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Having no children invited to your wedding

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Having a ‘no children’ policy at your wedding. It’s always a hot topic and usually there is someone offended. I’m always hearing or reading about people who have very strong opinions on this topic. I have touched on it a little bit when I blogged about Keeping children entertained at your wedding, but what do you think? Don’t the bride and groom have the right to request that there be no children at the wedding?

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I have been talking about this with numerous people. Couples getting married and parents also. The opinions are varied and I can see it from different angles. I can see it from the celebrants point of view, from the couples point of view and as a parent.

From the celebrants point of view, children are lovely and can add a really beautiful element to the wedding ceremony, especially when they are the couples children or a big part in the lives of the couple. They are super cute attendants, but don’t always do what people want them or expect them to do in the wedding. I love an extra cute child in a little suit and tie or a sweet little dress and I love promises being made to children in the wedding and helping join families not just couples together.

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As a parent, things are totally different. For me there are two sides to this ‘coin’. On one side, If I’m off to a wedding, I think about my son. Can he sit still and keep quiet for the wedding? Will it be his nap time? Will he be a maniac on the day and run around like a little wild man? Will I actually be able to listen to what is going on or will I miss out on a lot of it, attending to my child? I know that there are many parents out there that are actually offended that their child isn’t invited to the wedding and if their child isn’t invited then they wont be attending. I don’t really understand that, sure I might have felt this way if I was invited to a wedding when my son was an infant, a sleeping little gorgeous grub, that really only woke to be fed and for a small window at a time. I think it is silly to think that a guest with a tiny weany baby should have to leave their child, (which is some cases is still being breastfed). Lets not cause any undue stress to baby or Mum having to leave her small little person behind for the wedding. Toddlers and small kids are totally different. They get into things, they touch things, fall off things and fall into things. You need 40 eyes and boundless energy to keep up with them. To me I don’t think it is unreasonable to have these children not invited to the wedding.

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What do the couple think? I know that couples don’t say ‘no kids’ just to be nasty or make things more difficult for the parents, but there are so many variables to take into consideration. How child safe is the venue? What time is the wedding? There are so many reasons that there may be that the couple have made this decision. I believe that 99 times out of 100, (or maybe even more) they are not doing this because they don’t like your children, so don’t take it personally. One of my friends is having a wedding at a winery and we have spoken about their no children under 10 rule. I completely understand why they are doing it, but they are still worried about how some people may react. Their reason that they don’t want children there is there is a lake there and they don’t want to worry about what could possibly happen if someone’s child decides that they want to go and explore the water. They don’t want to be worried about other people’s children and let’s be real, crazier things have happened.

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Should it be up to the parents to choose? What about those people who are coming to town from interstate? I can see it from all sides, I’m not sure how I would feel if I travelled interstate or overseas and all the people that I trusted were going to be at the wedding too? Not so bad if you are local, but for me it isn’t even that easy anymore. I can’t just leave my child with anyone now. I can’t just get a baby sitter and hope for the best. For me they have to know how to deal with a type 1 diabetic child. So I can see why some people may make this argument too.

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Another thing to consider is not all parents are equal. There are some parents who do all the right things and make sure that their children are supervised, but there are some parents who like their children to be a lot more ‘free range’ than that and I think that sometimes that is what worries brides and grooms. I think these are the parents that just don’t watch their kids and think that everyone else at the wedding should be keeping an eye out for their children.

What do you think? Are you offended if your children are not invited to a wedding? Did you have or are you having a no child rule at your wedding?

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Thanks to Vision House Photography for the use of their beautiful images. Check out more of their work on their website or like them on Facebook.

 

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Ceremony only wedding

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I have read a little bit about ‘Ceremony Only’ weddings recently. This is different to having a guest list for those coming to both the reception and ceremony and then invitations for ceremony only. (Blog about this coming soon) Ceremony Only weddings are where a couple have just the ceremony and then everything is over. There is no reception. Nothing else afterwards. I haven’t actually conducted one of these myself but am really interested in some of the reasoning behind why people do it. I understand that weddings are expensive and I totally understand that it should be about the actual promises made to one another. I think that this is really what the whole thing is about. I’m not sure how I would feel about a ceremony only wedding myself. I think it depends on the reasoning why you are choosing to have just a ceremony only. I also wonder if some guests might think that you are having some sort of reception later but they are just not invited.

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Weddings can cost a lot of money. This isn’t news to anyone. I’m not sure, however, if having a ceremony only wedding is the answer to the cost issue. Some people believe that you ‘owe’ it to your guests to feed them after they witness you exchange your vows. What nonsense. How terrible, and what sort of friends do you have if they feel you owe them something for attending? Receptions can get totally out of control and some people are not interested in a big sit down meal event. It’s totally up to the individual. As a guest I wouldn’t be upset if a couple didn’t have a reception, though I think after all the excitement and the emotion of it all it’s nice to celebrate. I think this is the part of the whole ceremony only wedding that I can’t get past. I love a wedding and love the love that people feel for the couple. It just seems odd to me to have the ceremony and not have some time with all these people afterwards.

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I’m not saying that people shouldn’t do this if that is what they really want. I’m all for your day, your way, but I’ve been to some truly amazing weddings. My friends got married in their back yard, in their jeans, with some caterers brought in to cater some dinner and it was a lovely, intimate, beautiful wedding. No one there for a moment thought that it should have been done any other way.  I think the idea of a sunset wedding with champagne and cheese could be a perfect wedding for the right people too.

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Celebrating can cost as little or as much as you want. What is to stop people having just some cheese, crackers and champagne at the park or the beach where the ceremony is held. Alternatively you could book a restaurant and ask your guests to pay for their own meal instead of bringing a gift. You could have a coffee and cake affair. I think that anyone who comes to your wedding should be happy to witness you saying your vows and be happy with whatever you decide to do as far as a celebration goes. If you decided to have a bring your own picnic in the park type affair and people didn’t like it, I would suggest that maybe it is for the best if they didn’t come to the wedding anyway.

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What do you think about a ceremony only wedding? Have you been to one? Would you consider one?

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A huge shout out to the guys at Vision House Photography for the use of their photos on this weeks blog. Check out their facebook page by clicking here. Also head over to their website to see more about them.

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Mother of the Bride, and Parents of the Groom

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Mum of the Bride and Parents of the Groom seem to get a little bit left out sometimes when it comes to the wedding day. Some don’t really seem to mind that much an are honestly happy just to be there and see that their child’s day is going according to plan. However there have been a few times in the last little while that I have heard murmurs about the Father of the Bride getting all the glory. He gets to walk her down the aisle and he gets to travel in the car with her. Sometimes the Mum of the bride is ok with it all and sometimes clearly she is a bit put out.  Sometimes the parents of the Groom don’t really have any involvement or don’t really seem to be included either. There are ways around this and there are a number of ways that you can include them in your special day.

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Have both your parents walk you down the aisle.

This is simple, and it doesn’t take any extra effort, it just means that you can have both of them with you and they can both feel a part of your day. You can also have the groom enter with his parents. There is no rule to say that he has to be at the front waiting for the bride, he can enter any way he likes. You could also have the grooms parents and the mother of the bride seated by special people just before the bride arrives so that they can be taken to their seats just before everything is about to begin. In a wedding I conducted recently the Mother of the bride was met by her father and taken to her seat by him, which is a lovely way for the Grandparent to be included and probably brings back memories for the Grandfather of his own daughters special day too.

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Make special mention of them in the ceremony.

There are many ways that you can do this, you can mention something special about them, or consider having a candle ceremony which is a great way to include family, (read my blog about candle ceremonies here), you can also have a section in the wedding where you can ask both sets of parents if they are willing to support the marriage rather than a traditional giving away of the bride. (I’ve blogged about this also) Or you can make mention of them during the ceremony and speak of their commitment to each other and how it has inspired you or something along those lines. You could also have a reading that is dedicated to them.

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Have parents sign the marriage register.

This one is a great way to have any of the parents do something that is really special. (Or anyone that is close to you and not in your bridal party) Have them be the witness on all of the legal paperwork. The person who signs doesn’t have to be in the wedding party, they just have to hear the entire ceremony and hear you exchange your vows. (don’t choose your cousin who has a newborn baby, it will be hard if she has to pop out for part of the ceremony) I have conducted a few weddings where parents have been the witness and even had some people choose their Grandparents to include them.

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Have the Mum of the Bride or one of the Grooms parents do a reading.

This is a lovely way for parents to be included, I recently conducted a wedding where the grooms Grandmother read a reading. They didn’t know what she was going to say and they just left it up to her. It was a lovely moment and something special for the grooms side of the family to be included. She was really honoured to be involved. This is a great way to include mums and parents of the groom, you may choose the reading for them or let them choose something close to their heart.
Have you been to a wedding where you felt that all important people were a part of the day? How did the couple achieve this?

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A big shout out to Vision House Photography for the use of their stunning photos on this weeks blog post.  Take a look at their website here. Follow them on facebook to keep up to date with their latest shoots.

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Standing when the Bride walks down the aisle

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What do you think? Should everyone stand when the Bride walks down the aisle?

It is quite traditional for people to stand when the Bride walks down the aisle. When I speak to brides about this, it is something that they either feel very strongly about or sometimes it hasn’t even crossed their mind.

I am hearing more about people who want their guests to remain seated when the bride enters. However, there are other people that I have been speaking with that really want that moment when they walk down the aisle for everyone to stand.

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People have stood for the bride for years and even if you don’t want the guests to stand, they will because that is what people believe that you do when the bride walks in. Some people will wait for the Mother of the Bride to stand. This is their cue that they are then to stand. Then when the Bride and her father reach the Groom, traditionally people wait for the Mother of the Bride to be seated also. You can make this simpler by having the celebrant ask the guests to stand and be seated.

I have read some forums where they are talking about having the celebrant, or whomever is conducting their wedding, to ask people to remain seated. Some people are saying that it is because they don’t want all of the attention, or they think that it is unfair that no one is standing for the groom.  There was talk about people not all being able to see the bride.

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It’s totally up to you and if you don’t want people to stand that is fine. There may be a reason for it, like one of your relatives is in a wheelchair and you don’t want them to miss out on seeing you walk down the aisle. Make sure that people know, ask your celebrant to mention it or if you are having printed programs you could request it in there.

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If people like the idea, but don’t want the Groom to miss out, he could always have his parents walk him down the aisle or the Bride and Groom could walk down the aisle as a couple too.  Remember there are no rules.  Do what you want.

What do you think? Does it matter to you, should people sit or stand?

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Thank-you to Corey and Alastair from Vision House Photography for the photos on this blog, you can check out their website here, and keep up to date with all their latest weddings by following them on facebook.

 

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Unplugged weddings

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I am reading more and more about Unplugged weddings.  I have previously blogged about turning off your phone at the wedding ceremony, but this blog is about taking it a step further.  Obviously people are going to set their phones to silent. (Well you hope that it is obvious) but in unplugged weddings there is a blanket ban on photography too.
On pintrest there are all sorts of examples on how to word this. Maybe using a chalk board at the ceremony or something extra that goes in with your invitations or your order of service booklets.  It’s not because the couple are shy or don’t want photos of their special day, it is about being present in the moment. Coming from a photographic background I can understand how people can feel this way. A camera definitely puts a barrier between yourself and anything that you are photographing. It removes some of your concentration, when you are busy photographing you are thinking about composition, flashes and camera settings.

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There has also been a lot in the media about living in the moment, not always photographing it, making actual memories rather than taking photos. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I get it, I understand that we spend all too much time on our devices when we should be spending time with our loved ones and the people that we are with at that moment. I understand wanting people to be immersed in the moment of your wedding, but shouldn’t it be their choice? Is the wedding ceremony the right time for this? Thankfully they will most likely have a professional taking photos.  The wedding ceremony can be an extremely surreal moment, especially for the bride and groom. I agree with living in the moment, but there are times too where photos are a must.

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I’m a highly visual person and I use photos and objects to prompt my memory a lot. I would have been devastated if there had have been no photos taken when my son was born. I can’t imagine how that would feel. I won’t ever forget the first time I laid eyes on him, but I’m glad that I have it recorded too.  I must admit, I’m a sucker for a good photo, I have to have photos of everything. I use photos for bookmarks.
It’s been a while since I have been a guest at a wedding ceremony, and I don’t think I can remember the last time that I was a guest at a wedding and didn’t take a stack of photos. I don’t know how I would go. For me now I would be paying attention to all the details as a celebrant and don’t know if I could give an objective opinion on an unplugged wedding.
I love that as a celebrant, photographers are usually happy to provide me with some images to use here on my blog, so I feel lucky in that respect to have lovely photos from each wedding that I am privileged to conduct. Although I don’t ‘need’ photos to remember, I have a marriage register, the photos are oh so lovely to have.

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I haven’t spoken to a lot of my photographer friends about this yet, but I am interested to see if they welcome the idea. I imagine that they would. No one getting in the way when the bride is walking down the aisle, no competing for spots in the chapel or having someone step into their shot trying to get their own.  Parents both enjoying the moment of their children’s wedding.

I like the idea from the stand point that everyone is paying attention to the vows that the bride and groom are about to make to each other, and somehow maybe it would give the ceremony a little more of a sacred feel.  What do you think? Could you go to a wedding and not take photographs or have your wedding and ask for it to be ‘Unplugged’?

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Thank-you to Vision House Photography for the photos on this weeks blog. Check out their website here and head over and like them on facebook.

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What to do with your dress after your wedding

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What do you do with your wedding dress after your wedding?  This is something that I have wondered about for a long time. What do most people do with their dress after the big day?  There are a lot of things that you can do with it, but sometimes they sound good in theory but when it comes to the crunch, I wonder how many of them I, personally, could go through with.

The first one, and I know that I couldn’t do it, is sell your dress. There are hundreds of places online and there are literally thousands of dresses on ebay. For me there is too much sentimental value to be able to sell my dress! I just cannot bear the idea of selling it. I’m not really sure why, but I just can’t contemplate it.

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Another thing you could do is a ‘trash the dress’ photo shoot, it is something that I’ve blogged about in the past and seems like a fun idea.  A fun idea for a get together is to  host a bridal party, where you and some girlfriends and all dress up in your wedding dresses and sip champagne and have a laugh. This would be a great way to do some charity fund-raising for a great cause if you couldn’t bear to part with your dress but wanted to do your bit for some of the wedding dress charities.

One idea I really like, which for years is something that I have always intended to do.  I have always had ideas of repurposing my dress. Perhaps a christening gown for a baby. Or using it for something special to pass on to my children or for relatives to have with them on their own special day. A lovely handbag, handmade handkerchief or maybe a vintage fabric garter. Or perhaps sew some part of it into the hem of their dress or use the fabric to wrap around their flowers. It would be a nice touch to make the cushion that the rings are carried on by the page boy, or it could be used in the making of a wedding patchwork quilt.  I also have my mother in laws dress and I thought that this could be a way to include her in future family weddings now that she has passed away. I remember her asking me to try it on, many years ago when my husband and I had only been together a short amount of time. The dress holds happy memories for me and represents a part of a really happy time in her life. Like most dresses do.

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There are some wonderful organisations that you can donate your dress to if you don’t have the space or feel like you want to share the love. There are some great charities in the US that do some great work, Brides against Breast Cancer, is a great idea. I can’t seem to find anything like it in Australia though.

One wonderful idea that I have recently heard about, is an organisation called Angel Gowns Australia. They take wedding dresses and make clothes for Angel Babies. They are made and given to families when the are going through something that is so heartbreaking, so that it is one less thing for them to think about.  You can read more about them here.

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Now it’s time for me to have a long hard think about why to do with my dress.

Thank-you to the guys at Vision House Photography for the photos again this week. Check out their new website here and their facebook page here.

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Legal wording and Marriage Equality

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As I celebrant at every wedding I have to say the monitum. It is part of the marriage act and apart from the vows, it is the only thing that MUST be said. Full stop, end of story. The monitum along with the vows are the legal requirements of the marriage and the monitum must be said before the vows.

The monitum is:

I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law.

Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.

Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

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It is a requirement by law and is clearly stated in the marriage act and if it is not said the wedding isn’t valid. Regardless of what you think or I think, it is the law. (Until they change the marriage act, whenever that day may be.)  Ministers of religion do not have to say the monitum. Ministers of religion of recognised denominations and Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants solemnising religious marriages may use any form of ceremony recognised as sufficient for the purpose by the religious body or organisation of which he or she is a minister. This means that the content of the ceremony and its form must have the formal approval and recognition of the religious body or organisation.

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I have read quite a few forums recently that speak about the way that some couples feel about the monitum and they are not always happy with it. They feel the need to say something that represents what they think along with the monitum. Some couples want to say that this is the law and they soon hope that everyone should be allowed to marry whomever they wish.  Some of the comments that I have read on these forums talk about how they are worried how some of their gay guests may feel about the wording, and some of them were saying that they feel that they need to clarify that this is the law, but not their view on marriage. There was quite a lot of debate on the forum and there were clearly two sides on this issue. There was the side of couples of the belief that their friends and family that were gay have been attending weddings for their whole lives and are more than aware of what the law is in this country and feel that drawing attention to the issue in the wedding ceremony might seem a bit odd and make some people feel more uncomfortable than anything. Then there was the other side of the argument that suggested that couples need to make a stand and have their celebrant make a statement about the way that they feel and some of the forums even suggested wording so that the couples could make it known that they do not agree with the statement of the monitum.

What do you think? Are you having a wedding and are you worried about how your gay guests may feel? Have you attended a wedding where a statement was made to speak about the couples belief or statement about the desire of the couple for marriage equality?

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Thank-you again to the wonderful Vision House Photography for the use of the photos on this weeks blog. Check out their website and like them on facebook to see more of their stunning and award winning photos.

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