Creative wedding decor

Creative wedding decor

Wedding decor with coconut fronds

Creative Wedding Decor

Decorating your wedding day can be such fun.  There are ideas for special themes, colours or designs.

Sometimes it is helpful to have a specialist help you, sometimes you just want to DIY the entire day.  At a recent wedding at Kenilworth Homestead, Jess co-opted her female family and friends, and they did it all themselves.  From bunting to cocktails, through to vintage teapots full of cottage garden flowers, and hand picked crockery from op-shops.  Read about Jess inspiration.

wedding decor with woven coconut fronds

Something rather different

Here is a totally unique and environmentally friendly solution, not yet seen in any Bridal mag, from local cane, coconut frond and festival artist, Kris Martin.

His new wedding and event decoration business called Artisean was recently launched at a wedding on Stradbroke Island.

The business, based in Mapleton in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, uses natural materials such as bamboo, coconut palm leaf and vines top create fabulous wedding arches, aisles and arbours.

Coconut frond wedding decor

Kris Martin, artist and founder of this creative endeavour is excited to bring some of the magic of the festival and event work that he has been doing for over ten years, to the wedding industry.

Along with his partner Alex, and a team of artists, they have been recognised for their dedication to environmental arts through winning the Glossies award in 2012 (for ‘Ship of Fools’ Project, Floating Land, 2011) and 2011 (for ‘Kabi Canoes’ Project, Woodford, 2010).

Here’s a peek at some of the current designs being developed.  But Kris will design something all new for you too, made to order.  Check out Artisean.

wedding decor with woven coconut fronds and white flowers
wedding decor with florals on woven vines

Something elegant in wedding decor

Carly Laczko runs a gorgeous decorating and wedding planning business, CL Weddings & Events, creating beautiful weddings using simple ingredients that together make that ‘wow’ feeling when guests walk into a room.

elegant table setting for wedding reception

Wedding Styling

Wedding styling can be so variant, from sparkling prettiness to elegant dark shades or charcoals and rich red over to fun vibrant colours that pop with personality. The main aim of styling, Carly espouses, is to ensure it reflects the couple and your personalities together as a couple.

Styling themes

Cl Events’ style is so broad, there really isn’t a certain theme that they don’t like!  And they specialise in creating a theme with the couples name on it, rather than a ‘modern vintage’ or ‘rustic’ tag. Sometimes the best styles are when they get to make a mix of themes to create unique look.

Carly says: “The décor on your day should be handled much like the way you dress, it should fit you.”  

[dt_gallery_masonry bwb_columns=”desktop:3|h_tablet:3|v_tablet:3|phone:2″ image_border_radius=”0px” project_icon_border_width=”0px” include=”40057,40054,40051,40055,40056,40058,40053″]

DIY Wedding Decor

But if it’s DIY you’re into, then check out Jessica and Joel’s wedding decor.

DIY vintage wedding table settings with op shop crockery and florals in teapots

The girls, did it all.  Mum, Aunties, Gran and the bridesmaids all chipped in making all the decor.

It came together over a fun evening the night before the wedding, when the bridal party  went to town in a rustic old Barn.

Here is their story:

something very French

something very French

Something very French

How about something very French for your wedding ceremony.

You may be French.  

You may want a little something French for the sheer chic of it.

You may simply wish to toast your love with champagne.

Whatever the reason there are many French marriage traditions that are delightful.  And of course others that you don’t want your friends to find out too!

As a Sunshine Coast Hinterland wedding celebrant I am always seeking new ways to create ritual within ceremony; finding ways to show something, rather than say something.  And there are so many multicultural rituals to draw from, and rework to fit two people getting married, like Lucy and Neil did.

Lucy and Neil had spent a long and memorable holiday in France.  They remembered it as a very special time in their relationship; in their burgeoning love.

So when they decided to marry they wished to include something a little French in their marriage ceremony.  In fact they had brought some special Champagne back from France, from the real Champagne region where they make the only true Champagne.  (Everywhere else produces sparkling wine did you know?)

Champagne and roses

Now in the region of France where champagne is created, the traditional vineyards often cultivate roses at the ends of each row of grape vines.  They look wonderful, yes, and smell fabulous when in flower, but it is not for the romance that the grape growers plant the roses.

Why the roses in French vineyards?

The rose plays a special and important role in the production of the grapes.  Being extremely sensitive to changes in the soil, reacting quickly to disease or invasion, they are the canary in the vineyard.  The same diseases attack the grape vines, but the rose gives an early warning that something is amiss.  The grower gets a head start in making the necessary changes.    If the blooms are beautiful and abundant, then everything is fine.  Should the rose wither or wilt, grow mould or develop leaf curl then the growers know something is amiss and they take action before their grapes are affected.  The rose works for its keep!

A partnership between rose and grape

We have therefore a partnership between the rose and the grape.  What does this have to do with wedding ritual?  We’re getting there….. and read on.

The Rose de Reims biscuits

In the district of Champagne France, there is another culinary tradition.  In a typical French style where food is closely linked to every aspect of life, the rose petals are used to flavour special biscuits, les biscuits rose de reims – a crisp sweet treat that melts in the mouth. It is not your usual Sunday afternoon tea cookie. The Biscuits Rose de Reims are twice baked and become crisp and not crumbly, delightfully crunchy without falling apart.

A tradition used to celebrate special occasions is the partnering of the les Biscuits Rose de Reims and real Champagne.

Imagine the crossroads of bubbles and roses.

On a special occasion the biscuits are dipped into glasses of champagne and eaten with the celebratory drink.

Individually they are unique and very special, Rose de Reims and Champagne.

But put them together and WOW! What a pair.

What a pair

Is this the kind of symbol you could have to celebrate your union in marriage?

So having decided on something a little French, where else to be wed than the Spotted Chook Ferme Auberge, a French provincial styled country Inn in Montville on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Range.

Congratulations to Lucy and Neil, married in Montville, with Champagne and Les Biscuits Rose de Reims.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kari is a special person with a beautiful spirit and a unique gift of putting people at ease. She was so adaptable and knew when to step in to help us and offer some creative and fabulous ideas; however, she also knew when to listen to what we wanted. We were a little nervous about the whole process but Kari made us feel comfortable and excited about our ceremony. On the day, Kari created a loving and relaxed atmosphere amongst all of our friends and family and our ceremony was a dream. Both my husband Neil and I agree that the ceremony was the most special part of our day. We are so happy that we worked with Kari as we now have beautiful memories that last a lifetime. Thanks, Kari. Lucy and Neil

Photos by AWPP of Montville

Read another story about a French wedding

A truckload of red wheel barrows

A truckload of red wheel barrows

 ~ with Sunshine Coast wedding celebrant Kari ~

What does a truckload of wheel-barrows have to do with ceremony?  Intrigued? read on….

Ritual and ceremony find a place in many different contexts.

Marriage celebrant Kari recently had the opportunity to be a part of an unusual ritual and an extraordinary project in Bali, Indonesia.

Instigator of the endeavour, Kay Parslow had this to say,

Project 50 started as a simple idea to make the working lives of a group of women from the Balinese village of Pennestanan, a little easier, but also to foster friendship and to make connections with another culture.”

In every respect Kay has achieved her goals, with the help of a group of Australians willing to be a part of Project 50.

But to begin at the beginning….

Two years ago whilst basking in her thatched cottage overlooking some Balinese rice fields, it dawned on Kay that she had been watching a line of women carrying tin dishes of bricks, rocks and gravel on their heads; to and fro along a narrow concrete path.  These women carry building materials from the roadside dump point, along narrow paths, to the actual building site in the rice fields, many 100’s of meters away.  They do this all day, every day, as long as there is work.

 

In an endeavour to give back to the community she was staying with, Kay bought some new tin dishes for the women.  It soon transpired that there were many more women than one woman could help.

On her return to Australia she hatched a plan to connect a group of working women in Australia with a group of working women in Bali.  She garnered support from 50 Australians, each one donating a small sum of money to a pool of funds.  These funds were initially used to buy new tin dishes, new hats, shoes, shirts and cement to repair the bumpy path, but in the back of her mind, Kay was thinking wheel barrows.  It may be OK to carry vegies from the market on one’s head as per centuries of tradition, but rocks and bricks were ‘breaking the camels’ backs’.

Recently I had the opportunity to take Project 50 funds to Bali with husband Stephen and father Peter.  As a donor, I was keen to make sure that our assistance did not have any negative impacts on the local community.  This recent experience taught me that it is not as easy as it sounds to donate equipment to a community.  The gift could be fraught with concerns of creating imbalance, or false need, or upsetting local systems.

To overcome these fears and potential problems it was important to talk,….lots of talk, and give opportunity for the women themselves to speak.  Having fluency in the Indonesian language as one of my skills was crucial to this aspect of the project.

My first task was to have a round table dicussion with the women on their working lives and how they could benefit from extra assistance.  The conversation began gently; I clarified, that the donors were working women of Australia who wished to help working women of Bali.  They too had jobs, families and husbands.  Perhaps I rolled my eyes at this point, but it seemed to break the ice, and much laughter ensued.  Suddenly the stories were flowing.  Children, husbands, families; we realised we had so much in common, and the cultural barriers dropped.  It was now a conversation amongst women of the world.

It transpired that they had already started using wheel-barrows; borrowed and begged from building sites.  Yes they would love to own their own working tools.  The message was clear.

Funds were used to buy 28 wheel-barrows and pairs of rubberised gloves.  Thanks to last minute donors, my parents , for pitching just as our funds were running out, in to buy the final barrow to complete the groups needs.

*****

The celebrant in me wondered if ritual was appropriate at the hand over moment.  Checking this idea with my wise friends and local facilitators of Project 50, brother and sister team Made Yus and Wayan Murda, it was decided to be a great idea.  These two Balinese have been generous and willing locals in facilitating the Project 50 goals.  We are very grateful for their wisdom, guidance and warm friendship.

*****

 

The truck arrived laden with red barrows, and the women gathered.  With Dad on documentation duty and Made Yus and Wayan Murda standing by we began our humble but poignant ceremony.   A blessing was created, encompassing the donors and the recipients; a kind of prayer from Australian working women to Balinese working women.

Using water from the rice fields, in a locally made ceramic pot, adorned by the face of Barong who keeps the good spirits around and the bad spirits at bay, scented with drops of lavendar oil, each woman and barrow was blessed, one by one; water poured over their hands and barrows.  We wiped our faces and chests with the moisture, bringing the blessing deep into our hearts, and washing ourselves with intent.  It is very Balinese, but alo connects with rituals held the world over.  It was a solemn moment ripe with promise. It was a deeply felt moment full of friendship.

I gave this belssing to the women, their families, their barrows and the families who would benefit from their work.  In a country where ritual is part of everyday life, this moment was appreciated and respected.  Each woman felt she had received more than simply a tool for work.  She felt the energy of Project 50, and the dream of Kay, who commented, “this is where I think ceremony plays such an integral part….in making heartfelt connections and formalising relationships…giving context to form and garnering respect between parties. I love that the Project ended with a ceremony….. completed the circle making strong connections with another culture”.

*****

For the following week, myself, my father and husband had a string of friendly greetings each time we walked the paths.  “Halo, halo”.

From each and every woman, we received 100’s of genuine, heartwarming and grateful thanks.  No gift that I have ever given has been more appreciated.

We carry these messages to the donors.

On our final day, we came home to find a pile of fruit on our doorstep, a return gift from the women of Project 50.  This project had ceased to be about the comparatively wealthy giving to the poor, but now an exchange, of friendship.  I felt the Project had come full circle.

 *****

As Kay says, “The women have benefited on a material level with new hats, shoes, shirts, cement to repair some of their paths, aluminium tins and the recently purchased wheelbarrows. There is a hope that their lives, as well as ours, have been enriched in other ways by the experience.

Buying wheelbarrows was the first idea that came to mind so in a sense it feels like the Project has come to completion. It was impossible to imagine that two years on our actions have actually resulted in the women keeping their jobs, as now having a wheelbarrow, is a prerequisite to employment.

I feel many lives have been enriched, certainly mine, by a very humbling experience.  I return home full of appreciation for what those women gave to me.  It was a teary farewell, as they urged us to come back soon.

Photos by Peter Strickland

A Wedding in French and English

A Wedding in French and English

He carried his bride over the threshold

~ with Sunshine Coast wedding celebrant Kari ~

Congratulations to Fanny & Tommi married in both French and English at Flaxton Gardens in brilliant sunshine.

Fanny contacted me to request a marriage ceremony on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Range, that both her family and Tommi’s family could understand.  In fact they wanted the entire ceremony in both languages!  Now there’s a challenge I love.

I always offer to create bespoke ceremonies to suit each couple, so that part was not difficult.  For Fanny and Tommi, I simply had to translate the custom ceremony into French as well.  Now whilst I converse in passable French, I will admit to seeking guidance from my dear French friends, to ensure the grammar was all correct.

The outcome was a delightful ceremony ….read twice, as French & English took turn about during the ceremony!  On top of the usual wedding day nerves, both bride and groom made their promises to each other, first in their love’s language, then in their own.  It is not an easy task when one of those languages is not your mother tongue.  The guests were particularly encouraging, and warmly congratulated them for their efforts.  It made for amusing times as half the guests would laugh then moments later the other half got the joke!  As long as everyone understood, in the long run.

the red kombi arroives at Flaxton Gardens for a wedding

Fanny surprised us all arriving in a retro red Kombi with her two beautiful sisters and her charming father, all of whom had travelled from France to be here for Fanny’s day.  She walked down the aisle on the arm of her Dad, under brilliant blue skies to her waiting groom, Tommi.  Their ceremony was not complicated; simple and chic, elegant yet relaxed, with some laughs and I noticed some tears of emotion too.

Tommi and Fanny I wish you well in your future lives together and congratulate on including both your mother tongues in your wedding ceremony.  Thank you for the opportunity to use your poetic and musical sounding language.

One of the specialities I can offer couples, is a ceremony with other languages.  Some of the requests I have fulfilled are a French poem,  a prayer in Afrikaans, and a blessing in Sanskrit, to name a few.  My background as a musician means I have a trained ear for catching sounds.  So even when I do not speak the language, I will learn something in your tongue for you.  I’ll try anything, and with a bit of practice I have delivered so far.

However two languages are my specialty.  I speak fluent Indonesian, having lived there for years in my youth, and Fanny says my French was perfect. Well at least her family who flew out from France for the wedding day could understand the whole ceremony, and not feel at all left out.

It simply helps to know that a wedding in Australia can encompass whatever tradition or culture you wish to include.  Languages are no barrier, and I welcome customs from other traditions.

Photos by Alan Hughes

“Thanks Kari for everything you have done.  We had a great day and the ceremony was amazing; your french was perfect 😉 Thanks again” Fanny

[dt_gallery_masonry bwb_columns=”desktop:3|h_tablet:3|v_tablet:3|phone:2″ image_border_radius=”0px” project_icon_border_width=”0px” include=”40021,40017,40018,40015,40016,40022,40023,40029,40019,40020,40024,40025,40026,40027,40028,40030,40031,40032,40014″]
Valentine love

Valentine love

Valentine love

Valentines Day makes us think about love; a valentine love.

 

Love poetry of Rumi

And the poetry of Rumi is often about love, in the deepest sense.  Just like a wedding vow or marriage proposal.  His poetry is not a Hallmark giftcard message.  The love poetry of Rumi makes us pause and think, helps us to go deeper and reflect what love means inside and how to show it outside.

 

Your task is not to seek for love
but merely to seek and find all the barriers
within yourself that you have built against it

Rumi

Love is the Water of Life
Drink it down with heart and soul!
Rumi
 
 
 
The springtime of Lovers has come,
that this dust bowl may become a garden;
the proclamation of heaven has come,
that the bird of the soul may rise in flight.
The sea becomes full of pearls,
the salt marsh becomes sweet as kauthar,
the stone becomes a ruby from the mine,
the body becomes wholly soul.
Rumi
 

A Hindu wedding ceremony

A Hindu wedding ceremony

~ with Sunshine Coast wedding celebrant – Kari.

You are thought and I am sound. 
I am the words and you are the melody. 
I am the melody and you are the words.”
 

Congratulations Belinda & Biju, married in an Australian Hindu wedding ceremony on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.  

Belinda and Biju came to me requesting an unusual wedding ceremony.  Biju comes from India and wished to include several Hindu elements into the ceremony.  Belinda is Australian and wanted a wedding ceremony that reflected this land and the traditions of Australia. And so we wove a truly multicultural ceremony, an occasion to honour both cultures.

The Golden statue was centre of the setting; an altar to Ganesha.  Around the statue were placed several ceremonial objects; a candle, flowers and fruit in offering to Ganesh.  The theme colours were vibrant and alive; deep pink, bold red, fragrant yellow and burnt orange.  Gerberas in all these flame colours were placed around Ganesh.

And for the fun of colour and festive atmosphere, paper lanterns in deep orange and pink were hung in the branches of the centuries old fig tree; an ancient witness to the sacredness of the celebration.

Biju was very confident when he asked me, the celebrant, to sing the essential incantations in the Sanskrit language.  For who else would do it, he asked.  And so I did!  His trust helped me to learn the appropriate blessings, and the role they played in the ceremony.  And I sang for this lovely couple, to bless their married lives.

Photos by Darren Frankish of Kish Photography

In any culture marriage is a sacred and treasured union.  According to Hinduism, marriage between two persons is a sacred relationship that is not limited to this life alone.  It extends across seven or more lives, during which the couple help each other progress spiritually.  The adage that marriages are made in heaven is very much true in the case of Hinduism.  Two souls come together and marry because their karmas are intertwined and they have to resolve many things together upon earth in order to ensure their mutual salvation.

In an ancient Hindu text it is said that when the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man, the angels abandon heaven and go sit with the couple and sing for joy.  Just looking around the guests we could see the angels present.

In Hinduism every auspicious occasion begins with an invocation to Lord Ganesha. Blessings are sought for a ceremony that will be free from impediments and for a marriage free from all hardships and obstacles.  Ganesha’s grace is invoked for the health, happiness, prosperity, and peace of the bride and groom and their families. The offerings included flowers for beauty, coconut for fertility, rice for sustenance, and sweets to ensure a sweet life! 

The ceremony included many traditions and customs from a Hindu Wedding in India, involving the family, water and fire, and song and walking circles around Ganesha and the altar.

A special moment is when the bride and groom take seven steps; steps towards their lives together, a set of wedding vows,

On the first step;       Together we shall cherish each other in sickness and health, in happiness and sorrow

On the second step;       Together we shall be lifelong friends

On the third step;       Together we shall share each other’s ideals

On the fourth step;       Together we shall nurture each other’s strengths, talents, and aspirations

On the fifth step;       Together we shall make each other happy

On the sixth step;       Together we shall love, provide and care for our children and our families

On the seventh step;       Together we will look forward to the mysteries of the future with awe, open-mindedness, and inspiration

We have taken the seven steps.  You have become mine forever.  Yes, we have become partners.  I have become yours.  Hereafter, I cannot live without you.  Do not live without me.  Let us share the joys.  We are word and meaning, united.  You are thought and I am sound.  I am the words and you are the melody.  I am the melody and you are the words.

These vows are poignant and poetic.  They are not dissimilar to vows from an Australian ceremony. Walking around the altar added an extra poetry to the steps of marriage they undertook.  I congratulate Belinda and Biju on blending their two cultures seemlessly and with great love and patience.

As a marriage celebrant I am often requested to accommodate the unusual.  This is my specialty.  I have sung in sanskrit, read in Afrikaans, waxed poetic in French, and played my wooden flute or lap harp.  Just ask me, you never know what I will agree to!