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.

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! 

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