Michell é brant Celebrant

exclusively uniting only the coolest couples in the world

Evermore Pledge; from spark to rainbow flame

I groaned when I heard the buzzer announce a visitor at the door.  In bounced one of my life-be-in-it friends.


“Are you ready for Samara’s birthday drinks?”


“Don’t be ridiculous, Dude. That’s not until June,” I snorted.


“Dude.  It is June.”

I’d had my head in a laptop for four months, working on the Evermore Pledge, a wee little bedside bulb that enjoyed a power surge and overnight became a blinding fluorescent light with its own agenda and a pace to match.


On the 13th March, my partner at the time and I were having a debate, which was a fairly regular occurrence.  Basically, I’d say something; he’d disputed it just for his own amusement.  (Does anyone else do that? So annoying!)


My comment on this day way, “I’m so sick of hearing about equal marriage. Can we just pass the law and get on with it?”


In one of his more brilliant moments, Greg argued (sigh) and said, “What if we don’t wait and the answer lies somewhere else.  When you break down what a marriage comprises of legally and financially and match that with a cool wedding, that’s almost the same, but better. Right?”


Then he went back to Family Guy.



I slept on it.  Well, it wasn’t really sleep, it was more “Ah shit, I’m not going to get any shut eye because of my stupid brain.  Go to sleep brain.  Oh now I need water.  Give me the blanket back. Argh!”


In the morning I called some of my friends in the LGBTI community.  They all said the same thing.  “It’s not equal marriage, but it’s the closest we’ve got and solves the practical problems.  Do it!”


Within 48 hours, I had secured the genius law firm, Nevile & Co. Commercial Lawyers who agreed that I couldn’t make a massively complex document with the $3.85 in my account.  Peter Nevile has been an equal rights supporter for decades and believed in the idea and believed in me.  So much so that they went to work on a (very expensive) project pro bono.  Score!


Hours after, I had sponsors (BBX and Rise Bar), media contacts (myGC.com.au), volunteers (Thea Baker), 360 PR, gay and lesbian ambassadors (Carly & Alee), social media up and running and demands for a launch party (let’s face it, the gay and lesbians know where it’s at).


The Evermore Pledge offers couples of any sexual orientation, race and religion the opportunity to formalise their relationship in an independent legal contract that gives them the same rights as those assumed under the Marriage Act 1961.


The biggest goal was to expediate the government to amend the Marriage Act 1961, encompassing equal marriage for all.


I figured that, to make love legal, we don’t need the church, or the government, so when they see that we are doing it ourselves anyway, they will want to jump on that gravy train, legalise same-sex marriage and chugga chugga all the way to Billionaire station.


The Evermore Pledge gave our government a kick up the rear to DO something… anything to move things forward.


What I didn’t expect was the important role that the Evermore Pledge played with regards to educating the public about what marriage MEANS.


Married, single, gay, straight, immigrant or local; the people wanted answers.
“My will is null and void when I say I do? Bloody hell that was 30 years ago!”

“I can still be a next of kin even though we’re gay?”

“How do I make sure my kids are looked after when I pass away, because my new wife loves speed boats and Moet in Santorini a bit too much?”

It gives me, and the people I work with, great pleasure knowing that the Evermore Pledge helped people to make an educated vote in the poll.


Our marketing has been focused on marriage equality, but in essence, this is a service for every couple. Straight de facto couples, immigrants, newlyweds, and those planning a wedding have made up the bulk of our enthusiastic clientele.


Celebrants around the country are mentioning to their straight couples that they might like to look at the serious side of their nuptials as well as the colour of the chair ribbons. So the Evermore Pledge is being incorporated making the marriage completely individually designed with every legal and financial box ticked.


The Evermore Pledge project has proven that an idea can start as a spark from a two seater couch in a cramped unit and $3.85 and become a raging fire that lights up the sky and invites people, from all walks of life, to roast marshmallows next to one another.


And who doesn’t like to roast marshmallows?



PS. Samara’s birthday drinks were awesome.


Michelle Anderson

Marriage Celebrant and

Director, The Australian Marriage Service


0400 207 913 / 07 5515 0276


Leave a comment »

And they lived happily Evermore…

There are two sides to every good love story… a front side and a back side.

At the front of the book is a story of how two people met, worlds collided, they fell in love, they got “married”or “civil unioned”or remain “defacto” or “engaged” or wait countless years for the laws to change, and then live happily /ever after…

What’s on the back side?

I should know, I recently fell flat on mine!book

When my long term parter, friend and condfidant of four and a half years and I broke up recently, I realised that I am the most ignorant of all.  Not to mention hypocritical.

I am founder of the Evermore Pledge; a legal, lifelong contract that gives, to every couple,  the same rights and responsibilities that are assumed by married couples under the Marriage Act 1961.

More specifically, it addresses the end of a relationship.  Let’s face it, morbid as it may seem, a couple will either part because of a break up or death.

Some couples may have read about the Evermore Pledge and thought “that’s not for me, that will never happen to us, we will be in love forever”.  But it is for them.  It is for you.  It is for me. It’s for everyone who has planned their life alongside another person.  Or simply thought about life and death at all.

You see, even though we’d planned to love each other forever, Greg and I didn’t take the Evermore Pledge, nor did we marry.  Yes, we were de facto, but contrary to popular belief, de facto couples do not have the same rights as married couples.


As every couple finally address the end of their relationship, the concept that seem unfathomable, problems begin to present themselves.

“As life goes on, it is no longer about the roses, chocolates and who chooses to go to dinner.

It’s about the house, car and who chooses the aged care home.”

Enter the Evermore Pledge; a realistic, educated, formal agreement that is designed to care for the ones you love.

The binding union of couples may change and expand from church to government, from marriage to civil union to same-sex marriage rights; at the end of the day, the way in which we part ways will remain the same.

It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. And let’s face it, no one wants to think about it not even you reading this right now. But it is a fact.

Taking The Evermore Pledge is like adding a page to the back of the storybook.

An additional section reads:

“And many happy years later, days of living together and loving each other, building memories together and raising families, they parted ways. 

“When one was ill, the other was financially secure enough to care for them. 

“When one passed away, the other had their beautiful home and money to retire with. 

“When they chose different paths altogether, they respected each other, the time they had together, and both started their new journey far richer in coin and love than when they had met.”

Some have said I’m not very romantic at all to be thinking in such a way.

I think quite the opposite. I like to think that when two adults love one another enough to make promises, they will keep those promises, even when circumstances change.

The Evermore Pledge is like saying – “hey lover, I said I’ll always take care if you. Sign here because I mean it!”.

So when your back side may be a little tender from the fall, you can turn to the front page and remember the good times all over again.


Michelle Anderson

Civil Celebrant

Director The Australian Marriage Service

Founder of the Evermore Pledge

Leave a comment »

Naughty Nautical Weddings

I just made a Celebrant booking for a nautical wedding. Trust be told, I had to look that one up!

Stripes, ropes, and anchors are totally trendy right now, and they tie perfectly into a wedding. Contrary to popular belief, the nautical theme can complement wedding color schemes other than blue and white, so if you’re dead set on other hues, this theme will still work. See some of our color scheme suggestions below for inspiration. If the typical nautical motifs aren’t your thing, dig a little deeper into the expansive ocean and incorporate sea creatures in a classy way.

Wedding themes don’t have to be tacky or overbearing; they can be subtle and fun, used to give your celebration a cohesive feeling. It’s always enjoyable for guests to notice the little, thoughtful details that tie into the overarching theme. With the ideas below, you can turn your nuptials nautical, regardless of the location of your wedding.

Another misconception is that having a theme can put you way over budget, and while that can be the case, it doesn’t have to be. We’re showing you how to DIY your wedding into a maritime marvel, keeping treasure in your pockets for the Marriage Celebrant of your dreams. The one who truly makes memories.

Thanks to All free DIY weddings for this great article.

Michelle Anderson

Leave a comment »

Main Beach – Ssssshhhhh don’t tell anyone

There isn’t anything ”Main about Main Beach.  It’s not on a main road, or is it the main hub, it’s not exactly mainstream, however it is mainly fabulous!

main beach

This little suburb is a forgotten treasure on the northern Gold Coast.  Snuggled between Southport and Surfers Paradise, there are only two roads in and out which, for the locals, makes it somewhat exclusive.

Once known as “God’s waiting room”, Main Beach was the place to retire in the 80’s and 90’s.  Extravagant homes and flash, beachside units were primarily owned by an older crowd but when the GFC hit, many of the aging generation sold their holiday palaces and made way for a younger crowd.

The main street, Tedder Avenue, is a hub of activity featuring high end restaurants, cafes and boutique fashion.  Mano’s has reinstated weekly entertainment like stand up comedy and bands.  It is worth a giggle to pop in and witness the grey brigade getting jiggy with it and they are not afraid to use their elbows to secure a decent dance floor position.

While Surfers Paradise is awash with colour, party traffic, pumping bars, crazy clubs amidst a soundtrack of  excitable international tourists, Main Beach keeps to itself.  The overall vibe is that of a small village.  The shopkeeper stocks our favourite chocolates and the bar tender knows “the usual”.

A short walk north, offers Marina Mirage.  This is the parking lot for luxury boats alongside whale watching tours and helicopter pads.

Palazzo Versace and Sheraton Mirage pave the way to the (unfortunately named) Spit.  Fishing, sailing, boating… the Spit is a stretch of beach 4 kilometers long.  We locals are perplexed as to why the white, silky sand is void of people when only a short stride away, Surfers Paradise beach is full to the brim with tourists fighting for towel space.

Seaworld Theme Park is the main attraction in the area but because it is positioned along the spit, it brings minimal traffic through the area but maximum amount of fun.

Twice  a year, the beach comes alive! The GC600 is an annual motor racing event for Supercars that attracts people from all over the world every October.  Accommodation is at a premium with prices to match, but the vibe in town is electric (and loud).  Prefer exercise to motor size? The Gold Coast Marathon entices thousands of visitors to run through the streets of Main Beach.  Be careful that you don’t get swept up by the excitement and the foot traffic!



Michelle Anderson

Civil Marriage Celebrant www.idocelebrant.com

3555 Main Beach Parade, Main Beach Qld 4217




Leave a comment »

Tips for the Super Organised Bride- Pick them with a pic.

Some couples plan their big day one, or even two years ahead of time. This means that they meet with their suppliers (photographer, decor, venue manager and Celebrant) for a moment in time before the communication turns to phone and email.

You may end up meeting a few individuals from each category and, let’s face it, one’s memory can get a little hazy over time.

Turns out, lots can happen in a year! Take me for example. My hair has gone from black to white thanks to my gorgeous Sri Lankan ancestors, so when I’ve met my bride and groom closer to the big day, or on the day itself, I’ve had a few double takes and raised eyebrows. (I’m taking that as a compliment!)

For about five years I have been in the habit of taking photographs of my brides and grooms at our first meeting or asking them to send one for my file. This has been particularly handy for those who have booked far into the future. It solves the problem I had one weekend when I was to marry two Janes, but I couldn’t remember which one was the goth and which was the princess!

(Obvious once the bridal march began!)

This concept works both ways. If you are dealing with a large number of suppliers for a particularly complex wedding, it is a good idea to keep those faces fresh in your mind; it can be as simple as connecting on Facebook, instagram or linked in. Many venues change their event staff fairly regularly so if you have a change of Cordinator for your big day, just ask them to send through a pic as well. You’ll feel confident and in control on the day and your suppliers will connect with you far better on a professional and familiar level when you know the difference between the Videographer’s assistant and the celebrant.

Strangely enough, over my six years as a celebrant, the number of super organised brides has decreased and the number of relaxed, easygoing, flexible couples has increased. And that’s the way it should be. There is only one person you need to recognise on the day itself is, no, not me (although I do come in handy) your groom… then the ceremony will pan out perfectly.

Happy planning!

Michelle Anderson, Celebrant

Leave a comment »

*Voting with a single brushstroke*

Personally, I don’t mind a bit of arty farty and I love to paint the town red.

Canvas too. But with people, well, I’m astonished as to how we paint each other with a broad brush… and how that paint stains.

You just can’t get that shit out of a cotton shirt.

With one single brushstroke, everything about an individual can be classed, categorised, segmented, compartmentalised and filed.

Then voted on.

At this particularly topical time in history, the brush is a broad, Bunnings style number with rainbow colours, red to blue. (Somewhat difficult to achieve using a hardware colour chart; the choices and time it would take!)

With a simple sweeping hand manoeuvre, our neighbour, workmate or mentor can have their otherwise beige complexion turned to a spritely my little pony tail on a yellow brick road; whether they like it or not.

“Hello! You’re gay, be loud, proud, rally, shout. Wear all the colours of Dulux and rejoice.”

“But I liked beige. It brings out my eyes,” some might say.

Too bad if they were accidentally splattered by the paint brush as it swung past faster than a disco ball on Mardi Gras opening night.

There are other colours (& sizes); loads of brushes, in fact, to go around in aisle 13.

The brush that slapped me in the face was not Havana or Toffee Fingers or Meerkat chocolate; but a dark, muddy brown like those smelly mangroves choose to grow in.

I was age 7 when the brush of aisle 13 tainted me for the first time. I remember walking into a new classroom, fresh from interstate. Everyone had the whitest of white skin. One kid pointed at me and said “hey she’s black!”. They all and laughed, fingers firing like darts.

(At this point i should point out that my father is of Sri Lankan heritage and my mother could not be whiter; I am therefore, the best of both worlds; tanned and adorable!)

I turned to the headmaster with confusion. I had never been confronted with this kind of reaction. He promptly said, “right, we’re moving you up a grade”. Apparently that class wasn’t mature enough for my alluring hue.

At the time, I didn’t understand why I felt uncomfortable.

Now I get it. I was colour blind. (I’m proud to say I still am.)

Without opening my mouth, cracking a smile or giving them my infamous rendition of Cindy Lauper, I was judged. Pure and simple.

On the colour of my skin.

Discrimination comes in many forms.

You, dear reader, probably have examples of your own discrimination. Have you been stereotyped for wearing glasses, being tall, liking chess, riding a unicycle? Did that classification work against, not for you?

And if you are black or white, with poor or excellent eye function, tall or short, immigrant or convict, pro or anti coriander… you have probably had to stand up for yourself, expressing your individuality for fear of being tainted with a brush.

Did the population vote on your unique difference? Did your quirky obsession with peppermint gum stop a nation? Perhaps cycling vs public transport has had you up in arms?

“Well Mr IGA grocer, I just don’t see how Helen can be allowed to shop here since she clearly refuses sweet treats and we are an all inclusive store!”

“Sir, savoury is for the mature palette and some of us prefer to spend our money on baby Jesus, I mean, blue cheeses.”


Call me the answer queen (you’re welcome in advance)!

Let’s vote on it.

I say that if national voting is the way forward, we just get on with it and vote for everything.

Turn the plebiscite vote into a massive, federal senate size paper and we can end discrimination for good.

Not only will it increase the cost and workload of every single government department, it will put all of those BBQ debates to rest and there will no longer be brawls outside evening venues hosting quiz nights.

In fact, once it’s official and we write it up into the New Testament of Testimony written for and by the people (version 1.1), we can pretty much announce to the world that Australia has knocked this whole gay / terrorism / race thing on the head. We voted “no”, so no thank you.

“There won’t be any mixed race bisexual coriander loving trans criminal terrorists here!” cried the masses of 2017.

The best vote of all will be my favourite: should Australia turn back the clock to 1817?

Since that’s where we belong.

Leave a comment »

Investigation launched after celebrants revolt!

I’ve made it to the big time! A letter arrived from the Attorney-General’s Marriage Law Section and it starts with…

“Dear Ms. Anderson, We have received correspondence from concerned individuals about your “Evermore Pledge”.”

Fist pump in the air!  YES.  Brilliant.  Name in flashing lights. Bulls eye.  BOOM.

Most people would get anxious about a letter like this because, as a celebrant, we adhere to a code of conduct and if we are seen to be breaking the code, then we go to jail.

But not me, I’ve been expecting it.

When the murmurs turn from gossip to hard core complaint letters to federal government bodies and there are enough of them to warrant an investigation, it’s a sure sign that blood is boiling and shit’s getting interesting.

Allow me to fill you in…

I’ve had my head in my laptop for the past 3 months working on the Evermore Pledge (an independent legal agreement that “replicates marriage” without the rules of a church or government, and is available to couples of any race, religion or sexual preference. Yes, even the ‘gays’!)

I did poke my head out once or twice.  Once was to turn 40, ouch, and again to hear about a gaggle of squabbling peers who had been let loose at Old McWhats-his-name’s ding bat farm for online losers.

I said to myself, gay marriage is bound to spark debate, but debate it is not!  No dear reader, “debate” would suggest two sides to an argument; a coming together of professionals to exchange views, to educate each other in an informed, polite discourse.

The gaggle of squabbling peers did not debate, nor did they research, ask, listen, ponder or discuss.

They assumed, judged, ridiculed, belittled, abused & bullied.  And they bully good!

“But celebrants talk about love and they’re really nice and stuff!”

Yes, in the majority, celebrants are amazing human beings.  Besides being a totally ridiculously awesome one myself, some of my close friends are also celebrants.  We are an outspoken bunch with attitude as big as MC Hammer’s pants. Organising a party is easier than pouring our forth wine in the dark.  And you can tell the really good ones a mile off, they’re walking around with a sore cheek.  Damn tongue.


I understand your confusion, reader, but for some this is a case of ‘smile for the camera’ then reach for the vampire fangs to use in a new round of blood sport.

Don’t let those pastel pant suits and oversized transition shades fool you, people. That’s not Paris Hilton’s hip Granny, it’s you local celebrant bully come to tear you down before you’ve the ability to stand.

See that feather pen she’s got there?  I used to think that there must be a ninja group of public speakers who did their elite training by hunting for giant birds.  Then they plucked the beasts and dyed their feathers to use as signing pens at weddings.

Now I know better.  They kill the bird alright.  By hand.  Then they use it’s flesh to bait giant Jabberwocky and those are the pen feathers worth having. The biggest bitches have the biggest feathers.

“….by a marriage celebrants’ association, OPD trainer and individual celebrants ….”

Oooo, it’s hotting up now! It’s more than just a few contributors with a bee in their 1980’s racing bonnet!

Can you imagine all the effort these petals have gone to?  Where did they find they energy for so much anger and resentment?

It must be all consuming.  I can see it now… clenched jaws, white knuckles, the tuck shop wings swaying in the breeze as they rise from a comfortably seated position by the heater to revolt.

“Disgusting,”  says one.

“It’s an outrage,” says another.

“I’m appalled and personally offended,” they all chirp in.

“It’s just not right! It doesn’t address what happens after death!”

Um, say what?

“Death! You haven’t addressed death!” Angry tone.

Sigh.  The Evermore Pledge is based on two Wills and a binding financial agreement.

“Oh, right, well, it still sucks.  Where is my Jabberwocky pen, I’m writing to the AG!”

I do have a phone you know.  It rings a lot actually.  People calling to say hi, ask questions, give feedback.  I also use the power of the internet to communicate thoughts, feelings and plans.  Apart from this reactive blog, I don’t use the internet to cause friction, rather to share the love (and lock in solid plans for drinks at the pub with the cool celebrants)

Because I thought sharing the love was our job….


Leave a comment »

How much does a celebrant cost?

I am going to use the analogy of surfing!

Let’s say you bought a cool surfboard. Then you decide that you’re going to master the waves! The enthusiasm is there; you have the wetsuit, the board, and the attitude – but do you have the skill, the natural talent, and the drive to make you one of the best?

  I know one thing for certain. When I go down to the beach with my glass of wine and cheese platter to perve on the hot surfers, the ones who hold my attention are the pros.  Those guys and girls who live and breathe surfing. They get up every morning, rain hail or shine, and they throw themselves into that passionate sport -day after day. They leave with huge grins on their faces, motivation to conquer the world, and a pleasant satisfaction that they have nailed it.

Before you ask, no I do not surf! Well, someone has to hold the towels and carry the wine…

However being a celebrant goes along these lines somewhat.

Have you been to some weddings and noticed the celebrant at all? If they were a bit beige or didn’t make an impression on you, then in my opinion they did not do the job. Did they highlight the bride & groom and really reflect their personalities during the ceremony? Did they wear appropriate clothes or did they show up in last years racing out fit with a giant hat? Was it all about THEM? 

You see, all celebrants had the same training. We all have a decent surfboard and a wetsuit. But it is what we do with those tools that really matters.

If you want to go surfing three times a year, it’s fair to say that you won’t be very good. But if you get in the water once or twice a week, it becomes second nature… A passion that a gives you more and more energy. 

So, to our original question… How much does a celebrant cost?

It’s fair to say that, just like every career, including your own, you get what you pay for and you earn what you deserve.  So really, the choice is yours.  

Some celebrants are charging around $1200. They are brilliant at what they do, they have national aclaim, real charisma, and media presence (that’s the clincher!). 

There are quite a few celebrants around the $450 mark. They have charged $450 since 1982 and have continued to do so. They seem to be a little bit lost with the concept of time. In saying that, some are very very good and I hold them in high regard because this is a hobby that they love and cherish.

I stumbled across a website earlier with a pricetag of $285. This leaves me very confused as simple expenses come to much, much more than that. She must really really really love her job to the point of picking up expenses rather than the revenue.
But what about you, the bride and groom? How much should you realistically fork out to ensure a really cool ceremony that will make your guests go ‘wow’?

The average cost of a wedding in Australia at the moment is $35,000. Most of that is spent on the reception. However, it will be your vows that you will remember for the rest of your life so those moments during the ceremony are actually the most important thing.

My advice is to look at the budget guide in any of your wedding magazines, and take the celebrant budget suggested, and double it!  If you budget between $800 and $1000, you are winning. 

Ah ha, wait! I know what you’re thinking… “but all you do is stand up and talk for 20 minutes!”.

Sorry smartie pants but you are wrong!  I love ceremonies. They are certainly the favourite part of my job. But behind-the-scenes, we do paperwork, liaise with government, write scripts, help with vows, drive, meet with you, email with you, talk with you on the phone, share ideas, research poems and readings, we look at music, work on our skills of public speaking, navigate PA systems, network with others in the industry so that each gig goes smoothly. And that’s before we even start marketing ourselves so that you find us in the first place!

So perhaps I should change the title of this article from ‘how much does a celebrant cost’, to ‘what is the price you will pay should you not make a decent investment?’.

When you choose your celebrant, yes of course money will be a factor, but the most important thing to remember is that you will not only be standing with them for 20 minutes on the day, but you will be working with them closely during the planning stage.

In short, choose a celebrant who speaks your language and whom you like… Who goes surfing every week, knows how to dodge the Sharks and catches a wave every single time (usually with a wine in one hand and a mcrophone in the other).
Good luck

Michelle Anderson, civil celebrant

Gold Coast, Brisbane, at Byron Bay, and beyond.

Exclusively uniting the coolest couples in the world.



1 Comment »

Beach Wedding Blunders – a Celebrant’s point of view

The ceremony I performed at Tallebudgera Creek on the beach in February was the ultimate example of beach weddings errors.
While I was driving thereI was so pleased. Mother nature was on my side that day, I thought. The sun was out, the water was warm, the groom and groomsmen were smiling.

Beautiful weddings had set up a most amazing ceremony decor.  

There was hardly any wind, the ocean was quiet, and there were no birds in sight. Basically no noise for my PA to compete with. 

It was going to be a beautiful beach wedding.
Well, that is what I tell myself at the beginning of every beach wedding!
Beach weddings are beautiful, but they bring with it a tonne of problems that really need serious consideration before you choose a location for your big day.
This is not to say “don’t do it”, just that you will need to think carefully about every component, potential risks and certainly contingency plans. 
At 2 PM, although still, the temperature hit a record 39° in the beating hot sun. There was no shade, and no breeze.  
The guests were left with no option but to huddle under a small tree in the background while they waited for the bride. Many were elderly, and getting cranky and thirsty. 

No one was certain as to whether or not to take their shoes off in the sand. What is the correct etiquette?

That decision was made for them, because the sand also hit a record 39°!
While I waited with the groomsmen and the crowd huddled in their patch of cool shade, we waited, and waited… And waited.

I got word that the limousine, driving the bride, had been delayed. In short, she was 45 minutes late!
Have you ever stood in the blazing sun in February, on a beach, in formal clothes, and no shade?

I don’t recommend it. Within the first 10 minutes my make up had dissolved and melted down my face onto my neck and settled along the collar of my shirt. Small droplets of perspiration popped up on my back and dripped down my spine, all the way into my underpants.

 My clothes began to feel damp. The groom and groomsmen were sweating bullets. The guests were fanning themselves with any fanlike item they could find.  

Some of the guests were late too. It turns out that going to the beach on a hot Saturday in February is quite a popular pastime for the general public. Therefore , no carparks. Guests had to park in the next suburb and walk. 
As I was preparing my PA system and microphone, the perspiration on my hands was so intense that I dropped the microphone into the sand.

Microphones and sand are not friends! I was heartbroken for the loss of my dear little mic. Lucky I have a back up.
When the bride finally appeared, there was a sigh of relief from the crowd. But understandably, very few of them wanted to sit in the designated seats for fear of heatstroke. Her dress had a train about a meter long. By the time she reached me, she was dragging about 20 kg of sand inside the petticoats of her gorgeous gown. 
I shortened the ceremony so that my audience would not be tortured for any longer which was appreciated. 

Nevertheless, an ambulance was called shortly after as one of the elderly aunts fainted just after the wedding kiss.
All in all, the couple were happily married, but the beach wedding in itself was a complete nightmare. Some might say that Mother nature had her way after all, and for reasons out of our control, things did not go to plan.
But I disagree. There were several ways in which this wedding could have been turned around into successful and enjoyable event.
Contingency plans – “extreme weather conditions”, whether it be heat or rain, should be taken seriously, and if the weather forecast suggests an uncomfortable environment, you should decide which venue to hold your event. It may not be what you pictured originally but it will be safest for everyone involved. 
Preparation – your guests need water. Prepare an esky with small bottles to hand out to guests should they need it. 

Consider a bucket full of thongs/flip flops. This will mean that ladies with heels can simply slip on a temporary pair of shoes. 

Shade is important. Discuss with your stylist the options of umbrellas and marquees.
Parking – go to the beach on a Saturday, and note the number of available carparks. Then inform your guests of the best locations to park.
Remember that your marriage celebrant is a person too! Carrying a PA system, paperwork and sometimes table & chairs, I have often struggled across the beach. Ask a friend to be in charge of looking out for the wedding celebrant and helping them with their equipment. 

Dress appropriately! If you have divine images of flowing gowns and men in tuxedos, you might get a rude shock on the day!

It comes down to being sensible. Pinterest may boast a host of wedding photos that you dream of. But in reality isn’t it better for you and your guests to have an unforgettable experience (for the right reasons) than to chase an almost impossible dream?

By Michelle Anderson Celebrant


1 Comment »

8 Questions You Must Ask a Wedding Professional Before Booking Them

Hiring the right team is critical to planning your dream wedding…and it can also be quite stressful.

Amelia and Sam May 2015 B Weddings

How do you find the right match for you?  How do you know who to trust?  Where do you go for advice?


First of all, this is not an easy task and it’s totally normal for couples to feel overwhelmed, frustrated or confused.

It’s not like you plan a wedding every day!  This is all probably brand new to you, so be patient with yourself.

And remember, you will only have 1 wedding…  While the really great vendors will do more than 2 a week!

TRUST your suppliers and your day will be smooth sailing.


A few tips to finding the right ones for you…


  • Do Your Homework.You’ll get much more out of a meeting or conversation with a wedding professional if you do a little background homework first.


Spend some time on the internet or talking to friends who’ve recently been married.  Find out the average prices in your area and what services are available.  Get an idea of what you like and don’t like.  Wedding websites and chat rooms can be a great resource.  This way when you meet with a wedding professional you’ll be able to ask better questions and have an idea of what to look out for.

If you haven’t been a guest at many weddings, watch some classic Hollywood movies for inspiration.

  • Meet With Them.An in person meeting is the best way to interview a potential wedding vendor. It lets you get the full experience of their personality, style and professionalism.  If that’s not possible, have a phone conversation.


  • Ask Questions.There are no stupid questions! Make sure you get clear, specific answers to your questions. If you aren’t sure what something means, ask them to clarify. Keep asking questions until you completely understand.


If a wedding vendor has a problem with you asking questions, they probably aren’t the one for you.  The best wedding professionals are patient, understanding and take the time to help you make the best choices for your wedding.


  • Listen.Don’t just hear the words they say, really listen.  Watch the vendor’s body language.  Are they confident and comfortable with their response?  Do they look and sound nervous?  Do you get a “funny feeling” about them?  Take all the sights, sounds and feelings into account along with their responses; if your gut tells you something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.


  • Check References.Portfolios are hand-picked to show off the best work, but they may not represent the “average” wedding performance.  Videos are edited for the optimum presentation.  But real referrals from satisfied clients are hard to fake.


Call up both client and professional references.  Ask questions and use those listening skills.  Even if they give a rave review, you’ll often be able to “read between the lines” if there were any issues or problems.

Ask around and search the internet for reviews.  Weigh all of this information into your choices.

Here are the top 8 “Must Ask” questions to ask your potential wedding professionals before booking:

  1. How many weddings do you do per year?  How much experience do you have?

This is an extremely important question.  Ideally, your wedding professional should have ample experience specifically with weddings.  Not only will they be more skilled in their craft, this also makes them a valuable source of information and ensures that your wedding day goes smoothly.

  1. How much do you charge?

Price is often relative, especially when you factor in experience, reputation and expert skill.  Generally, the most talented professionals have a higher price tag because they are worth it.

Essentially, you get what you pay for.  The cheapest florist is unlikely to deliver the very best flowers, for example.

  1. How much is the deposit?

A deposit is essential for every wedding vendor.  Without a deposit, your date is not secured.  When are the payments due and find out terms and conditions.

  1. What specifically is included in that cost?

Because packages often vary, it’s likely that you won’t be able to compare one vendor exactly to the next without doing a little figuring.  The lowest cost isn’t necessarily the best deal; some higher quotes include services that you have to pay extra for in other packages.  Make sure you take this into account.

(Travel costs are a big one – some celebrants charge per kilometre and others include it in their overall fee.)

  1. What happens if I cancel?  What happens if you cancel? 

Find out if your deposit is refundable under any conditions.  Does the wedding professional have a back up plan if something happens to them?

  1. Are there any little perks to choosing you over another?

Some vendors are marketing savvy!  This is a cut throat industry and sometimes the small extras can win you over.  Perhaps they are throwing in more time or product, giving away voucher or gifts or a discount for fellow vendors that they recommend.

  1. Are there any additional fees?

Taxes, service charges and travel fees can add up quickly.  Make sure you understand exactly what is included and if there are any other fees you’ll have to pay.  This should be clearly defined in your contract/T&C.

  1. Do you carry have public liability insurance?
    The answer you’re looking for here is Yes.  This protects you in case an unfortunate accident should occur on your wedding day.  It’s also a sign that this is a reputable business, since most “fly by night” operations don’t invest in insurance.

So there you have it.  Now you are armed with a solid process that will guide you toward wedding success.  If chosen wisely, with the right wedding vendors you get expert help and advice…for free!

(Obviously a marriage isn’t possible without a celebrant, so be sure to give this decision some serious thought.  And call me!)

Michelle Anderson (Michell e brant) ~ Your Celebration Celebrant ~ idocelebrant.com ~ michelle@idocelebrant.com ~

0400 207 913~ @Michell_e_brant

Content courtesy of Stephanie at Bookmorebrides.com

Leave a comment »