Michell é brant Celebrant

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*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.”

Stop!

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.

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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….

 

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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

http://idocelebrant.com/
0400207913

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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

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“A crusade for a fairer Wedding World for Grooms!” 

1978899_737927609649006_1514451185313054150_nby Michelle Anderson (Michell e brant Celebrant),  Marriage Celebrant
Brides ARE Beautiful and they deserve the big camera attention that they get, but…
“What about the Blokes?” I ask!
GROOMS do it pretty tough out there… They are left in the elements for unbearable minutes at a time, anxiously awaiting the arrival of their darling future wife; lips trembling, hands clenched. All the while they are desperately trying not to let Nana’s lipstick or his beads of sweat stain the new suave suit for fear of Bride’s disapproval.
In his last moments of Singledom, a GROOM will experience complex emotions; anxiety, anticipation, excitement, fear, relief & joy. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride.
In all honesty, he is sweating bullets and is altogether overwhelmed.
As the Celebrant right next him, I hold him up (and on to him if necessary). I am the one to check that his tie is straight and his ‘men’ are behaving themselves.
Once the music starts and the guests stand, a very special moment of magic happens and I
am fortunate enough to witness it each and every time.Amelia and Sam Welsh May 2015
You see, for all the laughs, sweat, nerves; through all that, there is only one moment that matters and that is this.  After her bridesmaids have made their entrance and taken their place, a proud father emerges and on his arm is the most exquisite of all women, radiant and glowing with happiness.
When he first sees his life long love in all her beauty, he cannot help but gulp, perspire and shed a little tear or two. In that very second, I can sense the shiver up his spine and the tingle in his fingers.  Like an electric current, he is paralysed.  The fear has disappeared though and it is replaced with longing, relief and visible joy.
Even the manliest of men have cracked at this very point in time after swearing to me, only a minute prior, that they have never cried in their lives.  Yeah right buddy – pass the tissues please!  From here, the GROOM passes the lime light to the BRIDE for the rest of the Wedding Day, because let’s face it, from here on it is all about her!
10411756_737927589649008_5965487800751961067_nAs I forge ahead with my crusade for a fairer Wedding World for Grooms, I like to take one special moment before the bride arrives to do a “Groom Selfie”.  It’s my way of saying, “I appreciate you, Groom”.
So ladies…I plead with you to remember that it’s not all about diamonds, nails and heels.  Your man may not need a make up artist or to have his hair styled, but he still needs his moment of glory.  Give him a SPOT IN THE GROOM LIGHT!
‪#‎lastshotofsingledom‬ ‪#‎ShotInTheGroomLight‬
‪#‎itsHisDayToo‬ ‪#‎michell_e_brant‬
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