Alice in Wonderland theme wedding

Alice in Wonderland theme wedding

What a wedding. What a happiness. What a lovely couple.

Joanne and Ed were married in love and laughter at Maleny Manor.  This was a wedding full of joy and laughs, full of story and tradition, but never lost the lighter side of life.  As a wedding celebrant it is pure joy to come across a couple who laugh as much as they love.

The fun began as the bridal party, both groomsmen and bridesmaids, entered in ones or twos to their own themed music.  Each pair or individual had worked on an aisle routine, dancing across the grass to lift spirits of all there.  By the time the bride arrived, everyone was laughing. We knew we were in for a GREAT time.

This wedding honoured several traditions.  There were of course the marriage traditions that we all know and love, an exchange of rings, a bride in white, a groom handsomely dressed, bridesmaids walking down the aisle, and a reading or two.

But this wedding was so much more. Jo wanted to pay tribute to her Filipino heritage, so we included several traditions from her heritage. Allow me to look at some of these traditions.  For ritual makes a ceremony so riveting and deeply personal.

Candle Ritual

It is a wonderful tradition to light a candle at a wedding; taking the lights of two individual personalities and together igniting a common future, a common pathway into that future and a light to walk together by.  On this day it was a Filipino one.  The candle symbolises the light of their marriage.  It reminds them to always keep it happy and bright, to keep the flame alive. In the Filipino tradition family light this candle for the couple.

 Veil Ritual

A veil is draped over the couple’s heads, drawing them both together.  It symbolises protection and being clothed as one, it is about the shelter marriage provides the couple.

Cord Ritual

A cord is then draped over the veil, in a ring over each head, like simple wedding crowns.  The cord symbolises eternity and union.

Coin Ritual

The Groom gives coins to his bride symbolising that he promises to provide and support this marriage.  She accepts the coins promising also to support this marriage.

Now whilst I can’t show you these rituals in images, I can show you how they decorated their tables.  The reception room at Maleny Manor looked splendiferous, and like the Cheshire cat, I was beaming as I took these photos. 

This is what they said;

Kari was absolutely professional from start to finish. We had a destination wedding, and planned the whole event from Cairns. Through emails and phone calls, Kari has created a lovely and very personal bespoke ceremony for us. She was very patient throughout the planning process, and even helped me out with my vows at 5am the morning of our wedding. She included my Filipino background throughout the ceremony, and it was a really special touch.

 On our wedding day, she turned up in professional lovely outfit that complimented our ceremony. She made sure the music was ready, and that the bridal party was set. She was amazing throughout the ceremony that we felt at ease, and loved every minute of it.

Thank you so much Kari for the amazing day! Edward and Joanne

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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.”  

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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:

A handfasting ceremony

A handfasting ceremony

Handfasting wedding ceremony

DIY vintage wedding with handfasting ritual to tie the knot

Vintage wedding down at the homestead

…and here comes the beautiful and totally happy bride, Jessica, to her wedding ceremony.  The story continues.

Jess and Joel are a relaxed couple who planned their DIY wedding at Kenilworth Homestead on the Mary River.  There was plenty of space down on the farm to feel like the rest of the world had melted away.    The homestead grounds could accommodate the entire guest list, with onsite cabins, cottages and a long river flat for tents if necessary.  But the centre piece for this wedding was the old rustic barn, with weathered boards, old farm features, transformed by this creative couple into a vintage paradise for an evening of fun, games and rock’n’rollin.

Vintage wedding decor with DIY table decor and loop s of fairy lights

Arriving at the wedding

But I digress, first the ceremony.

Under the huge tree they met to wed.

Jessica arrived on the arms of a proud Mum and Dad.  She needed them there so she wouldn’t bolt too fast to her darling Joel.  The guests watched with glee as she strolled across from the cottages to the altar under the tree

bride arrives with her parents on her arms

Another name for tie the knot

Jess and Joel had told me that they have a very tight knit group of friends, and that family is really important to them.  They describe family as a mixture of unconditional acceptance, lots and lots of love and happy chaos; a delightful combination!

So their wedding was planned as a retreat for everyone, not simply a honeymoon for two, although I’m sure they’ll find time for that too!

Since ancient times couples have stood together in a ceremony of marriage. For Jess and Joel’s ceremony they also decided to embrace an age old tradition, with a rope! I rewrote what is sometimes called a handfasting ceremony, in which a cord is tied about a couple’s  hands as they take their vows.  It is from this tradition that we know of the expression to “tie the knot”.  Making it  uniquely their own handfasting, we played with words, and wove their vow sentiments into the handfasting format.

Kari celebrant conducts a handfasting wedding

Handfasting

During the ceremony under the large tree, I wound the cord slowly about their hands as they made their promises to each other.   For each line a binding, for each binding a promise, and as the hands were bound together, a set of promises bound their lives and their futures.  But once done, the bindings can be unwound for the promises they have made will keep them together, no rope is needed!

Photos by Brisbane & Melbourne based photographer, Elleni Toumpas and a couple by myself!

If you enjoyed this story, you may like the first chapter of Jess and Joel’s DIY vintage themed wedding, down on the farm, by the Mary River.

silhouetted couple at Kenilworth Homestead DIY wedding
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Arrive with panache to your wedding

Arrive with panache to your wedding

wedding arbour and bridal party

Arrive with panache to your wedding

…just like Jo and Len did to their wedding ceremony along the riverfront at  Noosaville.

Congratulations to newly weds, Jo and Len, your wedding was such fun.

Here is how their wedding began….

Before the wedding began, guests were a little surprised when the Groom unbuttoned his shirt. Dressed in just singlet and rolled up pants, he wandered away from the wedding canopy (by Splash Events) set up by the banks of the Noosa River.  His purple shirt hung on the canopy and he disappeared!

Grroms shirt hanging on the wedding arbour

How the groom arrived to the wedding

To our surprise he returned a little while later from the water, paddling a canoe with energetic young Best Man, Ben. Cheers greeted them as they beached the canoe and redressed in their handsome finery. Was purple going to be a colour theme today?

Groom arrives paddling a canoe to his wedding

How the bride arrived to the wedding

But where was the bride?

Guests were invited to step this way and wander over to the roadside.  Bemused looks, puzzled questions ensued.

It all became clear when the bride arrived on the arm of her dashing son, Max, and with her bridesmaids.  Several girls stepped onto the zebra crossing and held up all traffic for the bridal party to cross over.

Abbey Road

Reminiscences of Abbey Road, more cheers ….. and tears, and laughter.  And the ceremony had not begun yet!

bride arriving ala Abbey Road to her wedding

Back to the wedding

Returning to the bridal canopy, the guests were in for another surprise, as indeed was the bride. Len took up a microphone and sung to his bride as she walked down the aisle.  We forgave her tears.  We all cried.  It was too beautiful.

That was simply the beginning to a delightful wedding ceremony by the river, …..

and finishing as the sun was sinking over the still water, on the top deck of the Boathouse floating restaurant.

Ah …. it doesn’t get better than this!

Photos by Andrea Thompson.

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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!