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Getting married? Looking for a sassy fun loving celebrant you will feel comfortable with? Look no further!

Personalised Marriage Ceremonies Bruna and Alby: The Mandalay, Northcote

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It was a slow beginning to the relationship between Bruna and Alby it took months of text messages and the odd chance encounter on the train before Alby decided to give his mobile number to Bruna.  Then one night in October at a soccer presentation night, Alby discovered the feeling of butterflies in his belly when Bruna went over to say hello. A quick good bye was exchanged at the end of the night with the hope that more would come. Around comes November and Alby invites himself to watch Bruna play indoor soccer; he felt like a young teenage boy full of excitement to see this girl. Finally Alby got the courage to ask Bruna out and they went on a first date on the 26th of November.

On this date there was no shortage of conversation, both were fighting to get their say, Bruna winning that battle of course. It was a great night; both enjoying each other’s company.

A second date followed on the Saturday where they decided a movie would be nice… which ended up with poor Alby discovered that bringing Bruna to an action movie wasn’t such a great idea. As it so happens Bruna is very jumpy during the action bits and has such a thing that with every jump she flings her arms in fright…well let’s just say that Alby went home that night with some nice bruising on his arm.

From then on Alby and Bruna were inseparable, with a deep understanding of each to the point where they would finish off their sentences or would answer each other’s questions before it was even asked. It is like they have known each other for years.

Now fast forward ……… nestled in a cute little restaurant under the Spanish steps in Rome, Alby asks Bruna to marry him and with a little delay she said yes…

I asked Bruna and Alby to finish this sentence – if love is… then marriage is? 

If love is like making a cake…Then marriage is like enjoying what you have created together…….

The following are a few lines from the beautiful vows Bruna and Alby wrote themselves:


…….It amazes me how I feel so at ease and comfortable with you.  Never before have I opened up my most inner thoughts and desires to anyone as I have to you. I have always had this inner me but not willing to share it with anyone before. ……….

Bruna, my Bella, I promise you today to give you all my love now and forever, as your husband till the day my eyes close for the last time.


………I love you for the way you make my heart beat a few extra beats when you hold me tight and for how you look into my eyes and allow all my worries to just fade away and you let me just simply breathe………..I love you for how you love my son like his yours and for how you are willing to make us your family.  I love you for being you…a warm gentle soul, that has lots of time for others, that has compassion, courage, strength, intelligence, wits and a great passion for life…………..

 Vows to include Bruna’s son Wayde)

Marriage is also an affirmation of the family union which includes Wayde and the responsibilities, joys, sharing, love and strength that this family holds for them.  Alby and Bruna know that by loving one another they will give Wayde the greatest gift of all, that of giving and receiving love.  Their shared love and friendship will bring great joy to themselves and to all those who know them.

Vows to Wayde

Alby: Today as I become your husband, we will also become a family.  I promise to be faithful to you and I will be there for you and Wayde always.  No matter what circumstances life brings our way, we will face them together as a family.  I commit myself to both of you from this day forward and forevermore……



If you would like to hire me as a celebrant you can email tocelebrations@bigpond.com or visit my website for further information.  www.annarichards.com.au 

0407 300 970

Personalised marriage ceremonies Kirk and Tess

Kirk and Tess were married at Ballara in Eltham on a beautiful sunny spring day.  They had a large bridal party and it was very special with the rotunda in front of the lake.  They chose classical music by Bach, Pachelbel and Vivaldi for the entrance of the bridesmaids, bride and the signing.  At the end of the ceremony I suggested something upbeat so they chose “Happy” by Pharrel Williams.

After the introduction we went straight into the story of how they met, I loved their story, I think it was another case of love at first sight!


It was a chance occurrence that saw Tess and Kirk meet. After they had exchanged some small talk, they made a spur of the moment decision to give each other their numbers and meet again.

It was when they next met that the seed sprouted, and it did so very quickly. The chemistry was there immediately.  On their first date they talked and talked. It wasn’t until they realised that work was only a few hours away that they called it a night.  They had talked a lot, well over 5 hours!  They both felt like they had known each other for years, and were completely at ease in each other’s company. It was this natural sense of being, the comfort and warmth they felt together that brings them here today.

Not long after that first meeting Kirk had to go to Spain for 3 months for work.  They had grown very close in a short time, to the point Kirk didn’t want to leave without her.  Tess couldn’t wait the whole 3 months for him to come home either. So he offered to pay for Tess to fly to Spain and spend a few weeks with him. Flying around the world to meet after such a short time requires a leap of faith.  For those who know Tess well, they would probably say they were surprised as she would normally run from her own shadow. She was very nervous about travelling on her own to meet him. The trust in each other however, made this an easy decision.

It was a great experience for Tess and they had an amazing few weeks together, even squeezing in a weekend in Paris.  To this day their trip along the Champs Elysees to visit the Palace of Versailles remains a treasured memory.  However Tess had to return home before Kirk did, but there was much time chatting on the phone and their relationship thrived.

Kirk has widened Tess’s horizons and likes to encourage her to try new things even if she is unwilling at first, like getting her to eat 6 snails. They travelled to Europe together again for 2 months last year in August to October.  Kirk has taken Tess to experience many beautiful places and buildings as he loves the history and architecture.  She admits that she has experienced a lot of things that she would never have tried before thanks to Kirk.

Kirk loves the way Tess is so close to her family, and he admires her loyalty and caring nature. ……….  Kirk encourages Tess in all things she does and supports her especially in her work.  In Tess’s words “He believes in me and loves me for who I am and doesn’t try and change me. ……..  He makes me laugh, and tells good jokes.”

Together they love going to the movies, out for dinners, concerts, weekends away, snow trips, road trips and of course overseas trips. I mustn’t forget to mention that they also love their little dogs Gizmo and Lola.  They even travelled to Hahndorf in South Australia to collect Lola as a pup!


…….Day by day I promise to love you and to honour you

To treasure you and respect you

To walk with you side by side, and joy and sorrow

Day by day I promise as your husband

To hold you in my arms, to grow with you in truth

To laugh with you, to cry with you, to be with you and to love you

With all that I am and all that I shall become

This I promise you from the depth of my heart, my soul, for all our life together.

…….    If everyone can please be upstanding it is my great pleasure to present before you the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson!

I just received an email from them and they are the proud parents of a 5 month old daughter.  Congratulations!





























Personalised Wedding Ceremonies Lou and Janette



Today’s story is another local one held at Pizza E vino in High Street Northcote.  It had a personal meaning as the restaurant belongs to Lou’s cousin Enzo.

It was a lovely intimate space and a beautiful day in March this year.  Lou and Janette spend a lot of time in Melbourne even though they now live in Lake Bolac and they wanted a celebrant who was also local to Northcote.  Lou and Janette are a fun couple who are very passionate about everything they do.  We had a lot of fun planning their ceremony and it was a pleasure to create a personal story as l had a lot of input from them.

The following are some excerpts:

We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives.  Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.  A good marriage must be created.  In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things.  Always remember, “Relationships are something that must be worked on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed.  Never stop doing the things that brought together in the first place.”

……..From the moment they met they had an instant connection.   This couple works well together because they have a similar sense of humour and are willing to weather the challenges of life together.

Janette is the logical sensible one in the relationship and Lou is the loyal determined one!  They work well as a team and complement each other nicely.

Personal story

Lou and Janette just love being together, chatting for hours and sitting on their back veranda overlooking Lake Bolac and enjoying the view together.  If fact that is their goal for a happy marriage relaxing in each other’s company and enjoying that view from their back veranda!

The fact that they can communicate about anything is the bedrock behind everything in their relationship.

They both love antique and second hand shops, going on long drives together and just spending time together, comfortable.  They laugh a lot together and were “meant to be” like “two peas in a pod”, and they are happy being “two perfectly imperfect people”.

I asked them when they knew they were in love: at first they said we are still questioning that!,, upon reflection they said they don’t question it they just enjoy being together in a very comfortable relationship.

Their role models for a happy marriage are Lou’s parents who have been married for 60 years.  His Mum says she loves his father more today than the day she married him.

In Janette’s words:

Lou and I met in outback Australia in Kununurra 2 years ago.  Lou tricked me into thinking he was a perfect gentleman.  It was a challenge but Lou knew we were meant to be!

We were both fighting for humanitarian rights for the aboriginal people.  We are both passionate about aboriginal affairs.

Lou is very loyal, has a high regard for honour, extremely passionate about life, highly protective of those he loves.

Communication gets us through adversary rock solid.

We are getting married because we want people to understand we belong as a couple.

In Lou’s words:

Janette is intelligent, very protective of her children, smart about everything she does.

She is just a logical person who thinks before she acts.  Janette sees the good in everything before the bad.

She believes that if you haven’t got anything good to say about someone say nothing at all!

We are strong believers in equal opportunity for everyone.  That was our connection and Janette is a very attractive lady!

Why didn’t she run away when she met me?  “The heart wants what the heart wants”

IMG_743717256IMG_7351Declaration of marriage

………..You have invited us to share in the celebration of your love, a very special love that culminates in your union as husband and wife.

Every experience you ever had, everything you have ever done, everything you have ever learned, has brought you to this moment.

New experiences lie before you with opportunities to grow more deeply in love with each other.

As you walk hand in hand into the future, cherish each moment as a gift to strengthen the bond between you.

May your home bring joy to your family and friends!   Let the celebrations begin!








Personalised marriage ceremonies Gabriele and Gerrit A procession and two wedding dresses!

Gabriele and I have been friends for many years, we met at choir and enjoyed being choir buddies for many years.  We were also both nurses so had another common interest.  We shared a room when our choir travelled to Perth many years ago and got to know each other very well.

I had heard a lot about Gerrit her new man and I was very excited when Gabriele told me they were engaged and thrilled when she asked me to officiate at the ceremony.  She and Gerrit had firm ideas of the run of the events for the day and it was all organized very quickly.

They wanted a prewinter date so they were married on 27th May this year.  We all met at their house beforehand for drinks and nibbles.  We then “processed” the short walk to the hotel where the ceremony and reception were held. The neighbours all came out to cheer us on and it was a lot of fun!





Ceremony excerpts:

……When planning the ceremony with Gabriele and Gerrit it became quite apparent that they did not want anything too formal or too traditional and they wanted as much involvement from their friends and family as possible, which I think is testament to the way they live their lives in general, with many of us being privy to their hospitality, warmth and generosity over the years.

Personal story

I asked Gerrit and Gabriele to tell me a little about their relationship and what making a commitment means to them.  In fact, I gave them a whole list of questions:  Gabriele promptly answered them in her quick decisive manner.  I must say Gerrit did agree with her answers!

…..One thing came through loud and clear: three values are very important to them and they are: honesty, respect and trust…..the qualities they most treasure about each other are their love, openness and directness.

Their goals for a happy marriage include the ability to maintain their own identity, also trust, honesty, communication and fun and laughter.  And for their children they believe their marriage will provide a safe and secure space from which they will venture forth and fulfil their dreams.

In Gabriele’s words:

Gerrit is passionate and enthusiastic in his endeavours. he is sensitive, always cries at movies and is very loving. He is happy to try new things and is adventurous. He likes my cooking. He is open to saying yes.  Life will never be boring with him.

Memorable times.

Our first date was on a rainy night at the Radisson, when I was late for choir rehearsal afterwards. I noticed his good table manners and passion for skiing.  Gerrit was very nervous, and continued to be nervous for our next few dates. We went 5 Rhythms dancing on a few choir free Tuesday nights (child free evenings), which were a fun physical release and a way of getting to know each other.

At our first date, Gerrit reignited my skiing passion. A few practice sessions at Ski City set me up for a few weekends in Mt Buller where Gerrit worked winters.  I remember how excited Gerrit was that I could ski!  The kids tried and enjoyed skiing too……….

Appreciation of music is a strong bond. Both of us love our Tuesday nights. I’m at choir (RMP) and Gerrit rehearses with his band. We try to get out and hear some live music, whenever we can.

Gerrit is dedicated and devoted to Gabriele.  He dutifully sent me the answers to my list of questions about Gabriele and their relationship.  On their first date he also remembered it was raining and the big hug he got……………He loved their lunchtime dates and meeting and spending time with Gabriele’s children.  He also enjoys their times skiing and dancing….

Their three children all participated in the ceremony:  Gerrit’s son Grant was the ring bearer and Gabriele’s two daughters, Erica and Sophia did readings.  They all took part in the unity candle ceremony.


Poem for a Mother’s wedding Robyn O’Connell  read by Erica

Who would have thought, that there would come a time

When I would be standing at your wedding, rather than you being at mine?

That day will come, as sure as can be

But for now, it’s my turn and look what I see

A mum that has been there, through thick and through thin

And now here you stand, your face in a grin

The wish that I bring for my mother right now

Is health and happiness, as you take your wedding vow

So, to you dear Mum, what more can I say?

Than to love the dear friend you have beside you today

I hope you both are as happy, as you can ever can be

Knowing much love comes from your daughter – that’s me!

Once upon a time you two met You’ve shared much love and laughter May your marriage be a fairy tale Happy ever after

I’m glad I’m in the fairy tale And you are too I guess Congratulations, King and Queen From your fairy tale Princess.


Reading: What is a family Author unknown read by Sophia

A family is…

The sweetest feelings  the warmest hugs,  trust and togetherness

Unconditional love,the stories of our lives written on the same page

The nicest memories anyone has ever made, treasured photos

Thankful tears, hearts overflowing with all the years

Being there for one another, supporting and caring

Understanding, helping, sharing,

Walking life’s path together and making the journey more beautiful because…

We are a family, and a family is love.


Candle ceremony

Our family

(Gerrit)  Beginning our new life together does not mean that we will forget the lives we leave behind

It was that past that brought us here, without it we would not have our children

And all the happy memories of their growing into the young people that we are so very proud of…

(Gabriele)  As we light these candles we extend the love w”e share for each other to encompass Grant, Sophia and Erica

And ask them to light a candle and place it in this circle as a symbol of the joining of our families.

We all had a fun night with lots of dancing and good food.  I wish you a wonderful future together!

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Personalised wedding ceremonies Sarah and Jackson Unity vase ritual

When Sarah and Jackson came to see me they had definite plans in their mind of what kind of ceremony they wanted.  I was thrilled that they placed so much importance on the ceremony and they had obviously given it a lot of thought.  They wanted something a bit quirky and upbeat.  Sarah even told me about a website which had inspired her.  Sarah was born in America, Jackson was born in Australia and they both have Irish ancestors  so they wanted their Irish heritage incorporated into the ceremony as well.  We spent a lot of time planning the ceremony and I really enjoyed the challenge.  I realised that most of the weddings I had conducted were a more traditional style so it made me think outside the box.

They were married at Chateau Wyuna on a beautiful summer’s day.  The ceremony was held near the rock pool on the stunning property and they had a large bridal party.  They preferred their guests to enjoy the ceremony without being distracted by taking photos and asked me to announce this at the beginning of the ceremony.  They also wanted the inclusion of the unity vase/ritual to unite the families and cultures.  Sarah and Jackson and their parents all placed items of significance into the vase as the symbol of the joining of the families.

The ceremony started with the introduction of all of the wedding party.

…….It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the beautiful Chateau Wyuna: standing with me here is the stunning bride Sarah, accompanied by her beautiful bridesmaids Rachel, Elizabeth, Sonya and Stephanie; and the handsome groom Jackson, his dashing groomsmen Mat and Jeremy and the gorgeous grooms woman, Aimee.  And at the bottom of the stairs we have Gemma and Tate the ring bearer.


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First of all I would like to acknowledge that this occasion is being held on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people, and pay my respect to their elders both past and present.

Today is a celebration. A celebration of love, of commitment, of friendship, of family, and of two people who are in it for forever.

You don’t have to have a ceremony to have a marriage. And when you think about it, the whole thing is kind of weird, right? You’re standing on a stage, looking fancy, holding flowers, and being stared at by pretty much everyone who has meant anything to you in the past twenty something years. So why do we do it? The marriage ceremony has been an important feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society. We have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so critical, we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with others. Why this moment?

Because despite all of our differences, love is what we all share. It’s the great unifier – our one universal truth. That no matter who we are, where we’ve come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we’re doing right. That’s why you both are standing here…………

And even though this experience is so incredible, words fail us when we try and explain it.  That’s just the way it is with love – it’s meant to be felt, not described. But trying to describe love is one of our favourite pastimes……..

So today, we have some words about love, coming from some of the people who love you the most. I’d like to introduce Sarah’s Aunt Denise who will read a poem, before Sarah’s father, Jeff, gives an Irish Blessing.

Denise will be reading a poem that Jackson liked in high school, and wrote the last stanza in an anniversary card to Sarah one year. They both think it’s beautiful and have grand plans to use the quote in an art piece for their home!

Thought is Surrounded by a Halo – Gwen Harwood

Show me the order of the world,

the hard-edge light of this-is-so

prior to all experience

and common to both world and thought,

no model, but the truth itself.


Language is not a perfect game,

and if it were, how could we play?

The world’s more than the sum of things

like moon, sky, centre, body, bed,

as all the singing masters know.


Picture two lovers side by side

who sleep and dream and wake to hold

the real and imagined world

body by body, word by word

in the wild halo of their thought


Jeff: I’ve been fortunate enough to give an Irish Blessing at most of my children’s weddings, and both Sarah and Jackson have Irish heritage. This blessing is one Sarah really loves

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.

May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.

May the saddest day of your future

Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

May your hands be forever clasped in friendship

And your hearts joined forever in love.

Your lives are very special,

God has touched you in many ways.

May his blessings rest upon you

And fill all your coming days.


The Asking

Will you, Jackson and Sarah, be each other’s partners from this day forward? will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest moments together, and love each other absolutely – for the rest of this lifetime and for whatever may come next?

Sarah and Jackson: we will

The Asking

Sarah and Jackson would now like to incorporate a ritual of the unity vase to unite the joining of the families and cultures.  Jackson will begin by pouring Australian dirt into unity vase. [pours Australian dirt into unity vase]

Sarah’s parents – Laura and Jeff; and Jackson’s parents – Mary and Nick, will now place some items of significance to symbolise the joining of the families.

– Sarah’s mum will place some stones she collected from a park where her father  (Sarah’s grandfather’s) ashes are scattered

(Laura places stones)

– Sarah’s dad will place some dried impatiens – his mother’s favourite flower

(Jeff places dried impatiens)

-Jacksons mother will be placing some seashells from the Gold Coast where she grew up

(Mary places seashells)

-Jacksons father will place a prayer book he was given by his father, which symbolizes the role music and the church played in his education and formative years.

(Nick places prayer book)

The Vows

You fell in love by chance, but you’re here today because you’re making a choice. You both are choosing each other. You’ve chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter.

You’re about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep. There’s a simple premise to each of these promises: you’re vowing to be there. You’re teaming up and saying to each other “every experience I am going to have, I want you to be a part of”

Jackson and Sarah:

…………Personal vows: (read from card)

Ring exchange

You’ve both chosen to wear rings as a reminder of these promises. People often say wedding bands are a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. But these rings did have a beginning. The metals were formed a long time ago deep within the earth, the meteorite long before that.

Eventually a series of lucky events caused the meteorite to fall from space, and the metals to rise to the surface, where someone collected them. Metal was then liquefied in a furnace at a thousand degrees – moulded, cooled, and painstakingly polished, something beautiful was made from raw elements.

Love too comes from humble beginnings, and through a combination of serendipity and effort, imperfect beings shape it into something extraordinary. It’s the process of making something beautiful where there was once nothing at all. As you look at these rings over the years, I hope you remember that. You’ve created something invaluable, and just as I know you’ll protect these rings, I’m confident you’ll protect the commitments you’ve made to one another.

Jackson, please place the ring on Sarah’s finger and, holding it there, please say: 


Let this ring be a symbol of our love,

May it represent our today, our tomorrows,

Our future and our past.

Sarah, please place the ring on Jackson’s finger and, holding it there, please say:


Let this ring be a symbol of our love,

May it represent our today, our tomorrows,

Our future and our past.


Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me the greatest pleasure to present to you – the newlyweds, Jackson and Sarah!



Personalised wedding ceremonies Chris and Tony – Love at first sight!

It was a cold, wet and windy day for Chris and Tony’s wedding last October.  Fortunately The Mandalay in Northcote have a lovely cosy Sherry Room with an open fire and Chris and Tony were quite happy to hold the ceremony indoors.  It turned out to be a great decision and a very jovial ceremony with plenty of interaction from the guests who were getting into the spirit of the atmosphere and happy occasion, and added to the joy of the celebration!

The following are excerpts of their marriage ceremony.

………..Today is a celebration.  A celebration of love, commitment, friendship, family and of two people who are in it forever.

…….The marriage ceremony has been an important feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society. We have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so critical, we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with others. Why this moment? 

Because despite all of our differences love is what we all share.  It’s the great unifier – our one universal truth.  That no matter who we are, where we have come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we’re doing right.  That’s why you both are standing here.

That’s why everyone is here to be with you today.  ……

All of us here today have our own love stories.  Some are short, others long.  Some are yet unwritten, while others are just getting to the good part.  There are chapters in all of our stories that are sad or disappointing – and others that are exciting and full of adventure.

……….Today is a time to pause, look back, and smile at the moments that brought you here.  And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come.  And even though this experience is so incredible, words fail us when we try to explain it.  That’s just the way it is with love – it’s meant to be felt, not described.  Even though love can look different from one person to the next – we all know it when we see it, and we see it here.

I asked Chris and Tony to tell me the story of how they met.


Just before I went overseas with my best friend and Maid of Honour Suzie, both Suzie and I had our hair done by Gracie, Tony’s youngest sister.  Suzie had hers done first and as it happened Tony was there as well.  Suzie seemed to think that the pair of us would hit it off, so she suggested to him that he should come to the Passport Office Christmas party to meet me.  For my hair appointment, I wasn’t so lucky Tony was no longer there so I had to wait to meet my so called “perfect match”.

Well Suzie and I went on our trip to LA and Hawaii and I was reminded about the casual meeting that Tony and I would have at the Christmas party.  I was told repeatedly that I should give him a chance and it wasn’t going to kill me.  OK Suzie, I thought I got it, be nice, give him a chance, don’t screw my face up at him, talk to him, be myself and make an effort!

We met December 5, 2014, it was very casual as planned, we both said Hi and that was it, I didn’t have time to make small talk with him at that moment.

Tony had apparently complained the whole trip to the party that he didn’t want to go and both Anna and Peter wanted to give him the flick as soon as possible.  Later in the evening Peter asked if I could spare a smoke for Tony, sure no worries I thought, I will go and find him, and find him I did.

We, just the two of us spent the whole night talking and laughing.  I don’t know who was more excited that we were getting along, us, or all the people who had been on the boat!

No phone numbers were exchanged that night, but Tony did go to Peter who went to Suzie to get my number!  Peter then went back to Tony and Tony sent a message!  He could have gone straight to Gracie but I think to get the approval of my best friend Suzie first – and clearly Suzie approved!!

We organized our first date a few days later and from that day forward we have never been apart.  Within the first two weeks Tony said that if we were together in 6 months’ time, he was going to marry me!  Six months and three days later we were engaged and we have never looked back and our love has grown ever more stronger.

Their favourite memory is the same here is Tony’s version:

My favourite memory of Christine was when I was in hospital with kidney stones.  It was only a few weeks into the relationship and she rushed me down to the hospital.  I was in so much pain, I wasn’t trying to be brave and show it was nothing, I showed her how bad it was because I knew she wouldn’t judge me for being weak.

For 14 days Christine barely left my side.  She could have got up and left me there but she didn’t.  She kept in contact with family and gave them all updates on what was happening, even to my Mum who she was still yet to meet.  It was like we had been together forever when she talked to them.  It was like she was part of the family already.

She sat there with me and held my hand the whole time and only ever let go when she went home to pick up a few things for me.  I was taken back by the fact that she stayed with me the whole time. It was also the first time that she said she loved me, I said it back and meant it, it wasn’t the drugs talking it was me talking.  Right at that moment I knew she was going to be the one and we had only been together a few short weeks.

In Chris and Tony’s words:  ..if love is…then marriage is…

Love is finding a person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet.  A connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experience before.  As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior to this.

Marriage for us is about taking our love and connection one step further.  We are ready to spend the rest of our lives together because the love we have today is so strong, our commitment is so deep, that we are ready to become a team.  With marriage we know that we have chosen the right person to be by our side no matter what life brings us because as a couple we bring out the best in one another.


The Key to Love: read by Jazmin Brooks (Christine’s sister) author unknown.

The key to love is understanding

The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word

But those unspoken gestures,

The little things that say so much by themselves


The key to love is forgiveness

To accept each other’s faults and pardon mistakes,

Without forgetting,

But with remembering what you learn from them.


The key to love is sharing

Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad,


Both conquering problems,

Forever searching for ways to intensify your happiness.


The key to love is giving

Without thought of return,

But with hope of just a simple smile,

And by giving in but never giving up.


The key to love is respect

Realising that you are two separate people,

With different ideas:

That you don’t belong to each other,

That you belong with each other,

And share a mutual bond.


The key to love is inside us all

It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients that will take you to its threshold:

It is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work…

But the rewards are more than worth the effort..

And that is the key to love.

Giving away

Dawn and Frank and Pina, on behalf of your families do you give your love and blessings to Tony and Christine?   We Do

It saddens both Tony and Christine that they could not share their special day with Tony’s Dad Giovanni.  Giovanni should have been with us today to celebrate this joyous occasion, but God had other plans for him.  We are sure that he too would give his love and blessings for Tony and Christine to be married.  Right now he will be looking down on you both with a beautiful smile on his face and his beloved accordion on his lap ready to crank out a few tunes in celebration of this day.

The Asking

Tony do you take Christine to be your lawful wedded wife, will you love and respect her, and stand by her through whatever may come, so you can openly share your life together?

Tony : I do

Christine do you take Tony to be your lawful wedded husband, will you love and respect him, and stand by him through whatever may come, so you can openly share your life together?

Christine; I do

Vows (written by Tony and Chris)

Tony (read from card)

……I love you Christine.  You are my best friend, today I give myself to you in marriage.

I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.

I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard.  When our love is simple, and when it is an effort.

I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in the highest regard.

I promise to be there when you need me, to fill your days with sunshine, to comfort you, to help you reach your goals, to be your best friend for ever and to love you with all my heart.

These things I give you today and all the days of my life.

Christine (read from card)

…….Tony, you are the most important part of my life

It seems like my life was just waiting for you and it was worth the long wait.

You are a rare combination of so many special things and if I were to list them all, we would be here forever and I want our forever to start now. With you here by my side, I want you to know that I have never been so happy, never been so much in love, there are not enough words to express just how much I love, appreciate, and need you in my life.

I promise to be your loving friend and wife.  To give you support, to comfort and strengthen you, to laugh and cry with you, through life’s joys and sorrows.

I promise to always be open and honest with you, encourage you to live your dreams and conquer your fears and be by your side every step of the way. I take you, with all of your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with all of my faults and strengths.  I choose you, my best friend as the person with whom I will spend my life with.


Declaration of marriage

Marriage is having your best friend by your side for the rest of your life, it’s about becoming a team, a team of two people so in love that they want the world to know and want to show everyone that they are making that commitment to be there for one another.

It’s about having someone there with you to share life’s trivial day to day events, both the good and the bad, having someone to laugh with and to cry with.

………..As you walk hand in hand into the future, cherish each moment as a gift to strengthen that bond between you.


Personalised wedding ceremonies John and Sarah

John and Sarah were married on 20th May this year at one of my favourite venues The Mandalay in Northcote.  Amazingly for this time of the year the weather was quite mild.  They had a large bridal party but we all managed to fit in the rotunda.  John became very emotional when he saw his beautiful bride come down the stairs.  There were hugs all round and then we commenced the ceremony.

The following are some ceremony highlights:

Good afternoon everyone, It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this ideal intimate location for the marriage of John and Sarah.

Standing with me here is the beautiful bride Sarah, accompanied by her stunning attendants Julian, Ann, Astrid and Jaclyn; and the handsome groom John, his dashing groomsmen Ivan, Elias, Sunny and Damian, and don’t forget the gorgeous flower girls Olivia and Alma and pageboy Hayden.

From the moment John and Sarah met they had an instant connection. In fact it was only 2 weeks into their relationship when they both knew that this was it! … already knew in their hearts that they were ready for this commitment.  In the time they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives as husband and wife.

By making this commitment they are showing each other in those small and selfless ways, that life is so much better because there is someone to share all the parts of the days with, someone who can be trusted with our thoughts, our fears, our hopes and our dreams.

This couple works well together because they share a similar sense of humour and are willing to weather the challenges of life together. They work well as a team and complement each other nicely.

In Sarah’s words John is energetic, enthusiastic, cheeky, caring .. and stubborn.

In John’s words Sarah is very loving, honest, loyal, enthusiastic and passionate about everything she does, a people’s person.

…….That’s why everyone is here to be with you today. We have all loved in our lifetimes, all of us here today have our own love stories. Some are short, others long. Some are yet unwritten, while others are just getting to the good part. There are chapters in all of our stories that are sad or disappointing – and others that are exciting and full of adventure.

Today is a time to pause, look back, and smile at all the moments that brought you here. And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come.

I’m here – we’re all here – because we want those moments for you. We’re here to hope with you, to support you, to be proud of you, and to remind you that love isn’t happily ever after – love is the experience of writing your story. It’s not one moment – not even this moment. It’s every moment. Big ones like saying “I love you” moving in together, getting engaged – but mostly a million little ones that come in between.

John and Sarah both share similar interests especially their two fur huskies or fur babies as they call them.

They both love surprises and almost a year to the day John proposed in front of about 12 people at his birthday party. Sarah had no idea so had to hide behind the bench to hide her sweat pants as she only just had time to change her top! She was a little confused because he proposed with granny’s eternity ring… that wasn’t part of the plan!  She later received her own engagement ring.

They think of marriage as a lifetime commitment and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives and their goal is to continue with their open communication and never going to sleep with an unsettled argument.

John and Sarah always refer to each other as soulmates so the following reading is fitting

Reading (celebrant) Soulmate by Julia

As a child you learn of a soul mate…a person made perfectly for you, your two souls become connected as one and are destined to be together until the end of time.

Through adolescence you grasp on to this idea of a soul mate, believing you will someday find the one.

But after much heartache and many rivers of tears, this notion you’ve held onto for years begins to fade.

As time goes by, day by day, year after year, you move forward, accepting of your failures and proud of your successes…until that day.

This is a day like any other, it begins no differently than yesterday and the days before, but it is a day that will change you forever, a day that the magic and fantasy of a soul mate becomes real.

For each of us it happens differently…the holding of eye contact, an introduction, a smile.  Regardless of how it began, the moment is unforgettable.

It was a magical moment, frozen in time, the surroundings, the smells, the feeling you felt.  The rush of warmth through your body felt exhilarating and new, yet somehow familiar.  It was a feeling you imagined time and again…but never this powerful.

As butterflies fluttered in your stomach it was an explosion of emotions.  Who is this person that can make me feel this way?

As this invisible force draws you to this person you can sense a mutual feeling.  A connection unlike any other you’ve experienced before, impossible to resist.

You feel a burning, a fire from deep inside, that you can’t ignore.  From that first second of encounter this person is there with you, in every thought and action…causing you to smile, laugh, and feel more alive than ever before.

This person becomes a part of you, your other half…your soul mate.

Will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest moments together, and love each other absolutely – for the rest of this lifetime and for whatever may come next?

John:  Personal vows:

“I, John, choose you, Sarah, to be no other than yourself. Loving what I know of you, trusting what things I will discover. I will respect you as a person, a partner and as an equal. There is little to say that you haven’t already heard, and little to give that is not already freely given. Before you asked me, I was yours and I am devoted to you in every way. I marry you with no hesitation or doubt, and my commitment to you is absolute.

Sarah: Personal vows:

“I, Sarah, take you John to be my husband. You are my counterpart. I promise to always be your ally in conflict, your greatest fan and your toughest adversary. I promise to communicate fully and fearlessly. I promise to create and support a family with you, in a a household filled with laughter, patience, understanding and love. I vow not just to grow old together, but to grow together. I will love you faithfully through the difficult and the easy. What may come, I will always be there, believing that love never dies. As I have given you my hand to hold, so I give you my life to keep.”


…………..John and Sarah, remember to do the simple things that will make this love a treasure. Plan for the things that are important to you and make sure you do them. Be thankful for one another, love is a gift that you have chosen to share with one another, share it well and be happy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding, it gives me the greatest pleasure to present to you – the newlyweds, Mr and Mrs Yankovski!



























0407 300 970

Personalised Wedding Ceremonies Helen and Stephen

I have been very fortunate that so many of my past couples have happily agreed to share their special personalised story.  Every wedding is so different which makes my job so enjoyable.

Helen and Stephen were married in the upper gallery at the beautiful artist colony Montsalvat in Eltham, Victoria.   It was a very hot January day in 2012 and the sun streamed through the beautiful window behind us during the ceremony.

Personal story (read after introduction)

Two years ago things weren’t going that well for both Helen and Stephen.  They had both been in long relationships which unfortunately didn’t work out.  Helen moved back home and she helped her mother look after her father who was very ill.  Unfortunately he passed away. However she has her father to thank, as it was at her father’s funeral she spotted a rather cute guy.  Stephen came to the funeral to support Vin (Helen’s brother) who was a work colleague.  Stephen was also invited back to the house for the wake.  It was a fabulous party as Dad wanted it to be, the beer was cold and kept flowing, the tea was hot and there was plenty of food for everyone.  Helen and Stephen chatted briefly and Stephen also chatted for a long time with Helen’s Mum Nancy.  

Shortly afterwards Steve wrote an email to Helen’s brother Vin which was quite funny and he though Helen would find it amusing so forwarded it to her.  Helen hadn’t forgotten Stephen and she now had his email address!  She wasn’t sure if she should but did so anyway.. she sent him an email explaining who she was thinking he would not remember her.  She briefly mentioned how her life wasn’t that great at the moment and was going through a tough time.  I guess she needed him to know that she was no longer attached to anyone!  Steve had remembered her of course and they emailed each other a few times and then he invited her out for a beer. Their relationship was easy and effortless from the beginning and they felt very comfortable with one another. January 2011 they went on a trip together to Ireland.  Once again Steve invited her out for a beer, this time in the famous Guinness Brewery. 

In Helen’s words: Steve and I were in the Guinness Brewery and he said to me “If you drink this pint of Guinness Helen O’Neill I will marry you” so of course I did and then Steve got down on bended knee and proposed there and then to the cheers of everyone in the bar!. 

Every wedding ceremony is of course, the recognition of a marriage that already exists on an emotional level, and Stephen and Helen have already made a commitment by sharing a home together and helping raise Stephen’s lovely daughter Scarlett.  

This ceremony today gives official recognition to a union that has already taken place in the hearts of this couple.  It is Stephen and Helen’s wish at this time to declare their marriage partnership to the world.  These principles of marriage that will build and strengthen their relationship, will involve a strong commitment, an unconditional commitment from the heart, to each other.

Giving away 

One of the most understated but deepest relationships in human life is that between the caring father and mother and the loving daughter.  One of the rare occasions this relationship is acknowledged is at a wedding ceremony.  In Des’s absence Nancy represents all of us, she particularly represents her family, but today in a special gesture she symbolizes her own personal love for her daughter.  “Who presents this woman to be married to this man?

Helen’s mother (Nancy) I do 

Even in the quiet corners of the world up above, Helen’s father Des would have stopped on this day to look down ever so proudly on Helen’s special day, with a smile and beer in hand to see his daughter happily marrying the man she loves.

Following the vows and ring ceremony Helen and Stephen showed their commitment  to Stephen’s daughter Scarlett:


I would now like to ask Scarlett to come forward and stand in a circle with Stephen and Helen

Helen wishes to extend her commitment to Stephen and Scarlett by making some pledges to Scarlett.

(Helen) Scarlett, I have grown to love you as if you were my own daughter.  I promise to love, nurture, guide and guard you for all the days of my life.

It was a very special moment as the photos show.

I would now like to ask Scarlett to come forward and stand in a circle with Stephen and Helen

Helen wishes to extend her commitment to Stephen and Scarlett by making some pledges to Scarlett.

(Helen) Scarlett, I have grown to love you as if you were my own daughter.  I promise to love, nurture, guide and guard you for all the days of my life.

Personalised marriage ceremonies Laura and Ben

Laura and Ben were married at the beautiful Mandalay reception centre in Northcote Melbourne on 20th March, 2010. It is a delightful venue now run by a very friendly Italian family who provide exceptional service and delicious food.

Laura and Ben told me their story of how they met, as you will see, they were both very determined to make this relationship happen! The following is part of their personalised marriage ceremony.

Laura and Ben first met 3 years ago in Federation Square at a bar.   They chatted for quite a while and were getting along very well.  However Laura decided it was time to go home but before she left she spontaneously gave Ben a kiss and ran out with her friends.  Poor Ben was left standing there with no contact details.  Ben was not to be outdone but had to chase her across Flinders Street before he managed to grab her and kiss her in return!  He got contact details this time and soon after they began seeing each other regularly and were very comfortable together.  Ben was in his last year at university and even though he really wanted the relationship to continue, he kept warning Laura not to get too involved with him as he knew he would have to leave Melbourne and would be travelling a lot with his work as a geologist. 

I asked Ben what he liked about Laura.  “I love seeing her beaming smile and hearing her loud laugh.  You can always spot her in a crowd with her blonde hair.  We never have any boring times and she makes me feel very special.  I have a lot of fun with Laura.  She puts up with the fact that I have to be away a lot.  I love coming home to her, she looks after me when I’m sick as I am such a woos and I love the way she cooks!” 

Laura likes the way Ben is very caring, kind and sincere.  He means what he says.  “Ben has taught me a lot about myself” she told me.  He helped me grow into a better person and has taught me things I never knew before.  I love the way he asked me to move to Western Australia, I would never have moved to WA if it wasn’t for him and had the experiences of working in a remote community with indigenous people.  We had two years solid in WA, two years just him and I, that’s a testament to our bond and relationship.  We had a lot of ups and downs but we got through it together.”   

Ben’s brother Callan read the beautiful poem by Pablo Neruda, Sonnet 17

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz or arrow of carnations that propagate fire: I love you as certain dark things are loved, secretly, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries hidden within itself the light of those flowers, and thanks to your love, darkly in my body lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Laura follows Ben wherever his work takes them and at present they are living in the north of Australia and have three beautiful daughters all blonde like Laura!

I had the pleasure of officiating at the marriage of Laura’s sister Gemma last year.

Stay tuned for Helen and Stephen’s story next week!


Personalised wedding ceremonies Julie and Joe

The following is the third in my series of personalised wedding ceremonies that I have conducted. 

Excerpts from Julie and Joe’s wedding held on Sunday 8th March 2009 at the old bandstand in the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne.  They had flautists playing in the bandstand before the ceremony started and during the signing.

Personal story:

Julie and Joe met at a birthday party on 11th July  2004.   It was a cold night and Julie was standing in front of the fire eating an extra large pizza by herself.  She was wearing a red plastic (plether!) jacket.  Joe saw her and a few things went through his mind, great to see a girl that can eat, (she was actually stuffing her face).  He was also concerned that her jacket would melt in front of the fire! 

The first thing Julie noticed was Joe’s eyes, and the way he spoke, easy going friendly, everything was funny.  Joe knew she was a parent and they immediately had that in common.  He also loved her sense of humour.  Julie thought it was cute the way he immediately pulled pictures of his children out of his wallet to show her. 

Joe dropped his business card in Julie’s bag but she didn’t notice it until weeks later. Joe’s kids were calling him so he reluctantly left early.  She had to wait two whole days for him to ring her.

Joe said “My mate behind my back was already calling her, but I decided to be cool and do the right thing by making her wait!”

Julie said “My perfect star sign was Capricorn and Joe was Capricorn, the one I have been waiting for!”

Reading  “My Friend” author unknown

I love you, not for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you.

I love you, not for what you have made of yourself. But for what you are making of me.

I love you because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good, and more than any fate could have done to make me happy.

You have done it without a touch without a word, without a sign.

You have done it just by being yourself.

Ring Ceremony 

Julie, this ring I give you, it is my personal gift

My personal promise of love and trust, and pride that you are my wife

Joe, this ring I give you, it is my personal gift

My personal promise of love and trust, and pride that you are my husband.

Celebrant (as last ring was placed) 

Lord, help us – author unknown

Lord, help us to remember when we first met and the strong love that grew between us. Help us to work that love into practical things so nothing can divide us. We ask for words both kind and loving, and for hearts always ready to ask for forgiveness, as well as to forgive.  Dear Lord, we put our marriage into your hands.

I was in contact with Julie last week her comments were: “We are both doing well, we still have the three step kids who were 7, 8 and 11 when we met and now 19, 21, and 23.  We are not silly, enjoying our freedom and travelling heaps!”