An intimate wedding

An intimate wedding

An Intimate wedding

…with celebrant Kari.

First of all Congratulations to Anna and Ivan, married in an intimate wedding at a private Montville cottage.  Actually maybe I should admit it was really a luxury house with enormous picture windows looking out over a magnificent view.

Magical Malindi is a gorgeous house in Montville, perfect for the family to stay and enjoy an intimate wedding in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. The intimacy comes in the garden, a place for a small wedding ceremony amongst the gardens.

First, check out the view… across Baroon Pocket Dam.

On the eighth anniversary of the first kiss; Anna and Ivan were wed in an intimate wedding ceremony with just their close friends and family by their sides.  In fact most of them were staying in the expansive home.

Neither Anna nor Ivan needed to be given away on their wedding day.  They chose instead to arrive together down the grassy path and over the little wooden bridge…..as a reflection of their “togetherness”.  In fact have rarely been apart since their relationship began.

A simple wedding ceremony

When I spoke with Anna and Ivan it was clear they wanted a simple ceremony, one in which they married each other in a down to earth fashion.  Which is why they chose this place, a simple garden, and their special family and friends.

They mentioned the Desiderata, a poem of very practical advice on life.  The word, desiderata is Latin.  It means the things that are wanted or needed or necessary, especially to complete something.  To say something has desiderata means it requires certain virtues deemed important or necessary for success.

What a great metaphor for marriage.  Anna needs Ivan, Ivan needs Anna.  They need each other to continue their success.  This is not to say that an individual is not complete on their own.  Far from it.  When the other is in their life, theirs becomes a relationship in which neither takes life from the other but in love and grace new life is formed in between, which is deeper and more creative than each living alone.

Wedded couple beside a grass tree

Desiderata – that which is needed for success

Here is the poem that inspired their ceremony; a poem…..about life.

Many will recognise the Desiderata, which might seem like an ancient poem of wisdom, but it was actually written in 1927.  It suits a wedding very well, giving thoughts on what constructs a good life.  A good married life may consider the ideas presented by Max Ehrmann.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (written in 1927)

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Intimate wedding at Magical Malindi in Montville 3

Their words

This is what Anna and Ivan said:

“Kari is super friendly and easy going. She understood exactly what we wanted in a ceremony and delivered it in just one draft. She made our ceremony special and totally about us and our family. Everyone commented on the uniqueness of our ceremony and really enjoyed it. We highly recommend Kari!!”  Anna & Ivan

Thanks to Luke Going Photography for the beautiful images:

a wedding at Parliament House

a wedding at Parliament House

A Wedding at Parliament House

A wedding of stately grandeur in Parliament House?  Not possible!

Well yes it is…but you need to know the right person.

Congratulations to Bec and Gary, who did indeed know the right person.  Actually their parents did!

Bec and Gary contacted me from England, where they were living.  Bec’s parents, here in Brisbane, were eagerly awaiting their daughter’s return for her wedding to her English beau Gary.  While they waited Mum searched for the perfect place for the wedding ceremony and reception; somewhere stately, somewhere resonant of England and Australia.  Who would have thought Parliament House would be available?  The building is old and very grand.  The rooms are stately and bedecked in resplendent furniture, lamps and trimmings with the lushness of a state’s rooms and a bygone era.

a kiss outside parliament house

Brisbane Parliament House

Brisbane Parliament House is a regal building. There are two parliamentary chambers.  One is not used for government any more.

The Legislative Chambers are a beautiful set of rooms, with no modern computers and such to impede the magnificence of the room.

It was here that Bec’s father walked his daughter, the bride,  down the aisle to a waiting groom, Gary.

Bride’s Song

I love the lyrics from the song Rebecca chose for her arrival into the Parliament House chambers.

Home – is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can’t tell one from the other
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I’ll be . . . where I’ll be

Song Lyrics for a Parliament wedding

These words describe how Rebecca and Gary feel about each other…they feel like they have found home. They had travelled and worked away for some time.
Home is in each other, not where they reside.  Gary had realised he’d go anywhere to be with Bec, to make sure she didn’t get away!

*****

Wedding Reception at Parliament House

The reception was held in the impressive dining room with all the tableware of the house; heavy linen cloths, splendid silverware, gorgeous crockery and vases.   This is vintage with absolute class and quality.  Let your vintage heart go wild!  The silver was polished to perfection, the china gleaming and with gold rims and crests.  Simple and elegant, regal almost. The kind of absolutely matching dinner set any bride could dream of. every table alike yet with understated elegance.  Bec and Gary put their touches on it all with sprigs of herbs, and the names of their fav pubs.

Table names – English Pubs

This is what I truly loved – the names of the wedding tables. Bec and Gary named each table after a pub in London they had visited.  Each pub had a special memory for them; the first drink together, the first kiss, the first birthday….

Just the names of English Pubs are evocative of weddings; The Star and Garter for example or perhaps The Five Bells.  However Bec and Gary revisited their courtship through the names of their very own special drinking holes of London when they lived there together.

Thanks to Elisabeth Harvey for the magnificent images:

Check out her blog too.

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

Married in a white chapel with a bit of French

Married in a white chapel with a bit of French

~ with Sunshine Coast wedding celebrant Kari ~

Congratulations to Douglas and Melissa, a gorgeous and fun loving couple, married at The Little White Wedding Church in Maleny.

Both Melissa and her parents are from Paris, and key wedding guests were coming from France especially for this divine wedding.  So they sought a celebrant who might be able to weave in a little French to make all the guests feel at home.

What they didn’t know at the time was that even some French ritual could also be woven into the ceremony.  So when I suggested the white ribbon ritual, Melissa jumped at the chance for some fun in her ceremony.

In France it is a tradition for a town’s children to stretch white ribbons across the road down which the bride travels.  She must cut the ribbons to make a path.

These are symbolic obstacles created for them to overcome together and thus pave a common path in their new life together.

On her wedding day in honour of Melissa’s background we stretched white ribbons across the aisle before she entered the church following the Bridesmaids.
As she strolled down the aisle, she had to cut her way through the “obstacles” to get to her guy. She laughed as she commented that she’d do anything to get to the altar where he was waiting. We hoped she had scissors with her tucked into that bouquet!

And she did.

And what story about a french wedding would be complete without some French Poetry;

Read by her sister and bridesmaid, Savita.  Durant l’hiver by Célia Germinario

Durant l’hiver on s’est rencontré,                        
Amour, gentillesse, beauté à mes yeux tu es,
Mon coeur, mon corps et mon âme je t’ai donné,
Il ne peut rien t’arriver,
Eternellement prêt de toi je serai,
Nos coeurs sont mêlés à jamai
During the winter we met,
You are Love, kindness, beauty to my eyes,
my heart, my body and my soul I have given thee,
there is no more life can bring
Eternally ready for thee I will be,
our hearts mingled forever
 

What a fun day it was.  Thank you to the delightful and subtle Matt Rowe for the images.  He is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, capturing each moment, each smile.  Thanks Matt.  And checkout his new cover image!!!

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Wedding with kids

Wedding with kids

~ with Sunshine Coast marriage celebrant, Kari ~

Congratulations Hayley and Wade with their darling children, Charlotte and Kobi, married in the delightful Tiffany’s Chapel.

(Check out the photo which I call “Wrapping the bride!”)

We seek ceremony when there is something profound happening.  We do things in ceremony that are symbols of a deeper meaning in our lives.  Some things are not easy to express every day, as we live it.  Some things  are best expressed by ritual.  A wedding does this.  It creates an opportunity to gather the important people, and to enunciate deep feelings in the form of promises or gifts.

Hayley and Wade’s wedding day was a dream come true.  And it was a wedding about family.  Hayley and Wade believe that family is first, family is everything, family is LIFE.

Often a wedding is not simply about two people.  It is about a wider group of people; community, family, heart families.  This wedding was for everyone there.

A wedding could not alter what they already had, for Hayley and Wade had already built a marriage.  I saw it expressed so well in their dear children, Charlotte and Kobi.  As I spoke with the couple, the kids played with my lego basket. (Yes a relic of my own child rearing.  I LOVE my son’s lego basket, and so do many of the kids who come to me with their parents.)  As they played I noticed how gentle they were with each other and the things they created.  Their parents took small moments to acknowledge what the kids were doing, and kids were very respectful of their parents having a talk.  Impressive parenting at work here!

So this marriage was about a family unit, yet acknowledging of the important relationship that holds the family together, the parents.  For Hayley and Wade wished to give the gift of marriage to each other.  They had already promised forever in their kids, but on their wedding day they showed it to each other.

Charlotte and Kobi, (who are, may I say, the best behaved kids I have ever seen!) were delightful partners to the wedding as flower girl and ring boy.  Kobi was quite emotional watching his parents wed.  Who wouldn’t be?  He could deeply appreciate the strong emotions that were being expressed that day. Check out Charlotte wrapping herself in Mum’s bride dress. I sneeked the ones of the “bridal wrap” while Toni, the photographer, was organising the group picture.  Too delightful to miss!

Wrapping a bride

A key to understanding this was their choice of reading:

The key to love is understanding…
The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word,
but those unspoken gestures,
the little things that say so much by themselves.
The key to love is forgiveness…
to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes,
without forgetting, but with remembering
what you learn from them.

The key to love is sharing…
Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together;
both conquering problems, forever searching for ways
to intensify your happiness.

The key to love is giving…
without thought of return,
but with the hope of just a simple smile,
and by giving in but never giving up.

The key to love is respect…
realising that you are two separate people, with different ideas; that you don’t belong to each other,
that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.

The key to love is inside us all…
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients that will take you to its threshold;
it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work… but the rewards are more than worth the effort…
and that is the key to love.

Thanks to Photographer Toni Snell for the glorious images.

Hayley&Wade_1Hayley&Wade_2Hayley&Wade_3Hayley&Wade_4Hayley&Wade_5Hayley&Wade_6Hayley&Wade_8Hayley&Wade_9

Unusual readings in a marriage ceremony

Unusual readings in a marriage ceremony

Unusual Readings

This story is about readings for your wedding ceremony.  As an example let’s look at the wedding Danielle and Karim, married at Tiffany’s looking out over the Glasshouse Mountains.

But first let’s glimpse their wedding day….

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Meeting your love

It is one of life’s richest surprises when a chance meeting of two people on a stairway leads them to love.  It is one of life’s finest experiences when this love grows into a permanent relationship.  It is a sacred day when these two people realise that they wish to make it forever in a marriage.

And it is joyous day when the wedding arrives and family gather from all over the world to marry on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in the presence of spectacular views from the Maleny Range.

This meeting and this growing are what led to the wedding day for Danielle and Karim, who indeed met by chance five years ago on a stairway in a hostel in Scotland. The pipes may have played for them that day, or the angels sang, for they both knew that they had met someone special. Through being ruthlessly and wonderfully themselves, they fell in love and chose to get married, to begin the journey and ride the waves of life together.

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A wedding ceremony in French

Now being French, Karim wished to make sure his mother could understand the service.  So when this couple came to me it was with a special request, that their ceremony be in English AND French.

I am always happy to include other languages in a ceremony, and indeed speak French and Indonesian.  However I have been known to get training to use other languages in a wedding ceremony.

Readings are often a part of a marriage ceremony.  You can choose to have a close friend or relative to read, or indeed ask your wedding celebrant to read for you.

A reading can expand on your reasons for marriage, or describe the feeling of love in a way we may never be able to find the words to say out loud. A reading is a moment to pause in the ceremony and and reflect.

For this wedding, Karim’s mother, Nelly chose a poem for this special day.  And of course it was in French!  AND of course it is about love (l’amour)!

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A Poem in French

Éloge de l’amour   par Jean de La Fontaine 

Tout l’Univers obéit à l’Amour ;

Belle Psyché, soumettez-lui votre âme.

Les autres dieux à ce dieu font la cour,

Et leur pouvoir est moins doux que sa flamme.

Des jeunes coeurs c’est le suprême bien

Aimez, aimez ; tout le reste n’est rien.

*****

Sans cet Amour, tant d’objets ravissants,

Lambris dorés, bois, jardins, et fontaines,

N’ont point d’appâts qui ne soient languissants,

Et leurs plaisirs sont moins doux que ses peines.

Des jeunes coeurs c’est le suprême bien

Aimez, aimez ; tout le reste n’est rien.

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A Reading from Bob

The second reading they chose is from Bob Marley, in English this time:

Only once in your life, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more.

You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.

There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life. A phone call during the day always brings a smile to your face.

Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and soul mate, who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they will be part of your life, forever.

There are so many beautiful texts to help illustrate a wedding ceremony.  I keep a folio of ideas and samples for my couples.  I also have several books with unusual readings and quotes.

You may find something from a song lyric, a film script, or written on a graffiti wall that inspires you.

Thank you to Focus Films for the images of Danielle and Karim’s English/French Wedding ceremony.

For other stories on French Weddings:

Something Very French

With a French touch

Totally in French 

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