Eco Funerals

Eco Funerals

More and more people have the words Eco Funerals and Eco Burials on their lips.  We have heard of eco cemeteries in England. We have heard of the Natural Death Centre in Byron Bay who champion eco funerals.  And we ask are green funeral solutions available on the Sunshine Coast?  The short answer is yes green funerals are available, eco options are around and natural burials will soon be an option.

Engaging your eco values in a funeral for your loved ones is a continuation of life values.

It begins with a holistic approach to the end of life, and continues into the way we say farewell.  Many options are available to families, to make rituals for the end of life more deeply personal and down to earth, and …. green.

Imagine wrapping your dear one in an eco shroud, or an eco coffin.  Imagine using a family car or horse and cart for transport.  Imagine farewelling your loved one in your own garden, on a beach, in the forest.

Imagine a burial ground near forest, that is allowed to return to nature once the graves are buried.  Imagine visiting the site of your dear one, in a leafy forest, and sitting on real ground amongst bird song and breeze.  A place full of natural life and vigour.

What is possible?

When someone dies, it’s natural to be unsure whether you feel shocked, sad, angry, depressed, relieved, guilty, fearful, or all of these at once.  Coping with these feelings while preparing a farewell can be challenging, especially when you think there is a way it all “has to be done”.  You can do things differently. Do things your family way and truly reflect the life you are commemorating.  Sometimes doing something different and taking charge can help.  Sometimes being able to act according to your or their values helps.
Conventional funeral practices work well for many people but may not provide the scope to be as deeply and personally involved as you may need to be. Fortunately, there are other options available with end of life care.  Most people simply aren’t aware that ceremonies, budgets, caring for the dead or even ways of transportation and burial are not set in stone.

Then when it comes to planning a ritual of farewell, you can be involved at every step of the way. AND you can engage your values.

a celebrant for natural funerals and green funerals

A Green Funeral?

Did you know that:

  • A dying wish can be a chance to leave the legacy of a cleaner environment.
  • Green funerals actually do exist.
  • There are a range of eco options for caskets and coffins
  • In Australia we all have the right to be buried in a shroud, a cardboard coffin, a simple wood box or a kaftan if that’s what we want.
  • You can take charge of many of the aspects of a funeral, and not have to pay a business to do everything for you.
  • How do I find out more about Eco Funeral options?

Contact Kari to find out more

Or

Check out what others say about my celebrant services

How to Choose a Celebrant

How to Choose a Celebrant

How do you choose a marriage celebrant. And, what qualities would you look for in a five star celebrant?

Here is a guide to help you choose.

1 or a 5 Diamond Celebrant?

There are no published standards of performance criteria for Celebrants.

However …Dally Messenger, one of Australia’s first celebrants and author of several valuable celebrant texts, wrote the following as a guideline when considering your choice of celebrant:

The No diamond celebrant.

He/she only has a legal view of marriage. The ceremony is not very important. Ceremonies are very short (2-3 minutes). Talks about the law and the forms he has to fill in. — very cheap. Not worth anything really. You’d have to be desperate to book one of these, but, unfortunately, there are plenty of these around.

The One diamond celebrant.

A little bit more humane. Has been known to smile. Does not give clients a real choice (pretends to). Dismisses rehearsals as unnecessary – “waste of your time and mine”. May have one small verse of poetry in a ceremony. Really loves people who say they want something “short and informal” or who start off by saying – “How much do you charge for a wedding?” Many of these are good salesmen and have enough personality to convince you that being one of six weddings in a weekend is fine. When he /she arrives late and dashes out in a mad hurry once the ceremony is over, you become sorry that you hired a cheapie, but then it is too late. There is only one bite at this cherry.

The Two Diamond Celebrant.

Some of my best friends are two diamond celebrants and in certain suburbs they are very popular. They give people a choice (limited). They give a rehearsal of sorts in their lounge room in a quick sort of way. Often they are full of jokes and reassuring banter. They are reasonably interested in the job, but think in terms of numbers i.e how many marriages can they get through in a weekend. If you are not very interested in your wedding ceremony, they are probably good value.

The Three Diamond Celebrant.

They basically have the same mentality as the Two Diamond but provide a better service because they have a PA System. This means that guests hear all the words of the ceremony – a big plus even if the readers are too fast. Music is given some attention but these celebrants do not consider the music to be their responsibility. But you are given a fair choice of ceremony, and a reasonable amount of attention. This celebrant does two or three each weekend.

The Four Diamond Celebrant.

You are now among the professionals. This person has gained qualifications. They take responsibility for all aspects of the ceremony. You have a full choice of ceremony. You get resources and suggestions. There is a productive dialogue about all aspects of your ceremony. They have the attitude that they don’t know it all, and learn something new every ceremony. The onsite rehearsal (unhurried) is a must. Attention is given to readers and slowing them down and making sure they practise. Liaises with musicians and photographers. Musicians are organised close to the wedding party. If CD music is the go, they make sure that a decent CD player with good sound quality is organised. The personal story and the introductions to the readings are well written and personal. You get the full eleven point standard wedding done well. The celebrant is well equipped with good quality PA system. He/ she is impeccably and appropriately dressed. Would never dream of doing more than two weddings in a weekend – but usually one. She makes you feel (and can make you feel) that yours is the most important wedding ever.

The Five Diamond Celebrant.

This is getting hard now. This is about being everything the 4 Diamond status requires. But it is also about being an incurable romantic and loving the job. It is about extra attention to that level of detail, which makes all the difference. It is about the X factor, natural flair, ceremonial skills, sense of humour, sense of dramatic pause. It is about personality AND skill. It’s about beauty in creative writing for speaking, and yes, it is about education – a deep and wide knowledge of what to suggest to you about poetry, music, choreography, ritual and symbolism. Fee? This celebrant is priceless.

A Final note

PS. Some celebrants are good at friendly personality, some are good at marketing, the one you are after may have these qualities – but the one you want should be good at ceremony. A bit like choosing a doctor – the good bedside manner or the one who is expert at diagnosis and operating. It is good if you can find both.

Dally Messenger

International College of Celebrancy

Contact Kari for a 5 diamond celebrant service with care and attention to details, but more importantly for nurturing you towards the best possible ceremony for you.

8 things to say when exchanging wedding rings

8 things to say when exchanging wedding rings

8 things to say when exchanging wedding rings

The question is does one simply place the wedding ring on your dear one’s finger… or do you say something poignant as well?

In this story we explore the background of the wedding ring, but more importantly, what to say at that special moment when you are exchanging rings.  There’s a list of 8 things to say… and plenty more to ponder as well.

AND my free gift to you .. at the end of the story; a little tip for you to take to your wedding.

a pair of wedding rings

Why a wedding ring?

For thousands of years lovers have exchanged a wedding ring as tokens of their vows……
Of course there is no legal imperative to use rings in your ceremony, but it is a custom that most couples still hold dear for their wedding day. A ring is a gift you wear forever as a reminder of your wedding day, and the promises you gave to each other.  It is indeed precious, of course, because it is made from valuable materials; shiny metals and sparkly stones.  Yet the wedding ring is made absolutely treasured because of its symbolism.

The ring connects to the heart

Shakespeare wrote, “Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.” Some believe that the hands are a connection to the heart, and a hand blessing symbolically brings two hearts together.

paired wedding rings making a love heart when put side by side

Your wedding ring

So you’ve been shopping for a wedding ring, trying things on, thinking about what exactly you would like to wear into the future.  All the time anticipating the ceremony, when the ring will be placed on your hand for the first time.

This is something you may not have thought much about. This is where your celebrant comes into the picture to help you with things to say when exchanging your rings.

But before we explore what to say, let’s take a step back and consider the history of the wedding ring.

Where did the wedding ring come from?

According to some historians, the first recorded rings linked with a marriage ceremony date back to the days when early man tied plaited circlets around the Bride’s wrists and ankles to keep her spirit from running away. Approximately 3,000 BC, Egyptians originated the phrase “without beginning, without end” in describing the significance of the wedding ring. These rings were made of woven hemp which constantly wore out and needed replacement.

A gold ring

It was the Romans who originally used iron, gold is now used as a symbol of all that is pure. Diamonds were first used by Italians, who believed that it was created from the flames of love. According to some European cultures, the wedding ring is worn on the right hand. In other cultures, an engagement ring is worn on the left hand, and the wedding ring is worn on the right hand.

his and hers wedding rings set with blue saphires

Which finger?

We all expect wedding rings to go on the left hand ring finger.  It is said that this finger has a vein that goes straight to the heart. Perhaps there is also a Chinese meridian of love making the same connection. However in my celebrant career, I have seen rings on the right hand as per the custom in many European countries.  I have also seen wedding nose rings, wedding ear rings, wedding wrist watches, tattooed wedding rings and more.  And only once have I seen them dropped!!  But that’s another story.

What do I say when I put the ring on his finger?

You need not say anything at all. Sometimes it is what you do that is as important as what you say.  You can simply slide the ring onto his finger… then tug and twist and push until it goes over the knuckle!!! Because generally wedding rings don’t slide on easily!!  I have a tip for that too… but for now read on…

You may like to say a little something. It does not need to be a long message. You have just exchanged vows; the moment which would usually encapsulate your promise. So for the rings exchange need not be wordy.  You are just searching for a few words  to say whilst slipping the ring on your love’s finger

So … drumroll …… here are

8 things you can say when exchanging your wedding rings

  1. With this ring I thee wed
    This is the longtime classic phrase.  The grammar seems old school and a bit foreign. Perhaps it seems a little formal.  But it is very traditional.  And depending on how you say it, can be quite poignant or funny even.
  2. I give you this wedding ing to wear to seal the promises I make to you today
    I guess this outlines the fact that the ring seals a promise of marriage.
  3. I give you this ring as a symbol of my love for you. Let it be a reminder that I am always by your side and that I will always be a faithful partner to you.
    This phrase is kind of an extension to your wedding vows.  It encompasses some of the classic sentiments of marriage, that you want to be faithful.. for always.
  4. I give you this ring as a symbol of my love, my faith in our strength together, and my covenant to learn and grow with you
  5. With this ring, I marry you. With my loving heart. With my willing body. And with my eternal soul.
  6. I give you this ring, as I give to you all that I am, and accept from you, all that you are.
  7. This ring is a circle with no end, just like my love for you. Wear this ring and recall my promise to you today.
  8. As you cherish this ring, so I cherish you

But that’s not all…. there are other options above and beyond 8 things to say when exchanging wedding rings…. You can…..

Or …say it with a poem

A simple and poignant poem is

With this ring, I thee wed
With my body, I thee worship
With my heart, I thee cherish
Would all that I am, I give unto you
Would all that I have, I share with you
From this day until forever done.

Another delightful solution is to choose someone to read the poem, “These are the Hands…” No one seems to know the original author, and it has appeared in several versions. It is also easy to personalise to your own situation. For example, substitute, young for mature, or care for cherish, or the present tense for the past tense for a longer relationship/engagement or for a renewal of vows….. etc. Try this while you exchange rings:

These are the hands, author unknown

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love,

that hold yours on your wedding day.

These are the hands that will work along side yours as you build your future together.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and care for you throughout the years.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief torments your mind and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you struggle, and support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, and help keep your family together as one.

These are the hands that will, countless times, wipe the tears from yours eyes, tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled with age, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch—- a touch from these hands.

What other options are there for a wedding ring?

How about a handfasting ritual or a ring warming. Ask me, I’ll tell you how.

unusual wedding ring with uneven row of set diamonds in gold and silver band

And now that you have read to the end, my tip for those reluctant rings on swollen fingers.

On a wedding day we are so excited our fingers often swell up or go cold or dry, or hot… or anything but normal!!

So if you smear a little paw paw cream or vaseline on the inside of the rings before you place them in the ring box, then you will be surprised how easily they slide onto your fingers during your wedding ceremony.

There you go, my celebrant’s tip for exchanging wedding rings.

Valentine Love is in the air

Valentine Love is in the air

Valentine Love

Valentine Love is the focus of Valentine’s Day, and it is just around the corner. February 14th has become special for lovers.  Yet the risk is that red roses and hallmark cards are stealing the show.  When, in fact a day for love, could be just that… A Valentine Day for love, love and more love.  As John Lennon said, “Love is all you need.”  What’s more it is all we seek, all we want, all we strive for, and that is to love and to be loved.

Love is in the air

Love is really what we have come to appreciate most of all since Covid 19 engulfed our awareness and changed our plans.  But it does give us a pause in the traffic to refocus on love.  Love for self, for kids, for family, for animals, for trees, for land and culture, for the earth.

Valentine’s Day

A Day for Valentines gives us the extra special opportunity to feel and to give love for one’s significant other. That is, the love we feel deep inside every day, not just on one day, Valentine’s Day.  This day gives us pause to acknowledge something we carry inside on all days.  I am reminded of a quote from one of Rumi’s poems,

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
they’re in each other all along.” 

Rumi (13th Century Persian Poet)

A Valentine's Day heart for February 14th

A Valentine Marriage Proposal

Of course many couple’s turn to each other on this day and dare to say, will you marry me?  And that is a romantic gesture like no other, the question which precede’s a life promise.  And for that I am reminded of another more modern English author’s words, those of Neil Gaiman, who said, as part of a speech;

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.
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.
Your hands will meet, 
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.
That’s all I know about love.
Neil Gaiman

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day folks. May your day and your days be filled with love.
Call me after the proposal, and I promise I can help make your Wedding Day even more extraordinary, but oh so real and natural.  Grow a heart tree for your wedding; a love tree, a tree of love, a life of love.

Flaxton Gardens wedding

Flaxton Gardens wedding

A Flaxton Gardens Wedding

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.

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrant

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.

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrant

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!

Fun ceremony

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.

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrant

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrant

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrantFlaxton gardens wedding celebrant

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.

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrant

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrant

Wedding Ceremony

And so the ceremony began…. all tears and smiles mixed in together.  So natural, so authentic, so much fun.

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrant

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrantFlaxton gardens wedding celebrant

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrantFlaxton gardens wedding celebrant Flaxton gardens wedding celebrantFlaxton gardens wedding celebrant

And then they were wed

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrant

Flaxton gardens wedding celebrantFlaxton gardens wedding celebrantFlaxton gardens wedding celebrantThanks to Luke for capturing the wedding fun with his awesome photographs.

Photo Credit @lukemiddlemissphotography

 

 

 

Small weddings or elopement

Small weddings or elopement

Small weddings are all the rage

Since Covid 19 changed our world, and many large weddings were postponed, everyone is considering the benefits of small weddings.

What is an elopement?

An elopement is the classic small wedding.  Traditionally an elopement was a wedding for two; a couple ran away from home to the registry office and wed before anyone knew.  Lovers who were forbidden by family to marry, escaped and married in secret.

With changing culture and autonomy for a couple to decide for themselves, these days an elopement is even more romantic.   Elopements are more considered and often include a few others. Whilst traditionally an elopement was just two people, a celebrant and some witnesses…. it can be so much more.

Small weddings

Small weddings are so easy to organise.  An elopement wedding is a wedding made for two people, the two who matter most.

I have teamed up with amazing photographer Marion Jonkers to create an elopement or small wedding package.  Very affordable beginning at $1500, this package may be all you need to wed in intimate style.

Check out the smiles on Shannon and Tim on their wedding day… a small wedding for an intimate family group. Thanks to Marion Jonkers for the photographs.
And to The Spotted Chook for the venue.

Small Wedding Package

Would you like a small wedding or elopement package for your nuptials?

Consider a simple package of celebrant, photographer (who double’s as a witness) and some beautiful flowers.

Simple and easy. Just turn up.

Photographer

Marion Jonkers is an amazing photographer, who manages to capture all those candid and touching moments.

Flowers

Flowers by Noo, are an extraordinary addition to your package.  She creates large and fragrant bouquets in your chosen colour palette with a matching buttonhole for the groom.