Friday, October 30, 2009

surprise! you're married

taken from A young Newcastle marriage celebrant

Surprise weddings are a wonderful way to do without the stress and hassle of arranging a wedding but still being surrounded by loved ones and family as you commit to your special someone.

There are a number of reasons why people choose to have a surprise wedding. Some just aren't "white wedding types" , moving state or country, a new arrival... Whatever your reason you can still have as much of the bells and whistles of a wedding as you want. Having a surprise wedding actually takes the stress, and the cost, of a wedding away from your family and friends and means you can focus on what YOU want rather than family pressures to have cousins as bridesmaids, or 200 guests.


A word of warning, a close girlfriend of mine ditched the dress and the wedding plans and eloped to Vegas for Elvis wedding, just the two of them. I believe her mother is still holding a grudge 7 years later. Having an elopement, or spontaneous wedding may not be well received by your immediate family. If you Dad has always dreamed of walking you down the aisle, be aware there may be some hurt feelings if you decide to keep it a secret. Have a plan for dealing with a disappointed family member or friend.

Most couples choose to have a surprise wedding on a special day or anniversary, not just because it is significant but also as it gives them a reason to gather people together.

Here are some tips for surprise wedding planning:-

Have a story ready to tell people why they are coming over. Make sure you both have the SAME story. People will cotton on if you are saying "Birthday BBQ" while your partner is exclaiming "promotion at work".

Plan your moment. Work closely with those "In" on the surprise so that you all know what jobs you have to do and when

Make it legal - you still have to have your paperwork signed and sealed to the Celebrant no less than one month and one before the event. Make sure you are at least prepared with your birth certificates and documents so you can make it all legit.

Don't fret the Guest list. Chances are there are going to be some people who can't make the day if they think it is only a BBQ or Housewarming. If you really want them there, either spill the beans or stay mum and just accept they can't make it.

If you live on the Central Coast and you want to get "Just Married" then have a look at my fellow celebrant and friend's site Vows Now. Johanna will perform a wonderful, yet simple ceremony that gets you married with little fuss and frills.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

how to memorise your vows

taken from (I rate this as a funny blog - hope you do too!)

As if writing your own vows wasn’t scary enough you’ve decided to be brave and memorise them as well. While I applaud your courage we also thought some memory tips might be handy so you don’t forget the words you’ve spent hours agonising over.

Just as good as the chocolate kind. This method of memorising has proven very popular and successful.

Basically, you break down the whole piece into smaller and easily memorisable “chunks” or groups. This works well if the order of how you say your vows is not important as you can go back to a “chuck” later if you skipped it.

To help you retain the order, try to think about one connection each chunk has to the next.

I wouldn’t dare suggest you turn to poetry if you aren’t already penning sonnets and haikus but rhyming is super helpful when it comes to memory.

Thank god for Mrs Choules’ rhyming mathematics in year 4 otherwise I would never have been able to work out my credit card balance now!

Think about how many times in your life you resort to poems and rhyme to help you remember things.

30 days has September, April, June and November,
all the rest has 31
except for February…

and of course, as kids, we changed the original ending to “…except for February which is dumb..” so now I can never exactly remember how many days February has each year but only that February is a stupid month.

make memorising your vows fun

Sometimes remembering things is like banging your head against a brick wall. Actually, I don’t recommend banging you head against anything to try and remember something. You’ll end up with a headache.

What I mean is, by slogging away and writing things down a million times of reciting them over and over it will eventually sink into your memory and stay there. Now you understand why lines are always given out at school as punishment. Enough lines and you will remember you “must not yell in the library” and you’ll probably have some kind of psychosomatic hand cramp as well.

If you do end up with a few missed words or pauses in your vows.. comfort yourself with the knowledge that in 2000 when accepting her Oscar for Best Actress Swank forgot to thank her , then husband, Chad Lowe… OUCH!

Monday, October 26, 2009

the waiting game (wanting your!)

taken from

Once the wedding is over, the bills paid, the hangover fading and the guests gone you are now faced with one of the hardest waits imaginable. More painful than the leadup to Christmas for anyone under the age of 10 is a bride and groom on the edge of their seat waiting to get the photos back from their photographer.

when will they call?

I'll admit in my case I am guilty of being overly anxious to see the photos but as yet I haven't "channelled Bridezilla" although from what I read on some wedding forums - a lot of couples do. But before you blow your stack and stamp your feet about the album being a day late consider the following

  • You have paid a professional to give you great looking photos, and most likely you paid a lot of money. Don't rush genius. You rush genius you get iSnack2.0

  • You are not the only wedding on a photographer's books. The wedding season is strong through October to April and in that time a photographer has a lot of clients. Weekends are out so they are working through the week to get your photos done for you.

  • You are the most excited about your photos. Sure your mum and immediate family might want a copy but the guests have probably taken enough snaps with their own digital to capture the moment.

If you really are having a conniption about getting the photos you could have saved yourself a lot of pain by simply asking one question of the photographer before you hired them

"What is the turnaround for photos after the wedding"

Any photographer who has been in business for a while will be able to take a look at their books and give you an estimate as to when you will get the photos back. As a good rule, mark the date they give you in your calender and then wait another week on top of that before chasing the photos up.

Fortunately, I have a lot of photographer contacts who I am sure can comment on the below with some of their own stories and experiences as to how the wedding photographer business works. You might be surprised at how much effort goes behind the scenes so that your special day looks equally amazing on film.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

creating an order of service

taken from

With a lot of couples choosing a short and sweet ceremony "the order of service" has become less of a requirement at weddings and more of a momento.
It is a fantastic way to give your guests a memory of what was said, and done, at the wedding but something that you may choose to ditch if you are working to a budget.
Some quick googling will give you some examples of how an order of service is laid out but luckily I've done that for you.

The cover page should include:

  • Venue of Wedding

  • Date and Time

  • Name of Bride and Groom

Inside Cover (optional)
The names of the Bridal Party including Bestman, Grooms Men, Brides maids, Flower girls and Page boys as well as the name of the Celebrant or Minister and any musicians or others involved in the wedding.

Following Pages

  • Title: Order of Service

  • Entrance of the Bride (listing the music used and Composer)

  • Welcome

  • Hymn (If applicable) (Listing the Hymn title and Composer and words)

  • Reading (If applicable) (Listing the Title, Author and naming the person who is reading)

  • The Marriage

  • Hymn (If applicable) (Listing the Hymn title and Composer and words)

  • Prayer (If applicable) (Listing Prayer Name, Chapter and Verses and words)

  • Signing of the Register (listing Witnesses)

  • Prensentation of Certificates

  • Procession of the Wedding Party (Listing Music used and Composer)

You can also include instructions for guests for what happens after the ceremony. For example, BRIDE and GROOM will be leaving for photos directly after the ceremony but look forward to celebrating with you at PLACE, TIME etc

How you create the Order of Service is up to you. You can include as much detail from the ceremony as you like. A great idea is to include your vows in the Order of Service, especially if you are writing your own as you always have a reminder of what was said on the day.. Perfect for 20 years down the track when the whole event might be a little fuzzy.

If you have word or pages you can easily create an Order of Service on your home computer but there are some tricks to keep in mind

  • Make sure you use margins so that you allow enough space for folds and staples

  • Use text boxes instead of columns as it is easier to manipulate the formatting

  • Remember that you are creating a booklet - so the Cover page text should actually sit on the right hand side of an A4 page if you are planning an A5 Order of Service. Even pages are on the Left, Odd pages are on the right

  • Don't forget the back cover. This could be a nice spot for a quote or message from the Bride and Groom.

Using Adobe Indesign I've whipped up the following to give you an idea of how to lay the pages out. Both are for an A5 size paper but would be printed on A4.

To download these templates click here

Thursday, October 22, 2009

uninvited (the etiquette of invites)

taken from - Kez is a Newcastle marriage celebrant

There is something about a wedding that blows perspective out of proportion. Especially when it comes to deciding who actually attends the wedding.

When your guests list starts to rival the credits for Ben Hur Beware! You're in danger of falling victim to some classic wedding etiquette furfies.

going to extremes with your guest list?

The have-to invites

It's called nutting out a wedding list because it can drive you completely nuts. Especially when you have a long list of "have-to's" so called because when they become a part of your invite list it is normally pre-empted by the phrase "Oh But you have-to invite.....". These people can be family friends, work colleagues or even relations. No one has passed a law about who has to be at your wedding and if they do.. I'll blog about it.

The Long Lost

For some reason the lure of wedding will entice long lost distance uncles, aunts, cousins out of the closet and onto your wedding list like the smell of bacon tempts contestants on "The Biggest Loser." You may share acommon DNA strain but a wedding full of your 2nd and 3rd Cousins twice removed will ensure you Don't-kNow-Anyone on your big day.

Doing it for the kids

More fights have broken out over whether or not to invite children to a wedding than over "Who gets to play Barbies first!". Children are a blessing, in fact the majority of wedding happen with the plans for future procreation but there are no rules as to whose kids you invite and whose you don't. Those who have chosen to increase the population of our great nation are well aware of the restrictions it can put on their social life.... the same way you should be aware that having children means your friends are not always available for a trip to the local for a quite vino. Those who can find babysitters will, those who can't, won't come. It's up to you to make the call about whether that matters.

The Uninvited

Horror stories are abundant on wedding websites and forums about the "uninvited." Kids, Cousins, Partners or any sneakyguest on your wedding day who wasn't supposed to be there but somehow just were. Wedding Crashers are not as fun as Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson and you are going to regret paying for them to get plastered if you don't say anything. If they are not down on the overpriced piece of card that was your wedding invitation - then they are not meant to be in a tux and drinking your bar tab.If you are inviting someone to share one of the most special days of your life, I would assume they are special to you and should understand your reasoning for the number restrictions.

Finally approach your guest list the same way you approach a home loan. Research, communicate and make damn sure you know what you are getting into before you sign anything. The one thing that is considered bad etiquette is uninviting.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

create your own professional wedding album

taken from

If you are having a professional wedding photographer, chances are you are getting a package that includes a wedding album.

Which is great, for the two of you.

But what about your mum, dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents etc etc etc all of who want the memories of your special day but you don't want to pay a fortune for?

Introducing The Photo Store

Having met with Johanna and seeing first hand the quality of her goods, The Photo Store is a great online shop where you can present your wedding photos in a snazzy professional manner without paying a fortune.

Take particular note of the Deluxe Photo Cards (great for Bomboniere) and Glamour Folios (perfect for a mini album for immediate family)

All sold online and all for fabulous prices.

Contact The Photo Store

Australia-wide Local Call: 1300ALBUMZ (1300 252 869)
Phone: (02) 4324 1706

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

wild wedding dresses

taken from

From the sublime to the ridiculous celebrates those brides who have their own sense of style.

Remember, there is no such thing as an ugly wedding dress - you just need to find the right bride to wear it.

and you thought your train was long?

bet she asked for something short and simple

do you think theyll know im pregnant?

I want the Anne of Green Gables puffy sleeves please

its a little eyecatching...

Monday, October 19, 2009

permits and parks and councils (oh my)

taken from

Just when you thought an outdoor wedding was easy, the council may have a small spanner to throw in the works. Most councils across Australia require you to pay a license or booking fee to secure your section of public park.

King Edward Park Newcastle

But hang on a second... isn't a park a public place? I'm a member of the public and therefore shouldn't I get this for free. Well that is a whole other debate, but the benefits in booking your spot are:

  • You have no fear that another wedding or function will be using the same space.

  • You know exactly what you can and can't do (and therefore won't get fined)

  • You can ask for permission for special decorations and even catering.

  • You may have some cover in the event of an accident or mishap.

  • Not fisty cuffs with other brides over photo locations! You have the license

The Newcastle City council has a page specifically for weddings that can be found here

With most things "weddings" a cross of a "t" or a dot of an "i" now can save tears in the long run

Sunday, October 18, 2009

don't rain on my parade (bridal hindsight #4)

taken from

Apparently there is a folklore declaring rain on your wedding day as a good luck sign for a happy marriage.

I tend to think this could have been a saying invented by brides who want to feel better about the fact that it rained on their wedding day but in our case, it resulted in a ceremony beyond our dreams and expectations.

a wet wedding is a happy wedding

The morning of Saturday October 3rd (our wedding day) was a wet one. The grey clouds had set in and there just didn't seem to be an inch of blue sky that would allow us a 30 minute gap for an outdoor ceremony.

Did I panic? Cry? or scream? Nope, we had the invaluable PLAN B.

In fact, PLAN B worked out even better than the original PLAN A and what we had was a wondeful intimate indoor ceremony and what I hope will be some amazing rainy photos!

The important thing to remember about weather is that is it COMPLETELY out of your control. You can rant at hairdressers, yell at bridesmaids and stomp your foot at caterers but the weather is a being unto itself and will not adhere to a running sheet.

So what can you do about it?

Even if your wedding is smack bang in the middle of January, during a forcast drought and being held in the desert you should always have a plan to move your ceremony to an undercover or indoor area if the weather won't permit you to be outdoors. This doesn't just apply for rain, but also for extreme wind, extreme heat or any other extreme mother nature can throw at you.

Some couples claim not to care about the weather and plan "full steam ahead" no matter what however celebrants have a requirement to protect the marriage paperwork that is signed on the day.. and if there is a chance the certificates and register could be damaged or the paperwork spoilt they will have to ask you to move the ceremony.

That's why having a plan is so important. At least then , you have had some input as to where the ceremony will occur and the chance to decorate and communicate the changes to your guests.

A great idea is to speak with your reception venue. Most of the fucntion centers, resteraunts and halls will only be catering for your event on the day you booked so it shouldn't be too difficult to move everyone in a little earlier than planned.

Otherwise look for outdoor locations (parks, beaches etc) that also have covered public areas or picnic spaces that could offer enough shelter for your guests.

A little rain never hurt anyone, and it shouldn't ruin your special day either.

Liked this article? Check out the Bridal Hindsight series...
arriving in style (bridal hindsight #3)
is it really a bargain (bridal hindsight #2)
the celebrant to marry a celebrant (bridal hindsight #1)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

arriving in style (bridal hindsight #3)

taken from

It may shock you to know.. I DIDN'T hire a limo or a chevy or a hummer for our wedding. Shock Horror! (If this was radio they would play that cheesy DA DA DAAA sting!)

Why Kez? Why? I hear you ask.. aren't all brides supposed to arrive at their venue in style?

Well yes, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay the amazing rates for a service I only required for 5 minutes.

hummers that have you singing

See, Mickey and I were having our ceremony and our reception at the same place, we lived 4.5 kilometres from the venue and we weren't playing to disappear for 6 hours worth of photos either- we were going to get straight into the party that was celebrating our marriage.

So maybe now you might understand why a $650 fee for a 5 minute drive seems a little... er outrageous.

And many couples would be in my situation however I can see the arguement from both sides.

Why would a business want me as a client when they have couples who are willing to pay and need the car for the 3 hour hire?

It was a dilemma that troubled me for all of 6 seconds before we made the rational decision to "can the cars" and I would check in early to the venue and get ready there.

I think my advice to others "umming and ahhing" about wedding cars is this... weigh up the practical use of the vehicle versus the expense and then decide if it's worth it.

For example, if you have a large bridal party or a great distance between your reception and your ceremony then a limo or hummer which can accomodate the entire group makes sense as well as making life easier.

If you are only travelling small distances, having the ceremony in a church or venue where guests won't see you arrive or you don't plan to use the cars in your wedding photos then it is probably a cost you can do without.

Some great advice for keeping to a budget when planning your wedding, pay for the things you are passionate about... and save on the items that don't matter to you.

Whether you arrive in a Bentley or a bomb as long you are happy that's all matters!

Liked this article? Check out the Bridal Hindsight series...
is it really a bargain (bridal hindsight #2)
the celebrant to marry a celebrant (bridal hindsight #1)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

is it really a bargain (bridal hindsight #2)

taken from (back and blogging it)

As I mentioned in a lot of my post I was determined to have a beautiful wedding to our budget. Mickey and I were not about to sell organs to pay for our wedding.

What I discovered about planning a wedding is there is always a price to pay, it may not be money, but it may be time that you have to sacrifice or even some blisters from running around town.

Continuing with the deconstruction of the wedding I will use our table arrangements as an example.

wedbykez wedding tables

Thanks to Tania for the photo while I am waiting on our wedding photographers

When you are up to this stage of the planning, dealing with florist, you will learn that vases are normally an "added extra" and can be an unexpected blow to your budget.

Through my googling and emails I learnt that the average vase for an arrangement, whether through a florist, a discount store or even through wedding hire businesses is around $13-$22 a vase. Times that by the number of tables and it can quickly multiply to a few hundred bucks that you didnt have in your budget. Ouch!

Luckily I found Julie from Classic Chair Covers. Fabulously reasonable and exactly the style, and more importantly, the height that I wanted.

Wedding Tip: when planning a table arrangement make sure it is either higher or lower than head height. Otherwise your guests will have an obstacle course to talk across the table to each other.

I arrange hire through Julie and saved extra by picking up the vases and returning them to Classic Chair Hire myself. A lot of businesses charge for delivery and set up (as they should) but if you are willing to put in the effort you can save a few dollars by doing it yourself.

Admittedly, I had a hour drive to get the vases to the florist the week before the wedding - but it saved my going mental at home stressing about "what I had forgotten or hadn't done". In fact, getting out the house and getting active helped me keep calm.

When planning your wedding you have to weigh up the price versus the effort and decide which one is more important. Too many jobs before the wedding can be stressful but paying the price for someone else to do the job can be costly.

What's your priority?

Liked this article? Check out the Bridal Hindsight series...
the celebrant to marry a celebrant (bridal hindsight #1)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the celebrant to marry a celebrant

taken from (back and blogging it!)

Even celebrants have the need to hire celebrants and Mickey and I could not have been happier with our choice.

ambers beautiful ceremonies

We heard of Amber through our Bestman, who had only recently wed. They had tried to book her but because she is in such demand it was not to be. Mickey and I had discussed the kind of celebrant we wanted. We wanted a woman, young (if not then young of heart) and someone who wouldn't flip out at our requests. We didn't yet know the type of ceremony we wanted, but we wanted to feel comfortable enough to ask for the world...

We met with Amber about a year and a half out from the wedding and after one meeting we decided to look no further. We were welcomed into her home office where she asked questions about our engagement, our life and also gave us a feel for her and what she does.

From the start, Amber was a true professional. I was torn with whether or not to let her know I was becoming a celebrant and once, she knew, she was more than willing to offer advice and share some of her experiences with weddings. I'm also a woman of integrity and so kept my wedding, and wedbykez seperate. The last thing I wanted was to compromise the relationship between us as a couple and our celebrant. It is so important.

We booked our Ceremony with Amber and I made sure to contact her intermittently to keep her update to date.

About a year out with had a change of wedding time from 4pm to 4:30pm which I immediately made known to Amber in case of conflicting weddings. I also received the wonderful news that my Bridesmaid would be 8 months pregnant on our wedding day and would not be able to travel to Newcastle for the wedding.

When my bridesmaid became a Bridemate I let Amber know.

I thoroughly appreciated that communication with Amber via email was so easy. With a busy job and a wedding to plan getting on the phone all the time was difficult.

Amber provided us with plenty of options as to creating our ceremony. Being a celebrant, and having a writer for a fiance, I knew we were going to draft a lot of the words that were said ourselves and it is something I encourage a lot of couples to do. It is a really wonderful way of personalising your ceremony. One month out from the big day we emailed Amber our words.

When it came to the wedding rehearsal Amber offered a lot of expertise and advice. Everything from how to stand for the best shot to how to avoid the nerves. Being completely honest, I would have liked a second run through of the ceremony to quickly confirm all that we had decided but Mickey and I should have spoken up about that.

The wedding day was an absolute dream

Amber was prefect in presentation and delivered our words as we had asked. While we had asked her to read certain things and intro the wedding with our story, we wanted Amber to conduct the wedding in a way that would make her natural style and love of weddings shine through.

Amber won the hearts of all our guests and us. I feel that any bride and groom able to secure Amber for their wedding - will have a ceremony that they remember for the rest of their lives.

If you would like to know more about Amber please have a look at her website here