Do You Know What A Celebrant Actually Does?

A very common question that I get asked is what I actually do. A lot of couples believe that I just show up and speak and sign some documents. There is so much more behind the scenes work that goes into turning your ceremony dreams into a reality.

Firstly, after receiving a booking form for a client I create there welcome pack which includes a custom timeline that outline roughly when you should be hearing from me to complete the necessary paperwork to have your marriage legally recognised. A personalised timeline may seem a little OCD to some but think about it, you are dealing with so many suppliers and have so many meetings that having a timeline to look at and know that someone has one aspect of your day under control sounds like a load off your shoulders.

I send you an inspirational USB to work through that includes a questionnaire so I can get a feel for the type of ceremony that you would like and get some insightful information to make the ceremony completely about you! When this is returned to me, as per the dates on your personalised timeline. I sit down and write your ceremony completely from scratch. Once this is completed I email it to you so that you can read through it and digest every aspect.

While I am working away on your special day I send you your Notice of Intended Marriage to complete with instructions on how to complete it and what Identification documents I need to be able to satisfy the legal requirements of proof of date and place of birth as well as identity. We then meet to sign this off, so we get to spend some time face to face to discuss everything to do with your ceremony, any changes or inclusions that you would like to make. The best part we don’t have to make them on the spot, you have till two weeks out from the ceremony to make as many chops and changes as you need to make the ceremony the best version of what you would like it to be.

Before you wedding we will meet again, usually this is between two to three weeks out from the wedding, at this meeting we either conduct a rehearsal or sit down and talk through the way the day is going to work, we lock in the ceremony and go through any last minute worries that you might have. We also sign off on another legal document titled the Declaration of no Legal Impediment to Marriage as well a proof your certificates for your wedding day to ensure accuracy.

Between the Notice of Intended Marriage signing and the last meeting prior to your wedding in the background I am communicating back and forward with you both to ensure that your vows are perfectly constructed as well as making changes to the ceremony as requested. I am completing your Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage and your Marriage Certificates. If you have no one such as a band or DJ playing your music for you, SURPRISE I can do that for you through my tablet that blue tooths to my PA system. If that is something you would like me to do I send you how many songs are required for the ceremony and when I receive this back I put together your playlist ready to go.

After our last meeting together as my gift to you, a keepsake I print up your vows and ceremony on decorative paper and pace that in your certificate envelope to give you on the day. I also print a copy of your vows to give to you to read when the time comes, another thing you don’t have to worry about on the day. I also communicate with your venues and/or other suppliers if required to ensure that we are all on the same page for your ceremony.

On the day of your ceremony I arrive at the venue up to an hour early, set up and test my equipment and if I am playing your music start playing mood music int eh background to set the mood as guests begin to arrive. I communicate with your coordinator, videographer and/or photographer to ensure that sound if right, that the photographer knows about any rituals, reading or surprises so they can capture those surprises as well as where I am going to jump to make sure I am out of the way for that all important first kiss. I then catch up with yourselves and your bridal parties to ensure your all relaxed and ready to go. Once we are ready I perform the ceremony and complete the legal paperwork signing.

CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE MARRIED!

After the ceremony I discreetly congratulate you and then disappear for you to enjoy the rest of your magical day. While you are dancing the night away, I head to my home office collate all your paperwork and pop it through the online system for registration as well as close your file with me. Once your marriage shows up as registered I contact you with all the information on how to apply for your official marriage certificate as well as a change of name list which I have popped to get to assist with the process.

Throughout your wedding ceremony planning journey, I am with you every step of the way and available 24/7 for questions, worries and quires. This is one of the best jobs I could ever ask for because I get to work with people through some of the happiest times of their lives, and I cannot wait to help you with yours.

Best Man Duties: What you really need to know being the grooms right hand man

 There is a lot more the being best man than standing next to the groom on his big day. And writing that killer speech that people talk about for years to come (no pressure at all). The best man is the grooms right hand man, his go to, his main support.  As the best man your duties start early, in some cases, months before the big day.

 

BEFORE THE WEDDING

One of your main responsibilities in the lead up to the wedding is attending suit fittings with the groom along as well as helping to coordinate the groomsmen to be there for group fittings. You may also be required to help pick up the suits or hire formal wear in the weeks leading up to the day.

In some situations if family and friends are coming from interstate or overseas for the wedding. It may be requested that the best man be the usher at the airport picking up guests and that taking them to their accommodation.

Overall one of the biggest pre wedding jobs the best man enjoys the most is the planning of the bucks night, this includes bookings, transport, invitations and possibly even accommodation. The grooms party are usually available to assist with this process but the best man spearheads the campaign as the team leader.  

 

ON THE WEDDING DAY

BEFORE THE CEREMONY

Step One on the wedding day, Make sure the groom party is up, ready and leave on time. The most important duty as you can’t have a wedding without the groom after all.

In between you may act as a bit of a runner getting members of the grooms party and the grooms father, for the photographer and videographer taking those all important getting ready photos.  

It is imperative to also ensure that as the best man you have your phone on you at all times in the lead up to the ceremony. The groom is going to be a busy bundle of nerves so if there are any changes and someone needs to get hold of him you can guarantee they are going to call you.

THE CEREMONY

Another important best man duty on the day if to protect the wedding rings with your life. At least until time comes for the ring exchange. This could include just holding onto them or passing them to a ring bearer to walk down the aisle.

If a child is going to have the rings to walk down the aisle or present to the couple, you must have eagle eyes and be ready as you may need to grab or catch the rings at any moment. In some cases you may also need to catch the ring bearer so be alert.  

Other duties at a ceremony may include helping usher, pre ceremony introductions between waiting guests and even completing a reading or being a witness and signing off on legal documents as part of the ceremony. Don’t forget above all else the groom is your priority keep those nerves of his under wraps.  

PRE RECEPTION AND RECEPTION

If the best man is at the cocktail part also known as the pre reception when the couple usually sneak off to have some photos taken, he or she should be mingling and directing people to seating charts and the signing table.

If you are aware of guests names it is great to make introductions so guests aren’t awkwardly standing alone.

Once the reception is in full swing, it may be requested that the best man make that dreaded best man speech and usually it is expected that the best man and maid of honour participating in dancing at some stage, usually towards the end of the couples first dance.

At the end of the night the best man may also be responsible for making sure the grooms suitcase is in the get away car if the couple are going overnight or heading straight to their honeymoon destination.

 

AFTER THE WEDDING

Depending on the couples plans the best man may have some post wedding responsibilities as well  these may include:

        Dropping all gifts off for the couple

        Collecting returning hired including suit hires, cakes stands etc

        Next day airport drop off for guests or even the couple leaving for their honeymoon may be requested.

Still want to be the Best Man!? It is an incredible honour and a great experience. If you are ever privileged enough to be asked to be Best Man that means that your friend asking considers you to his best, closest most truest ally, be proud!   

One of the hardest parts of wedding planning: Getting RSVPS back from guests

Knowing how many guests are going to be attending your wedding is a very important and stressful component of your wedding day. It effects such a big numbers of aspects of your wedding, your table settings, how many favours your require, the amount of meals that will be served. However it is in some cases also one of the most difficult things to ascertain, even with the use of RSVP’s people are finding the last minute ring around to find out if people are attending is both stressful and inevitable. Through the years I have found that there are a few key things that you can do that you receive as many RSVP’s back in the most timely manner possible for your guests and today I have decided to share them with you.

Make the RSVP requirements and dates clear:

Believe it or not, some people do not actually know what RSVP means. So it is important to make your intentions clear.

Instead of RSVP by (date) you may opt to write something such as “please let us know if you can attend by (date)” or “Let us know you are coming to celebrate with us by (date)” This ensures that the guests know that you are expecting response. Make sure that your date and how to RSVP is displayed clearly on the invitation, having that RSVP date and instructions in a weird place or in a very small font on your invitation can lead to guests missing the information altogether

Send out your wedding invitations at the right time.

It is important to understand the later that you send out the invitations the less time that your guests have to respond, but it also gives you less time to also chase up those last invitees that may not have responded.

A great timeline is to send out your invitations 8 to 10 weeks before the ceremony requesting responses roughly 4 weeks before the wedding day.

However there are exceptions to the rule, those that are travelling from interstate or overseas may require even more notice. If you are choosing to have a destination wedding it is also important to give guests enough notice to make work and travel arrangements. In these two instances Save the Dates would defiantly be a good option.

Make it easy to RSVP

The days of sitting next to the mail box and waiting for replies are long gone, there are many different options available to couples to utilise to encourage their guests to respond to RSVP’s.

Set up a wedding website, email address of phone number that guests can email, post on, call or SMS their response to, it is quick, easy and all stored online. Online storage is great for the couple as it can be accessed 24/7.

Although snail mail is still a great option for older guests, you will find however that those younger guests may skip over the rules and simply call, SMS or use social media platforms to contact you and let you know they are attending.

If you choose a snail mail method ensure you make this as easy for the guests as possible. Include an envelope addressed to where you would like to RSVP’s returned to and also ensure that they are stamped so all the guests need to do is fill it out and pop it in the mail box. The easier it is the more likely you are to receive them back.

Plan to follow up

This maybe awkward for some individuals but people have busy lives and it is very easy for something to slip peoples minds. About 5 weeks out from the wedding (1 week before the return date for your RSVPs) follow up with those who are yet to respond. Draft an sms or email that you will send out to everyone. Make it light hearted and make sure you ask someone else to proof read it before you send it to make sure you are getting the right vibe across. Be prepared instead of receiving the RSVP itself back you may receive responses to your email instead.

Bonus tip: Just for you

Be organised. Make sure you have a list that you can record when RSVPs come in, if people are attending or not, the number and any dietary requirements or other questions you might as on the RSVP. (Some people opt to as for a song request as part of the RSVP procedure.)

An excel spreadsheet would be a great tool to use.

This will alleviate stress if RSVPs go missing once they are returned and can be a great tool to help put together requirements for the caterers, the song list for the DJ and to assist with the seating arrangements.

Bonus tip: To help with planning your timelines

Knowing the number of guests that are attending your wedding is key in many aspects of the later stages of wedding planning. Finding out when certain suppliers need information will help you plan how far out you will need to send invitations and request RSVP’s. Some information you will need to consider is:

        Wedding Guest Numbers to Caterers  

        Wedding Guest Numbers and dietary requirements to Caterers

        Table Seating Charts and Place Cards to Printers and Venue

        Song Lists to DJ (if you are including song requests on your RSVP)

 

All the Best and Happy Planning!

Shaking Up Your Ceremony: Things your may want to consider to make your ceremony that little bit different.

The giving the way of the bride by her father

I know what you are thinking, this is not new, its been happening for centuries and you are right. But now there are no rules, do things a little different:

If  your father is walking you down the aisle have him stand next to you while your officiant does their introduction, then have a moment where the officiant asks who gives the bride away, allow your father to come forward, shake your spouses hand and then join your  hands with your spouses before taking his seat

If you cannot decide who you would like to give you away and you have a longer aisle to work with have people at different station who can walk you some of the distance, start with your best friend, to your sister, to your mother and finally your father or any combination your wish. This will give you a special moment with all of those loved ones instead of making a choice to have just one.

Want to walk down the aisle on your own? Have your parents sitting either side at the end of the aisle that can step forward and give you a huge and kiss before you continue on to the alter or alternatively they can continue those last few steps to the alter with you.

Standing at the Alter

I know once again, uhhhh Katie everyone stands at the alter, yes this is true, but did you know you can change the way you stand.

Your officiant can stand off to the side, so that you and your partner are the only two standing at the altar, you can stand next to each other handing in hand facing out to your guests, with the celebrant standing the same way on the other side.

Your officiant can stand in the middle of you both but instead of facing to the officiant you can face each other or even have your back to the celebrant and face your guests.

If you have steps, as part of the alter play with the different levels, you can stand at the top with the officiant on a lower step to the side with your bridal party on the other side. Or your officiant can stand at the top in the middle, the couple a step down and the bridal party on either side, cascading out a further step down.

The possibilities are endless.

Poems, letters, readings

This can be a great way to incorporate your favourite poem, letters, songs lyrics etc into the ceremony but also your closest family and friends. It can add deep meaning and create the most beautiful memories.

Have each member of the bridal party read a verse from your favourite poem.

Have parents give advice on marriage and love.

Do a group vow with your closest family to love and support you and your spouse in marriage

Print a poem, vow, song lyric into your ceremony book and ask everyone to recite it.

Your Bridal Party

Shake it up there are no rules, you best friend is a male? Have a man of honour, or a Best Lady

Can’t decide between yourselves which of your friends should be on which side, don’t have a side. Ask them to all walk down the aisle and stand on alternating sides in a pattern (eg girl, boy, girl boy)

Reserve seats in the front row and ask your bridal party to stand at the alter while the couple or one of the couple walk down the aisle and then they can sit in the front so only the couple remain standing.

Don’t want to have a bridal party you don’t have to. You can stand at the alter alone, or ask your parents to stand with you and have your grandparents enter as flower girls and page boys. There are no rules.

The Rings

Ask someone or two people to bring them forward, parents, younger siblings, best friends. It does not have to be members of the bridal party.

It may even be a great opportunity for your parents to stand, your mothers can hold the rings bestow a wish, give some advice and pass to fathers who will then do the same then present them to the couple. Words of wisdom while warming the rings, will create some lasting memories.

Change up tradition

There ‘traditional’ aspects of the ceremony can also be shaken up.

Don’t like rings, present a wedding necklace, a card engraved with vows that can go into your wallet. It is not a requirement to have a ring

Don’t think saying ‘I do’ is your thing that’s fine you can say yes, affirmative, roger that. Whatever is you. Your taking the ‘plunge’ after all, scream Geronimo!

Not a dress person, don’t wear one. Wear a jumpsuit, a pant suit, you can even wear shorts and a t-shirt. It is up to you. But remember your will look at these photos for years to come

Flower Bouquets

Do you know the reason that brides and bridesmaids used to hold bouquets was to mask the smell, as they did not bathe as often as we do now. Well times have defiantly changed.

Bridal Parties do still commonly hold bouquets, however these can be made out of so many different materials, real, paper, leather or cloth just to mention a few.

Or don’t hold a bouquet at all. opt for lanterns, clutch bags or corsages. There have even been bridal parties that have carried babies and puppies, there are definitely no rules when it comes to what the rules are regarding what the bridal parties carry down the aisle. 

Some guests cannot make it?

Technology has advanced and can contribute greatly to wedding days. Distance, money, health, work and time are huge factors that impact on a persons ability to be able to attend a wedding.

If someone cannot attend a wedding consider the following options:

Live stream the ceremony, this will allow people to watch it in real time. Let the officiant know as they will be able to work it into the ceremony and mention them still being with you on the day.

Record the ceremony and upload it to a private Facebook or YouTube channel for people to access.

If you cannot or do not wish to have video someone can call the individual who cannot attend and they can listen to the ceremony.

There are many options for consideration.

So there you go, don’t listen to everyone else that says things need to be done a certain way because it’s tradition. There are so many options and so many things you can do to help your ceremony stand out. Be different, be unique, be you. Happy Planning!

Can We Have a Surprise Wedding?

A surprise wedding is the opportunity for the marrying couple to surprise your family and friends with

your marriage! It can be done at a range of events including family bbqs, birthdays or engagements parties.

What is a Surprise Wedding?

First we do need to be clear on the meaning of a surprise wedding. A surprise wedding follows all the same legal requirements that a normal wedding does, this means that both members to the marriage must be fully informed and consenting to the marriage. Therefore one party to the impending marriage cannot surprise the other member with a wedding, you may only surprise your guests.

You will have a hand in creating your ceremony and will still need to complete all the legal paperwork including the Notice of Intended Marriage and the Declaration on No legal impediment to marry, in order to have the marriage legally recognised. Your officiant will help you with this paperwork and explain when these need to be completed etc..

But won’t the officiant give our plan away?

The officiant to the wedding will be able to hide themselves and come up with a cover story for the duration of the vent prior to the marriage taking place and will help you orchestrate the perfect scenario such as the speech portion of a birthday or engagement celebration for the big reveal to take place.
The officiant will usually arrive early before the guests and set up equipment such as PA system and microphones, it also allows an opportunity for the officiant to hide their equipment of blend it in so it does not look out of place. If you are having a DJ it is great as in some cases the officiant and the DJ can work together, and the celebrant can us the DJ’s microphone, while the DJ plays your ceremony music.

Do we need to tell anyone about our plans?

It is always recommended that you let at least your two witnesses in on the big surprise, this can be for a number of reasons that would be helpful to yourselves to pre and on the day.
it is great to have someone other then each other and your suppliers to talk to about the upcoming nuptials. It will also be beneficial to have someone on the day/night to assist with the big reveal including helping you get changed and/or covering for your absence while you get ready for the big reveal.

There are also legal requirements that need to be met in order for your marriage to be legally recognised. One of these requirements is that you have two witnesses present for the whole ceremony, be over the age of 18 and be clear headed. The last thing that you want is for your witnesses to be heavily effected by alcohol or absent for all or part of the ceremony as they were unaware of your plans. I can also say from an officiant point of view it is highly helpful to the officiant to have someone they can go to on the night to help with any cover stories or last minute help they require. I am the firs tot admit that once at a surprise wedding I did pretend to be one of the witnesses dates as a plausible cover story to why I was at an engagement party or immediate family where I did not know anyone.

It is up to you if you would like to let your parents in on the secret or if you would also like them to be surprise by the news. However, if you are planning to get any of your parents, family or friends to walk you down the aisle it is recommended you let them in on the plan so they are prepared.

 

Remember a Surprise wedding can create some of the most beautiful and breathtaking moments, the surprised looks from family and friends and the pure happiness that will be created from your wedding.

It is your dream wedding and it should be done your way. All the best and happy planning!

What do you as a celebrant actually do? Understanding the Celebrants Role in your wedding!

Many people believe a celebrant shows up on the day of the wedding, speaks, signs some paper and that’s it job done.

However behind the scenes there is so much more that happens in the lead up to your special day.

I am hoping that this document will give you an insight into the journey that you take with your celebrant from start through to your Happily Ever After. This process will differ a little bit celebrant to celebrant, but this is the journey that my couples and myself take.

Initial Meeting

I come out to meet you in a location to you feel comfortable, whether it be your home or a local café. During this time, we get to know each other, have a brief overview of the process of preparing to and getting married as well as answering any questions that you may have.

Setting You Up as a Client

Once the booking paperwork is returned to myself I set you up as a client. This includes:

          Invoicing for services.

          Setting up your file both paper and electronically.

          Creating your personalised timeline

This timeline is a guide to help us through our journey together, this will ensure that we are all on the same page and help you pace out our planning so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

          Preparing your Inspirational USB

A USB full of inspiration for you to work through to help give me an idea of the type of ceremony you would like me to create for you. This USB also includes a questionnaire for both parties to the marriage to answer to help me gain a better insight into who you are individually, as a couple.

Creating Your Ceremony

Once you have returned your Inspirational USB and your questionnaires I set to crafting a truly unique ceremony for you both.

Proofing and creating your paperwork

During the early stages of planning I will also send you a copy of the Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM). A NOIM is a document that gives all the details of the two parties intending to marry. All I ask is that you complete page 3 of this document and return it to me.  Once I receive this I will type it up and include all further information that is required to ready it for signing.   The NOIM will also provide me with majority of the information that I require to complete further legal documentation that is required for your marriage to be legally recognised.

NOIM signing, sighting of original documentation and Read through

We will meet and proof read the NOIM. During this time it is great to be able to view your identification documents. These are required as proof of who you are, these documents can be:

          Birth Certificate and photo ID such as drivers licence

          Passport

If you have ever been married I also need to see proof that the marriage is legally over. Proof of this can include:

          Divorce certificate

          Previous spouses death certificate

Other documentation that also may be required:

          Proof of change of name

If any of these are applicable to you and you do not have the original documentation it is favourable that you apply for it as soon as you can as this can take come time to process and send out, especially if you require these documents from another state or country.

* A celebrant does need to see these documents prior to a wedding ceremony, otherwise the ceremony cannot go ahead as planned.

Once we have crossed checked all the information and you are happy that it is all true and accurate you sign off on the NOIM and I witness it. You have officially given notice that you are intended to marry one another!

During this meeting I also read your ceremony to you. I firmly believe there is a difference in reading a ceremony in your own mind and hearing it for the first time. These is nothing in the ceremony that will be spoken on the day that is not approved by you both first.

After our meeting I email you a copy of your draft ceremony to work through at your own pace. You have until we meet again for your rehearsal or logistics meeting (roughly 2 to 3 weeks before your wedding) to make as many changes as you like. I am here to help you with this every step of the way.

Preparation for your Rehearsal/Logistics Meeting and Wedding Day

          I will ready all the certificates for you day and we will proof these at the rehearsal to ensure they are all correct

          I will type  up and print your Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marry, the last document that you need to sign prior to your wedding, this is usually done at the rehearsal   

          I will also consult with you about your music and if you choose for me to play your music I will send you a worksheet to fill out. Once I receive this back I create your play list. My aim is to have this preferably in time to practice with at your rehearsal.

          Your vows will be typed up and printed for your wedding day, until this time you may practice them but they are to remain a secret from your partner.

          I will contact with venue staff and suppliers as required to make sure that I have all the information that I need, to be able to be fully prepared and also bring all the right equipment on the day.

          Lastly once the final ceremony is locked in,  I will print a special copy of the ceremony and your vows for you to keep on the day.

Declaration and Rehearsal or logistics meeting

During this meeting it is preferable is your bridal party is present, this includes the individual you have chosen to walk you down the aisle if you have chosen someone to do so.

We will go through every aspect of the ceremony including the layout and vision for the day and the role of the party, from walking down the aisle, to standing at the alter and the signing of the document.

This time is also a great opportunity for the bridal party to ask as many questions as they like and to practice their role prior to the big day.

During this meeting I will also take the bride and groom aside and proof all the certificates for the wedding day. We will also discuss, proof and sign off on the declaration of no legal impediment to marry at this point.

Your Wedding Day

The big day has finally arrived!

On the day of your wedding I arrive at least an hour before the ceremony. I will set up the signing area (if one is not already supplied) and ensure all my equipment is tested and in working order for the venue and crowd size.

Once the guests start arriving if I am charged with music this will begin.

I will meet with the groom party and ensure they are all ready, the rings are present and they remember all their duties.

When the bridal party arrives I meet with them and ensure they too remember their duties, I then make sure the two parties to the marriage are both comfortable and ready to go. I will not start a wedding until both of these individuals are ready.

I conduct the ceremony including the signing of the certificates and the bride and groom walk back down the aisle to be congratulated by there guests and then head out for photos/to there reception.

After the ceremony, I congratulate you and grab a quick photo if I can. I hand your decorative certificate, your ceremony and vows to a designated person (as nominated by yourselves). I then discreetly pack my equipment and sneak out.

Sending your Paperwork to BDM

As per guidelines, your paperwork consisting of your certificate, NOIM and Declaration are all collated and submitted through BDM online as well as the original documents sent by registered post to BDM for registration.

For my records I also take a scanned copy of all these documents and a photocopy. I complete all my documentation to complete your electronic and paper records which I maintain.

Post Wedding Support

In the weeks following the wedding you will receive an email from me to let you know that your documents have been sent through to BDM for registration. As part of this email I will also send you the information on how you can apply for your marriage certificate which you will need to be able to change your name. I also attach a document that I have created which will guide you regarding the documents that you need to change your name on and the order, if you choose to do so.

 

Other bits and pieces – Feeling the love along the way:

Constant Contact and Support

I am available nearly 24/7, the longest my client has waited for a response in their inquiry has been 6 hours due to a wedding being out of reception range. I pride myself on being available for my clients when they need me.

I also have a range of information ranging from, guides, the inspirational USB and new blogs that include the latest information that is constantly being update and are available to all my clients. My blogs are available to anyone who wishes to visit my website.

Recommendations

Being a member of such a wide and loving community I can provide a number of recommendations of suppliers if you are struggling to find someone to fit with your vision and dreams.

Vow Writing / Assisting with Vow Writing

Some clients have a lot of trouble writing their vows. I do provide my clients with a  vow inspiration guide to help them work through writing their own vows. However I also offer a range of other options to ensure that your vows are truly what you would like them to be.

          You can write your own vows and send them to me. I will simply add the legal wording in and proof it to make sure it flows

          You can write down as many different thoughts that you have and that you would like to include in your vows and send it through to myself. I can write you a few different options and we can continue this process until we have something which you are happy and proud to read.

          We can also create a time where we can meet and have a one on one workshop to help throw around ideas and help you craft exactly what you would like. Sometime you just need someone to talk it through with

          If you are really stuck you can leave it in my hands and I can send you some options to choose from.

Whatever writing level you are comfortable with, we can work together to achieve the best possible outcome for your day.

Wedding: Honouring loved ones who are no longer with us.

We all like to think our love ones are invincible. However truly we all know this is not the case.

For some of us we have lost love ones who had had a huge impact on our lives, whether it be friends, grandparents, parents or extended family. These are people that will never be forgotten. So it only seems fitting that you pay tribute to those individuals in your wedding ceremony. After all it is a huge day that you will remember for your lifetime.

 

So exactly how can I pay my respects?

There are many ways you can pay your respects to those with us in spirit, if you are looking as a public dedication you may like to consider one of the below options.

1)     Candle lighting

As part of your ceremony you can have some candles set up near the alter. The officiant can say a few works and you as the couple can light candles to represent each individual that is no longer present. Another great idea instead of you as the couple lighting the candles you can have a significant other such as a partner, or child of the individual that passed light the candle, it is a great sign of respect and love.

2)     Photo Display

Within the ceremony space you may also choose to have a photo display set up. This is great as it will give the opportunity for guests to be able to see the beautiful faces of those who made such an impact on your lives. It also can be a beautiful decorative feature in your ceremony space which can then be transferred across to your reception space.

3)     Chair Dedication

A beautiful idea that I see as a growing trend is saving a seat to honour those with us on the day in spirit. Couples choose to either place a photo on the chair or there are many great poems, paragraphs that can placed into a photo album and placed on the chair in memorial. You can either have on chair to represent all the individuals or separate chairs for each individual, this is a complete personal choice. 

4)     Memorial paragraph

You may opt to have your officiant say a few words and have a moment silence to honour those loved ones. This can be worked in with any of the above options or be a simple standalone option and can easily be words into the start of the ceremony during the welcoming of all family and friends. 

 

However you may like to pay a private dedication to a loved on as well and may like to consider one of these options:

1)     Wearing a wedding day item

Some couples have held onto a bow tie, a piece of jewellery or a veil of a loved one that you may choose to wear. This will ensure that they are with you ever second of the day and is a very subtle and personal tribute.

2)     Having a photo with you

There are many creative suppliers out there that have made it possible to carry an image of loved ones with you on your wedding day. This can be in a piece of jewellery that is attached to a bouquet, photos attached or made to be part of the shoes you wear and even photo cufflinks.

3)     Working some advice into your vows/speech

Some people leave such a profound impression on us that we never forget the words that they have spoken. In some cases the advice that was bestowed should no be kept to ones self and should be shared with the world. You may choose to have some of these words worked into the ceremony or speak these words to each other as part of your vows or even your speech later in the night. You may choose to say where you received these words or just state the words, knowing in your heart whom they originated from.

 

Why is it a good idea to mention these loved ones in my ceremony?

It is up to you if you wold or would not like to mention loved ones as part of your ceremony.

Having a little something, if it is said or on show or even a private nod is a great way to show how much they mean to you and that you are thinking of them, and that you know that they are watching over and protecting you.

Another reason to consider, and even though your wedding ceremony is not about your guests, it is also a nod and a great sign of respect to surviving relatives, spouses and friends, giving them all an opportunity to remember.

 

Remember it is your day and should be done your way, discuss all your options with your officiant and as a couple. If you are choosing to go ahead with a memoriam choose something that is unique to you.

Testimonials

What do others say about me? 

 

Katie was exceptional. Not only did she keep me calm in the lead up to the day but also make sure everything ran smoothly. The ceremony was everything we had dreamed of and more. We highly recommend Happily Ever After to all brides and grooms to-be! – Mr and Mrs Botha

 

Katie is magnificent! The ceremony she wrote for us was just gorgeous and she is so friendly and professional, we had so many laughs and she was always there to offer her help. I cannot recommend her highly enough. Thanks to Katie for making our day perfect. – Mr and Mrs Walker

 

I would highly recommend Katie for anyone that requires a marriage celebrant she was very friendly yet professional. The ceremony that she performed for my daughter and fiancé was so beautiful and personalised it made the day all the more special.  – Mrs Plinius-Wiese Mother of Mrs Gibson (Mr and Mrs Gibson) 

 

I could not recommend Katie enough not only did she make our night wonderful she made it less stressful for me , she guided us through everything and made our night the most memorable night ever. Thankyou so much Katie. From the happily newlyweds – Mr and Mrs Brown

 

Katie is AMAZING! Love her! Highly recommend – Mr and Mrs Mason

 

Katie was a fantastic celebrant. She was always there when we had questions or queries. Katie was great with keeping us to deadlines. The day itself was wonderful, she guided us through everything and the ceremony went off without a hitch (barring the obvious haha). Great celebrant and wonderful person to make our special day become a reality. – Mr and Mrs Nicholson

 

 Katie was awesome! She tailored the ceremony to suit us to a tee and made the overall experience a great one 🙂 Thank you!! – Mr and Mrs Mock 

 

Katie was absolutely amazing to work with both in the lead up to our wedding and on the day. She was supportive and available to assist as every step of the way and we knew that the Ceremony would go smoothly knowing that Katie had everything under control. We highly recommend Katie for anyone wanting a professional and lovely celebrant! – Mr and Mrs James

 

Hey Kate thanks for today. We’ll never forget this moment & thanks for making it extra special – Mr and Mrs Varrey

 

I could not recommend Katie Clayton enough. Katie is genuinely friendly person, passionate about her job and extensively knowledgeable about all things regarding marriage and wedding day processes. Katie made me feel like she was always there fore me if I had any questions or concerns about our ceremony or paperwork. She wrote a beautiful ceremony and performed it perfectly, even with our last second request to change some details! She was calm and collected regardless. Several of my guests approached me after the ceremony and tole me how impressed they were with Katie and Luke and I agree! Thank you so much!  – Mr and Mrs Baldan

 

Hey Katie, thank you so so much for yesterday! We can’t thank you enough! So sorry we didn’t get a change to say goodbye, rushed for the light with the photographer. We absolutely loved your day! Xx – Mr and Mrs Mock 

 

Dear Katie, We want to say a big thank you for being our marriage celebrant! We really appreciate your professional and hard work even though it was legal only wedding. I have a faith that you will make many happily ever after couples in the future – Eunji and Jihoo 

 

Thanks for being part of our special day – Mr and Mr Lane

 

Katie married us 6 weeks ago and we couldn’t have been happier! Such a beautiful personalised ceremony, all the support we needed and most importantly she’s such a beautiful genuine person…much love Katie from both of us – Mr and Mrs Ginger-Phippen

 

Katie has been amazing through the whole process. Beautifully written ceremony and an absolute boss on the day. 10/10 perfect – Mr and Mrs Messina

 

Thankyou Katie, you were amazing. We had a fantastic night – Mr and Mrs Leishman

 

Thank you so much Katie for making our special day perfect. Our ceremony was written beautifully, giving us exactly what we wanted – a chilled out, relaxed, quick and easy day. All your help and advice over the last few months was amazing. Thank you once again. – Mr and Mrs Sheck 

 

Katie made our wedding process such a breeze. She met us at our wedding location and had everything ready to go. We felt relaxed and trusted her services and knowledge fully. On the day Katie was reassuring, calming and engaging. Katie is down to earth and compassionate, which made it easy for us and our guests to connect with her. We can’t thank Katie enough for helping us with our wedding journey x – Mr and Mrs Beggs

CEREMONY MUSIC: What’s appropriate? How many songs do I need? HELP!

Surprisingly, wedding ceremony music is cause for great concern amongst marrying couples. There is a constant fear over the appropriate of music for the occasion, there is a constant fear of being judges for choices, and a worry that some choices may lead to guests being offended. The honest truth, there are really no rules to what music you can chose.

There has been a shift in dynamics over the last few years, with a major focus being on exactly what the marrying couple would like instead of sticking with a ‘traditional’ formula for music choice.

 

How many songs are required for a wedding ceremony?

One of the questions that I am frequently asked is: how many songs should we choose for their wedding ceremony? This is a very individual decision and a number of factors come into play in order to determine the number of songs.

However a rough guide to help you with your choices is outlined below:

Walking down the aisle: 2 songs

Two songs should be chosen for the bridal party walking down the aisle. The first song would be for the bridal party, with the second song being reserved for the Bride/Groom that is walking down the aisle. This is great as it gives the bride/groom the chance to walk at their own pace and not rush and is a great signifier to the guests that it is time to stand or draw your attention to the entrance for the main entry.

Sometime three songs are chosen in this section if both members to the marriage are choosing to walk down the aisle with their parents, each will choose their own song to enter too.

On the alternative some couples also choose to have only one song for both the bridal party and the bride/groom to walk down the aisle to.

This is an individual choice, but one point that your celebrant will stress is the importance of ensuring that chosen music is long enough to accommodate the bridal party and bride/groom walking down the aisle, standing in place and the maid or honour/man of honour having time to fix the bride/grooms attire and taking any flowers from them. A rehearsal will be the perfect opportunity to test this.

Signing of the Register: 2 Songs

This is the portion of the ceremony where the marrying couple and their 2 witnesses will sign the three certificates required by law. During this time it is important to keep the mood and continue the tone that was set prior to and during the ceremony. Some music will also cut through the silence/murmuring that may be created through the waiting guests. It is always advised to choose two songs for this process, as after the signing the photographer does usually take control for a few moments to get those key photos.

Walking back down the Aisle: 1 Song

 This is the songs that you and your bridal party will walk up the aisle too. It will be the first song you celebrate to as a newly married couple. 

 Before and After the ceremony your music provider or celebrant should arrive early and play some music to set the mood for the day. I usually ask my couples if they would like vocal or instrumental music but of course a mixture of both can also set a fantastic atmosphere.

 

What songs should I choose?

At the end of the day it is your wedding and the songs that should be played are songs that reflect your relationship, your likes and your experiences together.

If your first kiss was to a Panic at the Disco song and you would like to walk down the aisle to it, there is really nothing stopping you. Those that know you the best and know the stories of your relationship will realise the importance of the song.

I have had couples walk down the aisle to music from Harry Potter because they met at one of the movies and another to video game soundtracks as they are avid gamers. It is all based on what you envision your wedding day being.

 

Should I have live music or pre-recorded music?

Once again this is a choice that is solely up to the couple themselves. It is all based on your choices in songs and if you would rather the original artist or have taken a liking to the arrangement and/or vocals of a live band.

Some things to remember with both pre-recorded and live music and the venue location and the ability of the person playing the music to be able to deliver a quality sound in the area. Meaning they have wireless equipment if it is in an area where electricity is not available, the capacity to deliver music for the duration required (pre ceremony music, ceremony music, post ceremony music), extreme weather contingency plans to ensure music can still go ahead.

Personally, for sound quality and to maintain an ongoing atmosphere I would not advise mixing the two types of music for the ceremony.

If you are worried about your choices, speak to your DJ, your celebrant, your venue coordinator. All of these are industry professionals and will able to guide you and give you suggestions but ultimately remember it is your wedding day and should be exactly what you wants, even if the song is an inside joke that only the two of you will understand.

Good Luck and Happy Planning!

WE HAD A BABY! Naming Cermonies and introducing your little one to the world.

Naming ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular. They are a great ceremony to introduce children to family and friends, and although predominantly these ceremonies are completed in honour of newborns there are no age restrictions on naming ceremonies. A naming ceremony is quiet similar to a christening or baptism but without the religious aspects.  There is also no legal paperwork to completed in order for a naming ceremony to take place.

 

Where can we hold a naming ceremony?

Naming ceremonies can be held anywhere where you wish, it can be a park, garden, home, hotel function centre the list is endless.

Like all functions there are a lot of things to consider such as who you are inviting, the ease to get to the venue for those with disabilities or the elderly and the time of year you are looking at holding the ceremony. As always it is advised that if you are planning an outdoor ceremony that you always have a extreme weather plan in mind as you can never predict the weather.

 

When should we hold a naming ceremony?

It is completely your choice when you would like to hold a naming ceremony for your child. There are no age restrictions at all. You can choose to also have multiple naming ceremonies at the same time, it is an amazing idea especially for siblings.

Predominantly a naming ceremony takes place between the ages of 0 – 2 as it is seen as the first big introduction of your little one to family and friends.

 

What is included in a Naming Ceremony?

The outline of a naming ceremony is outlined below. It is important to realise however that this is fluid, there are no legal components to this ceremony so it is complete open to being customised to suit your families wishes.

A typical Naming Ceremony follows the below structure.

  1. Introduction

During this time it is explained what a naming ceremony is and an introduction to whose naming ceremony is taking place to day

  1. A reading or a poem that is meaningful to the family

This could be religious if you with it to be or it may be a song or poem that was read to one of the parents when they were children

  1. Formally naming the child

This is done in a way that is significant to the family, this may be presenting of a jersey of the family sport team, lighting of candles. During this time the importance and meaning of the child’s name is also revealed

  1. Story of the family and the child’s life so far

Introducing parents, and siblings if any, making a promise to care for the child

  1. Speeches from parents

Parents will speak if they choose to, this is usually an extension of the promise to care for an nurture the child.

  1. Introducing Grandparents

Promise to fulfil the duties of grandparents, in some cases there is the presenting of a gift or memento as part of being a grandparent

  1. Introducing Godparents/supporting adults/mentors/ guide parents

Promise to fulfil the duties of grandparents, in some cases there is the presenting of a gift or memento as part of being a godparent/supporting adults/mentors/ guide parents

  1. Conclusion

Dreams for the child for the future, thank you to all the guests for the love and support.

 

Other Ideas to Include In a Ceremony:

There are a range of different things you can do in order to make your child’s naming ceremony as special as it should be. Some of these include

–          A release of birds of butterflies

–          A balloon release

–          A tree planting that can grow with the child

–          Moulds made of the child’s hand and feet

 

Your little one is something beautiful to should be celebrated and should be celebrated in a way that is unique to your family, your lifestyle, your wishes and dreams. There are no hard and fast rules and no legal requirements that must be met, the sky is the limit!