Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love

A Wedding dance like no other

This wedding put a smile on every face, and finished with spontaneous dancing, a special kind of wedding dance in the temple!  It was exhilarating and heartwarming, deep and loving,……….and so much fun!

Congratulations to Tracy and Oliver on your perfect wedding held at Awakening Centre in Maleny, on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. And a huge thank you to Marion Jonkers Photography for the images.

Wedding in the temple

It began outside the temple.  Tracy floated down the wooden steps in a sheer and softly falling wedding dress, with her Mum and her Dad, to the sounds of American Indian drumming.

 

Andy and Laurel, the owners of the Awakening Centre, greeted her at the foot of the stairs and the three passed through drummed music, a musical cleansing, on the journey to her groom, Oliver.  He waited patiently with all the guests on the sandstone paving…with an enormous grin on his face.

Bride and Groom had a moment to greet each other.  Celebrant, Kari welcomed the bride’s family reminiscent of village weddings in times gone by.  All the guests were invited to shed their shoes and enter the bright airy temple in the round with huge glass windows onto the rainforest backdrop.

Tracy and Oliver waited outside to enjoy a tiny moment’s space before their ceremony.  Gently the sounds of the crystal singing bowls lifted up, swam around the space and wafted out to call the bride and groom into the temple space.  They floated in on the strains of pure sound.

And thus a wedding ceremony began, in absolute pure happiness.  We did not imagine the wedding dance to come.

 

wedding in the temple

Handfasting vows

Tracy and Oliver chose a handfasting to make their promises to each other. In a modern interpretation of a traditional ritual, we crafted promises into a series of questions.  It was so easy for them to simply respond “I will”.  At the finalé, they added their special messages to each other.  Oliver began, “You are my puzzle, my world, my best friend,”  referring to the pieces of a jigsaw, just like his interlocking puzzle wedding ring.  Tracy, in turn told him, ” You are my life partner, my soul mate, my lover, my best friend. ”

A song for the signing

As the papers were signed, Andy Copeman sang one of the most beautiful love songs I know, written by Ewan MacColl for his future wife Peggy Seeger.  Andy interspersed the verses with a Sufi poem.  It was simply divine

Dance me to the end of love

The first time I ever saw your face

The first time ever I saw your face

I thought the sun rose in your eyes

And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave

To the dark and the endless skies

 

…….And the first time ever I lay with you

I felt your heart so close to mine

And I knew our joy would fill the earth

And last till the end of time my love

And a spontaneous wedding dance

At the completion of the ceremony and signing, Andy chimed in with “Lay lay, lay lay…” and Leonard Cohen’s endlessly evocative song, Dance Me to the End of Love.

The guests, on a true high spontaneously joined hands and danced in a circle…to the end of love!

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
…….
Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love
Spontaneous dancing after a wedding ceremony

In their words

This is what Tracy and Oliver said:

“We cannot recommend Kari highly enough. Her beautiful spirit and energy and complete professionalism, together with her attention to detail, made our wedding day perfect. We had a small wedding, and we wanted a ceremony that spoke to who we are, far from traditional. We were not very specific in our first meeting with Kari, we came up with very conceptual ideas and Kari turned them into reality, and made them more beautiful than we could have imagined. Kari is able to read and understand a couple extremely well and is a truly beautiful person, and we cannot thank her enough for her part in making our day stress free and truly magical.” Oliver & Tracy

And then there was drinks on the veranda accompanied by the most original platters of food decorations I have ever seen.  And of course these were made with love by Tracy’s food loving parents.  Yes lots of love was there that day.

So Dance me to the end of love, I say.  Just dance me.

Once again, thank you to Marion Jonkers Photography for the images. And to Andy and Laurel at Awakening Centre.

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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

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.

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A winning wedding in Maleny

A winning wedding in Maleny

Maleny Wedding

Congratulations to Karla and Matt. Theirs was a winning Maleny wedding.
This wedding was nominated as one of only five weddings shortlisted for “Wedding of the Year” by Junebug Weddings.

A story

Most importantly, their day appeared as if out of a storybook. It was a fairytale come true at Maleny Retreat, which is one of Australia’s most breath taking wedding locations. Maleny Retreat offers you freedom. That is to say, you get to design your own wedding.  You are free to create your own style on a blank canvas. For a wedding in Maleny area, it is delightful choice.

Maleny Retreat is a sumptuous canvas to which you can add your detailing and style.

Looking out over the Glass House Mountains, Karla and Matt’s wedding ceremony looked picture perfect. The vista takes in the serene Tibrogargan, and his family of mountain peeks. Guests arrived to drop their gear in luxury tent style accommodation. The party began before the wedding even started!

A sultry sky provided an awesome and dreamy backdrop for the photos taken by the awesome Bec of Ash and Stone Photography.

Take a peek at the storyboard of their ceremony:

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DIY wedding at the family property

DIY wedding at the family property

with Sunshine Coast marriage celebrant – Kari

So much love, so much love, so much love.  Wow what a wedding ceremony to remember!

Here on the Sunshine Coast, there are many perfect places for a wedding.  But none seems quite more perfect for a family wedding than the property where one grew up, played by the creek, planted trees, and created memories.  This wedding day created new loving memories for Renee and Brendan on the family farm.

The marriage ceremony was held down by the creek, in an idyllic grassy glade surrounded by forest and the sounds of whip birds and tusked frogs.  A group of friends and family had created a magical haven.  Let’s wander in and have a peek before the guests arrive…..

A stump by the entry was garlanded with festoons of newly blossomed jasmine and the welcome sign.

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Daisies were tucked into the bark of trees, at the foot of saplings or behind ears.

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A circle of hay surrounded by white roses and daisies tucked into the ground formed a magic fairy circle for a sacred ceremony.

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Hay bales were arranged in arcs for seating.  More hay was sprinkled underfoot for an aisle.

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Local musician, Lee Hardisty played pied piper and led the guests to the ceremony, along by the creek.  His pure sax sound drifted over the forest, gently encouraging a meander to the forest glade.

Enter the Bride and Groom.  Groom softly greeted the guests.  Kari –  the celebrant sent hime for a wander with his mates while she briefed the guests on a surprise ending for the ceremony.

And, the bridal entourage arrived on the trailer of the tractor.  Daughter, Peaches and her cousin walked down the aisle, to Daddy.

Renee walked down the aisle on her father’s arm to the exquisite sounds of thumb piano sweetly played by Lee.

Renee and Brendan could not have been more in love.

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As a marriage celebrant on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, I witness many marriage vows; all heartfelt and meaningful. But on this wedding day, Renee’s vows to her beloved Sav nearly brought me to tears.

Amongst other things she promised to “love you beyond fear, judgement, expectations and anger….. I promise to love you so hard it changes the world…. I promise to hold you when your heart weeps, to plant trees with you and watch them grow, to help you know your own power.”

After the ceremony, guests followed the music back to the farm shed, replete with hanging floral garland, tables of colour, and taste.DIY_wedding_ceremony_venue12

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DIY wedding decor

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And they partied on in the moonlight, starlight and radiance of their family, friends and love.

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Thanks to Maggie Buckle for some of the professional images.  Instagram #@maggijeann

The early ones are my own, irresistibly taken while waiting for the guests.

This is what they said about Kari’s celebrant service:

Kari is a beautiful, warm, kind and connected woman with a sophisticated confidence that makes one feel safe in her presence. Although we had only met her in person once before our wedding day, we knew that she would understand our love and sincerely appreciate the magic that abides in such a ceremony. Her creative heart and generous demeanour left a mark on our hearts at such a special moment in our journey. Thank you Kari.”   Renee & Brendan

60’s wedding theme

60’s wedding theme

with Kari – theme dressed, Sunshine Coast wedding celebrant

Themed Wedding

Congratulations to Anna and Bryn, who chose a 60’s beach  theme for their wedding day.

Wedding _celebrant_60's_wedding_theme8Whenever I met up with Anna and Bryn, they seemed to have just come from some amazing fitness activity.  I was impressed by their approach to organising their wedding, too.  Casual, down to earth, and real.

Married at the Beach

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They did wish to marry at the beach, Point Cartwright in fact.  They chose this particular headland for the memories of their first date there. But also for the connection to place, for the intimacy that we felt gathered in a group, looking out over a beautiful and vast ocean, looking far into the distance. And I guess it is a perfect metaphor for marriage.  We are also looking into the far distance, the distant future of two peoples lives, a life chosen to spend together, with a shared vision of future.

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When I first met Anna and Bryn, they both described the other as fun but strong willed. They also described the adventurous spirit they both share. They love to seek new experiences. On this, their wedding day, they chose a theme to help everyone have fun, and get into the spirit.

Surfboard Signing Table

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When they talked about their wedding theme, beach 60’s, I immediately asked if they had considered a surfboard for a signing table.  They instantly took this idea on board. (!!!).

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Ceremony reading

I appreciated their choice of ceremony reading, The Desiderata.  Reading it now one would never believe it was written in 1927, by Max Ehrmann

It counsels:

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.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

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. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, 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.

Wedding _celebrant_60's_wedding_theme7This is what they said;

Kari is a truly special person and made our ceremony very special too. Her choice of words, and affinity with nature and the ocean are unique and was exactly what we were looking for. Working with Kari pre-ceremony was a lovely experience. She is thorough and competent but relaxed with never a stressful moment. We cannot recommend Kari enough. Many of our guests came up and specially complimented us on Kari’s service asking for her details. We feel extremely lucky than we found Kari – she is just brilliant.  

Anna and Bryn

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