Top 10 Female Celebrant

Hooray,  tonight I attended the Brides Choice Industry awards.

Two months ago I was notified that I was a finalist.  Tonight I found out that I was one of 10 top female celebrants chosen by bridal couples who have been married in the last 12 months.  Brides Choice Awards is dedicated to recognising, supporting and rewarding Wedding Businesses that operate in  Australia. They can be Nano Businesses, Micro Businesses, Small Businesses or even Major Corporate.

Brides Choice Awards is a supportive industry network platform, facilitating connectivity, support and importantly, recognising Excellence in Business practice through Brides Choice Awards for Excellence’ Annual Awards.

So excited to think that my couples are happy enough to go to the trouble to vote.  Thank you to all my couples.  I fall in love with all of them and absolutely love my job.

 

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The Greater the Love the Deeper the Grief

As a celebrant I also have the profound privilege to conducting funerals and memorial ceremonies.  This is a beautiful piece on grief by Julie Yarbrough.

 

The most fundamental truth of grief is this: we grieve because we love. Love and grief are inextricably linked. If we did not love, our hearts would not be broken by death. The greater our love, the deeper and more profound our grief.

Grief is the most equal-opportunity experience in all of life. It is the great leveler of emotions, place, and time. For at some age, at some time, everyone will know the sorrow and pain of grief. Grief is indifferent to our race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. We’re not emotionally insulated from grief because of where we live, how educated we are, or how much money we have or don’t have. Grief doesn’t care whether we’re dressed in a business suit, a blue uniform, a hoodie, a tee shirt or a clergy robe.

The love of grief is passionate — we cherish and memorialize the one lost to us in death. We remember, and will never forget. The love of grief is compassionate — it reaches out, reconciles, restores and builds up. This love is why we endure the suffering of loss and persevere in hope. Despite every evidence to the contrary, love never fails.

When the reality of senseless violence and tragedy overwhelm our individual and collective hearts, grief leaves us reeling, especially as we struggle with the “why?” We want to make sense of it all, yet there are no real answers. What we experience instead is grief, the intuitive response of our mind, our body and our spirit to the death of one we love. And often we find within the love of our grief the best response to life’s worst tragedies. Without fully understanding the “why,” we seek some redemptive value, so that death will not have been in vain. We harness our grief-born love first to change our own heart, then slowly the world. And if not the whole world all at once, we start where we are to influence for good, trusting that our small ripple of love shared with others will one day become an exponential sea change.

If we scrutinize the faces of survivors, friends, colleagues, and loved ones photographed at their moment of most intense grief, we see clearly the inestimable shock and sorrow of personal, individual grief. When we read beyond the headlines, we’re reminded that each life has its own unique story and that the lives of hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people — neighbors, school friends, church communities — are unalterably affected by the untimely death of one they know and love.

We are forever changed by death. Our experience of grief may leave us disillusioned, fearful, and hate-filled. Or grief may leave us convinced of the goodness of life with a greater capacity for love despite the certainty that evil is present in the world.

In the face of intentional violence and death, those of us who are helpless bystanders are forced to stretch, to think and feel beyond ourselves. And so we join hands and hearts with reverence for life and spiritual respect for the mystery of death to grieve in unison each individual soul — the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands and all other relationships of spirit and bond that connect us to one another as divinely created human beings.

Julie Yarbrough is the author of Beyond the Broken Heart, a grief ministry program, Grief Light, and other grief resources. Website: www.beyondthebrokenheart.com 

“We ourselves shall be loved for awhile and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses
of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Have Your Special Bouquet Painted

A big Shout Out to Liz Currie who specialises in painting bouquets.

Hi I am Liz from Elizabeth Currie Art
I have a passion for painting large floral acrylic on canvas paintings, especially gorgeous bridal bouquets and awesome floral arrangements.
I have teamed up with the amazingly talented florists from Yarra Street Blooms in Warrandyte, to create an opportunity for you to have your precious bouquet or arrangement created by them, and painted by me.
Various sizes and price points available.
Usual Website prices are:
Square
Large 40” x 40” (101.6cm) – $500.00
Medium 30’“ x 30” (76.2cm) – $380.00
Small 20”x 20” (50.8cm) – $250.00
Rectangular
600cm x 900cm -$425.00
As a Yarra Street Blooms customers you will receive a 15% discount across the range
Custom sizes are also available and will be quoted according to size.
I use a photo reference to paint from, this can be taken for you by Yarra St Blooms, or, ask your event photographer.  Please email me the photo you would like me to use as a guide.
I ask for a 30% deposit and will endeavour to have the painting completed in 2-4 weeks.
Free Hand Delivery in Melbourne Metro and outer suburbs included.
Below is an example of a Yarra Street Blooms – Elizabeth Currie Art collaboration
Yarra Street Blooms:  98440066  Yarrastreetblooms.com
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind Regards
Liz
M: 0413106077
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Spring Wedding Trends 2018

Spring wedding trends for 2018 by Easy Weddings

  • ★  Greenery may soon be dethroned as the most popular wedding trend with personalised signsbecoming more and more popular. Greenery will be featured in 59% of Spring weddings while personalised signs will be featured in 56.5% of weddings
  • ★  Despite boho chic weddings gaining popularitymacrame seems to have done its dash, with only 2.5% of couples including it in their wedding decor
  • ★  41% of Spring brides will do a speech compared with 37% of Winter brides as more couples choose to buck the groom-only speech on the big day
  • ★  Hoops and circular designs have remained a popular feature of decor throughout the year
Most popular wedding flowers

 

Flowers that are in bloom all year round, such as roses and baby’s breath, make up many of the most popular wedding flowers during the springtime. However, we are seeing a few exceptions when it comes to the rule.

Peonies have a small seasonal window closer to November and December, but are still the second most popular flower throughout the entire Spring season. This is despite the fact that florists will have to order them in from overseas for couples to be able to have them.

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Most popular wedding themes

Rustic weddings are still the most popular theme for weddings across the year and have performed strongly throughout all of 2018. Not surprisingly, garden and outdoor weddings become more popular during springtime.

Overall, boho chic weddings have risen in popularity throughout 2018 and are the sixth most popular theme during spring. In comparison, we’re seeing vintage and vineyard weddings become less popular as more vintage elements are adopted by other themes, and vineyard weddings are beaten out by the casual vibe of DIY and boho chic weddings.

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Spring is the most popular time of year for couples choosing to get married, and 2018 is no exception. For the first time, our Spring Wedding Outlook takes a specific look at Spring weddings, including costs, trends and the most popular dates, colours and themes of 2018.

The Spring Wedding Outlook is our second quarterly report for 2018 and includes responses from 430+ couples getting married in September, October and November this year to see how they are planning their day and what spring weddings really look like in Australia.

This outlook also uses data from the Easy Weddings 2018 Winter Wedding Outlook, as well as our 2018 Annual Wedding Industry Report which surveyed more than 3,000 couples. Easy Weddings is Australia’s number one wedding marketplace trusted by more than 80% of couples to help plan their wedding day.

 

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Petal Storm

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TheVows

The vows…… one of the parts of the wedding where even the strongest hearts grow faint.  Its really not that hard.  I love helping couples write unique and heartfelt vows.

Here are 10 really original Wedding Vows

By Lucy from Easy Weddings.

Here are some of our favourite vows we’ve ever heard to give you some inspo for when it’s your time to write your vows to your spouse. It can be a tricky little endeavour to write your vows, but it’s worth it when you get up there at the ceremony and spill your heart out to your love. Here are some of the best wedding vows we’ve ever heard:

Succinct but eloquent:

“You were my reason back then, my reason now, my reason every day. You strengthen my weaknesses, bring focus to my dreams. Here and now I pledge my life to yours, that your dreams become my dreams. No matter where life leads me, I know that as long as you are there, that is where I am meant to be.” – iammisanthrope

Preston Burke to Cristina Yang:

“Cristina, I could promise to hold you and to cherish you. I could promise to be in sickness and in health. I could say, til death do us part. But I won’t. Those vows are for optimistic couples, the ones full of hope. And I do not stand here, on my wedding day, optimistic or full of hope. I am not optimistic, I am not hopeful, I am sure. I am steady. And I know that I am a heart man. I take them apart and I put them back together and I hold them in my hands. I am a heart man. So this I am sure, you are my partner, my lover, my very best friend, my heart, my heart beats for you. And on this day, the day of our wedding, I promise you this: I promise you to lay my heart in the palm of your hands, I promise you… me”. -Grey’s Anatomy

A twist on the classic:

[Other person’s name], I love you./ You have brought such joy to my life./ Thank you for loving me as I am/ and taking me into your heart./ I promise to walk by your side forever/ and to love, help, and encourage you/ in all that you do./ I will take the time to talk to you/ to listen to you/ and to care for you./ Through all the changes of our lives,/ I will be there for you always/ as strength in need,/ a comfort in sorrow,/ a counselor in difficulty,/ and a companion in joy./ Everything I am and everything I have is yours/ now and forevermore./ This is my promise to you.

I give you this ring. / Wear it with love and joy. / As this ring has no end, / neither shall my love for you. / I choose you to be my (wife/husband) / this day and forevermore. -oerath


From Sacred Ceremony Book:

“_______, today we begin our lives together. I promise before our families and our friends to be your faithful (husband/wife). I choose to live with you, as your lover, companion and friend, loving you when life is peaceful, and when it is painful, during our successes, and during our failures, supported by your strengths, and accepting your weaknesses. I will honor your goals and dreams, trying always, to encourage your fulfillment. I will strive to be honest, and open with you, sharing my thoughts, and my life with you. I promise to love and cherish you from this day forward.”

An Authors stance:

“I wish I could stand up here and promise you the world, but the world isn’t mine to give. What I do promise is my world, and all it entails. My love, support, passion, compassion, and enthusiasm.

I wish I could promise smooth sailing, but the winds aren’t mine to control. What I do promise is a ship built to carry you to safely, and sails to weather any storm.

I wish I could promise you forever, but someone infinitely great than I already has. What I do promise is every second of this time sliver of eternity I’ve been blessed with.

I wish I could promise you riches, but every vault has it’s end. What I do promise you is a life of abundance—And abundance of love and support, of strength and vulnerability, of sharing and drive, of passion, and of adventure.

I wish I could promise to always be as roguishly handsome as I am today, but, well … On second thought, have you seen my dad? Maybe that’s a promise I can keep.

I can’t even promise I’ll never hurt you, because even the best of intentions sometimes fall short. What I do promise is to always reach for you over my pride; to hold you, to heal you, and to seek forgiveness.” – Connor Jame Drake

Nothing short of love:

“The heart of every true romantic buff
Is driven by the one sustaining need
To find a deep and everlasting love
—And luckily I’ve found my one indeed

Although we sometimes can’t see eye to eye
I’m still amazed just how alike we are
Most differences are merely by the by
When on ahead we see our future far

So now I swear for all the years to come
Especially when youth has run its due
Unlike the bright but short-lived sparks of some
Our timeless love will long be shining through

For all the reasons I’ve described above
I promise we’ll have nothing short of love” – Chris Jester-Young

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Brides, It’s Time to Ditch the Flower Crown For These Trendier Pieces in 2018

This article was published in Pop Sugar 

Brides planning to tie the knot in 2018, we talked to Farmgirl Flowers founder Christina Stembel about what’s in and what’s out in terms of wedding flowers next year. The ethical florists in San Francisco do on average around 20 weddings per week, making them an authority in the wedding floral space. It also means they see their fair share of trends come, go, and stay a little too long.

One in particular that Christina is ready to be over: “I’m really sick of flower crowns,” she told POPSUGAR, laughing. “Flower crowns have been around for several years now, and I think people are really looking for the next thing.” So what is the next thing? Christina said to expect flower jewellery, bolder colours, and bigger elements in 2018.

Flower Jewellery

Christina shared that a couple of designers have recently brought this trend to the forefront, and it has been catching people’s eye. Variations of the flower crown in the form of a tiara, bracelet, and statement necklace are on the rise.

“We even did a class for DIY for brides, and it was really well-received, and so now we’re starting to see people shift,” she said. “Instead of asking for flower crowns, they’re asking for more like tiara-style flowers. They’re not flower crowns; they’re made differently.”

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Celebrating Unbounded Love

Celebrating unbounded love

Published in the Warrandyte Diary  5th February 2018

WARRANDYTE-BASED Marriage Celebrant, Lisa Hunt-Wotton was instrumental in helping Simone Gemmell and Rebecca Lauder become one of the first same-sex couples to legally marry in Australia.

Simone, who attended Warrandyte High School, and Rebecca had been engaged for three years and were six months into planning their commitment ceremony when the same-sex plebiscite was held.

The couple told the Diary how delighted they were when the same-sex marriage bill was finally passed. “This, to us, felt surreal.

“We didn’t think, with all the controversy, that Australia would actually come to the game and when they did it was a feeling like no other.

“We sat on the couch together, drink in hand and just took in what had just happened.”

Rebecca went on to discuss how, prior to the same-sex marriage bill, she experienced frustration in their inability to legally proclaim their commitment to each other.

“It was a constant reminder that we were different… it felt like our wedding, which was important to us, wasn’t as important to others because of the law.”

With the bill set to become law on January 9, Simone, Rebecca and Lisa had a new challenge to encounter, the date they had set for their original commitment ceremony was three days before the law would be passed.

Lisa was determined to make sure the couple could do it right, do it once and do it on the day they had planned to, so the celebrant immediately began studying the law to see if there was any way the women could legally marry before the bill officially came into effect.

“I called the girls and said that there were five reasons why the government would grant a change of date and that I thought they qualified for one of them,” says Lisa.

The couple made multiple trips to Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria and were given a decision on December 21, that they would be legally allowed to marry on January 6.

“It was truly a day we will never forget, a moment of sheer excitement,” the couple told the Diary.

Simone and Rebecca were married by Lisa, in front of all their friends and family, in Panton Hill.

“That day will always be the happiest day of my life, seeing her smile and signing those papers was our special moment for us to always have,” says Simone.

Rebecca added, “I’m the happiest I have ever been and words will never express what the YES vote has done for me, my partner, family, friends and children in the future.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart”.

Photo: Sigrid Petersen Photography

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Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

I often get asked to recommend venues to couples who are at the stage where they are ready to book a wedding.  It can be tricky and time-consuming finding the perfect venue.  The number of guests that you invite will often dictate what venue you can book as most venues don’t cater for numbers larger than 120 people.  The average number of guests invited to weddings in Melbourne is 100 people.  Keep this in mind as it will determine your budget and the type of venue you can choose.

  • Do your research and look at reviews and recommendations.   You cannot beat word of mouth.
  • Try not to get stuck on a particular date as this will limit your availability.
  • Thursday and Friday weddings are becoming more and more popular and are more kind to the budget.
  • Do you want an indoor or outdoor wedding.  Personally I would book a venue that provides both as this gives you great assurance with Melbourne’s finicky and unpredictable weather.  There are many venues that have incredible gardens along with private chapels and great reception options.
    • Venues that offer several options – inside and out:
      • Lyrebird Falls  – Kalista
      • Tatra Receptions – Mount Dandenong
      • Vue on Halcyon Chirnside Park
      • Coombe Melba Estate Coldstream
      • Zonzo Estate – Zonzo Estate is a restaurant, winery and award-winning wedding destination embraced by the beautiful Yarra Valley.
  • Another beautiful alternative is to have the wedding ceremony in the gardens of Alowyn Gardens – Yarra Vally and then the reception at one of  the many local Yarra Valley winery and  reception centres.  I highly recommend Alowyn Gardens.  They have a wisteria canopy over the outdoor pergola and it is mind-blowing.  It also provides shelter from the heat and or the rain.  Great for an outdoor wedding but not for a reception.
  • Think outside the box:  Sometimes a stand up reception is just as much fun and  gives a great party vibe.

Prahran warehouse Hobba is the perfect space for engagement parties and weddings. With the ability to cater and hold up to 200 pax it’s a remarkable space with lots of character. They specialise in stand up events.

All Smiles  Docklands – is an incredible venue and has fantastic food and cocktails but it is also a stand up event space with amazing views of the city.  All Smiles Melbourne Waterfront at the Docklands is set in a spectacular waterfront location overlooking the majestic Victoria Harbour in Melbourne.  It offers perfect photo ops of the docklands.
  • Something a bit different from the traditional wedding look is the: 
    The RACV Country Club Healsville – Absolutely spectacular outdoor wedding space, modern, and streamline with amazing views of the mountains and great staff.
    The Farm Delaneys Road Warrandyte – Gorgeous, great location, only caters for small 120 and under.  An elegant farmhouse at the top of a hill that looks out to rolling lawns, gardens and vineyards. Red brick walls and antique fixtures define the interior with the building opening out onto a generous timber verandah, a classical fountain and stately bluestone steps
    The Baths Middle Brighton has recently been refurbished and is a gorgeous art deco Melbourne landmark.  The Baths ‘Upstairs’ can be booked as an exclusive events space and can accommodate up to 120 guests seated and 200 guests cocktail style.
  • Other recommendations:
    Yarrawood Estate Melba Hwy Yarra Glen – great for private function,  incredible garden – good for small groups – have a beautiful set up outside underneath huge oak trees.
    Marybrooke Manor Sherbrooke – Incredible for a garden wedding 
    Lindenderry Winery Red Hill – gorgeous if you want the ceremony in a winery
    Werribee Mansion – outstanding 
    The Park Lakeside Drive Albert Park– great alternative for a city wedding.  Great photo opps,  stunning reception venue and nice wedding ceremony location.
     
     
    Still Stuck: Try Venue Atlas.  
     
    A friend of mine runs Venue Atlas – https://www.venueatlas.com.au
    A curated guide of Australia’s most unique venues, big and small.

 

Good luck hunting for venues.  Make sure that the venue resonates with your vision and budget.  Keep looking if you can’t find the one that you want straight away.  Make sure that you are happy with the staff and get everything in writing.

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Alowyn Gardens.

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Coombe Melba Estate

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Bill and Lisa and NanLyrebird Falls Chapel Kalista

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You May Kiss the Bride – Zonzo Estate Yarra Valley in the Chapel

18216917_10156682382443084_5001861390906798131_oZonzo Estate – gorgeous outdoor summer wedding.

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All Smiles Docklands,  RACV Club Healsville and Alowyn Gardens.