Congratulations to Sarah and Flynn, and little Aiofe, and their private garden wedding on the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Born and raised here, Flynn decided to come home for his garden wedding. Flynn and Sarah were married by the creek on the property next door to his childhood home. There were gasps of delight as the Groom and his groomsman appeared from through the bamboo grove and waltzed into the grassy ceremony glade. Swinging baskets with cheeky grins, they handed flowers around to all the guests, whilst the the strains of Mumford and Sons, singing Winter Winds wafted on the breeze. The fun had clearly begun!
The Bamboo Grove
Through the green poles of bamboo we could glimpse a white dress, like an ethereal promise appearing between the dense bamboo. The bride appeared slowly from the bamboo, with her Dad holding little Aiofe in his arms. They were a trio of smiles. The musical mood changed with her tune, La Valse de Amelie. And the wedding ceremony had begun. We were already in a great mood, relaxed in amongst nature, and quite secluded from the world at large.
And a baby naming too
Sarah and Flynn chose to have fun at their relaxed garden wedding, not too serious, yet with sincere promises. The entire extended family was there, and their little girl So they decided to go one step further, and name their little girl with a naming ceremony.
As the wedding ceremony wrapped up, a baby naming ceremony ensued. Firstly, Aiofe was blessed by her great grandmother, secondly by her grandparents and lastly her parents. We used water to trickle over her hands and arms, and a little on her face. We knew water was a favourite. And she just loved playing with the water! Squeals of childish delight were a great way to complete a wedding ceremony.
The reception was held under a stunning nomadic marquee, strung with fairy lights. Guests partied to the live band and danced out on the grass. It was a garden wedding with freedom and choice. A garden of delight. All the privacy of a private property and all the style of a marquee wedding. But best of all it was a down to earth, family affair full of laughs, charm and lots of dancing into the night.
This is the story of a fun wedding at Flaxton Gardens, dedicated wedding and events venue on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
Gosh I loved the spirit of this couple. We laughed. They danced. We high fived. Bec and Mitch had the most fun they could at their wedding. So, congratulations to Bec and Mitch on their stunning Flaxton Gardens Wedding. It was a picture perfect day with celebrant – Kari.
How did their wedding begin?
Of course it began a long time ago. These two were set up by a friend who, after spending weeks trying to convince Bec to meet him, decided the only way it was going to happen was by tricking her into it. Mitch on the other hand took no convincing, as he knew she was blond and that was all he needed to know!
After spending just one evening together, where they both brought out their competitive sides; playing pool and discussing the merits of the “bunny suicides”, they were both smitten.
I loved working with these two.They simply have fun together… all of the time. Best friends and companions in many, many ways.Mitch says, “Iggy has been my whole world for over 7 years.”Bec adores that they have the same sense of humour, and make each other laugh so much.
A large wedding in the garden
Flaxton Gardens is a stunning venue for a large gathering in beautiful gardens with the most amazing view of the Sunshine Coastline. And now that restrictions have lifted, large weddings are on again. Hoorah!
When planning their ceremony we decided that it was about fun. A bit of jiving down the aisle, a few high Fives, lots of laughs and not too serious. But loads of love and friendship. And who says only the bride gets to walk down the aisle?
Modern day couples are all about equality in their relationships, so why not reflect that in a marriage ceremony too. We discussed how we could even things up and make the ceremony all about two people, and fun of course. Mitch chose a theme song for the boys, so Mitch and his three groomsmen, Gab, Liam and Dylan had their moment in the limelight before the girls arrived. We admired the view while Bec arrived in the car, and readied herself for the big arrival.
Arrival of the Bride
Before we glimpsed Bec coming out from the magnificent winery building doors, the girls had their moments before Kasia and Tiana walked down the aisle. Then she arrived on the arms of Dad. It was hard to stop the tears of joy.
And so the ceremony began…. all tears and smiles mixed in together. So natural, so authentic, so much fun.
And then they were wed
Thanks to Luke for capturing the wedding fun with his awesome photographs.
Framing wedding memories…. When should one step out of frame?
A celebrant should be right there for you during your ceremony. But sometimes your celebrant needs to be out of frame too. As a celebrant myself I always want to appear appropriate for your wedding. Elegantly dressed, well presented… and in some of your photos so you can remember your ceremony.
However, I realise you don’t want me in ALL your wedding photos from the ceremony. I like to step out of the frame sometimes. There are moments when a celebrant needs to step aside, and allow you to be the only ones in the frame.
When are these moments? Why does a celebrant need to be mindful of the moment? Being mindful of your memories is part of the role of celebrant.
With the focus on a couple and two children, it was definitely appropriate for me to step out of the frame at several opportune moments.The question that a celebrant juggles is how can I be supportive and yet not always right in the centre of frame?
When should a celebrant disappear from the wedding photos?Consider these very personal memories in your wedding ceremony, 7 moments when a celebrant should be out of the frame:
1. Groomsmen only
In my celebrant role, I often hang around with the fellas before the ceremony.The groomsmen and I work out things like
Where to stand, in relation to the arbour, altar or floral decor.
What order they are arranged
Are their button hole flowers fixed on right… in a way that is firm, and will not cause a stray pin to spike someone later when hugs are happening.
Where to put their hands
Are the rings safe
When and how to present the rings
Then it is time for me to step aside and allow the photographer to get some shots of the fellas.
2. When the bride arrives
Chatting with the groom before the ceremony keeps things casual and relaxed. It gives me time to relay some last minute tips, and have a few laughs to break the seriousness of the occasion. There is that poignant moment when a groom sees his bride for the first time.Suddenly I am not there, as he steps forward to greet her and those accompanying her down the aisle.Time for hand shakes with Dad or Mum, brother or son.Time for hugs and delight in seeing the bride for the first time in all her splendour.Time for taking in the emotion of the moment.Time to invite the bride into the wedding space.
I allow time.
3. While you say your vows
These words are gifts.Standing to the side or gently holding your microphone, I slide into the background.Of course there is a supporting role needed here, and I am right there…..but I make sure to be aware of where the photographer is standing, and adjust myself behind or out of the way.
4. Always, always, always …. during the wedding kiss
Need I say more… this is that moment everyone looks forward to, the seal of a kiss.Step away celebrant!
5. Special rituals
In the story of Shireen and Aaron, we had designed a special vow to the children. So of course this was a photo opportunity for a family moment; united in one name at last.
6. Signing the wedding certificates
The signing is an official aspect of the wedding ceremony.So of course the celebrant needs to witness every signature.5 people need to sign; the couple, two witnesses and of course the marriage celebrant too.And there are three certificates to sign.So that makes 15 signatures all up…..
Don’t worry, you don’t need to know beforehand who goes where.I will indicate to all where they need to place their squiggle.We want to keep it legal after all.
However after the last signature is in the bag…. I step aside for your group photo, and help arrange flowers, certificates, rings etc for the closeups.I always work in with the photographer.
7. Finally back down the aisle
Assisting with timing at this point can help you get the best photos. My celebrant role is not done yet. I help couple and attendants know when is the best moment to walk down the rows of chairs… creating the perfect photo opportunities along the way.
But there are of course times when the celebrant needs to be in the picture….not out of frame!!
Or at least make your marriage the best friendship you can muster.
There are many quotes on marriage and friendship. And often I hear a couple say, I am marrying my best friend.
In this blog, I gift some quotes that describe some aspects of friendship and marriage.
It is unclear who wrote this piece. It has been attributed to different authors including anonymous…. but the message is sweet.
“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.
Really, truly find the strongest, happiest friendship in the person you fall in love with.
Someone who speaks highly of you. Someone you can laugh with. The kind of laughs that make your belly ache, and your nose snort. The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.
Wit is important. Life is too short not to love someone who lets you be a fool with them.
Make sure they are somebody who lets you cry, too. Despair will come. Find someone that you want to be there with you through those times.
Most importantly, marry the one that makes passion, love, and madness combine and course through you.
A love that will never dilute – even when the waters get deep, and dark.”
Or as the inimitable writer Neil Gaiman, penned for his friends, Sxip and Coco on their wedding day:
This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.
This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing.
Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.
It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.
Somebody’s got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.
It’s not two broken halves becoming one.
It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together.
So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,
like a book without pages or a forest without trees.
Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,
and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.
And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet, and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.
Allow me to give you a glimpse of the story of Shireen and Aaron who wed at the beautiful and elegant Spicers Clovely Estate. Their wedding was a very classy occasion.
However it was also clearly a family affair, including promises to the kids.
A family affair
When I met Shireen and Aaron, it was evident that love for their kids was paramount. In fact the kids came with them to their wedding appointment with me; gorgeous kids, with a sweet attitude, and calm demeanour.They played on the veranda daybed while we arranged the wedding ceremony for Aaron and Shireen.
More than wedding vows
This wedding had to be about family as much as it was about two people. Their kids are darlings. It was clear how much love and care they have in their family surroundings. The family unit is the most important part of Aaron and Shireen’s lives. Part of the aim of this wedding was to unite thefamily in name as well as heart.Designing their wedding ceremony had to include the kids as a really important part of the day.
Of course they were part of the bridal party, as page boy and flower girl.They walked down the aisle hand in hand, dressed to perfection, and stole the show… at least from the photographers point of view.They stole our hearts.
When designing the ceremony, we needed to include something more poignant than appearances as well.
Creating Wedding Vows
In the meeting we discussed the meaning and reasons behind wedding vows. Wedding vows are said from one partner to the other. These wedding vows are often humble and generous promises for future, for commitment and personal endeavour.They reflect an endeavour to strive for a positive outcome no matter what. In the case of Shireen and Aaron, it was clear there were other marriage promises in the air. Their promises to each other seemed to include an unspoken promise to their children.
Vows to children
The more we talked about it, the more it seemed appropriate to make this unspoken promise an outward and public promise. As a symbol of family unity and a commitment to the nurturing of these children, they chose to make a public wedding vow to their son and daughter.
Darlings, we just want you to know that we love you dearly.
Part of this ceremony today is a promise to you,
that we will always love you,
always care for you,
and always be willing to listen and be present for you.
Together we will go forward, united in same name as the “Amour” family.
A family story
Their wedding was truly sublime.A family affair from morning to night.
Thanks to Taylah of Tay and Francis for the stunning images of this wedding at Clovelly Estate.
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 BrideSwitch 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.
There 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.
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.