Tag Archives: family

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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‘No ring, No bring’ rule

 

There has been some talk lately about the ‘no ring, no bring rule’ for guests and people bringing a plus one.  Discussions were suggesting that you only invite some guests to bring a partner to the wedding if they are engaged, or married. I found this all very interesting. I don’t really think there is a one rule for everyone approach to this. There are a lot of factors that should be considered when you are making up your guests list and inviting partners. It is a touchy and interesting subject that there will be varying opinions about, the same as having children at your wedding. There will always be someone who is offended if you don’t attach a plus one to their invite, but you would think that most people will be happy to be invited.

Consider your budget.

Can you afford to have people who may be single or not in a committed relationship bringing a partner to the wedding? If it isn’t a problem that they come, why not let people bring someone with them right? If you are on very limited numbers as it is and your friend isn’t seeing anyone exclusively maybe it doesn’t matter if they come on their own to your wedding.  If your wedding is a champagne on the beach celebration where people bring a picnic, and you didn’t let single people bring a plus one, that may be seen as a little offensive. But there is the other side of the coin where if you are having a fine dining experience for 35 guests, it wouldn’t seem strange to only invite people without a plus one.

Venue.

If your venue only holds 100 people and the guest list is tight, people should understand if they can’t have a plus one on the invitation. If you were having  the wedding on a paddle steamer and could only have a certain number people should understand. It’s a tough process to work out who you leave on and off the list.

 

Will they know anyone else at the wedding?

I think this is a huge factor, and it’s hard if the people getting married are the only people that the guest knows, it makes sense to me to have someone there that they can bring. For some people it is really hard to strike up a conversation and will really feel uncomfortable having no one else that they know there. I guess it depends on how much you want that person at your wedding. If you really want them there and they don’t really know anyone else that well maybe its worth having them bring a plus one so that you don’t have to be worried that they are ok and feeling like you need to have someone check on them or keep spending time hoping they are having a good time.

Who the guest is.

At my wedding it was really small but my Gran was traveling a long way, it wasn’t really a plus one as such but I suggested that maybe she bring one of her sisters, or a friend with her just so that she was ok, not just with the wedding itself but to have someone staying with her while she was there. Sometimes it’s hard or scary for the elderly especially at night, sometimes other relatives would take them but if that isn’t the case maybe having them able to bring someone makes a difference if they could attend or not. Maybe someone with special needs and would feel better having someone with them.

 

Maybe one of your friends has just separated from a partner, and the wedding might be really tough for them, they may need some extra support and you might want to consider them bringing someone with them, again it really depends who else is going and will there be anyone there from a bigger circle of friends or relatives that they can feel supported by.

I think the whole ‘no ring, no bring’ is  silly, some people don’t want to get married or can’t, it’s silly to call it a ‘no ring, no bring’ rule. I do think though if your mate is a happy single, between partners, hopefully looking or a tinder regular (which is fine, no judgement here) he or she would understand that you probably don’t want to pay for the meal of someone that you will maybe never see again. There are always reasons that you might or might not invite people and I think it is always a case by case situation. What do you think?

A big thank you to Untamed Images for the use of their photos on the blog this week. You can see more of their work on their website or check them out on Facebook by clicking here.

 

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Not walking down the aisle

Some people don’t like the idea of walking down the aisle. I’ve previously blogged about walking down the aisle, and timing when walking down the aisle and have some ideas there about what you different things you can have.  What can you do if you really don’t want to walk down the aisle? Some people don’t like the idea of walking down in front of all of those people, or having all of the attention on them at that time. Some people don’t like the idea of being ‘given away’ or have to decide who they would ask to do that for them.

Some venues don’t have a traditional aisle and you don’t necessarily need to walk down one. Other times you just simply don’t want to. There is no rule to this obviously so you can really do whatever you like. Other than big grand gestures like arriving at your wedding in a helicopter or being jet skied to the ceremony spot, there are so many ways you can get to the ceremony spot. I have conducted a few weddings where the bride has arrived to the ceremony in a boat, but on those occasions they still walked down an aisle as such.

One option is, depending on the venue, is to have both the bride and groom arrive together, this is a great idea if you want to have your photos taken before the ceremony or decide on a first look photo shoot. You could enter together down the aisle or some venues have a side door that you could come through together once all of your guests are seated and ready. This is a great alternative if you don’t like everyone looking at you, or you’re just not that keen on it being all about the bride, or that the normal wedding traditions are not really your thing.

You could decide to both be at the venue and greet your guests as they arrive if you don’t like the idea of a grand entrance.  This could be a lot less pressure but you would also want to make sure that you allowed time before the actual start of the ceremony. You could set the time so that you had time before the ceremony for people to mingle and if you wanted you could even have some drinks and canapes before,  obviously this would depend on the venue and always be mindful to the  the fact that people might be a little less likely to like being round up for the actual ceremony once the ‘celebration’ side of the wedding starts. This is a lovely casual way to begin the ceremony and takes the pressure off. It is certainly for people who want to break with tradition and aren’t too fussy about the day going to a well planned schedule. That being said people know why they are there and there are ways to give people the message that the ceremony is about to begin.

 

You could be at the ceremony site and let the guests enter, so keep them out of the area or venue until you are ready for them all to be ushered into the space. This way you can have photos taken in the space or just make sure that you are ready to begin, this might not work so well if you are outdoors in a park as people will not be kept away as well as if you have your ceremony in a little chapel and keep the doors closed until you are ready to let them in for the ceremony. This could be really lovely and a great way to make sure that everyone is ready to go. A lovely way to spend some time with your bridal party, especially if you are going to all be inside for a while waiting for all of the guests to arrive and you don’t want to be seen by any of them.

Did you enter your wedding in a creative way or have you been to a wedding that had a wonderful alternative to walking down the aisle?

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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Wonderful way to make sure your guests RSVP

pre-wedding-photography-in-Melbourne-Australia-11Having people RSVP, on time or at all, is a real problem. I’ve blogged before about RSVPs and people not turning up on your wedding day.

I recently heard about a genius way to make sure that guests RSVP to your wedding. Don’t give all of the information on your invitation! As strange as this may sound. Leave the important details off, the address of the ceremony or the function center details for the reception, or both. People will have to contact you or whomever you choose to get further details about attending the wedding.

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Make sure that you have worked out how you want this information then given later. There are many ways that this can be done.

You could set up a website that is provided to the people that RSVP via an email or a text message so that you can have all of the information ready to go. I’ve blogged before about having a website with information for the guests, you can read it here. You don’t even have to monitor that yourself, you can always have a bridesmaid or one of your family members who is wanting to help be in charge of getting all of the RSVP emails sent to them.

You could send out a second paper invitation or information sheet to them if you prefer the snail mail option. You could have some fun with this by having creative invitations sent as the first invite with the ‘RSVP for more information’.  You could have a video invitation, like Leah and Mark had, that had a second part sent as a link when people responded. My friend had tea towels printed for her wedding invite, you could send something like that out and then send out a second one with all the relevant information on them once you received the initial interest from the guests. Again, this is a way that you can ‘theme’ your wedding to your personalities and you are only limited by your imagination, and time and budget!

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There are so many great ways that you could use this idea to your advantage. Do you think that this is a good way to get guests to respond?

A very big thank you to Love Journal Photography for the use of their images on this weeks blog. Check out their website and have a look at their facebook to see all their latest work.

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Tamara and Daniel

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I was lucky enough to conduct the wedding of Tamara and Daniel on a windy, but lovely, day in September. They were married at the Seawinds Gardens in Arthurs Seat. If you haven’t been to the Gardens or up to Arthurs Seat, it is a beautiful and breathtaking part of the world. It is somewhere that I have driven past so many times and had only been when I was much younger. It is an amazing place. And what better place for a wedding! The views are spectacular and it is a place that has been very special to Tamara and Daniel so it was very fitting for them to have their ceremony there. They were married at the outlook in front of about 70 of their family and friends.

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Daniel and Tamara have been together for 7 years, meeting through some mutual friends. As a couple, Tamara and Daniel have spent a lot of time enjoying each others company. They love running, kayaking, hiking and cycling. If that isn’t enough hard work in itself, they spend a lot of time renovating their house too! So they obviously know that they can work together and through tough situations. When you still want to live with the other person after having lived out of one end of a house with only half a bathroom, it must be love.

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Daniel and Tamara have a beautiful proposal story. While in America, they were walking in a back section of Disneyland behind the castle when Dan asked if one of the staff would take his and Tamara’s photo.  Dan isn’t really one for having his photo taken, but they were away on holiday so Tamara thought nothing of it. The first photo was just of the two of them standing there nicely, then Dan got down on one knee in front of the disney castle and asked Tamara to marry him. Tamara didn’t say yes straight away, first she asked if he was serious, then gave him a hug. It wasn’t until about an hour later that she told him yes!! It was pretty much a given though she already had the ring on and was crying like a baby!

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One thing that made it obvious to me just how in love they are is when I asked Tamara and Daniel to describe their relationship to me in 3 words. There answer was really beautiful! They said natural, enduring and supportive. It doesn’t get much lovelier than that. Natural because they know that they can always be themselves. Enduring, as they face situations head on and always work through things together. And supportive, that no matter what life throws at them, that they always talk through things, and support the other to get over every hurdle they face. This has made for a wonderful foundation for their love, and they have always supported each other and pulled the other through any tough times.

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I especially loved that I got to see people that I have conducted weddings for in the past. I was lucky enough to conduct the wedding of Daniel’s sister Candice, and also the wedding of his friends Philip and Judy. I love seeing these people that I have spent a bit of time getting to know but rarely see again.

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It was a stunning day, everyone looked wonderful and it was a beautiful part of the world.  What a day at the office!! It doesn’t get much better than that, getting to see such amazing parts of the world, with wonderful people. I’m pretty lucky to do what I do.

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A really big thank you to Chris Cooper for the use of his photos on the blog this weekend. You can look at some of his other work by clicking here. Also if you are down the Mornington Peninsula, check out the Seawinds Gardens. Click here to check out the website.

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Wedding day selfie

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Will you be taking a wedding day selfie and uploading it to your instagram or facebook before your day is over? It is one of those things, people are either getting it done and up on social media between the ceremony and the reception, or they are waiting until the next day to share their pictures. Although I have conducted a few weddings that where not mentioned at all on social media, one in particular I remember seeing some photos a few weeks after the wedding. These photos were only there for a day or so and it looked like they were asked to remove them. It seemed as though the couple didn’t want any photos from their day shared on social media at all.

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What do you think when you are seeing a wedding being uploaded on social media? Especially when the couple share a selfie as soon as they are married, before they have finished their day? Do you wonder why they are on their phones as soon as they get a chance? Do you think great! I wanted to see something from their big day as soon as possible? Do you think it is a smart move getting in before someone else announces their own news?

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There are a lot of couples that impose a ban on uploading until they have done so, which as a celebrant I have been asked to mention at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. It seems like common sense to me, but then, all to often, common sense isn’t all that common. It makes me really cross when I see people announcing other people’s wedding news and baby news. I have previously blogged about Announcements on Social Media.

Social Media at your wedding is yet another thing that is totally up to the individual and having as little or as much of it incorporated into your day should be decided by you as a couple. What are your thoughts on social media during your day?

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A big thank you to Untamed Images for the beautiful images on the blog this week. Check out their website and facebook pages here.

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Leah and Mark

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Some things are just meant to be and you are certain about them from the beginning. They are your destiny, what is written in the stars, your inescapable fate.  Leah and Marks marriage was just one of those certainties. Some things just go together, and there is nothing that would suit them better. It’s fate, a done deal. Mark and Leah have been a couple forever, well almost. They met when they were just 14 and 16. They began this wonderful love, wagging school and talking on myspace.

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When they first met Leah thought that Mark was cute and shy, although she thought that with his hair to his shoulders that he needed a bit of a haircut. Mark thought that Leah was gorgeous straight away and could tell that she was a happy and caring person.Leah knew when she was 14 that Mark was the man that she was going to marry, of course she didn’t tell him that straight away, as much as she may have started planning  in her mind, there was no way that she was going to tell him that then and possibly scare him off.  Although he still gives her those same butterflies that he did then, after all these years.

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I loved that when I asked Mark and Leah when they knew they were in love the answer was just so true. They both knew that they loved each other when they started out in their relationship as 14 and 16 year olds, but they are aware that their relationship grew within that love. Growing together has just made their love for one another that much stronger. They just love being in one another’s company, it doesn’t matter if it is spending time with their family and friends, on holiday, on a much loved cruise or just spending time at home with their fur babies.

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Leah and Mark were married on the most perfect May day, the sun was out and it was the a beautiful day. You couldn’t have ordered much better weather. Their ceremony was held at BJ’s on Varney in Traralgon. Which is a beautiful private gardens that can be hired out for wedding ceremonies, it has a beautiful Balinese feel to it. It is a stunning and very well managed venue. One truly special thing for Leah and Mark is that they were married on Leah’s Oma and Opa’s 50th wedding anniversary. During the ceremony, we mentioned what a wonderful special day that it was and what a great example of marriage that they provided for Leah and Mark. The love that you can still see when they look at each other is just beautiful. They witnessed Leah and Marks official paperwork, which was a beautiful touch and a wonderful way for them to be honoured during the ceremony.

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If anyone spends anytime with Leah and Mark it is obvious how in love that they are, and they really do compliment each other perfectly, as much as some of the family joke that they wonder how Mark puts up with Leah being so bossy, they really do level each other out. Leah said that one of the things that she loves most about Mark is how chilled he is. She said “I am a complete control freak and he brings me back to being calm when I go on a rant”. Mark loves that Leah is so organised and always knows what she wants. He loves how no matter how busy her schedule is she will always find time to help others in need. These things make them laugh too. Sometimes Mark laughs at Leah about how obsessed she is with cleaning the floors and how she cracks it over one little bit of fluff. Leah’s attention to detail helps though when it comes to making Marks sandwiches as he likes to have the sandwich crusts perfectly together. They do have things that they get frustrated with each other about, Mark has the uncanny ability to fall asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow and he can be snoring moments after he goes to bed. Leah wonders if he even has thoughts! Mark thinks that Leah uses too much glad wrap on his lunch and has the music too loud in the car!

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It was just the most beautiful day, Leah is one of the most organised people that I have met and you could tell at the wedding, the attention to detail was just stunning. They had 16 people in their bridal party, (they all looked amazing, I especially loved the black bridesmaids dresses) and they were all on time and all knew exactly what to do and what was expected of them. I’m lucky enough to have conducted Leah’s sister Aimee’s wedding and Leah’s Uncle Dan’s wedding and have conducted the naming ceremony for Leah’s cousin Astrid, and have been given the title of the family celebrant, (which I love). It is really special for me to be able to keep catching up with all of the family and seeing the family grow. I’m lucky to be involved in all these wonderful ceremonies in such a beautiful and loving family, the love that these guys share is fantastic, you can see it in the sisters, all the way to the wonderful grandparents who shared their special day with Leah and Mark. I’m looking forward to the next ceremony that comes up in the lives of these wonderful people and will be there with bells on!!!

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Thanks to Bride2be photography for the use of their beautiful photos, check out their website here or their facebook page here. If you would like to see more about the venue you can look at their facebook page here.

 

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