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

27 November 2009

Let's hear it for the grooms!

     Nathalie and Chris were married this month in Commonwealth Gardens. Nathalie emailed me with these kind words, which I am really pleased to share. 
     Hi Michele,
I just wanted to thank you for doing such a wonderful job at our wedding on the 7/11/. Everyone
 mentioned what a wonderful ceremony it was, many saying it was the best one that they had ever attended so thankyou very 
much for that, and for the advice that you gave before the day. ...Thanks again for everything...Nathalie
     I have a few photos from their wedding and the one above in particular, got me thinking. Chris, the happy relaxed fine-looking groom is right in the middle, standing between Nathalie and her lovely attendant, her sister Claire. 
     Brides are beautiful. They routinely feature in the centre of photos, and we pay a lot of attention to them. Of course. But grooms are also pretty special and they can get outshone and overlooked. That’s why I’ve called this post ‘Let’s hear it for the grooms!’. I wish to acknowledge all grooms for the time and care they also put into preparations for the big day. 
     A week ago I was at a large and wonderful wedding (no photos) and the groom just melted our hearts. He was reading his wedding vows to his beloved and he could barely get through them, he was so overwhelmed by emotion. In my vast experience as a celebrant I can honestly say I have seen way more grooms ‘lose it’ than brides. My thoughts are that women can psych themselves for the emotional momentum of getting married but men just don’t anticipate how moved they will be by standing up front, declaring love and commitment. And so I also acknowledge the courage it takes to get married, for both groom and bride. 
     When the groom whose voice had seriously wavered (and I won’t mention names) was signing the certificates, his new wife commented on his tears during the ceremony, and on how much their guests had empathised with him. Somewhat embarrassed, he came back with a quick rejoinder: ‘The drama classes worked then!’ 
     Here are a three more photos from Chris and Nathalie’s wedding.  There are others in the slideshow to the right.

Commonwealth Gardens is being remembered these days as a generous and picturesque venue for Canberra weddings. Being a public place, it's free, but you do need to book it with the National Capital Authority. The Deck at Regatta Point is now a popular reception place and this has given the Rhododendron and Azalea gardens a new lease on life. I especially love the big banks of Chinese Beauty Bush (kolkwitzia) that come into flower in the last week of October/first week of November. (see slide show). 
     The photo below was taken during after-wedding drinks and photos. Chris and Nathalie's photographer was Steven from Creative Image Photography. Steve and I have worked as a good team of wedding celebrant/wedding photographer over the years. He is very friendly and professional. I highly recommend him. (I just found Chris and Nathalie on Steve's blogsite.)
     Nathalie was an exquisite bride. It was my great pleasure to be their celebrant.  Next month I will be celebrant for Nathalie’s cousin, Cody and his bride Zeno.
     If you’d like to email me about your wedding plans, please click here.  I welcome your comments and questions. 
     Till next time

20 November 2009

Who's go the best job in the world?!!

Hello and welcome
     I've been preparing a post on witnesses to your wedding to help couples understand the process, but that can wait.

     I am so happy. Last evening I was celebrant for Angela and John, so much in love. I was delighted when I found out that the wedding was to be held in a garden in Forrest that belongs to friends of mine from twenty years back, Chris and Rob. It was so good to see them again. Then, at the wedding was another friend from way back, Sarah, who is the groom's sister. I was celebrant for Sarah and Jack many years ago, when Sarah was carrying Hugh. I got to meet a fine young man, being Hugh, and also his fun-loving younger brother Ed. Such are the bonusses of being a celebrant.
    Below is a photo of John, the groom, with his sister Sarah and their mother Val. What a happy occasion!

     This morning - this v hot late Spring morning - there was a wedding in my Heart Garden. It was a small most enjoyable affair. It's good we had so much shade. After the wedding, guests picked fresh cherries and amelanchier berries as they 'lolled around' in the shady garden. The bride and groom were Suzanne and Richard. They had one attendant - their young son Brin played the special role of ring-bearer.

     Again, another happy surprise for me when, in their small group were Margaret and Nic. I offiiciated at their wedding nine years ago. I got to meet Isabella, lovely flower-girl for Suzanne and Richard, who was three months old at her parents' wedding. Here's Isabella with her Dad Nic, relaxing in the hammock.

So - all in all, two wonderful reminders to me that I have to the best job in the world. Lucky me!
     If you'd like to email me about your wedding, please click here.
     Till next time

09 November 2009

Applying to marry in Australia from overseas

Hello, and welcome
     I recently got a call from a friend of a couple living overseas. Could she lodge their Notice of Intended Marriage so it got to a celebrant the required one month and one day before the wedding? Well, yes and no. No, in that she could not fill out the details on their behalf and lodge the form with a celebrant. Yes, in that she could lodge a form they had completed and make sure it got to the celebrant on time.
     Any couple overseas – or in Australia – can download a Notice of Intended Marriage from the Attorney-General’s website. There are four pages, two to fill out, plus two pages of explanatory notes. Once the couple overseas has filled out the form, they can sign their Notice in the presence of an Australian Diplomatic Officer, an Australian Consular Officer, an authorised employee of the Commonwealth or the Australian Trade Commission. Or a notary public. 
     The Marriage Act explains, on the Notice, which Commonwealth employees are authorised. The ‘notary public’ is less straightforward . The qualification of a notary public depends on the country the couple is living in at the time. On the few occasions I have worked with couples who have needed to find a notary public because they lived too far from an embassy or consulate, they’ve only needed to make a few enquiries to find the appropriate person.
     It can often help to know in these circumstances that the Notice of Intended Marriage can be lodged by only one party to the proposed marriage (but of course, both will have to fill in their details and sign in the presence of an authorised witness before the marriage can take place). It’s not unusual for either the bride or groom to be in Australia already so it’s easy for them to lodge the Notice with the celebrant of their choice, and make sure it’s lodged at least one month and one day before the wedding.
     So – here’s how the friend in Australia can help: The overseas couple (or just the bride or just the groom) can fill in the Notice, sign in the presence of a witness, then post or fax the two pages of the Notice to their friend in Australia. She can then lodge it with the celebrant she recommends for them. It’s also likely that she will be asked to pay a lodgement fee on the couple’s behalf (and this is usually a non-refundable payment). Or the couple can pay by bank transfer or PayPal or the like.
     If I'm the celebrant in this situation, I then send a package of guiding notes and ceremony wording ideas by post or email to the couple who are planning to marry. We always have at least one meeting together when they arrive in Australia. It’s good to note here too that your celebrant is your lodging authority. Once the Notice of Intended Marriage is safely with your celebrant, that’s it. The celebrant sends nothing to the Registrar until after your wedding. If the Notice has been sent by fax so as to get it to the celebrant in time, she or he must receive the original Notice from the marrying couple before the wedding can take place.
Lovely Toowoomba Chapel for Civil and Religious Ceremonies
     I was in Toowoomba last Monday in an advisory role to look at a venue that may be suitable for wedding ceremonies and receptions. The consensus was: ‘Not Suitable’, however, while I was there I saw a marvellous location for both ceremony and reception that is totally suitable.  It’s Preston Village Chapel and Preston Manor. Old wonderful buildings have been transported to the hilltop of a small valley, just outside Toowoomba.

     Here’s a quote: ‘Preston Village Chapel, over 100 years old, has been lovingly restored to perfection and seats over100 guests, is fully decorated, has a quality organ, historic Tasmanian oak pews, original polished floors and PA system.’ The owners are a great team. Merrilyn loves running the place and Colin is the enthusiastic landscaper. Both have input into design and development. They have inspiring plans for the future. I wish them great success. Click for their site.
Three weddings soon in the Heart Garden
     When I got back home to Canberra, our Heart Garden was bursting with new blooms. The roses were in full first flush, there was a clematis the size of a dinner plate! See below.

There were flowers everywhere! Canberra had a mass of rain the night before I left and while I was away there was warm constant sunshine. I also noticed that we had moved from the open sunny effect of mid-Spring to the cool shady effect of late Spring.

     There will be three weddings in the Heart Garden in the next four weeks, and I can guarantee the brides and grooms that their venue will be superb. If you, or someone you know in Canberra is looking for a quiet private serene setting for their small weekday wedding, then think about the Heart Garden in Weston. It’s beautiful, it’s unique, it’s welcoming and memorable. (And it’s free.)
     If you’d like to email me about your wedding, please click here. I welcome your questions and comments. 

Till next time