With the latest restrictions in Australia to encourage social distancing all weddings have been reduced to just five people present. For some this sounds outrageous, but for many in the industry this is a regularly occurrence and a large portion of the 120,000ish marriages that are conducted every year*.
The general public might only see the weddings with 80+ guests, aisle, flowers and “I do” but many couples decide to be married with a celebrant and two witnesses for many reasons.
So why would YOU want to get married without a wedding? Here are ...
Weddings can be expensive. While there is definitely value in all of the services and products available to every couple when they plan to get hitched, what often starts as a “just what we need” can quickly morph into a “everything we have ever seen on pinterest” type of affair.
Guest lists are just one of the elements of a wedding that seem to increase beyond the original estimate. I often hear;
"Well if we invite x we probably have to invite y ...and Y's husband ... and Y's sister. Oh man, if Aunty Maude finds out we invited x and y and not her she will never speak to mum again!!"
By getting married with just two witnesses you can really strip it down to the elements that are most important to you and will find it much easier to stick to the budget you had planned.
100 of your family and friends can’t all stand on top of a mountain… but we can. I have been part of some amazing weddings at stunning locations which just would not have been possible with more than the 5 of us. Over the years that has included waterfalls, mountain peaks, ocean lookouts and even the couple’s favourite store like Sexyland.
Selecting a location that is significant to your relationship can add extra meaning to your nuptials. Not to mention that unlike many venues, you can return anytime to your favourite riverside spot, park or restaurant.
Many of my amazing couples have chosen to be married with just two witnesses present because their loved ones are simply too far away. Just yesterday a couple were married while the groom’s parents watched via facebook live from Italy. There were tears, cheers and well wishes. It was not lost on any of us how lucky we are to have these technologies available during this time. Rather than gather and pay for a group of people you hardly know why not narrow it down and still share it with your loved ones.
Standing in front of 100s of people declaring your love for someone is not everyone’s idea of a fun experience (apart from the MAFS ‘stars’ obviously). Many couples chose to get married with just two witnesses because they are completely freaked out by public speaking, public displays of affectionate or just generally being the central of attention. There is no reason this fear should stop you from getting married if that is what you want.
Having a wedding is a public declaration where you share your commitment with a group of people as your witnesses. Getting married doesn’t have to be.
Sometimes couples are married in private because certain family and friends are not supportive of the marriage or want to get too heavily involved. I remember years ago conducting a ceremony for a couple who felt their adult children had started going overboard with planning a wedding. Instead the couple came to me, we got them married in a café with two random witnesses and when their kids arrived for a family dinner that night there was a marriage certificate sitting on the table. Boom!
Other times couples prefer to keep this commitment to themselves for privacy. Words spoken, vows made and gestures exchanged can be quite intimate. At the end of the day, when the party is over and everyone goes home - it all comes down to just the two people in the marriage.
So maybe you have been thinking about getting married but you couldn’t find the money or perfect venue, narrow the guest list or the nice words to tell Aunty Maude she's not invited – NOW IS YOUR CHANCE. We can make that happen amidst all this craziness.
In the words of Jackie Deshannon,...
* Statistics from ABS https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3310.0
I have to admit that l was disappointed to read that l didn’t make the Easy Weddings top 100 Celebrants in Melbourne list.
Until I realised that I was not eligible! Yes, I’m a celebrant, yes I’m in Melbourne, yes I am Top 100 material! (let’s be honest I’m Top 10 material! )
To be eligible for this list I needed to be advertising with Easy Weddings (my ad is here), and I needed to be advertising in the Melbourne category. I’m not.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a heap of great celebrants in this list. Some of whom are really good friends of mine who l recommend.
What disappoints me about a list like this, or the various Industry Awards and the advertising surrounding them is that there is limited transparency of how the recipients got there. How are the general public (that’s you) meant to know if it is a genuine list.
Now it might sound like I’m just spitting chips because I’m not on this list. That’s not what’s getting my goat – the thing that annoys me most is that it’s not clear how they come up with these lists.
How much did they pay to be considered?
Did they also pay to attend the award ceremony, cough up for their own little statue and A4 print?
How big was the pool of competition?
According to the Attorney General’s website, there are currently 2106 celebrants in Victoria and the best thing about that number is that EVERYONE can find a celebrant that suits them. There are fun, serious, traditional, wacky, comedian, young, old, male, female, local or recommended. Your top 100 celebrants is going to look a lot different to someone else’s list because everyone wants someone different to make their day unique.
So for me, more important than paying to be on a list or hassling you for votes to win an award, is that l am on your list.
l want to be on the list of celebrants you contact.
Then after your wedding, once that confetti has been vacuumed up and the champagne is all popped,
l want to be on your list of the best 10 decisions YOU made for your wedding.
A contributor to your special day who did exactly what she said she would and exceeded your expectations by creating YOUR perfect ceremony.
So next time you are reading a Top whatever list – stop and think:
“What are you going to do to get on my list?”
Yes, you - I'm talking to you. Don’t do it!
I mean, sure get married – I'm all for that that part –
just don't do it at 3pm on a Saturday!
What do you have against Sunday or Friday night, or - heaven help us - Wednesday?
According to a recent survey by Easy Weddings, 62% of Australian weddings in 2016 were on Saturday, then Friday was the next popular with 15% and poor Monday only had 2%.* OK, we kind of understand the reluctance to celebrate on a Monday.
I get that the traditional Saturday 3pm is probably convenient for some of the population. For those that have office jobs it means that there is no need to take time off work; you get the morning to get ready, and most importantly,
the Sunday to recover.
However statistics show that less than 30% of the population work in a Monday to Friday 9-5 job. Think shop assistants, firefighters, nurses and Mums! E
ven so, this is your BIG DAY, surely if you gave your loved ones 6 months notice
they would take a day off.
In my experience, most couples don't know what day of the week it is when they tie the knot, either because they have taken time off to prepare, or simply because
they are in their own bubble of celebrations.
So it is possible to have a non-Saturday 3pm wedding – but why would you?
Well, to start most venues have more dates available mid-week as well as a mid-week discount. Some venues are booked during wedding season 2 years in advance – how ever going mid-week might mean you get your dream location sooner than you thought. You will also get your pick of other suppliers too; the hairdresser, that photographer, the florist.
During the week there will be less messing about with family and sport commitments. In fact, there will be less traffic around venues during the day. Have you ever tried to get a park at the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens when there is a blockbuster at the G?
Flights for your guests and honeymoon will be cheaper mid-week too.
And also more accommodation options.
The bottom line is – if you friends and family are excited that you are getting married – they will want to be there and celebrate with you – no matter what day it is!
And besides, everyone loves a good excuse to take the day off work don't they?
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR YOU TO GET MARRIED ON A MONDAY??
Leave your comment below!
Some people can remember the first song that was playing when they met. Not these guys. Granted it was probably Incy Wincy Spider or Twinkle Twinkle since Maree and Matt first met in Kindergarten. The saw each other now and then as the years went by but it wasn’t until a chance meeting at the local pub on a Friday night 7 years ago that their really relationship began. Now, having just bought their first home and ready to start a family, they couldn't wait to get their families together and celebrate their wedding.
Eynesbury Homestead is a stunning Bluestone that was built in the 1870s. Maree and Matt lived locally and loved the multitude of options for photos available for them on site. Their reception was held in the Garden Event Marquee where they partied long into the night.
THE BEST BIT
Before the wedding l loved Maree's reasoning behind getting married at 11am. She wanted to be "a bride" for as long as possible! Eynesbury Homestead had the most amazing sweeping driveway and Maree was concerned she would be too far away from Matt to see his reaction when he first laid eyes on her. So, Matt was made to face away from the crowd and l had the task of tapping him on the shoulder when it was time to turn around. He was so nervous and terrified he would not make " the right" face. But nature took over and the second he saw Maree you could see his nerves disappear and his undeniable love burst through.
Congratulations Maree and Matt!
Shantelle and Brett have been together for 24 years. They have adult children and have been through a lot together but decide that it was 'about time' they got married.
Having just moved to Geelong, Shantelle and Brett loved the waterfront and decided to have their ceremony on the pier before jumping on the Geelong Party Boat, The Hygeia for their reception cruising the harbour.
The setting sun, moored yachts and vivid blue water were the perfect background for their relaxed ceremony.
THE BEST BIT
Shantelle and Brett decided on a Gangster theme for their wedding and I loved putting together an outfit to compliment their celebrations. Brett looked 'The Real McCoy' in his pinstripe suit and red braces and tie.
Rather than selecting two people from their group of guests, we did a short quiz during the ceremony and the 'winners' had the honour of signing their marriage certificates. It was a fun addition to the occasion.
Congratulations Shantelle and Brett
Melissa and Ruben are a super relaxed pair that met through work. They wanted a short and chilled ceremony without long drawn out stories of how they met or what marriage means; you know the ones! They were looking for a fun celebration to get the job done!
The Sunken Garden at Queen's Park (Moonee Ponds) was chosen for it's greenery and easy access between their home in the Northern suburbs and the CBD reception which was to follow. They enlisted the help of Melbourne company Ceremonies l Do for the white carpet, matching chairs, umbrellas and service of refreshments. To top it all off, they had the experts at The Road Stall add a gorgeous floral arbour.
THE BEST BIT
Melissa and Ruben chose to include a Quote Flash Mob into their ceremony to keep their guests on their toes.
My favourite quote was read with style by Ruben's mate, Will
"Loving is like peeing in your pants - everyone can see it but only you can feel the warmth"
I heard this statement again the other day and once again, it got me thinking.
Is what l do, marrying people, all for a page of A4?
And if not, what is Marriage?
Marriage: the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman (or, in some jurisdictions,
two people of the same sex) as partners in a relationship. (thanks Google dictionary)
Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you. Weddings are a celebration of that commitment and the memories of that day can be a lasting reminder.
An Awesome Reason for a Party
Bad things happen in our world and most families complain that the only time they ever see each other is at funerals. Why not celebrate something positive?
Love, commitment and devotion!
So many of my couples have kids or are planning to have them soon and see marriage as a way to officially bond their family together. Brides are often exciting to be finally sharing surnames with their partner and the kids
Marriage is just a piece of paper, but so is a cheque for $1 million dollars or a winning lottery ticket .
They all are only worth the value that YOU give them.
I value marriage – l see it as choice l made and a choice l continue to make every day. Not everyone puts the same value on the marriage “piece of paper' but as Virginia Woolf once said
“Though we see the same world, we see it through different eyes”
What Does Marriage Mean to You?
Recently a couple asked me to marry them and l said no.
Not because they don’t love each other – they clearly do.
Not because they wouldn't make good parents - they already have two beautiful sons.
Not because they don’t suit, get along, work well or complement each other -
since everyone that knows them would say they are perfect together.
I had to say no because their union is not recognised in Australia.
Instead, we planned a commitment ceremony for Tanya and Jilda with all the features of a wedding
It was amazing and a highlight of my 2015.
Both of their father’s health’s had deteriorated over the past year and they had always dreamed of
their dads walking them down the aisle...
and they did!
They wanted their boys to take part in the ceremony and witness their commitment....
and they did!
It was their wish to declare, in front of their family and friends, that they wanted to be together forever....
and they did!
The plan was to party into the night at the Brighton Savoy and celebrate their love...
and they did!
When Australia finally catches up with the rest of the world, we will make Jilda and Tanya’s marriage legal (it’s a free service l offer all my same-sex unions) but for now, we can say they got hitched and they DID IT with class & style.
Congratulations Jilda and Tanya xx
I designed my engagement ring, and every time I look at it I love it. Then it came to adding the wedding ring to fit with this ring I enjoy so much.
There we hit a snag....I thought it looked silly. The wedding ring and engagement ring just didn't work together. I thought, I wonder if I can cut the ring in half and have two rings, so they will sit one on each side of the engagement ring. The jeweller said l could do whatever l wanted, so that’s what we did. Now I have two wedding rings.
It’s true- you can do whatever you want. Wedding rings are not part of the legal requirements to get married, but they are a long held tradition that most couples go with.
Generally both partners exchange wedding rings during their wedding ceremony. Often one of three things is said
- Will you wear this ring? A question, like when you got engaged.
- Wear this ring. A statement, given that the rings usually follow the vows, at this stage they have already said ‘yes’
- Someone else (aka Celebrant) says ‘wear these rings’
Wedding rings are usually described as representing the endless of true love, having no beginning and no end.
Most people in Australia wear it on the fourth digit on the left hand. In ancient times it was thought that a vein ran directly from this finger to the heart.
Whilst wedding rings hold thousands of years of tradition, if they are meaningless to you – don’t make them part of your day. It’s your wedding and you really should have only the symbols that you find important.
Beautiful wedding rings often come with large price tags. You might find that at this stage in your life that money might be better spent on a holiday, house deposit or the wedding.
If you still want to exchange something; what about a necklace, watch or even get matching tattoos.
Like all rituals within a ceremony, a Wedding Ring only represents what you believe it stands for.
If it means something to you – then great; l know an awesome jeweller.
If a wedding ring is not for you – then let’s chat about what you do want in your wedding ceremony, because guess what ... you too can do whatever you want!
This week, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux surprised guests with a wedding disguised as a birthday party. As reported by ET:
"The intimate affair was held in front of 70 of their closest friends and family, including Howard Stern, Jason Bateman, Lisa Kudrow, Chelsea Handler, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt,
Whilst this doesn't sound like my idea of low key or minimum fuss, l have been involved in a many Surprise Weddings over the years and admit l am quite a fan. Here are a few reasons why:
You get to decide everything
We've all been there. Someone you know says “I'm getting married” and after the hugs and hi-fives comes the
“l know a florist”,
“you should use my make up artist”,
“what ever you do, don’t (insert personal opinion here)”
What the happy couple see as their ideal way to get married get’s torn to strips and they are suddenly planning their parents/aunts/best friend’s perfect day.
When you keep it a surprise you get to decide the who, what and where. After all, it is Your Wedding.
(Please note - when l say "Your Wedding" l mean you AND your fiancé. Weddings where one party to the marriage had no prior knowledge are against the law in Australia. The bride and groom need to both give 30 days notice and full consent.)
"Our wedding captured the essence of who Stephen and I were. We felt the ceremony was the perfect length and our guests loved how we focused on Stephen first and then surprised everyone with the wedding ceremony."
Reduce the drama
Ok – so l am not going to say that Surprise Weddings are without drama. But l will say that drama can be reduced by limiting the lead time people have to create it.
Make sure the important people will be there. This might mean spilling the beans to a stubborn parent or noncommittal friend to ensure they make the effort.
It probably goes without saying, but be realistic about whether any of your guests would be unhappy with your union. If there is doubt that someone would make a scene, would you really want them at your wedding anyway?
There are certain expectations we all have about attending a wedding. There will be food and refreshments. There will be some formal part. There will probably be a cake, flowers, seating arrangements, confetti, speeches, high-heels, first dance, beef or chicken and so on and so on. Without even realising, we all expect certain things when we attend a wedding.
However, if you think you are attending a housewarming or engagement party and all you expect is a sausage in bread and a beer or two – what a complete BONUS if you get to witness someone you love getting married.
"The surprise on everyone’s face was just perfect. It was the best way to get married"
Surprises are Fun
Planning your wedding can be a really special time for you as a couple. The excitement of watching things fall into place and the anticipation of the reaction of your loved ones is heightened with a Surprise Wedding.
It certainly is one way to ensure your guests will be talking about your day for many years to come.
So far l have been a Yogalates Instructor, Life Coach, Neighbour, Bike Buddy
and old school friend.
What alas would l need to have at your surprise wedding?