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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.

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 

 

 

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!

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.

The technology-enabled wedding.

Need help choosing music for your wedding? Let #spotify help you...

Last week, one of the world's largest music streaming sites, Spotify, was launched in Australia. While it's most certainly not the first in its field, it has nestled itself in nicely with Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to create a very user friendly data base of sings and playlists that can be shared with pals. Yay! We love sharing fun things. 

A quick search of weddings on Spotify brought up literally hundreds of different playlists to suit a number of different tastses and weddings. My favourite was the Hipsters Guide to An Alternative Wedding which inspired my own little weddings playlist.

 

This fun could continue for HOURS!

 

Setting the bar at new heights

I've always thought that by the time you get around to proposing to your better half, you're pretty sure they're going to say yes. Why all the nerves? 

After watching this I've realised it's no wonder guys in particular, feel immense pressure to propose in dramatic, scene-stealing ways.

A guy in the states takes proposals to a whole new level with a choreographed routine involving friends, family, a moving vehicle, dancing jews and even a marching band!

I can't wait to see what he has planned for the wedding!

Is it too much? Let Alexandra Weddings know what you think! 

I'm in no way advocating a showy, public proposal, in fact, I feel the quiet private mometns are often the most romantic but it's such a lovely video and feels really authentic and personal to the couple.

For example, a girlfriend recently got engaged and her partner had planned the proposal six months prior but was certain he wanted to do it in a particular way. They were known to kayak together as a couple around the islands of Sydney Harbour and because he enjoyed that time together so much, he thought it would be an ideal way to propose... until his partner's workload increased so much that it was 6 months before she had time to go for a paddle! 

Finally she had the time and he packaged up the amazing ring in a paper sandwich-bag from the local delicatessan. What a personal and divine way to ask the big question!

Oh, and they've both assured me it was definitely worth the wait!