Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Maroochy Botanic Gardens for an elegant picnic wedding …

Congratulations Gabby and Damon, and little Dominic.

Gabby is like a niece to me.  So when she asked me to assist with her Sunshine Coast wedding I was over the moon.

Not sure what you want for a garden wedding?

Gabby wasn’t quite sure what they wanted for a wedding, so we jumped in the car and went for a drive.

She wished for an outdoor wedding, a beautiful place with stunning gardens, a parkland for a wedding picnic, and a simply gorgeous place for a marriage ceremony.  So I suggested a Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding, a perfect place in which to marry.

A Love Story

Gabby and Damon first met at a blind date set up by friends.  As soon as they saw each other, there was an instant attraction.  Something clicked.  She took his hand, to lead him to the buffet.  It was a gesture he will always remember; a gesture of kindness and caring, a sign of her friendliness.

A child

Little Dominic, their sweet young son, just loved the gardens.  He ran and jumped and played.  Seemed like he had chosen this place.  The Maroochy Botanic Gardens certainly suited a child’s imagination and he felt free to play.  This wedding was to include several children, so the botanic gardens were perfect; a kids’ paradise and a bush haven with manicured garden beds as well.

A beautiful bride

With her stunning Chilean looks and long dark locks, Gabby made a stunning bride.  She was so proud to walk on her Dad’s arm to the ceremony along the gardens path.

A Wedding

They were married under the arch in the sculpture gardens, decorated with white tulle and ribbon for the day, against a backdrop of the infinity sculpture carved from marble. We designed an elegant wedding picnic, with picnic baskets full of nibbles and drinks, and blankets on the grass.

Read about other Botanic Gardens weddings here.

Photographs of Gabby’s Botanic Gardens wedding are by Poison Apple Studios

Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Maroochy Botanic Gardens wedding

Woodford Festival celebrant

Woodford Festival celebrant

Woodford Festival wedding celebrant

Considering getting married at the Woodford Folk Festival? Many couples do.  They all need a wedding celebrant.

Imagine having an extraordinary, and I mean….Extra Ordinary, array of options for wedding ceremony location, restaurant reception options AND even entertainment options for your celebration afterwards.

The festival is a place of ritual and celebration.  It is the energetic home of these things.  A more unique place to marry, exists not on this earth!

A Marriage Celebrant at the Woodford Folk Festival

get married at Woodford copyEvery wedding needs a marriage celebrant. Kari has years of experience, both in weddings AND at the festival.  Having conducted numerous weddings at Woodfordia, both at festival time and otherwise, she knows the Woodfordia site like a second home.
Whats more …… Kari will be at the festival.  No need to pay for entry or travel or even accommodation.
However you will need to lodge paperwork with your celebrant at least one month prior to your wedding date.
Contact Kari for more information.

Woodfordia – A place to marry

There are many pathways to your wedding. Spiritual pathways, emotional journeys, long roads, short stays…..

There are many places to marry. Festival streets, hilltop grassy glades, shady trees, cosy corners, outrageous outdoors.

A heart gateway to the sacred labyrinth at WoodfordiaThe Sacred Labyrinth

The Sacred Labyrinth is a magical space where anyone can walk a path to the heart and connect more deeply with themselves.  It can also be a place for your own wedding.

The Labyrinth is especially designed for couples to celebrate their connection through a marriage ceremony, a hand fasting or a special ritual of honouring.  There are also other ceremonies that take place in the Labyrinth. In any of these rituals the woman enters on the left and the man on the right. The couple meets at the top after making their solo journey and setting whatever intention is appropriate. They can then walk together into the centre for the ceremony.  Ceremony engages some moments in deep connection or exchange.  At the completion of the rituals they leave through the archways together and out into the world to celebrate with friends and family.


Woodfordia sacred Labyrinth for weddings

Woodford Festival Installations

Installations of art and lighting abound in the festival streets, creating wonderlands of locations to have your festival wedding.

Woodfordia candlelit creek

Woodfordia umbrella venue
woodfordia woven caveMusic and fun

The choice of music is endless. Simply approach your favourite band for the perfect music at your wedding.

Or here’s some ideas for your festival wedding…..

Find a ritual dancer.

Have your hands decorated with henna.

Order a wreath of flowers for your hair.

Find an original steam punk costume or festive hat.

Go Woodfordian.

Wedding-henna-hands at Woodfordia

Woodfordia wedding couple

Woodfordia ritual bubbles

7 moments a celebrant should be Out of Frame

7 moments a celebrant should be Out of Frame

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.

Shireen and Aaron’s Wedding

Previously I wrote about this gorgeous Spicers Clovelly Estate wedding. Read the back story here.

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!!

When to be in the Frame


Thanks to Taylah of Tay and Francis for the stunning images in this story

Married in a green dress

Married in a green dress

Married in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant Kari

Married in a green Wedding Dress

Do I have to be married in white, you ask?

Of course not. Queen Victoria started the white wedding trend by deciding not to wear the classic royal wedding colour of silver.  She preferred white.  before that the ordinary folk simply married in their best clothes. Whatever colour they were.

So how about a green wedding dress?  The outcome was stunning.

Congratulations to Alicia and Carlo, married on a stunning day in August at the Spotted Chook in Montville in the hinterland range.

bride in a green dress with her groom against the rays of the setting sun in the Sunshine Coast hinterland

The green dress

Alicia stunned everyone with her beautiful green wedding dress.  But most of all, for her gentle groom, Carlo, she was absolutely beautiful.  She was an elegant picture in soft green on her wedding day.  The green bride dress in soft silk with elegant and understated lace trims was stunning. Her decision to be married in green was a great choice. Married in green is sublime against the forest backdrop.

A bride ready in a green silk dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant Kari

Spotted Chook Wedding venue

This couple wanted a time to be together with their family, not just for the moments of a ceremony, but for a whole weekend away, in the hinterland. They chose the Spotted Chook, because of the intimacy of the surroundings and the ability to have a retreat weekend with the entire guest list.  The French provincial themed Spotted Chook has rooms decorated in every colour and a little hideaway cottage for the wedded couple.

The Spotted Chook wedding pavilion with Sunshine Coast celebrant Kari

Their love story

When Alicia met Carlo, she was planning to leave the UK and return to Australia.  As a result of this meeting, she stayed three more years! Carlo knew he had found a true partner, someone who matched him.  Alicia and Carlo had already been committed to each other for quite a while when I met them. They describe marriage to me as a meeting of independent souls.

The family

On their wedding day so many people were included.  Several couples and groups walked down the aisle to the ceremony in the gazebo looking over the sloping lawns and gardens.  It is not only the bridal party who can walk down the aisle.  There was Mum, some important family, the bridesmaid, and then the breath taking Bride on the arm of her father.

Wedding Dress not white

I congratulate Alicia on standing her ground for a wedding dress that was not white.  Not easy in the face of the bridal industry, who would wish white on every bride.  She looked more than stunning in a glorious shade of green.  And certainly took my breath away.  So girls, take Alicia’s example, and choose your own coloured wedding dress, the one just for you.

The cutest kids with cheeky grins dressed in wedding suits for the wedding photos

Cute wedding kids

And check out the cute wedding kids…. adorable!

Photos by Mandy and Jason of AWPP Photography.

Watch the unfolding story of their ceremony in pictures

Married in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant KariMarried in a green dress with Sunshine Coast celebrant Kari

If you liked this colour story, try one about a purple wedding dress

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