River Stone Ceremony

There is a ritual inspired by Celtic traditions, said to be used by early settlers and convicts in Australia, where instead of exchanging rings, as they were far too expensive, the couple would cast a stone into the river as a symbol of the wedding promises made, ever strong and steady as the river of the water ebbs and flows around them.

Tiffany and Corinne were married in February 2018, in the beautiful natural setting of Nanga Bush Camp in Dwellingup, WA.  The chosen location for their ceremony was in a clearing alongside the Murray River.

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Tiff and Corinne’s Wedding Ceremony – photo by April Loves Arnold

There were many personalised elements to Tiff and Corinne’s ceremony, as they stood together, with their siblings by their side, ready to take the steps to marriage.  And although they were exchanging rings, a river stone ritual seemed like a natural choice for such a location, and was a perfect way to complete their wedding ceremony.

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Stone and Rings – photo by April Loves Arnold

After the main part of the ceremony had taken place, and the couple and witnesses had signed the marriage register, the bridal party made their way across the rocks alongside the water.  Their attendants, Brie and Daniel handed Tiffany and Corinne a special stone each, chosen for the occasion.

Tiffany and Corrine were asked to hold the stones in their hands to warm them, and feel the smooth, solid weight of them, before exchanging stones with each other.  They then turned, and cast them into the river water below, followed by these words of good wishes:

“From this day forward, may your relationship stay strong and solid, as life, like the river, ebbs and flows around you.”

They were then presented for the first time as ‘Mrs and Mrs’ to cheers and applause from friends and family – such a wonderful moment to celebrate!!

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Final Presentation to Family and Friends – Photo by April Loves Arnold

I love helping couples find new ways to express their relationship and personalities, and to include creative elements to their ceremony.  The river stone ritual worked so well in this setting by the Murray River, and could be adapted by to other locations as inspired. There are ideas for other rituals here.

The photos are by the talented Amy of April Loves Arnold. Many thanks to Tiffany and Corinne for sharing these photos, and their fabulous wedding day with me!

Wendy x 

Bridgetown Wedding

Tucked away just out of the picturesque town of Bridgetown is a property called Bridgetown Gardens. It was here, under a beautiful tunnel of Wisteria that Jessica & Travis became husband and wife.

Jess and Travis have known each other since high school, first meeting on the school bus, and their wedding was a celebration of these sweet beginnings, and the bright future that lies ahead of them.

A few lovely highlights – as we were setting up, the wind was a bit strong at times, blowing across the ceremony space, so the groomsmen kindly decided to stand on the opposite side to the rehearsal so the bride and bridesmaid’s hair wouldn’t blow the wrong way (so thoughtful!); as the littlest flower girl made her way down the steps she took their time admiring the scenery, and looking at the flowers, so a bridesmaid (who happened to also be her Mum) scooped her up and carried her the rest of the way; Jess and Travis exchanged surprise personal vows, having everyone in both tears and laughter; and finally, their Mum’s had the honour of being their witnesses for the paperwork, which I’m sure was a lovely moment for them both.

Thank you to Jess and Travis for inviting me across to Bridgetown to share in your beautiful day, and for sending me these lovely photos by Victoria Baker Photography who captured the whole wedding so well (set up photos by me).

Wendy x

As a side note, if you ever see me wearing my extra large wind sock on my microphone, it’s to stop the rushing wind noise being amplified by the speaker – it works a treat on windy days, but doesn’t look quite as pretty! 

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!

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.

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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

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

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.

 

Tree planting ceremony

Late last year I officiated a beautiful country wedding held on a family property in Margaret River.

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The Bride and Groom requested a tree planting ritual as part of their ceremony to symbolize the deepening roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love.

A young olive tree was set on a table, with two small pots of soil, two small trowels and a watering can.

When it was time for the tree planting ceremony, the couple each took a trowel and scooped soil into the pot containing the tree while words were read out about strengthening love, growth and nourishment.  As the couple held the watering can together and watered their tree for the first time, the words from  Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis DeBernieres were read:

“Love is a temporary madness,

it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.

And when it subsides you have to make a decision.

You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable

that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathless, it is not excitement,

It is not the promulgation of eternal passion.

That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,

and that is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from the branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

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At the conclusion of the ritual the couple were then reminded to nourish each other, with words of encouragement, trust, and love on a daily basis to enable them each to grow to their fullest potential.

“Take this little olive tree with you when you return home, as a reminder of this day and your commitment to nurture each other today and into your future.”

Find out about other ceremony rituals here.

Wendy xx

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