On Love

This is an extraordinary poem on love by Thomas Kempis.  Thomas à Kempis (ca. 1380-1471) was a priest, monk and writer.


On Love 

Love is a mighty power,

a great and complete good.

Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.

It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders

all bitterness sweet and acceptable.

Nothing is sweeter than love.


Nothing stronger,

Nothing higher,

Nothing wider,

Nothing more pleasant,

Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God.


Love flies, runs and leaps for joy.

It is free and unrestrained.

Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.

Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil,

attempts things beyond its strength.


Love sees nothing as impossible,

for it feels able to achieve all things.

It is strange and effective,

while those who lack love faint and fail.


Love is not fickle and sentimental,

nor is it intent on vanities.

Like a living flame and a burning torch,

it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.


Love Poems for Weddings

On Our Wedding Day

 By Mand

Published on October 3, 2016

Be with me whenever you can. Love me for what I am.

Convince me when I am in doubt. Give me hope when I seem without.

Respect me, show me you care. Stand by me, always be there.

Forgive me if I should do wrong. Caress me when nights seem so long.

Assure me, allay my fears. Be faithful throughout the years.

Trust me as I will trust you. Encourage my dreams my life through.

Be with me whenever you can. Love me for what I am.


You Touched My Hand

“You touched my hand and reached my thoughts,

You kissed my lips and reached my heart,


You looked into my eyes and touched my soul.

No words were said, no thoughts exchanged.

Through only a touch you changed me,

With only a kiss you moved me,

With only a look you brought me life.”


What is Love?

by Anne Landers

Love is friendship that has caught fire.
It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving.
It is loyalty through good and bad times.
It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
Love is a hand to hold when times are dark.
To The Love Of My Life
© Carson BalddwinPublished on February 2015

It is a stepThat I am willing to Take with you.
I want to risk Everything whenI say, “I do.”

From here on out I wish to declare
All of my love That we share.
When you ask me
How I feel,
I say it is a mixture
Of passion that will heal.
It is a powerful thing
That I cannot explain,
But I want to overcome
Every joy and every pain.
Through the many tears
That will be shed,
Through all the good times and the bad,
I am glad
That I will spend it with you.
For our love is so very strong,
And when we are old,
I want you to know
That I have risked
Everything with you Until our dying breath
From that day
I said, “I do.”
 Matt and Tanya Wedding
The Secrets Of A Good Marriage

© Ellie Kelsch

Published on July 2011

Growing up I’ve learnt about love, I’ve been surrounded by it everyday. I’m so glad you’ve both found it, And it’s why we’re here today.

They say there’s secrets to a good marriage, That there are rules to obey,
But the most important rules of love,
Are what you two do everyday.

It’s the ‘hey babes’ in the morning, It’s how she makes his tea,
It’s the way he smiles at her, Such a sweet thing to see.

It’s never being to old to hold hands, Or to watch movies on the couch, It’s accepting all the flaws,
Even when the other’s a grouch.

It’s telling him he’s not going grey, It’s the ‘You look fine in those jeans’ It’s ignoring the mid-life crisis,
and all her little ‘scenes’.

It’s facing the world as one,
And it’s more than love at first sight, It’s together being a family,
Each and every day and night.

It’s the way he looks into her eyes,

Lisa Hunt-Wotton

It’s the way that she looks too, It’s why they stand before us, and it’s why they said ‘I do’.

And now I stand here today,
On this important moment in life, With two people very in love, Now husband and wife.

Growing up, I’ve learnt about love,
and seeing it today proves it true,
You’ve both taught me so much,
And I’d be lucky to be half as happy as you.

 Olya s
Love Is Here To Stay

Its very clear, our love is here to stay

Not for a year, but forever and a day

The radio and the telephone,

And the movies that we know

May just be passing fancies

And in time may go

But, oh my dear

Our love is here to stay

Together we’re going a long long way

In time the Rockies may crumble

Gibraltar may tumble

They’re only made of clay

But our love is here to stay


Ella Fitzgerald

Spectacular Wedding in the Secret Garden

What a spectacular day at the Sky High ‘secret garden’ at Mount Dandenong.  The sun was shining and the flowers blooming.  Absolutely magnificent couple and stunning location.  I was so privileged to be a part of this special day.

Thank you to Jess and Dan for this very beautiful review.  It was such a special day.


Jessica T. on 30 Dec, 2016

“Lisa was absolutely amazing. We honestly couldn’t have asked for a better celebrant. She made us feel so comfortable and at home from the very first meeting. My now husband and I left the consultation and took one look at each other and said YES we found our celebrant. With Lisa you get some ‘homework’ which was brilliant because it actually helped Lisa to get to know our story and our love for one another. She wrote the most amazing ceremony and included our parents in it which they loved. I even had guests say that Lisa got a little emotional! That was very true, Lisa is such a genuine, down to earth person. She made us so comfortable with the whole process and she definitely hasn’t seen the last of us! We will be recommending her to everyone we know. Thank you for all your hard work and support for our wedding. It was truly magical. Thank you, Daniel and Jessica-Kate Fordham. ❤”


Photo Credit:  Will Chao


Wedding Date : 10 Nov, 2016

Venue:  Secret Garden Category: Marriage Celebrant

Gorgeous Garden Wedding

Gorgeous Wedding captured by Kerryn from Precise Moment Photography.

Precise Moment Photography is one of Melbourne’s leading wedding photography studios based in the northern suburb of Craigieburn.   If you are looking for a wedding photographer who is professional, friendly and knows how to capture your individual wedding day story in a candid, natural way with an artistic flair without having to worry about posing for your photos all day, then look no further!

ABIA Top 10 Victorian Wedding Photography Finalist 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016.

This wedding was held at Bram Leigh Receptions:    Known for its romantic fairy lit gardens, exceptional cuisine, stunning chandelier lit ballroom and hundreds of onsite photo opportunities; you will soon discover why Bram Leigh is an Award Winning venue set at the foot hills of the Dandenong Ranges, the gateway to Yarra Valley.


We had a lot of fun at this relaxed and happy wedding.  The nerves got the better of the groom at one stage and I had to jokingly introduce them to one another.  “Nathan, I would like to introduce you to Beth – you can take her hand she is a very nice girl and won’t bite”.  It was a very funny moment.



The bride and groom chose the ‘mother of the groom’ to be one of the witnesses which is a lovely opportunity to honour someone you love.


It was a stunning day at such a beautiful venue.  The quiet gazebo was a perfect place for this precious moment.


The Perfect Wedding

Over the last three weeks I’ve done four weddings.  All of them in gardens and each one exquisite and unique.   With each wedding that I do, the more I realise that you can have the ‘perfect wedding’ IF it truly reflects who you are.  It has nothing to do with money or glamour.  It is all to do with honesty, love and deep meaning.  It is about sharing that narrative with those in your wider circle of friends and family.  If it is authentic and truly represents who you are as a couple then you cannot get it wrong.  The flowers, the venue and dresses are all just props that support the heart beat of you as a couple.  This is what I desire to do when I create your perfect ceremony.

Stephen and Trisha held a small private wedding in the Fitzroy gardens.  They had a small budget and did everything themselves with the help of dear friends.  Trisha hand made origami lotus flowers which were handed out to each guest as they arrived.  I wore one on my wrist for the ceremony and used one as a book mark for the vows.

Trisha and Stephen had made lace bunting with a dream catcher in the centre. On each triangle of lace was a printed black and white photograph of the couple and their journey.  So simple, so endearing and so precious. When I arrived there were several families with children giggling and laughing as they hung the bunting between two trees which then became our back drop.  Patchwork quilts and floral cushions were scattered around the garden for the kids to sit on and enjoy the wedding.

Trisha friend had picked up a portable music system from the op shop and he played the music on a CD before and during the wedding. Another friend had written their names on a welcome sign which was once a painting but had simply been painted over and lovingly reclaimed.

Daniel and Jessica Kate had a divine garden wedding in the Secret Garden at the Sky High in the Dandenongs.  It was simple, stunning and so natural.  I had worked closely with the couple to get their thoughts and emotion into the ceremony.  The bride came down the aisle on the arm of her mother and the mother of the bride also did a heartfelt reading.

This is a little video I took before the guests arrived.

Erin and Grant held their wedding in the front yard of Erin’s Parents Home in Kilmore.  The connection to home was so precious as was the way that they included their baby girl and beloved family.  The bride and wedding party were stunning in chic and simple garden wedding attire with bouquets in native flowers.  In all it was a very private family affair, very relaxed with lots of laughs.

I think this shot caught by Madeleine Chiller Photography says it all.


OR if you are looking for something very  different for your bridal party.  This wedding photographed outside Parliament House was show stopping in red and white.  The bride wore red and the girls chose different white dresses and were asked to add pieces of red.


@vladsavinphotography Design by @liza_danilova_  Ribbon Dresses

Creator and Designer Liza Danilova Romanian Photographer based in Melbourne http://www.vladsavin.com.au

Lastly this very private forest wedding.   A tiny circle of friends and family held simply and perfectly.  The bride is very private and a little shy so this was the perfect venue for her.

What to look for in a great photographer.

What to look for in a great photographer by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

This is a blog post that features some of the best photographers that I have worked with.

When I got married the most important item on my to do list was the photographer.  This was the person who would immortalise our special day.  It was very important to me that we were on the same page.

I wanted someone who understood our vision and as we were blending two families, someone who would be sensitive to the emotional moments and moments of wonder.  We needed to balance the sensitivity of our special day with capturing special shots of our kids and families.

  • you want someone who can capture the emotion of the day, not just set up shots.
  • you need someone with a good eye who can get THAT shot.  The one that no one else sees.

In this photo we were TRYING to get a family photo, not easy with 6 kids.  They were starving and the food had just started circulating.  The trouble was we couldn’t get a proper photo because my father kept secretly giving them finger food which meant that there little faces were full and chomping on food.  Just when we thought we had a small window of opportunity to capture a proper photo my dad rushed in with a tray of sausage rolls.

We all cracked up.  This photo is now the one that best  captures the joy of that day by Dezign by Mauro.


  • Chose a photographer who you are relaxed with and who you trust.
  • Have a pre shoot or ask them to come to the wedding rehearsal to set up shots
  •  Check the reviews to make sure that they are easy to work with.  Sometimes photo galleries can be deceiving and a great photo doesn’t tell you if they were a pain in the neck to work with.

This is a sensational shot by Madeleine Chiller.  I had just finished the wedding and the couple had gone over to pick up their baby.  The aunt pictured in the back left, threw a handful of confetti over the family and stunning memories were captured.  Madeline has an eagle eye for opportunities and was there to grab it right on cue.


  • Your photographer must be flexible and ready to change everything at the last min.

I did a wedding in remote Victoria at Chatsworth House with Tim and Clarissa who wanted an outdoor wedding in a rural setting.  The problem was 30 min before the wedding was to start black clouds raged over the skies and thundered over the wedding scene with cyclonic winds and pelting rain.  We ran to set up emergency plan B.

This shot was taken by Kim Cartmell who used the wind to her advantage to grab some incredible shots.



Tim and Clarissa Wedding at Chatsworth House
  • Choose a photographer who can get the warmth of a moment and capture your real personalities and not a cardboard cut out.

Sometimes photos can look sterile and one dimensional.  A great photographer can get a couple to relax and look natural which is so important.

This was a very formal wedding but photographer David Barrett was able to cut through the pomp and ceremony to capture the heart and love in this wedding set in England.  Lucky for us David is now working in Melbourne.

Matt and Tanya Wedding


Matt and Tanya Wedding


Poems of Love

Touched by an Angel

by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.

Yet it is only love
which sets us free.


I Got Kin

by Hafiz

So that your own heart
Will grow.

So God will think,

I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul over
For coffee and

Because this is a food
Our starving world

Because that is the purest

Happiness Floats

by Naomi Shihab Nye

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities of coffee cake and ripe peaches, and love even the floor which needs to be swept, the soiled linens and scratched records…..

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit. for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

Mountains landscape on the coast at sunrise - serenity and rose quartz colors.
 Romantic mountain landscape – seaside view and blue hills silhouettes in a fog weather.
The Invitation

by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.


Featured Image by Liezel Van der Linde

Basic Elements of a Wedding

Basic Elements of a Wedding by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

So you are getting married.  Where do you start?

Here are the basic elements in a wedding and the legal requirements along with answers to some of the most asked questions.

These are the legal requirements of an Australian wedding.

These are non negotiable and required by law according to the Marriage Act 1961.

Your wedding must be conducted by a Commonwealth Registered Celebrant and you must have two witnesses who are over the age of 18.

  • At some point in the wedding ceremony we have to use your full name.  The name that is documented on your birth certificate or passport.
    • This can cause some frustration but unfortunately we need to do this to validate your marriage
    • For Example:  If you were born ‘Vasilly Dominique Hibbbert’ but are known by everyone as David.  At some point I need to say your whole name, once is enough, then for the rest of the service we can refer to you as David.  Your full legal name needs to be used on all the legal documents.
  • I need to quote the monitum before the vows.  This states the nature of Marriage in Australia and establishes my authority to officiate your wedding. The following is from section 46(1).
    • “I am duly authorised by law, to solemnise marriage according to the law.  Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses,  I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship you are now about to enter.  Marriage, according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.
  • The Marriage Act 1961 also states that each person must say to the other, in the presence of the marriage celebrant and the witnesses, these words – Section 45 (2) :
    • “I call upon the persons here present to witness that I…………….. take thee ………….. to be my lawful wedded wife (or husband)”. – or words to that effect.
  • Both parties and witnesses sign the marriage documents.

Beautiful pregnant woman in wedding dress and her husband are holding pretty cheerful daughter in arms at a plank wall background. Concept of happy family.

Basic Building Blocks of a Wedding Ceremony

As mentioned above, to validate your marriage we must fit in the  legal requirements.  After that there are varied wedding rituals and elements of a wedding that people do.

Use this as a guide only.

These elements can be  moved around or omitted  according to the vision or style of your ceremony.  Other rituals or cultural ceremonies can be added into this format.

The Welcome:  

This is the opening of the ceremony and where friends and family are welcomed.

The Presentation of the Bride:

Traditionally this was where the Father would give the Bride away.

Bride and Father Arm in Arm With Groom
Bride and Father Arm in Arm With Groom
These days this is still very popular, it is also okay if it is your mother, children, or you can walk down the aisle by yourself if you like.

Marriage Journey:

This is where the values and views of marriage, love and relationship are mentioined.  It is also the place that we talk about your  relationship journey.  How you met, how you fell in love etc.


This is a good place to acknowledge the love and support of family, children or mentors, and to acknowledge loved ones who are deceased or who cannot make it to the wedding.


This is the monitum as mentioned above in the legal requirements. This must be said before the vows.

Reading (s):

A poem, reading, verse can be read by a family member, friend or the celebrant.

Parental Blessing:

This is often used instead of the traditional giving away of the bride or can be placed before the vows.  It is an opportunity for parents to pledge their support, love and commitment.  A blessing or prayer can be read or the celebrant can ask the parents to stand and ask if they pledge their love and support – they can even answer “We Do”.

The Vows:

These are the personal commitments that the couple make to each other.

Exchange of Rings:

Although this is not a legal requirement, it is a ritual that is commonly used world wide.  You do not have to use rings, you can use anything that is symbolic of your love and union.

Signing of the Marriage Documents:

This is where the bridal couple, the two witnesses and the celebrant sign the legal documents.  It is good to have a significant piece of music or reading happen at this stage.


This is the Declaration of the marriage and where the kiss comes in.  In thinking of the declaration, how do you want to be presented, as Mr and Mrs Smith, or as Mr Smith and Mrs Jones or Brad and Caroline?


This is usually where words of congratulations are given, a blessing or maybe a prayer.  This is followed by the recessional.  An upbeat funky piece of music that you walk out to and receive the congratulations of your family and friends.

Happy groom brings the bride in his arms from the registrar's office
Happy groom leaves with the bride in his arms.

What Makes a Good Marriage?

What Makes a Good Marriage, a Good Friendship, a Good Partnership?

by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

As I sit here this morning with my coffee praying for my children, I reflect on their lives as young adults and the choices that they have made in their partners.

We have six amazing adult children.  Five incredible young men and one delicious daughter.  Two are married, one is negotiating a new relationship, one is in a long term relationship with a simply incredible young woman, our youngest boy is single and one of our middle boys just married his exquisite bride earlier this year 2016.  I had the incredible privilege of marrying the two of them and I couldn’t be happier.

One common denominator stands out in the choices that my children have made in their partners.  ‘Kindness and Empathy’.  Well I guess that’s two but they are joined like twins.  At different times throughout their growing up I have written letters to them, had talks with them, encouraging them to make ‘deliberate choices’ in their selection of a partner.  I’m wishing I had a copy of the letters to share with you but the main tenant goes something like this which comes from a quote of Dr Gordon Livingston MD.

“I maintain that a good marriage is easy provided that both people have been astute in the selection process.  If we choose a partner with ample reserves of kindness and a willingness to put us at the centre of his or her life, and if we have sufficiently cultivated those virtues in ourselves, we can refute the ‘hard work’ school of marriage, put down our picks and shovels, and partake of the endless pleasures of renewable love”.

Here is the fundamental question about our readiness for marriage:  “Is it possible for us to love another adult as much as we love ourselves?    Can we truthfully say that we would never intentionally do anything to hurt them?  Are we our best when we are with them?

In these conversations with my kids I have talked about a list of characteristics and qualities to nurture in themselves and to look for in friends and lovers.  At the top of the list is kindness.  This is the top of the list because it is glued together with empathy and love.  Like any art form it is incredibly hard to define but we notice when its missing.

Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes. Joseph Wirthness.

You are valuable, your time is valuable therefore it is important that you know who to avoid.  You avoid those who are not worthy of your time and trust.  You need to protect your mental health, and avoid betrayal, meanness and people who are not transparent or willing to communicate in a healthy manner.  Selfish people can never be kind because kindness asks that we are able to put others first.

The couple on the seashore at night

This is a list that I wrote out for one of my kids after they asked my opinion about a potential partner.  This was my response:

1: is he/she kind?
2: is he/she funny, because humour is the greatest form of courage that overcomes suffering and brings healing to the wounds of life.
3: does he/she believe there is a God – something other than their own small humanity?
4: is he/she patient?
5: is he/she open and willing to talk?
6: is he/she good at forgiving, because forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, it is anecdote to toxicity.
7: has he/she got a good work ethic?
8: is he/she truthful – honesty makes a solid foundation to build upon?
9: does he/she see women and men as equal?
10: would they hug a tree?

Number 10  is very important –
10 is the ability to see beyond the normal, to notice moments of wonder, to be a little mystical with a touch of silly – and very importantly it means that they are not afraid to laugh at themselves.

Ultimately each person is responsible for their own choices.  As parents we can only offer suggestions, collective wisdom and guidance.  We pray, we advise, but our greatest gift to our adult children is to let go and to trust the people that they have become.  I love my adult children, I love their company and I love who they have become.

The primary goal of parents, beyond keeping them safe and loved, is to convey to them a sense that it is possible to be happy in an uncertain world, to give them hope (Livingston).  We do this of course by example.  From the beginning we have been raising them to leave us.  Hopefully they find fruitful and loving relationships, built on kindness, honesty and trust that last the distance.