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Ceremony only wedding


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.

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?


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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Nell and Glenn


Nell and Glenn were married at Mimosa Glen in Tooborac earlier this year. Mimosa Glen is not traditionally a wedding venue per-se, it is a homestead that has been restored and there is some lovely accommodation on the property too. It is a stunning place! The views everywhere you looked were exquisite. The weather was a perfect 24 degrees. You couldn’t really ask for more.


I’m not sure how many people believe in destiny, or that life will take you to a certain point at a certain time because that is exactly where you need to be. But for those of you who don’t believe, I’m not sure how else to explain what happened about 5 years ago.  Glenn, a lovely New Zealander, went to Ireland to look into his family history and then to work in Europe. Nell, a beautiful Australian lass, went to Ireland to do a similar thing. Glenn and Nell both start working for the same online poker company. Nell had been away from home for so long so Glenn, being an expat and a Kiwi, made her drawn to him. Her first impression of him was that he was quiet and handsome. There was a rumour around the workplace that Glenn was a party animal, which Nell now thinks is funny as it is not something that she would ever associate with Glenn. Glenn thought that Nell was very friendly and easy to talk to. He thought she was loud and brash and he really liked talking to her.

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Nell and Glenn shared their vows in front of about 80 guests, they had people fly in from all around the world, the US, Ireland and New Zealand just to mention a few. Nell looked amazing, her dress and 1920’s inspired veil suited her perfectly. The attendants all wore a lovely green hue, that complemented the brown of the guys suits. They stood on top of a beautiful big rock with 3 attendants each. One of Nell’s bridesmaids,  Susan, wrote a song for the occasion and after Susan came down the aisle she took her place at the microphone and sang the rest of the girls into the ceremony site. Susan also sang while Nell and Glen signed their paper work and when they had been presented as the newly married couple and went through the most magnificent confetti shower that you have ever seen.

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When I asked what they loved most about the other, Nell said that was really hard to answer, like when someone asks what is your favourite movie or favourite fruit. But she did say that she really loves Glenn’s nature, that he is honest, kind and gentle, he is quiet and not contrived. Glen said that he loves all of who Nell is. He loves her conviction, her drive and loves her sensitivity and caring nature. Being with Nell has always felt like where he is meant to be.  Glenn said that when Nell sets her sights on getting something done, she is determined and driven to achieve what she sets out to do. Nell said that Glenn is true to himself, he doesn’t pretend to be anything he is not.  They love spending time at home in each others company. They love bad zombie or horror and post apocalyptic movies, Video games, playing with and annoying their dog Greta, wandering around new places and eating great food together, whether it is going out for dinner or breakfast. They love to chat over a nice meal with a glass of wine.

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Greta didn’t miss out on any of the festivities. She was there staying at the homestead too. On the day she had a beautiful floral collar. She made her grand entrance walking up to where Glenn was waiting for Nell. It was such a lovely moment as she did it all on her own. She spent most of the ceremony up on the rock with Nell and Glenn while they became husband and wife. Nell and Glenn wrote their own beautiful vows that reflected their feelings wonderfully.  Nell even quoted Dumbledore, saying “Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress – adventure”.

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What a perfect day in the most lovely setting, with some of the loveliest people that you could ever meet. I never take for granted that I get to be a part of these wonderful ceremonies and to be right there when people get to make the most sacred promises to one another.  Another amazing wedding of people that I feel lucky that I got to know.


A very big Thank you to Andrew Hardy Photography for all of the stunning images from Nell and Glenn’s wonderful day. You can check out his website here, or his blog about the day by clicking here, or go and follow him on facebook  too.  Also have a look at the Mimosa Glen website, and see all that the property has to offer.

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Aimee and Johnno


Aimee and Johnno were married on a beautiful February day. The forecast was for 36 degrees, but luckily it wasn’t too sunny. They were married at the lovely Toorongo River Chalets, which are out in Noojee. It is a lovely drive through some really winding roads and through some amazing forest. The Toorongo River Chalets have a couple of really beautiful sites for a ceremony. The spot that Aimee and Johnno chose was just stunning. It was by part of the River where the water flowed loud enough to be lovely and relaxing, but not too loud that you couldn’t hear the ceremony over it.


The ceremony was set up beautifully and there were so many small details that had been carefully thought of. There was a personalised aisle that had Aimee and Johnno’s name and their wedding date printed onto it.  Aimee and Johnno had some really beautiful touches to their day that made it so personal and obviously very ‘them’. Johnno and all of his groomsmen arrived in trucks, you could hear them coming a fair way off. They looked amazing with their ribbons and all shined up. All of the boys had their lovely suits matched with grey havaiana thongs. Aimee and Johnno’s son was wearing the most adorable little suit matching all of the guys. Aimee had her three sisters and three of her friends in her bridal party. It was so lovely to see the love that these sisters share and the joy and excitement that they felt sharing this day together. Their dresses were a stunning coral colour. I don’t think I have seen a wedding were bridesmaids, all wearing the same dress, have had that dress style suit them all so well.


Aimee and Johnno’s love started about three years ago. Their first date was a cracker. Johnno fell asleep in the cinema. What is truly impressive about this first date is that this is when Aimee knew that he was the one for her. Aimee could see that Johnno was a big joker and it didn’t take her too long to notice that there was so much more to Johnno than the funny and joking guy that he is. Aimee and Johnno thought that it would be a bit of a laugh to stir up Angelo and tell him that they were dating. This suited Johnno as that was what he was wanting anyway. In the beginning of their relationship, Johnno was doing interstate express which meant that they didn’t get to spend a lot of time together. After this first date he left for work for 3 weeks. Each day that he was gone, Aimee kept falling more in love with him. They couldn’t even wait until he came back to declare their love for each other. They just knew it was meant to be.


As time went on they decided to start their own business to enable Johnno to spend more time at home.  After about 12 months into their relationship Johnno decided that Aimee was the one for him and proposed. Aimee told me that thinking back on the moment she knew that Johnno was really nervous, but she had no idea what he had planned. It happened in their driveway, Aimee said “I could see how much love he had for me in his eyes, I will never forget how he looked at me.”


You could see the love in Johnno’s eyes the moment that Aimee began walking towards the ceremony with her dad. Aimee entered the ceremony to ‘Like only a Woman Can’ by Brian McFadden  (what lovely lyrics, check it out)  and the emotion was evident. (I love that Aimee knew how she wanted to enter the ceremony and knew exactly in the song the moment she wanted to start walking down the aisle, absolutely the most perfect timing ever!!)  There were quite a few tears shed. Aimee had me read a beautiful poem to her Dad once they arrived at the ceremony site. This was a really beautiful touch and again created more tears.  Not only did Johnno and Aimee promise to love each other they made promises about their family and promises to their son.  It was really lovely to be able to formalise their family without drawing too much attention to their little one, but still acknowledging how much of a huge gift that they felt he had been to one another. One thing that really stood out to me was when I asked about the qualities that they wanted in their marriage, Aimee and Johnno said that they are not followers. They want their marriage to have their own special qualities that comes from what they each bring to the relationship.


I know I say it all the time but I am so lucky to share these moments with people, and with this beautiful family. I have now been lucky enough to share two weddings and a baby naming so far. It is really lovely to keep seeing these people who allow me to share really sacred wonderful moments with their family. I look forward to more events that I get to share with these truly wonderful people.  I learn more about them all after each event and meeting. You will never meet a more loving bunch of sisters either, the excitement that they felt for Aimee on her special day was just beautiful.



You can check out the website for Toorongo River Chalets here. A big thank you to Bride2be photography for the photos from Aimee and Johnno’s day. Check out their website here and their facebook page here.


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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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Meet your vendors

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This is so important. Meet your vendors. It may sound like common sense or you may think that you can find out everything that you need to know from an email, but I cannot suggest strongly enough to meet the people that are going to be a part of your big day.

Of course send emails, call places and request that people get in touch with you online, but don’t leave it at that to make your decision. I get a lot of people emailing me asking how much I charge for a wedding. Which is fine, by all means get a price range, but why have you contacted me? Did someone recommend me? Did you see me conduct another wedding? did you find me on facebook? this blog? There must be some reason that you have contacted me, doesn’t it make sense not to meet me and see what I can bring to your day. I don’t think you can learn too much about how a person will help you in an email.  I understand that everyone has a budget, but I think that it is vitally important that you are happy with the person that is going to be conducting your wedding. You should feel happy and comfortable with them, and I don’t think you can find that out just by asking “how much do you charge?” in a email.

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It is the same with the other aspects of your day. Meet the wedding coordinator at the venues that you like. It can make a huge difference in your day. I’m sure you won’t care if the venue you like is going to be an extra $200 if you have a coordinator that makes you feel good about the way you want your day to run, compared with someone that makes you feel that you have to do things exactly the way that they always do it. I’ve spoken to couples who have chosen their venue and paid, then the coordinator leaves and they are forced to have someone else look after them. It has changed the whole feel of the experience and some have even said that they probably would have not booked the venue if they had have known that the other person would take over.

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It’s the same with flowers, your dress, everything. Photography is a great example, no one is going to care if they paid a couple of bucks more as long as they are comfortable with who is taking their photos. It will be obvious in the shots. Sometimes saving $50 is never worth the saving. It costs you more in headaches if there are issues along the way.

Meet with the people that will be involved with your day. How do they make you feel? Do you feel excited about the wedding that you have planned? Comfortable with what they will bring to the table for your day? If yes the they are probably a good fit. If they make you question what you have dreamed for your day, or make you feel not quite right, keep looking. The perfect person for your perfect day is out there.

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Thank you again to Love Journal for the photos on the blog this week. Check out their website and facebook page for lots more amazing images.

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6 Reasons to have a Wedding Rehearsal


Why have a wedding rehearsal? Not all couples think that a rehearsal is important, and depending on how you define rehearsal, sometimes I agree. For me a wedding rehearsal is not all about practicing what will be said on the day, there is no need for any of that. You don’t want to go over your vows, you don’t want them to feel overdone, and don’t want to go through the whole ceremony by any means.  You don’t even have to have your rehearsal at the location, although that is really helpful, sometimes it just isn’t practical to do so. The important things are.


1. Knowing where everyone is going to stand.
This is really important. Where is everyone going to stand on the day? Even just knowing this takes so much pressure off on the day. All of your attendants don’t need to be at the rehearsal. There are 100 reasons why they might not be able to come, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the 2 most important people on the day know where they are going to stand, and that in itself is reassuring. Even when a rehearsal isn’t possible. I’ve met with couples at a cafe and we draw up a little diagram.

2. Practice walking to your song, or time the walk along the aisle.
Working out when to start walking towards the ceremony. It is a good idea to see how long the song that you have chosen to enter to will go for and if you have enough time to get from point A to point B. Do you need a separate song for any attendants? This is a great time to work all of this out.


3. Where will the sun be on the day.
This is something that people tend not to take into consideration. Think about were the sun will be at the time of the ceremony (doesn’t matter too much if you are in a chapel) make sure that you are not going to be standing in a spot where the sun will be blaring in your eyes as you try to make promises to the love of your life.

4. Will everyone fit in the area that you want the ceremony to be in.
This is important if you have a few attendants each and you are getting married in that lovely little chapel that you’ve always had your heart set on. Make sure that everyone will fit and they know roughly how close to stand to the next person. Its a great way to make sure that everything will look good in your photos. (Some people even invite their photographer to the rehearsal so that they are happy with the layout too.)


5. Helps Dad or whomever is walking you down the aisle, know what they are doing.
This is a big job, and if the person walking you down the aisle isn’t sure what to do this can be awkward. At the rehearsal we can go through if your Dad shakes hands with your husband to be, or gives him a hug. It lets Dad know to give you a kiss and sit down, not just stand around not knowing where he is supposed to go after he gets you safely to the end of the aisle. (Having a rehearsal doesn’t guarantee that your Dad won’t get so emotional on the day that he forgets what we practice, but at least we tried)

6. Helps me to know who I need to save seats for on the day.
I have no problem telling people that seats in the front row are for your family, but it helps if we have worked out roughly how many chairs will be in the front row and how many you need for your VIP part of your family.
Have you been part of a wedding that didn’t have a rehearsal and you felt a bit lost or have you attended a wedding where it was obvious that no one really knew where they were supposed to be?


Thanks once again to Untamed Images Photography for the photos on the blog this week check out their website and facebook page for more of their work.


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Filed under Ceremony ideas, Wedding Planning, wedding tips

Beautiful Bird Invitations


Jim and Gemma’s wedding is coming up and I got the invite in the mail a while ago. I previously blogged about their save the date card, but the wedding invitations are just lovely. If you read my blog regularly you will know how much I love a good wedding invitation. I think they can be a great way to let people know the style or theme of the wedding, and just another way to let your personality shine through. You can see their save the date cards here.

These invitations are a fantastic example of this. Jim and Gemma are having there wedding out at Healesville Sanctuary. For those of you who don’t know Healesville Sanctuary is a zoo specialising in native Australian animals, which also has a history of breeding native animals. Jim and Gemma love the outdoors and animals and this is a great way for them to show this to all of the people that they have invited.




They have not only found some lovely invitations that reflect the style and theme, but they have put a lot of time into giving their guests all of the information that they may require for the day. They have guests travelling from all corners of the globe to share in their special day and they haven’t forgotten a thing on the information sheet.  They have included a map, information about accommodation, information about a shuttle bus service that they have organised (due to unreliable taxi’s in the area), information about people bringing their kids, down to helpful information about comfortable shoes. They have also given guests information about a dinner the evening before and a brunch the day after for people planning to make a weekend of it all.

You can find out more about Healesville Sanctuary on their website by clicking here.

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