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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.

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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.

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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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Considerations when choosing your special day

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There are so many things to consider when choosing the date of your wedding. Many of these are obvious like the availability of many providers that you will need to make your day fantastic. It needs to be a day that you and your partner choose and that you hope all of your nearest and dearest family and friends can attend. There is a lot that you have to book, you need outfits, a photographer, the celebrant or church organised, the venue, food, drink and numerous other obvious things that you NEED in order to make your day what you want it to be. These are all very important but they are not the topic of this blog post.

It is the little things that make these considerations important in my opinion, and you may totally disagree with me and feel that it is YOUR day and as the happy couple you can do whatever you like, but…

I don’t only spend a lot of time talking to people who are getting married, I spend a lot of time talking to those close to the happy couple and their guests. The considerations that I am talking about are:

* When is the actual date of the wedding?

It may seem silly but what time of year is your wedding? I recently spoke to a friend of mine getting married this year and she was telling me of a friend of hers, who share a lot of close mutual friends, booked their wedding in  the 2 weeks before my friends special day. They even have friends that will be in both bridal parties. Not only was my friend a little annoyed, (very understandably as her wedding date was announced first!) she was more concerned about the friends that they shared. Will they cope with the costs involved of having two weddings so close together? How will events like hens days, kitchen teas, or bridesmaid duties all go, being around the same time? Will those people in both bridal parties be over it all by the time my friends special day comes around? A similar thing happened to my closest friend and she was worried about all the families that would have to travel. She changed the date of her wedding, just so that it didn’t put financial pressure on the family to travel great distances to attend both weddings.

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* Who is involved?

Think about other people just a little. I don’t mean this nastily, I mean think about the people that might really want something to do in your wedding but who are too polite who to tell you how to run your day and request that they be included in some way. The may be involved as simply as asking their opinion on certain parts of the ceremony. For example, continuing family traditions or starting new ones. I have a couple of blogs about Accessories with Special Meaning, and Selecting and Honouring People in your Wedding. Your wedding is about you, but never underestimate what a small gesture can mean to very special people in your lives.

 

* How will certain things make people feel?

Think about Children that may need to be included,  about all parents rather that just the brides family in the asking. Think about how would your brother feel if he is the only sibling without a job to do throughout the day? Would having a song that you love at the wedding that one of your friends recently had at a family members funeral affect that friend? ( I have attended a wedding where this happened, the bride chose a song for when they were leaving that one of their friends had at her fathers funeral a few weeks before, she ran out of the room in tears). Little things that some people may think don’t matter. Some things that you can talk to people about and other things that just have to be ruled out because it is just the right thing to do.  Don’t mention the battle with cancer that someone is having directly, but maybe acknowledge that person in a special way in the service without drawing attention to them obviously.

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* Where people are seated?

Again I have written a blog about this, you can read it here. But as much as it won’t really affect you on your day, it is nice to consider how the dynamic will be at tables and be mindful of sitting people with people they will be comfortable with.

I could write about these topics all day. These things are not vital to your day running smoothly, and as I always say your wedding should be about you and your partner, and reflecting your personalities. Saying that though, I do think with a little thought, lots of little heartaches can be avoided and people will feel very special to be included in your day. Some of these things will never be known to anyone too, but you can then take comfort in knowing that you have done as much as you can to take the stress off as many other people as possible, which in turn can take a lot of stress off you.

Has this sort of thing happened to you, or have you been to a wedding  where people blatantly didn’t think of how their actions would impact others?

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Thank you again to Kirralee for her beautiful photos on this blog. I’m so looking forward to working with her in a few months time, check out more of her work on her blog and on her facebook page.

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Post wedding day blues

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Once all of the excitement of your wedding day is over – often it can be very difficult to settle in. You have had your big day and it was one of the greatest experiences of your life thus far, it can be hard to accept the big day is over – all of the planning and stress is no more.  There are no more dates set in the calendar, no more bridal showers or hens days – this can often be a little disheartening.

There are quite a few things you can do to keep yourself busy and help keep those lovely memories from your special day alive.

Thank you cards

This is a job that should be done close to the wedding date, it is a good gesture and is easily done earlier rather than later, while you can still remember who gave you what gift. It’s good to write a custom letter to each person, whether is it about a gift given or a lovely moment you shared at the wedding, rather than just a generic message. This can be time consuming but enjoying resurfacing beautiful memories of your wedding day.

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Save the cake

Saving the cake is a old tradition from when couples got married to have children and the cake could be used around the couples first anniversary when the child was to be christened, the tradition is still popular for different reasons. However with the wide variety of cakes today, you need to be aware not all cakes or top tiers will freeze well. It is something you will need to research before committing to.

Preserve your dress

You have spent a considerable amount of time and money on your wedding dress, you may want to do some research into having your dress professionally cleaned and then decide if you are going to store it away, or possibly sell it. This is totally up to you; depending on how sentimental you are or if you think you may never wear it again and want to make some money back while it is still in fashion.

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Keep your Bouquet

This is something a lot of people don’t really think about, and again it depends if you have a floral bouquet (you can read my blogs about bouquets here). You may decide to research the different options on preserving your bouquet. If you choose to have flowers you can have them dried, pressed, or freeze dried. These things vary in cost and some of them you can do yourself. You may decide to frame them – I have heard lately of people framing them with your wedding certificate or with all the beautiful good luck keepsakes.

Wedding Album

This might take a little while to come to you and may depend on your photographer and package you have purchased – this is an exciting prospect. Whether you go to the studio and work out an album with your photographer, or you get the digital files and spend time designing your own album. It can be a challenging and time consuming project, but something that is worth the time. Those of you who read my blog regularly will know how strongly I feel about great photos and these being some of the best memories, I think this is time well invested and I don’t know of anyone who has put time into a wedding album and been disappointed with the result.

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Memory scrap book

It may take time for you to get your photos back from your photographer, some take a while and some seem to get them to you quite quickly, in the meantime you might want to get photos from your friends and family, and get bits and pieces from the ceremony. I did this as I wanted to have something to share with people and I knew it would take a while to get the final album from the photographer (there wasn’t the joy of digital photography back then, nor could I have a great instagram hashtag for people to check out photos from the day) so I used things like the order of service booklet, menus from the tables and photos from family and friends with different perspectives of our special day.

Sell off the things you no longer need

This can be a great way to keep busy and work out what things you want to keep and what you can live without. Especially if you have spent a lot of money on table decorations, you could sell it on eBay, or Gumtree, as a set or you could split it up and sell them separately.

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Start to plan something new

Depending whether you went straight on your honeymoon or not you might like to plan a holiday or honeymoon (you can read about Honeymoon decisions I previously blogged about here). Otherwise you might want to plan a girls or boys weekend away or a weekend away with your husband or a bit of a reunion weekend with some friends you didn’t feel you spent enough time with since your wedding.  A big dinner party is a great alternative or something else you can enjoy with your friends and family.

Do you have any great post-wedding tips for people who feel a little ‘lost’ after their big day?

A big thank-you to Kirralee for the use of her lovely photos, check out the link to the blog about this wedding here.

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Including animals in your ceremony

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Animals are such a huge part of many people’s lives and some really want to include them in their ceremony. I think it really depends on what sort of wedding you are having and what your expectations are for the big day.

If you want your wedding to run smoothly without anything going wrong don’t include animals or children. They both cannot be relied upon to do exactly what you want on the day. When it comes to animals you can’t explain to them what you would like them to do, at least with children you can go over what you expect on the day at the rehearsal. This doesn’t guarantee they won’t get nervous or stage fright on the day, however in comparison when including animals there is even less chance that they will do what you want. Think on whether your pet is a people person or not and if this will be an enjoyable experience for your pet too? The last thing you want is to put your pet in a situation where it is distressed or upset. Consider how your pet deals with crowds and noise. Appointing someone, as the ‘pet nanny’, so you are sure your animal will be looked after during the celebration is a great idea. If you don’t think that your pet would cope with the crowd there are lots of other ways that you can mention or include your pet without them even being present. You may also decide to include them in your photos, mention them in your vows or have their photo part of your theme or decoration at the wedding.

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Including animals in your ceremony is super-cute, especially if the animal has been in your family for years or acts as a child to you and your partner. Just be prepared that things might not go as smoothly as you like and animals are just that, animals, they may relieve themselves at any one time – not be ideal during your ceremony. Some people choose to dress their animals up in outfits or adorn them with flowers or other wedding decorations. If you do decide to dress them up, make sure the outfits fit properly and don’t cause discomfort. If you are using flowers or any other decoration make sure it will not hurt your pet if chewed on or ingested.

Make sure that you check with your venue and other providers and confirm animals included in the ceremony will be permitted. Does the car company you chose let animals travel in their cars? Does the venue you are having your wedding reception at allow animals? If you are getting married on a beach or in a national park check the rules regarding pets too. There would be nothing worse than having your heart set on having your pet there and to turn up on the day to have the venue tell you your animal must not come onto the property. Also consider if there is any one guest or provider, like photographer or chauffeur that may be allergic to animals. It may be a good idea to mention something on the invites to avoid any problems arising.

Do you know anyone who has successfully included animals in their wedding, or would you consider doing it for your own wedding?

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Thanks to Lauren at Purely Taken. Photography for her photos on this weeks blog. Check out her website here and see what else she has been up to on her blog here.

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First Look Photo Shoots

First look wedding photography is when a Bride and Groom have their photos taken before the ceremony and it is a trend that lots of people are looking into now, and seems like quite a good idea to explore for yourself. I have asked quite a few of my favourite photographers what they think of it. I had a few different discussions  about these style of photo shoots with a few of the photographers that I know and were talking about the pros and cons of this style of photography.

Some of its strengths are:

* There is only the limit of time that you choose, you can have an hour of photos before your ceremony or three, it is totally up to you.

* No time is ‘wasted’ between the ceremony and the reception. I have been to a number of weddings where guests complain about the time wasted hanging around whilst the couple are having their photos.

* There is no pressure when you are doing family photos that your precious creative time is being taken up by all the photos with the family.

* If you are nervous about the ceremony it is nice that you and your partner can see each other before hand for an encouraging hug.

* You will actually get to spend a small amount of time alone.  Wedding days are often very busy and the day can go by in a heartbeat. It may be a chance just to have some  ‘you’ time before everything starts to go at breakneck speed.

*  Getting to experience that moment when you first see each other on the day in private.

Some of its weaknesses:

* Having to get ready earlier than you would if you photos were being taken after the ceremony. If you are having a lunchtime wedding  you will be up before the birds to have your hair done.

* If you are having bridesmaids and groomsmen and you decide that you just want the first look photos of the two of you. It is important to consider what they can do whilst they wait.

* It is quite unconventional and some people still want to do things the old fashioned way and not have the groom see the bride until she walks down the isle.

What do you think about first look wedding shoots, is it something you or someone you know had done?  Or is it something that you are considering for your wedding day?

Thank you to Corey Brown for the use of his stunning photos. Have a look at some of his other work here.


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