In 2017 it’ll be my 10 year anniversary of being married to Mr HB, and when I look back on my wedding, it was the happiest day of my life.
One of the things I was most happy about was how easy and stress free it all was and I think this was down to the fact that all I wanted on the day was to be married to Mr HB and for my friends and family to have a hoot on our wedding day. We were living in Battersea, London at the time, and Mr HB and I had barely two pennies to rub together. I was working for a disability charity and had a job which didn’t pay very much, and Mr HB was trying to establish himself as an actor. And, as you probably know, London is an expensive city.
Our wedding was held at Wandsworth Registry Office, where
Mr HB’s Parents and Grandparents married, following by a big, messy party at our local pub (which was sadly demolished a few years ago). My dress cost £68 (approx $120AUD) and our wedding meal was a self-serve BBQ. Mr HB’s parents secretly paid for the BBQ for us, so we used the money we’d saved for this to put behind the bar so our friends and family could have some drinks on us.
If we had have had more money, we may have done some things differently, but we didn’t, and so we did what we was the most affordable and fun at the time. And it was fun. Oh my gosh, was it fun. Our friends were amazing, so kind, and they took the whole day in the spirit it was meant – as a celebration of Mr HB and my relationship and our friendship with all of them.
Nearly ten years on, I look back at that day with fond memories. I also look back at my relationship with Mr HB with the same. We’ve done a lot, and had many adventures. We’ve adopted the Best Dog in the World, Valentine, and we’ve traveled to Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Holland, Germany, Poland and now have made Australia our home. We’ve suffered hard times, but we’ve suffered them together. We’ve learnt how to support each others ambitions and passions. And we’ve celebrated our achievements together, like the time I rode my bike from London to Paris or Mr HB made an appearance in Eastenders.
So, I guess in a way, this post is dedicated to my husband, Danny Brown, and to say ‘thank you’ for being you. I’m just the luckiest girl in the world.
Mr HB and me frolicking on Stradbroke Island
Valentine, Mr HB and me in our matching kimonos. Val looks a bit embarrassed…
Choosing a celebrant is such a personal choice. When you envisage standing in front of your family and friends to share your vows, you may already have a really clear vision as to what your celebrant looks like and how they sound. However, you may also feel like you have no idea where to even start. Below are five things to consider which may help you whilst you search for the right person.
Many celebrants will have had other career(s) prior to coming in to celebrancy and asking them what their celebrant and non-celebrant experience is will give an insight into other skill-sets they have. For example, I have worked as a journalist and as a project manager and therefore I have skills which help me write quality ceremonies, whilst also being a very organised person.
Consider not only what you may need in a celebrant, but what others may need. Do you have a ‘tricky’ parent or relative? Do you have children you want to include in your ceremony? If so, do you feel your celebrant will be able to build a rapport with them and make them feel comfortable?
Try to find someone who ‘gets’ you. They don’t need to become your new best friend, but it’s great when there’s a rapport built.
Testimonials are your friend – see what others have said, and if their style of weddings is similar to your style and they rave about their celebrant, then it could be a match.
Don’t just go for the cheapest. Cheap does not always equal good, and I know I personally charge what I feel I’m worth. I put a lot of effort in to my ceremonies, and this is reflected in my price.
Wedding readings. Boy oh boy, readings can be hard work for both the reader and the audience. I think we’ve all been there. Friend/Brother/Sister/Auntie/Uncle/etc come up to a reading, and they stumble through the words, making it very uncomfortable for them and everyone else.
So, in the hope of saving both readers and guests from an uncomfortable situation, here are seven ideas which may help you in your search for an appropriate reading.
Get Them To Choose
Ask your readers to choose the reading themselves, and to keep it a surprise from everyone. People really rise to this challenge, and I’ve worked with many readers who have come up with surprising and amazing ideas – poems or extracts which are very unusual and personal.
Say a Song
Choose the words to a favourite or meaningful song. It’s a great moment when people ‘click’ that they recognise the words. It usually takes a few lines, and always evokes a smile.
Don’t Google ‘Readings’
When using the internet to search for readings, rather than typing in ‘wedding readings’ – which will result in an overwhelming abundance of readings type in words which are more specific as to your interest eg: ‘poem dog love’, ‘lyrics love travel’ or ‘funny poem dance couple’.
Share the content of a letter. It could be a love letter between the bride and groom, or the parents/grandparents of one of the party. I conducted a ceremony where a letter written by the groom to the British Home Office was read by the best man requesting them to process his visa application so he could be with his bride-to-be. I think a little creative licence was used in the re-reading of the letter, but it had many guests in (good) tears.
Be resourceful. I conducted a wedding where the couple had come from the same town but had both moved away as adults and met via internet dating. They had never met when living in the same town but Sarah’s mother, who had passed away some years prior, had taught Jack. Jack’s reader, Adam, started ‘I know that Sarah’s Mum would have loved Jack. In fact let’s hear what she has to say about him …’ It transpired that Adam had asked Jack’s parents whether they still had any of his school reports, which they did. One of the reports had been written by Sarah’s mother, and Adam read out her synopsis of Jack’s behaviour and aptitude in her class.
Kid You Not
If you have children, ask them to collectively deliver a reading. I had a couple marry who between them had seven children aged from 2 to 16 years. The children wrote their own poem to read, two lines each, with the older children supporting the younger. As it was held in the family home, even the dog came up on the stage.
If you have chosen creative readers who enjoy writing, you could ask if they would write or say something bespoke for you. I’ve had readers deliver a poem, a passage, or some wise-words about marriage, written especially for the couple… it’s almost like a gift they can give to you for you to keep thereafter.
Flash Mob Styley 1
If you want to get some other guests involved with the wedding reading, why not do a flash mob style one. The way to do this is to print off the reading you want to do, and hand them out discretely to all the guests when you arrive.
On the paper will be a reading broken down into groups. For example, the lead reader will read the first paragraph. On the second paragraph, everyone who has known the bride or groom all their life will stand up and read this paragraph. On the third paragraph, everyone who has known them for 20+ years will join in. Fourth, everyone who has known them for 10+ years will join in. Fifth, everyone else will join in.
Flash Mob Styley 2
In this version, the reader says the first line of their ‘reading’ which is, in fact, a song. They will then sing the second line. The third line one guest will join in. Fourth line another guest. And so on. I did this with a couple and there were eight singers, with myself included. I sure ain’t no Pavarotti but it truly was delivered with gusto and was a great surprise for the couple who were both musical theater lovers.
If you have friends or family who are musically blessed, you might want to take advantage of their talents. I did a wedding where a friend of the bride and groom performed ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from Grease, slowed down, a cappella, in a room with incredible acoustics. It was barely recognisable, but so very beautiful and moving. Not a dry eye in the house…