Tag Archives: love

Not having a funeral

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My Nan passed away recently and decided that she didn’t want to have a funeral. I can understand this to a point. I assume she didn’t want people spending money and she didn’t want a fuss.

We still had a family gathering, we still shared our memories and we still looked at photos of her throughout the years. We spoke about things we remembered and my Pa asked my cousin to sing ‘I Will Always Love You’ (Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton). I had prepared a little something to say. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be anything said and the celebrant part of me would have been really upset if others spoke and I hadn’t written something for the occasion.

It got me thinking and, I think more than I did before, that the funeral isn’t so much for the person that has died. Yes it is ABOUT them, but it isn’t FOR them. It is for the people left behind, heart broken, lost and grieving. It is about having a time and place to come together and to talk about this wonderful person that was a big or little part of our lives.

For me it is a time to reflect on the life that they had and the wonderful things that they did. The last few family members that passed away I have conducted the ceremony, so for me it’s very different than attending a funeral. I think that it is a really valuable time to even learn something about the person that you didn’t already know, even people that you have known all of your life. Other people can share stories and their memories and that way you can always learn something about people.

I’ve also blogged about planning your own funeral in the past and raised some questions about the details of your funeral and is that something that you would think about. Would you choose songs? Poems to be read?

Do you think it is part of the grieving process and seeing what they meant to other people helps with realising that they will not be forgotten? Every time I go to a funeral people always say how lovely it is to see people that they haven’t seen for years and that they wish it was under happier circumstances. I got to see cousins that I haven’t seen for around 20 years and cousins that I see every couple of years. I loved that part of it. It’s not the happiest of occasions but these are the people that see you at your worst. There was a lady who was there and I recognised her the instant that she walked in the door although I hadn’t seen her since I was a small child. It was one of my aunties oldest friends.  I think a funeral teaches us a lot about family, and friendships and love.

What do you think? Do you think it is important to have a funeral? Or don’t think that it matters if you have one or not?

 

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Exchanging Wedding day gifts

Deborah & Andrew685

What do you think about couples exchanging gifts with one another on their wedding day? I think it has been something that has been done for years. I’m not totally sure how I feel about it all. I like the idea of a gift, but with all of the other craziness that goes along with the wedding does it just get a little lost amongst everything else? Another something to spend money on? Or is it a great excuse to get something that you have wanted for a while? I know lots of people that have exchanged gifts and others that have not. Is it not enough to have to think about gifts for your attendants let alone for your partner as well?

There are a few thoughts that come to my mind if my husband and I were to renew our vows, but I don’t know that these gifts need to cost the earth. What about a beautiful letter that you have written to each other? Cards and words cost little but can mean so much. I have previously blogged about love letters before the ceremony and this is a great gift that you can give to your partner, and can be especially lovely that it is just something that you and you alone read.
I also asked the question on my facebook page and had some lovely ideas given there. Some people were all for a gift and some believed that the rings were enough. There were some great ideas. A pen that you could use for signing your documents and to keep afterwards. This is a lovely idea. If you do this, make sure the pen is black and that it is working before the ceremony. I’m a bit of a neat freak with my paperwork as a celebrant and would want to know that they were all good to go before hand, but it is lovely to think that you could have it engraved and this could be something that is even used by your children at their weddings or used to sign guest books at their 21st birthday parties. (I’m a bit sentimental when it comes to things like that, my poor son!)
Would you consider something that you give to each other to be opened at a certain anniversary? The wine box or time capsule idea where you have guests write you well wishes that can be opened on a special year. Perhaps a special wine or whiskey that could be set aside.
Sometimes I agree with the other side of the argument too, you’ve spent so much already on this big day and event, your already exchanging vows and rings. What do you think? I guess it depends on the gift, the people and the money that people can afford to spend. I think though, there is nothing nicer than some lovely words or even a scrap book of photos and beautiful memories of your time together so far. Have you been to a wedding where there were crazy, extravagant gifts exchanged between the couple?

Thank you to Untamed Images for the use of their photo, check out their facebook page and website for their latest work.

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Making your guest list

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Most of us would have seen on Facebook or instagram by now this fun guest list manager. Its quite funny and a good idea to have a laugh. It is a good way to remind yourself too that it is your day and you’re (most likely) paying the bill.

Will they make your wedding more fun is an interesting  part of this chart for me, really your wedding is about you and your partner, and you should have the people around you that mean a lot to you, it’s your wedding not a hens or bucks day. Maybe it should say something like, will it be special to have them with you on the day? Or do you want them there to see you and your partner exchange promises? I know that this chart is mainly for a laugh but some of the points have merit, or at least give you something to think about. The part about would normally buy dinner for them, maybe a strange question, but it is something to think about would you have dinner out with them, or your work friends maybe not necessarily do you see them out of work, because there are a few people at my work that I would be happy to spend time with out of work, but I generally just don’t have time, compared with hell no, please don’t let them be going  to the same function as me type people that you work with.

I agree to an extent that if you parents are paying for some of the wedding they do get to have at least a small number of guests that they want added to the list. I think though that they should get to have some say, but really again it is your day. If there is someone that you really don’t want there maybe you can compromise. My mother in law wanted one of her longest friends at my husband and our wedding, but the friend had previously not been the nicest to my husband. We made sure that she wasn’t invited but my mother in law still had her two other best friends and partners invited on the day, we only had 42 guests, and we paid for the vast majority of the day ourselves so we really weren’t keen on having anyone we didn’t like there.

I’ve blogged before about wedding numbers and some of the other issues that you have with deciding on who to invite to your wedding. I don’t think it is really as cut and dry as this chart suggests.  There are always some people on the list that you have to invite, and there are people that you invite knowing that they will not be able to make it on the day.

What do you think? Do you think that it can be as cut and dry and the chart suggests? What were some of the deciding factors that helped you decide if someone made your guest list or not?

 

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Being a Mum has changed my life.

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Being a Mum has totally changed my life. Not only in the most obvious ways, but in all aspects of life. The way I react to things, the way that I look at and deal with people, the way I think about and analyse things, even the manner in which I think of myself. The way I react to the news, the way I see my future and the way that I feel about some things in my past. All have changed.

In my celebrant work I meet many amazing people. People that I am better for knowing. How lucky am I, to meet and get to know these wonderful people that otherwise I might never have met. On one of these days I met a small boy who made me realise that becoming a mother had indeed changed me, in ways that people could never have told me or explained to me. I shed tears for this small boy that I met and spoke to for merely minutes. Knowing things about him that in the past I might have thought were sad, now as a mother, were heart wrenching. We sang some songs together, I just wanted to hug him and hold him close. Of course I did not do that. I smiled at him and asked him about his kindergarten.
On another day at my sons music class, I saw a mum who’s baby is being cared for by his Grandparents. This particular time she is there and their interaction saddens me. The way that he doesn’t really know her causes me to think about her for the rest of the day and long into the next. These things I would not have noticed before being a Mum, and if I did notice I probably wouldn’t have given it much more thought.
No one could ever have explained this to me, there are mushy poems out there about how you will look at and fall in love with your child, how you will never look at your partner the same way after you see his gentleness with your child, blah blah blah. Yep I understand all of that. Most people do. But no one tells you about the the deeper things that it will make you feel. They don’t tell you how you will cry about news stories that you wouldn’t have thought twice about before or the empathy you will feel towards another parents pain when something terrible happens to their child.
My sons Type 1 diabetes diagnosis took some of these things to the next level, the hospital visit and the diagnosis have changed a lot of things for me. The worry for him, the fear for him, and the gratitude that I feel knowing he is ok. I worry about this disease that he will live with for the rest of his life or until they find a cure. I worry about kids picking on him when he goes to school. Will he look after himself when he is a bit older and do all of these things for himself? (I worry a lot, lets be honest)  You only have to spend some time in the Royal Children’s Hospital to realise that this is by no means the worst that could happen to him. This is manageable and will be part of our ‘normal’ in no time, and it takes me back to the empathy I feel for those parents whose situation isn’t as manageable as ours.
I find myself telling myself on so many wonderful occasions to cherish this moment, remember this, ‘photograph this with your mind’ as I want to be able to draw on this memory in the future. It is a time that I feel full and complete and blissfully whole. I remind myself that this too shall  pass and I need to hold on to this memory in a special part of my mind. I’m really not sure how to do this effectively. How do we remember all these wonderful moments?

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Website for your big day

glenn&Nell

A wonderful idea that I saw done brilliantly recently is having a website for your big day. I have seen some couples do this and it provides great information on all kinds of things that your guests may need and want to know.  Recently I conducted the wedding of Nell and Glenn, and they had the best website. I only got to see it close to the day, but was absolutely blown away by what they, (or mainly Glenn, who is a website developer) had done.

It had everything that any guest could ever need to know, it had so much information and photos and quotes. I have seen other websites that compared to this, just seemed just thrown together. Rather than putting 12 different pages of information in with the invites, why not just direct your guests to a site that has everything they could need there?

Information about the venue.
What a great way to have some background on the venue itself, maps and anything else guests could want to know.

Information for the day.
This would be a great way to tell guests that confetti is not permitted at the venue or that you want an unplugged wedding. Its also a great time to share if you are using a wedding app, have some #hashtags, or if you want your wedding kept off social media.

Accommodation in the area.
This is such a great idea. Having all the information on accommodation that is close to the wedding is so that all guests, no matter if they were travelling from overseas or from an hour down the road, have links to the appropriate ones.

Getting to the venue.
Nell and Glenn had buses pick up some of their guests. Their site even had the timetable of when the buses would pick people up at specific locations. Maps, Melways references and all other helpful information.

Who to contact on the day should they need any assistance.
The last thing a bride or groom really want on the wedding day is people phoning them or texting them with all kinds of questions. Even if you don’t have a wedding planner, pick someone who can be that go to person.

RSVP options.
Have an option for them to RSVP online, people have good intentions but they don’t always get to the post office in time.

Added information about other events.
Are you having a brunch the next day or having people meet up for a coffee? This is a great way to supply all the guests with the information and with plenty of time for them to plan their weekend accordingly. Maybe you could put any hens day or bucks day information on their too. Really you could have anything on there!

Glenn said the things that worked well for them with their wedding website were:

  • the simple single page design made it all easy to see and find information
  • we added ‘getting there’ info to the top of the website a few weeks before the wedding
  • we ran an RSVP through the site and after experimenting with a fancy google forms solution I found the best way to record RSVPs was simply through providing an email address.
  • we got to re-use the wedding invite artwork in the site and included some of our engagement shoot photos

There are so many things that you could add to this, and so many ways to make this your own and match it all to the theme of your wedding. It is private too. If you are just giving the information to your guests, it isn’t like you are making a facebook event. It would be really hard to stumble onto the website by accident.

Check out the site that Nell and Glenn had here. And feel free to get in touch with Glenn by contacting him at glennnicoll@gmail.com if you have any questions or you are interested in having your own website made for your day.

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Why I became a celebrant

Suzy & Matt 16

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.

K,GandMe
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.

Emily_Julian102
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.

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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.

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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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Inviting some guests to the ceremony only

LJ02

Would you consider inviting select guests to the ceremony only? Do you let them know that they are not invited to the reception or pretend like it is a ceremony only wedding? (I have blogged about Ceremony only weddings here if you want to read more about them)
I think this one is really tough and think that there are only a few situations that you can do this yet I still don’t really understand how you can do this without offending people. I know that on a few occasions my sister has been invited to the ceremony only part of a wedding. I remember thinking that it is was quite odd. It kind of feels like we like you, but not enough that we will pay for your meal.  The celebrant part of me gets it in a way. I’m used to attending just the ceremony of a wedding, and to me the ceremony is the wedding. The party afterwards is the gravy, awesome and great fun. I love the celebration, but if there isn’t a reception, the couple are still married.

LJ04
I have heard that people want to invite all the people from their church or work group to come along to the ceremony but not invite them to the wedding. I wonder though, do people feel that if they are invited to the ceremony should they be invited to the reception. I’m not sure how you would word this on the invitation and how do you keep track of the RSVP’s? Is a gift expected if you don’t get an invite to the reception? It is all a bit confusing for me.

LJ01
We had people come to our wedding because they wanted to come to the ceremony and we hadn’t invited them. One of my uncle’s drove trucks and made sure that he drove through Mildura on my wedding day so he could see it. It was a lovely surprise. We didn’t really mind if people came to the ceremony, but our reception venue only held 50 people. I did have one of my relatives ring me up and ask why they weren’t being invited to the wedding at all. Once I said that there was only space for 50 guests, they suggested that I change the venue and have it catered by another relative. I replied that this was where I had my heart set on and that I wasn’t changing it. They said that they wanted to be a part of my special day, despite not having seen me for a number of years. I suggested that they could come over when I was in my track suit and we could have a special day together. This didn’t really go over too well. I then mentioned that we were having a BBQ the following day at my in-laws house and, if they wanted to, they could attend that. If they would like, they were more than welcome to come to the ceremony. Funnily enough, they didn’t come to either and I’ve probably seen them twice in the 16 years that I have been married. What I’m trying to say is that unless someone asked me, or questioned where their invite was, I didn’t think to invite people just to the ceremony, only as I’m not sure how I would feel if someone asked me to so that.

LJ03
The only experience that I have had with a similar thing to this, was one of my work colleges had their wedding in their home on a Friday and that was a really small intimate affair where they had a ceremony and a lovely sit down meal with about 15 of their immediate family. The night after they had a finger food reception in a basement of a pub and it was fantastic. I get this that sometimes you want to have just a really intimate ceremony and then a party with all the people that you couldn’t invite to the small affair.  My best friend did the same thing, (you can read all about her wedding renewal of vows here), where a select group of family and friends came on the boat journey for the ceremony and a lunch and  then everyone met up for a huge awesome party at the end. I can see why people might want to do things like this and just have the ceremony small and intimate. I’m just not sure that I understand when people do it the other way around.
What do you think? Would you be offended and not go to the wedding, if you were only invited for the ceremony? Do you think that if people are invited to the ceremony that they should be invited to the wedding?

LJ06

A big thank you to Untamed Images for the use of their beautiful images on the blog this week. You can see their website by clicking here. Or view their facebook page too.

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