Hand Fasting

Planning your wedding is such an exciting time and it’s only natural you want to personalise it. From venues to stationery, dresses to suits, vows to readings, all wedding are different and your wedding should reflect you. There are a number of symbols and gestures you may want to include such as a sand ceremony, unity candle, dove or butterfly release or YES a Handfasting ritual!   … where we get the term “tying the knot”.

For centuries many cultures have used the handfasting ritual to represent two people making a commitment to each other – supposedly the term originates with the Roman Empire when brides would wear a girdle tied in knots, the groom untied the knots prior to consummating their marriage and eventually this custom evolved to tying the couple’s hands together as part of the ceremony. Another, quite romantic version, believes illiterate sailors and soldiers would send a piece of rope to their sweethearts symbolising their love, affection and desire to be married, if the rope returned in a knot it meant yes!

A beautiful way to incorporate this into your ceremony is to have a family member from each side take part, as it then represents the families coming together to celebrate your union.
In a beautiful Marriage Ceremony I conducted for Anna and Steve on Freshwater Beach, the two mothers coming out from Scotland brought with them a ribbon of the Family Tartan. Anna’s mother placed on the wrist of Anna two ribbons. One was a white ribbon representing womanhood, peace and serenity for the marriage, whilst the second ribbon was the family Tartan representing Anna’s heritage.   Then Steve’s mother came forward and placed on his wrist  two ribbons. One was a gold ribbon representing manhood energy and longevity and prosperity for the marriage and the second was the family Tartan representing his heritage..
the two tartans
Simple words were spoken as each of the mothers placed the ribbons around the hands being a lifelong reminder of the commitment the couple were making to one another and the amazing support they had of their family and friends. The Matron of Honour then loosely tied the ribbons into a knot.
Whilst your hands remain unified as Anna and Steve’s were, you may wish to have someone read a passage such as “Blessing of the Hands” (author unknown), “The blessing of the Apaches” (unknown author), an excerpt from “The Art of Marriage” (William A. Petersen) or a piece of literature special to you both.

The “Asking” is also done whilst the hands are still tied and then the Matron of Honour without untying the ribbons removes them from your hands and places them in an organza pouch where they remain tied with the blessings of the families, whilst also symbolizing that like the ribbons your lives are tied together forevermore. You then move on to your vows and exchanging of rings
WOW! Is it any wonder I love my work as a Marriage Celebrant.

Enjoy this time of planning and excitement
As stated by Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway “hands are considered to be a connection to the heart, and a hand blessing symbolically brings two hearts together.”

Wedding Vows

It is becoming more and more common these days for brides and grooms to write their own vows and something I definitely encourage my Brides and Groom to try to do.

Knowing I am there to help and support them if they need help and sending them a few different vows for them to play with, whilst getting their ideas together, I feel also helps tremendously.

Writing your vows however can still be quite a daunting task. Here are a few tips for writing your own vows.

  • Remember the Vows are the words in the heart of the couple they wish the other to hear and know and the promises they vow to each other to keep that love alive and strong through the years to come.
  • It’s ok to borrow lines from your favourite song, movie or poem. Take some time reading through an assortment of vows and poetry and highlight the parts that appeal to you.
  • Decide on a tone. Do you want your vows to be humorous or quirky or romantic or a mixture? Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to the tone of your vows.
  • If you and your partner have decided not to share your vows with each other until the wedding send them to your Celebrant at least two weeks before the wedding. This will make sure they are approximately the same length and tone and your Celebrant will be able to suggest to you both a line at the end or at the beginning to tie and bring your vows together.
  • Think about your relationship in the future. What are the promises you want to make to each other?
  • Use the traditional vows and then follow them up with personal vows of your own. This can remove some of the pressure as you only need a line or two.
  • If you get stuck ask yourself some simple questions, for example, when did you realise you were in love with your partner? What are the most important promises you want to make to each other? What does marriage mean to you?  The answers will help you to put your vows together.
  • Look for inspiration in the faiths and cultural traditions you were born into. Here again your Celebrant will be able to easily help you if you want this but are struggling.
  • Keep your vows simple and sincere.
  • Be prepared. Never leave writing your vows till the last minute. By the day before your wedding you will be to nervous and excited to give your vows the time and consideration they deserve.
  • Although your wedding vows are essentially for you and your partner, don’t make them so personal or cryptic that your audience won’t get it. You have invited your friends and family to witness your vows so make sure that everyone feels included in what is definitely one of the most beautiful parts of the Ceremony if you have written your own vows.

In the end they are your vows so don’t let the pressure make you overthink it or stress out. Writing your own vows is a special opportunity to write down your feeling and let your partner know how you feel.

The joining of two hearts and two cultures

The families, having arrived from Germany and Vietnam, were greeted by tremendous southerly winds on the wedding day of Jenny and Sven. But not even the wild southerly wind could take away from Jenny and Sven’s beautiful ceremony held on the grassed area above “Delwood Beach” in Manly recently.

Jenny looked amazingly beautiful in her strapless figure hugging, long white lace wedding gown, with a soft chiffon drape over one shoulder, emphasizing her tiny stature and exquisite Vietnamese heritage.

The Ceremony was an absolute honour to create and conduct, as being able to incorporate some lovely Buddhist Rituals along with Traditional Rituals, it created a ceremony that was uniquely theirs. By combining both Eastern and Western cultures it became a ceremony not only so meaningful for the couple, but at the same time it allowed their family and friends to enjoy how beautiful and meaningful the joining of two different cultures, as well as two hearts really is.

Sven looked extremely handsome in a light brown suit with a white frangipani buttonhole as he stood before the bamboo arch, heavily decorated with white and pink frangipani, awaiting his bride. As he caught a glimpse of her walking towards him on the arm of her father, the words that escaped his lips were “Oh my God! She is so beautiful!”  If the wind had not been so strong I’m sure I would have seen a tear escape his eye as he watch this vision of loveliness walk towards him.

Yes!  another beautiful Ceremony !

 ♥ Dianne ♥

So, you’re engaged…what next???

It’s the New Year and you’ve just just got engaged – it’s the most exciting time of your life, but what should you expect now and what do you need to know?

photo supplied by Sharon at Rollingstone Diamonds 

We love this article from Hallie Goodman, listing the ‘Things No One Tells You About Wedding Planning’,

Here are a few snippets from her article:

When it comes to planning your day, at least a few surprises are, well, straight-up unavoidable. Of course, it pays to be prepared, but know that even the most meticulous preparation won’t make you completely curveball-exempt.

Throwing a casual wedding is just as much work as throwing a fancy one
Whether the napkins you’ll use are made of paper or of silk, you’ve still got to pick those suckers. And whether you’ll serve French fries or filet, wear couture or a simple vintage frock, the same holds true.
Solved:  Allotting a generous portion of time in which to plan — sans panic. No matter your style, a year is typically just about right.

You’re talking  about your wedding way more than you think
Did the eyes of your mum and your bridesmaids start to glaze over the last time you tried to show them once again pictures of bouquets? Yeah, you’re guilty.
Solved: Accept that you might not actually be able to press pause on the compulsive wedding chatter. Hey, you’re excited, and that’s cool! But expecting one or two people to listen to all of it? Too much. Share the love. Spread the obsessing out over a wider circle of friends.

Words like “classic” are highly subjective.
Your definition of the word “classic” may mean preppy yellow and blue at a yacht club, but to your planner, it could mean black-tie ballroom with ornate décor.
Solved: No matter what detail you’re planning, a picture is worth a thousand words. Show your suppliers what “classic” means to you by bringing them examples of what you want.

You will randomly stress-cry over something, be it tablecloths, invites or the dress your mum has chosen
Your florist tells you pink peonies won’t be in-season, and you burst into tears. No matter that you don’t even like peonies — or pink. Your mum is mad that your fiance’s stepmum chose the same colour dress, and suddenly, you’re bawling that your marriage is doomed.
Solved: Let ‘em flow, but then let it go. Think of it as a sign you need a wedding planning break.

At least one not-so-minor unexpected expense will pop up
Whether it’s weather (gotta rent a tent ’cause it looks like rain) or whimsy (gotta get a backup gown ’cause I can’t make up my mind), something that wasn’t in your budget will materialise.
Solved: Even the tightest budget needs a little wiggle room. Build in a buffer (5 percent of the overall budget) from the start, so you won’t have to worry.

The groom-to-be won’t care about things you thought he would
From planning the menu (shrug) to picking the music (yawn), your guy’s uninterested reactions even to the “fun stuff” might catch you off guard and bum you out.
Solved: Ask him what he wants to do and then listen. He may not be as disinterested as he’s acting. It’s possible that you’ve overridden his opinions one too many times and his pride is hurting. Of course, he may just have no interest in wedding planning at all. Remember, you’re marrying this guy. He needs to be a good husband — not a good wedding planner.

You (yes, you) will probably have at least one ‘zilla moment

It might be a quick blip, or it may last for weeks, but there will come a time when you temporarily cross over to the dark side of the aisle. While you’re there, you may truly believe that a pink chocolate fountain, a rose-petal cannon and a Cinderella coach pulled by horses dressed as unicorns are just basic wedding essentials every bride deserves.

Solved: Since ‘zilla outbreaks are tricky to self-diagnose, it’s time to call up your most truth-telling friend and run your new, big plans past her. If she utters any iteration of the words, “Have you lost your mind?” a time-out is in order. The good news is, it happens to the best of brides. And after a brief break from wedding planning, most brides report a return to sane thinking — followed by a good, long laugh with their fiance!

Good luck with your wedding planning!

click here for original article

Fascinators – The New Wedding Veil

Fascinators are definitely the “in thing” and when worn with gowns of soft figure hugging fabrics, the look is one of total feminine chic and elegance. Definitely the look of today!

Amanda carried this new trend off perfectly as she married Luke on the Terrace of the iconic “Bathers Pavilion” at beautiful Balmoral Beach, on Sydney’s North Shore recently.

Luke and his groomsmen looked extremely handsome as the sun danced off the water of the magnificent harbour backdrop in light grey suits, with Charles De Gaulle rose button holes and matching mauve ties. The mauve colour scheme continued as the four brides maids walked in looking stunning in long strapless mauve gowns, the delicate fabric softly pleated across the bodice before falling softly to floor length.

Then the Ah’s and intake of breath was clearly audible as Amanda walked in on the arm of her father looking amazingly beautiful. Her gown was satin and hugged her body to perfection, falling softly into a beautiful train. The simplicity of the gown was beautifully enhanced by exquisite beading on the shoulders which continued down the almost backless gown forming a perfect detail just below the waist. The bouquet Amanda carried was white, mauve and pink roses mixed with white black centred anemones and fuchsias completed this look of soft feminine elegance.

YES!  A perfect day, an amazing venue, and a stunningly beautiful elegant bride.

The Stone Of The Month

Diamonds may be called a girl’s best friend, but there are many other amazing options out there if you dare to be different and follow a new and exciting tend towards using other precious stones set with diamonds.

The Stone of the Month chosen by diamond dealer and designer Sharon Badihi from Rolling Stone Diamonds for September was the Blue Sapphire.

Check out this latest design of his, a five carat sapphire set with over a carat of brilliant cut diamonds.

The colour is absolutely amazing, and can you imagine how it would feel to be wearing it, as your “Something Blue” on your wedding day. It certainly wins out over the traditional blue garter normally worn as far as I’m concerned…..what about you?!!

For more info on stunning wedding and engagement ring designs, please see the Rolling Stones Diamonds website.

“A Perfectly Modern Wedding” In a Perfectly amazing Venue.

Cat and Glen broke away from tradition with their beautiful Marriage Ceremony on Sunday, which was held at one of our prime venues here on the Northern Beaches, “Orso Bayside Reception” at the Spit, Mosman.

Cat walked into view and down the steps of the terrace with her father by her side, where she waited for Glen who was walking towards her. Taking her hand they turned and walked hand in hand along the private jetty of Orso’s to the start of their ceremony half way along the jetty.

Their guests watched from the terrace over the crystal clear waters of Middle Harbour, as this beautiful couple once again broke from tradition by having neither bridesmaids nor groomsmen, the two of them being the complete bridal party.

Cat showing her brilliant sense of “Fashion Right Now”, looked amazing in a long white, softly draped figure hugging dress, with its simplicity and elegance being complimented and shown off beautifully by the veil fascinator coming to eye level over her sleeked short hair, with a cheeky rose towards the back adding to the “Gatsby” look and elegance, that Cat carried off so perfectly. She was an amazingly elegant and beautiful bride with a smile that whilst radiating happiness was tremendously infectious.

Cat and Glen wrote their own vows and heard them for the first time as they exchanged rings during the ceremony, making the most beautiful part of a Marriage Ceremony even more special.

Without the other knowing,  both had written something funny into their vows, whilst the vows were so very special there was also just a little light heartedness thrown in that both they and their guest could laugh over.

It was a very special ceremony, whilst being one that was also filled with a tremendous amount of happiness and laughter, with all the guests involved giving Cat and Glen a “Wealth of Wishes” to treasure forever.

After the reception Cat and Glen making full use of the unique facilities offered by “Orso Bayside Reception” were whisked romantically away by boat to start their life together as husband and wife.

A truly beautiful Modern Ceremony held at an amazing venue, with its terrace right over the crystal clear waters of Middle Harbour adding to the perfection of the day for Cat and Glen.

photo courtesy of Susan Wang Photography

Picking your Wedding date – Holidays & other significant dates in 2014

Are you newly engaged or thinking about getting married next year? Before you start booking venues, have you thought about what dates are public holidays or significant dates in 2014? Have a look through our list of significant dates in 2014:

NSW Public Holidays 2014

Wednesday 1 January 2014 – New Year’s Day
Monday 27 January 2014 – Australia Day
Friday 18 April 2014 – Good Friday
Saturday 19 April 2014 – Easter Saturday
Monday 21 April 2014 – Easter Monday
Friday 25 April 2014 – Anzac Day
Monday 9 June 2014 – Queen’s Birthday
Monday 4 August 2014 – Bank Holiday (NSW only)
Monday 6 October 2014 – Labour Day
Thursday 25 December 2014 – Christmas Day
Friday 26 December 2014 – Boxing Day

Other dates of note include:

Friday Feb 14th, 2014 – Valentine’s day – your flower bill is likely to be much higher than usual, and you may have difficulty in booking your reception venue.

Tuesday Apr 1st, 2014 – April Fool’s Day should generally be avoided as a wedding date.

Friday 25 Apr 2014 – Anzac Day.

Sunday May 11th, 2014 – Mother’s Day (always on the second Sunday in May), should most likely be avoided to avoid a conflict for your guests

Sunday September 7th, 2014 -Father’s Day (always on the first Sunday in September), should also most likely be avoided.

Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014 – Remembrance day. Days of Remembrance and historically significant days may cause a conflict of interest for some guests.

Sport – we love our sport in Australia so when possible it is advisable to try to avoid large sporting events that may conflict with your wedding.

  •  The World Cup [Soccer/Football] is being held from Thursday June 12 2014 and finishes on Sunday July 13 2014.
  • The Commonwealth Games are being held from July 23 to August 3 2014


Religious and Cultural Holidays – You might also carefully consider the dates for religious and cultural holidays –  (your own and those of your guests) when planning your wedding. There may even be restrictions at your house of worship as to whether you’re allowed to marry at these times. Some dates include:

  • Tuesday, April 15 2014 – Passover
  • Thursday, September 25 2014 – Rosh HaShanah
  • Saturday, October 4 2014 -Yom Kippur
  • Wednesday, December 17 2014 until nightfall on Wednesday, December 24, 2014 -Hanukkah
  • Saturday June 28 2014 – Ramadan begins

Your wedding celebrant will be able to give you advice on particular dates to avoid in your area or region. If you are getting married on Sydney’s Northern Beaches please contact me and I will be more than happy to help you in your choice of wedding day!

The Wedding of Queenie and Charlie

There definitely was no need for a weather Plan B when I married Queenie and Charlie recently at The Miramare Gardens at Terrey Hills on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

The sun was shining and the weather absolutely perfect for my beautiful couple and their guests as I married them under the chandelier of the Gazebo in the magnificent groundsChines Wedding Ceremony of the Miramare Gardens.

This was the second day of their wedding celebrations, with the day before being a traditional and fun filled Chinese ceremony followed the next day by the actual marriage ceremony.

Charlie, standing with his four groomsmen on the individual steps down from the Gazebo, looked an impressive sight. The groomsmen and Charlie all wore black suits and white shirts. The groomsmen wore bronze/pewter coloured ties and a rose boutonniere of the same colour, whilst Charlie chose a white tie with a diamanté stud setting it off perfectly, a white silk embossed vest and a white rose boutonniere.

The two flower girls looked a treat in long white dresses and a circle of white flowers in their hair, carrying a ball of white flowers hanging from a silk ribbon, They were followed by the four bridesmaids looking beautiful in bronze/pewter long strapless gowns with the fabric softly pleated diagonally across the bodice to the fitted waistline the fabric then falling softly and loose to the hemline.

Then the bride followed on the arm of her father, looking amazingly beautiful, an absolute dream come true with a full soft veil covering her face, as slowly they walked towards us to the strains of “Pachelbel’s Canon in D” being played by the violinist and guitarist (Mimosa Duo).

 Gown from Bridal VisionQueenie’s wedding gown from Bridal Vision was imported from Italy, and it was an amazing compliment to both vintage and contemporary style, both hugging and at the same time falling every so softly around her figure. The gown was satin silk under a beautiful feminine delicate lace. The heart shaped neckline was edged with  heavily encrusted various size diamanté’s which became less heavy as the diamanté’s continued up the narrow shoulder straps, before spraying  out into a heavy encrusted floral leaf shape  forming an eye-catching detail on the shoulders.

The heavily encrusted diamanté edge continued down the almost backless gown forming a very beautiful deep V detail at the base of the waistline which then with the soft fabric of the silk and the delicate lace fell into a beautiful and very flattering trail bringing once again a very lovely combination in style of both vintage and contemporary.

The couple chose to write their own individual vows, which they heard for the first time during the ceremony, making them all the more special and meaningful. And whilst the bride and groom managed to complete their vows without emotional tears, it wasn’t so for two of the bridesmaids and more than one or two of the female guests.

Queenie and Charlie signed the Marriage Register to the strains of “Ave Maria” being played by the violinist and guitarist. After the ceremony, as they walked back down the aisle, their guests released 55 gold and white balloons representing the day of their marriage 5th of the 5th.

It was a very beautiful ceremony and my wish for Queenie and Charlie is that their love will know no boundaries but remain forever strong.    ♥Dianne♥

Dianne Morpurgo Celebrant

Social Media Etiquette for Weddings Part 2

Continuing our blog on Social Media Etiquette for weddings. part 2 –

Let guests know how you feel about Social Media at your wedding.

The bridal couple should let their guests know how they feel about social media. An unplugged wedding is totally fine; you might like to put a note in your wedding program letting guests know, or ask your wedding celebrant or officiant to say a few words before the processional. If you would like guests to “unplug” for the ceremony, you can also place a sign at the entrance to the venue.

Guests – Ask first.

As a wedding guest, before you start snapping and sharing away, ask the bride and groom [or bridal party] if it’s OK or if there is anything they would prefer you don’t capture. While many people actively engage in social sharing, some prefer a private and intimate affair. If you aren’t sure how they feel, play it safe and DON’T tag photos of the bride and groom from the reception or the ceremony until you get the green light. If you find out its OK a few days after the wedding, go ahead…but until then, err on the side of caution.

Don’t circulate dress photos before the ceremony.

As tempting as it is to tweet a photo of the bride’s gown or the bridesmaids dresses before the ceremony has started, never ever do it! It may spoil the surprise for the groom and guests.

Keep the commentary to yourself.

Even if you think the food is terrible or the speeches were deadly dull or that it’s hilarious that the groom has had a little too much to drink, the web is no place to publish offensive or disrespectful comments and tasteless photos (especially if you want to remain friends). Avoid the negative, and focus on the positive!

Posting photos.

When posting any photos the first rule of etiquette is to be respectful and kind. If you have an inkling that sharing a photo would violate either principle, keep it to yourself. Also, never post any unflattering photographs of the bride or the groom, however hilarious their late-night reception antics might be. This is the bride’s wedding day, let her choose how she wants to be seen.

Pay attention to your friends — not your phone.

Sometimes your smartphone can be overly distracting at social events; try to forget updating social media for a few hours, and enjoy the moment. Consider leaving the phone in your purse or pocket, turning it off, putting it in airplane mode, or silencing it during the ceremony.  Posting occasionally is okay, but the couple invited you to celebrate their day, not sit there on your phone.