Sunday, 29 July 2012

Couples - be true to yourselves!

Planning your wedding? Remember that your special day - the start of your married life - is about YOU as a couple.

Be true to yourselves. Be guided by your beliefs, your interests, your feelings ...

Be brave enough to rock the boat if that will make your Wedding Ceremony one to remember forever.

Work with your Marriage Celebrant - religious officiant or civil celebrant - to create a Marriage Ceremony that celebrates your coupledom, that speaks to who YOU really are.

  • Traditional or not?
  • Hundreds of guests or intimate and cosy?
  • Indoor or outdoor?
  • Religious or civil?
  • Beach, winery or back garden?
  • Trailing veil or small head piece?
  • Write-your-own or standard vows?

Above all else, be true to yourselves. Honour your reality. Katie & Kellan were brave enough to do just that. Check out their ceremony & reception on the Offbeat Bride blog.

Photography by Cheryl Bolton-Reuter

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Your marriage & your will

When getting married it's probably a good idea to have some understanding of the relationship between getting married and your will.

A will is a written legal document that sets out what you want to happen to your estate - your possessions & assets - property, belongings, savings, investments, etc. - after you die. With the median age of marriage in Australia being 31.4 years for men and 29.2 years for women, it's highly likely that the majority of marrying couples will have significant individual estates to consider, and existing wills may be in force in relation to those estates.

'Last will and testament' - image from East Coast Lawyers
But, as a future bride or groom, do you realise that your coming marriage will affect the state of your pre-existing will?

Actually, it will automatically cancel or revoke the existing will, unless it's made clear in the will that you were planning to marry!

So, along with all the wedding planning, you might also want to consider estate planning.

Not something you want to think about at one of the happiest times of your life? Probably not. But you really should! For your peace-of-mind as a newly-wed couple.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Barbara Cieslak - Featured Marriage Celebrant

A Celebrant is something I always wanted to be but never had the opportunity until, getting redundancy from my fulltime work I jumped at the opportunity, and I have never looked back.
Barbara Cieslak, CMC - Kris & Lara-Jane's wedding

I love the work, and seeing so many happy couples makes my job very satisfying.

I have a Diploma in Business Management and also being a Justice of the Peace, I get to deal with people from all walks of life.

 Coming from an ethnic background gives me a greater understanding of the traditions of the different cultures. And with this in mind I include this in a lot of the ceremonies I perform.

Barbara Cieslak, CMC - Chris & Allison's wedding

As an example, I recently had the pleasure and the honour of performing a ceremony in 2 languages. Both English and Polish as I am fluent in the Polish language.

The couple in question were over the moon and couldn't thank me enough for making them feel so special, and their guests were absolutely thrilled. The couple were so grateful they came to my home the next day to thank me personally for making their day so unique. This ceremony would have to be one of my most memorable.

I am a very happy person and try to pass this on to all people I meet.

Every couple is special and I do my utmost to ensure their day is one they will never forget.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Celebrants Online welcomes ...

Celebrants Online welcomes ... Gramatia Young & Karen Ambrose.

Gramatia is a Sydney Eastern suburbs-based Marriage Celebrant & JP.

She specialise in mixed cultural weddings, including Greek Orthodox rituals & Handfasting ceremonies.

Karen is NSW South Coast-based Marriage Celebrant.

She will be delighted to celebrate your Ceremony at one of the many beautiful, scenic locations along the South Coast.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Your wedding : what would you do differently?

Planning your wedding can be one of the most stressful times in your life; so many people to deal with, so many decisions to be made, so much choice ...

But what about if you could redo the planning, with the hindsight of maturity and access to more amazing technologies to assist?

Nicole, on her blog, Our crazy beautiful, has done just that!

In her post, 'Wedding do over list', Nicole writes with humour and some regret over decisions made when planning her wedding, and offers her take on how she (and husband, Luke) would do it today.

'Before the days of Pinterest and blogging, I got married. It was a very sweet lovely day. But it really wasn’t ‘us’. I just don’t think at that time we really knew who ‘us’ was- in a style sense of course.'

What about YOU. Would you do anything differently? Or are you still as happy with your special day as you were on the day itself?

'And a flower smile' by C. Frank Starmer - CC licence

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Celebrants Online welcomes ...

Celebrants Online welcomes ... Lesley Kerl.

Lesley is a NSW Marriage Celebrant & JP.

Based on the Central Coast near Gosford, Lesley celebrates weddings, commitment ceremonies, funerals, namings and renewal of vow ceremonies, among others.

Celebrants Online website statistics

Website statistics have just been updated on the Celebrants Online website.

In the first 6 months of this year, almost 17,000 visitors stopped by to search for a Celebrant.

Between them, these visitors viewed just over 149,000 pages! That averages out to about 9 pages viewed per visitor.

Click here to see the January-June 2012 stats in full.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Wedding day survival guide

We're married by lemonjenny
'We're married' by lemonjenny
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a Federal Agency concerned with, 'preparing for and responding to public health events' has published a Wedding day survival guide on its blog.

The guide advocates three main steps in surviving the wedding day: Get a kit, Make a plan, and Be informed. In a slightly tongue-in-cheek fashion, the CDC guide says that 'planning for a wedding isn’t that much different from planning for a disaster.'

The common sense guide suggests items to be included in an emergency kit and keeping an eye on the weather - be it tornado warning, bushfire alert, flood or torrential rain advice, saying, 'A little rain on your wedding day is one thing; a severe weather situation is another.' Like a boy scout, the CDC advocates that it's best to be prepared for whatever's coming.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Marriage Equality or Civil Unions?

Malcolm Turnbull gave an impassioned speech at Southern Cross University on the 6th July, ostensibly in support of marriage equality. However, when it came to the crunch Turnbull shied away from standing up for his beliefs and those of a significant proportion of the Australian population, instead calling on marriage equality advocates to compromise and accept Civil Unions in lieu of Marriage.

Delivering the Keynote Address at the 6th Annual Michael Kirby Lecture & Dinner, Turnbull spoke about the journey he's been on as he considers the question of marriage equality for same-sex couples. He said, "As I have reflected on this question of 'marriage equality' I have found the arguments against gay marriage less and less convincing."

Turnbull is to be commended for reflecting on this issue and being open to the journey; however, as a politician it's his moral obligation to do so. As a representative of the people, his job is to represent the views of his constituents.

Turnbull is also to be commended for having the courage to speak publicly about his journey, sharing the fruits of his reflections with all of us. In doing so, he has come in for both praise and criticism from the media and members of the public. Rodney Croome, honorary lecturer in Sociology at the University of Tasmania and campaign coordinator for Australian Marriage Equality, applauds the case that Turnbull makes for marriage equality but considers Turnbull's conclusion to be 'appalling'.

Read an edited extract from Turnbull's speech here.

Read Rodney Croome's response here.

In reading these differing views you also can be a part of the journey.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Choice - blessing or curse?

We live in a world that is chock full of choices to be made - from breakfast food to eat, television to buy, and blogs to read. Having choice can be a good thing. Having too much choice can be paralysing, according to psychologist, Barry Schwartz in his 2005 TEDtalk [see below] and this recent article, 'No freedom in too much choice' from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Couples readying for marriage also find themselves bombarded with overwhelming choice and decisions to be made - venue, flowers, cake, photographer, outfits, transport, and of course, Celebrant.

It's interesting to note in the latest statistics from Celebrants Online that many couples seeking the services of a wedding celebrant send an enquiry to just one Celebrant. The statistics show that, in the 6 months - January to June 2012 - for enquiries sent to Celebrants via their Celebrants Online direct contact forms
  • 77.9% of enquirers contacted just the ONE Celebrant
  • 13.6% of enquirers contacted two Celebrants
  • 4.1% of enquirers contacted three Celebrants
  • 4.4% of enquirers contacted four or more Celebrants

How did those 321 people (77.9%) choose their one Celebrant to contact? Celebrant location generally plays a part in a potential client's decision. But other factors may be:
  • Celebrant smile - approachability, grooming, sense of openness and welcome apparent in a Celebrant's profile photo
  • Profile text - experience, point of difference, sense of humanity and warmth, human touch apparent in a Celebrant's profile text

It all comes back to a sense of connectedness - connecting with a smile, connecting with a voice, connecting with an experience, connecting with a way of being.

If a Celebrant can make or enable that connection, then that Celebrant is enabling choice, allowing a potential client to bypass the 'too much choice' paralysis.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Archibald - relationships, intimacy, partnership

Yesterday I visited Tarrawarra Museum of Art to see this year's Archibald Prize exhibition. On display were the 41 finalists, chosen by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW. Many of the works on display were beautifully executed portraits. Two in particular caught my eye though, not only for the quality of the work but also because of the love story behind each. Each love story is a story of relationship, partnership, intimacy and undying love ... qualities that we all look for and long to find in our own unions, be they marriage or de facto, same-sex or heterosexual.

Jenny Sages, 'After Jack', 2012
Jenny Sages is an elder stateswoman of the Australian art scene. Her self-portrait shows her bereft; grief-stricken after the death of her beloved husband, Jack. Sages and her husband had been married 55 years when he died in October 2010.

During their life together, Sages painted just one portrait of Jack, 'My Jack', her entry in the 2011 Archibald Prize. Sages said about last year's work, ‘The MDF board on which this work is painted was the last one he built for me. I used it to make my first and only portrait of Jack.’

In 'After Jack' the raw grief, the sense of bewilderment, the questions, 'What do I do now?', 'How will I survive?', all speak so powerfully through Sages' honest and unflinching approach.

Craig Waddell, 'I see myself in you - self portrait', 2012

Forty years younger than his co-finalist, Sages, Craig Waddell's love for his wife, Jessie, is stated as powerfully as is Sages' for Jack.

Waddell writes that his portrait was, 'inspired by my wife Jessie and our deep, abiding relationship.'

HIs portrait is full of motion and energy, life and movement, the passion he feels for his wife and the energy and joy she instils in him, 'When I paint my wife my senses are highly stimulated; she brings out a passion in me like no other; a passion for life, for love and for paint.'

Waddell and Sages are sharing a great gift with us, the public. These portraits speak loudly of relationship - love, intimacy, support. May we all listen to them, hear what they have to say and embrace their understanding.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Julie Maclean - Featured Marriage Celebrant

Julie Maclean - Bellarine Peninsula Marriage Celebrant
I love living on the Surf Coast, but I didn't think I'd be a marriage celebrant here.

After the death of my father I wanted to be a funeral celebrant. I really enjoy alternative, personal funerals but I started getting booked for weddings, of friends at first. The more celebrants I spoke to, the more it seemed that they loved weddings for the happy, positive occasions that they are. Then I got hooked.
Julie Maclean, CMC - Andy & Jade's beach wedding

You can probably see from the photos that I am comfortable and enjoy all styles of weddings from backyard to stately home.

Couples who come to me want to be engaged in the whole process. They love to hear their story as part of the ceremony. They want something elegant but relaxed.

I wouldn't be able to single out one ceremony as being more memorable than the next because I get swept up in all of them for different reasons.
Julie Maclean, CMC - Fiona & Claude's special day
I believe in all the couples I meet. I know they go into marriage knowing it means challenges as well as rewards.

I sense there is a new generation that has a strong commitment to the ideal of family life and the strength of life partnerships, as difficult as they are. They go into marriage with their eyes open.

You could say that I am down to earth but an idealist and optimist.

Hear me on Life Matters on ABC Radio National.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Celebrants Online 2012 Enquiry Statistics

Fantastic news to share... for the first six months of 2012 - January to June - Celebrants Online Celebrants have received 580 enquiries! And this is just enquiries that have been sent to a Celebrant via their direct contact form on the website.

Feedback I receive from Celebrants tells me that lots of potential clients make initial contact with their preferred Celebrant via telephone. And when that happens it doesn't show up in my stats. So, keep in mind that the graph below just tells a part of the story ... :)

Celebrants Online enquiry statistics January to June 2012
Enquiries received by Celebrants Online Celebrants via their direct contact form - January to June 2012