What happens at the Wedding Rehearsal?

No matter how big or small, formal or informal your wedding is going to be I will always recommend a wedding rehearsal, preferrably in the week leading up to your big day.  Some of you might be wondering what the rehearsal is all about, so here’s what usually happens at mine, and why I love them so much.

Nannup rehearsal Insta pic

To start with, I’m usually pretty excited when the wedding rehearsal day finally arrives. Often this wedding has been in the planning stages for many months, and in the last month there will have been emails to and fro with ceremony drafts, and all of the final details falling into place.  For the couple, the excitement (and sometimes stress) is building, and all of the planning and dreaming is starting to become a reality.  So the wedding rehearsal is a defined time set aside to think about the actual ceremony, which in my mind is one of the key events in the wedding day process!

Here are some things that usually happen, and why I like them:

  • Meet the couple again (and they meet me!) – sometimes we may have only met a few times, or even for the first time if the booking was made long distance! It’s so nice to connect with my gorgeous couples again after so much planning.  Sometimes I also get to meet the bridal party and key people involved – it’s lovely to put a face to the names of the people you are involving in your special day.  If you are having a big bridal party its a good idea to have them come along too, it will help if they know what’s going on, and helps calm their nerves too!
  • Walk through the actual ceremony – this is an informal run through preferably in the ceremony setting.  During this time you will be able to rehearse how you will enter the ceremony, and details such as the time it will take to walk ‘down the aisle’ in whatever way you had planned.   We can all work out where everyone will stand – I’m happy to make suggestions, and I tend to move around where humanly possible to ensure I’m out of the way for the big photo moments (like THE KISS, and the pronouncing), but I’m always happy to stand the way you would prefer.  Some settings lend themselves well to different standing arrangements – the rehearsal is a great time to make these final decisions.
  • Each ceremony is unique, so we also go through any particular situations, such as where the reader might stand, how the vows will be read, where we will sign the register, and the logistics of sand ceremonies and other rituals.  There may also be music timing to consider, whether live, or played through my PA system. The goal here is so that on the wedding day, when it’s all happening, you can feel more confident knowing you have walked in the space, and know what the sequence of events is leading to your momentous walk back up the aisle, married!
  • Work out our plan B (or C even depending on the location and weather). By this stage we usually have an idea of the weather and what might be in store for us on the big day.  It’s good to agree on alternate ceremony plans, and how they will be implemented to avoid stress on the day.
  • Sit down for a moment… and breathe! Often I will have your final ‘Declaration of No Legal Impediment’ ready to sign with me.  This is a great excuse to sit down together for a moment for a chat, make sure everything is clear, and everyone is happy.  The wedding day is usually a bit of a whirlwind, even for the most casual of weddings, so I always enjoy seeing my couple face to face, answer any questions, and reassure them that everything is going to be great (which it will be of course!)
  • Just general excitement – the wedding rehearsal means the big day is just around the corner – yippee!!

A wedding rehearsal is always included in my quoted pricing.  If time or distance is a problem, I usually try and work out an alternative.  There will sometimes be situations where a rehearsal isn’t humanly possible, and if that’s the case I will discuss the details with you by email or phone as the big day gets closer, and gently guide you on the day.

See you at the rehearsal!

Wendy x

*Feature Image – Kathy and Aidan’s wedding rehearsal starring the sweet Bo-Jangles practising his ring bearing skills – photo by ZuZu 🙂

Fairharvest wedding rehearsal Insta

Amongst Nature

I love weddings, I always have. And now I’m lucky enough to experience them from one of the best seats in the house.  From where I stand I can see it all unfold like a mini fairytale each time, complete with the nerves, the tears, the intensity, and those little moments between the couple when they realise they are standing in the place they have been planning and dreaming about for so long.

Wharncliffe Mill Entry - WGH Celebrant

The day of Jessica and Shannon’s wedding was one of the warmest and brightest Spring days we had experienced in the South West so far this season, perfect for their wedding amongst nature at Wharncliffe Mill.  Wharncliffe Mill is a bush retreat located in the Bramley National Park, Margaret River.  The entry to the property off the main road takes you down a long gravel lane past tall trees, adorned with cheerful bunting.  Nestled amongst the campsite is a natural amphitheatre, set in the bush surrounded by tall trees, perfect for a wedding ceremony.

When we were all set to go, the music began and the bridal party made their way carefully down the amphitheatre steps, accompanied by the groomsmen in turn.  Then we all waited for that moment when Jess was to appear with her Dad, and the Bride and Groom would see each for the first time that day.  I still catch my breath at this moment – it is always so beautiful and full of happy emotion. Jessica made her way to the front, accompanied proudly by her Father, ready to take the next steps into married life.

Wine Barrel Signing Table - Wharncliffe Mill - J&S WeddingThe ceremony was down to earth and sweet – a lighthearted telling of their love story, the exchange of vows and rings, a wonderful happy kiss, the signing of legal papers resting on a wine barrel, and some words of blessing to send them on their way.  As the closing words were spoken and they were presented as Mr & Mrs to their family and friends for the first time, a kookaburra decided to join in with the final moments creating a perfect end to a ceremony in the bush!

 

I’m so thankful to have been a part of their special day. Wishing Jessica and Shannon a lifetime of love and happiness together.

Wendy x

Yes to Love

It has now been confirmed that there will be a postal vote on whether the people of Australia would support marriage equality.
Equal love is an issue close to my heart as many of you would know.
I absolutely love weddings and the important role I am entrusted to play in them. One day I would also like the freedom to marry, as would many, many beautiful people I know.
As a Civil Celebrant I look forward to the day I can officiate legal weddings for all of my wonderful couples, regardless of gender.
I will be voting YES TO LOVE! 

You can read more by going to my Same Sex Wedding page.  Find out about My Commitment to You while we wait for marriage equality in Australia.

Wendy x

Equal Love Image - Wendy Hendry Celebrant

Winter Wedding

The South West of WA is particularly beautiful in the winter time, though a little chilly and rainy at times. The weekend of Steven and Desiree’s wedding at Eight Willows Retreat in Metricup was perfect – a bit of sunshine, a light breeze and a break from the usual June rain.

We gathered under the willow tree, with the lake stretched out behind us. It was a beautiful setting for the large bridal party, gathered around the couple to support them through this wonderful moment.

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Under the willow tree – photo by Viva! Life Photography Weddings

The ceremony included a Sand Unity Ceremony with the children to signify the moment of new beginnings for this lovely family.  Each family member had their own glass jar personalised with their initial and filled with coloured sand.


A wonderful winter wedding! Wishing Steve & Desiree much love, light and happiness into the future.

With thanks to Viva Life Photography Weddings for the use of some of the photos in this story.

Wendy x

Yallingup Foreshore

PHILIP & NATASHA – 25 March 2017
We gathered on the grassed area of the Yallingup Foreshore for Phil & Natasha’s morning ceremony overlooking the ocean. The day started out cloudy and overcast, and as our ceremony began the skies cleared and the sun shone down.

It was a beautiful heartfelt ceremony to be a part of which included a Sand Unity Ceremony involving all of the children.  Often marriages not only unite the bride and groom, they unite families. The sand ceremony was a beautiful way to symbolise this new beginning for them all.

I was delighted to receive these gorgeous photos by In Sight Photography from the couple so I could share their beautiful day with you.

Much love and light to Philip, Natasha and thier family as they continue on into married life together! xx

The Tide is High

When preparing for a wedding I usually suggest a rehearsal the day before the ceremony, at the same time if possible so we have a good idea of the positioning of the sun and the weather forecast in mind. This often works well in Margaret River as members of the bridal party are usually travelling down the day before to attend.  So the day before Jo and Matt’s beach wedding at Gnarabup at the wedding rehearsal we had decided on the perfect spot on the beach for the arbor, and where to direct the ceremony for the best view of the ocean. There was some talk of rain, but we were hopeful this was not going to eventuate.

The morning of the big day I woke to news of a ‘super swell’ around the oceans of Margaret River.  People had been posting pictures already of the amazing waves.  I knew this would mean some amazing photos for my beautiful couple!  When I arrived at

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Keeping an eye on that tide!

Gnarabup it became clear what else this super swell was going to mean – the waves had been coming up so far that half the beach was missing! The wonderful team at Barefoot Beach Weddings had been monitoring the situation, and asked the Empire Events crew to set up the ceremony in the far corner of the Gnarabup beach.  There was still the occasional wave lapping at the first row of chairs, but it seemed to be settling down.

I continued my set up, somewhat distracted by that amazing ocean swell.  Guests were starting to arrive. And then, RAIN! Luckily I had my roadie with me to help grab all of the sound equipment, throw a rain cover over my PA system and save my paperwork! As we all gathered under the shelter of the White Elephant Cafe and waited for the rain to pass there was a current of excitement and expectation in the air.  All this time my groom was the picture of calm.  He was sure that the rain would clear, and we would be able to have the ceremony on the beach as planned, and he was right.  The showers passed and we made our way once more down to the arbor to prepare for the arrival of our bride.

Bride and FOB - WGH photo Driftwood Photography

Beautiful Jo and her father making their entrance. Photo by Driftwood Photography

As Jo made her way down the beach to her groom, her father by her side, the magic of a beautiful wedding took over.  This couple, who I had the pleasure of getting to know over several coffees and conversations, were finally standing before each other exchanging vows and rings in one of their favorite places.  Their ceremony was simple and elegant, reflecting their values as a couple, evoking some traditions of the past, and of course with a few laughs thrown in for good measure.    The weather behaved itself, and the ocean continued to look amazing during the ceremony.  Only once did a cheeky wave come up and lap at the guests feet – lucky it was a barefoot wedding!

Beach weddings can be full of surprises – mother nature has her own plans for your special day.  But they are such a beautiful experience, especially when you can feel the sand through your toes, and have the sounds of the ocean in the background as promises are made, and love declared.

I wish the wonderful Jo and Matt a world of happiness and love as they step into married life together.

Wendy x

Thanks to Jo and Matt for sharing some of their beautiful photos by Driftwood Photography with me!

Love Notes

It was a beautiful clear summers day as we gathered to celebrate Kathy and Aidan’sCeremony Arbor Fair Harves - Wendy Grace Hendry Celebrant wedding at Fair Harvest in Margaret River.  As a working permaculture farm, Fair Harvest conveys a
genuine south west rural feel with an extra wholesome twist. As guests arrived they took a stroll along the tree lined lane up to the clearing on the hill, overlooking the farm, and surrounded by tall trees of the forest.  The path to the ceremonial space was lined with paper flowers, and the ceremony arbor was adorned with colourful paper cranes, shells and flowers. After getting to know Kathy and Aidan as we planned their ceremony I could see why they chose such a place of natural beauty, bathed in peace and simplicity.

There were so many unique moments in this ceremony that reflected the values of the couple, and created a wonderful atmosphere of love and community.  By request, my welcome included an acknowledgement of the Aboriginal land on which we were standing – something I was both delighted and humbled to do.  The couple read beautiful vows to each other which they were hearing for the first time –  I’m fairly confident there was not a dry eye in the place afterwards.  And as a beautiful touch, their fur baby Bo-Jangles had the important role of ring bearer.  He was indeed a good boy, and super handsome in his fancy bow!

However it was the love notes that brought a next level uniqueness to this beautiful celebration.  As guests arrived they were asked to take a paper heart, and write on it just one word as a blessing or wish for the couple. At a special time in the ceremony a basket was placed on the ground in front of the couple. Guests were invited to come forward with their love note and read their word aloud to Kathy and Aidan as they placed the paper heart in the basket.  As this process unfolded it became a wonderful time of connection, blessing and community as a myriad of beautiful single words were expressed to the couple.

The warmth of these blessings, and the notes to accompany them, will be a wonderful keepsake as they move on to the next chapter of their lives together.

It was an honour to be a part of this wonderful celebration.  Love, joy and peace to Kathy and Aidan into their future together.

Wendy x

Thanks to Kathy and Aidan for allowing me to share some of their photos, captured by Zuzu.