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To get married or not to get married…in 2020?

Were you supposed to get married later this year but don’t know what to do? Do you cancel, postpone or go ahead without all your loved ones. Firstly, I am so sorry that 2020 has been an absolutely devastating year for many but hopefully we can find some silver linings amongst the darkness.

I know it’s been a while since my last post but after speaking to a few of my clients who planned their wedding for late 2020 I have found that some are confused, unsure and undecided as to what they can and can’t do so I want to offer some ideas. I want to let you know that you have so many options! Yes, it’s lots to think about but the best thing about this is situation is that you have the opportunity to be really creative, break some traditional moulds and potentially have two dreams weddings!

Here are some options to consider:

Elope and Small Weddings

Unfortunately, this will have to be within your residential state due most of to the borders being closed (depending where you live). But if getting married is the most important part for you then this is a great option. There are some amazing elopement packages in each state. A lot of these packages will include the celebrant, the hair and makeup, photographer, flowers, accommodation for the married couple and usually a dinner package. Alternatively, get in touch with me and I can reach out to my favourite suppliers to collaborate with in order to get you married in style!

Divide up the ceremony and reception

Despite the pandemic, splitting the event up is actually quite a popular option. I’ve been apart of two weddings, which have been split due to a variety of reasons – families being in other countries, medical, etc. So Leah, what exactly do you mean?

Glad you asked. What I mean by splitting is keep the date you have booked for this year but postpone the wedding at the venue and instead just do the ceremony elsewhere. Then once this pandemic has lifted have the reception (party) on your postponed date next year.

Two weddings!

This one is my favourite option because hey I am a chick who loves to get dressed up and this could be an opportunity to get two wedding dresses!

Does that appeal to you? What do I mean?

So like the above option, keep your date this year for just the legal ceremony but postpone the reception for next year and have another (non-legal) ceremony (plus reception) next year. Surely two weddings are better than one right?

We’re still getting married but…

This one might be a tough one for many couples. For many couples getting married is more important than having a party so reducing your guest numbers may be the option for you. If you are struggling for the right words to inform your guests, there are some excellent templates being produced to help. Take a look at some ideas from WedShed.

We’re not reducing numbers but we will be reducing the dancing…to zero.

Eekkk. This would be a tough one for me. Given that my inner spirit dances her way through life I can definitely resonate with couples that would absolutely veto this option. However, for some couples, dancing is not a priority and would rather a chilled out wedding. Check with your vendor as many venues are still able to host receptions in accordance to the NSW Government which allows up to 150 guests subject to the 4 square metre rule. Most importantly if this is the option you choose, you will have to ensure that you record the names and contact details (including contact telephone numbers) of all people attending and conducting the service. These records must be kept for at least 4 weeks, and provided to the Chief Health Officer, if requested. The government has also provided a Covid-19 Safety Plan which you can download here.

So there you have it, a few structures to think about. But I am sure you have more questions. Please if at any point through this blog you have questions and you want immediate answers – send me an email.

Anyway, I also want to provide some information regarding a legal ceremony. If you opt for a legal wedding you have two options:

You can go to the registry. Both of you will need to attend a marriage interview and the marriage officer will assist you with the paperwork and plan your ceremony.

Your second option is to book a celebrant (like me!) I can conduct the legal wedding at or in a place that is special to the two of you. I complete all the paperwork for you and create a ceremony that is tailored to the two of you.

For both options you do need to give the celebrant your Notice of Intended Marriage document no later than 31 days you plan to be married.

For a legal wedding there are three things that must either be said or present:

  1. The couple must have two witnesses over the age of 18 to be present.
  2. The celebrant must say the Monitum: I am duly authorised by law to solemnise this marriage according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
  3. The marrying couple must each say the Legal Vows: I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, AB/CD, take you, CD/AB, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/partner in marriage.

Remember, if you do decide to get married this year and have a bigger one next year, the ceremony doesn’t have to include your personal vows, readings, stories, or rituals. You can keep all of those special and personal inclusions to be said in front of your loved ones for a later ceremony and just do the legal ceremony and paperwork to be officially married this year.

If you opt to do a legal ceremony this year and party later, think about a place that is meaning for to the two of you or somewhere that you always go. In Sydney, this could be a beach, a reserve, a park or by a lake. I want you to know that you can also think outside the box. Perhaps you have a favourite restaurant, café, or hotel that you think will be a nice place to get married. Also remember, you don’t have to be standing. You can get married while seated as well.

One thing I will add however, if you do go for a public space and have a few more than 10 people to witness the marriage, you may need to get a permit from the local council so please keep that in mind and do your due diligence to avoid anything spoiling your moment.

I have one last point and it is a question I have for YOU. Depending on when you decide to get married, there will most probably be a few guests that won’t make it due to the pandemic or maybe there are other reasons. Would you want your ceremony to be live streamed for them to watch through a platform like Zoom or Vimeo? If this were a yes from you, I would love for you to send me a YES here! I am currently developing this as part of my service so if you would like to be part of my trial period, I will be offering this for free for a limited time only!

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read the above information. I know it’s a lot to take in. Let it sink in. Take a deep breath and get in touch if you want anything from me.


My first surprise wedding
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Surprise Weddings!

Can I just start off by saying I BIG RED HEART surprise weddings.

I love being in on a little secret and then seeing the faces of shock and then excitement among guests. The screams, the joyous thrills and the shouts of “I knew it!” or “I told you!” It’s moments like this that make you feel pure joy and happiness for your clients.

My second ceremony last year was a surprise. Now when I say surprise, I mean a surprise to all the guests! The bride and groom were in on it. Legally one partner cannot surprise the other with a wedding ceremony on the day as both individuals need to complete paperwork to give to a marriage celebrant at least 31 days before the date that they intend to get married.

My clients had invited all their guests to their combine 40th and 50th birthday party down in the Royal National Park. It was a great ruse. They had been engaged for over fifteen years and always said they’d get around to making official one day…and so finally they did!

When it came to the evening, it was like any normal big birthday bash. Grazing tables of food, decorations, flowers, cake, tables set for a sit down meal etc. The bride was at the venue early making sure all the final touches were in place and the groom came down on the bus with all the guests…no one suspected a thing. Ok, maybe one or two people made an assumption once they walked into the venue, but for the majority they were none the wiser.

Around 6:30pm, a close family friend hopped onto the microphone to announce that not only were they there to celebrate a double birthday but also a wedding. The crowd went wild!

At that point my excitement had turned into adrenaline or my adrenaline had turned into excitement. I wasn’t quite sure except that I couldn’t stop smiling and took charge of the ceremony on absolute (natural) high.

It was my first couple that were already long term partners and had two children so my ceremony reflected a service about friendship, companionship and what marriage means.

The ceremony was sweet, short and simple but completely reflected my clients as a couple. There was no bridal procession, no readings or bridal party. It was just relaxed and casual and audience participation was frequent which added to the fun.

As surprise weddings are unanticipated, from this ceremony I learnt that I need to think quick on my feet and be ready for the unexpected.

I enjoyed doing this sort of service so much that I am constantly on the look out for more. So if this is something you are considering on doing, get in touch. I’d love to be your celebrant!


News, Uncategorized

From my family to yours…

As mentioned on my Valentine’s Day Instagram post, I spent the day skiing with my parents (in fact, three weeks skiing with them). Not ideal as a single, 29 year-old, but as a celebrant, my parents are my sounding board and go to for advice on marriage and love. This year, they will have been married for 35 years and whilst I’ve been observing them and their marriage my whole life, I’ve never stopped to ask them what is important to their relationship and what keeps the love alive.

So, for all you lovers out there who are considering, or about to get married, here is a little something from my family to yours.

  1. What is always important to remember from the beginning?

Respect – from the beginning, ensure that you have a good foundation of friendship.

Honesty – have no secrets. “Unless its shopping”, said Mum. “Ah, but even that’s a given if you know your wife’s habits”, said Dad.

Understanding and compromise – from the beginning, know that there will be different thought processes, two individuals won’t always agree.

Clear expectations – make sure you travel down the same road at the same time and pace otherwise resentment can build. Be committed to where you both are going and equally put into the relationship. Don’t expect it to be smooth sailing all the time and be prepared to not put yourself first all the time.

Listen – for males as a general rule – wives don’t always want solutions, sometimes it’s the act of listening that is more important than saying anything.

Trust – you have to trust each other, because without it there is no union or relationship. Don’t give your partner any cause to distrust you.

Enough common interests – you don’t have to do everything together but having shared experiences allows you to build a lifelong bond of memories and connection.

Life – remember that people change over time and you must change together otherwise you will grow apart.

Goals – it’s not about one achieving for the other, it’s about achieving together and most importantly, not at the expense of the other.

  1. Can you describe marriage?

Yes, marriage is a bit like playing poker, knowing when to hold and when to fold. Pick when it’s worth putting all your cards on the table and when a poker face is required.

  1. In a broad sense, what are the biggest challenges that you’ve overcome?

The biggest challenges we’ve had to face individually and as a couple were health issues, living overseas, having children, financial sacrifices and work.

When your health is on the line, you have re-evaluate your life and the relationships you have around you. Living overseas comes with its difficulties, both positive and negative. Having children is a juggling act as children impact on your relationship and the time that you can dedicate to just the two of you. The financial challenges are about making sacrifices for long-term goals but also it is about wanting the same things and agreeing on the same points to get there and know that you just can’t do everything.

Work is a huge challenge upon your relationship but within society work and its role in the home has changed. We now live in an “on demand” society as we are connected in every sense of the word. Our phones are glued to our hands and eyeballs so the challenge is now, how do you be present? How do you resist the urge to be on demand and balance your time?

  1. Has your view of marriage changed?

No. We had a solid friendship before the love came, which continues to this day. We also had parents who set examples for us to follow, both of our parents genuinely wanted to be there for one another, as do we for each other now.

  1. Is there a secret to a long and successful marriage?

No. No journey or road is perfect because humans are complex creatures.

  1. What do you do to keep the love alive?

Date nights, do lots of things together. (In the case of my parents, after 20 years Dad playing golf every Sunday, Mum decided to take it up to spend more time with Dad).

But if one is off doing an activity, the other should have a passion or hobby too and not sit at home building up resentment. Acceptance is also key here. It is important to accept that your partner may want the time and space to do their own thing or achieve an individual goal. You should support them in this decision but afterwards, ensure that you have time together and share your experiences with your partner.

When you’re free of children, and it’s just the two of you, understand and recognise the rituals within your marriage that build throughout time that you don’t even realise are there.

Final notes from Mum and Dad: Embrace the small moments and be in the present.

And there you have it, words of wisdom from two people who know a thing or two about love and marriage.