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Is there still a wedding season?

As I cast my eyes over my calendar and bookings for the rest of the year, something has become quiet apparent to me.  There no longer appears to be a “wedding season”.  There use to be an obvious quiet patch in the winter months or around the Christmas period; however, the last couple of years has been booked consistently all year round.  Speaking to other like minded Celebrants and wedding vendors, they have also noticed the same pattern.  For example, July and August are now super busy and filled with wedding events.

So let’s think about the pro’s of the different seasons.  Winter gives the freedom of an earlier ceremony time, men in suits (that aren’t sweaty), and gorgeous sun light.  Summer weddings allow for later ceremony start times and pictures into the evening.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your wedding needs to be in those peak months, April and September.  Look at the whole year when making your date choice, think about the type of people you are – beach lovers or snow goers, and think about the pro’s and con’s of your decision.  Also, chat with your wedding venue and ask their availability – you might have more chance of snagging a later booking!

Annie x

 

Deep Grey Photography credit

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Civil Partnership Notary

Listen up same sex couples!  Not only am I an Authorised Civil Celebrant, but I’m now a Civil Partnership Notary also.  This means that I can perform a Civil Partnership Ceremony, and your relationship can be registered with Births, Deaths, and Marriages (BDM) in Queensland.

Here is a little explanation, from BDM of what this all means:

A civil partnership may be entered into by couples, regardless of sex. Sections 4 and 5 of the Act state that any two adults (aged 18 years or over) may enter into a civil partnership provided:

  • at least one partner lives in Queensland
  • either party is not married to another person
  • either party is not already in a civil partnership in Queensland or a relationship registered under the following Acts (that is taken to be a Queensland civil partnership):
    • 1. Relationships Register Act 2010 (NSW)
    • 2. Relationships Act 2008 (Vic)
    • 3. Relationships Act 2003 (Tas); and
    • 4. Domestic Relationships Act 1994 (ACT).
  • they are not in a prohibited relationship with their proposed civil partner (i.e. parent, grandparent, sibling, half-sibling).

There are two ways to enter a civil partnership. A couple can apply to BDM to register a civil partnership by submitting Form 15 – Application to register a civil partnership, or alternatively, the couple may hold a civil partnership declaration ceremony (officiated by a CPN), and have their relationship registered as a civil partnership, by submitting Form 18a – Notice of intention to enter into a civil partnership.

The bold wording is where I come in.  I’m can officiate a declaration ceremony because I’m a Civil Partnership Notary (CPN).

The other really exciting part is this, and one step further in the right directions is:

An official standard civil partnership certificate is a legally recognised document. This can be helpful in terms of proving a relationship to satisfy a range of laws, for example, in relation to superannuation, tax and government assistance.

All of this legal wording is pretty crazy, but I can help you work it all out.  Start with the following questions:

  1. Am I in a relationship?  YES
  2. Are we both over 18 years?  YES
  3. Does one of us live in Qld?  YES
  4. Is one of us in a marriage?  NO
  5. Are we in a prohibited relationship?  NO
  6. Are we in a civil partnership in Queensland, or any other State related Acts?  NO

If you answers are the same as above and want a ceremony that reflects your life, love, history and future together, get in contact with me today!

Annie x

 

Y’All Ready for this captured by the amazing Tricia King Photography

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My Biggest Wedding Regret!

When I look back at photo’s from my wedding day, it brings up some incredible memories; however, it also reminds me of things I wish I had done differently, in particular, my biggest regret!

My biggest wedding regret was not writing my own personalised vows to my Hubby.  Our Celebrant gave us the option to do so, but because I was so nervous and had no idea what to say, we decided to choose our vows from a numbered document.  If only we had trusted ourselves to speak our own words.

What we ended up saying to each other was lovely, but it could have been so much better!  I wish I had ignored my doubts, my nerves and my fears and taken a risk.  And in hindsight, a risk that would have paid off.

Now a lot of brides and grooms think that their vows should sound like something written by Shakespeare – they couldn’t be more wrong!  Vows can be anything you would like them to be.  It’s your wedding day, your love, your story and your feelings; this should be expressed in the best way possible – in your own words.

I often get asked if vows should be filled with promises.  They can be but they don’t have to!  Vows can be statements, proclamations of love, little stories and funny memories, quirky habits, or future wishes.  I’ve had couples ask each other questions in their vows which had responses.  I’ve had stories about first meetings and when there was love at first sight.  If you can think of it, you can say it.  Outside of the legal wording, which needs to be said of course, let you creative juices flow and just give it a go!

Why not deliver surprise vows at your wedding ceremony?!  I love when my couples choose this option because the impact is so awesome.  As your Celebrant, I keep your vows to myself until your ceremony, and then when it gets to that part of your ceremony – mind-blowing, goosebumps, tears, laughs – a total memorable experience for all!

Here are some tips on writing great vows:

  • Say the things you would like your partner to say to you;
  • Write honestly, truthfully, and authentically;
  • Write how you normally would speak;
  • Write dot points if that helps to get the ball rolling;
  • Give each other a “brief” to work to, for example, start the sentences the same – I love you because ……… and finish it on your own;
  • Another “brief” can be capping the amount of sentences you are going to say whilst writing in a similar way, for example – 2 sentences about our love, 2 sentences about the future, 2 sentences about funny things in our relationship;
  • Sit down and write them together – this is also a gorgeous way to reflect your love in your own words;
  • Try and enjoy your vows, writing them and reading them – it should be a memorable experience for all the right reasons;
  • As your Celebrant, I provide examples of vows – read them and get inspiration;
  • Think about movies, songs, books that your partner likes – are they of any use?
  • Use your Celebrant to check over your vows, if you are having surprise vows – they should provide honest feedback and help keep you on track!

Your wedding ceremony should be a reflection of you, so don’t be afraid to ask your Celebrant questions about how to do that.

Encourage and support each other to give writing your vows a go!  You won’t regret it!

Annie x

 

Tricia King rocking photo!

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Wedding Venues – Where Should I Get Married?

One fabulous part of my work is I get to work at incredible venues that host weddings and other celebrations.  I often get asked where I have been and what is my favourite wedding venue; these questions sometimes come from couples who are feeling totally stressed with choosing a venue.  There are so many to choose from!

I secretly have my favourites, but I’ll keep them to myself for the time being.  What I will say is, some of my best weddings have been a venues that aren’t “traditional” wedding venues – restaurants, bars, cafes, private holiday rentals.  Think outside the square when booking a venue but make sure it ticks most or all of your must haves.

Working out the best wedding venue that meets your needs can be an overwhelming and challenging task.  I think you should ask yourself some of these questions to work out if a particular place is meeting your needs:

  • Do we want an indoor or outdoor ceremony and/or reception?
  • Do we want a city, beach, or country feel?
  • Are we fixed on a date, or are we flexible with our wedding date?
  • Do we want our ceremony and reception to be in the same place?
  • Is there a plan B in case of bad weather or extreme heat?
  • How many guests do we expect, and can this venue cater for that amount of bodies?
  • Where are we going to get our photo’s taken?  Onsite, or close by?
  • What are my guests going to do while they are waiting for the reception to start?  Does the venue accommodate this?
  • Is there accommodation nearby for our interstate/overseas guests?
  • If children are coming, is there a room for our babysitter to host the children?
  • What type of food do we want at our reception?  Sit down, share platters, canapés, buffet?
  • Is there easy options for guests to get home?  Uber, taxi, buses, trains, parking?
  • Does the venue reflect us as a couple?
  • What type of atmosphere are we trying to create?  Relaxed, upmarket, black tie, rustic, traditional, vintage?
  • Is the venue too big for the amount of guests we are having?  (This can impact on atmosphere)
  • Have we considered restaurants, cafes, or halls that we can dress up with styling?
  • Should we consider looking at a venue that isn’t a “traditional” wedding venue?
  • Does the venue come with a function manager?
  • Do you have to use the venues vendors, or can you select your own vendors to provide services?  Stylists, Celebrants, Photographers, Dj’s?
  • If booking a chapel, can we say the things we want to in our wedding ceremony?  Equal marriage wording?
  • Are their noise restrictions that start at a certain time?
  • Does the venue provide a PA system for our MC or for speakers at the reception?
  • Do I want to coordinate most things myself, or have someone else to do that?  Styling, Event Coordinator?
  • Is there a place I can get ready there before the wedding ceremony starts?

Below is a list of some of the venues (so far all in Queensland) I have performed weddings, and links to their websites –

I’ll keep updating this list throughout my adventures, as I have plenty more new venues to explore this year!

Happy planning and I hope this helps with your choice!

Annie x

 

Mary Wheatley Photography lovely photo!

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How do I change my name after my wedding?

Congratulations on your recent wedding!  I hope it was an amazing experience for you and your partner!  Now that you are back to ordinary life, you might be thinking that it is time apply for your Official Marriage Certificate, and also change your name now that you are married.

As a Marriage Celebrant, I often get asked about how to do this.  Let me help you with this process by following these steps:

  1. Click on the following link: Qld Births, Deaths and Marriages – Change of Name, Marriage
  2. Select the type of marriage certificate you would like – a standard certificate or a commemorative certificate (this option is more expensive)
  3. Go through an answer all the questions – it will ask your details, your partners details, and the marriage ceremony details
  4. Print off form
  5. Write your credit card details in the bottom section – make sure you put the amount of money, and a signature!
  6. Check that you have entered all the details correctly, and if happy, sign about half way down on the right hand side
  7. Attach the required identification that has been JP signed
  8. Send it in to Births, Deaths and Marriages Qld
  9. Wait about 4 – 6 weeks depending on peek periods, then your certificate should arrive in the mail.
  10. Go and change your name to your hearts content, and/or keep it safe for future purposes!

Stunning photography by the incredible Just for Love Photography!

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Charlie and Jenn’s Surprise Wedding

I LOVE SURPRISE WEDDINGS!  I live and breath these types of weddings.  I love the nerves, the excitement, the secrecy, the detailed planning, and the anticipation of the whole experience.

When Jenn and Charlie first got in touch with me and told me their plan, I knew that I wanted in!  Jenn and Charlie’s plan was daring, cheeky, and dramatic – three fabulous traits!  Their plan was to take their parents to lunch on New Years Day, and surprise them with a wedding invitation disguised as a dessert menu.  Jenn and Charlie spent months working out detail, engaging wedding vendors – photographer, videographer, venue, and a Marriage Celebrant (me).  We knew it would be a massive task to make sure it went smoothly and successfully – but we were all up for the challenge.

I met with Charlie and Jenn a couple of times to do their legal paperwork and ceremony planning.  Jenn and I chatted over email for months, and we even had a secret rehearsal to finalise details and backup plans.

The day arrived and I felt like a ball of energy; nerves and excitement all rolled into one.  The plan was that I would be sitting at a table near by, pretending to be having lunch with my family, and wait till the surprise was revealed.  I got there early, as per usual, and took my place.  Jenn and Charlie walked in, with their parents in tow, and took their seats.  It was all happening now!  The Functions Manager at the Belvedere Hotel was amazing.  She took them through the mains and placed their drinks orders.  I could see that their parents had started to relax, looking forward to their main meals and enjoying their drinks.

The photographer and videographer pretended to be working for the hotel, and were taking promotional photo’s.  The Functions Manager asked me when the rest of my table were due to arrive – everything was going smoothly.  A few minutes later, I look up to see the Functions Manager walking towards their table with the “dessert menu’s”.  This is it – it’s happening now!  Jenn, Charlie and both sets of parents started reading the menu’s, when all of a sudden, I heard screaming and someone calling Jenn’s name.  It was Jenn’s mother, who was the first to realise what was going on.  One by one, they started getting to the end of the wedding invitation and with that, tears, excitement, yelling and laughing started.  Their parents were amazing – all completely excited about the instant wedding ceremony, and yes, I think a little overwhelmed too!  Jenn then introduced me to their parents, and I was lucky enough to receive hugs all round.

With a change of outfits, and a quick ceremony setup, we were ready to go.  Jenn and Charlie asked both of their mothers to do a reading.  I loved this one:

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.
Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.
When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives…
remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Jenn and Charlie not only did traditional vows, but also did “pre-vows” which they both wrote and were able to speak from the heart.  A lovely addition to a ceremony.  My favourite part of their ceremony was when I spoke to their parents on Jenn and Charlie’s behalf, acknowledging their incredible relationships and the journeys they have taken as a family; tears flowed and I even felt a little wobbly too!  Jenn and Charlie also asked both fathers to be witnesses to their legal paperwork.

INCREDIBLE, INCREDIBLE, INCREDIBLE!  What courage it took to make this happen and the confidence from Jenn and Charlie to think up such a genius idea!  I was floating on a cloud for the rest of the day.

Thanks to Whitedress Photography and Videography, and the Belevedere Hotel for a great surprise!

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Ryan and Jaclyn’s Stamford Plaza Wedding

The weather was pretty awful on Ryan and Jaclyn’s Wedding day, it had been overcast and rainy all day.  I arrived a the Stamford Plaza thinking that the wet weather option would be in place; however, there was a break in the weather, so the venue coordinator, Jaclyn and myself decided to go ahead with the outside (plan A) option.  Boy, am I glad that we did!  Once again, it showed me how important having a wet weather option, close by, is – you just never know when it might need to be used.

Another fabulous memory from the day is working alongside Piper Joe – great musician and top bloke.  Jaclyn has a Scottish heritage, and wanted to include that somehow into her ceremony.  Bagpipe music was a spine tingling way of honouring that culture.  Piper Joe piped all of the bridesmaids in, as well as Jaclyn and her father.  I also loved being surrounded by thick Scottish accents!

Their ceremony was a personal journey into their relationship and where they would like to head as a married couple.  They had two readings in their ceremony, one I would love to share with you now:

ON YOUR WEDDING DAY

Today is a day you will always remember – the greatest in anyone’s life.

You’ll start off the day just two people in love and end it as husband and wife.

It’s a brand new beginning, the start of a journey, with moments to cherish and treasure,

And although there’ll be times when you both disagree, these will surely be outweighed by pleasure.

You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past, when the secrets of marriage were spoken,

But now you know that the answers lie hidden inside, where the bond of true love lies unbroken.

So live happy forever as lovers and friends, it’s the dawn of a new life for you, as you stand there together with love in your eyes from the moment you whisper, “I do.”

And with luck, all your hopes, and your dreams can be real, may success find its way to your hearts,

Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys, but today is the day it all starts.

There was tears, laughter, nervous chuckles and an overall sense of love and excitement during their ceremony.  When I presented them to their guests, they all cheered and Piper Joe started playing the pipes again, walking down the aisle in front of them, serenading them into married life.

Beautiful Weddings provided the styling for the day, and the staff at the Stamford Plaza were helpful and informative.  A great team effort!

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Music – Wedding Ceremony and Reception

Wedding Ceremony and Reception music choices doing your head in?  Feeling like you can’t find the perfect song to walk in to, or for your first dance at your reception?  Look no further!

I have created a link filled with music options for you wedding ceremony and/or reception.  I will keep adding to it when I hear more fabulous music.  Even if you are having live music, for example an acoustic guitar player through to bagpipes, this will still come in handy in selecting your type of music.  Click on the link below, and make sure you start following it to receive updates:

https://open.spotify.com/user/12153971259/playlist/1QPwexu7FoucnKJEoHm1xH

Following is a guide to how to structure your music during your wedding ceremony:

  1. Pre-ceremony music (15/20 minutes)
  2. Entry song
  3. Signing of paperwork songs* (2/3 songs is perfect – put your favourite one first)
  4. Exit song
  5. Post-ceremony music (10/15 minutes)

* This is if you are having this during your ceremony.  If you are signing your paperwork after your ceremony has finished, just use your post-ceremony music.

Tips on how to choose the best music for your wedding ceremony and/or reception:

  • You don’t need to choose something lovey dovey!
  • You will hear it in years to come – so make sure you both love it;
  • Grad a cuppa tea, beer, glass of champagne or a coffee, grab a seat and listen to your favourite tunes – you will have a great time, and something will stick out as the “one”;
  • It can be fun, for example, Barry White, or quite serious, for example, Pachelbel’s Canon in D;
  • This is a great time to show your guests your funny, quirky, dorky, nerdy, hipster, loving, funky side;
  • Have fun with it!
  • Choose an exit song (in the ceremony) that is more upbeat and celebratory!  This keeps that electric atmosphere bubbling!!
  • Your songs can have lyrics, be classical, brand new, old school, cheeky, or acoustic; and,
  • if I’m your Celebrant, be prepared for some dancing or singing after the ceremony has finished.

Totally gorgeous photo by Millyjane Photography.

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Rupert and Amy’s Wedding at Henzell Chapel

Amy and Rupert’s wedding was so special because every element of their wedding had meaning and a personal touch.  Amy is creative, and loves designing and making things.  From the invitations, through to the reception centrepieces and layout, Amy and Rupert envisioned it all!

Their wedding was at Henzell Chapel,  which is situated out past Samford on a private property.  The chapel was built by a mother and father who’s children wanted to get married on their family property.  In short, it’s stunning and one of a kind.  Stone and wood, mixed with grassy hills and beautiful hand carved art make for a perfect combination.

The day arrived and the weather was stunning.  Rupert was wearing an incredible suit, perfectly fitted to reflect his personality.  Amy was a vision in a white tea length dress with gold sparkly shoulders.  The Bridesmaids wore dresses of their choosing – no one matched, but they complimented each other perfectly.

One of the most memorable parts to Amy and Rupert’s wedding was the brass band, made up of ladies and gentleman over the age of 60 years, who played all of the music for the ceremony.  This band was significant as it was a way of remembering Amy’s Grandfather who use to play in the band, who passed away sometime before the wedding.

Amy and Rupert’s wedding was very family and friend focused.  As their Celebrant, I loved talking about their love, their gorgeous dog, the life they have built together, and their goals for the future.  The ceremony was electric and the guests applauded loudly in support of their friends, Amy and Rupert.  They included their grandparents, friend, and mother’s in their ceremony too.  Amy’s mother read this beautiful reading called, “I Like You”

I like you and I know why.

I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s special
And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, ‘Remember when you told me something special?’
And both of us remember

When I think something is important
you think it’s important too
We have good ideas
When I say something funny, you laugh
I think I’m funny and you think I’m funny too
Hah-hah!

…And I like you because when I am feeling sad
You don’t always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad…
I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too
It’s awful when the other person isn’t…

I like you because I don’t know why but
Everything that happens is nicer with you
I can’t remember when I didn’t like you
It must have been lonesome then
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you but I do.

I also had the pleasure of working with the incredible Ash from Stories By Ash.  The photo’s captured on that day truly reflect Amy and Rupert and the vibe that they were trying to achieve.

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Much love to Amy and Rupert xx

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Tim and Tammy’s Hillstone Wedding

When I first met Tammy and Tim, I knew we would work well together.  Tammy knew exactly what she wanted for her wedding and the ceremony, and I was the Celebrant to deliver.  When I found out that they had booked Hillstone at St Lucia, I was beside myself with excitement.  I couldn’t wait to perform a ceremony at the same venue that I had been married.

Their ceremony would be held in the “fountain” area in front of a large amount of family and friends.  Tammy and Tim didn’t want a fussy, over the top, soppy ceremony, and they didn’t want to do to much PDA (public display of affection).  After meeting with them over a few months and chatting back and forth on email, Tammy and Tim decided that they would like to perform the traditional vows.  You know the ones – “in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish….”  I always let me my couples decide what they would like to say in the vow section.  This part in the ceremony, to me, is one of the most important sections.  It allows my couples to say exactly what they want to, to each other, in front of their witnesses.  The vow section is also the part that I find, gives my couples the most nerves because declaring your love in front of your family and friends is quiet an unusual thing – but let me tell you that Tammy and Tim rocked it!

One of my favourite memories from their ceremony is when Tammy was walking down the aisle towards Tim.  When she got to Tim, she said hi to him, but then she turned around a started saying hi to her guests and waving hello to people further away.  It was such a beautiful moment!  I love when spontaneous gestures happen during my ceremonies and this was one for sure.  Tammy made her guests feel comfortable and at ease, while also making them laugh!

My second favourite moment from their ceremony was when Tim jumped in to early with his “I do’s”. As you can see from the photo (thanks goes to the lovely Lauren Olivia), we all killed ourselves laughing – it was a golden moment that I will always remember.  They also selected excellent support people, even though the ring bearer presented to loose the rings hehe.

Tammy and Tim, individually and as a couple, have faced a few challenges in their lives, but are an incredible testament to working hard, loving fiercely, sticking to your guns, having a laugh and not taking life too seriously.