What's More Important: The Wedding or the Marriage?

If you find yourself seduced by glossy wedding magazines, or the myriad of social media sites that will 'help' you plan your wedding, within a very short time you will have to decide whether this one day will be:

  1. the most important day of your life,
  2. the best day of your life, or
  3. the most expensive day of your life!

It’s more than likely that your wedding is one or all of those statuses. I’d like to suggest a more proportionate response.

Maybe your wedding isn’t the most important day, maybe the day you’re currently in, the now is the most important day. It's all very well to wax on about future love, or past love. Love, and loving someone actually exist in the present, it’s an activity that can only occur in the now. Maybe your marriage is more important than the actual wedding in which you are about to invest so very heavily.

Is your future together about the car, the cake, the 'favours'? Should you be so stressed about seating plans, make up trials and whether the fake tan will rub off on your wedding dress? I don't think so, but maybe I'm just old fashioned.

Rather than perceiving your wedding as the 'best day's your life, could it be that the best is yet to come. Maybe  your marriage is a union that has the strength and courage to proclaim that “our best is still ahead of us”.

The Demise of the Bridal Party

When I meet with couples one of the points of contention between them is often the size of their bridal party. Why do bridal parties even exist? Well. historically they were more or less a 'safety net' in the event of real actual demons attacking weddings.  Our ancestors used to be stressed about demons attacking the good things in life, and this included marriage ceremonies.

In my twenty one years of officiating at marriages,  demons are yet to make an appearance, let alone destroy a wedding. Regardless, this is the origin of having attendants at your wedding. Everyone thought it would be a really great idea to dress up a few friends to look a little bit like us so that when the demons arrived to interrupt the nuptials they would be confused because there are so many men in suits and women in dresses. Lo and behold, the bridal party was invented.

But nowadays we live in much more liberated times and we even have the ability to apply a bit of science to the situation, and most likely deduce that the threat of demons sabotaging our wedding day is pretty slim.  There is NO expectation on you to have hordes of family and friends in your wedding party. I'm not advocating dropping this tradition, as I am happy to work with whatever wishes you have for your BIG day! But put your thinking caps on and work out who you wish to involve, why you want a bridal party and work out some of the logistics.  Sadly it seems so many couples are working to others expectations, or trying to please everybody but themselves.

This is your wedding, I can't guarantee 100% that it will be free of demons, but I'm 99.9% confident that you get married without the drama of a huge and costly entourage.

Putting My Support to 'Maddie Riewoldt's Vision'

Life has been very good to me, and apart from losing my father at a relatively young age in 1989, my life has not been touched by tragedy or misfortune. I have taken the decision to make a regular donation for each booking received, and the charityI have chosen is Maddie Riewoldt's Vision.

Recognised recently in the Telstra Business Awards, this worthwhile charity is funding research into new treatment for blood cancers. My connection to this family  dates back to the 1980s when they lived in Hobart. I have to confess to also being a passionate Saint Kilda supporter. 

The death of a bride, (a former student) from breast cancer in April this year, only three days after she was married, has been the added impetus to try and support some sort of research into this insidious disease. So for every booking received I will make a donation of $5 to this charity, and show this via my Instagram and Facebook pages.

To Change or Not to Change...Surnames

When I meet with the bride and groom in the planning of their marriage ceremony, this is one of the questions that does arise quite often. Many brides are sure of their intention, but for some they are struggling to weigh up whether to take their husband's surname after marriage. Well some research has been done and a recently published study by Associate Professor Yvonne Corcoran-Nantes from Flinders University has found that 80% of brides do take their husbands surname, even in this the twenty first century.

A little known option is for the groom to take his bride's surname and this has occurred just once in my career, making the odds more than 'one in a thousand'. For some brides, their surname is one they have used in their profession and they feel strongly about keeping it. For others, there are no male offspring and they are literally the last link to their family name. For a report on the study by Associate Professor Corcoran-Nantes, click here.

Outdoor ceremony inspiration

Why would a celebrant publish a list of outdoor ceremony locations as we head into Winter. Well, many couples are planning for the next season from October 2016 through to April 2017 and this list might just give you some inspiration or an idea you had not considered for your ceremony.  I have avoided the usual venues where you would usually commit to a food and beverage 'package' and I haven't listed beaches, many of which you would just turn up at, and hope for the best. So in no particular order, have a think about these:-


Derwent Sailing Squadron
Rosny Barn
Runnymede House
Parliament House lawns (write to your local MP for permission, it's free!)
GASP pavilion
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens
Signal Station
Knocklofty Reserve
Hobart City Council parks (St David's Park , Princes, Fitzroy Gardens, Cascade Gardens, Waterworks Reserve, Acanthe Park)
Bellerive Boardwalk rotunda
Richmond Bridge platform (book through local council)

GASP Art and Sculpture Park pavilion, Montrose

GASP Art and Sculpture Park pavilion, Montrose


 

 

 

 

 

JUST A FEW COMMENTS ABOUT MY SOUND SYSTEM

 

 

I have a very new Chiayo 505 wireless portable Amplifier system, purchased in October 2015. I did considerable research before settling on this unit.

It has both a hand held microphone and a ‘madonna style’ headset microphone which enables me to be ‘hands free’. The microphones operate from different channels so both can be used in a ceremony at the same time (me wearing the headset, and the hand held mike available to guests performing readings, and your exchange of vows.

The player also has the capability of playing your music ‘playlist’, which you supply on an iPod or similar device. This generally comprises a piece for the entry of the bride, another for the signing, and maybe a third piece for immediately after you have been presented to your guests as husband and wife. I supply the ‘lead’ if you wish to take up this offer, and i ask you to provide me with an ‘operator’ of the iPod to hit ‘start’ and ‘stop’ at the appropriate times.

The Chiayo 505 does have ‘bluetooth’ capability but I am not fully satisfied with the quality of the sound from this and prefer to use a device and a cable to the speaker to ensure no crackles or 'dropping out'.

If you have booked a videographer and he/she wishes to place a lapel microphone and transmitter in the groom’s coat pocket, this may interfere with my system and cause it to fail. It is preferable if they plug into my 'Aux Out' as they will then get the sound without the compromising my microphone.

Lastly, the number of ‘signals’ at any given place and time has escalated beyond anything we can imagine or control. Your guests mobile phones have the ability to affect the quality of the sound and for this reason it is preferable if phones are switched to ‘flight mode’ during the ceremony.

Having said all of this, most ceremonies go off without a hitch and the Chiayo system is a great asset to me, and a reassuring addition to the ceremony.

Organising Your Ceremony From A Distance

It might be Melbourne Cup Day in some parts of Australia, but for one couple based in country Victoria, today is their wedding day at Pavilion on Pirates on Tasmania's idyllic Tasman Peninsula.

In fact it's very popular to travel to Tasmania for your wedding. Whether you grew up here, you and your partner are from different cities and want a 'neutral' destination to gather together your nearest and dearest, OR you simply love the idea of coming to Tasmania for a memorable experience, this can easily be done.

You might be surprised that approximately 35% of my weddings involve couples travelling to Tasmania from interstate or overseas. So what exactly do they have to do, what paperwork is required and how do the formalities get addressed?

Your first step is to complete the Notice of Intended Marriage. There is a list of authorised people on the back of the Notice, who can witness your signatures.  i am happy to accept a scanned copy as long as the original either makes its way by 'snail mail' or accompanies you when you come for the wedding.

You also need to show some identity documents, either your birth certificates and photo ID, or your passports (which contain photo ID).  I like these to also be scanned, BUT you also need to bring the original documents with you so I can sight them.  (Some people may also need to provide evidence of the end of their previous marriage.)

As long as a Notice of Intended Marriage is in my hands, you can plan your ceremony for one month (or later) down the track! I then guide you through how to use my website to access a swag of ideas and wording, and we work together to create the ceremony you are after.... all this can be done before you even start packing your suitcases!

'Pavilion on Pirates', Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania

'Pavilion on Pirates', Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania

Ceremony with a Difference

When I was first contacted by Brad and James to be their celebrant, my obvious question was 'why now', when there appeared to be a real chance that the change to the Marriage Act was within sight. I felt it was maybe worth holding out a bit longer. However Brad and James said they had been engaged for three years and they refused to be 'dictated to' by Tony Abbott any longer.

Their marriage last Saturday was a simply amazing experience. Their attention to detail, backgrounds in events and design and their commitment to making sure all their guests had a memorable experience all contributed to a wonderful ceremony. From the detailed, monogrammed ceremony booklets to their personal styling complete with 'tails', to the choreography of the entrance of their  two families and bridal party.... to the procession from ceremony venue to reception, accompanied by a police pipe band, this event packed a real punch!

I felt privileged to be the celebrant for James and Brad's wedding. I also feel a deep sadness that their love and commitment is not yet formally recognised in Australia. I look forward to the day that we can re-convene and finish off the paperwork... and their union is on an equal footing with every other marriage I have had the pleasure of performing.

yes I Am LGBTI Friendly!

Among celebrant ranks there are also some who prefer to not perform marriages (or unions) other than the current heterosexual version. In order to make it easier for people to find a celebrant that will be supportive and embracing of marriage equality, two of my colleagues have designed and made available the logo pictured below.

By displaying this logo, I am saying I am supportive of marriage equality, and will support heterosexual and 'same sex' couples fully.

This logo is supported by 'Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Australian Marriage Equality (AME). Expect to see this symbol popping up all over the place as we continue to push for marriage equality legislation to pass in the parliament. 

Nothing Stays the Same

Reflecting on an inspiring address yesterday by Rodney Croome (convenor of Australian Marriage Equality) to the national conference of the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (AFCC) ...Rodney talked about the evolution of marriage over time and of course it has not stayed the same. Remember when marriage was about creating alliances, expanding one's empire and had little to do with love, remember when marriages were largely arranged, remember when the wife had to  promise to 'obey' the husband, remember when rape in marriage was condoned, remember when inter-race marriage and inter-religion marriage was not tolerated... the hypocrisy of trying to hold onto the notion that the Marriage Act is to be upheld at all costs flies in the face of the evolution of the nature of marriage throughout history! I was proud to be in the picture below, taken at the close of our annual AFCC conference, with Rodney featuring centre front!

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That 'pesky' Monitum

I was very interested to read of a recent trend of couples (and guests) blocking their ears during the mandated reading of the 'Monitum' during a marriage ceremony. The addition of the Monitum by John Howard in 2004 was to 'close the door' on same sex marriages. However increasingly I and many other celebrants are being asked if this wording must be stated.

I simply love the Australian way of 'getting around' stupidity, in this instance by covering their ears, coughing loudly.... or even asking the celebrant to say the Monitum 'sans microphone'. The less radical option is to simply have the celebrant add a qualifying statement, arranged beforehand that sounds along the lines of the following:- 

This couple look forward to the day when all loving couples are able to marry and celebrant their love as they are doing today.

Hopefully Tony Abbott will stick to his word of bringing this matter to the parliament after the Winter recess, and I remain hopeful that he will allow a free vote on this long overdue reform item.

 

 

The Ongoing Argument for Marriage Equality

Evidently there is a movement by heterosexual couples in the USA to incorporate this beautifully written inclusive statement about Civil Marriage from the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision (which first gave LGBTIQ Marriage to the USA) to legalize same-sex marriage as a reading within Civil Marriage Ceremonies as a way to support LGBTIQ Marriage Equality:

"Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support.

Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition.

It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a "civil right." Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience."


Pop Up Wedding

Do you want to be married with all the romance of the beautifully styled venue, photographer and flowers all organised, with your planner and celebrant seamlessly sorted and taking care of everything? Well now you can! I am happy to announce a collaboration with  Style My Day and Parfait Weddings and Events to provide an opportunity for a small number of couples to do just that, in a beautiful hall in inner Hobart suburb, decorated and styled for the occasion. This 'pop up' wedding offer will take place in November 2015 and will provide excellent suppliers, and wonderful value for your wedding dollar.  You can invite your 'nearest and dearest' and you can still design your own ceremony.... talk to me if you want to know more or visit my colleagues websites to learn more.

Winter Wedding... Way to Go!

So many couples get married in the so called summer months, with the vast majority of ceremonies held between October and April.  However you could be doing your self a big favour by having a wedding in the winter months.  The likelihood of being able to have your chosen suppliers...celebrant, photographer and florist are greater.  Many will offer a discounted rate for the 'off season', myself included.  Plus venues are nowhere near booked out by comparison with the 'wedding season' which can book out years in advance.

It's so easy to decide on your wedding gown... you know it will be cool, so choose your design with this in mind. The choice of flowers in Winter is quite different thus providing a 'point of difference' to the usual...

Your interstate guests, with warning, can snap up some bargain fares into Tasmania and if you line up your affair with Dark MoFo or a myriad of other winter events, they are doubly blessed. With amazing new ventures like Pumphouse Point, Tasmania's very own Ratho Farm (site of the oldest golf course in Australia) and the award winning Saffire, there's plenty to see and do. Talk to me, I am full of ideas for amazing locations and venues...

Your guests will love the ambience of an open fire, the warmth of mulled wine, the quirkiness of your fur lined snow boot wedding shoes. Let your imagination run free and consider why a Winter wedding is not such a bad idea after all.

FOUR 'SELF CARE' TIPS FOR YOUR BIG DAY!

Everybody appreciates how much preparation goes into a wedding to make it just perfect. As the bride and groom, you  want everybody to have a super day. Sometimes you even forget about your own needs! Below are four suggestions for your wedding day to ensure that you manage the 'self care' part of things on one of the biggest days in your life…

On the day..

Eat Breakfast and Lunch! It’s easy to skip meals when you have hair and makeup appointments, photos, chatting with friends and family. But you need energy to sustain you throughout the whole day. Schedule time for a proper breakfast in the morning, ask family or friends to prepare you a light lunch and ensure you have some protein based snacks to graze on.

Stay hydrated!! Sure there’s nothing wrong with a celebratory glass of champagne while you are getting ready but ensure you are drinking water right throughout the day. Even on cool days bridesmaids and groomsmen can get very warm in suits and ties or uncomfortable high heels. Have some bottles of chilled water on hand in the limo or at the venue to ensure nobody faints (it’s not an enjoyable experience – trust me!!)

Keep Busy! This one is mainly for the boys! The girls schedule is usually a very packed one but the boys often have a bit more time on their hands. Arrange to go out for breakfast/brunch, play a game of golf, go bowling, go for a run, perhaps even go to the barbers for a close shave with your groomsmen! Just arrange an activity so you’re not sitting around waiting until “it’s time!”

Take Time Out! Everybody will want to congratulate and chat to you on the day which is brilliant. But try to find ten minutes just with your partner to “take it all in”, to reflect, to breathe and to chat about the day so far. Just the two of you, nobody else! One timely opportunity to do this might be after your photos, or before you begin your reception.

Smile, Relax, Enjoy, and the most important thing is, you will marry the one you love J

Such a Treasure, Satellite Island!

When asked to perform a ceremony at Satellite Island, my initial response was 'goodness, where is that?' Within a week, this speck of an island had been announced at the 'number two island getaway... in the world!!' by Harpers Bazaar. Who am I to argue with that? (Plus, it clearly goes to show that we can match it with the Maldives any day?

Well the big day arrived yesterday and from the rustic transport from the nearest hamlet (Alonnah on Bruny Island), complete with hay bale seating, to the warm welcome at the islands boat shed, this was a wedding to never be forgotten.  Guests basked in the most beautiful sunshine and a pod of dolphins even timed their display so as to NOT upstage proceedings which were not far off. 

The bride's stunning gown, her dramatic entry down the stairs to the boat shed ramp, the short but moving ceremony and the signing of the Register framed by the clear waters of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel went seamlessly.  But there was more...way more!

A short stroll away, to the southern side of the island saw a long table luncheon prepared, with freshly shucked Bruny Island oysters to be served on the hilltop overlooking the most spectacular views to the south! Following this was a gourmet meal and matching wines, the most amazing bonfire and no doubt a few speeches along the way!

Along with many others, I will keep my eyes peeled for the full coverage of this wedding in 'Country Style' magazine at some future stage, not too distant I hope.

This Modern World

Over the past two decades, one thing has changed, and that is how couples have found one another.  Early on in my career as a celebrant, they would confidentially whisper to me that they had met 'online' as if it was a tawdry affair or an unsavoury confession. NO WAY was this fact to be revealed to guests at the wedding...heavens above, what would they think?

More recently, the proliferation of sites dedicated to helping singles find their love match has exploded, and I see plenty of happy results.  To coincide with Valentines Day our local newspaper published a delightful article about couples who 'found love online' and it really warmed my heart. The wedding I performed yesterday also made mention of how the couple met. Having found one another on a site called 'Plenty of Fish' they always joke that they met while fishing!  But on this occasion there was universal acceptance from the family and friends, because times have changed!

So is there a more acceptable way to find your love match? I don't think so, whether it be at a club or pub, work or a blind date, at dog obedience classes (yes, dogs have been proven to be a great way to meet people) or you were childhood sweethearts, whose business is it anyway?  As long as the marriage part requires real people in real time in a real location.... I'm sweet!

It's All About Me Me Me!

Yesterday was a little bit special, reflecting in the lovely feeling of having just last weekend ticked off on my thousandth ceremony (a challenging event on a windswept beach), I found two of the leading industry giants had featured me in their social media.

Bride Tasmania, an institution in this state was the first and you might like to read here my interview with them.  Then within the day,  the lovely Rebecca Bateman-Green at Parfait Weddings and Events chose to feature my business in her  'Feature Friday'  which was also so much appreciated.  Rebecca is a new player on the local scene but highly professional, determined and motivated and I have no doubt she will make quite a splash on the local wedding scene!

So having just counted up twenty enquiries in the is first month of 2015 it feels like this year will be a HUGE one for weddings.

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2015....and my Thousandth Marriage Ceremony!

January 2015 sees my 20 year anniversary as a civil celebrant, and coincidentally marks my thousandth ceremony... more about that later!

This celebrant life is NEVER dull; preparing paperwork today reminded me that this month involves travelling to many far flung locations, from Adventure Bay on Bruny Island to a family farm at Oatlands, to Dunally on the Tasman Peninsula, being flown into Bathurst Harbour in a sea-plane, plus ceremonies at the delightfully named hamlet of Flowerpot, and 'Sphinx Rock' on Mount Wellington. Add a couple of lovely garden settings and a ceremony in the majestic Hobart Town Hall... it sure beats a desk job!

2014, That's a Wrap!

As this year draws to a close. I would like to sincerely thank the fifty couples who entrusted their marriage ceremony to me.  I appreciate all your feedback and the beautiful photos sent through as mementos.  MONA, Frogmore Creek and Glen Albyn Estate, continue to be very popular venues, and I visited some lovely private gardens from Deep Bay to Hamilton, Some of the more rustic settings included Redlands, Cascades Colonial and Piermont on Tasmania's east coast. For the year we only had one change of venue due to adverse weather conditions, which is not bad. Five couples used my private courtyard to 'tie the knot' and three ceremonies were a 'surprise' for the guests. Bookings for 2015 and beyond are steady and I look forward to my milestone thousandth ceremony in January 2015 to coincide with 20 years in this great profession. Happy new year everybody!

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