Tag Archives: vows

Simon and Zara


I had the honour of attending the wedding of Simon and Zara, I must admit I was a little excited to go to a wedding, just as a guest. Don’t get me wrong for a second, there is nothing better than what I do, making people married is a huge honour that I take seriously and I do realise how lucky I am to help people do this, but this wedding was the first in about 4 and a half years that I haven’t conducted. This is the first wedding in 4 or more years that I haven’t known what is going to go on, I haven’t known what is going to be said about the couple and the first wedding in a long time that I haven’t been so involved in that I’m a little nervous because I just want it to be so perfect. It was really lovely to sit back and remember what it is like to attend a wedding.

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Simon and Zara were married in the North Fizroy Church of Christ, a really lovely, spacious church. Zara had  4 attendants who were all wearing a lovely latte/gold kind of colour, in 4 separate styles.  Zara looked radiant. Simon had his 3 brothers as his groomsmen, and it was just a really lovely service. I was quite surprised as the minister used the monitum in the service, (the legal words that a celebrant has to use for a wedding to be legal,  you can read a blog about it here) I wasn’t aware that they also had to use the monitum when marring someone  in a church for some reason.

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Simon and Zara had their ceremony and then they had an afternoon tea, before they headed off to their reception.  This is the perfect way I think to have people attend the ceremony part of the wedding and not have all of your guests attend the reception.  I’ve previously blogged about inviting guests to the ceremony only, and how I didn’t really understand how this could work, but Simon and Zara have this worked out perfectly. I didn’t go to the reception, I just went to the ceremony and the afternoon tea, it was a great compromise, as the guests who weren’t going to the reception still got a chance to mingle with the bride and groom and still had a cup of tea and some scones to celebrate.  I felt really thankful to have been able to witness them exchange their vows with one another and to be able to see them become husband and wife, and glad that they did just invite some people to the ceremony and afternoon tea as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to be a part of this.

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There were a few wonderful stand out moments about Simon and Zara’s beautiful ceremony. I loved seeing close up Zara and her Dad entering the church, Zara and her Dad both holding back their tears, and watching Simon do the same. (Usually I get to see the Grooms emotion close up).

I really loved the moment when Simon and Zara were walking through the church, being congratulated by all of their family and friends, at the end of the ceremony, they got to the end of the aisle and saw their friend on a computer screen that had been watching the wedding on skype. They look some time to go and speak to their friend who had watched the whole wedding from the other side of the world.

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I think though other than them exchanging their vows and seeing the love they have for each other, the next most beautiful thing was watching a beautiful exchange with Simon and Zara’s Dad when they had completed the signing of the register, I have no idea what they said to one another, but the embrace they exchanged and the look that they gave one another spoke volumes, about the love that they both share for Zara.


A big thank you to Sophie Timothy for the use of her images on the blog. Check out her website here, and you can click here to go to her facebook page.


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Mother of the Bride, and Parents of the Groom


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.


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?


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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Further thoughts on unplugged weddings


I have blogged before about unplugged weddings and have heard a lot of discussion on the topic. I recently conducted a wedding where the couple were very specific about having an unplugged wedding. Before the bride entered the ceremony site I said :
(Groom) and (Bride) ask you to all  to please take a moment to check that your mobile telephones and all of your electronic devices are switched off. Please do not spend the ceremony today watching through a phone or camera, please be in the moment, give it your attention fully and enjoy what is a very special and sacred moment in (Groom) and (Bride’s) lives.



After I said these words, I heard murmurs throughout the guests, one even said. “Really? That’s weird” to the person sitting next to them. I didn’t really know how to feel about it. It doesn’t bother me if they think that I’m weird or what I’m saying is something that they find weird, but I didn’t know how to feel on behalf of the couple. It was their wishes not mine. I really don’t mind if people take a million photos or not a single one. The day isn’t about me. It is about the two people that are exchanging vows on the day. The people that are becoming married that invited them to the wedding, that have asked it. I was annoyed that their guests didn’t respect what they wanted. Admittedly the ‘that’s weird’ girl wasn’t one of the people that continued to photograph throughout the ceremony. There were numerous people and not just a couple of sneaky quick pic’s. (Although I’m sure the very experienced photographer that they hired, got enough shots for everyone) People still continued with lots of flash photography.  If I was going to be rude enough to continue to photograph when the people who’s wedding it was had expressly asked not too, I think I would at least turn the flash off the camera so that it wasn’t blindingly obvious.

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Should this sort of thing be printed on programs? I’m not sure if this is something that needs to be told to people in advance, on the programs or possibly on the invitations. Or a chalk board that the page boy carries.

Should I have been annoyed on their behalf? Maybe it is just because I get to know these people and I want things to go exactly how they want it. I just hope that they were ok with it all. Was my wording not clear enough? Is it something that needs to be spelled out more than that? Have you been to an unplugged wedding? What are you thoughts?


Thank you again to Betty and Keith from Untamed Images, for their lovely images on this weeks blog. Have a look at their website or follow them on Facebook to be kept up to date with their most recent weddings.

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Your ceremony, the legal words required



The wonderful thing about getting married by a celebrant is that you can have your day your way, (see another blog about that here). You should have your wedding reflect you. When I meet with people I spend a bit of time talking with them about the legalities that are involved with the ceremony. As far as your ceremony wording goes there are not too many things that you legally have to have.  As far as the law is concerned you have to have the monitum and you have to have vows. Thats it. Your wedding could be over and finished in a matter of minutes, but why would you want that. (but if you did, it is ok too)

You have to include the monitum. It is said by the celebrant and must be said for your marriage to be valid. It explains the marriage under Australian Law. It must be said before the legal vows.

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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.

You then have to share vows.  In these vows you must use your full name, as it appears on your birth certificate, or passport (If you have been married once before, you use the name that you have been using), you cannot use nicknames or an abbreviation of your name. The rest of the ceremony you can be referred to as whatever you are known as for example your name is Debra and you use Deb, you must say Debra in your vows, and the rest of the ceremony you may be referred to as Deb.

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The vows that you have to include are:

I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, A.B. (or C.D.), take thee, C.D. (or A.B.), to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband)

You can also choose to have personal vows as long as they do not contradict the legal vows. You can write your own, (see previous blog about it here). You can promise each other whatever you like, read song lyrics or copy vows from your favourite movie.

This is all that you legally have to have, no rings, no ‘do you take this man’, no ‘who gives this woman to be married to this man’. These are the only things that you MUST have. Rings are lovely, and there are lots of beautiful words that can be included when you are asking ‘do you take this man to be your husband/wife’. You can have lots of beautiful words that you can have your parents say to show their support for your marriage. Just remember though, all of that is up to you, how you want it and can all be tailored to you and your partner.

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In saying that is all you have to have, most people want to have more than that and that is the beauty of it. Have things in it that are about you and your partner. Have readings, have warming of rings, have a candle ceremony, whatever you like. Make your day you. I say it often, but the best indication for me that a wedding is successful, (other than the Bride and Groom are happy) is when family and friends mention to me how much the ceremony suited the couple.

Have you been to a wedding that just suited the couple to a tee, or have you been to a wedding that was almost all legal wording? I’d love to hear about all the good and bad weddings you have experienced.

Thank-you to the team at Love Journal Photography for the use of their stunning images on the blog this week. Check out their website and follow them on facebook to see all their latest work.


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Tips for writing your own vows


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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Timing and Walking down the aisle


When I talk to people about walking down the aisle, a lot of questions come to mind. How long it is going to take? How quickly should I walk? Do we wait for the first bridesmaid to get to the ceremony spot before the next bridesmaid starts to walk? Should we fade out the music at the end, when everyone is in place? Should we have a different song for the bridesmaids? What if the part of the song I want to walk down to starts at 1 minute 15 seconds?

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As far as my job is concerned this is one of the most talked about parts of the day. Have a good think about this and imagine how you want it to be and do just that. This is one of the perfect reasons to have a wedding rehearsal. (Read my blog here about 6 Reasons to have a Wedding Rehearsal)  Don’t worry about tradition or what you’ve seen at some other weddings, unless of course you loved what they did and want to do something similar. Simply do whatever you like. It’s your day, people are there to see you exchange your vows, and they can wait if they need to. What’s 2 minutes? Some of the loveliest entrances at weddings are when the guests have had to wait.

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Holly and Simon chose to have Perth by Bon Iver playing as Holly entered the Hall. When we were having  the rehearsal, we all discussed that the song has a full minute of intro before the lyrics really kick in, and that is what Holly wanted to enter to. We decided that 1 minute isn’t a lot for people to wait. Walk in when you want. People can wait, they are there for your day, no other reason. You might as well have what you want.
Sean and Chloe had the Imperial March from Star Wars as they entered the stage in their theatre venue. Chloe didn’t want to walk down the aisle and this suited not only the venue, but them as a couple and what they are interested in.
Mel and Cat had the beautiful Day Too Soon, by Sia. They had the music start when the taxi pulled into view. A long song like Day Too Soon is perfect for something like this, it gave them plenty of time to get out of the taxi and then walk down the aisle.  I think it makes such a difference when people have songs with beautiful lyrics that mean a lot to them. It just makes it all the more special.

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I have never been to a wedding and heard anyone say that the bride took too long to walk down the aisle or complaints about the song that was chosen. This is something that should mean something to the couple. Some couples choose to have their attendants walk in to a different song than the bride, especially when the groom has a song that he has always imagined the bride walking in to. It sometimes doesn’t ‘fit’ if her attendants walk in to that song too. I think that the song the bride walks down the aisle to is like the soundtrack for that part of the wedding. It tells a small part of the couple’s story if the song is important to them. It can create a huge amount of emotion, not just for the groom but for a number of the guests too.
Have you been to a wedding that was especially moving when the Bride entered because of the music? Or a wedding where the song choice left a lot to be desired? I’d love to hear about it.


Thank you to Love Journal Photography for the stunning images on the blog this week. See more of their work at by visiting their website or you can see what they are up to on facebook.


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Your day, your way.


Your wedding day is one of the most beautiful days of your life. You should do it your way. You get to make promises to your favourite person in the world. It shouldn’t be done any other way than the way you want it. Especially with your ceremony.

I know I am a celebrant, and it’s the part of the day that I am involved in, but I think the ceremony is probably the most important bit. Without the ceremony and the promises, it’s just a big (and sometimes very expensive) party. There are people out there that are really concerned about the party and not so much the marriage. Not so much the people that I have married, thank goodness! I don’t know how I would go with that, but I know ‘of’ these people that is for sure.

Some of the loveliest weddings that I have conducted and been to are weddings were people have done it to suit their personalities. They were the perfect wedding for them and if someone else had that wedding it would have been out of place.  These weddings have just been the perfect fit for these people, and that has been what has made them so wonderful.

That is what I aim to help you do, I want to make your wedding represent you. I know I tend to go on a little bit about it, but it really is one of the best days where you have all the people that mean the most to you there. A lot of the time it is costing you a considerable amount of money so you should dream big and have exactly what you want. Talk it over, sit down and write a list of all the things you want on your day and go from there. I’ve spoken before about what you legally need to have in your wedding, and it isn’t really that much, the rest is up to you and your partner.
From a selfish point of view, I don’t want to be conducting weddings that are the same. I love writing a bespoke wedding, (read my blog about Bespoke Weddings here) I like the whole process of getting to know people and creating a ceremony that is uniquely about the people getting married. How boring to be going out and just delivering the same few ceremonies over and over again.  You spend hours getting flowers, a dress, the food and all of these things just as they should be and the ceremony should be the same. Your day, your way.

One of the best parts of my job is when someone that I haven’t met comes up to me after a ceremony and goes out of their way to tell me that it was a beautiful ceremony, that it suited the couple so well. I love that moment. These people don’t have to say nice things to me about the day, they don’t have to speak to me at all if they don’t want to, but it is an amazing moment for me when this happens.
Have you been to a wedding that was just perfection for the couple? Or have you been to the opposite, where it was just like someone had cut and paste where the couples names needed to be?


Thank you to Untamed Images for the use of their photos on this weeks blog. Go onto their facebook page and see all of their latest weddings, and view their website here.

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