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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Wet weather weddings!


Everyone wants a sunny day for their wedding.  Picture it: not too hot, not too windy (will ruin my hair!) not too cold (will shiver in my dress) definitely no rain please!! that will ruin everything….actually just a few clouds will be nice because they will add a bit of class to our wedding photos.

If only we could all have perfect weather but unfortunately it does rain in Melbourne and not only in winter and September.  All those prospective brides and grooms out there please remember to have a plan B in case of wet weather.  Believe me as a celebrant I don’t particularly enjoy getting wet and my expensive sound equipment definitely doesn’t like it….oh and did I mention the marriage certificates don’t look great when they are wet either!!

Just give it some thought you can’t change the day but you can have another plan!


Literary Wedding Inspiration

Love this, some amazing imagination!

Bridal and Wedding Expo Blog

by Lauren J Sharkey

If there’s one thing I love more than weddings, it’s books!  Seriously, I must have a jillion unread books on my desk right now.  But when the two come together, it makes for an utterly magical moment.  Check out the gallery:

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Writing your own vows

If there is only one thing you as couple DIY make it your wedding vows. Writing your own wedding vows can be the most beautiful way for your guests to have a view into your story and your relationship. If you do write your own vows make sure you have the waterproof mascara on and the tissues at the ready.:)


Once Wed Guide to Vows

Vows often have a number of main topics; the moment you met, stories and anecdotes from your relationships, details you love about your partner and concluding your vows with the promises to each other for the future. Here are some questions to consider about your own vows:

  • Consider what sort of tone you want to deliver your vows in, they should be sincere and it is always good to have a bit of humour sprinkled through your vows. But consider whether you want your vows to be lighthearted, traditional, passionate or romantic?
  • Do you want to write your vows together or keep them secret until the big day?
  • Look for examples of vows, with the ones that you like work out what it is about them that you like, are they funny? Sweet? Or deeply personal?

Think about how long you have been together, and your favourite moments you have shared together. The main aspect to remember in your wedding is that it is a public show of your commitment and love for each other, so leave out the embarrassing details and private jokes.
What did you think the first time you met your partner?

What do you love most about your partner?

Has the way your viewed the world changed since you met your partner?

What is it that you miss about them when you are not together?

What inspires you about your partner?

Do you have dreams together?

Where do you see yourselves in the future?

You will probably do a lot of writing, scribbling out, refining and reorganising, so spend your time on it and refine your vows, definitely don’t leave them till the last minute.Try to keep your vows to one or two minutes, you would be surprised how much you can fit into two minutes. Keep it concise, the words should stay true to your relationship and be heartfelt.

The main thing to remember is your vows are yours and they should be a resounding declaration of love to your partner.

reblogged from Tartan Rose Weddings

Brunch Weddings: Why and How-To

I have found this to be a growing trend for small weddings, intimate and informal and huge money saver!


If you are a morning person, or just love brunch, I have good news for you!  There are many perks to a late morning/early afternoon wedding. Brunch weddings are a differentiating spring and summer trend that is starting to take off as couples tie the knot early in the day then get to the celebrating!

One of the perks of a brunch wedding is that it can actually save you a few bucks on venue fees, especially if you opt for a Sunday morning date as opposed to the premium Saturday rates. Another perk is the sun, daylight is a photographer’s dream and can make for some magical pictures. Late morning weddings are also very versatile in the sense that they can be made as dressy or casual as you would like. Most importantly in my book, of course, is the food and menu options. Brunch is great because breakfast…

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The show must go on, broken foot and all

I suspected that my foot was broken when I rolled it on Saturday evening but I had a marriage to perform on Sunday morning so the xrays would have to wait!  I iced my foot and then bandaged it with a pressure bandage to keep the swelling down, took some pain killersIMG_1591 and prepared for the small intimate ceremony in my backyard.  I wore black pantihose to hide the bandage and performed the ceremony with only one shoe on!  Gus and Peggy took it in their stride and it didn’t spoil their day.  The sun shone and they were very happy!

Wedding Rehearsal…..Questions answered

wedding rehearsal

 Where and when should I hold my wedding rehearsal?

1…In an indoor ceremony arrange a rehearsal a week before the wedding if convenient for everyone needing to be present

2…In an outdoor ceremony, rehearse at the time of day and week as the wedding ceremony couple of weeks before the wedding day

Who attends the rehearsal?

1…The Celebrant attends to help with the setting of the bridal party

2…Bridal attendants who will be part of the wedding party

3…Readers who will be included in the wedding ceremony

4…Parents who might be involved in the wedding ceremony

5…Musicians who will time the various wedding ceremony events

6…Those people who have been given a role as helpers in various capacities

7…A number of stand-ins for absent participants who will later be told anything they need to know

How do I decide on my ceremonial site?

1…Position your wedding party in different areas to find the most attractive focal point for your ceremony and for your wedding photographs

2…Decide on the best place for the table and chairs for the signing of the documents so it can be seen by all the guests and allow for easy photography

3…Look over the area and see if aisles are desirable for the processional and how to define them – aisle-runner, plants, ribbons, flower petals, protected candles, attractive pebbles or sea shells

4…If you intend to use an aisle-runner, appoint specific people and advise them when the aisle runner should be put in place, such as when the bride arrives at the ceremony venue just before she is ready to make her entrance

5…Instruct the same people when the runner is to be remove – preferably once the guests have left the ceremonial site

6…If rose petal path is to be created, appoint specific people how and when you want the area covered

7…Ask that on the wedding day the petals are placed some thirty minutes before the wedding ceremony and have them covered with a sheet so that the wind doesn’t disturb the petals beforehand if the wedding is outdoors

8…On the day arrange that the sheets be taken off as the guests begin to arrive

9…Have the same people who created the petal area, sweep up the petals at the end of the ceremony

How do I arrange the seating at an outdoor site?

1…Decide whether you will provide seats for all or only some of your guests

2…Decide on how to arrange the chairs so that all the guests can see the wedding party

3…Rather than placing them in straight lines, try curving the lines of the chairs towards where the bridal party will be standing

4…Try placing the chairs in a semi-circle around the bridal party

5…To generate feeling-good atmosphere, make the distance between guests and the wedding party shorter rather than longer

6…Initially set up chairs for two-thirds of the expected guests and the rest of the chairs stacked close by

7…Continue to add rows of chairs as guests begin to arrive so that there’s no empty chairs no matter how few or how many guests arrive

8…If there’s an aisle between the chairs, encourage guests to fill both sides irrespective of which side of the family they belong to

How do I arrange the seating at an indoor site?

1…Make a floor plan of how the venue will actually look on the day of the ceremony

2…Mark out areas which will be taken up with flower pedestals, wedding arch, potted plants, speaker’s stand, music stand and other large decorations

3…Place a few rows of chairs to see how close the guests can be seated without encroaching upon the wedding party

4…Using chairs, create a suitable aisle for the bridal party

5…Decide where to place chairs for young attendants who will take part in the bridal march but will not be standing with the adults

6…Place a special and a favorite toy on the chair to identify the seating for the child

7…Leave extra chairs for the carers of the children

8…Make your entrance and your exit being aware of how much space you’ll have once the venue is completely set up for your wedding day

What props do I bring to the rehearsal?

1…Half a dozen programs to follow the ceremony format

2…Substitutes for bouquets so that the attendants can decide how to carry them and how to hold them

3…Imitation wedding dress train and veil to make sure that the bride and her attendants know how to handle them on the day

4…Shoes being worn at the wedding day to test their comfort and practicality

5…Ring pillow to help the ring bearer become familiar with his task

6…Flower girl baskets filled with bits of paper for practicing tossing petals

7…Recorded music being used on the wedding day

8…Candles, chalices, roses, handfasting ribbons and other props that require practicing an action

9…Video recorder to record the whole process from processional to recessional to be viewed later to see if anything needs to be changed

10..Rehearse the children in the clothes and shoes they’ll be wearing on the day to discover if there’s anything too tight, too loose, too big, too scratchy or just generally uncomfortable for the child

Which part of the ceremony do I rehearse first?

1…Place the whole bridal party at the ceremonial site as if the ceremony is to begin – this includes the bride and groom, the celebrant, and all the bridal attendants

2…From that position, acting as if the ceremony has just finished, begin the recessional

3…Having practiced the recession several times, practice the wedding march

4…When you’re happy with both the recessional and the processional, practice the actions of the wedding ceremony itself – father handing over the bride, couple facing each other to begin their vows, readers walking towards the speaker’s stand, Best Man handing over the rings

From the book ‘1,000+ Answers to Your Wedding Questions’.

wedding trends for 2016

27 Wedding Trends We Have to Look Forward to In 2016

December 17, 2015

If you’re getting married in 2016, your wedding planning is probably well under way. So many of the wedding trends that will pop up over the next 12 months are already in the works. Which means the vendors making them happen can tell us what to expect from 2016 weddings. Sometimes their trend prediction differ—Will weddings be bright? Or muted?—but we’re excited to see who’s right.


Photographer: Arina B. Photography.

Prediction: Boho Brides Off-the-shoulder wedding dresses
cream- and blush-color wedding dresses, succulent bouquets, flowers in hair. —Adina Ringler, Adina’s Bridal


Photographer: Jillian Rose Photography

Prediction: Mismatched Bridesmaids Gone are the days of mandatory bridesmaids uniforms. Now brides are allowing their ladies to choose their own dresses in colors and styles that flatter their bodies. Plus, many of these outfits end up being worn more than once, which we love! It’s a stunning look. This trend isn’t going anywhere. —Vikki Marsee, All You Need Is Love Events


Photographer: MP Singh Photography.

Prediction: Desserts Other Than Cake Who can argue with too much dessert? Couples opting out of cake are replacing it with a variety of sweets and treats. Our favorite? Anything with ice cream. —Amrit Bains, Anais Event Planning & Design


Photographer: Sassy Mouth Photography.

Prediction: Effortless Beauty We’re expecting looks to be a mix of effortless—not overly styled—while still detailed and with a touch of glam. —Ashley Hernandez, Beauty Entourage


Photographer: Jessica Hill Photography.

Prediction: Fab Backs Open-back wedding dresses. —Nora Sheils, Bridal Bliss


Dinnerware: Dish Wish. Photographer: Alissa Noelle Photography.

Prediction: Blush and Creams Very soft palettes. For instance, a blush wedding gown with creamy flowers, or blush details on the table that are subtle and classic. —Brie Walter, Brie’s Honeybees & Flowers


Photographer: Andrea Hanks Photography.

Prediction: Sophisticated V-Necks Wide-open V-necks were all over the runways for 2016. They enhance the collarbone, narrow a broad shoulder, and slim the figure as the eye travels in to the waistline—but they’re refined and not too revealing. —Marcie Muehlke, Celia Grace


Floral Styling: Juli Vaughn Designs. Photographer: Brklyn View Photography.

Prediction: Color, Color, Color! Couples will be bolder in their use of vibrant colors. —Leah Weinberg, Color Pop Events


Photographer: B.Miller Photography.

Prediction: Brunch Weddings Serve your guests a brunch instead of dinner. (Your wedding to be just as extravagant on a smaller budget.) A waffle bar with delicious toppings will do the trick. Have your ceremony before the sun reaches its peak and then enjoy cocktail hour under the sun or indoors. Having the reception by a pool makes for a fun brunch and maybe a spontaneous pool party. And remember no brunch is complete without mimosas. —Krystel Tien, Couture Events


Photographer: Bruce Gardner Photography.

Prediction: Bright Colors Bright color palettes for 2016! —Amanda Hansen, Decoration Inc.


Photographer: Studio EMP.

Prediction: Neutral Palettes Black, gray and more neutral colors. Interior-design-driven elevated simplicity is a real trend. —Found Rentals


Photographer: Caroline Tran.

Prediction: Woodland Theme Woodland-themed florals and decor: dense greenery and sticks or wood slices used to give a woodland feel. —Robin & Laura, Gather Events


Photographer: Scott Clark Photo.

Prediction: Laser-Cut Signage Laser-cut menus and place cards. —Chelsea Dillon, Gold Leaf Event Design & Production


Photographer: Amy and Stuart.

Prediction: Cascading BouquetsThe Hidden Garden


Hair & Makeup: Kacee Geoffroy. Photographer: Krista Mason.

Prediction: Separates for Bridesmaids I love separates for bridesmaids. They’re a great opportunity to subtly vary the look within a bridal party and they allow for another opportunity to play with palette by putting girls in different-color tops and skirts. Also, separates can be easier to re-wear after the wedding giving bridesmaids not only one but two great pieces to add to their closets. —Joanna, Joanna August


Photographer: Sasithon Photography.

Prediction: Wooden Details Wood, wood, wood! We think couples will move in the direction of more natural elements in their wedding, a stark departure from shiny sparkly things. These handmade wooden place cards are a great example. —Jove, Jove Meyer Events


Photographer: Jose Villa.

Prediction: Setting the Table Focusing on a properly set table is huge. No more using the steak knife for the salad course or a soup spoon for dessert. —Kate, Kate Siegel Events


Photographer: Maria Lamb.

Prediction: Printed Floral Gowns Brides are loving our Luxurious Rose Wrap Gown, a non-traditional bridal gown in a rose floral print. —Jade Rose Topper, Lady Evelyn


Photographer: Lauren Rosenau.

Prediction: Intimate Dinners Couples are focusing on quality over quantity. With family style dining tables and low lush arrangements, conversation is highlighted and memories made! —Karen Greenoe, Lily Greenthumb’s


Photographer: Love Me Do Photography.

Prediction: Adventure Weddings With the rise of #liveauthentic and adventure photography, I believe there will be a shift in locations for weddings, more camp-, outdoor-, or travel-themed locations. —Carina Romano, Love Me Do Photography


Photographer: Ashley Kelemen.

Prediction: Sustainable Catering Using organic and locally sourced food will continue to be important. More and more couples are making it a priority with their catering. —Lindsay & Heather, LVL Weddings & Events


Photographer: Image Link Photography.

Prediction: It’s Only Natural Cement, cork, wood, and stone will be big stars in more rustic and casual-chic celebrations while stones like agate and capiz will glam things up a bit. —Danielle Couick, Magnolia Bluebird


Photographer: Rodeo & Co. Photography.

Prediction: Rose Gold JewelryMindy Weiss


Photographer: Brian Leahy Photography.

Prediction: ”Cocktail Entrees” We just invented this fun dinner idea, and our brides are loving it for 2016 weddings. We rework traditional dishes into grab-and-go cocktail glasses to make an event flow better and let guests try multiple dishes while still getting to socialize and walk around the party. —Modern Art Catering


Photographer: Jillian Rose Photography.

Prediction: Prints! There are so many inventive and gorgeous table linens with prints, but most couples play it safe and go with solids. These photos show a print linen by Luxe Linens that is bright, springy, and perfectly easy to work with design-wise. —Dee Gaubert, No Worries Event Planning


Photographer: Laurie Marie Photography.

Prediction: Colorful Boho Airy outdoor weddings with bright colors interspersed throughout. Rustic and soft details, like harvest tables and dreamcatchers. Lots of texture with pops of color. White features offset with bold florals and colorful accents. —Allison Kline, Sash & Bow


Photographer: MK Sadler.

Prediction: Crochet Lace I see a lot of brides gravitating toward intricate lacework that can be interpreted as bohemian or reminiscent of Eastern European vintage lacework. Thicker lace adds texture, but doesn’t feel too frilly or sweet. I have a lot of brides who worry that fine, delicate lace will get ruined at their outdoor wedding, and this crochet or ribbon lace feels more substantial and able to take on the elements —Orla Stiles, Solstice Bride

Trends rounded up by Inspired by This.

Photos: Courtesy of the photographers.


Steve and Elmas

“Thanks so much for officiating at our wedding on Sunday; we really appreciated your advice, suggestions, support, flexibility and preparedness to include and accommodate our extra ‘little embellishments’! People said they really enjoyed the whole thing and many commented on your good humour and the easy, relaxed and open manner with which you approached delivery of the service. ”
It is lovely to get feedback thanks Steve and Elmas!  I felt really relaxed as well you were that sort of couple, I just went with the flow!