Unique Wedding traditions

Unique Wedding traditions

Wedding traditions

Wedding traditions can be a part of your wedding ceremony.  They can come from any culture or heritage. Different traditions can make your wedding quite unique.  You can draw from your own culture or heritage. Or you can be inspired by other wedding traditions. Together we can craft them to suit you, who you are and what you want your wedding day to feel like.

A real wedding

Mateja and Jason approached me with a delightful and unique wedding tradition from her cultural background.  Coming from Croatia, Mateja knew that there was some fun to be had.  She wanted to gently integrate a Croatian family wedding tradition into her Australian wedding.  We discussed how to help the guests feel included.  She wanted to create some fun and acknowledge her cultural heritage at the same time.

The Bridal Switch

The Bride Switch is one of the most amusing customs in Croatia. Traditionally the groom arrives with his guests in front of the bride’s house and asks for his bride. A male family member from the bride’s family opens the door. However the family are not giving the bride away so easily. They want to make sure the groom really wants her.

The bride’s family try to “cheat” the groom and his best man by giving him a false bride. This can include all kinds of tricks.  They offer a doll dressed in a veil, a baby clothed in white, a little girl with flowers.  They try to give the groom a straw broom dressed in lace, a bloke in a frock, or the grandmother veiled and smiling, or even one of the young bridesmaids.

After being jokingly hoodwinked a few times, the groom finally gets to see his bride and then both parties unite and leave for the church. 

How did it work

In honour of Mateja’s cultural background, on her wedding day at The Rocks by the Maroochy River, we embraced this Croatian Wedding tradition. I sent Jason away for a moment to explain it to the guests.  They smiled as they detected some fun to be had.  I enlisted their help to call out and object each time a false bride was offered.  They were encouraged to shout hints, heckle and advise the groom not to accept someone less than his gorgeous bride.  

Jason’s best man, John, helped us out on behalf of the bride’s family.  As we waited for the bride, I asked John to go and see if she was ready.  He returned with a doll dressed in a long white wedding veil.

Wedding tradition the bride switch4There were wild calls of wrong choice and Jason blankly refused to be duped.  He said he wanted a real person to marry.So John tried again and returned with a sweet boy dressed in white.  

Again the guests loudly objected on Jason’s behalf.  And he just stood shaking his head… with a smile on his face.  He said, no my bride is a beautiful woman.

John tried one more time, returning with the beautiful bridesmaid, Beatriz, escorting her down the aisle.  Surely the groom would be happy with what he had asked for?

Jason told him firmly that he is very close, but insists that Mateja is his bride no other will be acceptable.

The music started and Mateja appeared at the top of the stairs, elegantly walking down the aisle on the arm of her Dad, Mladen.

 

And so the wedding began, honouring a fun and engaging Croation wedding tradition, and establishing the mood of the day… absolute fun.

Congratulations and thank you for sharing your wedding tradition with your guests. Here’s what Mateja and Jason had to say.

Thanks to brother Sam for the amazing photographs capturing the fun of the day, and to Michelle and the amazing team at The Rocks Yandina for the wonderful support, and sublime decor in yellow and white.

DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

Jess and Jesse married at Verrierdale Community Hall on the Sunshine Coast. Their DIY wedding was a grand party with loads of laughter.

When Jess met Jesse, it was love almost instantly. Laughs are the hallmark of their love and their life.  And they are the only ones who don’t get the names confused!!! But as a marriage celebrant, it took supreme focus to marry Jess to Jess, without getting my tongue totally tied!!

Their DIY wedding was so much fun.

A Love Story

Eight years ago Jess met Jesse, two happy people recognised something in each other’s smiles. It was instant attraction.

Jess recalls thinking to herself, “I could marry that boy”. Little did she know!

What I noticed as a wedding celebrant, is that these two match.  It was evident from the first instant; their smiles, their bubbly, cheery selves that radiated a relaxed and joyous energy to all around them.  They love to explore, embrace the ocean, surf, swim, walk and run beside it, immerse themselves in it. Jess loves his generous soul, how her man will do anything for anyone. He just loves her, all of her. He appreciates her energetic and strong will. They know that each other is the best friend they could find in this world, feeling completely at ease together.

And that brought them to Verrierdale Hall. It was a time to pause, look back, and smile at all the moments that brought them to their wedding day. And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come.  Marriage does not change what is already there, a strong commitment; a tried and true relationship. It adds another layer of commitment to something already strong and wondrous.  Jess said he wanted to marry because she is a super chilled out chick who loves the ocean and outdoors as much as he.  Their relationship in two words; relaxed.

It could be said that marriage changes everything and nothing.  I know these two did not marry lightly. They have considered what it means to marry, a symbol of deep love, understanding and a promise of a commitment already held. And before they settle and embrace a family of their own they wished to be married, and vow an indefinite future to each other. But more importantly they wanted a huge celebration for all their friends, and family.

Lucky us eh!  Sweet of them to consider all of us so much.

Congratulations to Jess and Jesse, you two are perfect for each other.

“Thank you for an incredible day 😊You were awesome!!! ” Jess Hart

Thanks to Carly and Co Photography for the brilliant images featured in this real Sunshine Coast wedding story

Handfasting wedding ceremonies

Handfasting wedding ceremonies

Handfasting Wedding Rituals

A handfasting wedding ceremony is just one way to say I do.

Handfasting rituals

Since ancient times couples have stood together in the ceremony of marriage. There are many rituals that have lasted centuries, that symbolise a couple’s love and commitment. The handfasting ceremony dates back to the time of the ancient Celts. It was often used to acknowledge the beginning of a trial period of a year and a day during which time a couple were literally bound together – hand fasted. It was, however, a temporary agreement, which could be made permanent after the trial period if both parties agreed.  It is from this wedding tradition that we know of the expression to “tie the knot”, or to “get hitched”.

Handfasting or tie the knot

Nowadays, the handfasting ceremony is used symbolically, as part of the declaration and wedding vows. It is a way of asking your intentions.

Would you like to Tie the Knot?

Today a couple can embrace an age-old marriage tradition, making it your own in a modern day ceremony. In a handfasting wedding ritual, a cord is tied about your hands as you take your vows.

In this handfasting ritual, the couple answer a series of questions. For each question a binding, for each binding a promise.

Once you are all tied up, as your marriage celebrant I can release the cords.  For in fact, it is your promises that bind you not the cords!  But you get to keep the cord … for fun!

Thanks to the wonderful  Luke Going for the beautiful images of this touching moment. His work is unique.

Cate and Dave were married by the lake.  They wanted a relaxed wedding, something a little different, not churchy, but laid back like themselves.  They embraced a Handfasting to express their vows.

How does it work?

Here are some ways to approach a handfasting ceremony.  Of course I am here with many examples at my fingertips, a whole list of vows for you to choose from, and a wealth of creative spirit to write for you.  Let’s mix it up, modernise the sentiments and reference the traditions that you want to hold onto.

Traditional Handfasting vows

handfasting with coloured cords
handfasting ribbons and cords
ribbons for handfasting

The traditional handfasting promises are a series of questions.  They acknowledge that life is not always easy, that relationships sometimes have unintentional outcomes.  But a good intent underlies the love.The classic questions begin like so:

Celebrant to groom: Will you cause her pain?
Groom: I may

Celebrant to groom: Is that your intention?
Groom: No

Celebrant to bride: Will you cause him pain?
Bride: I may

Celebrant to bride: Is that your intention?
Bride: No

Celebrant to both: Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
Both: Yes

Celebrant to both: Please join your hands.

The first cord is draped across the bride and grooms hands.

Celebrant to bride: Will you share his laughter?
Bride: Yes

Celebrant to groom: Will you share her laughter?
Groom: Yes

Celebrant to both: Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?
Both: Yes

Celebrant: And so the binding is made

Modern handfasting questions

But you can devise modern handfasting promises instead.  Something along the lines of:

Do you vow in your married life together to continually break through your pre-conceived views of each other and see clearly.
Couple: We do

Do you vow to act wisely and compassionately with one another and with all beings.
Couple: We do

In my role as a writer, I can chat with you and then devise a series of questions that suit your very own values and ideals for approaching your relationship.

Romantic Handfastings

Or perhaps you’d prefer something rather romantic.

Will you promise your deepest love, your fullest devotion, your tenderest care, and your faithfulness through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future?

Bruce & Emma: We pledge

Do you promise to be an equal loving partner, in a loving, honest relationship, standing by each other’s side, making a shelter of your heart, a home of your arms, encouraging your partner’s daily endeavours?

Bruce & Emma: We pledge

As you face the future together will you pledge to grow in your love for each other, to nurture the love that already is, honour and cherish each other, being there always?

Bruce & Emma: We pledge 

Handfasting ribbons 

You can get quite creative with the handfasting wedding vow format.  Imagine having a different coloured ribbon for each promise. And each wedding promise sculpted around the meanings of those colours.

Red for passion and love

For example the handfasting could become a statement instead of a question:

I promise to love passionately and unwaveringly with my heart, my body and my soul.

A pink ribbon could symbolise unity, honour, truth, romance, and happiness, with the statement:

I promise you my undying love, honesty and commitment in creating and nourishing our loving equal partnership.

A yellow ribbon would mean charm, confidence, joy, balance

Black could equal strength, wisdom, vision and or success

Green stands for prosperity, health, abundance and fertility

Blue often represents tranquillity, patience, understanding and a safe journey

Of course purple is for power, healing, sanctity and sentimentality.

Wedding Handfasting vows
coloured ribbons for handfasting

Contact me now to chat about your handfasting ceremony.

Jo and Jill

Jo and Jill

On 9th December 2017 it became law in Australia that two people could marry regardless of gender. Love and equality finally prevailed.

On Friday 15th of December something truly beautiful and poignant happened; two people fulfilled a wish of a long time.  A community of strangers; family, friends, photographer, celebrant, magistrate, clerks and registrar pulled together to make this marriage happen in time. It would not be the first same sex ceremony I or others had witnessed in Australia, but possibly the first I had seen recognised by Australian law. It was an emotional moment when I read out the words of the new act; a privilege, an honour, and about time. A sacred moment on a sacred day.

Two words had changed in the Marriage Act, substituting “man a woman”, for “two people”, and for Jo and Jill that changed everything.

The first I knew of their love was a phone call on Thursday from Cittamani palliative care telling me a tale of Jo, a woman with a rare cancer, who wished to finally legally marry her beloved Jill.  It was Jo’s persistence that had kept the idea alive. Jill was unsure how it could be achieved. She had read about the one month waiting period. But how could it happen in their own home at short notice? Cittamani nurses decided to ring me and pose the question. As a celebrant I am aware that under exceptional circumstances a shortening of time can be granted by the Registrar.

I met with Jill Thursday afternoon at the courthouse. She had tried to get all the paperwork sorted, signed, witnessed and lodged with the Magistrate. It just wasn’t possible that afternoon, we needed Jo’s signature, and it was 4.30pm.

I met Jo Thursday evening. Evenings are good for her. She had energy. And her bright blue eyes and delightful smile told me all I needed to know about their resolve to be married. Witnessing Jill and Jo together was a love story, quite convincingly profound. I was taken with the dozens of photos on the wall from their 2013 commitment ceremony – a day of promise, filled with family and friends. A true wedding day. I realised I had met two amazingly beautiful women, with a deep connection and strong commitment to each other.

Jill was firm in her wish that the marriage happen, but was feeling torn. Going back to the courthouse the next day was tricky.  She wanted to stay and care for Jo.  This marriage was important. So I offered to go instead. At 8.30 am the next day, Friday, I was outside the Nambour Courthouse at opening time. The local magistrate understood immediately and faxed the application direct to Brisbane, following it up with a phone call to convey the urgency.

On the other end, the Queensland Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages recognised the importance of this request, and sped through the process.

Within the half hour, the stamped approval came back. I could prepare the marriage papers right away: new formats, fresh from the Attorney General, and those important new words, “two people”. I was ecstatic. Jo and Jill were going to be married that afternoon! They were ecstatic.

Several more emails arrived from Births, Deaths and Marriages. They wished to offer a free registered marriage certificate and what’s more they would do it immediately. This is a process that usually takes weeks. I was so delighted by their care and understanding that I offered to hand deliver the papers to the Brisbane office first thing Monday morning, to help out the process. They made a better suggestion, and we made a plan.

I phoned a colleague and asked if she’d be willing to be photographer at this special event in a couple of hours. I knew she’d say yes.  Thanks to Marion Jonkers for the professional photos of this auspicious day.

A garden lovingly created by Jo and Jill as a shared passion, provided the perfect setting for a wedding; beds of herbs, flowers, rock seats and wooden doorways.  Jo’s namesake rose was in bloom. The herbs were fragrant. Everything looked divine for their wedding.

Jo’s friend cancelled all her clients, and turned up with her hair and makeup skills.  “Do what you can!” said Jo, always in good humour. Jo’s Mum and husband were there. Jill’s sister too.  They had come at a moment’s notice.

We sat in the cool of the garden.  I read from Leunig, and spoke of ceremony, love and choosing. With profound tears in my eyes I proudly read the new marriage statement.  They reiterated their vows from years ago, adding the sentence from the new marriage act.  They exchanged wedding rings, held hands and gaze. Their broad smiles were all that was needed to express a deep and sincere joy at finally being married, wife and wife.  “Hey Mrs”.

We embrace ceremony and ritual when something truly profound is happening in our lives. We do this because we need to make a space, in time and place, to honour the unseen world that we carry within us. Ceremony takes a moment away from the usual hum of life, to contemplate and warmly acknowledge an emotional world. Inner feelings become front and centre for the day. A marriage acknowledges this. It is always a special ceremony. This wedding was extremely special and sacred.

After the vows, I enacted the plan to deliver the certificates immediately.  Births Deaths and Marriages Queensland wished to honour this special occasion by delivering the registered marriage certificate that very day. The Principal Project Officer drove north from the Brisbane office.  And I drove south from the northern beaches.  We met at a roadside station, sat at a truckies’ table and exchanged the precious paperwork.

I then drove back to join the reception and hand deliver their certificate.  Jo and Jill had been approved, married and registered within one day!

When Jill was asked how long have you and Jo been together she responded, “a lifetime; and yet not long enough.”

Jo’s Mum told me, “Today is the happiest day of my life.  On the day I married my own true love, I thought that was the happiest day of my life, and I thought I couldn’t get any happier.  But actually today, I am happier, witnessing my daughter able to fulfil her wish to marry her own beloved.”

Jo’s touching speech recognised a day of love and compassion from a community made up of people she had just met, or had never met, and may never get to meet at all. The day was made possible by the goodwill of a community of all kinds of people with different roles and different commitments and different lives, wanting these two to be married in time.

Endings depend on where one leaves the story.  The tale always continues. We rest here with the newly weds, Jill and Jo, for marriage according to the law of Australia is the full commitment or union of two people.

Kari

Friday 15th December 2017

(with editing assistance by Glenda and Jessi)

Photos by Marion Jonkers Photographer 

Thanks to Cittamani Hospice, Nambour Courthouse, Queensland Births, Deaths and Marriages, Russell, Marion, Tracey and Emily.

Jo & Jill -5same sex celebrant Kari Marion Jonkers Photographer

Jo & Jill -34same sex celebrant Kari Marion Jonkers Photographer

Jo & Jill -48same sex celebrant Kari Marion Jonkers Photographer

Jo & Jill -208same sex celebrant Kari Marion Jonkers Photographer

Rainbow happiness

Rainbow happiness

same sex weddings australia

Rainbow weddings

Same sex marriages are here to stay in Australia.

Rainbow happiness is everywhere. I feel frivolous and you can’t wipe the grin from my face.

I am available for your wedding whoever you are, whatever kind of ceremony you want. In fact I was the first celebrant in Australia to officially conduct a legal same sex marriage.

LGBTIQ marriage austrsalia votes yesYes

Today was inevitable, but important. Australia voted yes to equality. Legislation will follow in the fullness of time. LGBTIQ couples will have the right to marry, to express their love in a wedding ceremony to seal their marriage in the eyes of their friends, family AND the law. Australia will celebrate in a rainbow of colours.

wedding celebrant

I would love to be your marriage celebrant, to assist you in designing the perfect ceremony for you.You may have no idea where to begin. But I do.

It begins with a fresh canvas. We talk, we laugh, reminisce, smile at memories, tear up over touching tales, share stories. Then I begin to have ideas, throw some scenarios into the mix. We flesh out ideas, bringing in other characters, and discussing who might be involved. Then I begin to write, to navigate through all the ideas and possibilities. And send it to you for feedback. and that’s just the first steps towards your amazing and unique wedding ceremony…. no matter who you are.

But right here I wish to indulge is some thematic fun. Today’s story is a pictures story of rainbow happiness.