Blog Alexandra Weddings

Ceremony Basics: A Three-Part Guide (3/3)

Part Three

Certificate Signing

Consider whether you’d like guests come closer for a photo and a good look at the signing of the Register. Perhaps you’d like someone other than your Maid of Honour and Best Man to sign for you to include another person close to you in the ceremony.

Rituals

We are all familiar with the age-old wedding ritual of exchanging rings but there are a plethora of interesting and historical rituals you can include in your ceremony to add to the solemnity of the occasion. Celtic hand-fasting; the fish bowl ritual; releasing butterflies; sand ceremony and ring warming are just a few. You can find more here at Alexandra Weddings Ritual Page or scour the net for more ideas.

Recessional (also known as walking back down the aisle)

These are your first moments as a married couple so why not make them memorable! Do you want guests throw confetti or rice (check on venue limitations on this) or perhaps blow bubbles? Your guests could form an archway for you to walk under or you could dance down the aisle together to your favourite club track Think about whether you’d like the guests to follow you and whether you’d like them to congratulate them then and there or wait until you return to the reception. Another option is to exit the ceremony to spend a few moments in private together, instead of walking into the crowd of guests.

Group and Family Photos

Now that the formalities of the ceremony are over, it’s a great time to get that wonderful full wedding group shot as everyone is in the same spot and relatively easy to wrangle. Consider writing a list of the family and bridal party photo combinations and giving this to the photographer prior to the big day to make sure you get all of the shots you’re after. These are just some points to keep in mind when planning the ceremony aspect of your wedding. Remember, whatever you choose to include, have a good think about whether it really means something to you both as a couple. Happy ceremony planning!

Ceremony Basics: A Three-Part Guide (2/3)

The recent bout of rainy weather in Sydney is a PERFECT time to stay indoors and tick some major wedding planning boxes. If you've been holding out on the ceremony for fear of where to start, here's the second instalment of my three-part guide to your perfect ceremony.

Part Two

Music

I tell clients of Alexandra Weddings to think of ceremony music in four parts or playlists: atmospheric music to set the mood for your guests before and after the ceremony; the song the bride will walk down the aisle to; music for the signing of the certificates and the song you'll walk back down the aisle together to as a married couple. You could collate these as playlists on an ipod; hire a professional to sing songs of your choosing or perhaps even have a string quartet pumping out classical versions of your favourite songs.

Giving Away

The majority of weddings conducted by Alexandra Weddings still see the father of the bride walk his daughter down the aisle and present her to her husband-to-be. But if you're a little less traditional, perhaps you'd like your sister, mother or best guy friend to give you away or you could even boldly walk down the aisle on your own.

Vows

Whether your vows are serious or light-hearted, make sure they mean something to the both of you as a couple and reflect the values and commitment of you as a unique pairing. You can choose to write your own to make it really personal and surprise your other half or have the celebrant provide personalised vows for you. In the past "I'll be the Yoshi to your Mario" has cracked me up during the ceremony and I've also had grooms promise to let their partner watch Real Housewives of Melbourne even though it terrible and depletes brain cells.

Legal

There are some parts of a ceremony like the Monitum and The Asking that are non-negotiable in a legal sense but this doesn't mean you can't be creative with them. Don't want to say the words "I Do?" You don't have to! AS long as there's some form of a verbal offering and accepting of the wedding "contract" you'll be legally married. More and more, couples married by Alexandra Weddings choose to add a paragraph stating that they look forward to the day their friends in same-sex couples can be married too. Only include this if you feel that it's appropriate for you, your wedding and your guests.

Ceremony Basics: A Three-Part Guide (1/3)

Part One

Many couples that come to see me at Alexandra Weddings have absolutely no idea where to start, for most of them, it is their first time ever considering what goes into a wedding ceremony. I've put together this informal guide for couples to get them thinking about their ceremony from the very beginning of the planning process in order to have an absolutely awesome ceremony that is very personal and really reflects them as a pair.

Location

When deciding upon where to hold your ceremony, it's nice to aim for a place that means something special to you as a couple. It could be the restaurant you went to on your first date, underwater if you like scuba diving together or on a friend's farm if you are country people. Take into account that the weather might not be ideal and ALWAYS have a bad weather option. This isn't just limited to rain, a wedding held on a 42 degree day might need to be moved somewhere cooler to accommodate for your guests comfort. Think about the time of day you'd like to be married, what the light will be like and where the sun will be shining from. These will all impact on your photos and the comfort of the bridal party and the guests. Spend some time considering the layout of venue. Do you want rows of chairs or people standing? For something different, perhaps you could have your guests sit or stand in a circle around you as you are married.

Celebrant

Before hitting the web to find your perfect celebrant, consider what qualities you'd like them to have. Are they to be young or mature? Male or female? Religious or civil? What price range are you looking within? Talk to friends who have recently been married, do they recommend their celebrant? The celebrant should take care of all of the legal aspects like the Notice of Intended Marriage, Declaration of Marriage and the Marriage Certificates so you don't have to stress about anything in this department. When you meet for the first time, make sure you have a list of questions prepared so you don't forget anything and clarify what is included in the fee. Good celebrants will have their inclusions in writing so there is no confusion about what you are paying for and what the conditions of deposit and payment are.

Bridal Party

Most people gather a few or a number of close pals and family members to stand beside them on their wedding day but have you considered perhaps going without an official bridal party and telling everyone invited that they are your bridal party? Another way to mix it up a little is to have a man of honour or a best girl.

Length and Tone

Are you a traditional couple who'd like to say the words "I do?" Or perhaps you prefer a ceremony that's more modern and stripped back that tells the story of you two as a couple. Many couples like their ceremonies to be light-hearted, funny or even themed. Game of Thrones wedding anyone? Even if you decide on a non-denominational ceremony, you can honour different cultures with a prayer, poem or song from your heritage. Giving close friends and family the task of a reading is a great way to incorporate If you'd like to include more friends and family in your ceremony than just your bridal party, give them the task of presenting a reading. These could be anything from songs and poems to things friends have written for you as a couple

Feb 2014 Update

My partner and I have just welcomed a baby girl into the world, little Frankie Russell. She came right on her due date, Wednesday 29th January at 4.48pm weighing in at 3.42kgs and 49cm long. 

Some lovely feedback...

Perhaps it's the fact that I'm 2 weeks away from bub number one but when I receoved this phenomenal feedback from a couple I married at the end of 2013, tears welled in my eyes. It was such a pleasure marrying two fun, relaxed people who are completely obsessed with each other. As you can tell, it was a ceremony filled with a few tears and PLENTY of LOLs. Meighan and Ben, all the best! xx

Alex/Lolly/Lollback

We had the most amazing day and you were such an integral part! You helped create so much love, laughter and of course tears throughout our ceremony. We would not have changed a thing! 

From our first meeting with you we knew you were the "celebrant" for us. Your bubbly, friendly personality made the whole process a breeze. We knew we could come to you with just about anything and you were always willing to help and provide your advice.

We had so many friends and family who commented on what a beautiful ceremony you had prepared and how you captured our personalities, beliefs and values throughout the entire service.

We cannot thank you enough.

Much love 

Meighan and Ben xx

Getting Married on Election Day?

September is one of the busiest wedding months of the entire year. You could literally hear the sigh from couples getting married on that day reverberate around the country as Kevin Rudd announced the date of the federal election. 

Josh Withers, a clever Brisbane celebrant has offered some great tips for couples getting hitched on voting day.

Are you getting married on election day 2013? Hit me up if you changed any of your wedding plans due to the pollies.  

 

A Cumber-match Made In Heaven (Ibiza actually...)

This afternoon I was left feeling deflated and disgruntled as the very likely future Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott called gay marriage a "fashion of the moment". These types of comments set the clock back decades and deeply hurt those who are gay, know a gay person or are perhaps related to one. It's not on. 

Then suddenly, the sun peeped out from behind the clouds for a moment as this lovely story fell onto my eyeballs. 

Benedict Cumberbatch officiates the wedding of two gay friends in Ibiza. 

 

It reminded me of a fabulous wedding I attended as a guest last year where the couple had a close mutual friend of theirs act as the celebrant for the main ceremony and then got married with a few witnesses the next morning before the post-wedding barbecue. 

Their friend conducted the entire ceremony in a Tutankhamun head dress (for no obvious reason other than smashing decoration) and used props including a large, sharp kitchen knife during the ceremony. It was HILARIOUS and completely irreplacable as the most memorable part of their wedding day. 

It's a great option for a really personal ceremony, have the celebrant officiate a very small ceremony to get the legal stuff out of the way and then have a close friend, relative, comedian or even drag-queen do the honours for all of your treasured guests. 

Get in touch if you'd like a celebrant to do the offical stuff so your ceremony is a truly personal reflection of you both as a couple. 

 

 

The Great Karma of Referrals

This week I have been the lucky recipient of a bunch of referrals from lovely past clients and there is nothing more satisfying and warm-fuzzy-feeling-giving than having people so happy with your work that they tell everyine who'll listen about it. 

So a big thank you to you (you know who you are) and I'm sure you have some great karma saved up. 

In other news, I'm really looking forward to working more with Alicia and the team from fabulous events and hire company Form Over Function who create edgy, beautiful settings for your wedding.

And remember, it's almost spring so get your 2014 wedding enquiries in before we all get carried away in a torrent of weddings! 

Alex 

Autumn Weddings

April's a busy month in the world of a celebrant and here are two of the many weddings that I am taking care of this month. 

Jenna and Mark met at uni and were such a relaxed and easy-going couple to create a ceremony with. Even pouring rain on the day of their ceremony in the Rose Garden of the Royal Botanic Gardens didn't budge their buoyant moods. Luckily the clouds parted at the PERFECT moment, just before Jenna walked down the grass aisle. 

 

 

 Andrew and Bianca, two darlings of the night-life scene in Sydney chose the dramatic backdrop of the National Art School in Darlinghurst and set the courtyard up like a carnival with different food and drink stalls to keep the stylish guests entertained. 

 

Anneleise & Paul - Low Key and Lovely

Late in December last year a small group of Anneleise and Paul's closest friends and family gathered in Wahroonga Park on Sydney's Upper North Shore to celebrate the first of TWO wedding cereonies for the couple. Despite a little bit of wind and three drops of rain on an otherwise hot day, Anneliese and Paul were officially married in this gorgeous, under-stated location right near their home. It was a DIY affair with sisters, mums and the celebrant hanging paper lamp shades and setting up the bar for a personal and intimate post-ceremony picnic in the park.

 

The Sydney ceremony was for family and friends who couldn't make the trip to Koh Samui, Thailand where Anneliese and Paul had a Buddhist Water Ceremony two weeks later. Anneliese and Paul kindly emailed me the photos of this ceremony and it looks AMAZING! 

The orange robes juxtaposed with the pale blues of the decorations is just divine. What a special couple of weddings for a special couple. 

Paul and Anneliese xx

 

 

 

The Second One Fine Day (two fine days?)

As you walk up the driveway of Sun Studios you know this is no ordinary wedding expo. There are no polystyrene partitions, no daggy 80s carpet and there's certainly no instant coffee. There are vintage wedding kombis, a coffee cart selling divine creamy coffee and colouful designer icy poles. 

One Fine Day is the brain child of Nadean Richards, a talented wedding photographer who has been used by a number of close friends with AMAZING results. Nadean has gathered the creme de la creme of stylists, designers, milliners, make-up artists, celebrants and many other high-end wedding suppliers in NSW to make an enjoyable and luxurious wedding preparation. 

Her aesthetic is very clear: vintage, creative, individual, tasteful, elegant.

Burgundy & Green table setting from Decorative Events

Fantastic inspiration from Miss Jones In Love for bonbonierre and table settings - ceramic lolly bags and milk bottles! 

My favourite invitations from Invitation Tea Towels

Amazing rumballs and nougat from ARIA Catering

Pretty displays of wedding jewellery from the gorgeous Samantha Wills

A gorgeous idea that I think I'll be appropriating for my own wedding - thanks The Wedding Weaver 

 

 

My lovely friend Blake from Melbourne attended a wedding in Perth a few weeks ago and was kind enough to think of me while he was there kicking his heels up and having a fabulous time.

Here are a couple of photos of the rustic, industrial reception venue before the fun commenced.

What great use of a spectacular industrial barn-style building! Bare warehouse spaces are my favourite for decorating and transforming into a great party venue. 

 

 

Vintage Style - The Rise of the Hipster Wedding

It seems many people are opting for vintage-style or "hipster" weddings at the moment. There's some really beautiful about personally styled weddings with touches like hand-made cookies, vintage crockery and linen pieces as well as gorgeous vintage dresses and shoes.

An alternative to the wedding car.


Vintage bridal gown and bridesmaids' dresses


My personal fave is fashion-heir Margherita Missoni's colourful "boho" wedding to her racing-car driver fiance Eugenio Amos. I know this is not even close to a cheap wedding but it has a relaxed italian countryside feel to it while still dripping in luxe. 

 

The Missoni ladies

Guests were treated to ornate table settings with 70s style glasses and wildly printed crockery whilst being seated on gorgeous Missoni cushions.

Missoni enlisted the help of pal Giambattista Valli to advise on the long-sleeved gown - which was made using Missoni silk and organza, and embellished with embroideries and flower applications.

Margherita & her beau

SPOILER ALERT: If you've managed to catch any of the HBO series Girls, there is a FABULOUS (and surprise) wedding scene in the last episode of Season 1. It's set in an industrial Brooklyn warehouse and has inspired me to look for a similar venue for my own wedding.

In Sydney, there's one venue that sticks in my mind as having that warehouse-feel, and that's Sun Studios in Alexandria. Earlier in the year I blogged about the One Fine Day wedding fair which was held at Sun Studios and whilst I was there wandering around the spectacular vendor displays, I thought it'd be great for a really different wedding venue. 

Check out some more amazing hipster, bo-ho, vintage weddings.  

Getting Lithe for the Big Day

Kiralates for Ultimate Body Shaping

With a background in ballet and other forms of dance, I have been a devotee of pilates since I was in highschool. It is a spectaular form of exercise that results in long, lean muscles and killer posture - exactly what most brides are after for their wedding day (and indeed as an ongoing thing). 

Pilates is fantastic also for those (like me) who tend to be fairly injury prone especially when doing high-impact forms of cardio. It strengthens EVERYTHING so activities that might normally result in pain or discomfort, come much more easily. 

Founder, Joseph H. Pilates, was no softy. Originally a gymnast, diver and bodybuilder, he was fraught with illness including asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Pilates came to believe that bad posture and inefficient breathing of modern life lay at the roots of poor health and devised a series of exercises and training techniques and engineered all the equipment, specifications and tuning required to teach his methods properly. He used his methodology to rehabilitate injured soldiers from the Second World War.

There are two popular forms of Pilates, the most popular being the mat workout, where floor-based movements use gravity and body weight to create resistance. The other is Reformer Pilates, incorporating special equipment designed by Joseph Pilates.

For the past three years I have been going to classes and one-on-one sessions at Kiralates in Double Bay with the loely Kira Varejes (don't be fooled by her angelic demeanour though, she's known to a few clients as "Kira the Killer" for her ability to push people to their limit). 

“Pilates is an exercise method that trains the entire body in order to promote strength, flexibility, alignment, coordination and balance,” says Kira Varejes from Kiralates.

“It’s all about the ‘powerhouse’ or core,” says Varejes. “The core supports the rest of the body and interlinks all our muscles together. For runners, it will help to lift your stomach in and up which in turn will help to lift your torso and project you forward to improve your pace. For weight lifters, it gives you functional alignment, efficient way of standing so that when you push weight up, you are in a correct position.”

Pilates helps build long, lean muscles and, besides the aforementioned strength and flexibility benefits, posture, balance and coordination see improvements. Typically there are mat classes, reformer classes and/or private or duet sessions. If you are on a budget mat classes are generally more cost effective but private sessions can be tailored to your specific needs.

And don't think this post is just for brides. Pilates is a great workout for couples to share to get fit in the lead up to the big day to to de-stress from the weeks and months of wedding planning..

Kiralates has kindly offered a 15% discount on a 10-session package for anyone that mentions this blog post from Alexandra Weddings. 

 

 

Non-traditional Ceremonies On The Rise

Church weddings are becoming more and more rare as people are flocking to celebrants in order to get exactly what they want from their wedding ceremony. 

Of course, I wholly endorse this! Church weddings can be beautiful but often you're locked in to a longer ceremony with a large emphasis on religion.

Check out Sarah Cummings from Engage Celebrants, a peak body of young celebrants, on Channel Ten news chatting about new trends in ceremonies... there's even a Dr Seuss themed wedding!

Another drastic proposal

I wouldn’t recommend this at home kids

I was slack-jawwed when I saw this story... a Russian man faked his own death with stunt guys, smashed up cars and make-up artists and then “came back to life” to propose to his girlfriend.

I would be furious! Imagine the terror you’d feel, I would find it pretty tough to get the image of my bloodied-up other half out of my mind. 

 

Spring Has Sprung

It's officially wedding season!

Walking around a park in the Inner West today it dawned on me that it's finally Spring time! In fact, today would have been the perfect day for an outdoor wedding: no wind, not too hot and the clearest of blue skies. 

If the sunny weather has kick started your wedding planning back into gear, and you need venue ideas, it might pay to check out the offerings of the Royal Botanic Gardens. A few weeks ago (on a similarly perfectly clear winter day) the gardens held their annual weddings open day and my finacee and I headed along.

The Botanic Gardens Restaurant is not for the gigantic wedding, it ideally fits about 60-80 guests seated on the deck with the inside reserved as a fantastic dance floor. We really loved the vast plantation-style ceilings and the neutral and modern decor. You could dress the space up as elaborately or as sparsely as you liked and it would still  have great atmosphere. 

Our favourite part was the lush greenery that surrounds the venue, it feels like you are dining in a dense tropical forest. 

The gardens themselves have dozens of spots to hold your ceremony with covered options you can book as a weather back up. 

The gardens wedding is definitely high on our list for the quintessential Sydney wedding. 

Are you planning a wedding? What other Sydney venues have you checked out? 

Rituals for your Ceremony

I've just added a new page with a host of ideas for symbolic rituals that can be added to any ceremony to represent the joining of two people and two families. 

Probably the most obvious of all marriage symbols, the engagement ring and the wedding band represent commitment and the faithful love two people share. The circle, an international symbol of marriage, represents infinity or everlasting love.

And why the diamond? The goddess of love, Venus, and the diamond share a common bond: when the planet Venus shows in the night sky, it appears like a fire from within. Diamonds exhibit the same quality of sparkling from a mysterious point within. The ancients called diamonds “Venus stones,” and today the diamond has become a symbol of betrothal, romance and mystery.

Have you ever wondered why wedding bands are worn on the left hand ring finger? During ancient times, it was believed that the third finger on the left hand held a vein that ran directly to the heart. Putting a ring on this finger was to keep the love within, never allowing it to flow out from the finger. Not all cultures wear a wedding ring on the left hand, but starting with King Edward VI in 1549, placing the wedding band on the left hand become a tradition among English-speaking people.

Another ridiculous (but fun) proposal...

Trust the Americans to have pulled this crazy proposal together.

A couple get engaged and then MARRIED on a Fox TV program called Mobbed.

Despite the cheese, Nikki is genuinely overwhelmed by the proposal and grand fanfare and it makes for a lovely TV moment. The choreography alone probably took longer than most weddings to plan.

I should note that "surprise" weddings like this aren't legal in Australia, for a number of good reasons. But that doesn't stop you from creating a HUGE proposal of your own!

Enjoy...