Donnelly River Wedding

Autumn can be such a beautiful time of year in the South West, and the day of Erin and Greg’s May wedding was no exception. Donnelly River Village is an historic mill town nestled in the South West Karri forest between Bridgetown, Nannup and Manjimup.  It doesn’t take long to spot the local wildlife, with kangaroos and emus casually strolling around the grounds on a regular basis.  During our wedding rehearsal a few kangaroos came to check out what was going on!

The clearing up to the left of the village as you drive in is where the ceremonies usually take place, there is a nice winding path that takes you there, perfect for a beautiful wedding party entrance, and a gravel clearing for the ceremony with some gorgeous tall karri trees surrounding the area.

Erin and Greg’s wedding had some wonderfully unique styling and elements which made it perfect for them. Check out the amazing arbour created and styled by the couple, complete with ‘his and hers’ sheep skulls adorning the top!

To mark this step on their journey together they also asked me to incorporate a Handfasting ritual in their wedding ceremony. ‘Handfasting’ is the ancient word for a wedding and was traditionally recognized as a binding contract of marriage between a couple before weddings became a legal function of the government or the church. Today, it is more of a symbolic ceremony to honour a couple’s desire for commitment to each other, and to acknowledge that their lives and their destinies are now bound together.

Erin and Greg chose to have four ribbons as part of their Handfasting. Their  children brought forward three of the ribbons, and then I placed the final ribbon over their joined hands, and tied them, along with some specially chosen words of course.  The final tied knot created as they pulled their hands apart can be seen on the signing table photo, which is now a lovely keepsake for them to remember the day by.

I loved helping to create this special ceremony for them. Each couple, and ceremony is special and creates wonderful memories for me to reflect on.  Have I mentioned how much I love my job?!  If you would like to know more about ceremony rituals you can find some more here – CEREMONY RITUALS

Thanks to Erin and Greg for asking me to be a part of your awesome wedding day! Wishing you much love and happiness into your future.

Wendy x

Some photos used are from Henderson Photographics, and some are my own.

Country Garden Wedding

Tucked away in Quedjinup, between Yallingup and Dunsborough in the South West of WA, is a beautiful property called Yallingup Brook.  It was here, in the cool lush gardens on a warm November day that Jasmyn and Bradley became husband and wife.

“You know you’ve found the one, when your favourite thing to do together is Sunday walks along the beachfront and simply spending time together.”

Jasmyn and Bradley’s love shone through in the ceremony, and it was beautiful to witness them exchanging their personal vows to each other that they were hearing for the first time.

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Those ‘just married’ happy moments!

They wanted a simple relaxed ceremony, surrounded by family and friends, with their little boy Koby by their side.  Koby and his cousin looked like bundles of cuteness in their special tulle-filled cart to sit in for the ceremony.  Of course, like most little ones, he was happiest in his parents arms by the end of the ceremony, joining them in their walk back up the aisle as Mr & Mrs!

I’m so thankful this beautiful family asked me to be part of their special moments.  Wishing Jasmyn, Bradley and Koby a lifetime of happiness and memory making.

Wendy x

 

ps. thanks for sharing your photos with me!

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

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.

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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.

 

A Family Centred Ceremony

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The Bush Chapel at Willy Bay Resort

The day of Amy and Ethan’s summer wedding was warm and bright, perfect for their outdoor ceremony in the bush chapel at Willy Bay Resort in Metricup.  With an intimate gathering of close family and friends, the presence of children in the bridal party and among the gathered guests helped set the scene for a relaxed family friendly celebration of love.

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Sand Unity Ceremony – photo by Kendra Benson Photography

To involve their young children in the day, and to acknowledge the important step they were taking as a family, Amy and Ethan chose for them to take part in a Sand Unity Ceremony.  Each jar contained something special to symbolise the individual – a special colour, sand sourced from a favourite beach, and even a jar of tiny shells for little Evie.  As they poured the sand into their central jar, with a few spills and laughter along the way, we all felt we had witnessed a special moment of memory making for the family.  Once combined, the grains can never be completely separated – the newly created jar of blended sand and shells will now be a keepsake in their home to remember it by.

Having shared the sand ceremony together, they stood as a family under the bush chapel arbor as the couple were pronounced as married, ready to take on the next chapter of their lives.

“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.” Lisa Weedn

It was a pleasure getting to know this beautiful family as we planned their special day together.  Wishing Amy and Ethan much love, joy and laughter into the future.

With thanks to Kendra Benson Photography for use of her beautiful photos from the day!

Wendy x

Pinkie Promise

They say it’s good luck to have rain on your wedding day, but I must confess to being a little worried when I looked out my window all morning to see intermittent heavy showers and wind.  The forecast was for it to clear around midday so everyone’s fingers were crossed as the day went on.  As we set up at the beautiful lake of Willy Bay Resort the dark clouds were still gathered.  If the rain held off it would make for great photos!

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The Great Arrival – photo by Kelly Harwood Photography

Well the rain did hold off, and although the strong breeze continued, nothing could take away from the anticipation of everyone there – the wedding day had finally arrived! As the stunning bride wound her way down the pathway to the lake, arm in arm with her father,with the handsome groom watching on, everyone forgot the weather and were swept away with the romance of the moment.

The atmosphere of love and romance created by this beautiful couple flowed through the whole proceedings.  The ceremony was complete with special family moments, some tears and a little laughter. The reading chosen for the day was the lighthearted children’s book ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton, about two lovely dinosaurs understanding and appreciating each others differences, falling in love, and of course living happily ever after!

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The Pinkie Promise – photo by Kelly Harwood Photography

The couple surprised each other with personal vows, written from the heart which brought a few more tears of joy all round.  After vows were exchanged, the couple even sealed them with a pinkie promise – ‘straight from the heart, never to be broken’.

With the threatening rain a distant memory, the ceremony concluded with a blessing to the couple – ‘ …and may the warm memories you are making today remain in your hearts and carry you into your future.’ 

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Time to Celebrate! – photo by Kelly Harwood Photography

And with the throwing of confetti and a joyous walk back up the aisle the celebrations began in earnest!

Acknowledgements to Kelly Harwood Photography for the beautiful photos, to Willy Bay Resort for the stunning setting, and to Brooke & Jason Totten for allowing me the honour of being your wedding celebrant.

Much love, peace, joy and laughter to this beautiful couple.

Wendy Grace x

 

Spring Sunshine

Much of the winter in the South West had been wet and cold so I was glad that my couple had planned for a small indoor ceremony for their early September wedding.  It seemed that the winter weather wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry. However, to everyone’s delight it was a glorious spring day.  The sun was shining on the deep greens of winter in the vineyards, farmland and forest of the Margaret River region.  When I arrived at the private residence in Yallingup for Sunny and Jacob’s ceremony it was quickly decided to take in the glorious weather and hold the ceremony on the sun dappled alfresco area of this stunning home.

The ceremony was sweet and simple, with vows made and rings exchanged amongst close friends on a spring afternoon.  It was a joy and an honour to be a part of such an intimate occasion and I felt warmly welcomed by everyone present.

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Adding my print to their keepsake canvas painting

After the ceremony I was invited to join in with some photos and enjoy the beginnings of the celebrations.  I was delighted when the couple asked me to add my fingerprint to their canvas keepsake (as shown).

It was an honour to officiate this ceremony and be included in the warmth of the day.  Wishing Sunny and Jacob much love and light in their future together.