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Wedding romance without the cheese

By Nina Harvey, for idocelebrant.com


Wedding and romance are two words that – not unlike you and your fiancé -simply just fit together.  The idea of candlelight and flowers, of love songs and stolen kisses, is enough to send any hopeless romantic into a daydream of epic proportions.

But what about the non-traditional romantics – What if you and your partner laugh at all of those customs that you consider to be cheesy, and think The Notebook is simply a small laptop?

Is there a way to have a wedding that is still filled with just as much loving sentiment but without all of those old traditions and that extra cheese?


First thing’s first, you and your partner need to sit down and hash it all out and take control of the wedding before any outside influence is heard.


Before the wedding catalogues come out and the mother-in-laws get involved, the two of you need to take a moment to decide exactly what you both want out of the day. Traditions and expectations aside, the most important thing is that your wedding day reflects both of your personalities.


If a couple’s idea of the perfect date involves spending their time in the mosh pit at a Slayer concert, then being serenaded down the aisle by a choir singing ‘Ave Maria’ may not be the way forward.


Traditions can be important, but not if they make your day feel unnatural. In fact many couples these days are prone to forgo tradition altogether on their big day.


A great example of this is in deciding whether or not to wear a white dress. Now many brides may feel that this is something they could do without, but wonder if the consequent debate they may have to endure with their mother or grandmother is worth it. After all, it’s a custom as old as time… isn’t it?


Here is a great factoid to help you win your debate: The ritual of wearing white on your wedding day in fact came from a far less sweet and cuddly motive than showing off the bride’s purity.


An article published in 2003 by the ABC stated that, in Victorian times Queen Victoria, as a sign of wealth, started “the craze” of wearing white to a wedding. According to the report, back then it was almost impossible to keep white clothing clean and so, by wearing white, the bride was making a statement that she was so wealthy that she could afford to wear the item only once and then discard it.


So basically, she was showing off. Not only that, she was also belittling the poor, who probably could not even afford a loaf of bread, let alone a garment that would only be worn once.

You could say that you aren’t wearing white out of principle and respect for those less fortunate – provided you can say it with a straight face.


If not then you could also point out that prior to Queen Victoria, women would get married in any old thing they liked and top it off with a veil and a flower so everyone could tell that she was the bride.


“So mummy and grand mummy, if you would rather I get married in my leather pants and that old tank top I had signed by Tom from Blink182, I would be happy to forgo the black lace gown I originally had in mind.”


That ought to do it.


The next thing that needs real consideration from the both of you is the venue for the ceremony.


A church wedding is about as traditional as it gets, and for a church going couple, getting married in a giant cathedral, the colours of the stained glass windows shining down on the alter, may add even more romance to the occasion.


But the same may not be said for couples that still opt for a church wedding despite never attending church on any other occasion. They stand their looking uptight and uncomfortable and then relieved when the whole thing is over. But it’s tradition so they bear through it and look forward to the reception.


This too is an unnecessary compromise. Choose a venue that reflects your personality. Whether that is on the beach, in a forest or even in the back room of the pub where you met – the ceremony should be as special and enjoyable for you both as the reception is.


You don’t need to listen to twenty different prayers and a hymn sung by your second cousin, whose mother told her she had the X-factor. Not unless you would enjoy that.


Perhaps you would like to write your vows, sing a song, or even tell a joke. Or perhaps you want to cut out the fuss altogether and simply get straight to the ‘I do’s’. The right wedding celebrant will work with you from start to finish; creating a ceremony that is true to you.


As long as you make sure you both agree on what you want; communicate those wishes clearly to your wedding co-ordinator and marriage celebrant; and ignore the subtle hints of outside parties who think they know better – then you should be able to enjoy your wedding without all those old traditions you were trying to avoid.


As for the cheese – as long as you make that the DJ understands that his life may be at risk if he plays the Chicken Song; the Macarena; or any other dance that requires a line formation and a group of adults flapping their wings – then you should be okay. 

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Marriage Equality and Same Sex Marriage Law in NSW – yay for the AFCC

ImageFollowing a recent AFCC-hosted meeting of celebrants in Sydney, the AFCC was invited to make a submission to an inquiry being undertaken by the New South Wales Legislative Council on Social Issues on ‘Same Sex Marriage Law in NSW’.
Your AFCC National Committee agreed to make a submission, the text of which is copied here for your information:
Australia’s largest civil celebrant association, the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (AFCC) endorses its already stated position on reforms to marriage legislation to provide all couples access to marriage.
In 2012, the AFCC National Committee ratified and published a policy in support of ‘Marriage Equality’.
AFCC member celebrants have for many years been conducting commitment ceremonies for couples unable to legally wed and are aware of their desire to be accorded equal rights under the law.
As the leading professional association for celebrants in Australia, the AFCC, therefore, is committed to Marriage Equality and keenly awaits legislative changes that would see the end of discrimination for couples not currently afforded the right to be legally married.
Our preference is for reform at a national level, but we support legislative changes currently under consideration in New South Wales and in other State and Territory jurisdictions.
According to the AFCC, Marriage Equality will:
– Remove legally-entrenched discrimination against couples currently unable to marry:
– Allow all couples in a committed, loving relationship to be afforded the same opportunity to legally and formally declare their love and commitment to each other: and
– Strengthen the institution of marriage by re-affirming its core values of love and commitment, rather than defining marriage by whom it excludes.”

Lance Tapsell
National President
Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants”

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Bridesmaids – more than just a funny movie

By Nina Harvey, for idocelebrant.com

Did you know that the tradition of having bridesmaids and groomsmen was once believed to be a way of protecting the couple from evil? If the bride and groom surrounded themselves with women and men dressed in similar attire to them, the evil spirits would not be able to tell them apart and therefore could not ruin their union. But what if evil found its way into your bridal party in the form of a well dressed, but ill intentioned, bridesmaid?

Okay, so perhaps evil is an overly dramatic term for her, but an air of caution should still be taken when deciding who to invite to join the bridal party.

Choosing a bridesmaid should be a special moment, when you pick one or more of your closest female friends to share and witness this momentous occasion in your life. But sometimes picking the right bridesmaids could turn into a strategic nightmare, and if you should happen to find yourself in that situation don’t be afraid to treat it as such. Be ruthless if you must.

Some women are lucky to have a sister who completely fits the profile of the perfect bridesmaid, and their problems are over. No one can get jealous or complain about the ‘sister bridesmaid’. After all she is blood and automatically has first rights.

Unfortunately not everyone is that lucky. Some brides have a varied group of people they call friends, all vying for the role, and while they are all important to her in some way, not all of them are what you might call – bridesmaid material.

Your friend Stacey may be the beer pong champion of the group, run laps around the personal trainer at your morning boot camp, and knows all the moves LMFAO’s “Everyday I’m Shuffling”, but will she be able to stand still long enough for the ceremony to go on?

Amanda is a beautiful woman with all the style of Grace Kelly, but she likes to hold on to the limelight tighter than Madonna holds on to it with her “Golum arms” – to quote Tina Fey’s sitcom, 30 Rock – and just like Madonna she will go to any lengths to get it. How far would she go to get that coveted title of Maid of Honour, and who is to say she would stop there? Come to think of it, you have noticed how she tends to linger a few seconds too long when hugging your fiancé.

You know if you ask Kerry, Jane will get jealous. If you don’t ask Sandra, your mother will be furious. And what about the groom’s sisters – ‘aren’t they good enough for you honey?’ It’s a minefield and if you don’t tread carefully the whole thing could blow up.

Bridesmaids are meant to support the bride in the lead up to and during the wedding. They are supposed to make her life easier and help to calm her. But this is simply not always the case, especially if you make the wrong choice based on the wrong reasons.

Erratic outbursts of jealousy and throwing drunken tantrums at the bridal shower may make for hilarious movie moments, but it is doubtful that any of this will be tolerated in a real life wedding. Antics like that are best saved for Hollywood, where most stories have a happy ending regardless of the chaos that ensued prior to it.

You have to remember that you will be spending a lot of time with this group of women – multiple shopping trips, hair appointments, nail appointments, hen’s night, rehearsals etc. Picking someone simply because you think they will look good in the colour you picked for the dresses or someone you barely know because your mother told you that you had to, could lead to some uncomfortable situations.

The last thing you want to worry about is hearing things like: “This colour does nothing for my skin tone”; “I can’t believe you chose silk. I am going to look so fat. Why do you hate me?” or; “Oh, a civil ceremony in Brisbane? How quaint. I suppose a ‘real wedding’ was too expensive for the future wife of a glorified gardener.”

Yes, choosing the right bridesmaid can seem harder than a presidential election – one wrong decision could leave you in the hands of a tantrum-throwing sycophant with only their own motives and reward in mind. So really take some time to think about it carefully.

Is there a person who you feel has been there for you through thick and thin? Someone who has always had your back?
Who out of your potential candidates is the most reliable?
Close your eyes and try and picture who you really want standing next to you.

If you are lucky it’s a no brainer and, like many women, you may have already mentally picked your bridesmaids even before you met the groom.

If not, just try to remember that the choice is yours alone. When all is said and done it is your day. There is always the risk that someone will be disappointed at not being asked. But so be it. They still get to attend a wedding with all the free food they can eat and free champagne on each table.

Forget what the old traditions say. You are a modern woman and you can protect yourself from so called ‘evil spirits’ simply by trusting your instincts.

Rather look back and be happy that the right person was there by your side – knowing that the alternative could have been looking back and saying, “I can’t believe she thought it would be funny to hit on the marriage celebrant during the ceremony.”


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Choosing the Right Transportation for your Wedding

By Justin Dowling for idocelebrant.com

ImageThere is a special feeling of ambiance that is created when the bride arrives at her wedding ceremony. Anticipation fills the air as everyone eagerly awaits the first glimpse of the bride as she steps out of her wedding vehicle. The arrival of the bride is often a talking point among guests and it is the perfect chance to create an unforgettable first impression that will be the envy of the guests, and even have your marriage celebrant reaching for her camera. Although it may seem like selecting a vehicle is not a priority of great significance, options need to be considered early to avoid disappointment on your special day.

The most important question to ask yourself when choosing your vehicle is – does the vehicle reflect the theme of the wedding and you as a couple? If the wedding provides a traditional setting then classic and vintage cars are a perfect fit, perhaps even a horse and carriage. However, if the wedding takes a more modern approach, then you can’t go wrong with a contemporary style of sophisticated limousines or a fresh fleet of BMWs. Once you decide what vehicle reflects the theme of the wedding, it’s time to start looking for respectable private car hire companies.

Check the company you decide to hire your cars from are reputable and can provide references of the work they have done. You don’t want your vehicle to break down or your horse to run away so this is a must to guarantee everything will run smoothly on the special day. Think about who will be travelling in these vehicles, how many you will need and for how long and ensure you have reached an agreement with the company.

When you think you have found the right company and car, inspect the vehicles and make Imagesure everything is up to the standard you want it to be. Don’t forget to check the ease of access! You don’t want to be stumbling your way into your first ride as husband and wife. Everything should be simple and easy…..

Don’t underestimate the importance of selecting the right vehicle for your wedding (I know the guys won’t). Choose something that fits your budget and the theme, as well as reflecting the interests of you and your partner.

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Favourite Drinks at a Wedding

أ‌What’s my all-time favourite drink at a wedding? The pink grapefruit mojito – manly I know!

أ‌What’s my all-time favourite drink at a wedding? The pink grapefruit mojito – manly I know!

By Justin Edowling for idocelebrant.com


We all have our favourite drinks – whether at a birthday parties, bachelorette parties or even at the footy. There’s a drink to suit every occasion. But what is your favourite drink to have at a wedding? Drinks at a wedding are usually festive, even the boring beer drinker from the country often find themselves necking a few Shirley Temples as the party starts to get messy. Most people drink anything and everything, as long as it is free!  Weddings don’t happen every week so it’s more than acceptable to be consuming excessive amounts of alcohol that reflects the festivity of the occasion and to share in celebrating with the happy couple.

The best wedding drinks come from the hosts who know their guest list and can provide accordingly. Understanding where your guests are from and how much they like to drink is absolutely essential to creating an effective drinks list to cater for all, keeping in mind guests will drink what they are in the mood for so you need to be diverse in your variety. Don’t forget the age demographic of the guests too – your younger friends from university might enjoy a tequila shot, but grandma might prefer to sip a nice port or sherry.

There are always the basics – celebratory champagne directly after the service, white wines for the happy-go-lucky relaxed guests, red wine for ambitious go-getters, beers for the blokes and Coca-Cola for the kids. These are imperative; however the majority of people at a wedding tend to go for the spirits rather than the traditional beer and wine. Everyone’s favourite drink at a wedding is usually something from the middle to top shelf. I’m referring to drinks like basic scotch, bourbon and gin and then the more expensive, upper-class vodka, Barbadian rum or Canadian Whiskey. Cocktails are always a hit as well, so be sure to have ready plenty of mixers and garnishes. Having a signature cocktail is an option the bride and groom might like to have in order to try provide a memorable drink to go hand-in-glove with the memorable occasion. Simple as well as fancy cocktails are a must! Having a variety of anything from a Classic Martini and Cosmopolitan to a frozen raspberry Pina Colada and Texas Sunset would make Martha Stewart proud and should provide enough variety and class to keep the guests happy.

When it comes to estimating the quantity of alcohol that will be needed, you need to take a realistic approach and take an educated guess. Remember that it is better to be safe with too much than sorry with too little! In saying that, don’t worry about anything except what you can afford.

Don’t lose any sleep worry about what drinks you provide, people are there to share in the joyous occasion with you – not to get inebriated.


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The cardinal rules of wedding fashion

There are many factors to consider when deciding what to wear to a wedding; the weather, the invitation, the time of day, etc. But perhaps an even more important topic for discussion is – what not to wear.

We have all been to a wedding and seen that one person across the room that made you think – ‘I can’t believe she wore that to a wedding’.

So what exactly are the rules? Very few brides-to-be will take up precious space on their invitations to go through the dos and don’ts for the dress code. Instead you will find words like ‘black-tie’, ‘formal’, ‘semi-formal’, ‘casual’ or ‘smart-casual’. For some those words may seem self-explanatory, but for others they leave the dress code wide open for interpretation.

To start, there are a few basic rules which should be followed. For instance if you see the words ‘formal’ or ‘smart’ and especially ‘black-tie’, it is a given that your thongs, boardies and singlets are a no-no.  Likewise if you see the word ‘casual’, you can be certain you will be out of place in a tuxedo or floor length sequined dress. If in doubt there is no shame in phoning the bride, or someone in the bridal party, and asking them outright.


And if you feel you don’t want to disturb the bride, who no doubt has a million things on her mind – well there are other options. One of the joys of living in the age of information is that, with a quick type into Google, all your wedding fashion queries can be answered. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to find the outfit that best suits your shape, what the celebrities are wearing to weddings, or what this season’s trends are in hairstyles, hats and handbags – you name it, you’ll find it.


Whether exchanging wedding vows in Brisbane with a view of the Story Bridge, or in Las Vegas at the chapel of love – all couples want their wedding to be unique and to be remembered. In order to achieve this they may implement a theme and this may include the dress code. For example they may decide on a colour theme.


Try your best to stick to the theme.  Arriving in all blue when the theme is yellow may be seen as attention seeking and more importantly it will possibly aggravate the bride who has put a lot of time and effort into making things perfect. If you don’t have clothes that match the colour theme, accessories are always a great way to compensate. If the theme is red for instance, stick a rose in your hair or jacket lapel, or don some red jewellery.

Another trend that has noticeably begun to find its way into wedding ceremonies of late is short dresses. This is by no means a bad thing. In fact many brides these days choose short dresses for their bridesmaids as opposed to long flowing dresses, adding a modern feel to the look of the bridal party. Having the bridesmaids in shorter, less formal dresses also accents the bride’s dress, which is most often long and elegant.

The same applies to the guests but there is a limit. By all means wear a short dress if you prefer it, but remember to be mindful of how short it is. It may be okay for a night out clubbing, but is it okay for a wedding? Here is a clue, if the best man mistakes you for one of the dancers from the bachelor party – you may have gone to far.

The list of wedding dos and don’t could go on for hours, but remembering the simple rules already mentioned could already save you a great deal of embarrassment and mean fewer headaches for the bride.

There is however one last rule that needs to be mentioned before you begin the arduous task of picking the right outfit. This is the most important rule of them all. It is a simple, unspoken, fact that has been around for as long as the tradition of ‘Something borrowed, something blue’.

When attending a wedding – never, ever, upstage the bride.

Just like millions of other women across the globe, she has dreamed of this magical day her whole life. The day when she would stand beside the love of her life, in the dress of her dreams, and hear the Marriage Celebrant announce them as husband and wife.

It is her day and she does not need to be concerned with competing with your inner diva. That means no tiaras, no long white flowing dress with a train, and definitely no arriving late to the ceremony and banging the doors open so that everybody turns to see your grand entrance.

We are all unique beings and want to express that every chance we get. So wear that vintage shirt you found in your dad’s cupboard, show off your new shoulder tattoo or bring out that red lipstick you have been saving for a special occasion. Express yourself and have fun with it. Just remember to always respect the bride and groom’s wishes. Either way they will probably return the favour one day.

By Nina Harvey, for idocelebrant.com

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