The Naming Ceremony is a celebration where you formally introduce the newest member of your family to your extended family and friends. You can use this as an opportunity to share the names you’ve given to your child and the reasons why those names were chosen as well as the hopes and dreams you have for your bundle of joy.
It’s a little bit like Simba being presented to his jungle community.
There are a number of celebrations that can happen when a new person joins your family. You can either give birth to your own biological child, adopt a child or even if you have a child who wants to change their name because they’re identifying as a different gender or simply wants to be known by a different name.
It’s also a time where you, as parents are able to officially name those extra adults that you want to play a special part in your child’s life. These adults are sometimes called God Parents or Guardians or Mentors. They can make a statement in front of family and friends in accepting this responsibility. In the Christian religions, the God Parents are chosen to be responsible for the child’s spiritual growth, however as people are moving further away from the church, the role is more relevant if the chosen person acts as an extra adult who can be there instead of or alongside of you as the parents.
A Naming Day can be held at any time. The timing is different for each religious culture for various reasons, but you can hold the ceremony whenever it suits you – right after your baby is born; a year later to coincide with your child’s first birthday; a week after you’ve adopted or when the grand parents are in town.
You can make the ceremony as formal or as casual as you like. You might like to include readings or poems or a welcoming/family combining ritual. You might like to plant a tree in your garden or have your guests fill a box with snippets of advice or wishes for your child to open and read when they’re older. Some people like to commemorate the day with Naming Day Certificates and others will stamp the day with other tokens such as framed photos, fridge magnets, stubby holders or something fun like a bobblehead in the likeness of your child.
If you are interested in having a Naming Ceremony for your child, then look no further. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or you’re ready to lock in your special day. I’d be happy to help in any way that I can.
Just recently I read a blog post written by a truly fabulous marriage celebrant, Josh Withers – he has been my inspiration since becoming a celebrant myself…. but enough of the rockstar celebrant groupiness! Josh wrote a blog called Why Gay Brides and Grooms are the Luckiest and it’s all about how straight weddings seem to be bound by 100s of years of tradition, whereas ‘gay’ weddings can be a blank canvas of new ideas and creativity. Whilst some wedding traditions may still be held dear to some couples, the origins behind them will only seem less relevant than they are already when we introduce marriage equality and you can marry who ever you love.
I have a strong feeling that this monumental shift in becoming an equal society – marriage-wise won’t be far away, so those people who have been waiting for their chance to make their love legal in Australia, you’d better get your creative thinking hats on so you can celebrate in your own true style.
This is where you and your partner get to choose your own adventure……
Choose your own attire – You could pick your favourite outfits; choose matching outfits; make them white if you want to – but do it because you WANT to, not because you feel you HAVE to; or dress up as your favourite GOT character….. you can do what ever you want!
Photo: Heather Waraksa
Choose your own venue – A friend of mine recently got married in an old, art deco cinema, which is not only cool because you have a big screen to play a pictorial montage of you and your partner being all lovely, the seats are extremely comfy! Or what about a boat? You could hire a boat and a skipper for the day and cruise up and down the river whilst you declare your love, rainbow flags flying high.
Choose your own way to set up your ceremony – if you WANT to walk down an aisle, then go for it, but you could set it up so your guests are surrounding you in a circle – a circle of love; or maybe you’re into magic and you and your partner want to appear out of a puff of smoke as if you’ve appeared from nowhere – cue spooky music and magic hands…. nothing (as long as it’s legal) is out of bounds.
I understand that you may not want to jump the gun with the powers that be taking their sweet time on what is an obvious decision, but there’s no harm in being red red ready when the hammer finally falls.
And if your adventure is your dad walking you down the aisle in a white dress, your family on the left, your partner’s on the right and saying “I do!”…. then, who am I to judge?
Weddings on a budget don’t need to be cheap. You just need to think smart about each element of the day and really ask yourself “If I’m marrying the person I love, does it really matter if I don’t have the monogram napkins?” Chances are that your guests won’t care and will be none the wiser as they dab the corners of their mouths with inexpensive and just as useful paper serviettes.
Your first job is to make a list – spend on the most important things to you and your partner and scrimp on the things that won’t make a difference. Having said that the one thing that I feel is worth spending that little bit extra on is professional photos. The day will come and go and it will feel like it’s gone in the snap of a garter, so having beautiful photographs to look back on is a must.
Here are some handy tips for you to consider:
1. Try to avoid inviting everyone you’ve ever met – ever.
Your wedding will possibly be one of the biggest days in your life and it’s tempting to want every person you’ve ever met there to share it with you, but this isn’t feasible when you’re trying to save the dollars.
Photo: Credit Crunch Bride
The trick is to not feel obligated. If your budget is set, then stick to it. If you have parents who are insistent that they invite their friends, then give each set of parents a magic number that can’t be broken or you could try to suggest that because it’s your wedding and not theirs, that you don’t want people that you don’t know there – This will be fine with some families and not so fine with others – that will be up to you to navigate.
2. Ask for wedding help instead of gifts.
If you are lucky enough to have friends with special wedding day skills, don’t be afraid to ask for some help. I know I said don’t scrimp on the photos, but you might have an amateur photographer in your posse who is trying to build their portfolio and wouldn’t mind doing the job for a little bit cheaper. Perhaps you are besties with a potential Masterchef caterer? Or how about your cousin who plays guitar and sings?
These jobs take up a LOT of time and effort for the your friends and may attract some costs, especially the catering, so I’m certainly not suggesting that you ask for these services for free. However, you could come to a mutual arrangement so that your very generous friends are not left too much out of pocket.
Another idea is to contact your local university who might have arts students – musicians or photographers who might be willing to take on the job at a discounted price.
3. Hold the ceremony in the park or in your back yard.
Hiring a function centre for your ceremony and reception can be very expensive. Instead, consider using your own home (or the home of a parent) for your ceremony, or perhaps a park with a beautiful view.
If you go the outdoor route make sure you have a back-up plan in case of bad weather. That might mean hiring a marquee if the forecast is predicting rain, or a few industrial fans if it’s an extremely hot day — or if you’ve got time on your hands, simply get everyone inside the house to wait out a storm.
4. Fire up the barby.
This seems like a fairly low key type of affair, but a small intimate party can be just as much fun and more meaningful as you are surrounded by only your closest family and friends. In lieu of gifts, you could ask guests to bring nibbles, a salad or a dessert.
You can still make a back yard do into a stylish event. If it’s your thing – think shabby chic flowers in jars; flowers that you’ve grown in your own garden; country style bunting strung between trees; vintage plates and tea cups; antique linens on trestle tables – all these ideas can be sourced for very little or less.
5. Stop and smell the flowers.
Think about it – bridal bouquets are beautiful, but they can be super expensive and they last for a day. What about making your own bouquet with flowers from your own garden? Or get creative and make a bouquet out of something else – buttons, brooches or seashells?
Another idea is fake flowers. You can get some pretty realistic looking flowers and they would last a bit lot longer on groomsmen too.
6. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen.
While in some circles it’s considered customary to give gifts to your groomsmen and bridesmaids, it isn’t always necessary. In fact, you could save everyone a bit of money here.
Rather than asking you bridesmaids to buy or have dresses made – dresses that, let’s be honest, they’re never going to wear again – maybe give them a colour palette or a particular fabric and let them choose something that they will wear again, then they’ll probably be more happy to pay for it themselves (or maybe they already have something perfect in their wardrobe) After all their hard work, perhaps you could shout a round of drinks or give a simple card with a heartfelt thanks is enough of a gesture and if your friends know that you’re trying to stick to a budget, they’ll understand.
7. Get creative with homemade invites
With a quality home printer, a pair of scissors, a glue stick and some time, you can make very classy invitations on your own. My friends had a beautiful beach wedding and they printed out their invitations, tea stained the paper and burnt the edges like a treasure map.
They sprinkled sand and shells into empty Corona bottles that they’d been collecting for weeks months and rolled up the invitation and slotted it in. The invitations had to be hand delivered, but it was totally worth it.
8. Plug in your iPod
Rather than hiring a DJ, just use your own equipment. If you’ve only got headphones, then borrow from a friend or hire speakers to go around the dance floor area.
Create a playlist on your iPod that features a few hours’ worth of your favourite songs. You could also ask guests to suggest their favourite songs that they’d like to hear at the wedding. Choosing your own songs is a great way to personalise the entire experience.
9. Stock the bar yourself.
Alcohol is a big expense when it comes to a lot of weddings, and it’s also a big variable you can play around with to cut costs. Instead of opting for a full open bar, for instance, you can save money offering just beer and wine, or a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar.
If you do hire a function centre, ask if they’ll let you supply your own alcohol instead of using the venue’s, which can be a big money-saver. Look for a discount bottle shop in your area, and stock up on the basics: red and white wine and two types of beer. If you want to offer a full bar, pick up the standard spirits plus a few mixers, soft drinks and juice.
Keep in mind that while it’s more cost-efficient to buy a keg of beer instead of cases, any leftover beer will go to waste, whereas you can store excess bottles for months. And that’s helpful, since it’s a good idea to overestimate — you don’t want to run out drinks halfway through the reception.
10. Beg, borrow and …….
A great way to save some dosh is sourcing second had decs.
You could contact people who have just had their wedding and see if
they want to sell give you their only slightly used decorations. If they’re free you might not mind too much about the style or colour. If there are no freebies around, you might try sites like Gumtree.
11. The dress
This is maybe another area where you will be tempted to spend a quid. Keep in mind though that even though it’s your special big day, you will probably only wear this dress once so think about some ways to save.
Second hand dresses – you can generally be pretty sure that second hand dresses have probably only been worn once. What about choosing something that isn’t a traditional white gown? Do you know a seamstress that could run you up something gorgeous for a fraction of the price?
12. The honeymoon
This is another part that I personally wouldn’t scrimp on, but that’s me. Honeymoon holidays can be as big or as small as you feel you can afford.
You could have a couple of days in a hotel in your own city, exploring it like you were a tourist; A weekend away down south; Broome in the winter when the weather is glorious, you could stay in the caravan park; what about picking a landmark that neither of you have ever seen and going on an adventure? Bali is always cheap and cheerful or you could go camping glamping in the bush….. or you could save on every other element of the day and head to Europe for a month!
13. Plan, plan, plan.
When you’re trying to have a wedding on a budget, it’s important to plan ahead. List everything you can think of and walk through these items step by step.
The earlier you get started – and the more things you think about early on – the less “last-minute stress” you’ll have, and the more time you’ll have to find sales and discounts and research other good ideas. This will also give time to the lovely friends you’ve delegated jobs to get them done.
14. Don’t stress.
Something will probably go wrong and it will probably go wrong at the last minute when it’s too late to do anything about it. So the best way to deal with it…..Don’t worry about it – and have some wellies on standby from www.thewellyshop.com
Photo: Love Weddings
If you prepare yourself for a situation where something doesn’t happen the way you planned, then it’s not a drama. That way you won’t feel the need to throw money at the problem; you can just accept it and move on with your day….
and if nothing goes wrong – bonus!
Remember – the reason you’re here…… to marry the one you love.
Have you ever wondered where wedding traditions come from? Do they still apply to the modern wedding? Are you blindly following traditions, just because? Or are you bravely paving the way to creating your own traditions?
Wedding Traditions – There is actually nothing romantic behind western wedding traditions. Most of them date back 100s of years to when the bride was forced into the marriage and it was nothing more than a transfer of property between the two families. The property being the Bride!
Some traditions are slowly changing as more and more couples decide which traditions suit them and having a wedding completely void of tradition is totally ok as well! Remember, apart from the small amount of legal wording that you and the celebrant have to say, then rest is up to you. You can choose to have the same wedding that everyone else has had or you could have a super fun, unique, individually styled wedding fiesta!
So, if some traditions are changing, what is making us hold on to the other ones?
You may already have an idea of what you want to include and what you want to leave out of your own ceremony. Maybe knowing where they came from will help you decide if they have meaning to you and your partner.
Father of the Bride Giving Her Away:
Back in the day, the father of the bride would walk his daughter down the aisle to her waiting groom. The bride and groom would have never met and the bride’s head would be covered in a veil to shield her from the groom’s view until the very last moment, so if he deemed her too unattractive, then, it would be too late. This whole masquerade was a financial transaction between the two families; an arranged marriage that would hopefully benefit them both.
Some people in the modern world still choose to have their dear old dad walk them down the aisle, but the focus in more on the father giving his blessing to the union rather than a business agreement. In the same vein, some people choose to have their mother or both their parents, a brother, uncle or family friend and some choose to either walk down the aisle on their own or with their partner – walking in together. I quite like this one as it symbolises that both parties have made their own choice to enter into the marriage together and they are starting as they mean to go on.
Wearing a White dress:
Royals originally married in a silver dress, aristocrats in purple and some in blue to symbolise fidelity, and commoners would just pop on their Sunday ‘best’. It was Queen Victoria that changed all that when she wore white – she liked that white symbolised purity and chastity.
The old school rule for the last 100 or so years is that your wedding dress should be white and most brides still follow this tradition as it is the most iconic symbol of the wedding day. However, there is no law that says you have to wear a white dress. If you’re got your heart set on on traditional, that’s fine too – it can be white or ivory, but don’t be afraid to add a pop of colour with a sash, a wrap, a funky pair of shoes or piece of jewellery. If you want to be super brave and unique – wear your favourite colour or a suit. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
Bridal bouquets originated back in the 1400 and 1500s when people would only bathe once a year, therefore most people were a bit on the nose and carrying a freshly picked bunch of flowers helped to mask the pungent odour.
There are some beautiful bouquets around now that are made of brooches, buttons, shells and starfish or even fruit! If you choose, you don’t have to have a bouquet at all, however it is nice to hold something in your hands
Throwing the Bouquet
The story behind this tradition is downright dirty. In medieval times, it was considered lucky to get a fragment of the bride’s clothing, so hordes of guests would follow the newlywed couple into their wedding chamber after the ceremony and stand around the bed, trying to rip pieces of the bride’s gown right off her body. Because dresses were often torn apart, brides searched for alternatives to preserve their gowns and began throwing their bouquets to distract guests while they made their getaway. When the bride and groom made it safely into their wedding chamber, the groom would then crack open the door and toss the bride’s garter to the throngs of people waiting outside as a way of saying that he was about to “seal the deal.”
In the past, at semi modern weddings, the groom would remove and toss the bride’s garter to the groomsmen right after the bride tosses her bouquet to the bridesmaids. Traditionally, the unmarried man who caught the garter would place it on the leg of the unmarried woman who caught the bouquet, and it is said that they would be the next two to marry (not necessarily to each other).
It can be a fun activity at your reception depending on whether you think your guests would be happy to participate….. and It’s always funny (and just a little bit sad) to watch a group of grown women fighting to the death to catch the bouquet.
The job of a bridesmaid originally was to act as a decoy. All the bridesmaids would dress the same as the bride and try to fool any many who tried to capture the bride before she made it to the church. If a bride was captured, the villain would have his way with her, therefore consummating the marriage and the father of the bride would be forced to pay him a dowry. Now days the bridesmaid’s job is to attend to the bride’s every whim whilst trying their darnedest not to upstage her at any time.
The old tradition was that bridesmaids were female and groomsmen were male – end of story, but sometimes when you’re a girl, your best bud is a boy and vice versa. Why shouldn’t you get to share your wedding experience together just because your best mate has got the wrong genitals?
The ‘modern’ old school rule was that the bridesmaids should wear matching dresses and shoes and hairstyles and since there is no real fear of the bride being kidnapped on her way to the church anymore, this is down to a) tradition and b) fashion – regardless of the bridesmaid’s shape, colouring, taste or opinion!
The new ‘rule’, if you want to call it that is still based on fashion, however, it’s a little more user friendly for the bridesmaids. Bride’s are choosing a colour or a colour pallet and letting their girls choose the style that best suits them.
Something old, something new, etc…
This Victorian rhyme is a time-honoured tradition that is supposed to bring the bride good luck. Wearing “something old” expresses the newlywed couple’s desire to retain connections with their family once they enter into married life. One tradition suggests that the bride’s “something old” be an old garter given to the bride by a happily married woman so that the new bride would also enjoy a happy marriage. Wearing “something new” conveys that the couple is creating a new union that will endure forever and looking to the future for health, happiness and success. “Something borrowed” is an opportunity for the bride’s friends or family to lend her something special as a token of their love. And finally, “something blue” is a symbol of fidelity and constancy.
Many modern brides find it fun to keep with this tradition by wearing something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Think of creative ways to incorporate all four items into your wedding-day ensemble.
Not seeing each other the night before
During the time when arranged marriages were custom, the betrothed couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. Remember the business deal that the bride’s father had going on with the groom’s family? Well, this was another way to stop the groom pulling out of the deal before the marriage could happen.
Although today arranged marriages are not that common (unless you’ve just watched the social experiment on Channel Nine – Married At First Sight), most brides still don’t want their groom to see them all done up before the wedding. Many believe it makes the day more exciting and memorable. However, some couples feel they’ll be more relaxed if they see each other for just a few minutes before the ceremony. The added bonus is that you can take your formal pictures pre-ceremony when everyone is freshly done-up. It’s completely up to you and your partner. Talk about it before the big day arrives and find out what makes the most sense for you.
Why So Formal?
Traditionally weddings are a fairly formal event, but your ceremony can be as black tie or as barefoot on the beach as you want it to be. There are plenty of ideas for wedding themes. Just think about what comes natural to you and your partner and go from there. If you’re beach people – go to the beach. If you’re low key happy to stay at home people – maybe a backyard BBQ is more you? If you love nothing more than cracking out the designer crockery for a highbrow dinner party with your friends – then that’s exactly what you should do.
Here’s an idea – Design your ceremony programs to suit your style. If you’re a fun couple, you could turn your programs into a playful comic strip or a crossword puzzle with clues about your relationship. Guests will love the fun idea and they’ll appreciate having something to do while they wait for the ceremony to start.
Vows – Saying “I do!”
There’s nothing wrong with sticking the same vows that so many couples have said before you, except that we are now living in a time where women and men are (getting to be) equal and the thought of standing in front of your friends and family and promising to “love, honour and obey” your new husband gives me goosebumps – and not in a good way.
Vows should be declarations of love (in addition to the legal bits) that you say in your own natural language. They should be meaningful only to you and your partner. Be as creative and unique as you like. I once went to a wedding where the bride promised to try and type quieter on her laptop because she knew that it annoyed her partner. If you are unsure where to start you can look to song lyrics, poems and story books for inspiration.
Let me finish by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with including traditional standards into your wedding. Nothing at all. But I can’t help but feel that there is a change in the air and that excites me no end.
Marriage equality for all, new creative ideas and the birth of new traditions…….