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I now pronounce you husband and husband. You may kiss your bride …. mwah!

Last week saw amendments to the Marriage Act of 1961 to allow same sex couples to marry, and the end of what has felt like a marathon of public debate and speculation about the merit of the lives of LGBTIQ Australians. While many of us viewed the postal survey as an expensive, divisive and unnecessary exercise in political swerving and cowardice, I have taken great heart in the result that the majority of Australians do support us and our right to marry a same sex partner. Early January 2018 will see the first legal marriages of LGBTIQ Australians, something that I’m sure many never thought would happen.Blog Gay Wedding

So, what happens at a ‘gay wedding’? How should I behave? What should I wear? Can I still give my kid away? Will one of the blokes be wearing a dress? I have been asked all of these questions and my answer is always the same, “what would happen at a straight wedding?”. I’ll let you in on the big secret about ‘gay weddings’….. they are just weddings. There will be two deliriously happy people who stand up in front of their nearest and dearest, with a totally rad and good looking celebrant, and declare themselves in love and commitment to each other for life. There might be a big party afterwards, and I hope for your sake that there are some hot drag queens who put on a show, but otherwise it will probably be just like every other wedding that you have been to. So perhaps we don’t really need to call them ‘gay weddings’ at all. They are just weddings, sometimes with a bit more glitter.

Photo credit to Angela Munns for this superb shot, and thanks to the most handsome grooms I know, Tom and Dave.

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O Lovely Pussy! O Pussy, My Love!

Before you ask, no, I have not changed careers, I am still Marriage Celebrant! Today I want to talk about eloping, and I can’t think of a more beautiful elopement story than “The Owl and The Pussy-Cat”, except for mine of course! My beloved and I couldn’t get married in Australia so we headed to NZ for a registry ceremony and it was divinely intimate and perfect for us. It really allowed me to be fully present for the supremely serious and sacred event of commiting myself to my beloved in our lifelong union, without the pressure of all that planning, tizz and expense. On the downside, because we opted for a traditional elopement, literally running away in secret, we were married with strangers as witneses and some of our loved ones were hurt by our decision. Plenty of people may think that they have a stake in your getting married, and depending on your relationship you have with them, you probably should consider  how your elopement might affect them. We ended up having a commitment celebration and reception later on and that was the best day of my life. So I’ve experience both sides, and I think that if we had our time again we would choose a Modern Elopement.

What is a  Modern Elopement?

Modern Elopements are gaining traction in the wedding marketplace as a viable alternative to large scale traditional wedding celebrations for a variety of reasons, most commonly, cost, time and intimacy. Modern Elopements typically occur on a weekday, and take wide and varied forms. You might want a very intimate ceremony with you, your witnesses and your celebrant, or you may prefer a small wedding with a  guest list of twenty or so. This latter option gives you the best of both worlds, lower cost and hassle, while including the people who really matter to you.  The other exciting way to elope is for a small destination wedding. Tahititi looks nice, Dear.

Why Elope?

Can you think of hundreds of thousands (hello mortgage!) reasons not to pay for a big fancy wedding? Now don’t get me wrong, I love a big white shindig as much as the next Celebrant, but geez, they can be expensive. Specifically, the big party you throw after your marriage ceremony can be expensive. While there are some very high end options for Modern Elopements, especially destination weddings, generally they are a much cheaper option. Now cheap doesn’t mean trashy, by any means. You can still have the rings, suit and dress, flowers, and a gobsmackingly gorgeous photo shoot in a spectacular setting. The savings come from not paying for a three course meal, booze, wait staff and decorations at a snazzy venue for a hundred of your nearest and dearest.

Time is the other saving that you will get from  Modern Elopement. Most couples start planning their wedding day at least a year in advance, mostly to get the celebrant and venue that they want, but there are so many vendors and decisions to make that you might find many weekends taken up trying to decide where, when and how to throw this massive party. Think of all of the things that you could do with that time instead….train for a triathlon, go camping, make your wedding dress?

With this said, a glorious party where you are the guests of honour is not something to let go of lightly. I am a diehard extrovert, so throwing said party, I was in my element and on a high for weeks afterward. But if you are not a party animal, or the thought of organising a traditional wedding sends you heading for a Valium, then perhaps a Modern Elopement is for you. So if you are curious, why  don’t you and your Owl give me a call? I’d love to be your Turkey, BYO runcible spoon.

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Calling all Queer Folk, let’s get married anyway!

Well, that’s that then! The same-sex marriage plebiscite is dead and “thank goodness”, I say. The plebiscite could have subjected same-sex couples and their families to months public debate about the merits of marriage equality, which may have included hurtful and unnecessary vitriol and would not have resulted in marriage equality alone. So where does that leave us now? Unless there is a dramatic change in politics, it may see us waiting years before we can get married.

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With this in mind, I have decided that the Queer Folk of Australia should just get married anyway. To this end, I am offering “Almost Married” Ceremonies for the LGBT community with an inexpensive upgrade available to you when we finally see marriage equality. The deal is this, you have the wedding of your dreams now, and we meet up with your two witnesses and complete a “paperwork only” marriage ceremony to get the legals finalised when the Marriage Act is ammended again. It is my ardent hope that during a time that may appear to be hopeless, waiting around for marriage equality to finally happen, we can enjoy some flipping fabulous weddings anyway. Call me today to discuss the details and book your “Almost Married” Ceremony for 2017 (see my Fees and Bookings page for the fine print).

The best wedding I have ever been to…

What better way to start my blogging career than to tell you about the best wedding I have ever been to? So, here it it….

The BEST WEDDING THAT I HAVE EVER BEEN TO was amazing because the couple decided to BREAK WITH TRADITION and get married in a way that reflected their personal style. They spent their whole wedding day together with their eight wedding attendants (why be separated from your partner on the best day of your life?), so they had a lot of fun together getting ready, they had all of their photos taken before the ceremony (so their guests didn’t have to wait around for the reception to start) and they were nice and relaxed during the ceremony. They arrived at the ceremony together and and gave themselves away to each other, which really reflected their intentions and the trajectory of their life journeys. There were no fancy bouquets, wedding dresses or expensive cars and their friends photographed and filmed the day for them, which meant that they could spend their hard-earned moula on an overseas odyssey. Don’t get me wrong, I tear up as much as the next person when I see a bride in a big white dress walking down the aisle with her family, but those kind of wedding traditions weren’t for this couple and their guests knew this, so it worked a treat.

It was the BEST WEDDING THAT I HAVE EVER BEEN TO because the couple SURPRISED THEIR GUESTS by revealing that they had eloped and were already hitched overseas (obviously I wasn’t their celebrant!). As you can imagine a couple of people had their noses out of joint, but the couple had filmed their overseas ceremony and showed the film in the ceremony here in Australia. The cheeky surprise that the couple had revealed served to unify the guests and really give them something to talk about for the rest of night, an icebreaker if you will. Most importantly, it was interesting – no one wants another formulaic ceremony. Make your marriage or commitment ceremony as interesting as you are.

The BEST WEDDING THAT I HAVE EVER BEEN TO was unreal fun because there was lots of singing and dancing, which lead to much AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION. Okay, so the singing and dancing was at the reception, but nonetheless, participatory entertainment at a wedding is really important. At this wedding the couple and some of the wedding attendants ended up singing and dancing during their speeches (they are definitely not known for their singing prowess) and the whole crowd joined in. People love a sing-a-long just as much as they love to dance to ‘Don’t Blame It On The Sunshine’ by The Jackson 5. So, if you can afford it, make sure your reception venue has a microphone, a dance floor and don’t skimp on your DJ.

Finally, this was the BEST WEDDING THAT I HAVE EVER BEEN TO because there was a NATURAL DISASTER in Queensland just before their wedding. What??? Bear with me okay? While no couple in their right mind would wish to have a natural disaster in their home town the week of their wedding, for this couple it worked. They were due to have their wedding the week of the 2011 Floods and they had to change their venue two days before and communicate with their 100 guests about it. Several of the guests were flood bound until hours before the ceremony and came to the wedding in their mud army gear. In fact, the matron of honour was stuck in a different state because she couldn’t get through by road and her infant was not well enough to fly; she had to video link into the ceremony and reception to do her reading and give her speech. My point is that the couple made lemonade out of the lemons that mother nature threw at Queensland, and it unified their guests by giving them common ground. It also allowed the couple to let go of all of the pretense and distracting wedding ‘stuff’ and focus on what was important – getting all of the people that they love into one place to witness them declaring their love and commitment to each other. You probably won’t have a flood happen to your wedding, but find a way to UNIFY YOUR GUESTS beyond how they know you and you will have a happy crowd.

So there you have it, my top tips for having the BEST WEDDING THAT I HAVE EVER BEEN TO are:

  • BREAK WITH TRADITION;
  • SURPRISE YOUR GUESTS;
  • AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION; and
  • UNIFY YOUR GUESTS (hopefully not with a natural disaster).

Happy wedding planning!