Simple easy service by one of Canberra's most experienced celebrants. Your best alternative to a Registry Office wedding - all for $600.

03 September 2009

Surprise testimonials found on the internet

The bride phones home

Hello, and Happy Spring
It's now the start of the Canberra wedding season that typically goes till about May then almost closes for the winter. 
This morning I got a couple of nice surprises. 
I am setting up a new site so I googled myself to see how many places I’ll need to update my links.  (Until my site is up and running again, please email me here with all enquiries.) 
Here's what I found:

elegie posted this message on a year ago:

Our celebrant was Michele Bolitho, who was wonderful. She offered just the right amount of help when we were preparing the ceremony, and on the day she did everything right, and all the guests liked her. We ended up inviting her to stay for the reception, as we really enjoyed her company!

Thank you elegie – I couldn't find out who you are because I'm not a member. I appreciate your kind words, along with your generosity and hospitality. I'm sure I had a very happy time celebrating with you and your guests.

Then I found this blog from September 2007, and I do know who posted it. It’s a fascinating account by Liz, delightful bride from USA who fell in love with Aussie teacher Mike on the internet and came here to marry him. (How romantic is that?!)

I know I have the permission of Liz and Mike to put their wedding photos on the net so I’ve added some of my photos below. My favourite 'The bride phones home' appears at the top of this post. These photos from Mike and Liz’s wedding also show how lovely my Heart Garden is in early October. The garden is available weekdays for small weddings, for free.
First we met in Vegas. Then, we fell in love on the internet. After months of emotional struggle and denying to ourselves and others that we were anything but friends, we reunited in Australia and knew there was no more sense in denying it: we are in LOVE. After living together for a month, dreading my impending departure, Michael proposed marriage. Under a clear Canberra night sky, looking out from the balcony, I accepted. Michael presented me with a silver and blue opal pendant to mark the occasion. 

And thus the simple part ended.

We were both a bit iffy about the whole wedding thing. Mike, having already been through the whole rigamarole once before, wants things as simple as possible. And I, well, I've always kind of fought with myself about the whole thing. Sure, like any other girl I'v thumbed through my share of wedding magazines, watched a few chick flicks and daydreamed about cakes and favors, but the whole things just seems a lot like a big, expensive party that goes agains my feminist, rebellious nature. I like parties, I like cake, I even like pretty dresses, but the idea of spending that much money on something like that just smacks of gross materialism. Then there was the whole problem of us being all the way in Australia and my family being all the way back in California. Also, Mike's folks are in Brisbane, which is pretty far away too.
Michael and I decided that we would just sign some papers and then later, when both of us could have our family and friends present, we would have a big party honoring our wedding, and hopefully the granting of my nice new visa, too.

It was around this time that I, thinking mostly about ideas for the party in January, realised that this was the only time in my life that I could buy bridal magazines and books without feeling creepy. I proudly bought copies of Creative Weddings and Martha Stewart Weddings, The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Wedding (a tiny, 12cm x 10cm paperback book) and The Anti-Bride Wedding Planner.

First, I set about researching Australian marriage laws. Apparently, in other states, one can just get married by a registrar and be done with it. In Australian Capital Territory, where we are, this is not done by the registrar. I had to find a civil celebrant.

I searched around and it seemed to me that most celebrants were a bit of the beads, crystals and scarves type. Seeing as we are both, uh, free thinkers and definitely not new-agers, spiritual, religious or even superstitious, we wanted someone who would be down to earth and wouldn't insist on giving us any 'spiritual' guidance or input or anything. Fortunately, the first celebrant I called seemed to fit the bill nicely. Michele Bolitho, a very nice Canberra resident with a lovely garden was instantly likeable and available when we were. She and I hit it off right away and I was pleased to find out that she could offer her garden for our ceremony at no extra charge. We set the date for 12 October, 2007. Still, I was thinking, this is just a simple wedding, no frills, no lace, no dress, NO CAKE!

In our first meeting, Michele gave us a packet about the required elements of the wedding ceremony, and I was a bit surprised. There was a lot to consider. As a celebrant, she was also obligated to recommend several things, like counselling and other services. She gave us several sample ceremonies and suggestions for readings. It was beginning to seem like a much more wedding-y ceremony than what I originally thought. The part of me that reads bridal magazines began to rear its lacy head.

I decided to buy a dress. I chose the dress based on several factors: I wanted something I could wear again without looking like I was in a wedding dress. I wanted something I could afford. I wanted it to be relatively casual. I wanted to look good in it. The dress I chose is a short, above the knee a-line ivory satin and organza dress with a high neck and no sleeves. It is very appropriate for spring, and I don't feel self conscious in it. The girl in the store was very adamant that I had to get it because it looked so perfect on me. So I did. I then went to the craft store and bought material for a veil. Here comes the bride after all!

After that shopping trip I realised that I could not do all of this girly stuff alone any more. I asked my new, local friends, Emma and Shy to be my bridesmaids. They took to it way more eagerly than I expected for friends that I had only had for a few weeks. They are being super helpful.

Now it seems the challenge is to keep things simple and not to get carried away!
The basic plan is still: Small, simple wedding then we all go out to dinner.
Mike's mum is coming down for the ceremony and he's asking some of his students to take photographs. I know that at least one of his co-workers will be attending and probably a couple of students will be guests. I will have Emma and Shy there and I will let them chose who else they want to invite. That seems fair. We want to keep the party down to about a dozen or less.

Sometimes, Mike objects a little bit when it seems like I'm getting too elaborate, but I reminded him of another thing we have to keep in mind: I will be applying for a visa as Mike's spouse. I've read about the requirements and it seems like they need lots of proof that our relationship is genuine and lasting. The fact that it actually
 is means nothing if we don't have evidence. This is another reason that I am allowing The Veiled One (my inner bride, that voice that constantly sings dum, dum, de-dum) to take over a bit.

The Heart Garden is ready for the ceremony

The bride arrives

Mike signs the certificates

Bride Liz and celebrant Michele

The v happy newlyweds, Mike and Liz

You can see why I love my job so much, yes?

Thank you so much to the two contented brides who gave me these testimonials about the service I love to provide.

Till next post

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