Soren the eagle brings the wedding rings

Soren the eagle brings the wedding rings

And who brings the rings?

There is that moment in a wedding when the marriage celebrant looks up and asks who brings the wedding rings.

Sometimes its grandma. Occasionally a favourite pet or a child with a cushion.

Generally it is the moment for the Best Man to pat every pocket in his suit and pretend he has forgotten the rings. It gets a little laugh, and then he breaks out in a smile and fishes a ring box from his pocket.

I encourage this little game to lighten the mood at a wedding ceremony. The best man has his moment of fame, and everyone is relieved that nothing is going to go wrong. “Just joking”, his smile says!

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From the beginning

Jason and April’s wedding began like expected.  Jason waited patiently for his bride, accompanied by his groomsmen. As the marriage celebrant I waited with the guys, calming them about late brides & would she arrive.

Held on the shores of Lake Baroon in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, at Secrets On the Lake, we all enjoyed being outside in the warm sun with rainforest all around.

The girls soon arrived, to oohs and aahs, and the wedding ceremony got underway.

It was, so far, what the guests expected; a little emotional, some laughs, a sweet and funny love story.

The ceremony approached the moment to exchange rings.

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What if he doesn’t?

But what happens when the best man looks genuinely worried, and gives a meaningful but slight shake to his head, looking back at the celebrant with a “Don’t ask me!” expression on his face.

I continued the charade and asked him to check all his pockets.  Fortunately Matt was a good sport, and didn’t mind when we all looked at him expectantly.    He just continued to shake his head and look at me, the celebrant, with expectation.  Perhaps he might have guessed something was up.  Note the groom looking away…..

Enter an eagle

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Suddenly everyone felt the air above their heads move, as Soren the eagle swooped down almost touching the hairdos of the entire guestlist.

There were many audible gasps as the wind from his wings lifted spirits in surprise, startled us all and brought an emotional tear even to my eye.  At that moment I felt the awe of nature, of the power in one creature, the wonder in life around us.  This huge bird swooped over us all, and landed on the arm of Jason, the Groom who by this stage had donned a leather glove for protection.

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Soren

Soren, the eagle, is specially trained to carry wedding rings.  They hang from his tresses on his ankles.  Paul, his trainer keeps a nature refuge, a training and conservation centre for wounded animals.  Soren is a star of Broadwings Events.

Paul very kindly allowed me to hold Soren for a photo after the ceremony and photos were over. I can assure you there is  nothing like holding a powerful bird on your arm, and experiencing a wild creature so close.Wedding_with_an_eagle18

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Allowing nature in

Many say that the presence of water blesses a marriage like no other.  There is plenty of water at Secrets on the Lake, one of the most beautiful wedding venues on the Sunshine Coast.  The lake over which the tree houses look is actually the drinking water for this area.  It is special water, clean water, and was a very special blessing for this couple.  To honour the place and the water, April and Jason chose a finale ritual for their wedding.

The pebble toss…

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Guests were invited  to participate in a Celtic wedding tradition, that of the Pebble Toss.  Stones were handed  to each guest at the conclusion of the ceremony.  Behind this tradition is the notion that natural things can anchor a thought.  It is important that water is involved in the pebble toss.  Water is the element that represents emotion and spirit. In a wedding it is about wishing prosperity and flow.  The stone is the carrier of  wishes and prayers, happy hopes and cheeky thoughts for April and Jason’s future.

Holding their pebble for a moment, each guest waited by the shores of the lake.  Imbued with warm thoughts and story the stones were tossed into the water, sending wishes into the ether to come true for April and Jason.

Thanks to Malin from Love Is A Place Photography for the images.

This is what the couple said:

Kari was one of the vital pieces of our wedding that we couldn’t have done without.  We are so glad to have chosen her as our celebrant after a lot of careful searching.  We were quite lost as what we wanted, but she listened carefully and crafted for us an amazing ceremony which both we and our guests loved.  She also helped us keep our “ring delivery” secret a huge surprise from everyone (rings flown in via wedge-tailed eagle).   Kari is a fantastic celebrant and also a truly talented lady.  I hope many other couples get to experience the same joy she brings to their ceremonies too.  April & Jason

See this wedding story in pictures by Malin from Love Is A Place Photography :

Read about another unusual ring bearer:

a naughty wedding veil

a naughty wedding veil

A marriage celebrant well might ask, “What does one do with a naughty wedding veil during a wedding ceremony?” Hmmmm….

Congratulations to Gayle and Keith who were married on top of the hill at Ruffles Lodge on the Gold Coast Hinterland.

married on thelawn

But my story gets ahead of itself.  Let’s back track a little….
With spectacular views down to the coast, the exclusive mountain retreat is simply gorgeous.  Gayle and Keith chose this place so their family and friends could all join the retreat and have some time away from the hum of life in a relaxed and luxurious location.

So the groom and his blokes are waiting on the lawn, the guests are assembled.

Beautiful Gayle arrives on the arm of her Dad, her long bridal veil trailing behind.

Here Comes the Bride

The ceremony begins, and the breeze picks up a little. Not looking too naughty yet!

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Slowly the naughty wedding veil starts to make an entrance.

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The wedding veil wafts romantically around, then starts to assert itself more strongly until a moment is made
behind which a bride and groom could steal a kiss!

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We laugh, and finally a Bridesmaid catches the cheeky veil and tames it a little for the rest of the ceremony.

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the first wedding kiss

the first wedding kiss

That’s what bridesmaids are for!  Just one of the many jobs a bridesmaid takes in her stride on her friend’s wedding day!
Thanks girls.

Check out the amazing purple and lilac.  What glorious colours!!!

And thank you to Justin from Bush Turkey Studio for the photos.

“Kari, Thank you for your help for our ceremony in October, it was everything we were looking for. You were fantastic!” Gayle & Keith

bridesmaids dressed in purple who tamed the naughty wedding veil
Unusual buttonholes for groomsmen

Unusual buttonholes for groomsmen

Unusual Buttonholes for grooms

Even the celebrant received a buttonhole for this particular wedding….. more on that a bit later….

But first – Preparing the bridal party

It can be such fun preparing for your wedding ceremony.  Once the reception venue and marriage celebrant are booked, and a few legalities for marriage in Australia taken care of, then the fun of creating your wedding day look begins.

You’ve chosen your bridal party, been shopping for bridesmaid dresses, and selected your bouquets.  The girls are set.

Now for the Groomsmen

Attention turns towards the blokes. Hmmm, you have chosen a suit or casual attire, and the shoes, added funky coloured socks or an outrageous tie. Perhaps you’ve added a vintage flair like braces or waistcoats.

pinning the buttonhole on the groomsmen

Next you turn your attention to the groomsmen’s buttonholes.

Most couple’s would try to match the buttonhole to the girls bouquets.

It can be as simple as a rose pinned on a lapel.

pinning a white rose on the jacket of the groom at a sunshine coast wedding

Or something a little more fancy with a leaf curled behind.

And may I say that I have pinned on dozens of groom’s buttonholes.

The pinning process

Could I even consider myself a master of the pinning the buttonhole on the groom? Does it sound like a party game?

Actually, there are ways to make sure the groom’s buttonhole doesn’t flop or droop. And you may ask why do the florists provide two pearl ended pins?

The answer is to stop the droop!  One up one down.  I

As a celebrant, I have become an expert in pinning buttonholes in a manner to stop the droop.

Did you know there are other buttonhole alternatives! The buttonhole does not have to be flowers.

Renée and Gareth are a funky modern couple, with clever ideas, and a fabulous wit.  Their wedding was particularly unique, and will be featured in another story to come.  Today we peek at their buttonhole ideas.

Unusual buttonholes

They chose lego characters for each of their bridal party, including the bridesmaids who carried them with their flowers.  Each lego character is a humorous reflection of the role or person who wears it.  Here is a peek at the bridal party all lined up….at the altar.

lego men decorations for the bridal party of an unusual theme at a wedding. Each member of the bridal party had their own character

Check out these on the wedding day:

robot lego man buttonhole for the groomsman

Chicken costume  lego man buttonhole for the groomsman

businessman with briefcase lego man buttonhole for the groomsman

And for the Groom…..

skinhead lego man buttonhole for the groomsman

And for the piece de resistance…..

They even provided one for the celebrant.

Thanks guys form the bottom of my heart.

Thanks for including the celebrant (the ringmaster) in your design.  I am humbled.

master of ceremonies lego man buttonhole for the wedding celebrant

For another creative look at wedding flowers check out Cherie and Josh’s story:

A Slow Pilgrimage

A Slow Pilgrimage

Tuesday Pilgrims

My husband and I are Tuesday Pilgrims.  Each Tuesday, our day off, we walk the beach.  The first Tuesday we began at Cotton Tree, on the Sunshine Coast, and headed south along the coastline. Returning after a long walk, we sought a cafe, for a caffeine and cake fix.

The following Tuesday we began where we left off the previous week.  And so it goes each Tuesday. We walk as far as feels good on the day, then retrace our steps along the beach back to the start of the day. So actually we have done the whole length twice!  No matter the weather, no matter the tide, we walk.

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Long Beach Walk

So far we have made it as far as the Caloundra beaches, beginning at Cotton Tree.

Our destination is the path.  The path is the coastline.  It’s not an arduous journey.  We seek sustenance and caffeine at a local nook after each walk. It’s our Tuesday thing.

We are Tuesday pilgrims

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So why pilgrimage?

I call it a slow pilgrimage; spaced out over time, it is timeless.  There is no time constraint as each Tuesday presents a new opportunity to continue the journey.

I call it a pilgrimage.

My husband challenges that description!

So I asked him, what would constitute a pilgrimage? What qualities does it take?

He answered that a true pilgrimage would:

1. Follow a ritual or tradition within a culture, religion or practice, or fulfil a cultural or spiritual requirement

2. Aim for a destination

3. Involve challenges, or be a testing journey

4. Involve hope or faith in a spiritual reward as a result of achieving the destination/goals of the pilgrimage.

“Well”, I say, “It has been rather challenging finding a decent cafe some Tuesdays!!!”  He laughs!

But it made me think.  Why would I call it pilgrimage?  For me it’s about finding a tradition; a new way.  The commitment is to the time taken away from the hum of usual life to follow one of nature’s paths, the coastline. The destination is the beach, the sand, the sea, the elements in all their rawness. Neither storms or heat keeps us from going.  We go regardless, and enjoy the weather of that day, or the surf, or the rain on our hair, or the wind whipping up the sand onto our legs.

And the reward?  It is our smiles as we trek back along that day’s length of beach, realising we have once again taken time to relish the incredible place that is a privilege to make our home.

I achieve a kind of spiritual peace and happiness on a Tuesday.  I have reached my destination.

A new definition of pilgrimage

So my new definition of pilgrimage?

It is TIME plus a way to decide the journey’s PATH.

It does not need a specific destination, just a path to travel on. Of course historically the destination is important.  Pilgrims have sought Mecca, or Jerusalem, Uluru, head waters or healing waters. But I would argue that  pilgrimage can be about the path alone, and what that particular path has to teach us.

Maya Ward expounds on this rather eloquently in her book, The Comfort of Water : a river pilgrimage.  She walked the path of the river from the sea to the source., learning from the river as she went.  Her journey is certainly modern and ancient pilgrimage, all at the same time.  I relish her descriptions of pilgrimage and place.

My Tuesday Pilgrimage is not in the same league.

But it is only a Tuesday pilgrimage after all.

It gives me an opportunity to learn from whatever Tuesday experiences are tossed our way.

 

 

One day we were devastated by the amount of dead mutton birds (actually Short Tailed Shearwaters)along the beach. Challenged by weather along their migration from Russia to the southern coasts, many don’t make it.  Their very real annual pilgrimage is a true testing journey, and part of their survival.  We found one, tired but very alive.  This one may eventually make it after a spell with Seabird Rescue volunteers.

My pilgrimage by no means has anything to do with survival.  Yet my well being has improved with Tuesday Pilgrimage in my life.  I have more to give because of it. I am very grateful.

Felt flowers wedding bouquet

Felt flowers wedding bouquet

Have you considered felt flowers for your wedding bouquet? Here is a story of a couple who did…. and how they sourced these amazing flowers for a wedding bouquet that reflected their exact choice of blooms.

Congratulations to Cherie and Josh on their stunning wedding on the Mooloolaba Spit Parklands.

Would it rain, would it not???  A teensy drop of drizzle chased all the beach-goers away, and left the whole beach and parklands to Cherie and Josh for their wedding.  Thank you sky.  Thanks for the cooling blessing of a drop of water, AND for a rain free wedding ceremony.

Rain and Retro

However today’s story is not of rain blessings, nor of beach and delightful parks for a wedding.

Nor is it even about their choice of retro styling their wedding, nor arrival in the heritage red kombi van from Deluxe Kombis. Although I must admit I did appreciate the beautiful restored ruby kombi parked next to my own retro car, a pt cruiser… However I divert myself.

Felt Flowers

Cherie and Josh inspired me with their choice of flowers.  Flowers in the glass bulbs hanging in trees, flowers at the belt of the flower girls, in lapels of groomsmen and in the hands of bridesmaids and bride. But all made from felt.

Cherie found them on Etsy, from a gorgeous maker in Albania called Livija Kandele, who showcases her felted creations on her daughter’s Etsy shop.  By the time wedding flower styles and colours had been negotiated, they were firm friends.  Cherie tells me she will miss her weekly online chat with her new friend, the felter.  Livija, a craftswoman from Albania, wove her creativity into new realms with the design of new flowers especially for this Australian wedding by the beach.

Cherie said: “She had never made wedding flowers before, but sells hand and needle felted brooches, toys and various homeware items, on her daughter’s Etsy store- Liga Kandele.  I actually began talking with Liga initially who coordinated with her mother, and took professional photos of the work to send me as her mother progressed.  Livija agreed that she would be happy to give wedding flowers a try, and I ended up speaking back and forth with both mother and daughter about the detail of the flowers quite regularly.  They were both amazing, and so extremely helpful and accommodating to my very specific requests!”

Cherie and Josh had clear ideas on the colour scheme for their wedding.  In line with their retro theming, and using a classic autumn colour palette, they chose browns and oranges and yellows and cream.  The flowers were quite symbolic too.

They selected Australian yellow wattle for their home country,

English roses for the long time they spent living in England,

North American russet red spotted tiger lily flowers for their time in Canada, and creamy citrus blossoms, traditional for weddings in times gone by.

The combinations were just stunning.

Cherie told me,” The dark orange flower is an orange spotted tiger lily.  This flower was actually the main reason why I started looking into getting flowers made in the first place! I had a Sesame Street “Little Golden Book” when I was little, where big bird walked around the neighbourhood with flowers giving them to different people – describing the different types of flowers as he went.  I always had a fascination and love for the orange spotted tiger lily in the book – it had stuck in my brain all this time! I noticed over the years that I’d never seen a tiger lily quite like that in Australia – they look different here.  So I started researching it for the wedding and found that these type of flowers mostly come from North America.  We had just moved back from living in North America (Canada), so I thought why not include that, plus a flower from England, and one from Australia – the three places Josh and I had lived together 🙂

To set off the flowers and their colours, the boys dressed in browns and carried brown umbrellas.  Very classy!

And the girls dressed in individual retro dresses in mustard yellows, and carried brown polka dot umbrellas.  The overall effect was simply gorgeous, set under the she oak trees in the park.

Photos by Kari – the celebrant!

 

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