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 

There’s No Place Like Home

After an amazing 20 years together, Tracy and Kim were married in their favorite place – their beautiful home in Rosa Brook, in the Margaret River Region of Western Australia.

The weekend of their wedding day was one of wild storms – heavy rain and wind had been sweeping across the south west for a few days.  Luckily they had a ‘plan B’ in mind so the garden ceremony they had been hoping for was put aside, and the ceremony was set up in their (amazingly) renovated shed.  The room was adorned with fairy lights, candles and streamers, and the centerpiece was the gorgeous arbor made especially for the occasion and positioned to frame the doors which were opened to look out at the surrounding nature.

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Here come the brides! Photo by Kelly Harwood Photography

In the late afternoon, in somewhat perfect timing, the rain and wind stopped and the sun came out ready for Tracy and Kim to make their way together from the house to their wedding ceremony.  It seemed so perfect for them to walk in together and take their place under the arbor.  They had been near-inseparable since they met 20 years ago, so it was natural for them to arrive at such a special day by each others side.

As they stood before close friends and family, I think everyone, including me, shed a few happy tears during their ceremony.  There was so much love in the room. And as the Monitum was read out, that ‘marriage according to law in Australia is the union of two people…’ it was a wonderful reminder that the law had finally caught up to love! What a beautiful thing to celebrate!

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Tracy and Kim exchanging rings – photo by Kelly Harwood Photography

Thank you to Kim and Tracy for allowing me to share some of their story and gorgeous photos.  Wishing them many more years of love and happiness in that beautiful place you call home!

Wendy x

Photos by the talented Kelly Harwood Photography –  https://kellyharwoodphotography.pixieset.com/

See also – Equal Love

Equal Love

Yesterday was the second time I’ve had the joy of saying the new ‘Monitum’ wording with two wonderful women in front of me as they prepare to marry.  It is such a simple changing to the wording – “Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people…” but those simple words ‘two people’ represent so much to so many who have been waiting for this change for such a long time.

My wedding yesterday in Margaret River was between two people who had been together for a fabulous 20 years, and were finally able to be legally married in front of their family and friends at their home. They were able to celebrate the amazing discovery of unconditional love, and the joy of life shared with their soulmate and best friend.  What a wonderful moment it was to speak those new words to this couple, confirming that their love is equal in the eyes of the law in Australia.  I must confess, even though I’ve been saying these words for a few months now, I got a little emotional reciting the Monitum this time – I’m only human!

Hopefully I will have some photos to share of this beautiful day soon, but for now take in the simplicity and power of this line of the Monitum:

marriage equality monitum - Wendy Hendry Celebrant

 

Bagpipes Over Gnarabup Beach

If you were down at Gnarabup Beach, Margaret River on the afternoon of the 3rd March you may have been lucky enough to hear the sound of bagpipes across the waters of the bay.  This was the soundtrack to Charlotte and Luke’s wonderful wedding day!

Charlotte and Luke met in their birth country of Scotland, but now they call Western Australia home.  Their beach wedding, with sparkling waters of Gnarabup as the backdrop, so different to their homeland, had so many beautiful touches of their Scottish heritage.

As Charlotte, escorted by her Father and bridesmaids, made her way down the steps from the car park to the White Elephant Cafe, she was led by Ryan playing the ‘Highland Cathedral’ on the bagpipes.  It was a beautiful sight, that I’m pretty certain brought a tear to the eyes of everyone watching on.  The bagpiper continued from the balcony of the cafe as the bridal party made their way down onto the beach to the waiting Groom Luke and his groomsmen, dressed in traditional Scottish attire.

Charlotte and Luke Wedding Ceremony Wendy Hendry Celebrant - photo by Driftwood Photography

Luke and Charlotte’s ceremony was simple and intimate, shared by a close circle of family and friends.  Due to the wonders of technology, the ceremony was also live-streamed to their family in Scotland who were able to watch on as Luke and Charlotte exchanged vows and rings, some 14,000km’s away.  As they were pronounced married, the bagpipes once again sounded out over Gnarabup Beach, in celebration of Charlotte and Luke’s union.

Thanks to Luke and Charlotte for asking me to be a part of your wedding day, and sharing these photos with me to remember it by. A truly wonderful ceremony to be a part of!

Wendy x

Photos by Tom Pearsall, of Driftwood Photography.

Ceremony and Reception – Barefoot Beach Weddings

Family Unity Puzzle

When I plan a ceremony with my couples I offer a set of resources which includes some ideas for wedding ceremony rituals. This is not everyone’s cup of tea, so if that’s the case we skip over that part and move onto the next.  However for some couples, the idea of marking the moment in time with a special action or ritual brings an extra element to their wedding that they were hoping for. I like to encourage people to be creative with this, and find something that is going to suit. A great example of this is the Love Notes.

Lisa and Mark wanted to find a way to include their three children in the wedding ceremony so I was delighted when Lisa contacted me with the concept of the Family Jigsaw Puzzle, or Family Unity Puzzle.  At a special time in the ceremony, each person in the family would take a piece of the puzzle and place it together to make the whole picture.  I loved it! And so I set to work writing some words that would suit. There is such lovely symbolism in the idea of each person being a special part of the family, and having a unique connection with each other.

On the day at Arimia Winery in Margaret River, the puzzle was set out on a table, ready to be put together again.  Unity Puzzle - Wendy Grace Hendry CelebrantIt was particularly special that Lisa had made the puzzle herself, giving it an extra uniqueness, and a wonderful keepsake for the family for years to come.  When it came to connecting the pieces, the family gathered around the table and placed the pieces together on the frame, completing the picture, and marking that special moment in time.

I love working with my couples to find the best way to express their uniqueness in their wedding ceremony.  Sometimes it’s simply in the style of ceremony, or in the personalised vows, or choice of poem, and sometimes it’s in working together to find new ideas of symbolising and celebrating that moment in time .

Thank you to Lisa and Mark for giving me permission to share their idea with everyone.

Wendy x

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Arimia Winery Wedding, Margaret River

 

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!

Summer Elopement

If you’re thinking of running away to beautiful Margaret River for an elopement I offer Short and Sweet Ceremonies which are perfect for such intimate occasions.

Celebrancy is my main vocation which means I’m available for small mid-week ceremonies and elopements, as well as big or small weekend weddings and celebrations.

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Exchanging Rings – photo by Zuzu

Remember though, when it comes to weddings my philosophy is simple, no matter what size or shape your ceremony will take, I put the same amount of time, professionalism and care into my ceremonies, and the wonderful couples I’m working for.  Check out What I Offer for information on my ceremony inclusions.

If you want to run away with the one you love for a summer elopement there are still dates available for January, and a few precious weekend wedding dates left in February. Just remember you need to give a minimum one month notice of intent to marry.
Why not contact me for information and pricing?

Email wendygrace74@gmail.com or phone 0403 531 137

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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