Unique Wedding traditions

Unique Wedding traditions

Wedding traditions

Wedding traditions can be a part of your wedding ceremony.  They can come from any culture or heritage. Different traditions can make your wedding quite unique.  You can draw from your own culture or heritage. Or you can be inspired by other wedding traditions. Together we can craft them to suit you, who you are and what you want your wedding day to feel like.

A real wedding

Mateja and Jason approached me with a delightful and unique wedding tradition from her cultural background.  Coming from Croatia, Mateja knew that there was some fun to be had.  She wanted to gently integrate a Croatian family wedding tradition into her Australian wedding.  We discussed how to help the guests feel included.  She wanted to create some fun and acknowledge her cultural heritage at the same time.

The Bridal Switch

The Bride Switch is one of the most amusing customs in Croatia. Traditionally the groom arrives with his guests in front of the bride’s house and asks for his bride. A male family member from the bride’s family opens the door. However the family are not giving the bride away so easily. They want to make sure the groom really wants her.

The bride’s family try to “cheat” the groom and his best man by giving him a false bride. This can include all kinds of tricks.  They offer a doll dressed in a veil, a baby clothed in white, a little girl with flowers.  They try to give the groom a straw broom dressed in lace, a bloke in a frock, or the grandmother veiled and smiling, or even one of the young bridesmaids.

After being jokingly hoodwinked a few times, the groom finally gets to see his bride and then both parties unite and leave for the church. 

How did it work

In honour of Mateja’s cultural background, on her wedding day at The Rocks by the Maroochy River, we embraced this Croatian Wedding tradition. I sent Jason away for a moment to explain it to the guests.  They smiled as they detected some fun to be had.  I enlisted their help to call out and object each time a false bride was offered.  They were encouraged to shout hints, heckle and advise the groom not to accept someone less than his gorgeous bride.  

Jason’s best man, John, helped us out on behalf of the bride’s family.  As we waited for the bride, I asked John to go and see if she was ready.  He returned with a doll dressed in a long white wedding veil.

Wedding tradition the bride switch4There were wild calls of wrong choice and Jason blankly refused to be duped.  He said he wanted a real person to marry.So John tried again and returned with a sweet boy dressed in white.  

Again the guests loudly objected on Jason’s behalf.  And he just stood shaking his head… with a smile on his face.  He said, no my bride is a beautiful woman.

John tried one more time, returning with the beautiful bridesmaid, Beatriz, escorting her down the aisle.  Surely the groom would be happy with what he had asked for?

Jason told him firmly that he is very close, but insists that Mateja is his bride no other will be acceptable.

The music started and Mateja appeared at the top of the stairs, elegantly walking down the aisle on the arm of her Dad, Mladen.

 

And so the wedding began, honouring a fun and engaging Croation wedding tradition, and establishing the mood of the day… absolute fun.

Congratulations and thank you for sharing your wedding tradition with your guests. Here’s what Mateja and Jason had to say.

Thanks to brother Sam for the amazing photographs capturing the fun of the day, and to Michelle and the amazing team at The Rocks Yandina for the wonderful support, and sublime decor in yellow and white.

Handfasting wedding ceremonies

Handfasting wedding ceremonies

Handfasting Wedding Rituals

A handfasting wedding ceremony is just one way to say I do.

Handfasting rituals

Since ancient times couples have stood together in the ceremony of marriage. There are many rituals that have lasted centuries, that symbolise a couple’s love and commitment. The handfasting ceremony dates back to the time of the ancient Celts. It was often used to acknowledge the beginning of a trial period of a year and a day during which time a couple were literally bound together – hand fasted. It was, however, a temporary agreement, which could be made permanent after the trial period if both parties agreed.  It is from this wedding tradition that we know of the expression to “tie the knot”, or to “get hitched”.

Handfasting or tie the knot

Nowadays, the handfasting ceremony is used symbolically, as part of the declaration and wedding vows. It is a way of asking your intentions.

Would you like to Tie the Knot?

Today a couple can embrace an age-old marriage tradition, making it your own in a modern day ceremony. In a handfasting wedding ritual, a cord is tied about your hands as you take your vows.

In this handfasting ritual, the couple answer a series of questions. For each question a binding, for each binding a promise.

Once you are all tied up, as your marriage celebrant I can release the cords.  For in fact, it is your promises that bind you not the cords!  But you get to keep the cord … for fun!

Thanks to the wonderful  Luke Going for the beautiful images of this touching moment. His work is unique.

Cate and Dave were married by the lake.  They wanted a relaxed wedding, something a little different, not churchy, but laid back like themselves.  They embraced a Handfasting to express their vows.

How does it work?

Here are some ways to approach a handfasting ceremony.  Of course I am here with many examples at my fingertips, a whole list of vows for you to choose from, and a wealth of creative spirit to write for you.  Let’s mix it up, modernise the sentiments and reference the traditions that you want to hold onto.

Traditional Handfasting vows

handfasting with coloured cords
handfasting ribbons and cords
ribbons for handfasting

The traditional handfasting promises are a series of questions.  They acknowledge that life is not always easy, that relationships sometimes have unintentional outcomes.  But a good intent underlies the love.The classic questions begin like so:

Celebrant to groom: Will you cause her pain?
Groom: I may

Celebrant to groom: Is that your intention?
Groom: No

Celebrant to bride: Will you cause him pain?
Bride: I may

Celebrant to bride: Is that your intention?
Bride: No

Celebrant to both: Will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?
Both: Yes

Celebrant to both: Please join your hands.

The first cord is draped across the bride and grooms hands.

Celebrant to bride: Will you share his laughter?
Bride: Yes

Celebrant to groom: Will you share her laughter?
Groom: Yes

Celebrant to both: Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?
Both: Yes

Celebrant: And so the binding is made

Modern handfasting questions

But you can devise modern handfasting promises instead.  Something along the lines of:

Do you vow in your married life together to continually break through your pre-conceived views of each other and see clearly.
Couple: We do

Do you vow to act wisely and compassionately with one another and with all beings.
Couple: We do

In my role as a writer, I can chat with you and then devise a series of questions that suit your very own values and ideals for approaching your relationship.

Romantic Handfastings

Or perhaps you’d prefer something rather romantic.

Will you promise your deepest love, your fullest devotion, your tenderest care, and your faithfulness through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future?

Bruce & Emma: We pledge

Do you promise to be an equal loving partner, in a loving, honest relationship, standing by each other’s side, making a shelter of your heart, a home of your arms, encouraging your partner’s daily endeavours?

Bruce & Emma: We pledge

As you face the future together will you pledge to grow in your love for each other, to nurture the love that already is, honour and cherish each other, being there always?

Bruce & Emma: We pledge 

Handfasting ribbons 

You can get quite creative with the handfasting wedding vow format.  Imagine having a different coloured ribbon for each promise. And each wedding promise sculpted around the meanings of those colours.

Red for passion and love

For example the handfasting could become a statement instead of a question:

I promise to love passionately and unwaveringly with my heart, my body and my soul.

A pink ribbon could symbolise unity, honour, truth, romance, and happiness, with the statement:

I promise you my undying love, honesty and commitment in creating and nourishing our loving equal partnership.

A yellow ribbon would mean charm, confidence, joy, balance

Black could equal strength, wisdom, vision and or success

Green stands for prosperity, health, abundance and fertility

Blue often represents tranquillity, patience, understanding and a safe journey

Of course purple is for power, healing, sanctity and sentimentality.

Wedding Handfasting vows
coloured ribbons for handfasting

Contact me now to chat about your handfasting ceremony.

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.

Wedding _celebrant_60's_wedding_theme2

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. (!!!).

Wedding _celebrant_60's_wedding_theme4

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

Wedding _celebrant_60's_wedding_theme6

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.

AlexScott0123

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.

making poetry of legal wedding vow

When I begin planning a unique ceremony with couples, they often ask what they must do, and what they can do.

Well the answer is that the Australian marriage law is very flexible.  There is no compulsion to be in a registered marriage office, as in Europe, nor to mention God in a civil ceremony. There is so much leeway to have the wedding ceremony of your own style and tone.  

There are however a set of words that must be said.  Some by the celebrant and a sentence by the couple.  The marriage vows must include a set of words that could be considered a little dry.  Of course you can add any other words of your choice.  Have a peek at David and Amber’s Day at Maleny Manor then read on to see how he managed with those words.

Thanks to LM Images for the amazing photos.

Amber and David’s is a love that grew over time, having begun when they first met on the hospital touch football team. As they got to know each other, through social outings with mutual friends and through their work at the hospital, Amber and Dave discovered that touch was just one of the many passions that they had in common.  Both being doctors, they have a wealth of education to draw inspiration from.  

David is an especially creative soul with words.  He managed to take the legal sentence from the marriage vows and turn it into poetry. David promised ……

I call upon the people here today,

To witness these words I’m about to say: 

I, David Liu

Take Amber Peckston – you

To be my lawful wedded wife 

Starting today for the rest of my life

I will be your partner in all things

No matter what challenges life will bring

I promise to help you cook and clean,

And try my best to stay reasonably lean

I promise I’ll try to stay alive 

When I’m hanging out with these 2 guys 

(at this point he gestured towards the groomsmen, his partners on adventures of the extreme kind!)

I promise to amend and shake my fist

When people call you a psychologist 

You’ll never fight your fights alone 

I’ll share your dreams like they are my own 

I promise in 50 years I will still say

I love you, as strongly as I did today.

It was a delight to work with Amber and David, in creating their wedding ceremony

What they said of Kari:

David and I would like to sincerely thank you for all of the hard work you put into creating a beautiful ceremony for us. You were always there when we had questions and so prompt with your replies. Your interactions with our guests and your delivery of our ceremony was flawless.

Amber & Dave