Dare to be Yourselves!
What would make your marriage ceremony unique and special?
First - let’s dispel the myth!
Everyone says to the bride .. ‘It’s your day!’ Hmm .. but that's only half the equation! What about the bridegroom? The love of your life? The person who will be your life partner?
My point being - isn’t it about both of you?
There is the opportunity for you to be active and equal participants in planning your wedding day... and especially the marriage ceremony. It’s within the marriage ceremony that you make your commitment to one another as marriage partners and isn’t this what the day is all about?
At the risk of repeating myself (again) your marriage ceremony is the living heart of your wedding day. Without it, it’s just another great party. Your beautifully crafted ceremony has the potential to influence the celebrations that follow and should be about you - both as individuals and as a couple. If you plan your wedding day together, you're practising the art of ‘give and take’ which is an everyday part of the marriage relationship.
Second - the venue!
Get married in a hot air balloon, or on a catamaran, on a boat, at the Zoo, in a forest, a hotel, a restaurant, a golf club, at a winery, in a beautiful garden, on the edge of a lake, amongst grapevines, in your own home, at the beach, at the Art Gallery, on lawns at Adelaide Uni (or your own alma mater) in Elder Hall, in the Mortlock Library, the old Adelaide Gaol, on Popeye, in a National Park, in a helicopter, in an old de-consecrated church building near the sea, or one of the many stunning boutique wineries in the Adelaide Hills, wherever you feel comfortable! The possibilities are almost infinite!
Third - the ceremony!
When creating your marriage ceremony there are some elements that must be included. For instance, the legal bits - just to make sure you are legally married at the end of the day!
And there’s a framework that helps to make sure the ceremony makes sense. It would be really silly to ask you if you wanted to marry each other after you’ve spoken your marriage vows!
But within these guidelines there is so much room to make your ceremony very personal and memorable - to make it a chapter of your life that you both revisit frequently with delight.
Think about your arrival - not just the bride coming down the aisle but the bridegroom’s arrival as well. Think outside the square! Maybe ask both sets of parents to present you to each other as a show of support? Maybe walk in together?
A few couples whose ceremonies I’ve conducted have invited each of their guests to bring a long stemmed flower of their own choice, to give to the marrying couple as they walk together down the aisle. Not only does this mean the guests are contributing to the ceremony, they each have the opportunity to personally show their support and wish the couple well as they make their way to the ceremony space.
If you’re not all that fussed about your hair, consider arriving by helicopter.
Limos, a horse and carriage, restored classic cars, your own very much loved rebuilt vehicle or your old courting car - whatever pleases you! I’ve conducted a marriage ceremony where the bride arrived in the back of the farm ute sitting on a bale of hay!
If you love motor bikes, arrive on one! Especially if it’s side-saddle with your Dad on his Harley!
Will you have music to create the atmosphere you would like for your ceremony? It might be pre-recorded. Or maybe you’ll engage a musician to thrill your guests - a guitarist, a flamenco guitarist (see pic) a string trio or quartet, a harpist, a violinist, a gypsy violinist, a cellist, a band, a brass band, a jazz band, a piper … the possibilities are endless! And if you really, really, really like Pachelbel, then by all means have someone play Canon in D!
If you’ve always dreamed of a traditional wedding, of being dressed in a gorgeous white gown and wearing a veil and walking down the aisle on your Dad’s arm to meet your husband-to-be to the music Wagner’s Wedding Chorus from Lohengrin also called ‘Here Comes the Bride’ - then do it! If you think that you’d like contemporary music search among your own favourites or google ‘wedding music.’
Ceremony details to consider
How would you like to begin your ceremony? Maybe you’d like to welcome your family and friends yourselves. Would you like to include some friends and family members as participants in your ceremony helping you to get married - or will they all be observers? Are there any special touches you’d like to include?
This couple dressed in the bride’s traditional Bengali wedding attire exchanged garlands to symbolise mutual love and acceptance of each other.
Emma and Michael included some traditions from the beautiful Persian marriage ceremony to honour the bride's family who, with their guests, were absolutely delighted!
A beautiful Persian tradition to ensure a sweet life - husband and wife dip their pinky into honey and feed it to one another
Kalleh Ghand - two cones of hardened sugar are ground together over the heads of the bride and groom for a sweet life.
A traditional wedding is wonderful.
But for those who don’t want traditional - who said you had to conform?
Go to www.offbeatbride.com to see what I mean!
We wanted to write and thank you for your wonderful, confident and compassionate celebration of our marriage, not only on the day, but in the weeks before as well. We had such serious reservations about a traditional ceremony that we were considering going to the registry office instead, but as soon as we met you we were reassured that we would be able to craft a ceremony that was personal to us, with our concerns about marriage equality and outdated wedding traditions, while still ticking the legal boxes.
You are every bride and groom's perfect fairy godmother, kind, wise, warm and sassy.
Our wedding ceremony was beautiful and we have received so many compliments on how intimate, thoughtful and original it was. We truly felt able to dare to be ourselves, as your website encourages. Thanks again! You were recommended by our friends and we will definitely spread the word to others!
xxx Cass and John Flanagan Willanski
Photo Mandi Whitten Photo Julia Winefield
exchanging lifelong promises John and Cass Flanagan Willanksi
I wanted to share these photos with you - Molly and Sam and their fantastic rockabilly wedding at The Promethean in the city!
photos by Helen Roberts Photography
Here's a little more encouragement!
Thanks to the late and great Lionel Murphy - who? Australia’s marriage legislation is so generous (to hetero-sexuals) because it gives marrying couples the freedom to choose the time, place and the type of marriage ceremony that truly reflects who they are both as individuals, and as a couple. Yes, there’s a bit of a catch up required for same sex partners - see page entitled Same Sex Unions on this site.
While primarily it’s your day, it’s also a day of re-connecting with family and friends as you celebrate your journey so far, pledge yourselves to each other as marriage partners, and anticipate your shared future.
Lots of well-meaning people will want to give you ideas (er … advice!) because they want your day to be perfect. Trouble is that their idea of perfect may not be yours, and sometimes it’s a really hard balancing act - trying to please everyone and still doing it the way you want!
Couples tell me that the best way through this dilemma is to discuss together, decide together, and stick together. This is the best opportunity for you both to decide what you want, what you can live with, and what you definitely can’t even consider. Make sure you agree and back each other up! If you really have no opinion one way or another, then maybe, just adopt the idea.
If you really, really don’t want to include the suggestion, then don’t!
Whatever way you would like to celebrate your marriage, I’ll be there for you!
Except for these occasions
I don’t do naturist ceremonies.
I don’t do deep sea diving ceremonies.
I suspect there may be others but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
It doesn’t matter whether your wedding is traditional or different.
What does matter is this - that your wedding day, and in particular, your marriage ceremony,
is just the way you both want it to be!
We just wanted to thank you for making our wedding ceremony so perfect. We didn't want a traditional or religious ceremony, we just wanted it to be about us and our special relationship and that is exactly what you gave us. Our Journey reading was enjoyed immensely by our guests, who have all said our ceremony was so personal and beautiful, it was funny and entertaining and they had never enjoyed a ceremony so much. Merrilyn, you were an absolute pleasure to take this journey with. You are very professional but at the same time warm and friendly. You made sure all details for the ceremony were taken care of and completed a flawless reading of our ceremony. Thank you,
Petrina and Marek Kasperski
Merrilyn helped us to create a wedding ceremony that was a unique, special and incredibly meaningful celebration of our lives together. Our guests (and us!) were touched and moved by the personal and emotion packed ceremony that she performed for us. Tears all around - it was lucky that Merrilyn had given my partner a hanky to wipe my tears with!
From our very first meeting with Merrilyn we knew that she would be the one who could deliver for us exactly the personal and unique ceremony that we were after. I was especially impressed when she didn’t even blink when I told her that we wanted all references to ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ excluded from the ceremony! Merrilyn embraced our ideas and came up with creative solutions to situations such as our step-family and my separated parents. We were able to make all the choices about our ceremony with her guidance, experience and wealth of great ideas!
We highly recommend Merrilyn as a unique, smart, organised and very friendly celebrant to be the one to guide you in creating your personal ceremony!
Kim and Dan
Just a note to say a big thank you for making our wedding ceremony as wonderful as it was on April 26th. We had so many comments from our guests about the ceremony, many saying it was the best wedding ceremony they'd been to, that they'd never laughed so much during a wedding and that it was very "us". You really captured what we wanted and we (and the guests) appreciated the personalised nature of the ceremony. Thank you very much for being part of our day. Regards,
Claire (& Ken!)
FINALLY I am writing to say Thank you!!! Did not forget just caught up in life etc. I wanted to write to thank you for your thoughtfulness, care, precision, creativity and style.....our wedding on 25.9.10 was incredibly special because of your flexibility to cater to our taste and style. A beach wedding can be a challenge, however, you took it in your stride (even racing from the groom to the bride some 50 metres apart) always with a gentle smile. Mike appreciated the handkerchief to help me with my tears and I appreciated your discreet, gentle reassurances throughout the ceremony. There were many tears (from me) and many smiles and laughter from everyone. We received comments like "That was the BEST wedding I have ever been to!" and "The story of your life so far was told so beautifully" etc. We thank you for your excellent service which was for us beyond what we expected. Fiona and Mike