Insider Tips from a Wedding Photographer

I work with some amazing wedding photographers, and one of my absolute favourite togs is the talented Kirsty from Wildflower Weddings. We first worked together on a mutual friend’s wedding in January 2016, and since then we’ve become close, meeting up every couple of months to chat all things wedding.

Recently Kirsty came to the House of Hotten to hug Valentine McFarty and share with me insider tips from a wedding photographers perspective. Below is everything I learnt, and I hope you find this helpful too.

TIMINGS FOR YOUR CEREMONY

Firstly, when thinking about the timings for your ceremony, it’s a great idea to discuss with your photographer what time they suggest it should start.  They have lots of experience on how long everything will take, and can advise how you should take into consideration the time of year and location you have chosen.  For example, in South East Queensland and Northern NSW, sun sets around 5pm in Winter, whereas in Summer you’ll have an extra hour and a half to play with.

Photo: Wildflower Wedding

You may want to consider how much time you would like between your ceremony and your reception starting, and whether you’re going for a short, simple ceremony, or a full Catholic Mass wedding.

SUGGESTED TIMINGS

Winter wedding in Brisbane with a sun set of 5pm, and a half hour ceremony

3.00 to 3.30pm: CEREMONY

3.30 to 4.00pm: CONGRATULATIONS FOLLOWED BY GROUP/FAMILY PHOTOS

4.00 to 4.30pm: BRIDAL PARTY PHOTOS

4.30 to 5.00pm: COUPLE PHOTOS

Things to consider:

  • If you need to travel to your photo location, allow extra time for this. 
  • If you have a large bridal party (more than six members), allow extra time as well.

Summer wedding in Brisbane with a sun set of 6.45pm, and a half hour ceremony

4.30 to 5.00pm: CEREMONY

5.00 to 5.30pm: CONGRATULATIONS FOLLOWED BY GROUP/FAMILY PHOTOS

5.30 to 6.00pm: BRIDAL PARTY PHOTOS

6.00 to 6.30pm: COUPLE PHOTOS

Things to consider:

  • If you don’t want to wait until 4.30 to start your ceremony, you can still do it earlier. You might want to arrange an afternoon tea, nibbles or a grazing platter for your guests
Photo: Wildflower Weddings

LIGHTING

You may have fallen in love with a particular area at your venue where you would like your ceremony to take place. However when holding your ceremony outside, it’s important to consider what the natural light is like. 

During the ceremony, if one of you is in dappled light, or one of you is in the light, and the other in the shade, this can result in less than ideal circumstances for a photographer to get the best possible shots of you.

From a photographers perspective, an ideal ceremony location is one that under full shade.  Direct sunlight plays havoc with facial expressions and really, who wants their wedding photos to be mainly of them squinting?  Plus it can be pretty uncomfortable for those standing within the direct rays.

Photo: Wildflower Weddings

UNPLUGGED

When a photographer is taking shots of your ceremony, a good opportunity can be missed when Auntie Beryl is in the way, recording every moment with her brand new iPad. Kirsty is the kind of photographer who loves taking shots of guests reactions during the ceremony, and if they’re looking down at their phones, this is something she can’t capture.  Her preference is for your guests to be engaged and in the moment but if you have your heart set on your guests taking candid shots, then she, of course, is not going to stop you.  It’s your wedding, and Kirsty is the kind of photographer who is very flexible and will do whatever works best for you.

Photo: Wildflower Weddings

CONFETTI TOSS

If you’d like your confetti to make maximum impact, ask your guests to toss the confetti nice and high, and not all at once, as you walk past them.  You can ask your Celebrant to make this announcement, or get the person or people handing it out to ask.

And, another tip: the bigger the confetti, the better it will look in the photos.  Rice is fairly indistinguishable in a photo, whereas a larger petal, such as those from roses can look the best.

Photo: Wildflower Weddings

FRAMING THE CEREMONIAL AREA

If you’re wondering whether to have an arbour, plants, or décor to focus your ceremonial area; do!  Giving this focus to where the action is happening always results in better photos.  And, if you can remember to do so, try to stand in the middle.  Don’t worry if you forget though. As your Celebrant, I’ll always be keeping on eye on things and will gently help guide you into place if you do start to wander off.

Photo: Wildflower Weddings

Thanks a million Kirsty for these great tips. Some very good advice from one of the top professionals in the industry.

Wedding Planning Wisdom Twenty-One to Twenty-Four

TWENTY-ONE: Smell the Flowers

Whether your flower budget is modest or you’re looking for a forest of flowers you may want to consider the following:

💐Are there any varieties you’d like included which have meaning such as the favourite flower of a significant relative or a type which grew in the garden where they lived

💐Bouquets can be heavy. If you’re planning on holding it throughout the ceremony, consider the weight. If not, rather than asking a bridal party member to hold it, place it on the signing table during the ceremony

💐Flowers with a scent can provide an extra sensory element to your ceremony

💐Some flowers are more practical than others. Certain varieties may not be available or will wilt as soon as they spend a minute outside on a summer’s day

💐If you’re looking to cut costs, don’t do your flowers yourself on your wedding day, rather delegate this to a friend or family member. You won’t have time nor the inclination to do this on the day… trust me!

💐 A wedding florist can help you to design something visually stunning that will work on a practical level. There’s some incredibly talented florists out there and I’ve been fortunate to work with some greats. If you’re struggling to find one, ask your photographer, Celebrant or venue who we recommend. We see the end results of all their hard work so can help to give you some names

TWENTY-TWO: Calming the Nerves

You never entirely know how you are going to feel on your wedding day but it’s not unusual to have a nervous moment or two.

Try to combat any nerves by doing the following:

🔔 You don’t need a rehearsal but consider whether this will help you with your nerves

🔔 Try not to do any venue set-up yourself on the day. Delegate to friends or family if need be

🔔 If you know you’re going to be very nervous, consider an early start time so you’re not waiting all day

🔔 If certain people are guaranteed to set you off, minimise the time you spend with them during preparations or ask a confidante if they can help keep them distracted

🔔 Use calming and relaxation techniques and make sure you factor time in for these

🔔 Feel free to ask questions to your vendors that will help you feel reassured about everything if you’re feeling a bit stressed. I’d prefer for a couple to ask me a million questions and feel calm than not ask and feel stressed

🔔 And finally, focus on the main goal, which is to finish the day married. Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

TWENTY-THREE: Mum’s the Word

I don’t know if you agree with me, but sometimes mum’s don’t seem to get much of a look in during the wedding ceremony. And for some, that’s fine; they’re happy to take a back seat. But, if you’d like to include them, here’s some ideas to make them feel special during your ceremony:
.
👩 Walk them down the aisle so they are the last to be seated (like Layne did in the photo below)

👩 Ask them to do a reading (and why not get them to choose it themself!?)

👩 Have them as your witnesses. Mum’s love doing this, and it means their signature will be on your marriage certificate

👩 Ask them to be the ring-bearers and bring them up to you and your partner

Photo: This is Life Photography

TWENTY-FOUR: I Now Pronounce You…

It’s worth discussing how you like to be announced after you’ve had your kiss (or shot of tequila, handshake, fist pump, high five…).

Before you trot down the aisle, would you’d like to be announced as Mr/Mrs, Mr/Mr, Mrs/Mrs, first names, nicknames, or something else completely?

AND FINALLY

As a Celebrant since 2011, I have tonnes of experience. I don’t know a lot about a lot, but weddings are my bag, and I’m always happy to share any knowledge I may have to help you get the best day you can possibly have.

Feel free to ask me any questions. You can contact me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478041227

Wedding Planning Wisdom Seventeen to Twenty

SEVENTEEN: Stand by Me

How many bridesmaids/men, groomsmen/women can you have?

Choosing who to ask to hold this important role can be tricky, and it’s worth reading Wedding Wisdom Day 5 for more about this. However, one thing you may wish to consider before deciding is the ceremonial space.

It may feel like a very practical reason to have a smaller wedding party, but if your vision is to have them standing with you throughout the ceremony, check how much room is actually available for this and can everyone fit comfortably?

A restricted space with lots of bridal party members may result in one or more of them not being able to see or feel part of the ceremony. If this is the case, you may want your bridal party to take a seat once you and your partner are ready to start the ceremony.

Don’t forget when looking at ceremonial spaces that you will also need to fit a signing table too.

Stephen Doyle Photography

EIGHTEEN: What You Must Do!

What you absolutely must do to get married in Australia… Some people think getting married is pretty complicated. Okay, so, yes, the relationship element of it may be, but the legalities of it doesn’t need to be. Below are basically the steps.

1) Lodge a ‘Notice of Intended Marriage’ with your Celebrant 1 to 18 months before your ceremony 
2) Sign a ‘Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage’ prior to the ceremony start
3) Ensure you have two witnesses
4) Oh, and a Celebrant (hello!)
5) Your Celebrant will need to state some legal wording
6) You and your partner will need to state a legal declaration
7) You, your witnesses and your celebrant will then sign three certificates
8) Your celebrant will then lodge documents with Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State or Territory where you married.

And that is how you get married in Australia. Easy!

NINETEEN: Placement

When I conduct a ceremony I tend to stand next to the couple for the majority of the ceremony rather than in between.

This allows your photographer to get intimate shots of the two of you without my head poking out between you.

It also means your guests can see your faces during the ceremony and it gives a more intimate, relaxed feel to the ceremony.

However, if you’d prefer for me to stand in between I can. If I do this though, I will absolutely never ever be in the kiss shot. That’s a moment for only the two of you to share!

TWENTY: Readings Don’t Need to Be Boring!

If you have someone you’d like to involve in the ceremony (parent, grandparent, child, friend etc) you can ask them to do a reading. You may ask them to choose it themselves and keep it a surprise from you.
This could be:
❇️ A song, either sung or with the lyrics spoken
❇️ An excerpt from a film or a book
❇️ Something which involves audience participation like a quiz about the couple
❇️ Advice on what makes a good marriage (a great choice for elderly readers who may have this wisdom)
❇️ A letter or extract from a diary

Giving your reader the option to choose something themselves ensures they feel connected to the reading, plus it’s a lovely surprise for you.

I love this photo of a reader who, after delivering an awesome one, gave the couple and all the bridesmaids a kiss.

Photo Andrew Jarvis

Tune in next week for more wedding wisdom tips!

Wedding Planning Wisdom Thirteen to Sixteen

THIRTEEN: And breathe…

Try to take a private moment post-ceremony with your new husband or wife.

Weddings can be full on and you may want to find a spot for just the two of you to enjoy a glass of champagne or a moment in complete privacy to go ‘Wowza. We’re married!’

Mr HB (my kind, cockney, handsome husband) and I did this after our ceremony. It gave us 20 minutes to get our emotions in check and celebrate all that had happened, before rejoining our guests at our reception. For the rest of the evening I barely spoke to Mr HB as I was chatting to our guests, and I was very appreciative of those few moments in private with him.

FOURTEEN: Time after time

What time should your ceremony start? About 85% of weddings I conduct start between 2.30 to 4.30pm. However the decision on what time to start will be based on factors such as:

1) is your ceremony and reception at the same venue or do you need to factor in travel time between the two

2) chat to your photographer and see how long they need to get any post-ceremony shots and, if a winter wedding, how much day-light they require

3) What time are you serving food and will there be nibbles available post-ceremony? Chat to your venue or caterers about this and ask for their advice

4) Will kids be at the wedding and are they a big part of the day? If so, you may want to start earlier so they can be involved without running out of steam too early into the celebrations

5) How long do you require to get ready pre-ceremony? Are you doing any of the set-up yourself? How long will hair/make up take?

All of these factors will help you decide. And if you want a sunrise wedding, or one at the stroke of midnight, go for it!

FIFTEEN: Doin’ it for the kids

When you’re planning your wedding and you and/or your partner have children, it’s often as much a day for them as it is for you. There’s loads of ways you can involve your offspring in your ceremony:
.
👪 include them in your wedding party as a flower girl, bridesmaid, best man or ring bearer

👪 help them choose a reading, or ask them to choose something themselves. They might want to deliver it together or do shorter ones as individuals

👪 give them a gift after you’ve exchanged rings to show your commitment – a piece of jewellery, cuff links, a watch or a photo of you all as a family

👪 if any of the children are over 18, they can be witnesses

👪 include them in your vows – what kind of parent or step-parent do you promise to be?

👪 choose a ritual they can be included in such as a sand ceremony, handfasting or unity candle

I love this photo of a blended family I married on their back deck. The love they have for each other radiates crystal clear.

Blended Family Wedding

SIXTEEN: Walk On by

You’re married! Hooray! You’ve done the legals. You’re now walking down the aisle. And you think ‘Okay… where to next…?’ Should we keep on walking? If so, where too?

To avoid that moment of confusion, make sure you think this part through and discuss with any parties involved.

🌺 do you want your wedding party to follow immediately or wait till you’re down the aisle

🌺 are you happy for immediate family to follow straight after wedding party?

🌺 do you want guests to go straight into a group photo? Would you like your Celebrant to announce this?

🌺 do you want the two of you to have a private moment (see Day 13 Wedding Wisdom) before mingling with guests

🌺 do you want a receiving line or would you prefer guests to say congratulations in groups. If so, walk to a spot where guests can congregate comfortably to do so

🌺 do you want guests to be served drinks straight away? If so, make sure you grab one first – guests will follow your example

Happily Ever… Before and After

When you meet with a celebrant they’ll hand you a document provided by the Attorney General’s Department called ‘Happily Ever… Before and After’.

As a one-person warrior on waste, I thought it best to try and encourage my clients to access this electronically, but please feel free to let me know if you’d like a hard copy of this document and I will bring it along to one of our meetings.

If you have any questions, or would like further support to find services and advice for couples and families, visit Family Relationships Online website at www.familyrelationships.gov.au or phone on 1800050321

Click below to access this document

Wedding Planning Wisdom Nine to Twelve

Following on from my last blog post, here is further wedding wisdom to help you navigate the tricky business which is wedding planning. To find my other widsom, click here.

NINE: Snap Happy

Photography. If there’s one thing worth investing in on your wedding day, it’s this (and your Celebrant, of course!). A good wedding photographer knows what shots to get and when. If you can afford a pro, get one! I’ve seen weddings where an inexperienced photographer has missed opportunities because they’re not familiar with how weddings work.

A great wedding photographer will scout the ceremony location to get interesting shots. They’ll take photos of the arrival of the bride and the reaction of the groom. They’ll know how to manoeuvre around the ceremony in a stealth-like fashion. They’ll be ready for ‘the kiss’ but won’t be in your face when it happens.

When choosing a photographer it’s also important that you feel comfy with them and you gel. If you’ve already booked your Celebrant, ask them if they have any recommendations. I find that often I work with the same photographers because my Celebrant style and their photography style is very similar. 

And finally, if you’re wondering whether it’s worth getting a videographer, the answer is a massive yes. Do it if your budget allows. You will never regret having this and great photos to reflect on.

TEN: The ‘Kiss’

The Kiss. This is such a much awaited and iconic moment of the ceremony and whether you want the words ‘You may kiss the bride’ or something less traditional like ‘Give each other a pash’, everyone loves this moment.

However, you might want to mix it up a little as these super spunky couples did. What about everyone joining you in taking a shot? Kelly and Keith prepared little pots of ‘apple pies’ (fireball with cider) which guests held onto until I announced them as married. Dom and Phoebe decided to share a hearty handshake before going in for the kiss. Jaz and Justin, both who are performers, went for maximum impact with an elegant swoop. All were entirely perfect for them and added that little bit extra to an already favourite ceremonial moment. 

Photo: Thousand Miles Photography

ELEVEN: Not All Celebrants Are the Same

Not all celebrants are the same and finding the right one for you can feel a little bit like on-line dating.

Us celebrants come from all walks of life with different styles, personalities, beliefs, experiences and approaches to working with you.  Some celebrants wear bright colours. Some dress like a member of the clergy. Some are risqué. Some are conservative.

Some (fortunately most) are supporters of our LGBTQI community. Some are not. Some will produce a fully personalised ceremony. Some will only change your names. Some will provide you with your ceremony in advance. Some will keep it a surprise from you. Some will meet you face-to-face to get to know you. Some will do it via Skype. 

If you’ve done some on-line scouting for celebrants and there’s a few who seem to fit your criteria, have a chat to them before deciding who is the right fit. It’s a hugely important part of your day and me, well, I love a coffee – or a wine – so am always happy to meet to see if I’m the right one for you.

Wedding Planning Wisdom Tips One to Eight

Wedding planning wisdom. Having been a Celebrant since 2011, I know a thing or two about weddings. I also know a thing or two about moonwalking and typing really fast, but there’s not much call for my advice on these, so instead I thought I’d share some of my wisdom. Over the next few weeks I’ll be delivering some snippets of my wedding planning wisdom, so watch this space for more!

ONE: AS [BLANK] IS MY WITNESS
How do you choose your witnesses? You’ll need two, and witnesses can be anyone over 18 who is present for the ceremony. Whether it’s your mum, dad, sister, brother, godparent, best friend, adult child, or, in the case of elopements, two randoms who happened to be walking past, anyone can be a witness.

You can choose them beforehand or hold a witness lottery by placing names of those who meet the criteria in a hat, drawn out as part of the ceremony.

It’s always a good idea to have a bit of music playing/ a reading/ interpretive dance whilst signing is happening as it takes about 4 to 5 minutes

TWO: THE HEAT IS ON

During these hot summer days it’s really worth thinking about your guests comfort before the ceremony has started. You may think ‘it’s only a 30 minute ceremony’ but some guests will arrive 30 minutes (or more) beforehand and if the ceremony starts a bit later than expected then it can be a long, uncomfortable wait. If it’s a venue with no bar or shop nearby, it can get a bit dicey for your guests and I’ve had some near misses with fainters. Play it safe and have some water on offer for your guests. If this isn’t an option, let guests know it’s a good idea to bring a bottle with them. Guests who are travelling to Qld/NSW and who aren’t familiar with just how hot it can get will thank you.

THREE: ORDER OF BOOKING

In what order should you book your vendors? 

1) Start scouting for ceremony and reception venues. If you’re flexible with the dates, then you’ll obviously have more choice. If you already have a date locked in but are flexible with venues then you can start to book other suppliers
2) Book your celebrant. I, personally, take bookings up to two years in advance, and the more popular dates tend to get booked quickly such as May the Fourth, Saturday’s in peak season, Easter Saturday etc. 
3) Book your photographer. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of talent out there, ask your celebrant who they’ve work with and would recommend. Some couples book their photographer before their celebrant and that’s totally cool too. 
4) Book your make-up, hair, florist, stylist, on-the-day-coordinator, cake, music, food, dog-chaperone, signage or anything else you may want to make your day amazing.

And if this all feels too overwhelming, there’s wonderful wedding planners out there who can take the strain off you in order for you to have your perfect day.

FOUR: BOOM-SHAKA-LA

What music do you need for the ceremony? As a minimum I suggest a song for arrival of the bride(s) and/or groom(s), a song during signing, and then something post-smooch. 

You can also play tunes from when guests arrive, setting the atmosphere from the get-go. 

Music is such a personal choice and I’m sometimes asked for suggestions which is hard to do as my taste is probably very different to yours and visa versa. So I suggest to help you decide, that you close your eyes and picture the actual moment within your wedding where the music is playing. What emotion do you want to feel? One of romance? A feeling of joy? Of high excitement? Then choose some music which fits that feeling – whether it’s Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D Major’, Farrell’s ‘Happy’, or Metallica’s ‘Nothing Really Matters’ – and play it, imagining your wedding at that actual moment. Does the song evoke the right emotion you’re hoping for? If so, bingo! 

FIVE: WHOSE WHO IN THE ZOO?

How do you choose your wedding party? How many people should you have? What do they actually do during the ceremony? Do you even need them?

Choosing bridesmaids/men and groomsmen/women is, of course, completely down to personal choice. There are many ancient traditions as to why we have them (including best men stealing the bride from her family, and bridesmaids checking that the marriage has been consummated) but nowadays most wedding party members are there for emotional support, to help plan bucks/hens parties and to provide company when getting ready on the day.

More and more couples are moving away from this tradition. Take Hannah for example. She has a large close group of friends she’s known for years. Choosing just a few seemed impossible, so she didn’t. She still had friends with her when she got ready, but during the ceremony it was just Sean and her.

Consequently this created a real intimacy which is evident in this great photo by the lovely Kirsty @wildflowerweddings

You may want to have attendants, and that’s totally cool too. It’s also worth considering whether you’d like them standing up there with you for the whole ceremony, during the introduction and post-signing part but in with your guests for the main part of it, or for them to join your guests once the ceremony has begun.

Whatever you choose, do it because it feels right for you, rather than tradition dictates. It’s your day after all!

SIX: ‘IT’S LIKE RA-A-AAAAIN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY…’

Rain. Ugh. It’s the one thing you have zero control over on your wedding day and even if you choose a non-rainy period there’s still a chance. Our lowest rainfall months in Brisbane are July/August yet we still average seven days of rain. So, if you’re planning an outdoor wedding, it’s worth having a ‘plan b’ so you don’t spend the whole day prior to your wedding obsessively checking your Bureau of Meteorology app.

Option 1) Chat to your reception venue to see if there’s a suitable spot to hold the ceremony
Option 2) Book an indoor ceremony space as your backup plan. This doesn’t need to cost a fortune if you’re just using it for the ceremony and paying the extra $$ will be worth it for the peace of mind. 
Option 3) Buy some umbrellas. If it rains only lightly then investing in these could mean you’re still able to go ahead.

Finally, if it does rain on your wedding day there’s one thing you are guaranteed and that’s amazing photographs! Check out these pics of couples I’ve worked with who didn’t let rain ruin their day.

SEVEN: THE QUICKIE

In Australia you need to give one months notice in order to marry. And it’s amazing how much you can get done in a month.

Take Kitti and Paul for example. They arranged their whole wedding in this time and had their perfect day. They were focussed, decisive, and despite the short turnaround, still had so many personalised, memorable moments within their ceremony.

A quickly planned wedding does not mean a less than awesome one. If you’re flexible with what day of the week you want your ceremony and reception it can be done.

Here’s what Paul and Kitti said about their day:

‘Roxy was outstanding from the very start! She was so helpful to ensure we could meet our own chosen deadline with submitting forms (on the same day we first called her!), we had no idea how to make what we wanted into reality but Roxy was a wealth of information and suggestions, and she was very supportive in tailoring our ceremony to suit us. I think above all she is a really genuine, warm, fun and friendly person and it really shows naturally! We couldn’t have been happier with our wedding ceremony, it was just perfect thanks to Roxy and we’re so grateful! Our guests were also very impressed with Roxy, we had lots of feedback of how great she was! Thank you!!!’

EIGHT: DOGS. SIGH. LOVELY DOGS.

Dogs. Oh dogs. How much do I love our four legged yeasty-smelling companions?

Having your dog at your wedding is a no-brainer for some but for others it can be a little bit trickier.

As much as you love your dog, you may not want to have to keep an eye on him or her all day, and you also may want to consider them going home after the ceremony. If so, there’s companies who can do this for you such as the lovely Sherron @howl_yeah

If your dog can’t attend then you can acknowledge your dog (or cat, or llama, or fish, or snake…) by having their image on your invites, including them in your engagement shoot, immortalising them on your cake topper or on a fingerprint tree. Check out this blog post for more info on how to include your four-legged friend in your wedding.

NINE ONWARDS: Check in next week for more wedding planning wisdom. Or, if you’d like to chat to me, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0478041227 or at roxy@roxyrocks.com

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

Starting the Fun Before the Ceremony Has Begun

I arrive at the wedding ceremonies about an hour before the start time, and occasionally a guest will be there before me.  When guests are unfamiliar with the ceremony venue, they often will arrive extra early, just to make sure they’re on time. It’s worth thinking about how to keep them entertained right from the get-go.

The ideas below are also a great way of getting your guests talking and mingling, ensuring that by the time the ceremony starts, they’re already feeling relaxed.

Ring Warming

Have your wedding bands on display, with a sign explaining that you’d love them to place these in their hands and put their best wishes, love, blessing, or whatever feels right, which you can then carry with you within your rings.

Alternative Guest Books

Most people set up their guest books at the reception, but it’s worth getting these started before the ceremony, as often guests forget to sign these once they start partying.

You don’t need to be a Van Gogh or a De Vinci to produce a love-heart background on a canvas for your guests to sign.  Alternatively, you can purchase these little hearts and get your guests to sign each one.

For those whose artistic skills are a little bit more advanced, then these silhouettes can be a fun idea.  You could also try copying the basic shape below by magnifying the picture, printing, then tracing onto tracing paper (remember when we learnt to do this at school?) onto a canvas, outlining this in pencil before painting.

You can purchase initials for your guests to sign, or, if you (or one of your family members) are handy with a jigsaw, give this a whirl yourself.  Depending on the type of materials you use, you could then hang these up in your home, or have hanging from a garden wall.

Finger Print Prints

Why not get tactile, and ask your guests to ink their paws to make a communal piece of art. There’s numerous companies that can provide you with a backdrop, and all you need to do is provide the ink pads (and wipes to clean mucky fingers!).

Graffiti It Up

Get your guests to let out their inner Banksie.  You can either buy a brick-wall backdrop which guests can add graffiti and later have photos taken in front of, or provide a canvas with your initials or name, and then guests sign it.

Ask for Advice

Whether your guests are married or not, everyone has an opinion on what makes a good relationship.  So why not ask for their advice – whether it’s silly or serious, it’s bound to make good reading.

If you have any great ideas for keeping your guests entertained before the ceremony starts, please feel free to share with me.

And don’t forget, if it’s a sunny day, make sure your guests are comfortable whilst they wait by reading my hints here.

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

www.roxyrocks.com

0478041227

Best Day and Date to Get Married

How to Choose Your Wedding Date

Trying to choose your wedding date can feel like a minefield.  Will it rain?  Will it be too hot?  Too cold? Too busy? Have I left enough time to get the vendors I want?

There are lots of factors to consider, and although the below is written with South East Queensland/Northern NSW locations in mind, I am happy to give a second opinion for any area in Australia or beyond.

Most Popular Day of the Week to Marry

Unsurprisingly, Saturdays are the most popular day to marry.  However, since I started as a Celebrant in 2011, I’ve noticed an increase in weekday weddings.  Some venues provide a discount for these, which could account for this increase, and I find that couples wanting an elopement or intimate type wedding often choose a weekday to do so.

My bookings are closely replicated to the findings by the wedding website, Easyweddings.com.au, who, in their 2018 Annual Wedding Industry Report, found the most popular days to marry in Australia are:

Saturdays (62%)

Friday (14%)

Sunday (10%)

Thursday (5%)

Monday (3%)

Tuesday (3%)

Wednesday (3%)

Most Popular Months to Marry

I love a statistic, so have done some analysis on my bookings to give you an idea which months have been the busiest for delivering weddings in Queensland and Northern NSW.  As you can see, there’s a peak in April, July, August, September, October, November and then starts to tail off during the hotter months.  Equally, there’s an ebb in winter (which, incidentally, would be my chosen time of year to marry).

Popular Wedding Months

It’s Like Ra-a-aiiiiin On Your Wedding Day…

If there’s one thing you cannot control on your wedding day, it’s rain.  Let’s face it, no-one really wants a tropical storm on their special day, but, if you have your heart set on an outside wedding, it’s worth thinking about a plan b, just in case.

Below captures an idea of the amount of days it rains per month in the Greater Brisbane Region

rainfall per month brisbane

Too Hot?  Too Cold?

There’s hot, and there’s too hot.  There’s cold, and there’s too cold.  But holding a wedding during the warmest months shouldn’t be discounted outright.  There’s some ways you can look after your guests to ensure their comfort is looked after which you can read about here.

high low temps brisbane

There’s also lots of spectacular venues which offer the comfort of an indoor ceremony with air conditioning, and some of my favourites in Brisbane include Lightspace, High Church and The Joinery

 

[Photo l-r by Stories by Ash, Lover of Mine]

As mentioned, I love Brisbane winters.  After 26 years living in England, I think our winters here are perfect, and the stats below show that even in the evening in the midst of winter, the average temperate drops barely below 10 degrees Celsius.  However, if you’re holding your ceremony further West, you may find it can get into the single figures.  Forewarning your guests is a must and who doesn’t love a good fire-pit or two for your guests to warm themselves up around.  And how cute is this idea from Rach and Danny’s wedding where they provided a selection of scarves and jackets for their guests.

[Photo l-r Wildflower Weddings, Roxy’s Own iPhone Magic]

How Far in Advance?

You’ve decided what time of year to marry, and now you need to start checking availability of your chosen venue, photographer and Celebrant.  I would suggest that if you’re looking to hold your wedding in a popular month and on a popular day (eg: a Saturday in September) you’ll need to book as soon as possible to get your first choice of suppliers.  You can read more about this here.

And Finally

You may choose a date because it has a specific significance.  It might be the anniversary of your getting together, or it might have a nice ring to it.  Dates like May the Fourth are often popular with Star Wars fans, and round sounding dates like 1/9/19 are very memorable.  But above all, choose a date that works for you and, like all wedding planning, try not to get too caught up in what others think.  It’s your day, so do it your way.

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

www.roxyrocks.com

roxy@roxyrocks.com

0478041227

Wine, wine, and more wine

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m fond of a tipple or two of wine.  Preferably white.  Preferably not too sweet.  Preferably cold.

A lot of the couples I work with also like wine and if you find that you and your partner enjoy nothing more than cracking open a bottle of the good stuff, why not give a nod to this in your ceremony?

Ceremonies at a Winery

When you think of wine regions of Australia, Queensland’s growing industry doesn’t necessarily spring to mind.  But this area is growing, with many wineries building in reputation, quality and variety.

Below is a small selection of wineries or vineyards I’ve worked at which are accessible from Brisbane, all of which I recommend

Leahcruikshank3.png
Leah and Pete, married at Sarabah Estate Vineyard.  Photo: Leah Cruikshank

Wine Ceremony

Have you been keeping hold of a special bottle of wine for some time?  Maybe it’s one that was a gift from when you got engaged?  Maybe it’s a bottle from the vineyard where your proposal took place?  Maybe it’s a bottle which you are going to serve at your wedding reception?

An idea is, within the ceremony, to place your vows after you’ve exchanged them into a box with this bottle.  Then, on your first anniversary, you can open the box, pop open the cork, and re-read your vows to each other.

Toast During the Ceremony

If you’re happy to let your guests have alcohol during the ceremony, why not provide them with little mini-bottles of wine for a toast when the announcement that they’re married is made?  I’ve done this with shots of ‘apple-pie’ but it can be done with anything!

Kelly and Keith’s Wedding, photo by A Thousand Miles

Wine-Related Decorations

These great decorating ideas show an acknowledge of your love of wine and would be perfect in a vineyard setting.

Mt Woodson Castle Wedding Venue I San Diego Wedding Venue I Historic Castle I Full Service Catering I Rustic Wedding I Place Cards I Seating Chart on Wine Corks

Wedding Gift Wine Labels Thank You Gift by paperandlace on Etsy
Personalised Wedding Labels via Etsy

Great idea for an alternative wedding table plan..winter weddings can use lots of lighting to bring a little extra sparkle!
Old wine bottles?  Put them to good use with this great idea for table seating.

Cork placement holders, available from here

Related image
Get your guests to sign a cork and store in this shadow box, available from here

Cork hearts – fun to make, and involved drinking lots of wine

DIY mini-wine bottle wedding favors
DIY mini-wine favours – read here for instructions

Cork keepsake frame
A keepsake from your first toast, instructions here

And Finally…

Pinterest, Etsy, Instagram – there’s a million ideas out there and it can get pretty overwhelming.  So please don’t hesitate to brain-storm with me.  I love getting creative with weddings, and it’s always my pleasure to be asked to help with unique ideas.

Roxy Hotten Celebrant