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!

 

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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.

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Readings #inspo from the big screen!

Lovers, I am currently doing research for reading examples to incorporate into a ceremony I am going to be officiating. But as you do when you research, you start to go down the rabbit warren of the ether and the next thing you know you are looking for romantic passages from the top tissue box jerkers aka the roms and the romcoms of Hollywood. Here’s a bit of lovin’ literature to keep you inspired and maybe use in your own ceremony?!

I’ve listed in no particular order: enJOY.

The Notebook
I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.

P.S. I Love You
Finding someone you love and who loves you back is a wonderful, wonderful feeling. But finding a true soul mate is an even better feeling. A soul mate is someone who understands you like no other, loves you like no other, will be there for you forever, no matter what. They say that noting lasts forever, but I am a firm believer in the fact that for some, love lives on even after we’re gone.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being ‘in love’ which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two. Love is important and you should love each other the most.

Love Actually
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. The general opinion is starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there — fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the twin towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge — they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

Sleepless in Seattle
It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together…and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home, only to no home I’d ever known. I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car, and I knew. It was like…magic.

The Notebook
Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can’t control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That’s what it was like for me. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt if you planned on falling in love with me. But once we met, it was clear that neither of use could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has happened only once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory.

Shall We Dance
We need a witness to our lives. There are a billion people on the planet…I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things. All of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.

Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.

Twilight
It’s an extraordinary thing to meet someone who you can bare your soul to, and who will accept you for what you are. I’ve been waiting, what seems like a very long time, to get beyond what I am. And [now] I feel like I can finally begin…No measure of time with you will be long enough. But let’s start with forever.

The Vow
I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree on red velvet cake, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home. I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once-in-a-lifetime love. And to always know in the deepest part of my soul that no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find our way back to each other.

The Time Traveler’s Wife
I want to tell you, again, I love you. Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust. Tonight I feel that my love for you has more density in this world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and surround you, keep you, hold you.

Definitely Maybe
I wanna marry you because you’re the first person I wanna look at when I wake up in the morning, and the only one i wanna kiss goodnight. because the first time that I saw these hands, I couldn’t imagine not being able to hold them but mainly, when you love someone as much as I love you, getting married is the only thing left to d, so will you um marry me?

My Best Friend’s Wedding
If you love someone you say it, you say it right then, out loud. Otherwise the moment just…passes you by.

And last but definitely not least. For us Aussies, this one certainly pulls on the heartstrings just that little bit more. Love you Heath.

Ten Things I Hate About You
I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate it, I hate the way you’re always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it that you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

I’ll just leave you here with the tissue box.