tribute to the traditional owners of the land

Acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land - Australian Version

I thought I might share this with you as I have been on occasion asked to begin a ceremony with an acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land upon which we have stood.


Please note: you must only do an Acknowledgement of Country and not a Welcome to Country. A Welcome can only be done by a traditional owner.


An acknowledgement is a great way of paying respect to those who have come before us and can be done whether or not you have an indigenous background. The two examples here are from one particular area (South Australia), using specific groups, but wherever you are in the world, you can easily use similar wording to pay respect and honour the traditional owners of the land on which you stand.


It is believed that paying tribute brings good luck by ensuring that you are beginning on a positive note.



We acknowledge and respect the traditional custodians whose ancestral lands we are meeting upon here today. We acknowledge the deep feelings of attachment and relationship of Aboriginal peoples to country. We also pay respects to the cultural authority of Aboriginal peoples visiting/attending from other areas of South Australia/Australia present here.”


OR


“We would like to acknowledge this land that we meet on today is the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their country. We also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the custodians of the greater Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still important to the living Kaurna people today.”

If you are thinking of adding something like this to your ceremony, or are assisting a couple who would like to have something similar included, be sure to check the details of the traditional owners of the land that you will be performing the ceremony on.


Also check out another of our rituals/traditions - a traditional smoking ceremony.

The Wedding Gurus xx

Friday 21 July 2023

Meditation for Bride's - de-stress before the big day!

Weddings are stressful. And for some, they can be REALLY stressful (particularly when you're dealing with family issues, bridal party fallout or any other number of things.

It's important to sometimes step back from the planning, the thinking and the lists, and take a breather to let yourself reset.

Looking after yourself and you mindset id really important and you want to head into your big day in a really good headspace.

So, we've created an easy to listen to 10 minute meditation especially for bride's who are feeling a bit of that overwhelm and just need a little reset.

Find a relaxing place, disconnect and give yourself this gift.

Enjoy!

(Warning - the narrator is Australian!)





Wedding Rituals and Traditions - The Dove Release

In this post we've chosen to bring you a look at the Dove Release which can be a beautiful and symbolic addition to any wedding ceremon...