If you haven’t already, check out Part One of Wedding Planning Wisdom from me, Roxy Hotten – Celebrant. It’s very helpful – I promise!
SIXTEEN – Keep on Movin’
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
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.
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.
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 as demonstrated below by Stephen Doyle Photographer below.
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. Read here for more details on how this works.
I love this photo of a reader who, after delivering an awesome one, gave the couple and all the bridesmaids a kiss.
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. Or 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: 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, captured by This is Life Photography)
👩 Ask them to do a reading (and why not get them to choose it themselves!?)
👩 Have them as your witnesses. Mum’s love doing this, and it means their signature will be on your marriage certificate
👩 Get them to be the ring-bearers and bring them up to you and your partner
TWENTY-THREE: 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?
As a Celebrant since 2011, I have tonnes of experience. Weddings are my Mastermind subject. I’m always happy to share any knowledge I may have to help you get the best day you can possibly have. Check out lovely things said by lovely people about my services.
Feel free to ask me any questions. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0478041227