Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Owl Behaviour

Years ago I came across a delightful book about an owl called Uhu (pronounced Yoo-Hoo) by Annette Macarthur-Onslow.  It tells of the short life and untimely death of a baby tawny owl that had fallen from its nest and been rescued by Macarthur-Onslow.

Today I'm reading about another owl, Wesley the barn owl, who is the subject of a NY Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller. In the first couple of pages of her book, Stacey O'Brien talks about the 'Way of the Owl'.

"Owls mate for life, and when an owl's mate dies, he doesn't necessarily go out and find another partner. Instead, he might turn his head to face the tree on which he's sitting and stare fixedly in a deep depression until he dies. Such profound grief is indicative of how passionately owls can feel and how devoted they are to their mates. This is the Way of the Owl."

Monday, 24 February 2014

Until Death Us Do Part ...

Every so often we hear stories from friends, colleagues & family about couples who've lived and loved for decades, dying within a few hours of each other. Here's a beautiful story of a love lived long ...

Ed holds Floreen's hand. Photo courtesy of Renee Hirsh, their daughter
Floreen and Edward Hale are a Canadian couple who died recently, just 36 hours apart. As Floreen died, her husband of 60 years held her hand and comforted her to the end. Thanks to the wonderful work of staff from two hospitals, Ed and Floreen were brought together to share their final hours. Love in action, right to the end.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Marriage Ceremonies ... within the Marriage Ceremony

Just the right ceremony for you! - by Guest Contributor, Robyn Rodda, CMC 

These days, weddings are so much more fun than they used to be. Gone are the days of having to go through a ceremony that's long and boring for the bride, groom and guests. Couples have a lot more input now, with as little or as much personal aspects as they wish. Another benefit of the modern day wedding is the innovation of different ceremonies and rituals, such as “The Heart Lock” (where couples use a lock as a symbol of their lifetime love for one another) and the “Rose Ceremony” (with the bride and groom during the ceremony each presenting the other with a rose, representing the words “I love you”).

While most of these rituals come from much earlier days, they have adapted to modern times to be short little ceremonies within the main wedding ceremony. For example, a Handfasting ceremony comes from Celtic weddings but is now often adapted to suit any contemporary service. But undoubtedly, the most popular of these ceremonies within ceremonies are Sand, Ring Warming and Unity Candles.

 A wedding sand ceremony is very popular. Two vessels of sand are poured together either into a third keepsake vessel or into the wind, to represent the coming together of your lives. It can also be a wonderful way to unite two families if either party has children already from a previous relationship. Each member of the family is represented by different colour sand, and as each is poured into the container, the individual portions of sand will no longer exist on their own, but will instead be joined together as one. Just as every individual grain of sand has its own unique beauty, strength and character, when blended together, they form an entirely new and extraordinarily more intricate whole. Like marriage, the sand ceremony respects the individuality of each person, but also unites them as one.

The ring warming ceremony is one that can include all of your guests or just a handful of them. During a ring warming, the couple’s wedding rings are passed among their guests, as the rings are a visible sign of the couple’s commitment to one another. Each guest is invited to hold the rings for a moment, warms them with their hands and makes a silent prayer, blessing or personal wish for the health and happiness of the couple, and their future together. When the rings come back, the warmth of these precious rings represents all the hopes and dreams from their family and friends.

But my favourite ritual is the Unity Candle Ceremony, although it is not recommended to be done outside as the candles will not stay lit. The flames from the candles represent the “light” and “souls” of the bride and groom, and this ritual is done with one large, central “unity” candle, and two smaller candles on either side. The two smaller candles symbolize the separate lives, families and experiences of the bride and groom before the wedding day, and these candles are lit early in the ceremony by a member from each family, usually the mother. After the exchange of vows, but before the exchange of rings, the bride and groom take each side candle and light the centre unity candle together, uniting the families and experiences into one.

The beauty of all of these types of ceremonies is that they can be adapted to suit anybody in any way. Changing the core of the ceremony does not necessarily make the service right or wrong, but more individual. And by adding one of these rituals, the wedding can be far more entertaining and personal, and not tiresome or uninteresting.

Robyn Rodda
Civil/Marriage Celebrant

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Making Your Marriage Last

A quick search on the web reveals a multitude of tips & tricks to ensuring a long-lived marriage.  Two articles I just came across offer advice from quite different sources - long-married couples and an unmarried Pope!

Sweethearts by Patrick - CC on Flickr
The HuffPost Wedding site article, Tried and true marriage advice, includes pithy thoughts and tips from a select group of 9 long-married couples. My favourite is the advice from 65-years married, Jenny & Manny DaSilva, to touch toes when you go to bed.

And from Agnes and Harry Hutfles, married for 60 years, "You give and you give and you give." And if both are giving, then both are also receiving.

The advice given by the 9 couples may seem trivial, and I'm sure their suggestions aren't the only things that have kept them together over the years through the ups and downs of their long marriages. But as little things that can be done mindfully, they add up, and are positive and affirming.

Pope Francis also has some tips on how to achieve a healthy, happy marriage. His advice can be summed up in 3 words - Please, Thanks, Sorry.

Speaking on Valentine's Day to 12,500 couples, Francis said that courtesy, gratitude and contrition shown towards the other can go a long way to ensuring a lasting marriage. Again, it's about the little things being done mindfully to affirm and respect each other.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Celebrants Online welcomes ...

Funeral Celebrant, Jenny Tacken.

Based in Melbourne's South Eastern suburbs, Jenny offers personalised & caring Life Tributes. She works closely with the bereaved to create a fitting tribute that commemorates a loved one's life, personality & achievements.

In addition to Funeral ceremonies, Jenny also celebrates Naming Ceremonies & Pet Funerals / Memorial Ceremonies.

To learn more about Jenny, visit her profile on Celebrants Online.

Get Married for $36,200?

Wow, do you have a spare $36,200 to devote to your wedding day?  Apparently, that's what it'll take to get yourselves hitched! At least, according to the latest data from ASIC, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. ASIC's data comes from 400 online responses to a survey it ran on its MoneySmart website in December 2013.

Check out the infographic here at Lifehacker. You'll see that, apparently, couples spend about $18,000 on catering, almost $4,000 on photography and almost $3,000 on flowers.

So, where does your actual Ceremony fit in to this picture? At just over $900, that's where. And I'm guessing that figure includes photocopying your order of service and other minor expenses, as well as your Celebrant.

Your Celebrant is the one who celebrates your ceremony, lodges the paperwork and ensures that you are legally married. Without that involvement you aren't actually married! All the rest - $35,000 worth - is really just a party. Pretty expensive party if you ask me.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Getting Married in Bali?

Are you among the growing number of Australian couples planning to get married in Bali?  If you are, take care that your Bali wedding planner is legal.

The Bali Wedding Association is a new organisation of registered wedding organisers. Currently, the Association has about 100 members.

Deden Acep Saefulloh, Chair of the new organisation, suggests that couples ensure they have a means of contacting their planner other than just email address. Office address and phone contact is a good start. He also advises using locally-based planners rather than an overseas-based planner that may not be fully aware of all the rules and regulations relating to marriage in Bali.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Inter-caste Marriage

In many western countries the marriage issue that garners the most press is that of marriage equality or same-sex marriage. But in many other countries there are other marriage issues that concern young and old. I came across this article by Prayas Raj Koirala about inter-caste marriage.

From a Times of India article on inter-caste marriage
In India, many of the arguments against inter-caste marriage sound similar to those against same-sex marriage:
  • - against tradition
  • - break down the family / society
  • - sinful
  • - disrespectful to one's family

It's interesting to learn of the struggles faced by others throughout the world in relation to getting married. We might like to think that marriage is a personal act but Prayas and the Times of India article remind us of the social and political elements tied up in this ceremonial act.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Marriage Equality for Scotland

UK Dept for Culture, Media and Sport
Scotland has become the 17th country to legalize same-sex marriage. With a vote of 105 to 18, Parliament was overwhelmingly in favour of the change.

The new law should come in to effect later this year. Religious organisations which opposed the move to marriage equality will not be made to celebrate same-sex weddings on their premises.

A government consultation prior to the passing of the new bill resulted in over 77,000 responses - a record number of responses that indicates the huge level of public interest in this issue.

Read more about Scotland's historic decision here.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Shortening of Notice Period

Here's a heart-warming yet terribly sad story of a US couple who were married, with a shortened period of notice, due to family illness. Aly & Anthony Femia arranged their wedding within a 24-hour period after Aly's mum was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.

BuzzFeed's telling of the story of the couple from New Haven, Connecticut has lots of photos of the happy/sad occasion.

Aly & Anthony celebrate their wedding at New Haven Hospital.
Picture by Aly Femia.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Getting Married in Shortened Time

Australian law says that you can get married a month after lodging a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form with a Marriage Celebrant. Sometimes though, a couple may need to get married sooner than that. Is that possible?

Yes, indeed. There are some circumstances for which an exception may be made. In each of these cases an application for shortening may be filed - with the Prescribed Authority - for consideration. The 5 circumstances are:
  • employment related or other travel commitments

  • wedding or celebration arrangements, or religious considerations

  • medical reasons

  • legal proceedings, or

  • an error in giving notice
The above are the only situations in which consideration may be given to shortening the one month notice period. There's no guarantee that a shortening will be granted, so couples should never bank on their application receiving automatic approval. You can see the type of situations that may be considered here on the Australian Government ComLaw website.

Click here for the official Application to shorten period of notice of intent to marry.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Coming Out for Marriage

It takes courage to come out and stand up for difference. It takes particular courage for people of faith to come out against the tenets of their faith. And so, it is gratifying to discover people of courage willing to come out in favour of Marriage Equality.

Rev. Andrew Clive Millard is such a man of courage. He's a Virginia clergyman who will be standing up for Marriage Equality on February 14, St. Valentine's Day, the day that traditionally celebrates Love & Lovers. Rev. Andrew will join other people of faith as a Witness for LOVE, standing up for Marriage Equality in the US state of Virginia.

Read Rev. Andrew's thoughts about Marriage here.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula minister, Rev. Andrew Clive Millard

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Celebrants Online welcomes ...

Marriage Celebrants Eunice Phipps, CMC and Glenda Belcher, CMC.

Eunice is a Brisbane-based Marriage Celebrant who conducts ceremonies from the Gold Coast to the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane,  Bayside to Toowoomba and Beaudesert.

Humbled by her appointment as a Marriage Celebrant, Eunice is totally committed to helping you with your celebration, be it a Wedding, Naming, Commitment or Renewal of Vows.

For further information about Eunice, visit her Celebrants Online profile.

Glenda Belcher, CMC lives in Daylesford in Central Victoria. As a former secondary school teacher, Glenda is highly skilled in writing ceremonies. She prides herself on being caring, organised, professional and open-minded.

To find out more about Glenda, visit her Celebrants Online profile today.