Michell é brant Celebrant

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Eloping to Australia

The word “elope” conjures up images of whispered engagements, young lovers running into the sunset and angry fathers raising their hands in desperation!

These days, couples elope for so many reasons and it’s rarely to defy the wishes of their families.

The most romantic of all elopements, is to Marry Abroad.  Jetting off from the UK into the night and arriving at a brand new destination.  Sun, sand, surf and so much more.

How is an elopement different to the organisation of any other wedding?

Firstly it may be organised in a bit of a hurry and with a bit of hush hush.  Secondly, there may be few, if any, guests and the reliance that the destination will provide two witnesses over the age of 18.

Essentially, it can be planned like any other holiday (or honeymoon).  So long as you choose someone to take care of the legals, it will be a piece of Wedding Cake.

My biggest tip when planning to Elope is to choose a country where the paperwork will be a breeze.  Otherwise, the hassle of translator, time frames and various hoops which must be jumped can bring the excitement of the whole project to an all-time low.

Your best option?  Australia.

Eloping to Australia: the sandy white beaches of the Gold Coast or Whitsundays …  perhaps amongst ancient trees in a rainforest… on a boat over crystal waters on a still lake… all are great option for young couples looking to get married.



If you’re thinking of eloping:


  • Arrange your Marriage Celebrant in advance. They will be able to skpye with you to discuss the plans and have the paperwork in order before you even board the plane.


  • Allow a few days to get over the jetlag when you arrive so that you make the most of the special day.


  • Get immunised if you have to.


  • Bring a camera!


By Michell é brant

Your Celebration Celebrant



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Pagan Handfasting / Wicca Handbinding – At one with Nature

Some of the most beautiful and honest vows I have heard are from those involved in a Pagan ritual, the Wicca Handfasting or Handbinding.

This is a ceremony that binds two individuals together but instead of traditional wedding vows, the two are bound by their belief in one another and their promises to the Natural world around them.

I simply love this type of ceremony.  There is something so peaceful and beautiful there. Not only is it the colours and smiles, as with every weddings, but also the grounded suitability and altruism of the people involved.

Pagan Handfasting involves a number of different aspects.  It can be done in several ways but the most popular is for the two individuals holding hands and the celebrant wraps a cord or ribbon around their hands, tying a knot in it.  The couple exchange promises (and kiss – I think it is a great time to put a kiss in there) and then the celebrant unwraps the cord without untying the knot, thus symbolising their union.

Guests may be asked to stand in a circle to call the quarters, lighting of a unity candle and ultimately, the “binding of hands”.  There can be any number of readings and sometimes the Jumping of the Broom! Overall the ceremony is full of rituals that are centuries old.

Some like to promise their love for “as long as it lasts” and after such time are free to part ways.  A more traditional view is for the promise of a betrothal of “a year and a day”, at which point it can be decided to renew or not.  Equally “a lifetime” and “for all of eternity” can be appropriate pledges.

The time of day, the setting of the sun and moon and time in the year are all important aspects.  The most important is choosing the right celebrant to write an individual script for the happy couple involved.  (Hint, Hint!)


By Michell é brant

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Running for cover

January in Brisbane, ah, must be time for some torrential rain and a bit of casual flooding no doubt!

Events of all sizes tend to get cancelled during this doubtful time of year; from my humble Australia Day Picnic Plans to the most exquisite weddings.

If you would love to get married in January but simply can’t face the risk, there is an inner city option that can solve these problems and more.

“The Heritage Listed Broadway Chapel is Brisbane’s only inner-city non-denominational chapel available to all couples for both civil and religious ceremonies. The Chapel is set amongst beautiful trees and gardens, with an extensive sandstone terrace for guests to mingle and host photos. The Chapel gardens also include a granite paved courtyard, fountain and bridal car parking area.

The Broadway Chapel has been exquisitely renovated to create a unique and memorable wedding ceremony venue, hosting intimate and personalised ceremonies for up to 150 guests. The chapel also provides wheelchair access, adequate street parking and is air-conditioned to ensure your comfort. All ceremonies at Broadway Chapel include pew decorations, chapel flowers, use of the CD stereo system and a rehearsal prior to your special day.

The Broadway Chapel also allows couples to provide their own celebrants, entertainment options and wedding decorations at no extra charge. Each wedding ceremony includes a rehearsal as well as an event manager to ensure the ceremony runs perfectly.

The Broadway Chapel provides the perfect alternative to garden or park weddings, eliminating concerns regarding weather and privacy. The Chapel also provides all the intimacy and ceremony of a traditional wedding without the restrictions imposed by most churches.”

Affordable, beautiful and clearly the most realistic option in times of flash flooding.  I am definitely a fan!


By Michell é brant

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Eloping to Queensland

For some, planning a wedding, while surging forth on one’s career path and taking care of little ones, can simply be too much!

If we all agree on something about a wedding, it is that no matter how big or small, the planning is essential and it just takes so much darn time.

My cousin from Melbourne and her fiancé found themselves in this position.  Not only would a wedding be time consuming, but it would be stressful, expensive AND it would bring family members together; potentially starting a new world war.

They decided that a less expensive and more enjoyable way to do things was to come to Queensland on a holiday and get married on the beach while they were here.

And what a terrific idea.

All you need is:

  • A flower in your hair
  • 2 Witnesses over 18 (can be strangers iff you like)
  • And an AMAZING CELEBRANT (enter Michell é brant!)

So long as you give you celebrant a month’s notice or more, she can do the paperwork over the phone / fax / email and when you get to Queensland, set your eye on a beach, or park or mountain and away you go.

For my cousin, the affair ended up broadcast over facebook and so a few others joined them.  But they were well behaved members of the family so it all ended well.

Now they have wonderful memories of a beautiful day and still have the money they saved for a home.

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Keep your vows light hearted

The days of boring vows that make your guests yawn are well and truly behind us.  Instead, why not add a spark to your ceremony and to keep the day light hearted, your guests will love your jovial interaction at the alter…  Here are some ideas to make your vows witty and fun.

Poor?  No one said anything about poor!

Instead of “for better or worse, for richer, for poorer…” the bride makes a show of only repeating “for richer.”

Groom says “for better or worse, for richer, for poorer….when you buy your $500 shoes.”

For the movie fans

If you are a movie buff or have a special connection to a film you would like to reference, you most certainly can!  Everyone will laugh and cry as they join with you in these words.

“I, Craig, take you, Christina, to be my wife, my best friend, and my first mate. Through sickness and health, clear skies and squalls.”

“I, Christina, take you, Craig, to be my best friend and my captain, to be your anchor and your sail, your starboard and your port.” — Christina to Craig in the movie Wedding Crashers

“I love that you get cold when it’s seventy-one degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.” When Harry Met Sally

Who wears the pants in this relationship?

Celebrant to Bride: “Do you take this man to be your husband? “

Bride: “I do.”

Celebrant to Groom: “Do you take this woman to be your wife?”

Bride: “He does.”

References to your favourite places, hobbies and teams

“I will love you in sickness and in health, from this day forward, until death parts us, or until you become a Broncos fan.”

“I, Joe, promise to love you, Amanda, even through your need to listen to hair bands from the 1980s. I will learn to love Guns n’ Roses, Skid Row, Motley Crew, and Poison as much as I love you. I promise for now and forever not to criticize your music choice.”

Spice up the traditional words

For example, instead of saying “till death do us part”, how about “to infinity and beyond”.

Everyone loves a rhyming poem

I John, take you Mary, to be my lawfully wedded wife.

To be together in happiness and strife,

To have and to hold,

Even if your cooking grows mould.

I love you in richness and in debt,

And cherish all moments since we have met.

A personal promise

Perhaps the simplest way to add some humour to your wedding vows is to use mostly traditional vows, but add a line or two for personalization. For example, when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were married, Jennifer told Brad “I promise to always make your favourite banana milkshake.” They also promised to “split the difference on the thermostat.” Maybe the bride will vow to let the groom watch his favourite team on Sundays uninterrupted, while the groom vows to take the bride shopping.

You might want to make sure your fiancé knows about your plans before you blurt out these words, just to cover all bases!

By ‘Michell é brant’

Michelle Anderson

Your Celebration Celebrant


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The Road to Celebrancy (no not Celibacy!)

When I embarked on the world of Celebrancy, I am not sure what I would find.  (Obviously loads of jokes about being Celibate for one…)  Perhaps some cobwebs, a few old skeletons dressed in pastel floral suits and maybe a hat or two lying amongst decaying copies of the bible.

What I have found is a much brighter world filled with positive people and a very bright future.

I launched head first, as usual, into a plan that I had thought little about but fantasised of much.

I could picture it; meeting amazing people – couples in love, who really want the very best for their special day.  Me, being all keen and working towards something magical.

“Walk in the park!” I said.

Knowing absolutely NOTHING about what lay ahead.

I won’t bore you with the course work itself, law law law – blah blah blah.  Nor the agonising wait for my registration (today – hurrah!).

What was much more interesting was going into bridal expos with my friends pretending to be a bride while really – secretly – interviewing other marriage celebrants.  Oh such fun!  We spoke to one after the other after the other of utterly useless and boring (well sorry, but they were!) Celebrants who couldn’t speak clearly, loudly or just wore strange outfits.

During these undercover operations (complete with sign language signals and technological communicative devices) is where I learned “what not to do”.

And so, friends and future clients… I bring to you not only my skill in presenting, organising and delivering, but my stealth background investigations that have allowed my research determining that:

  • No one wants their celebrant to wear a large funny hat with feathers, no matter what bird those feathers were from…
  • No bride wants to be told that her rendition of “over the rainbow” in Kermit the frog voice is “dumb” (It’s her day man, she can do whatever she likes!)…
  • And No couple should ever, ever, ever have to choose from a pre written script whereby their names are inserted into the dotted lines just like dozens of others.  Every couple is special.

Yes, you are special to me.

So on this day of my formal registration, I say thank you for being the individual that you are and let’s celebrate the love, baby!


Michell é brant

Your Celebration Celebrant (formally registered!)

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Shall we drink to that?

Ah, a refreshing glass of champagne… Nothing says “congratulations” quite like it!

There are some varied ideas about if and how alcohol should be served at a ceremony.  Now, I am not talking about the reception – now THAT is another story (bring on the bar tab, I say).  I am talking about alcohol at a contemporary Australian ceremony – whether it is a wedding, renewal of vows or naming.

Obviously there are many people who choose not to incorporate alcohol into their lives at all.  And that is terrific.

However I have heard of some celebrants lately who frown upon the serving of alcohol prior to and during the vows (or important ceremonial speeches), no matter whose day it is. Hmmm, I’m not so sure that they have a say and this is my argument:

It is well documented that alcohol has been used for thousands of years at celebratory occasions.

We know that the ancient Egyptians were ceremonial drinkers, because they invented the first straws, for drinking beer that still contained wheat-husks, so they were no strangers to recreational drinking.

The Romans had a god, Dionysus, the god of wine, who was celebrated along with the important times in life. (All praise Dionysus!)

There are many Old Testament references, and it was an important part of early Jewish rituals as well.

A Chinese imperial edict of about 1,100 B.C. makes it clear that the use of alcohol in moderation was believed to be prescribed by heaven.

Well, I’m not sure about the prescription from heaven but surely if our forefathers did it, it must be ok!

“Alcohol is a symbolic vehicle for identifying, describing, constructing and manipulating cultural systems, values and interpersonal relationships,” says the Social Issues Research Centre in the UK.

Right on!

Of course the rules must apply – adhere to licencing in the area, make sure the minors don’t get a swig and there is a specific rule that prohibits the bride, groom and witnesses from being under the influence (at the discretion of the celebrant)… but at the end of the day, if your day feels “right” with a few sips of bubbly with your friends – then go for it!

Now, does anyone have a straw?


Michell é brant

Your Celebration Celebrant

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The Wedding Ring – Part 1 of 3: “The History of the Wedding Ring”

Wedding and Engagement rings are the most instantly recognisable symbol of love; the joining 2 people in love who want to share their commitment with the world.  We just take it for granted that a ring is the ‘thing to do’ but the ring itself has a long history.  So where did it come from?


Let’s visit Ancient Egypt, when, along the river Nile, a civilisation formed and its people used plants and reeds to make the circle formation for fingers and even for bracelets around the wrist.


Cool, you say, but why a ring?  Why not a hat or a tattoo or perhaps a crazy anklet braided from cat hairs?


The circle is the symbol of eternity for the Egyptians as well as many other ancient cultures.  It has no beginning and no end.  “It returned to itself, like life.”


In case you haven’t noticed, the sun and the moon are in the same shape, and the Egyptians worshipped them.

And don’t disregard the hole in the middle!  It too has significant meaning.  It is the symbol of the gateway leading to the future, leading to new life, to things unknown and exciting.


So, one day, a young Egyptian man (who was head over heels – let’s call him Gary) was trying to hatch some ideas for a pressie for his future Mrs.  Which object could be more worthy of emotions so strong, so rich and deep?  What would she be able to keep on her at all times as a reminder of his devotion, undying and eternal love?


The circle, Gary decided, would be a ring worn on the third finger of the left hand because of a belief that the vein of that finger travelled directly to the heart.  (Not very scientifically sound but dead romantic I say!)


This legend was taken up by one or two (ok, millions) of Greeks when they conquered Egypt under the leadership of Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.  From there, the Romans decided it was cool too and they called this the ‘vena amoris’, which is Latin for ‘the vein of love’.


Since reeds don’t last very long, the options soon changed to leather, ivory or bone which were carved into beautiful tokens of LURVE!


{Stay tuned,  Part 2 takes us to the age of metal – riveting isn’t it! }

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The Wedding Ring: Part 2 of 3 “Metal rules”

Welcome to part 2 of my ‘wedding ring’ series.  I bet you can’t WAIT to know what happens next! (If you want to recap – just go to: http://tiny.cc/9s65s)


OK so we have been to Egypt, Greece and Rome and everyone is digging the wedding ring vibe.


Problem though; these rings may mean a lot but they are not lasting as long as the love itself – enter the age of metal.


Very gradually, metal rings took over but they were very unstylishly completed and had uneven surfaces, so their family would give gifts of precious and semi-precious stones that could be set into them – good idea guys – now they look pretty awesome and only to get better….


I don’t know about you, but when I hear “Iron Man” I think STRONG HUNKY DUDE. And this is exactly what the Romans did to make themselves hunkier than the rest.  Other countries were using copper and brass (um– hello?) but the iron represented the “strength of a man’s love”.


The Only Problem:  Rust.


By now, the act of giving and receiving a ring was considered to be legally binding and therefore enforceable.

This meant that a woman was tied to the man as his property (don’t get me started!) but also protected her rights and also made sure that other, very keen males, couldn’t get in the way of a planned marriage (but that is an article for another time).


So let’s cut to the chase – what about gold and silver?


Gold or silver rings were given to show all that the groom trusted his betrothed with his valuable property.  It wasn’t presented at the ceremony, as it is now, but when he carried her in his arms across the threshold of her new home. Aw! So cute!


Enter the stones: then came rubies (chosen for their colour of red like a heart), sapphires (blue like the sky above) or most valued and sought after of all; the indestructible diamond.   (It’s ok, you can sigh when you read that, I know I did!)


Then, drum roll: Silver made a comeback.  The funky Italians saw that coming first, and made it very popular for the engagement ring.  They were highly ornate and usually intricately engraved.


Silver became even bigger in 17th century England and France when it was use for wedding rings.  They were usually inscribed with lovey dovey-ness, often including a verse of poem.  Just ask Uncle Shakespeare, his work refers to them often.


Then GOLD took over the market and pushed silver back to the starting lines of “engagement ring” as the Italians had decided so long before.  And so became the tradition of a duplicate gold ring on the wedding day!



{But the story is not finished – join me for part 3 of the wedding ring series – you WON’T want to miss it!}

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The Wedding Ring: Part 3 of 3 “Where to wear?”

It goes on the left hand, but why?


Welcome to part 3 of my fascinating tour of the history of the wedding ring.  And what a thrilling ride it has been so far!


In parts 1 (http://tiny.cc/9s65sand 2 (http://tiny.cc/5hhj7) we discovered where it came from and what it was made of and today we explore where it is worn.


Have you ever wondered what time in history you would like to have lived in if it wasn’t now?  Personally I think the middle ages would have been very cool.  You could eat huge animals straight off the bone and drink wine out of massive goblets.  There seems to have been a lot of prancing about going on then too, which looks amazing fun!  I digress.


The Middle Ages in England was also a time when a groom would slip the ring part way up and then down his bride’s thumb, then first and middle fingers, reciting: ‘In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost’ as he touched each one before fixing it in place on the next finger in line; the third finger of the left hand.


In some parts of Europe and the US it has been the right finger.  There doesn’t seem to be any actual reason for this except that when a man and woman face each other when reciting their vows, the man reaches out for her hand with his right.  Of course this assumption goes on the theory that most are right handed.


And why the ring finger?…  Personally I think it is just the prettiest finger of them all!


And let’s look at the competition – the thumb is to short and stumpy, the index finger is too busy, the middle, too long, and the pinky too small (and it would obviously fall off)– the ring finger is the only real option.


In Elizabethan days, it was very fashionable to wear the ring on the thumb and so the ‘ring’ finger was challenged briefly.  But this was also a time when they wore corsets so tight, they broke ribs when standing and thought a good dose of ale would cure everything.


So they came to their senses and the ring finger won out.

And so we come full circle – like a ring really…


By Michell é brant

Your Celebration Celebrant

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