WHAT DOES COVID-19 MEAN FOR WEDDINGS IN 2020? (UPDATED AUG 2020)

WHAT DOES COVID-19 MEAN FOR WEDDINGS IN 2020? (UPDATED AUG 2020)

Written by Amy and Mel from Wedspiration

The following article looks at the impact of the virus namely on people planning their weddings for 2020. This article has been updated on 2/08/20. COVID-19 is an ever-changing situation so for up-to-date health alerts and advice related to the virus, visit health.gov.au.

Dear Couples,

First up, let us begin by sharing our deepest, heartfelt sympathies if you’re currently experiencing stress and wedding disruption due to the Coronavirus outbreak. No-one could have foreseen this coming: a pandemic that’s affecting the entire world. It’s a *touch wood* once-in-a-lifetime experience. And yes, the irony of how in sync that is with the nature of weddings isn’t lost on us. We wish we could give each of you a big hug right now.

And just as we couldn’t in our wildest dreams have predicted an event like this, sadly too the non-existent timeframe for getting this virus under control leaves us hankering for an equally non-existent crystal ball.

If you’re Australian, you’re probably still scratching your head like us, confused and bewildered by the hand we’ve been dealt in the last four months. As if the bushfires of last summer weren’t challenging enough, now we find ourselves facing a life-threatening virus too? We recently saw a meme that said “Who pissed off 2020?”. Exactly.

Over the last few months, we’ve been responding to a large number of queries from concerned couples desperately seeking guidance on what to do right now. We don’t have all the answers. But we’ll do our very best to help provide whatever insights and advice we can. This is the basis of this article.

Before we go any further though, we just want you know that we’ve been inspired by you guys – the positivity that so many of you are sharing right now is amazing. And we’re proud of the way that our industry peers are approaching the situation: largely with compassion, flexibility, and understanding. Many small businesses are struggling right now. But we’re all in this together and working toward a common goal – to get you guys hitched and having the best damn day ever, even if that day takes place a little later than originally planned.

>> COVID-19 And Weddings – The Latest Update As Of 2/08/20:

There are new changes and updates from the Australian Government for each state. Please note these rules and regulations are subject to change at any time with the uncertainty of COVID-19.

In general for all states, it’s worthwhile considering and breaching the topic of the following with your venue/vendors:

  • Canapé service may not be permitted in all states, and it’s best practice to serve each guest separately, meaning no shared plates or family-style catering. Your state might only allow sit-down service only too.
  • Consider how many people you sit at each table and check in with your rules and regulations for your state as well as your venue. You may be restricted to a maximum of ten per table.
  • Aim to seat people with their household, partners or family where possible.
  • Check in with your venue regarding styling changes. We’re aware of some venues not permitting cutlery and glassware on tables to minimise risk. 
  • Singing (including group singing), and wind instruments can spread COVID-19 if a performer is infected. If either of these are involved in the ceremony or reception, ensure that there is protection in place for guests including at least 3 metres distance from the performers.
  • Dancing has been restricted in some states. Please make sure you choose a venue that has a dancefloor with enough space. Consider what strategies you can put in place to avoid crowding on the dancefloor and other areas such as foregoing or modifying rituals like throwing the bouquet, and ensure people don’t take alcoholic drinks on the dancefloor. 
  • Record all of the names and contact numbers of all of your guests and vendorsattending your wedding, regardless of if it is a residential or commercial property wedding and retain these records to provide to the government if required.

STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN OF THE LATEST WEDDING RESTRICTIONS

NEW SOUTH WALES

  • The number of people who may attend a wedding is limited to 150 or the maximum number of people allowed on premises in accordance with the one person per 4 square metres rule
  • Weddings held on residential premises must not have more than 20 visitors, unless the size of the premises is sufficient to ensure there is at least 4 square metres of space for each person on the premises
  • Singing (including group singing), and wind instruments can spread COVID-19 if a performer is infected. If either of these are involved in the ceremony or reception, ensure that there is protection in place for guests including at least 3 metres distance from the performers
  • Dancing has been restricted, with premier Gladys Berejiklian stating in a recent press conference that the current directive is “no dancing, singing or mingling”
  • Check with your state and venue about how many people you can have seated at each table, you may be restricted to a maximum of ten per table
  • Aim to seat people with their household, partners or family where possible
  • Check in with your venue regarding styling changes. We’re aware of some venues not permitting cutlery and glassware on tables to minimise risk
  • The couple must record the names and contact details (including contact phone numbers) of all people attending, conducting and contributing to the wedding, regardless of if it is a residential or commercial property. The records must be kept for at least 4 weeks and provided to the Chief Health Office if required

For more information for NSW weddings, please click here.

VICTORIA

  • As of Thursday 6th August 2020, weddings will be banned in Melbourne until at least September 13th 2020 in accordance with new ‘Stage 4’ lockdown laws. This includes small, elopement-style ceremonies that were previously allowed.
  • If there is a compassionate reason (e.g. limited life span, making a wedding urgent), authorities may be open to granting an exemption for a Melbourne wedding during the lockdown period.  
  • Outside of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, weddings can have a maximum of five people (the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant). See more here
  • Ensure no guests that are unwell attend the wedding, and practice social distancing and good hygiene practices

Fore more information for VIC weddings, please click here.

QUEENSLAND

  • From 3rd July 2020, a maximum of 100 guests can attend a wedding. See more here
  • Social distancing must continue to be practiced and guests who are unwell should not attend
  • A record of contact details including name, phone number, email address and date and time of patronage of each guest must be made to assist in contact tracing, if required. This record must be kept for 56 days, provided to public health officers if requested where it will be securely stored and deleted after 56 days
  • The couple getting married is allowed to dance with each other and/or their parents
  • There is to be no buffet self-service. Guests are encouraged to do a sit-down reception, with individual plates served

For more information for QLD weddings, please click here.
For further details regarding cancellations, postponements and insurance for weddings in QLD, please click here.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

  • The total number of people present must not exceed one person per 2 square metres
  • Physical distancing principles still apply. Every person should attempt to stay at least 1.5 metres from other people
  • Some businesses are required to make and retain records of patrons attending public activities. This must include the name of each patron in attendance, as well as their phone number or email address, along with the time and date of their attendance. Contact tracing records must be presented at the request of an authorised officer. These records must only be used in the event that tracing of contacts needs to occur. For example, the records can’t be used for marketing or similar purposes
  • No shared utensils may be provided in the course of providing the service of any food or beverages
  • No communal food or beverage service areas may operate, this includes buffets, salad bars or communal water/beverage dispensers

For more information for SA weddings, please click here.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

  • Gathering limits are only determined by the one person per 2 square metres rule, which only includes staff if the venue holds more than 500 people
  • Removal of seated service requirements at food businesses and licensed premises
  • No requirement to maintain patron register at food businesses and licensed premises 
  • Alcohol can be served as part of unseated service arrangements 

For more information on WA weddings, please click here.

TASMANIA

  • There is to be no more than one person per 2 square metres at a wedding
  • Where the number of people permitted according to the density limit (one person per 2 square metres) is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies for capacity
  • For mixed use venues with multiple indoor or outdoor spaces, the gathering cap (250 people for indoor, or 500 people for outdoor) applies separately to each single undivided space. For example, a large hotel with multiple, separate indoor spaces (e.g. conference room, bar, restaurant, foyer, beer garden), is permitted to have up to 250 people for each of these spaces (the density limit applies)
  • Ensure that staff and guests are 1.5 metres away from each other. For groups of people seated at the same table, and for staff at times, this will not be practical
  • Arrange the wedding in such a way so that the 1.5 metre can be adhered to between patrons from different tables
  • Coordinate arrivals and seating of guests so that crowding doesn’t occur in arrival/waiting areas
  • Ensure there’s appropriate space between seated guests

For more information on TAS weddings, please click here.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

  • From Friday the 19th of June 2020, wedding ceremonies can have up to 100 people (excluding those conducting the service or assisting in the conduct of the wedding) or one person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser
  • Wedding celebrations should be held in accordance with rules for the hospitality sector
  • Wedding organisers must keep a record of the names and contact numbers of individuals attending and details can be safely destroyed after 28 days
  • You must develop a COVID Safety plan
  • Any indoor or outdoor reception must adhere to the ACT’s restrictions on public gatherings and/or hospitality venues and function spaces

For more information on ACT weddings, please click here.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

  • There is currently no limit on the number of attendees
  • Weddings with less than 100 people do not require a completion of a checklist or safety plan, however physical distancing and hygiene practices should be implemented
  • For weddings from 100 to 500 people, you must complete a COVId-19 safety checklist

For more information on NT weddings, please click here.

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Here’s a topline summary of the things we’ll get into below:

Insurance

  • It’s unlikely existing wedding insurance policies will cover wedding changes/cancellations due to COVID-19.
  • If you’re thinking about purchasing wedding insurance now to protect yourself from wedding changes/cancellation due to COVID-19, you won’t be covered as the pandemic is a known event.

Postponements and cancellations

  • If your wedding date is in 2020, we’d urge you to contact your venue and vendors via email ASAP to ask them what their postponement policy is and to gather their available dates for later this year, or preferably beyond to safeguard yourself against a second postponement.
  • We would strongly urge you to postpone your wedding rather than cancelling the entire occasion – you can find a step-by-step guide to postponing here and some further tips and templates to share with your wedding team and guests here.
  • When postponing your wedding, we know that the vast majority of wedding venues and vendors are be incredibly understanding in helping you facilitate this.
  • If you decide to cancel your wedding, however, it’s likely you’ll forfeit any deposits you’ve put down. Also, depending on the proximity of the cancellation to your wedding day and the T&C’s and position of the venue/vendor, you may incur additional costs.

Restrictions

  • See state-by-state breakdowns above

Proceeding as planned

  • For those progressing with their 2020 wedding, just be sure to adjust your celebration to fit into the new restrictions.

Honeymoons and travel

  • All overseas travel has been restricted for the foreseeable future. Postpone/cancel all overseas travel for the time being, and also consider a local-moon after your wedding does take place. You’ll be providing much needed support to local businesses and let’s face it, our own backyard is bloody beautiful.

Emotional burden

  • We 100% get where your head might be right now. You may be feeling hopeless, sad – even guilty for feeling these things, given the threat to people’s health right now. Please know that this is all completely normal and that you’re in no way alone.
  • Your wedding – when it happens – is going to be made all the more special for getting through this period.

The future 

  • Don’t stop planning your wedding. Life will go on post-Coronavirus and there are so many people in this industry more excited than ever to help you celebrate your love.

We know it’s a nerve-wracking time for both couples and industry alike but we will get through it together. This is a situation where we all need to work collectively to be as compassionate and supportive of each other’s positions as possible.

If you were scheduled to get hitched in the next several months or even weeks, our hearts are right there with you as you adjust to the rapidly changing requirements surrounding gatherings in Australia and New Zealand. Hopefully this article provides you with some confidence to move in the direction that feels right to you.

The big thing we want to say is that when your wedding does happen, there will be new meaning to it. And we’d bet our bottom dollar that the dancefloor moves your guests will pull will be even more impressive.

If you’re wanting to connect with other couples who are also going through the same thing right now, please join our couples-only Facebook Group ‘Wedchat by WedShed‘. There is a huge number of supportive discussions happening, with wonderful advice shared.

So, let’s get into things in more detail.

INSURANCE

++ Does wedding insurance cover COVID-19?  

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear so. We’ve reached out to multiple Australian wedding insurers and have heard back from one – the message was:

“Few policies covering weddings (or usual commercial activities) will cover a pandemic or infectious diseases so sadly few brides will have insurance protection if their wedding is cancelled due to the virus but the policy will cover loss through the all the other areas such as fire, death or injury to the bride and groom.

… we are fielding many calls from couples wanting insurance for Coronavirus – this simply isn’t available.”

We’ll update this section with more information as we receive it from other wedding insurance policy providers. We did hear second-hand (not confirmed) that one policy does cover cancellations related to Coronavirus. Though if true, this policy would’ve needed to have been purchased prior to Coronavirus being identified as an epidemic, and it’s not clear what the circumstances need to be in order to make a successful claim now. An alert was issued for the Coronavirus outbreak on 23rd January 2020, and we know that many travel insurers will not cover any claims made on policies taken out after that date, so in the absence of more solid info, we’d suggest it’s probably a similar scenario for weddings.

++ What about travel insurance? Does this cover for COVID-19 related changes? 

Choice.com.au has provided this information regarding travel insurance and COVID-19:

  • A bit over half of insurers cover medical expenses resulting from a pandemic, but less than half cover cancellation expenses
  • If you buy travel insurance after a pandemic or epidemic such as the COVID-19 coronavirus becomes a known event, you may not be covered regardless

Here’s further clarity on this, direct from Choice:

“People who bought travel insurance before the disease became a “known event” may be covered for medical expenses that arise from contracting the disease overseas, and may even be covered for cancellation expenses. But people who bought travel insurance after COVID-19 was a known event may not be covered for medical or cancellation expenses relating to contracting the disease, or from changes to travel plans that result from quarantine measures, for example.”

We understand this is a bit ambiguous. If you’ve purchased travel insurance to cover you for a honeymoon or even for an overseas wedding, you’re best to contact your insurer directly for the most relevant information according to your policy.

WEDDING POSTPONEMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS

++ Should I postpone my wedding?

As each day passes, we’re hearing of more and more couples making the voluntary choice to postpone their weddings. There are several reasons why:

  • Their guest count is more than the maximum number allowed for their state/there is a ban on weddings at their location
  • Their guest count is more than the allowed number in order to abide with the 4-square-metre rule at their venue
  • They had overseas family and friends attending their wedding that can no longer make it
  • They don’t want to bring together a large group of people and put their loved ones at risk
  • They’re conscious that it’s a decision that may be taken out of their hands soon anyway and want to get the jump on it
  • They’ve spoken to their venue and vendors who have been accommodating and happy to facilitate a postponement, making the decision easier
  • They don’t want a day that they’ve invested a lot of time, energy and resources into to be anything different to what they imagined
  • They don’t believe the social distancing that’s currently recommended is conducive to weddings (no hugs, kisses, close dancing, shared food or normal seating, which tends to be within 1.5 metres)
  • They don’t want to put guests in the awkward position of deciding whether or not they’re comfortable to attend in the first place

The decision to proceed or postpone is largely personal and will depend on the restrictions in place for your state/venue and how that impacts the vision you have for the day.

We’d strongly advise starting the conversation if you haven’t already with your venue and vendors about how they’d feel if you were to postpone your big day, as well as gathering alternative dates that are available. We can guarantee it’s a conversation they’re expecting.

Here’s a sample email that you could send:

Hi {VENUE/VENDOR NAME},

I hope this email finds you well, and that you and your loved ones are safe during this difficult time. Due to the current situation surrounding the Coronavirus, we’re concerned about proceeding with our wedding and putting our guests and wedding A-team (you guys) at risk. We’re sure this situation has put you under a lot of stress as we know it’s impacting many people right now and our thoughts are with you.

Due to the uncertainty of the coming months and new restrictions placed on weddings, we wanted to touch base to see what our options were on rescheduling our wedding with your team. Is it possible to postpone the date and reschedule once this has all calmed down? We appreciate you are no doubt managing multiple couples in the same position as us – please let us know if it’s easier to have a conversation over the phone. 

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Kindest,
{NAME + NAME}

++ What if I postpone my wedding but can’t find a date that all of my suppliers can service? 

This is unfortunately a hard reality – it might be difficult or not possible to make your wedding work with all of the original businesses you chose to partner with, due to the volume of future weddings and postponements. We’ve got all our fingers crossed that these tips will assist you in finding a date that works for everyone:

  • Be open to getting married on a weekday when there’s likely to be more availability for your wedding team. Weekday weddings are a total vibe!
  • Start with your wedding venue – get their available dates for the preferred months that you’re happy to reschedule your wedding to
  • Share these dates in an open and edit-able spreadsheet with your vendors so that they can tick which dates they can and can’t do. This will make it much simpler for you to find the date that the vast majority can make happen

For any of your A-Team that sadly can’t service your new wedding date due to pre-commitments, it’s unlikely due to the nature of cancellations that you’ll be able to expect your deposit back (see our next question) but many vendors will be eager to work with you to provide some sort of “credit-service” to the value of your deposit. For example, if your photographer can’t make your new wedding date, they might be able to instead do a family photoshoot with you, or an engagement shoot as a good-will measure.

++ I’m thinking of cancelling my wedding – what should I expect? 

This will largely depend on the T&C’s set in the contract you’ve entered into with your venue and vendors. Most contracts require a deposit to be paid to secure the services of the business and often these are non-refundable at a certain time-frame (for example, within six months of the original wedding date).

Chat to your venue and vendors if this is something you’re looking to do. Of course, if you make this decision it’s absolutely fine – your wedding, your call, always.

We do know that the vast majority of venues and vendors would much rather you postpone your wedding date over cancelling altogether. And as much as we’re sure they would love to be able to hand back any deposits, the financial implications of this is just too much to expect of a small business (it’s why they have T&Cs in the first place to protect themselves), particularly given the fact that they’re already likely to be losing future business that will be taken up by postponed weddings.

RESTRICTIONS

Scroll back to the top of this post for a state-by-state breakdown of the latest restrictions in relation to weddings.

You can find the Prime Minister’s official statements outlining restrictions here.

++ Are marquees considered an indoor space or outdoor? What if the sides are up? 

From what we understand, marquees constitute an indoor space, according to the government’s online statement.

“An indoor gathering refers to a gathering within a single enclosed area (i.e. an area, room or premises that is or are substantially enclosed by a roof and walls, regardless of whether the roof or walls or any part of them are permanent, temporary, open or closed).”

Despite the fact that marquees can be erected outdoors, they still fall under the category of a single enclosed area, substantially enclosed by a roof (even if the walls are removed of left up). It doesn’t make a difference if the marquee is permanent or temporary either.

We know that prior to the recent announcement of wedding restrictions, many couples still hoped to proceed with their wedding by setting up outdoors. Given the expense of marquees and the limitations on weddings, it’s understandable that this will no longer be a viable option for many.

PROCEEDING AS PLANNED

Each state has different rules about how a wedding may look right now, and they’re constantly evolving. Many couples are forging ahead with their wedding and if there is a change in restrictions that means their wedding cannot continue in the way that they had hoped, then they are reassessing as and when needed.

However, that’s not to say that you can’t make things paper-official on your original wedding day, even if a postponement needs to happen. There are plenty of couples that are getting officially married on their original date with an intimate ceremony, with a big reception-style party planned down the track when they and their loved ones can let down their hair restriction-free.

Another suggestion for couples proceeding with their wedding is to live stream your ceremony via video for those close family members and friends who are not able to attend due to the restrictions.

++ What if the guests I invite to my wedding don’t want to attend?

We really feel for you here – of course you want to get married surrounded by all the leading people in your life, let alone a select couple. But given the covert nature of COVID-19 and the fact that it’s impossible to know who has the virus until they’re symptomatic, it’s reasonable to expect that guests may not feel comfortable to attend your wedding. They may have contact with kids, the elderly or immunocompromised people, or they may just be conscious of wanting to distance themselves from people until authorities say it’s safe to do otherwise.

While it can be heartbreaking to hear, our advice is to be completely understanding of your guest’s choice and to not let it influence your relationship with them. This is a time where we all need to respect each other’s autonomy.

HONEYMOONS AND TRAVEL

++ Should I book a honeymoon?

If you haven’t already booked your honeymoon, the most obvious suggestion here is to postpone it or travel within Australia once travel restrictions and warnings are lifted. Right now, Australian state borders are in a state of lock-down, and overseas travel is prohibited.

If you had already booked travel,  some airlines are giving credits to flights, so touch base with both your travel partners and accommodation provider to see if this is an option for you.

EMOTIONAL BURDEN

OK, this is a biggie. And we want to spend some time here, because we have a lot. Of. Feelings.

We know it’s likely that you’ve been looking forward to this day for ages. Putting time, emotions, money and more into bringing an epic celebration together, only to have the rug potentially pulled out from beneath you. If you’re getting married in the coming months, the confusion about whether to proceed or postpone (or otherwise) can feel overwhelming and just downright devastating. We 100% empathise with you here – we know this is not how you wanted to be moving into married life.

On top of this, you might be feeling guilty or indulgent for even allowing yourself to feel upset about your wedding, given we’re talking about people’s lives and health being on the line.

What we need to say here is don’t. Know this: your disappointment is valid. We would feel exactly the same.

But also know this: no matter what happens to your wedding day in the short-term, it’s more important than ever to reflect on the things that are important to us as people, and that’s our relationships. The beautiful thing here is the very fact that you’re planning a wedding means you’ve found a life partner that you can depend on during the toughest times. It’s like you guys get to start your marriage early – just without the official piece of paper.

Focus on loving each other, keep communicating and know that when your wedding day does happen, it’s going to be so much more special having gone through this challenge to get there. If there’s anything we can take away from this pandemic, it’s the importance of taking stock of our loved ones and looking out for our community. This means when you’re smashing cake in your face at some point in the future and raising a glass of sparkling with those special people around you guys, there will be no better feeling.

THE FUTURE

++ Should I keep planning my wedding or wait until COVID-19 is over? 

We know that Coronavirus is all-encompassing right now. But eventually, this will be something we can collectively put behind us. If you’re hoping to get married in the future, don’t stop planning your wedding – allow yourself to get excited, get inspired, speak to venues and vendors and get the ball rolling. Now more than ever, the entire industry is so excited to help you celebrate your love! And it’s not just for financial reasons; we all need some positivity right now and looking to the future and all the happy days ahead is as feel-good as it gets.

– – –

If you have any further questions, suggestions or comments, send us a DM on Instagram or ask our lovely couples in our couples-only Facebook Group. Our hearts and thoughts are with you and we hope you can remain positive knowing that you’ll have an incredible day regardless of when it takes place. We hope that you and your families stay safe and healthy as Australia navigates COVID-19.

With love,
Amy, Mel + The WS Team.

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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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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The Mystery of Love

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.― Sophocles

The Mystery of Love by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

It is no small thing for me that as a Commonwealth Registered Celebrant I get to walk couples across the threshold of marriage.  It is a great privilege and something that I hold very dear.  To experience over and over again the wonder of love.  The open hearts, the vows, the promises and the values that they choose to build their lives upon.

Each couple, each person so unique, so precious.  Each wedding so incredibly different.  A reflection of the lives and creativity of each couple.  Whether a small private gathering of  8 people or a crowd of 250 people, each is magical and full of wonder in their own special way.

This weekend I conducted five weddings across Melbourne.  Friends looked on in exhaustion but I revelled in the celebration of love and mystery of relationships.  You see I fall in love with each couple.  I grieve a little at the end of each wedding as our journey comes to its rightful conclusion.   I am constantly in awe at the beauty of each soul and the glimpse that I get into the communities of love that surround them.

For many of us marriage encapsulates the mystery of love.  The very nature of a wedding ceremony is about capturing the love essence of each couple and what love means to them.  Two people fell in love which is why they are getting married.  The marriage ceremony is the public demonstration of that love and their commitment to stay in love and to choose love each day over  the course of their lives together.

These two readings by Nicholas Sparks and Anne Morrow talk about love and relationships and what it means.

“NOTEBOOK”

I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten.  But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.

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 GIFT FROM THE SEA BY ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH 

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love and of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in the terror of the ebb. We are afraid it will never return.

We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity, when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in freedom.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, not forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.

Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits—islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides of life.

(Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

When you read these pieces one thing is clear.  Love is a mystery and love is a gift.  You can’t own it, it is freely given and must be treasured.  For love to grow it must face the challenges that growth brings.  Love is like the sun and the earth.

Love is like the sun above you and the earth below you. Like the sun  love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

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Although not Buddhist, one couple chose to express their vows and promises in an amended version of  Buddhist vows.  These vows acknowledge the transitions, ebb and flow of relationship.  They also encompass community, nature and the understanding that all things belong and that we are part of a larger picture.

Buddhist tradition.

Lisa:  Do you pledge to help each other to develop your hearts and minds, cultivating compassion, generosity, ethics, patience, enthusiasm, concentration and wisdom as you age and undergo the various ups and downs of life and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and equanimity?

Bride and Groom: “We do.”

Lisa: Recognising that the external conditions in life will not always be smooth and that internally your own minds and emotions will sometimes get stuck, do you pledge to see all these circumstances as a challenge to help you grow, to open your hearts, to accept yourselves, and each other; and to generate compassion for others who are suffering?

Bride and Groom: “We do.”

Lisa: Understanding that just as we are a mystery to ourselves, each other person is also a mystery to us, do you pledge to seek to understand yourselves, each other, and all living beings, to examine your own minds continually and to regard all the mysteries of life with curiosity and joy?

Bride and Groom: “We do.”

Lisa: Do you pledge to preserve and enrich your affection for each other?  To take the loving feelings you have for one another and your vision of each other’s potential and inner beauty, and to radiate this love outwards in an example for all beings?

Bride and Groom: “We do.”

In its essence, love is about giving.  It is about growing and it is about Shalom.  It is learning about how to live in peace with your beloved and with everyone around you.  It is understanding that true love gives and gives and keeps on giving.  Marriage in its simplest form is making a public commitment to choose to love, over and over again each day.  Through each ebb and through every high tide.

It is to commit to ‘undergo the various ups and downs of life and to transform them into the path of love, compassion, joy and equanimity?’.  It is to radiate love to all beings.  This  is known the gospel of love to those who are followers of the teachings of Christ. Christ teaches us to love everyone the way that we love ourselves.  In a way marriage is but an example of how we should treat every being.

The mystery of love is demonstrated and spoken out loud in the form of a Marriage ritual but love is not exclusive to marriage.  Love is something that we should choose every  day and demonstrate to every soul that we meet.    It is found wherever value is placed upon another soul, where we step outside ourselves and demonstrate compassion and understanding.  We need it more than ever and in every context.  I think it may be impossible to love too much.  In each day that we face on this earth and in every situation,  lets choose love.

Have You Thought About What You Want For Your Funeral?

Funerals are as individual as you are.  Each of us have a story to tell.

As such a funeral should be carefully crafted to reflect the person who has died.

I am well known for telling my friends and family what I want for my funeral  – I’ve even told them what I want for my tomb stone.

“I told you I was sick”.

As a mother and step mother to six incredible kids, mother is the last on the list when she is sick.  I’ve often told them they would step over me in the kitchen if I passed out, the main concern being: “What is for dinner”.

I’ve planned it all, I want a big red curtain on the stage like in the theatre.  I’ve even picked out my songs.  “Days like this”  by Van Morrison,

“When it’s not always raining there’ll be days like this
When there’s no one complaining there’ll be days like this
When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch
Well my mama told me there’ll be days like this”.

And  Harrry Connick Jnr version of  “Good By Joe”:  “Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh”.

OOHHHH and I want lots and lots of flowers.  LOTS

Why am I telling you this?

Well I’m really concerned that as a Western culture we don’t embrace death.  In fact we do everything we can to avoid it.  If we don’t discuss these things, chat about them with each other then how will we ever know?

Do you want to be buried or cremated?

If you want to be cremated where do you want your ashes scattered?

I have a friend who since her mother has died has taken on the task to travel to as many countries as she can.  In each place she scatters a bit of her mother.  Her mother never got to travel.  She figures better late than never.

My husband insisted as he was dying of cancer that he wanted to be cremated.  In fact for as long as we had been married he had wanted to be cremated and his ashes scattered over the Murray River.  Then weeks before he died he insisted that he wanted to be buried?  He changed his mind.  So we buried him.

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My mother is 86, she has led a very creative and colourful life.  Her great grand children call her ‘super gran’.  When she dies she wants me to assemble the grandchildren and great grandchildren and have them paint her coffin???

She has joked about handing out ‘tasers’ to everyone at the funeral and the last person standing is the one who inherits her house. lol..

We have joked about putting pop corn in the casket and as it is filed into the crematorium – going out with a bang… or pop pop pop.

Is this making you uncomfortable?  It shouldn’t.

These are all examples of how our death should reflect how we have lived.

We all respond differently when death comes into our lives and we will inevitably have different needs in terms of the ways in which we honour the deceased and our grief.

Ritual and ceremony at the time of death can be rich with meaning, healing and inspiration.

Whether the ceremony is a funeral or farewell service, a celebration of life, a memorial or a wake, it is a powerful and often painful rite of passage that signifies a farewell, a time of letting go and the beginning of a new relationship with the person who has gone.

The ceremony is about creating a safe space where the individuals life can be honoured and affirmed.  It is important to acknowledge the person’s beliefs, and values, their stories and personality, the essence that made the unique, giving space for the expressions of all that was felt for the person who has died.

It is also an important part of your grieving process.  A time when we hold a space for grieving.

“You need to allow yourself time to grieve. You think you won’t be able to go on, but you do cope. People say time heals, and it does … I am still standing, but it is still difficult for me at times.  But you never lose the love that you shared together.” (Merna Curnow, 2009)

It’s an interesting conversation to have.  Let’s face it.  Every one of us is going to die.  Its just a matter of when.  We will all one day be a memory, lets do the best we can to leave a good one.

Lisa.

Featured Art by: Liezel Van Der Linde

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Love and Lighthearted Readings

I am often asked if I can suggest some lighthearted readings for weddings and ceremonies.  So I thought I would put a small collection together for you.  Enjoy – Lisa.

 

“I Rely on You,” by Hovis Presley

I rely on you

like a camera needs a shutter

like a gambler needs a flutter

like a golfer needs a putter

like a buttered scone involves some butter

I rely on you

like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve

like a hairpin needs a drastic curve

like an HGV needs endless derv

like an outside left needs a body swerve

I rely on you

like a handyman needs pliers

like an auctioneer needs buyers

like a laundromat needs driers

I rely on you.

 

“All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” 

by Robert Fulgham

All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned…

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.

Take a nap every afternoon.

Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

 

From Captain Corellies Mandolin

by Louis de Bernières’

Love is a temporary madness,

it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.

And when it subsides you have to make a decision.

You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.

Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness,

it is not excitement,

it is not the promotion of eternal passion.

That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,

and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,

they find that they are one tree and not two.

Bridled Vows

By Ian Duhig

I will be faithful to you, I do vow

but not until the seas have all run dry

etcetera:

although I mean it now,

I’m not a prophet and I will not lie.

To be your perfect wife, I could not swear;

I’ll love, yes; honour (maybe); won’t obey,

but will co-operate if you will care

as much as you are seeming to today.

I’ll do my best to be your better half,

but I don’t have the patience of a saint;

not with you,

at you I may sometimes laugh,

and snap too, though I’ll try to learn restraint.

We might work out: no blame if we do not.

With all my heart, I think it’s worth a shot.

 

The Life That I Have
by Leo Marks

The life that I have

Is all that I have

And the life that I have

Is yours.

The love that I have

Of the life that I have

Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have

A rest I shall have

Yet death will be but a pause.

For the peace of my years

In the long green grass

Will be yours and yours and yours.

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A Soul Mate

“A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.”

by Richard Bach

Note Book

“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”

Nicholas Sparks

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A blessing for you who are tired of loss

A blessing for you who are tired of loss

by Cameron Semmens

 

What doesn’t kill you just really, really hurts.

You say you are tired of loss…

I’m sorry for your losses.
I wish there was another way.

May these losses
grow your sense of appreciation for life
and joy
and the simple things.

May you, in time,
feel differently towards these losses – may you see
the subtle and hidden gains
within every loss.

What doesn’t kill you
just really, REALLY hurts…

but may these hurts
deepen your compassion;
broaden your empathy;
and stretch you into hidden potentials.

I wish I could say the losses will end, but I can’t –
they won’t.

The best I can offer –
may all your future losses be

smaller
and gentler,
and framed within community and love

than all your past losses.

I’m sorry for your loss

 

by Cameron Semmens, 9 April 2017