Is your wedding day the most important of your life?

 

Is your wedding day the most important of day of your life? You hear that it is a lot. People talking about ‘the big day’ and ‘the best day of your life’ and all of these pressure filled statements. But is it? Should it be?

I say No.

Surprising as it may be that as a celebrant, someone who should be wanting people to have weddings and get married, I don’t think that it should be the most important day of your life. It may seem when planning it that it is, but it shouldn’t be. Don’t for one moment think that I am saying that you shouldn’t want to have a wedding, or that you shouldn’t get married. I’m just saying that it’s not just about the ‘wedding’ and the one day.
It is without a doubt a wonderful day and you will look back on it as one of the most fantastic and beautiful days of your life. It is special and amazing with all of the people that you love are around you witnessing you make promises to the person that you love most in the world.

It is not the most important day of your life though. It will be over in the blink of an eye. All of the time, money and hard work that you put into planning your day will pay off I’m sure, but the wedding day isn’t the most important part. Your ‘marriage’ is the most important part. Your marriage isn’t defined by the day. The success of your marriage isn’t about the dress, or the food or the flowers or that amazing arbour or the 3, 5 or 26 attendants that you had. It’s about the two of you and the time that has come before ‘the big day’ and the years that follow that ‘best day of your life’

It’s about the person that you have chosen to stick with, through whatever your lives will bring. It’s the person that you promise to ride the storms with and through good times and bad and you will both give it your best go. It’s when life can’t be 50/50 all the time, that you will be willing to carry that 80/20, and the person that you appreciate when they do they 80% and all you have in you is the 20%. These are the most important days of your life the ones that you grit your teeth through, so that when you have more of these amazing days, when you see each other and your family and friends succeed that you can appreciate the wonderful times and smile knowingly at each other that you get to share those moments.
Try to remember this when planning the ‘big day’. Things will happen and things will go wrong on your wedding day, just as they do if real life and things won’t always end up as you envisioned them to be. But have your wedding so that you are grateful that you picked the right person to be by your side whatever happens and whatever comes your way that you will be in it all together.

A big thank you to Kirralee for the use of her photos on this blog, you can follow her work or find her on facebook here.

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Pa turned 90

Last year, my Pa turned 90.

90 laps around the sun and still going strong! 90 years of strength, love and dependability.  Pa has always been our rock. A great support and someone we can always turn to for sound advice, especially when it comes to our cars. Pa was a mechanic, working in his own business and working for the RACV later in his career. I always remember him having grease on his hands and smelling of the hand cleaner he would use when he came home from work. To this day, one of the first questions he asks “how’s your car, love?” or “how was the drive down?”

Pa always worked hard  and spent a lot of his life looking after my Nan. When he retired, they traveled around Australia in their caravan. Then when my Nan got too sick for that, he spent the rest of her life looking after her and being her carer. Four years ago she passed away and he keeps himself busy with shopping and looking after their dog. He had cancer a while back, had some major skin cancers removed from his face and now he just keeps soldiering on.

My sister and I decided that we wanted to write something for him in his card, something so he knew how he has helped us and taught us in our lives. This is what we gave him:

“Once we are old enough to drive, our life as an adult starts and we have a new car, or its new to us. We think we know a lot about life and we drive fast, we think we know a lot about life but maybe we don’t.
We work hard, we service our car and we drive it smoothly for years.  You did that, you worked hard, you provided for your family and you did everything with a pride, and finesse that you should be proud of. You always had grease on your hands and I thought that you were the man in the Bob Jane T-mart symbol.
We hit a few curbs, we straighten our path and we keep on driving.  No matter what life threw at you, you have always held your self with a calm steadiness that is to be admired.  I never saw you lose your temper or lose your cool.
We might have a few dings and our car might not always look like it did when we were young, but you can still Macgyver something that you need, it may be a step or a little cupboard but you’re always able to make what you need.
We have a blow out while on the freeway driving at 100 and we wonder if we will survive.  You’ve shown us that the blow outs are survivable. If you are sensible and keep your wits about you. You’ve handled your health issues with such strength, you’ve slowed down when you needed to and listened to advice of professionals and have trusted in God that he will give you a strength and determination to get better.   You’ve shown us that we lose people in our lives and even though its hard and we miss them, we can still go on.
We are so proud of you, and all the wonderful things that you have done in your life.
Thank you, on behalf of all of your Grandchildren, and great Grandchildren for always being a wonderful supportive Pa and Great Pa, We appreciate what you have done for us, what you continue to do for us and what you will continue to do for us.
We are very Proud of you, as we know that you are of us. Thank you for caring about our lives, our direction and our cars.”

 

 

 

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Can people object at a wedding

I’m not sure why, but I’ve seen a couple of articles about people objecting at weddings lately.  It baffles me a little as I feel that objecting to weddings is such a movie thing. Do they ask in church services anymore? I haven’t been to too many church weddings in the last 10 years, so I’m not sure what the ‘standard’ thing to do there is. Movies! I blame movies! All these ‘romantic’ movies about someone sweeping in and objecting to the marriage because they are so in love with one of the people getting married. At the last minute they rush in and always stop the wedding or object as to why the wedding should be stopped.


I’ve had couples ask me if I will ask if anyone objects. No way! It’s not a requirement of the law, why would anyone ask it?  There are a couple of reasons that I don’t want to ask the question. Firstly, it’s awkward. It’s an odd question and how long do you pause for? Do you look around at all the people there? Do you rush through the pause and not wait long, like you almost expect someone to jump up or raise their hand? Absolutely not! I don’t want any of that added pressure that doesn’t need to be there.


Secondly, I don’t want to risk having to stop a wedding and not be able to proceed with a wedding. If someone actually objected it would be my obligation to look into it. Especially if it wasn’t as simple as an ex lover who was professing love. I don’t like the idea of having to stop a wedding. There are times that it has to be done, if someone clearly is drunk or under the influence of drugs. See my post about drinking on your wedding day. Again something really awkward to come back from. How does one bring your guests back from that? How does one explain that? It’s not really something that I really want to have to have a contingency plan for.


An article that I have recently read gave lots of examples for objecting. Half of them just read as movie scripts or stories that had been made up. The rest sounded like people really knew that their family or friends shouldn’t have been invited and they should have known that these people may have done something like that. Some other stories were about ‘jokes’. I love a good joke but to me a legal binding ceremony isn’t the place to play a practical joke on someone.


Do you think that its a relevant question anymore? Have you been to an actual wedding in the last 5- 10 years where the question has been asked?

Thank you to Untamed Images for the use of their photos. For more of their work reach out to them on Facebook.

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Letters from loved ones

I love a good letter. I love reading them and I love writing them. It’s like a good card. I always feel like they are worth the effort and they are something that I hold on to. I’m sentimental with that sort of thing and even started writing to my children even before they were born. I write them a letter at every birthday and have been putting them away to give to them when they are older.  I’m not sure what prompted me to start doing these things but it’s something that I would have loved to have had myself. Every birthday I sit and write them a letter about the year, the things they have done to make me laugh and that make me proud. A reminder to them that they can be themselves, and no matter what that looks like, they will be loved.

At my wedding I wrote a letter for my best friend, my bridesmaid. I gave my husband a card but didn’t know too much about weddings back then and in hindsight, could have written him a letter and had someone else read it out as part of our ceremony.

Recently, I have had a few people who have had guests who were unable to attend their ceremony. I mentioned that it might be a nice thing to do to have their loved ones write them a letter. They can have it read out, or not. I personally think it would be lovely to have it read by someone else before the couple read it themselves. Just be sure to have someone check the length of it and make sure there were no huge surprises in it!

You could ask them to include advice for your marriage, or well wishes for your future together. They could include memories of their weddings, memories of when you met as a couple or it could be as simple as just them choosing a poem, a blessing or if you are religious, a prayer.
I think that it is a wonderful way to include family that may be unable to travel to the wedding. Especially if they are very close to you. If your Grandparent has played a huge role in your life and is unable to travel, or if your best friend lives overseas and simply cannot afford to be at your wedding. It would be a lovely way to include them on your wedding day.

Thank you to Kirralee for the use of her images on this blog, check out more of her work here or find her facebook page by clicking here.

 

 

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Declaration of no Impediment to Marriage

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The Declaration of no Impediment to Marriage is a document that you have to sign before your marriage ceremony. It will be on the reverse side of the Official Certificate of Marriage that you will sign on your wedding day.  It is usually signed at the rehearsal, or the last time that you meet with the celebrant before the big day. It must be signed before you are married. It can be signed on the day if needs be, but it has to be signed legally before the ceremony takes place.

This document is basically a Statutory Declaration that you are over the age of 18 and there is no legal reason that you cannot be married to the person that you are about to marry. (If you are under 18 years of age you can still sign the paperwork, but you have to get a court approval to be married and it must be to someone that is over the age of 18) It states that you are a person who has never been validly married, or that you are a divorced person, or a widow or widower, and that there is no reason you cannot be married to the person that you are marrying.

Photo from Love Journal. Check out more of their work here.

 

 

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The things I will remember

Early last year my Gran had to go it to an Aged Care facility.  I’ve been visiting her as often as I can. She seems well enough, eating well and in fairly good spirits, although she loudly complains about some of the other residents and I’m sure that they can hear her! I’m not sure now how much she remembers, on a few occasions she has referred to my daughter as ‘he’ and I’m not sure if she thinks that she is my son, or if she is just old and getting a little muddled. I know that one time when my cousin visited, she told his children to say hi to him for her even though he was in the room. I know that I have spent a lot of time with her over the years, but I’m starting to worry about the day that she forgets me.

On my recent visit I had to deliver the news on behalf of one of her friends that her friend’s husband had died. The friend didn’t want to tell her on the phone and she was afraid that my Gran wouldn’t hear her. I went and delivered the news to her. She seemed un-phased, either that or it didn’t really register with her. Maybe she didn’t know who I was talking about. Maybe she wasn’t even sure who I was. She made general small talk and called me ‘love’ a lot.  All her questions could have been asked of anyone. She didn’t ask about my children by name or anyone else for that matter. Each time I ask if anyone has come to visit and she keeps telling me ‘not a soul’ but I know that my cousins have been visiting.

On my next visit, she seemed happy to see me. One of the staff had told me that she had read her a letter from one of her adopted daughters and that Gran had become emotional. They took her to her room to help her use the bathroom and I could hear her crying from outside the room. They took her back into the communal lounge room and they were asking her where she wanted to sit and she kept telling them that she wanted to “be near the girl with the baby”. I was conflicted, happy that she knew that she should know me, but sad that she didn’t remember my name or that she might not really know who I am anymore.

It got me thinking about the woman that she was and I’m working hard to make these memories the strong ones, not the current ones. I need to call on these moments when it seems like she is starting to no longer be the lady that she was.

We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last 25 or so years, since I moved back to Melbourne to study. Some years a lot of time and some years less, but we always spent time together. When I first came back to study I had no car and she was a much younger lady who drove her own car and was confident to use public transport. We would meet for lunch in the city. We’d eat Chinese food in the food court and talk about life. She’d pop on the tram and have no worry about getting about. I’d go to visit her and just spend time at her place. I remember shopping with her for my wedding shoes, and later taking her to do her christmas shopping when she no longer felt she could face the shops on her own.

She has taught me a lot of things about life. Many of my life lessons have been learned in a Moonee Ponds lounge room, sitting in those floral Jason recliners. I listened to many stories about life and many stories about people. Lessons are not always learnt by the telling of stories, but from seeing how situations have played out. Some for better and some for worse.

Forgive people that hurt you, everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes. Especially your family. If you don’t, you might spend a lot of your life wishing you had them in your life. I’ve put a lot of effort into not letting things that may have hurt me in the past forever judge how I look at people.  Once I’m perfect, I’ll expect perfection from others. Until then I will be prepared to start a new chapter with loved ones in my life. Don’t get me wrong if people continue to hurt me, I won’t take that forever, but don’t cut a loved one out of your life because of a misunderstanding or because of some hurt feelings.

She taught me about giving to others and not just giving things to people. Not everyone has lots of material things to give. She’s always given a lot of herself. She always did things with commitment. She fostered two little girls and brought them up in her family and even up until she went into the aged care facility, one of them was calling her almost daily. She was a dedicated volunteer. For about 25 years, she donated her time every Monday during school term and took toys to children that were in the Royal Children’s hospital.  For years she gave her time to being the Secretary of her church and then when she stopped doing that she remained an elder and was always visiting the elderly.

Some of my earliest memories of my Gran are going to do ‘meals on wheels’ with her. She was always taking me ballroom dancing with her and Grandfather. I always had a special dress and bag and they always danced with me. She loved my Grandfather forever and, although he died 30 years ago, she always spoke his name with love and told me that there was no one else for her. I remember telling her that if she wanted to share her life with someone else, I would always be supportive of her decision. She told me that there was only one man for her. So romantic. She always spoke of my Grandfather and her father with so much love and told me so many stories of the wonderful men they were.

I remember changing the date on the little day calendar that she had in her kitchen. She’d make butterfly cakes , peanut biscuits and soup. These are the memories that I will hold dear. Now that her memories seem to be fading, these are what I need to keep at the surface and remind myself of.

In January I visited and took both of my kids. My son is old enough now to have been asking how everyone fits into our (very complicated) family, and knows that she is his Poppy’s Mum.  She was asking him what he was getting for Christmas and that Santa must be very busy. He was most confused in the first week of January why Santa would be so busy. He humored her so well and when she tried to get out of her wheelchair to show him how her walker worked, he most maturely exclaimed “I don’t need to see how it works” as he knew she shouldn’t get out of her wheelchair.

It makes me sad and happy at the same time, that I have so many memories and that there will be not too many more to be made. I wonder if I will ever hear her say my name again. She tells me that she loves me and I know that it is true. I’m just not sure if she realises that it is me she is telling it to.

 

 

 

 

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Beck and Vince

I have known Beck for more than 15 years. Two of her older siblings are two of my closest friends. So when she got engaged it felt like my little sister was getting engaged. I was so excited for her. When I got the phone call asking if I would conduct their wedding, I was rapt. I feel very privileged to be able to make people married, but it is especially special when it is someone that you have known for so long and someone that is special to you.

 

Vince and Beck got married on a beautiful Saturday in Warrnambool. In front of just 16 of their closest family and friends. I get to witness such beautiful moments and one of these moments was when Beck’s Dad saw her for the first time in her dress. It’s always a lovely thing to see, but when you know people for many years, these moments become extra special to be a part of. Beck and Vince got married under a beautiful arbour made by Beck’s older brother. There were some very special family and friends that were not at the ceremony, so a live stream was organised and those  people in New Zealand and in America were able to watch everything as it happened. I tried to not let myself be distracted by how amazing it is that people in another country were watching at the exact moment they are exchanging their vows. So special!

 

When I asked them when did they know that they wanted to be married the responses that they gave me were really beautiful.

Vince said: “Since dating we played with the idea of a future together, but on May 11th 2018 I knew that I wanted to marry Beck. It was the day of my graduation and my family came from outer state to celebrate the big occasion. Having the whole family together for such a special occasion can sometimes be difficult to get around to everyone equally but having Beck there and seeing her talking with both my mother and my father’s side of the family effortlessly and enjoying herself with them, on that day I knew two things, 1. I was graduating and 2. I am going to marry Rebecca.”

Beck told me:
“It came about as a slow realisation, a feeling, a knowing. No one has ever loved and supported me the way Vince does. No one has ever made me feel so happy and excited about mundane things like grocery shopping or doing the laundry. It has gotten to the stage that I cannot imagine my life without him in it. When we found out we were expecting our first child, the rush of excitement, connection and love I felt towards this wonderful human being I’d created a miracle which solidified in my mind that we would be the Ashford’s, and I was going to marry my soulmate.”

 

After the intimate ceremony, we had a quick afternoon tea before Beck and Vince left to have some photos taken. Later, their reception was held at the Laang Recreational Reserve. The hall was transformed into a beautiful space for about 100 or so guests. It was an amazing fairytale night. They had a huge lit up ‘LOVE’ on the stage and so many other beautiful, attention to detail touches. After Beck and Vince had their first dance, they had a ‘Father and Daughter’ dance, where dads danced with their daughters. Then there was a ‘Mother and Son’ dance. Such a lovely and emotional idea. I got to meet some amazing, lovely new people and see some old friends that I hadn’t seen for such a long time.

They had an amazing cake, made by Beck’s sister, with the best Cake topper, made by Beck’s brother Andrew from Second Chance Wood. Check out his facebook page here.

 

I’m now looking forward to the another wedding now. Beck’s younger sister is getting married next. The countdown is on.

Thanks to Pip for the use of his photos from the day!

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