Hmm… it seems I have gotten into the habit of updating my professional Facebook page and neglecting my own website! Well, to partly correct this, here are a couple of recent updates. Such lovely memories.
Thanks to Alison and Laurie for the honour of performing Celina’s naming ceremony, which was held in Canberra during the October long weekend, 2015.
A beautiful wedding: Jaclyn and Andrew, Yarramalong Valley, 9 May 2015
We all like to save money don’t we? I say this because, nine times out of ten, the very first question I am asked by a couple is “How much do you charge?”. This is a fair and reasonable question. In the scheme of things, I believe that my fees are very reasonable and only slightly above what a couple would pay to have their ceremony performed in a registry office. There are celebrants, however, who charge quite a bit more than I do and, if questioned, will make remarks such as, “Oh, you get what you pay for.” While this may be true sometimes, it isn’t always the case. In my case, I feel that what I charge is fair and, even though I could charge more, I know how hard it can be for people to make ends meet, so I don’t.
A couple recently requested Annie’s Song by John Denver to be played during their wedding. I must be an old romantic at heart, because I reckon I’ll shed a tear or two once it’s playing.
While I’m on this topic, I believe that music is an integral part of any good ceremony. If chosen well, it can be a vehicle for the (sometimes overwhelming) emotions felt by the bride and groom, and this is why I ask couples at our first meeting what music they are planning to have. If they are struggling a little, I have a number of samples I can suggest, to get them started. In fact, if a couple decides to use my free-standing PA system (with cordless mike) for amplification, I can even arrange for the music to be compiled and played in order at the appropriate times: usually, the procession, the signing of the register and the bit just after the ceremony, where guests and bridal party mingle. (There is a small fee for the use of the PA system and an operator, but it would be much less than hiring one separately.)
What would we do without music in our lives?
I have been mindful in recent times in terms of how we use the earth’s resources, in particular our use of fossil fuel. Even if you are sceptical about the causes of climate change, there is a financial incentive to reduce our ‘carbon footprint’: it’s likely that, from mid-2012, there will be a price on carbon, which would cause all sorts of things to become more expensive, including weddings. This would be across the board, eg, hairdressers, beauty salons, florists, bridal shops, reception venues and, of course, celebrants.
Here are some ideas on how to have an environmentally friendly wedding (and help keep costs down):
- When choosing a celebrant, ask whether he/she uses recycled paper and email where possible. (Naturally, I do . )
- Hire bride’s/bridesmaids’ gowns, as well as suits for the men. If you wish to have gowns made, use cotton and pesticide-free fabrics. Alternatively, go ‘op-shop’.
- Consider recycled paper for wedding invitations.
- Suggest to guests that they use recycled wrapping paper for gifts. Alternatively, request gifts of money only.
- This one is more of a cost cutting hint: Find someone creative who can make bouquets from the gardens of family and friends, or even your own garden. This can be for both ceremony and reception. Guests could then take the flowers home.
- To cut down on lighting, have both ceremony and reception held during the day.
- Hold the reception near the ceremony, to avoid extra car use. (Some reception venues have beautiful locations for ceremonies, too.) Alternatively, hire a bus to transport guests to and from the reception.
- Use recycled or washable serviettes for the reception.
- Seek out eco-oriented accommodation for your honeymoon.
I think it’s nice for the couple to greet each other when the bride joins the groom and I often tell couples that they are welcome to be spontaneous (within reason of course). In fact, the very first couple whose ceremony I performed, a few years back now, were beautifully spontaneous: the bride literally twirled up the aisle while her groom walked down to meet her halfway; then they danced together back up the aisle. None of this had been rehearsed or even mentioned to me but it didn’t matter. In fact it helped to make the event so much more relaxed and fun (especially being my first!).
Some more unexpected things happened after that. For example, they had planned to have an Aboriginal elder doing a ‘welcome to country’ even before I did my welcome, but I wasn’t aware that he was actually going to play the didgeridoo first. I couldn’t understand why the microphone had been placed on the ground (for amplification of the didge). But it was all fine – wonderful in fact – and I just picked up the microphone when it was ‘my turn’.
So, while it’s nice to have everything planned, if something unexpected happens on the day, for whatever reason, there’s usually no problem at all.