Wedding Tips From A Professional Wedding Planner

Planning a wedding can be a stressful time for both you and your partner … but it doesn’t have to be! I recently met with one of Brisbane’s most talented Wedding Planners, the gorgeous Janette from Olive Rose Weddings and Events. She is a goldmine of industry know-how, and kindly has written below to help all those couples out there who are planning for their big day.

Wedding Tips Every Couple Should Know

by Janette Howell, Owner of Olive Rose Weddings and Events

Check out my easy to implement wedding hacks to make planning your wedding that little bit easier.

WEDDING EXPOS

  •  Create and print out your own sign up form! THIS WILL BE THE GREATEST THING YOU EVER DO! Print and cut out your details including *** Your name, Email, Phone number and wedding date. Most vendors will have draws and competitions instead of writing your details over and over and over just use these pre-filled out entry forms!!! GENIUS RIGHT!!!! If you only do one thing from my list make it this! This will save your hand and your sanity.
  • Create a specific wedding email address so that all your wedding information is in one place. This is such a great idea! It’s free to setup another email so why wouldn’t you? No need to sift through a million emails to find your wedding things. Make it cute like mrandmrsstafford@ or jenandstandswedding@ or weddingofthecentury@.

Have fun with it. I also recommend creating folders within your new email address and label them for each service (Wedding Planner, Celebrant, Venue, Etc) so that later on when you need to find a particular email it couldn’t be easier. 😉

RSVP CARDS

  • On your RSVP cards, put a space for your guests to request a song. This way you will know what your guests want to hear and they will get excited when their song comes on!
  • Number your RSVP cards so you can easily see at a glance if you’re missing any.

BUDGETING

Weddings can be extremely expensive and can get seriously out of hand when you don’t keep to your budget!

Firstly, work out how much you are willing to spend on your wedding. Secondly, can you afford it? Do you need a longer engagement to save the money, or are your parents chipping in? These questions need to be answered before you start planning your wedding.

If other parties are willing to help pay, organise a chat with them regarding how much they are willing to pay. Or perhaps delegate certain aspects of the wedding each party can pay for. E.g. Reception catering, bar tab, etc.

Once a plan of attack has been made create a budget spreadsheet and keep those (if any) helping pay for your wedding updated with expenses. This will avoid any surprise payments at the last minute.

BE PREPARED

  • Create a Plan B for unexpected weather. I could not recommend this any higher. If you don’t have a Plan B chances are everything that could go wrong will go wrong. So you need to be super organised and on top of this. Talk to your planner or coordinator to discuss a wet weather plan. And to be perfectly honest … wet weather weddings are my all time favourite and they make for STUNNING photos with a chance of a rainbow. Amazing.
  • Create an emergency kit! This is super fun to create and why not make it a fun scavenger hunt between you and your bridal party!!! (Wishing now I did this with my girls). This kit should enclose important lists and schedules for your day as well as health, beauty, sewing, items as well as anything you can think of.  Try searching Pinterest for lists you can use.  

THE DRESS

Make sure someone in your bridal party knows how to strap you in and bustle your dress

This comes in under being prepared but really needs its own section. No point on buying the most beautiful dress in the world and not having a single person that knows how to strap you in or bustle your dress after the ceremony. I suggest taking your mother and one of your bridesmaids to your fitting to learn how to do these two things. Don’t just rely on a safety pin and your girls knowledge of wedding dresses.

Get your seamstress to add a bustle to your gown. If you’re like me and can’t stand the thought of buying an expensive dress only to have to buy a second one for the reception so you can dance in it! Crazy right! By getting your seamstress to sew a hook or button into your gown allows you to hook the bottom of your train up to the lower outside back part of your gown so that it’s lifted off the floor and you can dance the night away.

PAWFECT ATTIRE

When dressing up your pet for your wedding you to make sure what they are wearing is not constricting or distracting for them. You want to make sure they are comfortable and not irritated. We suggest a floral collar or bow tie which can be situated behind the head or under the chin, this also reduces the chance of them pulling it off before the ceremony. Be mindful that clothing will often result in overheating your precious pet especially in Summer.

https://www.lovelenscapes.com

AND FINALLY

Just remember you can’t control everything! And if something goes wrong it’s not the end of the world and in most cases, can be fixed without any issues. But if something really bad goes wrong, well you’ll have a fantastic story to tell for years to come. If your smiling the whole world will smile with you. Have a fantastic day and just relax and enjoy all the things we take for granted because it’s your day to shine and sparkle. You deserve it.

About Janette:

“My passion for weddings showed itself to me when my handsome husband proposed to me. I had always loved weddings but had no idea of all the little details that tied such a beautiful day together.

This is when the obsession started.

I will tell you now Pinterest will be your best & worst friend! There’s so many amazing ideas that it can become a little overwhelming. That’s where I come in. Let me help you blend all your stunning ideas and dreams to make a day not to forget.” Janette Newell, Olive Rose Weddings and Events

Photo https://www.jesstookthis.com/

Doing Death Differently – How I Can Help

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When I tell people I’m a celebrant, and I conduct baby namings, weddings and funerals I often get the same reaction: ‘The funerals must be hard. I couldn’t do that.’

And, yes, funerals can be hard, but I find them such a special experience to participant in, and if I can make the grieving process just that little bit easier, then I gain much job satisfaction.

Most people’s experience of funerals have been in a church, chapel or at a funeral home.  But, what would you say if I told you that it doesn’t need to be like that?  That, depending on whether you want a funeral or a memorial, you can hold these at a vineyard, or on a farm, or by the sea, or at home, or… well, there’s many choices.

So, why don’t more people do this?  Basically it’s because usually the only experience we’ve had when someone dies is the more traditional process.  It can be hard to make decisions when grieving, and when the loved one hasn’t left any instructions on what they want, it can seem easier to take the well-trodden path.

However, imagine a funeral or memorial that really celebrated your loved ones life; where people come together in a place that feels familiar or fitting for the deceased.  Imagine being able to take your time to say goodbye, to share stories, laugh, cry, grieve in a way which feels comfortable.

Recently I’ve noticed a lot of positive media attention regarding alternative ways to say your last goodbye to a loved one, and this has reconfirmed what it is I’m trying to do with the funeral celebrant side of my business.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/11/doing-death-differently-todays-funerals-are-not-like-they-used-to-be

http://www.theage.com.au/nsw/nontraditional-funerals-are-changing-how-families-and-loved-ones-say-goodbye-20170316-guzhtg.html

I work with a couple of excellent funeral directors who are able to support me in conducting a funeral with a difference including the awesome Tim and Casey (and Hairy, their dog) at Just Cremate Me.

If you’d like to talk to me about any of the above, I’m more than happy to do so.  My contact details are roxy@roxyrocks.com or you can ring me for a no-obligation friendly chat on 0478041227.

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Why do celebrants cost so much?

I met with a couple this week who had been quoted so many different prices from many different celebrants, they were utterly confused as to what was good value and what was not.  Some charge less than me, and some nearly twice my price.

It made me realise that it can be a bit of a mine-field out there.  So I thought I’d explain how I came up with my fees.  I can only speak for myself, and I’m certainly not claiming to speak on behalf of all celebrants, but I do realise that this is an area which some couples struggle to understand, so in order to be honest and transparent, here is what you’re paying for when you book me.

  1. I have been a celebrant since 2011, and this experience means I really understand weddings.  I provide couples with lots of ideas and guidance and if there’s any issues along the way or on the day, I’m able to provide solutions
  2. I am professional.  This is my business and I run it as such.  I respond to emails and telephone messages as soon as possible and communicate with you throughout the process.  I use a modern, high spec P.A. system and always tailor my appearance to what is appropriate depending on the bride and groom’s style and vision for their ceremony
  3. I am a full time celebrant which means that I am available for queries, meetings, consultations etc at a time which suits you, rather than you having to fit in around me.  I offer initial meetings during week days, week evenings, and on weekends
  4. I keep up to date with what’s happening out there in the wedding world.  Weddings are my world and I am always researching so I can suggest fun or innovative elements to add in to your ceremony
  5. Being a celebrant is expensive.  I pay a yearly registration fee to the Attorney General, to the Australian Marriage Celebrants for my membership, for my insurance, for my advertising, and I pay to do on-going professional development every year
  6. I write ceremonies which are bespoke and incorporate your story, and I take pride in tweaking every one to ensure it’s really and truly personalised – no cookie cutter ceremonies here…
  7. I care.  I know this may sound corny, or daft, but I honestly do.  It’s important to me that your wedding ceremony is great, like, really really great.  And because I care, I put the time and effort in to a ceremony, in the writing, the getting to know you, the rehearsal and the delivery on the day

I hope the above gives you a flavour on why I charge what I charge.  You can find my current fees here at www.roxyrocks.com/fees and I’m always happy to answer any questions at roxy@roxyrocks.com or on 0478041227.

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I don’t suppose you’re available…?

A lot of the time when people ring or email me about my availability, they start off with ‘I don’t suppose you’re available on the xxxxxx date?’

Having come from England where celebrants are rare, and people that use them even rarer, the thought that I now work in a field which is super competitive and saturated with celebrants was at first a bit of a novelty to me  However, I’ve been lucky, and my business in Australia has exceeded my expectations.

I’m still new in the scene though.  I only really started advertising in Australia three months ago, and despite working for five years as a celebrant in London, I’m considered a ‘newby’ in this field.  Therefore I have availability where others who have been around for a lot longer may not. I have some months already fully booked (for example, April 2017 only has one day still available), whereas March 2017 currently has nil.

My tip to get the celebrant on the date you want? Prioritize booking them as early as possible, ideally as soon as you’ve got your date locked in.

And don’t hesitate to contact me to check out whether I’m free on your chosen date.  It’s no-obligation!

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The Legal ‘Bit’

I think wedding ceremonies should be 90% about the ceremonial side of things – the meaningful, fun, inclusive, humorous, loving element – and 10% about the legalities. However, the legal part is a necessity and I thought it might be helpful for me to talk you through what needs to be done here in Australia to make sure everything is legit.

Lodging your intention to marry

At least one calendar month prior to your ceremony date (and no more than 18 months in advance) you will need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage This document will need to be signed either in the presence of your celebrant, or a JP, or any other person as listed on page 4 of the form.  Once the celebrant has received this, it is lodged. If you have any queries on this form, or are unable to complete in Australia due to one or both of you being abroad, your celebrant will be able to advise you of your options.

Declaration to marry

Prior to your ceremony, you both will need to sign a declaration of no legal impediment to marriage.  This is usually signed at the rehearsal, or on the day of the ceremony itself (but prior to the ceremony).

Legal wording during ceremony

Celebrant:

I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriage 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. 

Bride and Groom:

I call upon the persons here present to witness that [name], take thee, [name], to be my lawful wedded wife/husband

There are some minor variations that can be made on both of these, but they are minor.  Your celebrant will be able to provide you with these options.

Legal documents during ceremony

You will require two witnesses, and they will watch you sign the following, and then sign themselves:

  1. The official certificate of marriage, which is the document sent to the relevant Birth, Deaths and Marriages by your celebrant for registration purposes
  2. A second official certificate of marriage which will be kept by your celebrant
  3. A certificate of marriage, which is given to you both.  Please note that this is not the legal certificate you will need to use for changing names or to legally evidence marriage.  You will need to apply for an official marriage certificate from the relevant Births, Deaths and Marriages office for a copy of this.

If all of above feels a bit dry and, well, boring, it’s only a small (yet necessary) part of your day, and the right celebrant will make sure people remember the meaningful parts.

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The Stupid Questions…

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I had a groom ring me the other evening and he was very apologetic about what he referred to as ‘his stupid questions’ (incidentally, and this may surprise some people, at least a third of my initial contact calls are with grooms).

His stupid questions were not stupid.  Let’s face it, many of the people I marry have never been married before.

His questions included;

Who should I book first, the celebrant or the venue? Answer: The venue if it’s one which requires booking.  If it’s at home or at a venue which doesn’t need to be booked, and you have your heart set on a specific celebrant, then check their availability first.

Who does the paperwork?  Answer: The Notice of Intended Marriage is a joint effort (the initial document completed by law to your celebrant), but your celebrant will provide guidance on what you need to fill in when.

Do you decorate the ceremony area? Answer: Sadly, no.  I have access to my own supply of lovely things, but they aren’t necessarily your taste in lovely things, so therefore decoration of the ceremony space needs to be arranged by you.

Do you stay for the reception?  Answer: No, I don’t.  It’s really kind when people ask me and I’m always up for staying for a congratulatory glass of something and a photo with the couple.

Can you help me write my vows? Answer: Yes, I can help.  I can’t write them for you, as they are your words, coming from your heart, but I can give guidance and read over them to offer suggestions.

Now, none of the above questions are stupid, are they?  I mean, how many times in your life do you get to organise a wedding (maybe once, or even twice, or if you’re Elizabeth Taylor, eight times)?  So please, please, please, feel free to ask me anything and never worry that you’re going to sound stupid.  You won’t, you’re not, and I’m here to help you navigate a whole new experience.

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Who cries most at a ceremony?

Let’s face it.  Weddings are pretty emotional.  There’s the arrival music, the vows, the readings, the kiss, the rings, and sometimes there’s grooms crying and sometimes there’s brides crying and sometimes everyone is having a bit of a boo hoo hoo.  And that’s totally totally fine.  If there’s ever a free hall pass to cry, it’s at a wedding.

In my view, I love it when people cry.  In fact, I practically demand at least one crier!  I’ve had weddings where the couple provided a pack of tissues per guest as they knew there’d be a lot of criers.

As far as the bride and groom are concerned, I would estimate that the crying ratio is 65% grooms, 35% brides.  Yes, you read that correctly.  More grooms cry than brides.  And why is that?

I believe it’s because the brides run through and visualise the ceremony many times in their head, so when it actually happens they’re more prepared.  Whereas for many grooms, they haven’t prepared themselves emotionally.

I have no problem with brides or grooms crying.  It’s a genuine reaction to a genuine moment, and I always have a spare tissue or two on hand, just in case.   All part of the service…

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Five things to consider when choosing your celebrant.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Good luck in your search!

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