The White Tree did an incredible job of capturing Jac and Joels gorgeous wedding at Coombe Melba Estate in the Yarra Valley. Such a stunning location.
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
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.
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.
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.
Coombe Melba Estate
RACV Country Club Healsville
Lyrebird Falls Chapel Kalista
Zonzo Estate – gorgeous outdoor summer wedding.
Marybrooke Manor petal storm
All Smiles Docklands, RACV Club Healsville and Alowyn Gardens.
As we finish off the year I thought it would be interesting to post some of the average costs of weddings in Australia. I am a member of Easy Weddings. Easy Weddings provides access to over 5’000 venues, services and suppliers. 80% of couples getting married in Australia use Easy Weddings to connect them with recommended suppliers across the Nation. Each year Easy Weddings does an annual industry report surveying 3’300 Australian couples. These are some of the results.
Interestingly 50% of all weddings occur on just 32 days of the year and they are all Saturdays.
The couples: they have been engaged for 23 months. They will have an average of 97 guests attend. 73% have a gift registry or wishing well. The average price per head for a wedding is $150.00. The average cost of a wedding is $31’368.00
Wedding Dress: $2’522.00
Wedding Music: $1’600.00
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you at a bit of a loss when it comes to choosing the perfect songs for your wedding.
Music will play a big part in your wedding so it’s important to give it a bit of thought. My advice is to hire live music, especially for the ceremony. I do a lot of weddings. Live music takes your ceremony to a whole new level. The ambience and emotions that live music evokes is well worth the extra $400.00 to have a harp, guitarist, vocalist or strings.
Set the right mood with the right song for the special parts of your wedding day. Be inspired by other couples, rate your favourites or submit a new song.
Easy Weddings is a great sight for all of your wedding needs. They have a page devoted to wedding songs.
From Ceremony songs to cake cutting songs, father and daughter dance songs and anything else that you need.
Top Wedding Songs for 2017
Beyoncé: “All Night”
Emili Sandé: “Breathing Underwater”
Digital Farm Animals: “Only One”
Taylor Swift: “I Don’t Want to Live Forever”
DJ Snake & Justin Bieber: “Let Me Love You”
Bruno Mars: “24k Magic”
Rihanna: “Love on the Brain”
John Legened: “Love Me Now”
Dua Lipa: “Blow Your Mind”
The Weeknd ft Daft Punk: “I Feel It Coming”
James Arthur: “Say You Won’t Let Go”
Tory Lanez: “Love”
Train: “Play That Song”
Fetty Wap ft Nicki Minaj: “Like a Star”
BigBang: “Fxxk It”
Childish Gambino: “Have Some Love”
Rae Sremmurd ft. Gucci Mane: “Black Beatles”
Solange ft Common: “Cranes in the Sky” (Remix)
Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj: “Side to Side”
The Chainsmokers ft. Daya: “Don’t Let Me Down”
Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna: “This is What You Came For”
Andy Grammer: “Fresh Eyes”
Fitz and The Tantrums: “Handclap”
Ellie Goulding: “Still Falling For You”
Justin Timberlake: “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Yay…. I have been chosen by Easy Weddings as one of the top 100 celebrants in Victoria. Hooray
Reposted from Easy Wedding website.
The marrying couple might be the most important people at a wedding, but the celebrant comes a pretty close second.
More than anyone else – and in consultation with the leading man and lady – they set the mood and tone for how the day will unfold: be it playful, heartfelt, cheeky, or even just incredibly romantic.
Picking the right person is a big task, so to help narrow down the field, we’ve compiled our list of the top 100 wedding celebrants in and around Melbourne. Whoever you choose, rest assured they’ll be delighted to help you create the day of your dreams.
*Celebrants are ranked by volume and rating of reviews on Easy Weddings.
Around 121,197 couples get married in Australia each year and each of those couples is unique in who they are, how they met, what they believe in and what their reason for marrying is. However, when you look at the overall data as we did in Easy Wedding‘s 2016 Annual Australian Wedding Survey, a picture of the ‘average’ Australian bride and groom emerges.
The average Australian bride is 28 years old on her wedding day. Her groom is just a year older at 29 and they have been engaged for 23 months. That’s a long time to think about who you are going to choose to supply services such as photography or wedding dresses or bonboniere for your wedding day.
While 89% of brides are aged 35 years or under when they marry, just 72% of grooms are aged 35 on their wedding day and, though it is most likely they met through friends (35%), it’s almost just as likely that they met at work, school or university (29%). What’s the lesson for anyone looking to find their match? Start socialising more with your existing friends and always turn up to work and school!
The Australian bride and groom are all about inclusivity with 89% of them believing same sex marriage should be legalised in Australia – a figure that is up 4% from the same time last year.
98% of the brides will have attended between 1 and 5 weddings in the 12 months before her wedding day, so she’ll likely have an idea of what she wants and likes by the time she visits a wedding supplier. It also means she might see wedding suppliers she likes and hire them for her own wedding. That’s brilliant free advertising for your business.
When planning their own wedding, the average Australian bride and groom will invite 98 guests. That’s down 2.4% from last year’s results. 89% of them will hold their wedding in their home state or territory and 78% of all couples will have either a gift registry or a wishing well.
This leads us into our data around wedding gifts. Of the 2300 plus couples who answered our survey 88% of them said they believed a wedding gift of up to $250 was appropriate for close friends and family, while 60% considered a gift of about $100 as being appropriate for other people whose weddings they are invited to.
Including themselves, 49% of couples will have between 7 and 10 people in their bridal party and 30% of couples will already be parents (or pregnant) on their wedding day.
And what are their priorities after their wedding is over? It’s starting a family (33%), buying a home (30%), travelling (14%), focusing on their career (9%) and improving their education (2%) but 12% listed ‘other’ as their post-wedding priority.
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.
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.
Featured Art by: Liezel Van Der Linde