Community of Love

A wedding ceremony is the formal time of transition for a couple into marriage, with all the legal and heart-led words and actions that go with it. It is also a time where people gather to celebrate the union of the couple who are preparing to spend a lifetime together.  For as much as marriage is about a commitment between two people, it is strengthened when nurtured by the community of family and friends surrounding them.

For some couples, acknowledging the importance of those around them, and the support they bring to their lives, is an aspect they want to specifically recognise in their ceremony and there are many ways you can do this.  Here are some examples my couples have chosen:

Love Notes

Kathy and Aidan Wedding 1
Kathy and Aidan’s Fair Harvest wedding – Bo-Jangles was a super handsome ring bearer in his fancy bow. Photo by Zuzu.

Kathy and Aiden wanted to include their friends and family in the ceremony, and to feel that community of love and support as they made the transition to married life.  We discussed ways that this could be done effectively during the ceremony, incorporating the central idea of a time of wishing or blessing to the couple from everyone gathered.  What happened was this – 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 the couple 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.  You can read more about this beautiful wedding here – LOVE NOTES

Wishing StonesWendy Grace Hendry Celebrant wishing well ritual

In a similar way, the wishing stones concept was to bring a sense of community to the ceremony, and give everyone gathered an opportunity to be part of wishing them well in their future in a symbolic way.  As guests arrived at the ceremony they were handed a wishing stone and asked to hold it until a certain time in the ceremony.  And then after the couple exchanged vows and rings, a beautiful piece of music was played and the gathered community were invited to come forward with their stone and place it in a bowl, whilst making a wish or blessing to the couples future.  This simple act became a meaningful time for all involved, with an opportunity to share eye contact and a smile with each person, and to feel the love and support of the people around them.

These two ideas above can be easily incorporated into a ceremony, and adapted to suit the couple.  Depending on the size of the gathered guests it can add an extra 5-10 minutes to the ceremony, and takes gentle guidance from the Celebrant to ensure it runs smoothly, and is a meaningful time for all involved.

On a smaller scale, other ways to symbolise the importance of the community around you could be:

  • If you have a small number of guests, arrange the chairs in a semi circle instead of straight lines – it can feel more like a big hug 🙂
  • At the beginning of the ceremony I’m sometimes asked to have the parents stand to give their blessing to the marriage, usually in the form of a question with a ‘we do’ answer. This could be extended to inviting all the gathered guests to stand and express their support or blessing to the couple – imagine how loud the ‘we do’ could be!
  • In many ways, the showering of rose petals, or forming of an archway as the couple walk back up the aisle, can be a way of everyone showing them love and support as they take their first steps into marriage.
  • Alternatively, instead of walking back up the aisle, asking guests to come forward and congratulate them. They will soon find themselves surrounded by happy well-wishers – this can sometimes become quite the group hug!

These are just a few examples, and each couple is unique in what they want their ceremony to highlight.  I’m always happy to step outside the square, and work with my couples to find new ways of recognising the importance of their own community of love, or anything else for that matter!

More ideas of symbolic actions and ceremony ritual here – Wedding Ceremony Rituals

 

 

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.

17304_desiree-forrest
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

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.