meeting love stories

meeting love stories

Love Stories

The young girl who shared her love of flowers, the couple who want to marry by a lake for a very interesting reason, the girls with their eye on a beach ceremony, the couple who want something a little different to the norm, the woman who wants simple elegance for her daughter, le couple qui veut se marier au printemps, the guy who proposed under water…and more.  Yesterday was a great day for stories….. Food for my soul.

Meeting you

Meeting people is one of the beautiful aspects of my job as a celebrant. It may sound cliched, but its true.  Getting to know people more intimately, hearing their love stories is actually what makes my job the best in the world. I am eternally grateful for the stories that are shared with me.

Often at wedding events I meet many people seeking inspiration for their wedding.  Marion Jonkers Photography shared the following lovely image, taken as she walked past my stall.  And thank you to Willow Bud Flowers for the inspiring bottles of blooms.  And thanks to all those people who shared their dreams, their wishes, their desires and their love stories.

Kari celebrant at wedding expo hearing love stories

Hearing Your Love Stories

The stories that are shared with me are precious. Some have said, “one day you could write a book…”.  Well actually I don’t need to publish the book.  The stories I tell are for particular occasions for specific people and places; an intimate tale for a ceremony. A wedding, commitment or indeed a funeral or baby naming ceremony are about stories.  Real stories of people’s lives. They are fascinating, deep, layered and unique tales of individual lives.  They tell tales from a particular perspective and experience.  With these shared stories I can weave a ceremony that is a real reflection of real lives.

Let me write and tell your love story.

I look forward to helping tell the stories of some couples who I met at a recent wedding expo. The glimpses had were enough to entice me to want to explore these stories more deeply.

The stories I mentioned briefly, well these are the stories that make my job the best in the world.

Well that and sipping champagne in the bath! (Thanks to Marion Jonkers for this image as well!)

toasting a wedding from the bathroom - a cheeky moment
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

DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

Jess and Jesse married at Verrierdale Community Hall on the Sunshine Coast. Their DIY wedding was a grand party with loads of laughter.

When Jess met Jesse, it was love almost instantly. Laughs are the hallmark of their love and their life.  And they are the only ones who don’t get the names confused!!! But as a marriage celebrant, it took supreme focus to marry Jess to Jess, without getting my tongue totally tied!!

Their DIY wedding was so much fun.

A Love Story

Eight years ago Jess met Jesse, two happy people recognised something in each other’s smiles. It was instant attraction.

Jess recalls thinking to herself, “I could marry that boy”. Little did she know!

What I noticed as a wedding celebrant, is that these two match.  It was evident from the first instant; their smiles, their bubbly, cheery selves that radiated a relaxed and joyous energy to all around them.  They love to explore, embrace the ocean, surf, swim, walk and run beside it, immerse themselves in it. Jess loves his generous soul, how her man will do anything for anyone. He just loves her, all of her. He appreciates her energetic and strong will. They know that each other is the best friend they could find in this world, feeling completely at ease together.

And that brought them to Verrierdale Hall. It was a time to pause, look back, and smile at all the moments that brought them to their wedding day. And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come.  Marriage does not change what is already there, a strong commitment; a tried and true relationship. It adds another layer of commitment to something already strong and wondrous.  Jess said he wanted to marry because she is a super chilled out chick who loves the ocean and outdoors as much as he.  Their relationship in two words; relaxed.

It could be said that marriage changes everything and nothing.  I know these two did not marry lightly. They have considered what it means to marry, a symbol of deep love, understanding and a promise of a commitment already held. And before they settle and embrace a family of their own they wished to be married, and vow an indefinite future to each other. But more importantly they wanted a huge celebration for all their friends, and family.

Lucky us eh!  Sweet of them to consider all of us so much.

Congratulations to Jess and Jesse, you two are perfect for each other.

“Thank you for an incredible day 😊You were awesome!!! ” Jess Hart

Thanks to Carly and Co Photography for the brilliant images featured in this real Sunshine Coast wedding story

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

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

A Russian Wedding tradition

A Russian Wedding tradition

We do not live by bread alone, and we cannot survive without salt. In Russia there is a wedding tradition….

But first a story.

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I remember from childhood a story about three sisters, the daughters of a king.  He asked of them, “How much do you love me?”

One replied, “Father I love you like all the diamonds in your crown.”

Another said, “Daddy, I love you as much as all the gold in your vault.”

The third thoughtfully and simply said, “Dad, I love you like salt”.

Unfortunately the king did not appreciate this sentiment, and banished his daughter from his kingdom.

Many years later, during his travels as an ageing man, he stumbled across another far away kingdom, and was welcomed by the royal family.  Not recognising his long lost daughter at the head of the family, she served up a banquet with no salt.  The food was tasteless and terrible, and he spat out the food saying it was inedible.

So she brought to the table a bowl of salt and asked if he wished to add this to the food. “Father, I still love you like salt. I meant that life is not only tasteless without you, I can not live without you.”

There is a Russian wedding tradition of bread and salt.  And it is Alex and Scott who introduced me to this tradition.

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So in love

So congratulations to Alex and Scott married with such joy at Maleny Manor.

Alex and Scott were a delight from day one.  They are so in love, and out to have fun, yet are very comfortable with their respective heritage.IMG_2704

In recognition of Alex’s Russian background she chose to honour a tradition passed down the line of women in her family. And what women!  Her Mother and Auntie came out from Germany and Russia to make it happen!

       Bread and Salt

There is a Russian wedding tradition of Bread and Salt.

“Bread is the head of everything”. This Russian proverb explains the importance of bread in Russia for many centuries.

Bread is life and bread is hospitality.

Salt is a symbol of wealth and prosperity.

The night before the wedding day, Alex’s Mum, Marina and Aunt Ira baked a special bread with salt in the centre.  At the completion of their wedding ceremony, Alex and Scott broke the bread, dipped it in salt and shared this gift of food with each other.  It was a touching moment, a nod to family and a sweet (or should I say tasty) completion to a ceremony.

This tradition symbolises that they’ll never be without the necessities of life and they will always take care of each other.  And I trust that in this case they always will.

This is what they said:

From the very first meeting we were sure that our ceremony was in good hands with Kari.

We felt an instant connection and understanding by her of who we are and what our relationship is all about. The writing of the ceremony was painless, easy and just wonderful, including many personal touches and a great flow. Communication was effortless and we had the most wonderful ceremony reflecting who we truly are. We received many compliments from our family and friends on our ceremony and it will be a treasured part of our magical wedding day.

Thank you Kari! You are all that we ever wished for and more!

Alexandra & Scott

Thank you to Talitha and James from Artography for the wonderful images.