Coronavirus and your wedding

how will Coronavirus affect my wedding

Wow! It seems that almost overnight we find ourselves in a world that we don’t recognise. Events being cancelled, venues closing their doors indefinitely and bans and limits on gatherings…. all of these things could affect your wedding.

As a celebrant, I work closely with my couples to help them realise their dream day and to give them the best experience possible, so it breaks my heart to know that my couples are having to consider downsizing, postponing and even cancelling their carefully made plans.

So…. what are your options?

As it stands today, if you have planned to have your wedding to take place between March and August this year, and your guest list is over 100…

[and remember that this number includes you, your guests, the staff at your reception venue, all your wedding vendors including your photographer, celebrant & DJ, etc…]

…then, I’m so sorry to say that you will have to make some big decisions, which isn’t going to be fun….. and if your wedding is sooner rather than later, unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of ‘waiting and seeing’. Listening to the medical experts, it looks like it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, so here are your options at the moment…

Postpone – Choose another date that works for you and your vendors either later in the year or maybe even safer (I’m no expert!) into next year. If you act early, this will give you a much better chance of locking in all of the same wedding vendors on the same date and they’ll appreciate being able to carry over your fee rather than giving a refund.

However, one thing to note…. a lot of next year’s Saturday @3pm slots will have already been booked by new couples, so you might consider a Friday or a Sunday or another week day…. also a morning ceremony can also be lovely.

As disappointing as it may seem, you may need to stop and recalibrate and realise that changes to your perfectly planned day might need to happen.

Minimise – and practice “Social Distancing” – Explain to some of your guests that you need to downsize your guest list in order to fit the limit of 100 gathered people…

[remember the limit of 100 people for indoor gatherings was correct at the time of writing on the 20th March 2020 – but things are changing overnight, so stay informed]

Elope – Just your celebrant and your two witnesses (standing 1.5m away from each other) and you declaring your love for each other and then signing the paperwork – just save your festivities for later on when the dust settles. We can also include a “Celebration of Love” ceremony to those festivities.

Cancel – The last resort, because if you’ve gone to the trouble of planning your wedding, you clearly want to get married, so you’ll still get married, just down the track a little… but if this is your choice – cancel everything, try your best to secure refunds from your vendors [check each vendor’s Ts&Cs for info on refunds & cancellations] and then wait it out and see what happens. Then, when you’re ready, try and book it all again.

What can I do to help you?

If you have lodged your NOIM with me and paid your lodgement fee [this fee, as you know, is non-refundable], then I am locked into marrying you at some point. The NOIM is valid for up to 18 months from the date of lodgement, so if your new date happens to go beyond the 18 month mark, we will simply lodge a new NOIM and I will waive the new lodgement fee.

If you have paid for your ceremony with me in full, your payment will be held and when your new ceremony date comes around, it will be like you’re getting my services for free as you won’t need to pay anything more.

If I am already booked on your new date, then I will find you a new celebrant and together we can work out the transfer of documents and fees.

If your decision is to cancel altogether, please give me a call and we can talk it through.

These are unprecedented times and I can only imagine the disappointment that will be felt by having to undo and redo your wedding plans, but this is where we’re at and if we want to play an active part in protecting our loved ones, especially those who are the most vulnerable, then these drastic decisions have to be made.

It’s important to remember that while having a big party to celebrate your marriage is tradition and great fun, your end goal is to become married to the love of your life…. and we can still make that happen.

To keep up to date with the information as it comes in – always follow reputable sources… just because somebody on Facebook said it, doesn’t make it true.

Stay safe… practice Social Distancing… If you’re ill, call your doctor… self isolate… and wash your hands!

Love wins

marriage equality

Marriage Equality!

On the 7th of December 2017 the Australian Government finally passed a law that allowed same sex couples to marry, giving all couples the same rights when it comes to immediate recognition of their relationship, overseas marriage, family, spousal maintenance, divorce, next of kin and property settlement.

This has been a long and arduous struggle for LGBTQI people, their families and friends as well as all those Australians who have simply supported equality, and we are finally here.

As of the 9th December 2017, all celebrants will start to use the new marriage documents and will say the new words “Marriage, in Australia, is a union of TWO PEOPLE, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life” rather than the growingly unpopular “union of a man and a woman”.

I think this is fabulous. It’s inclusive, it’s embracing and it makes me happy.

So if you are in a same sex relationship and you’d like to get married – then go for it!

Firstly you will need to make sure that:

* you are both 18+ (in special cases whereby one partner is 16+ and the other is 18+ you can apply for court approval)
* you’re not legally married to anyone else (this now applies to same sex marriages performed overseas as they are now automatically recognised in Australia)
* you both consent to the marriage
* you have given your celebrant at least one month and no more than 18 months notice (starting from the 9th December 2017)
* you are able to provide ID that proves a) where and when you were born and b) you are who you say you are (ie: passport or birth certificate & driver’s licence)

** If you have been legally married before, you will need to provide an original copy of the divorce or death certificate proving the end of that marriage.


You complete a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form and lodge it with your celebrant – this is when you show all the ID and other necessary documents.

You wait at least one month and then you get married.

On the day of your marriage ceremony your celebrant will explain to you, your witnesses and your guests who they are and that they are authorised by law to solemnise your marriage and they will also remind you that the binding relationship you are about to enter is serious and for real.

(These two lovely ladies will be my first ever legal same sex ceremony participants – they lodged their form on Saturday, and will be married on the earliest day possible – the 9th January)

Photo by: Callum & Co –


You and your partner will say the following words:

“I ask the people here present to witness that I, (your name), take you, (your partner’s name), to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse”

You can of course add your own personal vows and promises and there are thousands of ways to make your ceremony unique to the two of you.

That’s where your celebrant comes in…..  We get together and we get to know each other and discuss all your ideas and then the perfect ceremony is created just for you.

If you’d like some more information, to book your special date or you’d just like to chat, then please get in contact:

Shell Brown – Marriage Celebrant
Mobile: 0408 490 074

Wedding Day Co-ordinator

wedding button hole

Have you thought about appointing a “Wedding Day Co-ordinator”?

Think about your day…..

You’re getting ready.

Your best pals are helping you fasten your buttonhole or position your headpiece.

wedding button hole
Neither of you have got time to be worrying about whether:

The harp player hasn’t turned up

If the hire chairs are clean

Aunty Margie can’t find the ceremony location

The wrong flowers have turned up.

Just to name a few things that might happen….

Marriage Celebrant Mandurah Geraldton

If you are having your marriage ceremony at a venue, they may provide a function/event manager to oversee all of these things, but you should ask the question as to what exactly is in their job description.
beach wedding

If you’re getting married somewhere else, maybe the beach or a park – then it will be quite important to either hire a co-ordinator or ask a reliable friend to take on the role.

Here are some things that might need to be overseen.

Be a contact person for all the wedding suppliers on the day.

Make sure the musician has arrived and has everything they need to set up

wedding day coordinator

Liaise with the hire company as they’re dropping off chairs and setting up other decorations

Organise for some helpers to set out the chairs, if you’re bringing your own

Speak with the celebrant to make sure everything is running to schedule

Be the holder of any park permits or liquor licences needed for the space

wedding photographer

Check in with the photographer to make sure they are all ready to go

Know the order of proceedings including how the bridal party will be arriving – or at least have it written down

Be privy to any last minute changes so as to inform the relevant people

Be the “go-to” guy/gal for questions regarding everything

These are not super difficult jobs, but somebody has got to do them and they are certainly not things that you want to be worried about your big day.



hand ball

pass the buck



turn over

let go

Whatever you have to do to make your day easy, simple and relaxed.


Do We Need a Wedding Rehearsal?

wedding rehearsal

Do we really need a Wedding Rehearsal?

This is a question that is asked by nearly every couple.

The answer is pretty easy…… you don’t NEED a wedding rehearsal, but here are few reasons you might WANT a wedding rehearsal.

wedding rehearsal

Having a run through at the location of your ceremony eases the nerves.

If you have young children in your bridal party – a wedding rehearsal gives them a sense of direction and the confidence they need on the day.

There’s no worrying about whether the song you’ve chosen to walk down the aisle is long enough – because you’ve tested it.

If you time your wedding rehearsal correctly, you can anticipate where the sun will be on the day.

You’ll know when it’s going to be your turn to speak.

You can fix any little issues that arise.

Wedding Rehearsal

This is the time think about logistics:

Who will be in charge of putting the chairs out?

Who will give the signal that we’re ready to make our entrance?

Which of my bridesmaids should walk first?

When you reach the front of the aisle, who will I give my flowers to?

What does my dad do after he walks me down the aisle?

Who will be responsible for the flower girl?

And the list goes on………

On the other hand, if you’re the type of couple who likes to fly by the seat of your pants, then don’t worry about it.

Let’s just play it by ear, go with the flow and surprise ourselves.

Destination Wedding

Destination Weddings

They are all the rage at the moment – and why not?

Destination Wedding

Fiji  |   Phuket  |  Maldives  |  Bali

You may fancy a neutral location for your destination wedding that is equal distance for all your guests?

A beautiful, tropical beach location – a place that could double as your honeymoon, surrounded by all your family and friends………

It sounds idyllic!

But have you thought about the finer details?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for having your wedding wherever you want to have it, but first ask yourselves these questions:

 Do we want to spend our honeymoon surrounded by family and friends?

It may sound like a great idea at the time and for some groups – it will be ideal, but think about how you’ve always want to spend your honeymoon and then consider if this is for you.


 Will our family and friends be able to afford the overseas place we choose?

This can be an awkward and tricky conversation to have.  You don’t want to compromise on the day you want simply because one person can’t afford it.  So you need to weigh up what’s more important to you.

Photo: Pixabay

 How difficult will it be to find somebody to legally marry us in our country of choice?

Planning a destination wedding from a different town/city is difficult enough let alone a different country, and perhaps one where English is a second language.  Sure there are companies and organisations and hotels who will help you, but you won’t be able to meet the person who will marry you until the last minute – then, if they’re not right, is it s a bit late to change your mind?

 Will our marriage be legal once we return to Australia?

Here are some links on getting married overseas that might be helpful:

Smart Traveller

Attorney General’s Office

Births, Deaths & Marriage – Western Australia


Can we register our marriage in Australia if we’re legally married somewhere else?

The answer to this question, by the way, is no (see the links above)

old map of Australia

So many questions!

Here is my handy hint…..

What if I was to tell you that there was a very easy way for you to have your destination wedding cake and eat it too?

brides_eat_cakePhoto borrowed from

Step 1: Legally marry in an intimate/elopement ceremony in Australia before you go (you could even invite those who can’t make the overseas destination as your witnesses)

Remember:  You need to complete your Notice of Intended Marriage and lodge it with your celebrant a full month before your ceremony can take place

Step 2: Invite those friends and family who would like to/are able to travel to the destination wedding ceremony

Photo Credit - Jonathan Ivy
Photo Credit – Jonathan Ivy

Step 3: Once you’ve spent a bit of time with your guests – [you have, after all, invited them them to travel with you] book a secluded location for just the two of you

This way your marriage is registered in Australia and there is no red foreign tape to get through; you haven’t offended any of your guests and there are no worries.

Photo: Pixabay
Your destination ceremony, which would be called “A celebration of your marriage” (as you can’t marry twice) can be performed by somebody from the destination country – just make sure they realise that you are already married in Australia and that you don’t sign any extra legal marriage documents


To make it even more simpler, you could take your Australian celebrant along with you

Ask me if I’m available… my passport is always at the ready and my bag is already packed! T&C’s apply)

tesitimonial pic

Check out the many testimonials from the lovely couples who have used my services and see if I’m the right fit for you.

Harmony Day – Celebrating Cultural Diversity

This week, in each state of Australia, we are celebrating Cultural Diversity with Harmony Day on the 21st March

 Harmony Week brings people together from all walks of life to promote community harmony and to celebrate the many cultures that make our country so vibrant. 

cultural diversity

There are some fascinating statistics about Australia’s diversity. 

Did you know:

*around 45 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was
*85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia 
*apart from English the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, 
Vietnamese, Tagalog/Filipino, Spanish and Hindi
*more than 60 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia
*92 per cent of Australians feel a great sense of belonging to our country
Harmony Day

The Origin of Harmony Week 

(information taken from

“This week coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid ‘pass laws’. Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the UN General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.”


So, if you want to know how you can get involved in your state – click here for all the info 

You can jump on Facebook

You can check out Twitter

You can post a selfie on Instagram

Get involved and share and let people know that everyone is welcome

everyone welcomePhoto: public domain pictures

Think about it for a minute…..

If we weren’t such a multicultural country we wouldn’t go for Yum Cha on the a Sunday; we wouldn’t be eating pasta or sipping cappuccinos; we wouldn’t be playing boules or bocce on the beach; there would be no butter chicken or naan bread;  we wouldn’t know about tai chi; there would be no chocolate; we probably wouldn’t wear sarongs and there would be no sushi!

What? No yum cha?

Photo: Pixabay

This is not a world I want to live in!

I love to travel and try foods and experiences within a different culture from my own.  I love learning about what makes us different and in turn what makes us the same.  It’s interesting, it’s exhilarating and it makes me feel like I’m part of their world.  I also love that I can come home and live in a country where people from many cultures have been able to find a place to live in my world.

However, it’s not all about the food……

People from different cultures bring a different way of life, a different view of the world, a different perspective about life and death and rearing children and the importance of animals and and understanding of things we know nothing about, and they are all things that we can share and learn from each other.

Now, hand over the dumplings and nobody gets hurt!



Wedding Anniversary Symbols

I belong to a fabulous celebrant association called: Civil Celebrants Network CCN and recently I wrote a blog post for our association blog all about where wedding anniversary symbols originated.  I found it so interesting that I wanted to share it here with you as well.


Have you ever wondered about what wedding anniversary symbols are all about?

No one knows precisely when wedding anniversaries were first celebrated, but the tradition is believed to go back at least to the Middle Ages.  At that time in the Germanic regions of Europe, a husband crowed his wife with a silver wreath on the 25th anniversary of their wedding day.  If the couple was fortunate to live long enough, the husband presented his wife with a gold wreath on their 50th wedding anniversary.

Over the years more symbols have been added and it is generally believed that increasingly durable gifts were chosen for successive years to represent the progressive strengthening of the marriage relationship.  As the years go by, the gifts increase in strength and worth from paper to diamond.

1st Wedding Anniversary


Photo: Pixabay

The first year of marriage is like a clean sheet of paper, a new beginning upon which to write your story through the years together.  Also like paper, it is fragile and can easily rip, not having yet been tried by the fires of adversity and the storms of life.

2nd Wedding Anniversary


Photo: Pixabay

Like the interwoven fibres of cotton, the second year of marriage brings a couple closer together as their lives become increasingly intertwined.  As cotton is at the same time both strong and soft, the couple is learning how to be flexible and adapt to each other’s needs.

3rd Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols Leather

Leather has traditionally symbolised protection and covering; our ancestors covered and protected themselves from the elements with the leather hides of animals.  The bonds of marriage offer security and shelter as each partner takes care of the other.  Now in its third year, the growing relationship is becoming a source of stability for the married couple.

4th Wedding Anniversary

Fruit & Flowers

Wedding Anniversary Symbols fruit & Flowers

During the fourth year of marriage, the budding relationship is beginning to blossom like a flower and ripen like fruit.  Just as fruit nourishes the body and flowers the soul, so the deepening commitment and nurturing love of the couple brings refreshment and renewal to the marriage.

5th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols woodPhoto: Aleksandr Volkov – Fine Art America

In ancient times, trees symbolised strength and wisdom.  By the fifth year of marriage, the married couple is developing strong, deep roots like a venerable oak tree and is gaining insight and understanding from the mistakes and stumblings of the first five years.  The pair has learned the most important lesson of all and the secret to a successful marriage – forgiveness.

6th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols sweets

As candy is to the taste, so romance is to marriage: sugary sweet.  Celebrating the sixth year of marriage offers a time to rekindle the flames of love and passion that brought the two of you together.

7th Wedding Anniversary

Copper & Wool

Wedding Anniversary Symbols copper & wool

Both copper and wool are known for producing heat.  Therefore they represent warmth, comfort, safety and security – necessary ingredients for a healthy and stable marriage.

8th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols bronze

The gifts for wedding anniversaries tend to increase in substance and value over time as marriage itself should grow and strengthen over time.  Bronze is stronger than both iron and copper, symbols of earlier years of marriage, because it is a blend of two metals (copper and tin).  This mixture represents the union of two lives and the strength resulting from combining time with perseverance.

9th Wedding Anniversary

Pottery & Willow

Wedding Anniversary Symbols pottery & willow

A potter moulds a lump of clay, shaping it on the potter’s wheel, and then fires it in the over, creating something both rich and beautiful.  So too, the marriage of two people is moulded and shaped by choices and experiences, fired in the oven of adversity, and over time, something beautiful emerges.

10th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols tin

Tin symbolises preservation and longevity.  At one time, food was stored in tin-plated iron cans, the tin protected the iron from rust and corrosion, preserving the food inside, potentially forever.  A couple at the milestone anniversary of ten years has the ability to go the distance.  Therefore, the tenth anniversary should be celebrated with special honour.

11th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols steel

Steel is one of the strongest, most durable metals in the world, and therefore a fitting symbol for the eleventh anniversary.  The cord binding the marriage together can no longer be easily broken, if it ever could.  Strength and permanence define this milestone anniversary.

12th Wedding Anniversary 


Wedding Anniversary Symbols silk

A couple that reaches twelve years of marriage has, undoubtedly, sailed through many rough waters and overcome a great many obstacles in their relationship.  Having been strengthened by enduring difficulties, they now eagerly anticipate that the road ahead will be smooth as silk.  It is time to enjoy the finer things in life.  Celebrate this anniversary by taking time to indulge in luxury and pleasure.

13th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols lace

A lace signifies refined beauty and elegance, so a marriage of thirteen years exemplifies polished and perfected love.  The passage of time has created a delicate but strong object of beauty.

14th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols ivory

Ivory symbolises purity and innocence.  Rare and beautiful, this precious commodity signifies the integrity of fidelity of the marriage relationship and the extraordinary sense of commitment two people must have to make a marriage last fourteen years.  Loyalty and devotion are qualities worthy of commemoration. Recently there has been a change made to the traditional gift of ivory due to the devastating effect on the lives of elephants, therefore it is recommended that you choose imitation ivory or a piece of elephant jewellery.

15th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols crystal

Crystal is the first truly expensive gift in the traditional anniversary list.  The costliness of crystal is representative of the sacrifice and investment the couple has made to the marriage over the past fifteen years.  Crystal also symbolises clarity and transparency, reflecting the state of the couple’s relationship.  They now know each other better than they know themselves.

20th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols china

China symbolises the beautiful, elegant and fragile nature of love.  It is a reminder not to take your marriage for granted, but to continue to care for it so your love will flourish.  In addition, just as china, although fragile, is also durable and long-lasting, so a twenty year marriage has withstood the test of time.

25th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols silver

Silver is one of the most precious metals known to man.  It has always been prized the world over and considered very valuable.  It is therefore an appropriate symbol for the twenty fifth wedding anniversary.  Like silver, may your marriage continue to shine in splendour and radiance all of your days as you grow old together.

30th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols pearl

Lying hidden deep inside the shell of an oyster is one of the most exquisite and treasured gems imaginable: the pearl.  Symbolising hidden beauty, the pearl reminds the maturing couple that true beauty comes from within and that what is most valuable is the shared experience of life with another.

35th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols coral

Coral has often been called the “garden of the sea” because it covers the ocean floor.  In ancient times it was considered sacred and believed to contain magical properties of protection from sickness and harm.  It was also thought to represent the life force due to its blood red appearance.  Like coral, loyalty and commitment are the lifeblood of a good marriage and love the shield that protects the union.

40th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols ruby

Symbolising love and passion, the ruby is one of the most coveted gemstones of all.  Within the heart of this stone is thought to lie a flame of fire that grows brighter with each passing year, just like the flame of a forty year marriage.

45th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols sapphire

For long ages the stone of royalty, the sapphire is the perfect gem to honour a forty five year marriage.  Two people together for this length of time are a shining example to all married couples.  Theirs is a union worthy of admiration and respect.

50th Wedding Anniversary


Wedding Anniversary Symbols gold

Only one gift can rightly capture the crowning achievement of lifelong love: gold.  Symbolising prosperity, strength, and wisdom, it represents the essence of what a fifty year marriage should be.

Why not give me a buzz and we can talk about how to turn your next wedding anniversary into a special, meaningful ceremony.

Maybe you’ll even consider renewing your wedding vows???

The Power of Celebration


This post “What is the Power of Celebration?” written by Certified Career and Life Coach, Michael Feeley was found in The Huffington Post and was read by yours truly after a meeting of celebrant colleagues had discussed how fabulous it was and how it embodied the true meaning of celebration.

I wanted to share it here with you without all the flashing adverts on the side.

 You’re welcome.

Photo included in the article on

What is the Power of Celebration?

How happy and excited are you when you celebrate something?

You celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, holidays — all kinds of personal and special occasions. You give a card or gift, call the person, throw a party, go to lunch or dinner and surprise someone with your love. You think and feel so deeply for the person or people, and it gives you out-and-out, crashing joy.

Those emotions, ceremonies, giving and big feelings of love are all gratitude.

The other morning our phone rang around 7:30 a.m., and the person said, “I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to call right away to wish you — happy anniversary!” It was 100-percent lush, open gratitude.

The power of celebration is this — you are grateful and happy.
Celebration and gratitude are one and the same.

Let’s get more specific

When you celebrate someone’s birthday you’re saying — “I’m grateful you were born.”
An anniversary — “I love you. I’m grateful for our marriage.”
Holidays –Thanksgiving, the Forth of July and Bastille Day, all hail gratitude — “We’re independent. We celebrate living free of tyranny.”
All religions celebrate a higher being… something larger than us… a mighty force that created the world. Terms don’t matter. Call it God, reality or the universe.
Art is a celebration — Music like Mozart’s, “Alleluia,” is utter praise of the world in one word, sung in many different ways.
The musical group, Three Dog Night, sings — “Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music… “

Modern dance icon Martha Graham expresses it this way,

Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It’s a miracle and the dance is a celebration of that miracle.


Vincent Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” and “Sunflowers” out of love…

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.


Poet, Walt Whitman said,
I celebrate myself, and sing myself.

Parades, customs, prayer, shows, rites, biographies, commemorations, forgiveness, traditions, flower blossoms, friendship… are all an intricate part of gratitude and celebration.

Celebration is active, specific and abundant, as you can see from these examples. Gratitude is simply another word for it. Celebration is gratitude.

Look around you right now. There is something to celebrate; many things to celebrate. Pick one and start an active moment of celebration, an object of gratitude, a taste of celebration, a touch of gratitude, a smell of celebration or a sound of gratitude.

There’s the sun. It rises each day and celebrates with light, heat and growth. We depend on the sun for life. Its brilliance and warmth is a celebration. The power is amazing and gratifying all at once.

Doing the things you love is a way of celebrating and participating in the power and love of gratitude.

For me it’s meditation, gardening, writing, music, being in love and playing with my dog, Tulla. She wakes up every day and always has celebration in her spirit. She’s not moody or tired. She looks forward to breakfast, going outside, and then brings a toy to play… racing and fetching. She shares her happy self. That’s gratitude.

Also — don’t limit your love to just an intimate circle of friends and family. What about spreading celebration to other people, heading into universal love and appreciation? Just like Earth Day.

Where’s the celebration and gratitude in struggle and pain?

Things can be tragic and unbearable in life sometimes, but when you get through it there is tremendous relief. You’re changed. You learn and grow and become strong. The relief is celebration and gratitude for living through hell.

Even in death, we celebrate a person’s life and meaning. Pain and loss have celebration because you feel so much, no matter how bad it may seem. The agony and hurt comes from loving and missing. When we remember and honor the life of someone, their memory is a celebration. You have gratitude to them for being in your life and your loving memories are a personal celebration and tribute to them.

Wikipedia says, “A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, respecting, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died.”

What ruins and spoils celebration?

Ingratitude. Selfishness. Greed. Bitterness. Resentment. Anger. Anything negative that tightens you up, restricts and diminishes goodness, kindness and pleasure, kills gratitude and celebration.

You know people who prefer pain and unhappiness. They like to complain about everyone and everything. They choose misery over celebration. It’s destruction — the opposite of celebration.

How does this feel to you? “Let’s cheat and fool people. Let’s treasure our greed and celebrate that. Let’s overcharge people and not care at all.”

Scrooge did it in Charles Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol. Enron did it. Bernie Madoff did it. Brooke Astor’s son did it. They took advantage of people — they took more than they deserved.

Scrooge did change. That’s the beauty of Dickens’ story — he made a new and better choice to celebrate life and give back. Gratitude is way bigger than greed.

What stands for who you truly are and how you want to live — being dishonest or being grateful and good?

How can you be honest and kind all the time, not off and on, not a tiny bit of giving when you feel like it… but all the time?

We make choices and take action every second of our lives, to be a certain way… to either be negative or positive; grateful or resentful; happy or miserable; complaining, cold and mean or sincerely warm, kind and happy. Choices have consequences.


People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state — it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle… Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions. — Abraham Joshua Heschel

The energy of celebration is tremendous! Why not make it the predominant energy, choice and force that runs your life? Play at it. Commit. Have fun and see the results. Reap the bounty and benefits of “gratitudbration” or “celebratude.” They’re exactly the same no matter how you mix them up.

Don’t put celebration off for another moment or for a special occasion. Tap into it. Step in and live the joyous power of celebrating and being grateful for life.


The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. — Oprah Winfrey


A Beautiful Vintage Inspired Wedding

When my friends, Tanya and Nick got married at their vintage inspired wedding, everything was so gloriously beautiful that an article was written on the Love My Dress blog entitled:


By Annabel at

Please enjoy…….

A Beautiful, Vintage Inspired Wedding

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer – Sara Reeve –

Not too long ago I was a guest at two of my favourite friends – Tanya and Nick’s wedding in the UK.

Tanya is a freelance creative art worker who is super clever and stylish and Nick is an IT wizz who loves Sci-fi and is quietly hilarious.  They have great love story.  It was suggested by mutual friends that they meet as they were sure the two would get along.  The first (blind) date was set and they were to meet under the state of Eros – The Greek God Of Love in London’s Piccadilly Circus.

Quite fortuitous, some might say…..

Eros, God of Love
Eros, God of Love

That date was the first of many.

Skipping ahead somewhat past the courting stage and the moving in stage to the proposal – in France, no less – this couple just screams ‘romance’!  Nick had procured Tanya’s Grandmother’s engagement ring from Tanya’s parents without her knowing and had it resized to fit her dainty fingers.

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Their wedding theme began with the 1920’s ring and developed into a vintage, art deco – think Great Gatsby with peacock feathers extravaganza.

“Tanya’s dress was from the made to measure collection by vintage wedding dress specialists, Hope and Harlequin – created using an original 1930s dress pattern.” Annabel,

“My bias-cut dress was created using a gorgeous 1930s chevron pattern, from lustrous heavy champagne silk satin. It featured a stunning back view with an elegantly plunging v and a beautiful floppy bow at the waist.  I tried on a range of original vintage dresses prior to the made-to-measure collection which were all gorgeous, but as soon as I slipped on the ‘Chevron’ dress it was the wow moment every bride is waiting for.” Tanya via

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Tanya’s “something old” was her Great Grandmother’s lace veil……

“When we held up my great grandmother’s delicate lace vintage veil (over 100 years old!) against the dress, I was thrilled that the style and colour was a perfect match. We decided to arrange it as a demure shrug for the Church service rather than a traditional veil, draping down my back to show off the scalloped edges and compliment the low V of the back.” Tanya via  

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Living in England, there was no shortage of beautiful flowers and luckily – relatives with very green thumbs and extraordinary flower arranging skills.

“We are fortunate to have a very green-fingered family, and subsequently all the stunning flower arrangements, including Dahlias and lace cap hydrangeas, in the church and reception were lovingly home grown by both our mums, and Nick’s Aunties Mavis and Doreen. We also foraged for Ivy in the local woods the day before!” Tanya via

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

From the amazing bouquets to the gorgeous table centre pieces……..

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

……. to the Groom and Groomsmen’s button holes – these generous and creative ladies did an exquisite job.

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

The location for this elegant shindig was Firle Place – a little village off a country Road in the heart of Sussex Downs, about 100kms from London. In the centre of the village sits The Ram Inn – a traditional open-fire inn with exceptional locally-sourced and produced food. The village also has its own blacksmith, one of the oldest cricket clubs in the world (founded in 1758) and even a well-known bonfire society.

The beautiful 13th Century St Peter’s Church in Firle contains, amongst many other things, a large stained glass window by John Piper depicting Blake’s Tree of Life.

“We fell in love with Firle Place as soon as we set eyes on it! Nestled in the South Downs, it’s a stunning private residence steeped in history. Sir John Gage, a close friend of Henry VIII, built the manor house in the early 16th century, and we knew straight away the barn style riding school and beautiful grounds would be perfect for our day. We also loved that St.Peter’s Church was right next door for our ceremony, complete with quirky Vicar, rev. Peter Owen-Jones who has presented a number of BBC documentaries!” Tanya & Nick via

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

This is my favourite time of the ceremony – when they see each other for the first time.

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Followed by “You may kiss the bride.”

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

One of the attached buildings to the church was the old Riding School which was transformed into this amazing reception venue.

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Now let’s talk about having talented relatives again for a moment……

Nick’s Mum, just happened to be a maker of wedding cakes in the past and I would say that her skills are still very much on par with the professionals.

Beautiful and Delicious!

“Nick’s super creative mum used to make cakes for a living, so the icing on the cake (excuse the pun!)was when she kindly agreed to make our wedding cake. After many delicious cake tasting sessions we chose a chocolate and orange sponge cake as it was also to be our dessert. Following the decadent theme, i mocked up my metallic vision in photoshop which she interpreted beautifully, enhancing it with exquisitely crafted sugar flowers to match the flower arrangements.” Tanya via

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Music can sometimes make or break a good party, so it’s always a wise move to do your homework.

As a guest at this wedding, I can’t remember a single dud song or a want to get off the dance floor – so job well done.  Still Moving DJ’s were fantastic and really fit into Tanya and Nick’s Vintage theme perfectly.

“I had my heart set on finding a DJ who could play gramophone records during the drinks reception, and was so pleased when we found the amazing and lovely chaps Tom and Martin who are Still Moving DJ’s. They also played an amazing evening set from vintage and electro swing to 60’s classics – the dance floor was heaving! Along with their incredible museum like set and live percussion drums, they even surprised us with a cake cutting song ‘if i knew you were coming i’d have baked a cake too!’  I’m also lucky to have a very funny father-in-law who did a fantastic job as MC for the day!” Tanya via

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

The sun came out for the day, highlighting this picturesque location……. I’ll let Sara Reeve’s gorgeous photos speak for themselves.

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

Speaking of Sara Reeve, she is the fabulous photographer who perfectly and beautifully captured the events of the day. Check our her website or you can click here to go straight to Sara’s blog post of Tanya and Nick’s Wedding.

“When I first found our photographer Sara Reeve in the Love Sussex Wedding directory her fresh and quirky style really appealed to me, and i loved how she effortlessly told the story of the day through capturing all the important details. Her warm and bubbly personality also really shone through from her blog entries, and when i spoke to her i immediately warmed to her and was thrilled she was available to photograph our wedding.

Sara was truly fantastic from her exceptional organisational skills, her flexibility and patience on the day in capturing all of our requested shots, to her highly creativity approach which involved jumping around, mexican waves, and lots of kissing!  We were blown away by the superb photographs – Sara did a fantastic job of capturing all our happy highlights.” Tanya & Nick via

Vintage Inspired Wedding
Photographer: Sara Reeve –


Those pins there on the left belong to me – rockin’ the dance floor!  This was one of the most fun weddings I’ve even been to.  The setting was divine, the food was delicious, the music was jamming, I was surrounded by my favourite people and the speeches would have to be the best, most hilarious – I’m talking side splittingly so that I’ve heard in ever.

Photographer: Sara Reeve -
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

So much time and effort went into making this a worthy celebration of such a special day and what made the day so special was watching my two friends make a commitment to each other, promising to always be by the other’s side.

Photographer: Sara Reeve -
Photographer: Sara Reeve –

2015 Update – In May this year, Tanya and Nick welcomed into their lives a beautiful son, Robin. ?

Congratulations to you both.


So there you have it lovely couples…… a beautiful vintage inspired wedding.

What will be your inspiration?

Give me a call on 0408 490 074 or email me through my Contact Page so we can share some ideas.

{Please note: Sara Reeve has given me permission to use her glorious photos on this blog post. Thank you Sara}

Sara Reeve Photography Logo

Do We Need Pre-Marriage Counselling?

As a Authorised Celebrant in Australia, it is a requirement to give couples wishing to get married a brochure called  Happily Ever Before and After which gives you information about the legal process of getting married and also some helpful hints about pre-marriage counselling.

Happily Ever After Pg1

Happily Ever After Pg2


Now, people hear the words “pre-marriage counselling” and think:
Photo: Integrity Church


“There’s nothing wrong with us, we don’t need that!”

“We’ve been living together for years, why would we need that?”

Photo: PIxabay

“Nah, that’s not for us.”

Photo: PIxabay

“My boyfriend/girlfriend wouldn’t do that.”

Photo: Pixabay

“What a waste of money.”

Photo: Pixabay


Well, I was reading an article entitled: “Why do long term partners split after getting married?” written by Ariel Meadow Stallings, who writes for a website called “Offbeat Bride” and I think she came up with a great theory, not only for long term couples, but for anyone who is considering getting married. Here is my summarised version of Ariel Meadow Stallings’ article.


You hear about it all the time.  Debbie and Matt have been together forever.  They’re the ultimate couple.  They’re the couple you aspire to be like, then they decide to get married and it lasts a year before they’re headed for divorce.  What the hell happened?  All of a sudden people are questioning their own relationships.  If Debbie and Matt can’t make it, what chance have we got?

There are a multitude of reasons why couples split up, but Debbie and Matt, although they lived together for a long time, might have had mis-matched expectations about what their married life would be like.  This can be the same for newer couples, especially if they haven’t had a specific conversation.

You see, some people will have the expectation that “Nothing will change”.  We’ll still live in the same house, we’ll both go to work and we’ll drink at the local on Fridays, except now, we’ll be wearing rings and calling each other Husband and Wife.  For other people, the opposite is true – that “Everything will change”.  Once we get married, I’ll keep working while you stay home and raise our kids and manage the home and there’s no more going out with friends…. There are unlimited scenarios of expectations that could fall in-between those two examples or well and truly beyond them.  But unless you ask your partner before you get married what their expectations are, you’ll never know and you might just get a rude shock if your expectations don’t match up.

Some people get caught up in the fairytale wedding and the marriages they’ve imagined based on movies they’ve seen or relatives they know, but realistically, we need to have these conversations to find out about our partners expectations as well as learning about our own before we head down the aisle.

Here’s a snippet from Ariel’s article – she explained it so well…..

“Neither of these assumptions is in any way wrong. The problem, however, is when the two people getting married don’t talk about their expectations. One partner goes in thinking, say, “This is going to be awesome: once we’re married, the sex is going to get way kinkier because the trust is going to be so much stronger between us!” The other partner goes in thinking, “This is awesome: I’m never going to have to travel alone again. We’ll go places together!” 

The issues arise when they don’t talk these things over, and then go home after the wedding and the one partner is thinking, “Wow, the honeymoon was dull. Where’s my kinky sex?” And the other partner is thinking, “Wait, did they just say they don’t want to go to San Francisco with me next weekend? I thought we were doing everything together now!”

…See the problem?

There is a simple solution to this problem – just talk to your partner, but sometimes, for lots of reasons, this conversation isn’t always easy.  For one, what if you don’t even know what your own expectations are yet?  Some of you will have never been married before – how would you know?  Sure you could look at other people’s marriages – friends, parents, siblings.  People who are close to you are more likely to have similar life values as yourself, but in the end you’ve got to choose for yourself so you don’t end up one day realising that you’re living someone else’s life.

So this is where “Pre-Marriage Counselling” comes in to your marriage planning.  The counsellors help you to ask and answer those questions.  It’s as simple as that!  They will help you to work out what marriage is going to be about for you and your partner.  Is it about supporting each other in everything you do?  Is is about how much sex you have each week?  Is it about travelling the world together?  Or is it about giving each other the confidence to live your own lives, just side by side?

When you think about it, how is this going to harm you if you have a conversation with the person that you’re about to marry? When you’re planning a wedding and you want flowers, you speak to a florist; when you need assistance with a dress, you go to a bridal dress shop or dressmaker and when you’re finding out what you need to do to get married legally, you speak to a celebrant.  So if you need some help working out what type of conversation you should have with your partner – you would ask someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Even if your expectations don’t completely overlap, there is always compromise and who better to help you find ways to do that?

Check out these websites for information around your area and give yourselves the best chance at a great marriage.

Family Relationships

Relationships Australia 

Counselling in Perth