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!

Wedding_with_an_eagle01

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.

Wedding_with_an_eagle6

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

Wedding_with_an_eagle7

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.

Wedding_with_an_eagle8

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

Wedding_with_an_eagle17Wedding_with_an_eagle19

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…

Wedding_with_an_eagle16

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 simple yet meaningful wedding

a simple yet meaningful wedding

Congratulations to Tom and Ben finally wed in Australia, so they could be together.

Simple with no unnecessary frills

Tom&Ben_a_simple_wedding

Tom and Ben needed no frills to show they love each other; no huge flowers, fancy clothes or other frilly stuff to declare their commitment to each other.  Their wedding was a simple ceremony to declare what is deep and meaningful in a natural way amongst the big trees and forest sounds.

They found each other many years ago actually, in New York at a youth Democratic Education conference.  They have since traveled across the world to see and be with each other in their respective countries.

Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens

This year they were able to wed in the glorious Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens with the sounds of the birds and animals as the backdrop, and their close family around them.

Kari, the celebrant gathered the family in the Mossy Log Grove under the canopy of the trees.

Coo – eeTom&Ben_a_simple_wedding2

We all cooo-eeed to call the couple.  And the birds above answered us too!!

Tom and Ben walked in along the garden path, already hand in hand already joined in spirit, and so happy to be together at last.

And the ceremony began.

Tom&Ben_a_simple_wedding6But the rings!

Oops, the rings had been left in the car.

Tom&Ben_a_simple_wedding7

No problem, a friend was despatched with the car keys, and he came running back in plenty of time for the vows and the exchange of rings to seal the promises made.

A wedding does not have to cost the earth.  Ben was keen to make sure it cost very little, if anything.  He was most miffed when he had to pay for a haircut to fix the one he had insisted his mother do!

The family made delicious and healthy decorative picnic fare to share after the ceremony.  The gardens are open to the public every day.  The couple even chose their wedding clothes from the op shop.  Ben found a local artisan to craft rings from reclaimed silver cutlery.  And Mum crafted the lovely floral headpiece for the bride from garden flowers.

Friends and family, and even grandma gathered to enjoy the gardens.  A teensy early mist of rain meant the gardens were private just for us that day!!!

It was a day about joining two people, not about spending money.  A day to celebrate two people in love, who simply want to be together.  And they are so happy!

It was a true and simple joy to be there.

Tom said afterwards:

We actually never had to look for a celebrant, the universe just pointed to you. I can remember one year ago Ben was telling me on the phone he met our celebrant and set up a date and place for our wedding. It felt so distant to me… Being on the other side of the globe, not even ready to apply for a visa let alone see it approved. It all sounded like a dream.. Or more like some kind of a rough plan.  But still from that point on we were one step closer towards being able to live together.  What I find amazing is that I couldn’t imagine us finding anyone else taking your part. I think most celebrants out there wouldn’t relate or able to understand as well as you did. The way we wanted to keep it all simple (but still meaningful). Both of us just felt so happy with it. Thank you so much!

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:

Wedding with kids

Wedding with kids

~ with Sunshine Coast marriage celebrant, Kari ~

Congratulations Hayley and Wade with their darling children, Charlotte and Kobi, married in the delightful Tiffany’s Chapel.

(Check out the photo which I call “Wrapping the bride!”)

We seek ceremony when there is something profound happening.  We do things in ceremony that are symbols of a deeper meaning in our lives.  Some things are not easy to express every day, as we live it.  Some things  are best expressed by ritual.  A wedding does this.  It creates an opportunity to gather the important people, and to enunciate deep feelings in the form of promises or gifts.

Hayley and Wade’s wedding day was a dream come true.  And it was a wedding about family.  Hayley and Wade believe that family is first, family is everything, family is LIFE.

Often a wedding is not simply about two people.  It is about a wider group of people; community, family, heart families.  This wedding was for everyone there.

A wedding could not alter what they already had, for Hayley and Wade had already built a marriage.  I saw it expressed so well in their dear children, Charlotte and Kobi.  As I spoke with the couple, the kids played with my lego basket. (Yes a relic of my own child rearing.  I LOVE my son’s lego basket, and so do many of the kids who come to me with their parents.)  As they played I noticed how gentle they were with each other and the things they created.  Their parents took small moments to acknowledge what the kids were doing, and kids were very respectful of their parents having a talk.  Impressive parenting at work here!

So this marriage was about a family unit, yet acknowledging of the important relationship that holds the family together, the parents.  For Hayley and Wade wished to give the gift of marriage to each other.  They had already promised forever in their kids, but on their wedding day they showed it to each other.

Charlotte and Kobi, (who are, may I say, the best behaved kids I have ever seen!) were delightful partners to the wedding as flower girl and ring boy.  Kobi was quite emotional watching his parents wed.  Who wouldn’t be?  He could deeply appreciate the strong emotions that were being expressed that day. Check out Charlotte wrapping herself in Mum’s bride dress. I sneeked the ones of the “bridal wrap” while Toni, the photographer, was organising the group picture.  Too delightful to miss!

Wrapping a bride

A key to understanding this was their choice of reading:

The key to love is understanding…
The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word,
but those unspoken gestures,
the little things that say so much by themselves.
The key to love is forgiveness…
to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes,
without forgetting, but with remembering
what you learn from them.

The key to love is sharing…
Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together;
both conquering problems, forever searching for ways
to intensify your happiness.

The key to love is giving…
without thought of return,
but with the hope of just a simple smile,
and by giving in but never giving up.

The key to love is respect…
realising that you are two separate people, with different ideas; that you don’t belong to each other,
that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.

The key to love is inside us all…
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients that will take you to its threshold;
it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work… but the rewards are more than worth the effort…
and that is the key to love.

Thanks to Photographer Toni Snell for the glorious images.

Hayley&Wade_1Hayley&Wade_2Hayley&Wade_3Hayley&Wade_4Hayley&Wade_5Hayley&Wade_6Hayley&Wade_8Hayley&Wade_9

A Scotsman and a forest nymph marry

A Scotsman and a forest nymph marry

A Mc and a Mac

When McNamara married MacKinnon, there was bound to be somescotsman around somewhere!!!  And what a lovely use of tartan.  And what a choice of place!  Congratulations Sandra and Jason, married at Gardeners Falls, Maleny.  Unique, different, touching, romantic and down to earth, their DIY wedding was simply perfect.

A Scotsman and a Nymph

When Sandra and Jason first met in Canada they recall talking about travelling Australia and the food they both missed.  Jason proceeded to load up the juke box while Sandra picked most of the songs and introduced him to her love for disco.  Not less than two days later Jason had to leave Canada!!  Mere hours before his flight took off they were enjoying their first “date”.  The conversation flowed easily and touched on so many subjects that they would have forgot to order food, if the waitress hadn’t kept reappearing to ask if they were ready to order. Jason’s friends were worried he was cutting it close for time to catch his flight.  There was really no time for eating!

It was not long before they were together again, in Australia.

Sandra describes Jason as her calm in the storm.  Jason describes Sandra as his down to earth rock.  No wonder it threatened to storm on their wedding day.  But come the right time, they stood on a rock mid stream, with not a drop of rain.

They relish each other’s company, laugh at each other’s jokes and make fun happen every day.  These are qualities that will sustain a relationship.  They are also great qualities for planning an extraordinary wedding.

Dressed in wedding Tartan

They turned up to their wedding dressed as Scotsman in family tartan (complete with sporan I may add) and forest nymph.  They wanted something quite unique and intimate for their ceremony, and yet grand in meaning.  Choosing Gardeners Falls, a small out of the way place, with running creek and rainforest all around, they created a wonderland.

Wed Over Water

Sandra and Jason asked if they could be wed on the water.  We took off our shoes and stepped onto a rock in the stream.  Guests gathered on a larger rock close by.  They chose a hand binding ceremony to seal their vows.  In this way drawing on Celtic traditions from ancient times, bringing the ceremony into modern day with our own twist on the promises and bindings.  Jason had prepared a strip of tartan for the bindings.  For wedding rings they had special rings created, each a combination of an Australian saphire and two Canadian diamonds.

Tartan sash

At the conclusion of the service,  Jason draped a MacKinnon tartan sash over his new Mrs MacKinnon, and had photos taken in the middle of the running creek.  He carried her across the water.  Later that weekend they continued the fun by taking their own wedding photos, with just tripod and themselves.

Here is a glimpse of their DIY wedding day:

A Mc and a MAC marry
bride lies on her grooms lap, dressed in tartanhe lies with his head in his brides lapWhat they said:

 

Kari was an amazing celebrant.  She was just what we were looking for, she listened to our suggestions, went with our ideas adding her own input when we knew what we wanted but weren’t sure how to do it.

Kari got a good feel for how we were as a couple and what we liked.  She even offered us choices to choose her dress colour for the ceremony and was even willing to go barefoot.

Kari helped a lot making our ceremony just what we wanted and we had an amazing day.  Sandra and Jason MacKinnon