Acknowledging a loved one in your ceremony

When an important person in your life isn’t able to attend your wedding, it can be hard.  Whether it’s because they have died or are unable to travel to your wedding, you may be considering ways to acknowledge them. If so, what is the best way to do so, and how?

To Acknowledge or Not?

This is something that only you can decide, but in my experience, acknowledging a person who is notably absent can address the elephant in the room.

I conducted a wedding where the brother of the groom had passed only recently.  The groom wanted his absence acknowledged in the ceremony and so I said ‘Dave, has asked me to acknowledge his little brother, James, who I’m sure is in many of your thoughts today. Although James is not here, it does feel like he’s looking on, and probably having a bit of a laugh seeing Dave all suited and nervous.  Although his absence is felt deeply, think of him with a smile, and imagine him taking full advantage of the free bar and throwing a shape or two on the dance floor later on.’

After the ceremony, the groom’s parents came and spoke to me.  They explained that they were so grateful that James had been acknowledged, and had been worried that the whole day would go by without him being mentioned.

At another ceremony, the bride’s grandmother was too poorly to travel.  The relationship between the two of them was very close, and she explained to me that her grandmother had had a dream where the bride had married in olive green which was her grandmother’s favourite colour.  I suggested that I wore one of my frocks which was in this colour, and during the ceremony I explained I was wearing this specifically in honour of her.  The bride loved this idea, and sent her grandmother an extract of the ceremony where this was mentioned.

However, acknowledging someone with words may feel too upsetting, and there are other ways of doing so.

Photos

Whether you have a photo of your loved one somewhere near the ceremonial area or chose to carry a photo in your bouquet or pinned to your jacket, having a photographic reminder can be a wonderful way of feeling as if they are close by you throughout the day.

l-r: Rachel Clingen Roxy’s own,  Shea Christine

Their Favourite Thing(s)

A fun inclusion could be serving your loved ones favourite drink or food, or making something from one of their recipes.  Alternatively, you could have one of their favourite songs played or, if the lyrics work, read by a friend or family member during the ceremony.

l-r: Inked Weddings, Roxy’s own, Inked Weddings

Personalised Items

Whether it’s a fragment of your loved one’s wedding dress, his favourite tie, a hand-written note, their names embroidered into your dress, or a piece of jewelry or cuff-links worn, this can be a subtle, yet memorable way of including them in your day.

l-r: Zofia and Co.Kay McKee photographer,  Janine Deanna, Lindsay Docherty

I also love this idea of creating a kilt pin with specific items and wearing this somewhere on your dress or suit.

To see how to make these, check out Something Turquoise.

Rituals

Whether it’s lighting a candle, placing a flower which has significance to the deceased, or using materials from a wedding dress in a handfasting, there are existing rituals that you can tweak or utilise as is to acknowledge absent guests.

l-r: Amanda Macy Hall, Wedding Star, EL Simpson 

Seating

You may want to leave a seat for your loved one, either within the ceremony area, or in a more discrete area, such as under a tree with one of their favourite flowers or a bottle of their drink so people can go and have a private moment and remember them.

l-r Wedding ChicksSouthern Weddings

And finally….

Sadly my husband’s brother passed away only nine months before our wedding.  His absence was on all our minds in the lead up to the wedding and on the day itself.  However, we had a very happy day, and it was the first time many people who had been at his funeral were together again.  Although there were tears, there was much celebration of him and of us.

Please feel free to chat to me about any of these ideas.  You can contact me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478041227

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

Marrying in a Park? What You Need to Know.

Are you thinking of marrying in a park, but are a little unsure as to whether you need a permit?  Do you need to book a park if it’s only a small wedding?  Are you able to play music?  Read this guide to help you navigate this potential ceremony option in Brisbane and the surrounds.
Is a park wedding right for you?
  • How do you feel about on-lookers stopping to watch your wedding?  Do you mind background noise such as children playing?  When doing your research, you may want to consider visiting any potential locations on the same day of the week and at the time you’re getting married to see how busy it will be.
  • If you are thinking of a park ceremony, it’s worth considering what your wet weather option may be, or choose a park which has an covered area you can hire, such as New Farm Park Rotunda or Dreverson Park, Manly. If you’re going for something more open-air, check to see whether your reception venue can be your ‘Plan B’, or look for local community halls or see if any local hotels have a space you can book for peace of mind.
  • How many guests are you having? Similar to indoor venues, some parks designated areas only work comfortably for a maximum number of people.

Do you need a permit?

Do you need a permit to get married in a park?  The short answer; sometimes. The long answer is:
  • Some parks have designated ceremony areas.  With these, you will need to apply for a permit to be assured that your space will be specifically for you at your chosen time, and have the ability to have your area styled.  Some areas come with other facilities, such as access to power.
  • You can marry in parks without a permit, but this will depend on whether you’re looking to hold your ceremony in a designated area, whether you need access to power, whether you are planning on having any structures set up, and, with some Councils, the number of guests.
  • If you were having a small wedding in a park, and were not using a designated area, then mostly you will not require a permit.  However, it’s always worth checking with the Council of that park if you’re unsure.
  • Permits vary in cost from Council to Council, eg: Brisbane City Council fees start at $325.15, and Gold Coast Council start at $100.
Where do I find the Guidelines?
Below are some of the guidelines of Parks in South East Queensland can be found below:
  • National Parks guidelines are here
  • Brisbane City Council guidelines here
  • City of Ipswich guidelines here
  • Sunshine Coast guidelines here
  • Moreton Bay guidelines here
  • City of Gold Coast guidelines here
  • Logan City guidelines here
  • Redland City guidelines here
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council here
  • Somerset Council guidelines here
  • Lockyer Valley guidelines here

Anything else I need to know?

Consider the time of year you are planning on marrying.  Obviously it gets very hot in South East Queensland, and you may want to consider some of my advice on how to keep a hot weather wedding cool.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

How to Cool Down Your Hot Wedding

Don’t let a hot weather day ruin your plans of an outdoor wedding.  With the below tips, you can keep your guests happy, even when the temperature is rising:

  1. Provide water for your guests upon arrival to the ceremony.  Some will begin arriving anywhere from an hour prior to the ceremony start time (especially if they have a distance to travel), and if your ceremony is located in a remote area without access to a shop, it can be hard for them to wait around without any refreshments.   water
  2. When sending out the invitations, it’s worth highlighting to your guests  anything they may need to bring for the ceremony to help them deal with the heat.  For example, if the wedding is being held in an open, sunny area, you may want to suggest guests wear sun-cream, sun-hats or bring a parasol.
  3. For those really hot days, you might want to consider providing your guests with an Order of Service in the shape of a fan to help them cool down.  You can do these yourself, and a tutorial is hereWedding Fan
  4. Provide some sun-cream and anything else to help them, such as bug-spray.  You can even personalise them and have them as wedding favours for your guests which you can purchase here.sunscreen

And always remember, don’t stress if an unexpected heat-wave happens.  Enjoy your ceremony and with some of the above, your guests will too.

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

 

Goodbye 2017 and hello a new era!

Goodbye 2017 and hello a new era!

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, or seen my Instagram or Facebook pages you’ll see that I have had an amazing, incredible, wonderful 2017.  I conducted over 80 weddings in Australia, Bali and London, chucked in my day job to be a full-time celebrant, attended sessions on social media to learn what the hell I’m meant to be doing, and basically had the best year of my life.

And I know 2018 is going to be even better…

The reason  I’m so confident of this is down to the simple fact that marriage equality is now a thing.  In 2017 I conducted a couple of same-sex commitment ceremonies and, well, as beautiful as they were, it saddened my soul that I couldn’t marry them legally.  Now, I can.  I don’t have to say those hateful words ‘Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and woman…’ anymore.  Hoo-bloody-rah!

Secondly, in 2018 I want to do more creative learning.  I spent time in 2017 learning how to use social media, tailoring my website, and learning all the ins and outs of celebrancy in Australia.  So now is the time for me to start doing some really fun stuff; attending courses and sessions which will hopefully include paints and pencils and textiles and design and writing and all the fun stuff.

I can’t wait for this year.  I’d love to hear your ambitions for 2018, whether wedding related or not. Don’t be shy – come and say hi!

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

 

 

Yes! Marriage is now Marriage!

RoxMarrEqu

Yes! Marriage is now marriage!  It’s not ‘same sex marriage’ or ‘marriage equality’… it’s just marriage.

Words do not express the happiness I feel.  Having to say during a ceremony the words ‘Marriage, accordingly to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman…’ has always grated on me and many of the couples whom I married.

I remember a guest – an Uncle of the groom – coming up to me after the ceremony, thanking me for stating prior to the wording above that this was not the belief of his nephew, niece-in-law, or myself.  When I stated this at the ceremony, there was a huge roar of applause from the guests.  This had the Uncle in tears, and he explained that in all his years, he had never been to a wedding where he felt included, apart from this one.

Now I no longer will have to say a precursor in order to make guests feel comfortable.  Nor will I have to be discriminatory towards anyone based on their sexuality.  I can marry anyone! Love is love when it’s between two consenting people and those who want to make the commitment of marriage will now be allowed to do so.

I’ve always been proud to be a celebrant and I love my job with a true, absolute, deep and real passion.  But today I love it even more.

I can now start receiving Notice of Intended Marriage from same-sex clients from the 9th December, which means I can start marrying same-sex couples from the 9th January.  And I’m pretty sure that the first one I conduct where I say ‘Marriage, accordingly to law in Australia, is the union of two people voluntarily entered into for life’ will be momentous.

I’m signing off this blog with The Biggest Smile Ever, and a little bit of wet around my eyes.

Yours happily,

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

 

How To Sign The Register

Register Sign

How to sign the register?  Are you confused as to whether it should be your married name?

The answer is ‘no’ – you sign your name in your current signature. Getting married doesn’t automatically change your last name; after all, some couples choose not to do so.

Your name change can happen once you start to get identification in this name. The process is:

1) After your married your celebrant will send your paperwork to Births, Deaths and Marriages in the State where you were married
2) Once this has been registered by the Births, Deaths and Marriage in that State, you can then apply for your marriage certificate which can be used as evidence that you are now legally married
3) You can then begin applying for documents which you can use as ID, such as your passport and drivers licence with your new name

Simples! For a comprehensive list of people to contact regarding name change, please see link here: Super-Handy Name-Change Check-List

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this or anything else.

Handy links:
Drivers Licence Name Change in QLD

Passport Application for Name Change

Photo: This is Life Photography

Brisbane’s Top Five Celebrants

I’m one of Brisbane’s Top Five Celebrants!  I was super-honoured to have recently been placed in the Easy Weddings Editors Choice of Top Five Celebrant List.

In the past I’ve won awards for my work in the UK as a Celebrant, but this is the first time since moving to Australia and setting myself up as a Celebrant in late 2016 that I’ve been officially recognised within the industry.

And, although awards and recognition are lovely, I also have a real sense of pride in my work.  I aim so hard to deliver personalised, solid, open-minded, thoughtful and sensitive celebrant services to couples I work with.

I believe that one of the reasons I was chosen because of the positive feedback of many of the couples I have worked with.  You can read reviews either here (Google reviews) or here (Facebook Reviews) or read some of my testimonials here.

So, if you’d like to have a no-obligation chat with me, please don’t hesitate to contact me at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478 041227

Leah_Lee_ceremony(43of130).jpg
Ceremony at Spicers Peak Lodge

Roxy Hotten Celebrant

Thinking of eloping? Read my handy top tip guide to get you on track.

Thinking of eloping?  Whether you want to do so to save money, to negate the ‘inviting the masses’ issue, or you just want a really intimate commitment with only you and your witnesses then I’m able to help you with your elopement ceremony, ensuring it meets all your needs.

As a starter, I’ve produced some guidance on how to organise the perfect elopement:

  1.  Submit your completed notice-of-intended-marriage at least one calendar month prior to your elopement date with your celebrant.  Unless there is a reason which falls under the exceptional circumstances (please ask me for more advice on these), you will need to  lodge this at least one calendar month before your chosen date to get married.
  2. Think about what kind of elopement you want.
    • Do you want super-intimate with only two witnesses or something with a small, intimate group of family and/or friends?
    • If you do want to invite guests, do you want them to be aware that you are eloping, or do you want to invite them under a different guise?
    • Do you want to include personalised vows in the ceremony?
    • Do you want any readings included?  Would you like any of your guests to say something during the ceremony?
    • Do you want your elopement to be captured by a professional photographer and/or videographer to then share with others at a later date?
  3. Decide where you would like to hold your elopement ceremony.  I have conducted elopements:
    • at parks (depending on your type of elopement, it’s worth checking first to see if you need any kind of permit for that particular park)
    • on beaches, including those on both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts
    • in a coffee shop (with the bride and groom in shorts and thongs)
    • at the home of a couple, just before they were to fly off for a trip of a lifetime
    • at a small family 30th birthday party which turned into a surprise elopement
  4. How are you going to share the news with your family and friends after the elopement?  It must seem an odd question to ask, but quite often couples elope, and then spend days, weeks, even months, before they share the news because, well… basically they’re not sure how to do so!  It’s worth having a think about this beforehand; are there those whom you want to tell first face to face, or are you happy to make an announcement on social media?

Please do not hesitate to contact me about elopements – I have a real sense of adventure and love surprises, so am more than happy to get fully on board to make your elopement totally right for you.

“Thank you foKellDr your wonderful assistance on our surprise evening… even your commitment to your backstory so my family wouldn’t guess you were a celebrant. Thanks for fitting in with our very simple, kinda last minute decision and making it super chilled with was just perfect for us.” Kellee and Ben (left)

 

 

Roxy signature

www.roxyrocks.com

 

How to Show Marriage Equality Support in your Ceremony

Marriage Equality… sigh…

It truly is something which I’m very passionate about and it beggars belief to me as to why we don’t have it.  Please read my post on my thoughts about Marriage Equality, which can be found here.

As you may be aware, by law, all celebrants must include some monitum wording which includes:

‘I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law.  Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’

I really don’t like saying the bit in bold.  I truly don’t.  And often couples I work with don’t like me saying it either, and they ask if I can exclude it.  Unfortunately I can’t, but what I can do is include a precursor sentence before the monitum wording paragraph which explains that this is not the views of all of us, and we hope one day to have marriage equality.

I recently conducted a wedding where when I said this, everyone cheered.  It gave me goose bumps; I was so proud that so many like-minded people are out there.  After the ceremony a guest came up to me and shook my hand.  He was in his late 50s and told me that in all his life, he’d never been to a wedding where he and his (male) partner actually felt included.

This in itself is one of many reasons why I will keep supporting change for the introduction of marriage equality.

Marriage Equality. It’s only fair.

Roxy signature

What absolutely, definitely must and must not happen during your ceremony.

Have you been thinking; ‘what must and must not happen during a wedding ceremony?’

Have you wondered what the legalities are within the ceremony itself?

Are you worried you’ll have to say long vows or ring exchange wording?

Well, there’s actually very little which must happen during your ceremony and equally very little that must not happen.  But, before you think this is a nagging, boring post, dictating to you about traditions, read on…

What Must Happen

  • Your celebrant must say the legal wording which is ‘I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter.  Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.’  I know that some find this paragraph insensitive and, as an advocate of Marriage Equality, I am more than happy to include a precursor to this paragraph which helps guests understand that a marriage between a man and a woman is not necessarily the belief of all.
  • Bride and groom must say the mandatory words ‘I call upon the persons here present to witness that I, (name in full), take thee (name in full) to be my lawful wedding (wife/husband).  There are some slight changes in the wording which is a permissible (such as ‘you’ instead of ‘thee’).
  • The following three documents must be signed by the bride and groom in presence of two witnesses, followed by the celebrant:
    • the big red register (which your celebrant keeps)
    • the fancy looking certificate of marriage (which you keep)
    • the other one (which your celebrant submits to births, deaths and marriages)

That’s it… that’s all the ‘musts’ for a wedding ceremony!

Must Not

  • You must not do something just because it’s tradition. This is your wedding, and you can do it your way.  You may want to follow traditions, and that’s completely fine, but if you want to arrive together, do it!  If you don’t want to exchange rings, don’t!  If you’d prefer to have a shot of tequila rather than ‘kiss the bride’, go ahead!
  • You must not sweat the small stuff.  The best weddings I’ve conducted are where the bride and groom are present and enjoying the ceremony.  I know this is easier said than done, but your guests are there to celebrate with you, and you’re there to marry the love of your life.  Enjoy every second of it and it will be the best day of your life.  No-one will ever say ‘it was a crap wedding because the flowers were a centimeter out of place’.
  • You must not get stressed if something doesn’t go according to plan.  I’ve had ceremonies where someone who was going to do a reading couldn’t as they were so emotional.  I’ve had the wrong song played on the entrancenicandlee3 of the bride.  I’ve had children come wandering up and chat to the bride and groom during the ceremony.   I’ve had my heel caught in the paving and couldn’t move for a few seconds (pictured right). And do you know what… with every single ceremony I’ve always had people come up to me and say it was the best ceremony they’ve ever seen.

Of course, the most important thing is to enjoy your day – please feel free to contact me to discuss further how to make your day absolutely perfect for you.

Roxy signature