Michell é brant Celebrant

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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.

Rainbow-Fire-Packets-300x300

 

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

http://newwaytowed.com.au/newmarriage/

0400 207 913 / 07 5515 0276

 

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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.

Whoops.

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

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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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