Look!! I have some Marriage Rocks at the bottom of my garden!! Of course I absolutely believe that Marriage Rocks and what a great theme that can be for a wedding ceremony. Every rock can represent a word that is meaningful to the couple - love, honesty, respect, communication, loyalty, family - the list to choose from is endless. I love the opportunity to be creative with a ceremony and always happy to talk to couples about how we can achieve the very best ceremony for them.
It's the little things that are so important!! One of the most obvious ones that I always suggest to couples is to check the suits for the men!! As a friend or family member I have helped with last minute alterations on several occasions - thank goodness we ensured that there was a try on the night before!! As a Celebrant I have also had to help out sometimes - like the groom who made a comment 20 mins before the ceremony - "It's a pain that these pants are so long - they look all wrong and they will be a nuisance in the photos!!" Lucky I have a wee kit with me and I can operate a needle and thread in a hurry. So, please, please, please make sure the men try on their 'outfits' at least the night before!!! And while you are checking, make sure the shirts have been taken out of their packets, checked for size, ironed to get out all the creases and then hang them up ready for big day!!
What is all the fuss about?
The origins of Valentine's Day are not clear but many sources believe that it stems from the story of St Valentine, a Roman priest who was martyred on or around February 14 in the year 270BC. How he became the patron saint of lovers remains a mystery but there are several theories.
The ancient ceremony included putting girls’ names in a box and letting the boys draw them out. Couples would then be paired off until the following year.
Eventually the custom of sending anonymous cards or messages to those whom one admired became the accepted way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. When I was young there was always great excitement for anyone who actually received a Valentine's Card because they then spent time wondering who the sender was!! Over the time the cards became more decorative and extravagant and then presents started to be part of the Valentine's Day 'deal'.
I read now that the day is used to show love and appreciation for those we love and respect. The meaning of the day has grown over the years and I suspect this has also seen the growth of money exchanges in many businesses!! For me, I think I will pick a flower from the garden and make sure we have a nice meal tonight!!
This week has been a week of meeting with couples and doing some planning for their ceremonies so I thought it might be a good idea to look at the things you might want to consider when you are planning your ceremony. Your ceremony is so important and it needs to reflect you both as a couple and be memorable. My role as a Celebrant is to ensure that every ceremony is exactly that so what are things to think about?
Music - what music will be played as you enter and as you leave? Do you want to play music as you sign the Marriage Licence? You may even want someone to sing?
Entrance - who is going to escort the bride?
Vows - are you going to write your own or are you going to use some that are already available?
Rings - will you both have rings and who will be the ring bearer?
Signing - don't forget you need to arrange a table or similar for the signing. Who will be your witnesses?
Themes / extras - do you want to incorporate a Sand Ceremony, a Wine Ceremony, Marriage Rocks, Keys to a Successful Marriage or something else of your choice?
Your Celebrant should be available to discuss all this with you and support you with your choices. It can be a good idea to contact several Celebrants and then work with the one you feel most comfortable with - you do have a choice!!
Since my word, my theme for the year is Action, I think it is timely to reflect on how to act well, in other words I want to talk about having good manners. I think that a few good manners go a very long way. What am I referring to when I mention good manners?
Some very simple things like saying please and thank you. I am sure our parents taught us those simple words when we were little. Just because we have become older we are not exempt from these simple niceties. I certainly appreciate hearing those words or receiving those sentiments via an email or even a card or a note or a letter in the mail. It is only a brief minute or two in your life to pass on your thanks but those minutes are greatly appreciated. The funny thing is, I have found that even if I am the one doing the thanking it does make me feel good too.
I would like to extend this thought to other communication as well. Sometimes a quick email, phone call or note can save ongoing confusion or misunderstanding. Remember the old adage - do unto others as you would have them do unto you!! It is so true. I am going to make an effort to make sure that I respond to people in a timely fashion. I am going to remind myself not to fall into the trap of making assumptions. Remember that people are not mind readers - you may just have to reply to their email or phone message, you may just need to initiate a conversation to keep others informed and updated on things that concern them.
Let's all make the effort to act well towards each other. I am certainly making that a challenge to myself and I have extended that to challenging myself to send a note of thanks or gratitude to at least one person each week this year. Hope that my act of acting well towards others will become a habit for me.
Still on the theme of my word for the year: action. Our lives are full of actions every day. I guess that is really necessity, but what I want to focus on is taking purposeful actions that will help me have a sense of achievement and moving forward. In the first few days of 2016 I have been actively aware of my chosen word and have taken some actions that until now have been ideas that have just floated around in my head. I have also accepted some invites to take actions that I hadn't previously considered.
One of the invitations I have accepted is from Amanda Cookson from Southern Bride. Southern Bride provides practical and down to earth wedding planning advice for NZ couples. I'm pleased to announce that I am showing my support by jumping on board as Southern Bride Verified (a service that helps couples tell that we are trustworthy, credible and professional). Visit Southern Bride for more info.
With the help of my friends at Prisma Print I now have a lovely new brochure to introduce myself and my services to new brides.
Next I think I need to get my actions more organised, hence the need for a path to action.
For me that path is some planning. Remembering the old adage that if you fail to plan then you should plan to fail. I have no intention of visiting failure so my next action is to get onto some planning.
First step is a brainstorming session where I intend to make notes of all and any actions that come to mind.
Second step is to develop some categories so I don't become too overwhelmed with one huge list of actions (I know the list is going to be a large one!!)
Third step is to report back on steps one and two!!
Instead of a resolution for the New Year I have chosen a word for the year. This means I have just one word to focus on for the year. This will be the word that I have in the forefront of my mind to remind of what I am aiming for throughout the year ahead. Over the years I have come up with so many resolutions but I really can't remember living up to any of my resolves for an entire year!! I also have a feeling that this applies to many others as well? So, what is my chosen word? I considered so many words before coming to my final decision. There are so many words that I could have chosen because they sound so idealistic and would create warm 'fuzzies': kindness, happy, sharing, compassionate, patient etc. Now, for the big reveal. My word. ACTION. Why have I chosen ACTION? Well, I have so many ideas and partially completed projects that I have decided now is the time to take action, to complete tasks already started, to put into actions thoughts and ideas that have floated around in my head for so long, time to stop pondering and procrastinating, time to act. I often think of some very wise words I read in a magazine and think these ten two letter words are very powerful and behind my decision: if it is to be, it is up to me. Doing it, gets it done!! Now is the time for doing, acting, putting into practise all those things that have been lying dormant and making some room for some more ideas to develop in preparation for some more action. Now is the time to move off the couch and get going. I look forward to being able to report back on my actions during the year. Writing this is in itself an action and a demonstration of my commitment to my word for the year!!
There are many reasons that a couple may choose to renew their Wedding Vows and I am very happy to support them to do this.
Often at the time of a significant anniversary a couple may decide that it is appropriate to renew their vows, the promises that they made to each other at their wedding. Anniversaries are a very good time to reflect on how things are going and how we are living our promises. At this time the couple may wish to repeat what they originally said at their wedding or they may have some new aspects that they wish to add to those vows. Either way, the renewing of the vows is the renewing and sharing of promises to each other that signify the intentions of each person for their partnership with their spouse.
Sometimes with all the stresses that may be involved in a wedding the couple may look back and think that they really missed all the most meaningful aspects of their ceremony like really thinking about and appreciating their vows, both their own and their spouse's. For these couples it may be that they would like to take some time out to reflect a little more specifically on their vows then arrange a small ceremony with a focus on their vows, ensuring that they are personalised and uniquely theirs.
Your vow renewal ceremony can take many forms.
You may wish for your ceremony to be like a re-run of your wedding with all the trimmings - you may have attendants or family may stand alongside you as supporters. You may wish to follow your ceremony with a meal, a party, a dance or whatever type of social celebration that suits you.
You may wish to share you ceremony with family and friends but not have a party or celebration afterwards. Perhaps you would like to share a drink with these special people after the ceremony to thank them for supporting you rather than organising a bigger social event.
Maybe you look on your vows as being very personal and you would like to renew your vows just as a couple with a Celebrant to lead the ceremony for you.
The choice of venue for your vow renewal is yours, whether it be in your garden at home, a public place, a recognised venue or somewhere else that is special to you.
Whatever your reason for wanting to renew your vows I would love to work with you to ensure that you have a special ceremony of your choice in which you can renew your Wedding Vows - those very special promises that set the scene for your marriage and your future life together.
Sometimes a Celebrant has a wee break away from being a Celebrant and celebrates something special in their own family. Right now, I am celebrating being a granny again. On Saturday our fifth grandchild was born. Welcome to the world Leo Geoffrey, you have wonderful parents in Paul and Roey.
It is a great feeling to become a parent but an even more wonderful one to become a grandparent. We are blessed now with five lovely grandchildren - such a pleasure to watch them grow and know that they are so well loved and being nurtured with such great parents. We are so proud of our children and their partners and their wee families.
Your Celebrant plays a pivotal role on your big day.
Your Celebrant leads your Ceremony and you must feel very comfortable that you have chosen the right person to do this.
Make choosing your Celebrant one of the first things on your wedding planning list so that you have plenty of time to select the person who is right for you. (Good Celebrants are often booked up months, or even years, in advance so that is another reason to be choosing your Celebrant in good time.)
You may like to contact several potential Celebrants via an email or a phone call:
If you contact a Celebrant and decide that they are not the one for you, they will appreciate you letting them know this too. A good Celebrant will also appreciate finding out why you have chosen someone else.