Tag Archives: Kirralee photography

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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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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Things that guests hate at a wedding


I know that I am always saying that your wedding is all about you and it should reflect what you want. It’s true it is your day and it should be what you want it to be. Just for a moment though I am going to chat about the things that guests hate at a wedding. It’s not to say that you can’t do what you want and have these things as part of your day but just they are just some things that I have heard or read about people complaining and therefore something to consider.


Not knowing where they are going

I know with this day and age people have GPS and they have their google maps and their phone, but even then sometimes these things can be unclear. If you are having your reception in a building this doesn’t apply so much. Even so, if a guest can quite easily find where they are supposed to be, lack of signage or anything to direct them can cause panic. If you are getting married in a garden or somewhere that is open to the public, provide a map or have someone near the entrance so that your guests know where to go. It is a great way to stop people becoming part of the processional too, you can have someone who can tell people to wait if the bride has already arrived. This is a great job for a wedding planner if you are having one too.


Going home hungry

This is a big one. Now not for one moment am I saying that you need to feed people until they are sick and if you are choosing to have just a cake and champagne affair there is nothing wrong with that, but don’t do it at dinner or lunch time. If you are planning just to have snacks or cheese and crackers, make sure that it is timed appropriately. Most people wont eat lunch or dinner before going to a wedding function if it is expected to go over lunch or dinner. If someone has their company requested for an afternoon tea, they will not be expecting a main meal. It’s then their own issue if they don’t eat lunch before they arrive. It’s just sad to hear that people say that they went to the McDonalds drive through after a wedding dinner as they were still hungry, especially when you know that the couple have spent a fortune on their venue and the meal for all of their guests. I know that I attended a wedding about 3 years ago at a beautiful function centre. I don’t remember what my meal was, but I remember it was lovely and I left feeling full and content. It isn’t that often that you remember exactly what you ate a bit down the track, but you do remember the wedding where the food was terrible and you had to make yourself some toast when you got home because you were so ravenous. Unless it is something that is really original and something that was brilliant. (see the blog about Courtney and Tim’s wedding, now that was some memorable food!)


A badly spent budget

This ties in with the last one I guess. If you have spent thousands of dollars on the centrepieces for the tables that people are sitting at, but they only have 3 small portions of finger food. They may feel that the decorations were lovely but that they went home hungry. People won’t remember what they ate but they will remember if the food was good and filling. People will only remember that it was good, maybe skip some of the more expensive things that are overlooked and make sure people have enough to eat.  It isn’t always about the expensive sit down meal, but thinking of ways to get the best amount of quality for your budget.  When I had my wedding I decided that I wanted a sit down meal over finger food. That meant that money had to come from somewhere. We could have invited double the amount of people to our wedding if we had a finger food option, but I wanted better food for less people.  Some of the loveliest weddings that I have been to have had some outside the box options for catering. Marika and Joel had some amazing tapas served at their wedding and then had people come in and cook up huge delicious serves of paella.


A reception that takes place HOURS after the ceremony

Again, I’m always one for using a professional photography, in the end that is one of the only things that you have left of your day, but a good photographer shouldn’t need numerous hours between the ceremony and the reception, if you want all kinds of fancy photography, in different locations maybe think about a first look photo shoot or talk to your photographer about the options on what you can fit into the time frame. One wedding that I attended had 3-4 hours in between the wedding and the ceremony. It is just very difficult to expect people to hang around or spend their time drinking at a pub close by, especially if they are from out of town and not too sure where to go or what to do.  A lot of the time your guests are dressed up and not really wanting to go and do a spot of shopping between.


Being forced or pressured to dancing

This is something that I personally hate. I love watching the couple do their first dance together and understand that there are a lot of people who love to dance. That is wonderful. It’s when the MC or other guests at the wedding try to make you dance that it really makes me cross. I’m not against dancing and sometimes will love to get up and have a dance, but when the music is pumped so loud that you can’t speak to any of the other guests, this is really annoying as a guest.


Having no place to sit

When it comes to your reception, even if you are having a finger food type affair, most people want to be able to sit so they can chat and enjoy other peoples company, it is difficult if there are a very limited number of chairs as most people will do the right thing and leave them for elderly guests or guests with special needs. The only other thing than having no where to sit is having to sit near people that you don’t get along with and that is a topic for a whole different blog post.

What is something that you really hate when attending a wedding?


A very big thank you to Kirralee for the use of her stunning photos on the blog this week. Check out more of her work on her blog here and you can find her on facebook here.

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Why I became a celebrant

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I have been asked on a number of occasions, why I became a celebrant. The main reason is that I was inspired, and not so much in a good way. I love a good wedding, (who doesn’t really?) and I have a degree in Photography, but wedding photography wasn’t really my passion. I love photography and I love a wedding but that was it. I didn’t like all of the things that go along with being a wedding photographer and lets be honest, it takes a love and an art to be a great wedding photographer, not every brilliant photographer is even a good wedding photographer. But I digress, back to the topic.

I attended a wedding ceremony, and it was… I don’t want to say terrible, or horrific, or as one person said “the worst wedding I’ve ever been to”… But it had potential to be lovely, and it just wasn’t. It wasn’t the couples fault. There were things that clearly they didn’t think of or that the celebrant hadn’t  mentioned. I’m not too sure what the celebrant had to say either it may have been really nice things, but it wasn’t memorable and I couldn’t hear all of it.

Firstly, the celebrant arrived early as any good celebrant should. They set up a table away from where the ceremony was being held and just waited. There had been no wedding rehearsal.  ( I know this as someone close to me was in the bridal party) the celebrant had the perfect opportunity then to tell the Groom and Groomsmen what would be happening, where they would need to go for the signing of the register, but none of this occurred. They just stood there.

The ceremony was in an area that was open to the general public, and it was a hot hot hot, stupid hot day. The celebrant didn’t speak to any of the people in the area and tell them that there was going to be a wedding taking place or to ask them if they would mind just staying out of the way while the ceremony was on. (It is always a good idea to think about the general public that might be around if you are getting married in a public place and check if their are permits that you need to get, as it is much easier to ask them to move on if you have booked the area)

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No one could hear the celebrant, the guests were standing a little way away from the ceremony (maybe 3-4 metres) and there was no PA system. I heard a bit of what was going on when I got up close to take photos. No PA system mixed with the fact that there were people in the area going about their day, made it almost impossible for guests to hear. I know a wedding is about the couple, but why have guests come along if you don’t want them to be witness to the promises that you make.

The confusion that ensued when they had to sign the marriage register baffled me. I remember driving home and talking about it with my husband saying, if the celebrant had just explained it to the groomsmen when she first arrived they could have told the bridesmaids what was happening and it could have at least looked a bit seamless.  I was upset and annoyed that things weren’t perfect for the couple. I really hope that they thought that it was and they weren’t too upset or that people didn’t whinge and moan about it to them. I was also quite baffled that the celebrant would have been paid a considerable amount of money to do the job. She didn’t seem to love what she did or be excited or happy for the couple. I then told my husband that I thought I could do a better job than that. He responded saying ‘why don’t you? You love weddings’. The next week I started looking into the course, and the rest as they say is history.

I just want to make people’s day about them, and have the wedding that they want. I must admit I do love it when guests come and tell me that they thought the wedding was wonderful, or just really suited the couple. I love what I do and always want it to be the best for the people that have chosen me to be a part of their day.

A big thank you to all the photographers who have captured me doing what I love, and letting me use the photos. Check out some of their work.

Thank you to : Amy Schultz, Kirralee, Ateia Photography, and Sarah Churcher!


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Tips for writing your own vows


Writing your own vows can be really lovely and make for a really individual wedding ceremony. All the weddings that I have conducted where the couples have written their own vows have been really beautiful. To start though, there are a few things that you need to decide before you write you own vows.

Firstly are you going to show each other the vows before your ceremony or are the vows going to be a surprise? Both options are great, but do remember that sometimes hearing these vows for the first time can be quite emotional. Sometimes even for me! There have been times that I am glad for having the couples share their vows with me first before they are exchanged. Not a good look if the celebrant sheds a little tear. Sometimes they are just so beautiful and heartfelt, and truly perfect for the couple.


If you are not going to share them with each other, consider sharing them with someone that you trust. You don’t want to have vows that are only one sentence long and then have you partners vows go for a good 5 minutes. Again there is nothing wrong with this if it is what you really want, but it is nice if they are a similar length. They don’t need to be the same, but there are ways that you can make sure that they tie in together. You can use the same line at the end, or just use a similar format.


Find some inspiration online. There are some lovely vows out there. This can be also be overwhelming as there is just so much information and some of them are so cheesy and a little gag worthy. If you can be bothered trawling through what is there there can be sections that you can use in your vows and sometimes just having something on your page or screen can be enough to get you starting to say what you want to say to your partner. Keep the vows true to who you are. Make sure that if you are writing your own and you are looking for inspiration on the internet, that you make sure you use words that you would normally use so that they don’t sound forced or out of place.

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I find that a lot of people use the questions that I ask them and the answers that they give to these questions can be a great way to work out what you want to say to each other. Some things that you can think about are, What were your first impression of them? When did you know that you were in love? What would you like your partner to promise you in their vows to you? All these things can help you to think about what you want to say.


Did you or will you write your own vows? Do you have any tips on how to write wonderful personal vows?

A big thank you to Kirralee for her wonderful images on the blog this week. Head over to her blog here and read about some amazing weddings.

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Readings in your Ceremony


Readings in your ceremony are a great way to included people important to you. They are also a wonderful way to express some more of your individuality and tell your guests a bit about you and the love that you share. It is especially a great way to let someone close to you say something about you as a couple in your wedding.

There are so many things that you can choose to have as readings in your ceremony. Some people choose their favourite childhood storybook, some people choose a song to be read out. Some people like to have readings, or a funny antidote or analogy that relate to their interests or professions.

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Readings are a great way for the bride and groom to break up what they need or want to say during the ceremony too. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t feel comfortable with all of the attention that your wedding day brings or you are really nervous about public speaking, you can put a reading between your vows and ring exchange so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed by all of the speaking at once.

Readings are a great way to keep the peace too. For example, if one part of your family is quite religious and were wanting you to be married in a church but you and your partner had your hearts set on a little chapel and are comfortable with religion in your ceremony, it would be lovely for a family member to read a bible reading or a prayer during your ceremony.

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Some of the weddings that I have conducted have had some wonderful readings in them. A couple that stick out in my mind was at Trudy and Ross’s wedding. They had a fantastic reading called ‘All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarden’, a lovely and funny reading that really fit into the ceremony as Trudy is a primary school teacher. Heidi and Alex had Dr Suess’ ‘Oh, the places you will go!’ Krissy and Glen had ‘the Owl and the Pussy cat’. They all just fit really well and suited the style and personality of the couples.

Have you been to a wedding that has had a funny or unusual reading during their ceremony?

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Thanks to Kirralee for the photos on this weeks blog. I am really looking forward to working with Kirralee on an upcoming wedding in November, check out her blog here and her facebook page here.

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Turning off your phone for the wedding ceremony


There has been a bit of buzz around lately about couples asking their guests not to bring their phones to weddings. Some people don’t want others taking photos or risk the phones going off. Some people choose to put a ban on uploading files to social media sites for their big day. What do you think? Is this taking things too far? No phones at all? Can you really enforce this?


There are usually two camps on this theory and I have previously blogged about great ideas for using social media for those who choose to embrace it. However, I do understand the desire to have no photos uploaded.  I’m not too sure though about no phones at a wedding. What about the guest who has a 3 week old baby at home and this is the first time that they have left the baby at home? I don’t think they would be too fond of the idea and what about the people wanting to call a cab to get them from the ceremony to the reception. I think that a lot of people would just ignore the request.


On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to ask people to respect your wishes eg please turn the phone off during the ceremony and no photos to be taken. It is a definite way to make sure that people listen and pay attention. Your photographer would probably be happy that there won’t be lots of people jumping in the way when the bride is walking down the aisle. If you were going to ask for a blanket ban on photos at the wedding, you might want to think about making sure that you can make the professional photographers photos available to your guests as a lot of people want photos of these precious moments.

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What do you think? Would you ban photos or phones at a wedding? Or been to a wedding where there was a ban in place?

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Thanks again to Kirralee for the lovely photos on this weeks blog. Check out her website here and you can like her facebook page here.

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