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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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Funky save the date

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Friends of mine, Scarlett and Tom, are getting married this year and a few weeks ago I received my save the date. They know how to make a good invitation! I conducted their little girl, Emily’s, naming day which had some great invitations too! Scarlett and I have had many wedding discussions (one of my favourite things to talk about) and I had heard a couple of the ideas for the save the date. I wasn’t 100% sure what way they were going to go with them and when I opened it I was blown away.

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I could feel that it wasn’t just a standard postcard type save the date as the envelope was thicker. I was so excited to see how it looked. They chose to have a pop up polaroid going along with their love of photography, film and taking a great selfie. The best bit is the actual little polaroid that pops out of the camera. It’s a magnet! So all of those people who mean to put their save the date in a safe place can actually put the most important part of it all on the fridge so that it doesn’t get lost.
What a great idea! I love the metallic paper for the background, it really makes all of the photos pop and the magnet is such a brilliant idea. Can’t wait for the actual invites now!

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Getting ready for your wedding together

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For a long time now tradition has been that the Bride and Groom don’t see each other until they reach the ceremony site and are about to be married. Over the years there have been a few new ideas implying that this isn’t the way that it has to be. For example there are ‘first look’ photo shoots. Some people now choose to have their formal portraits done before the ceremony so that they don’t have to go off and have their photos taken between the ceremony and the reception. Sometimes Love letters before the ceremony also have the couple seeing each other before the ceremony takes place.

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Some couples are now deciding that they will get ready together, not worry about tradition, and just get ready at the same venue. Alternatively getting ready where they will be staying that night, so there is no dragging bags from one place to another.
There are good and bad points for this, I think. One of the bad things would be that you miss out on that lovely time that you get to spend with the bridesmaids and groomsmen if you are having them. Some of the weddings that I have been involved in, where I have been a part of the bridal party or spending time with the bride before hand when she is getting ready, is always a lovely and fun experience. Getting make up done, eating fruit platters and generally enjoying each others company until the ceremony.

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Maybe getting ready in your family home was important, you could always both get ready there and have photos taken around your family home especially if your partners family were not close by.
Another popular idea is having a house near or at the wedding location so that all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen can all get ready with you. This way you get the best of both worlds. It could be a great way to have all of the photos done before the wedding ceremony so that you don’t have to have all the between time where you go off and be photographed. You can just have fun and socialise with your guests.

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Some people also feel that it is just such a big day, they know they will feel really nervous and overwhelmed that they just want to get ready with their partner. They know that they are going to be spending a large portion of the day with other people they just want some relaxing quality time with the person that the day is really all about.

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A huge thank you to Love Journal Photography for the brilliant photos on the blog this week. Check out more of their work here. Or check out their facebook page here.

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Exchanging Wedding day gifts

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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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Saving money by hiring a ‘friendor’

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I have been reading a lot lately about couples that are using what is being referred to as a ‘friendor’ in the urban dictionary it tells us that a friendor is:  A friend whose skills are employed as a vendor at an event or a wedding. Results may vary, as some friendors are highly skilled (as a DJ, photographer, baker, etc), while others are not. The bride & groom hired a friendor for their videography.

I know people who have both successfully and unsuccessfully hired friendors for their wedding, and I’m sure you all have too. We have all heard the horror stories of people who had their friendor do their wedding photos and they were disappointed with the style, or they didn’t see any images for a few  months, or worse still they hired the friendor and now they are no longer even friends. Sometimes there are occassions where having the friendor work on your wedding ends up costing you a whole lot more,  friendships suffer and so does your wallet.

I have been a friendor, and hope to continue to be one. I think that there are some great ways to ensure that you have a positive friendor experience.

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1. Be clear on what is expected on both sides.

Communication is key, make sure you talk about all things expected on both sides from the beginning. No matter who’s wedding I am asked to do, I always send them my contract, and all sign it so that we all know what to expect and  know where we stand. Obviously some of the details are different, and there are things that I change when it comes to my friends that are getting married. At least if it is all in writing there are no grey areas and no one is left wondering where they stand with anything. Be clear if you are the one that is employing the services of a friendor, tell them what you want and expect. That way they will not be left guessing on things too.

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2. Don’t expect a job done for free.

You know what you are like yourself, if someone wants something done for free, it takes a different line in your priorities than if you are being paid for a job. A lot of friends that I have conducted weddings for have said that they would have to pay for the services of someone else if they didn’t know me, and they don’t want mates rates, they just want me to be a part of their ceremony. I love this, and make sure that I do still give them a deal, but at the same time, I still feel appreciated and that my work is respected that they would hire me to do the job.  Being paid makes sure that your friendor still feels like they are working for you, but majority of the time they want it to be great, so they will work really hard on your job.

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3. Give credit where credit is due.

I married a couple at mates rates, and after the wedding they did a huge facebook post saying a massive thank you to all the people involved, the hairdresser, the make up artist and every bob and their dog was included and tags made to relevant pages. Do you think that I got a shout out? Nup. Nada. Zip. To say that I felt under appreciated is an understatement. The ruddy hairdresser that she would never see again got a shout out and a link to their page. This was my friend. I don’t expect you to thank me in the wedding speech or send me a tweet or rant about my services to all that people know. (Although people have thanked me in wedding speeches and, boy howdy it warmed my heart) but if you are giving a shout out to all the people that you paid full price to that are not your friends, an add to the list would be nice. Knowing how hard I work on all weddings, it was just a little hurtful is all.

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4. Make sure the friendor has the right skill set.

Don’t choose your friendor, just because they will be cheaper. If they make do a job and do it well and you’d hire them anyway then that is great, but if they are a chef and you are asking them to be a baker and it isn’t what they like to do or they don’t usually make cakes. It is a bit unfair to expect a cut price cake. Not only does that put your friend in a position, what if they don’t deliver what you had your heart set on. On the other hand if they are keen to make cakes and you’ve seen what they do before , by all means employ their friendor services. Don’t ask your landscape photographer friend to photograph your wedding if you haven’t seen any ‘people’ or ‘wedding’ shots that they have done before. Always make sure you have the right person for the job.

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In the majority of cases friendors I think are the bomb, they know you and care about you and generally want your day to be the best it can be, I think if you trust what they do and you would pay them to do it, they are the right person for the job. If they don’t have the skills or your asking them just to save a buck, maybe don’t they will probably be relieved, and it will probably save you some heartache. What do you think? Do you have any other tips or suggestions on hiring a friendor?

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A big Thank you to Love Journal for the use of their images on the blog this week. Check out their website and their facebook page.

 

 

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Things that guests hate at a wedding

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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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5 Tips to ensure you are the ideal wedding guest

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There are a few things that you can do to be considered an ideal guest when attending a wedding. And there are things that you can do that can take the stress away from the couple and from a lot of other people.

1. RSVP on time.
Make sure that you RSVP by the date requested on the invitation and in the manner that they request you to. If they have an RSVP card, send that. If they request email, respond in that way. They are asking for it a certain way for a reason and speak up now about any dietary requirements.

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2. Read the invitation.

Please  read the invitation and take notice of the things that it says. Take it with you if you won’t remember or think that it might be helpful. Take notice of all the important things, the time, the dress code, the venue of the ceremony and reception. Don’t message the Bride or one of the bridesmaids on the day asking any of these things!

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3. Arrive close to the time that the ceremony will start.

I turn up at weddings early, that’s my job. There have been times when I arrive at the ceremony site, sometimes more than an hour before the ceremony is due to start, and there are guests there already. Don’t get there that early. Don’t stress out any vendors that are doing what they need to do before everything happens. Get there with enough time to get settled and allow a little time for traffic, but don’t get there way before. Don’t be late either. Don’t follow the Bride down the aisle, if you are late. Wait until you wont be noticed and sneak in. Or just don’t be late.

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4. Don’t sit up the back.

If there are enough seats that it appears that everyone will be seated, make sure you sit. Also make sure that you don’t sit as far back as possible. Its a wedding, not a school bus. Obviously don’t sit in the front rows unless you are family. But don’t sit right at the back. There is nothing worse than a big gap of empty seats in the middle of the ceremony. The couple have paid money for you to sit in most of these circumstances. Also if there are only a limited number of chairs, don’t just sit down. Leave them for the elderly, disabled, and pregnant guests.

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5. Respect the wishes of the couple.
If they ask for an unplugged wedding, put the camera/ phone down. I’ve blogged on a few occasions about unplugged weddings. Firstly, your phone should be on silent anyway, (this should be a no brainer) but if they have asked for no photos, don’t be that jerk who just takes them anyway. It’s their day, they should have the people that are attending respect their wishes. This also goes for social media. (and is just plain manners in my book) Don’t post photos to facebook or Instagram until the couple have, or they have provided you with a hashtag that they want you to use. How do you know if they want to share them with the world otherwise?

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A big thank you again, to Love Journal Photography for the use of their images on the blog this week.  Visit their website by clicking here. Or follow them on facebook to see what they are up to.

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