A Celebrants Struggle is Real #2

Modern Technology is it friend or foe, well in this case it was definately FOE!! Bloody iPad.

Image by  Dijana Risteska

I have tried so hard to be as sustainable as possible including going paperless, all of my contracts, questions, information, ideas, recommendations etc. etc. is done online with very little paper apart from your legal docs and completed ceremonies for the big day, so I thought I was a big giant smarty pants when deciding 'stuff it' I'm going to do what the big guys do and go paperless for my ceremonies too, enter new purchase,  stupid mini iPad.

Here we are with the stupid mini iPad, working beautifully up until now             Image by  Dijana

Here we are with the stupid mini iPad, working beautifully up until now             Image by Dijana

I'm at Campbell Point House, it's a pretty fancy house in Leopold and I was thrilled to finally see for myself how beautiful and posh it really was, I get everyone seated, get the entire bridal party down, welcome said bridal party, whose names I spell phonetically so I don't muck them up, there is a round of applause...the crowd goes wild with all the warm and fuzzy feels at peak feels, I look down again to continue...HALF THE SCREEN HAS DISAPPEARED!! Holy F%&$ F&^$#(($% F^@$ I might be able to wing the ceremony, I knew my couple well, but I will never remember the Japanese and Vietnamese names without my phonetics...I look up to see 120 sets of eyes looking at me waiting for my next riverting words which turned out to be..."well that's bloody annoying, I've lost my ceremony, this is why we shouldn't use modern technology people", I was in shock, Kiet looked shocked, I looked around thinking someone will give me an answer, more shocked looks, by me, my mouth gapping.

And here we are with paper version and a silly duck face                                  Image by  Dijana

And here we are with paper version and a silly duck face                                  Image by Dijana

I recovered quickly, remembered I had done a printed version for my regular folder as a back up at the last minute, it's in my suitcase, phew! where's my suitcase? F&$**#$%@*&^&%$ for the first time ever...no where near me, my roadie/wife runs up the stairs through the mansion to grab said trusty paper version "so did you hear the one about when an Irishman, an Englishman and a German walk into a bar?...yeah me neither, my face was getting redder and redder, my breathing short and shallow, nervous wee's not far from releasing itself, then I remembered  Nozomi and Kiet had a 'red alert' unplugged ceremony, much to the horror of all their guests, nope not a half arsed 'amber alert' unplugged, it was a definite 'red'  if you get caught with a phone, you and me are in big trouble, "ok while we wait for my folder, everyone grab your phones and quickly take as many photos as your heart desires", I have NEVER seen so many people reach for phones in pockets, handbags, from each other in all my born days, it was exactly the moment they had been waiting for, PHOTO'S That kept them occupied for the 2 minutes, PHEW!!!

"Let's start this ceremony" round two                                                                   Image by  Dijana

"Let's start this ceremony" round two                                                                   Image by Dijana

It felt like the longest two minutes of my entire life.

"Now let's get on with the ceremony shall we...phones away"

Things happen, things don't always go the way you predict, but if that have of happened to me a year ago, I possibly would have had an anxiety attack a thrown up in front of everyone or wet my pants.

I don't know why I panicked in those split moments, I always have a printed out version to give to my couples, plus if I was that desperate I would have gone into my Dropbox and read it from my phone, DOH!. It is so easy to think of all those things after the event though isn't it.

Nozomi had a lot to say in her vows so she deserved a scrolled out vow card, I forgot to tell them what I had done so the reaction is as real as it get's.                   Image by  Dijana

Nozomi had a lot to say in her vows so she deserved a scrolled out vow card, I forgot to tell them what I had done so the reaction is as real as it get's.                   Image by Dijana

I was lucky I thought fast and that I attract really fun easy going couples, oh and having a sense of humour always helps, laughing can get you through just about anything.

See they are married and we got through just fine.                                              Image by  Dijana

See they are married and we got through just fine.                                              Image by Dijana

A few days later, I pulled the stupid mini iPad out of the naughty corner, rebooted the darn thing and BANG! there was my ceremony F*&%$#.

One minute my ceremony was there on the screen then it wasn't...after the fact shot here! Richie our sound guy and a very amusing guest trying to work out what went wrong.

One minute my ceremony was there on the screen then it wasn't...after the fact shot here! Richie our sound guy and a very amusing guest trying to work out what went wrong.

I have to say, everything was perfect for Nozomi & Kiet's wedding except me, and I wouldn't have it any other way, well I don't really have a choice, that's just me, yep Sharon Your Celebrants and I'm all yours.

Perfection                          Image by  Dijana

Perfection                          Image by Dijana

More of Nozomi & Kiet's fabulous suppliers

Wedding cake Yum Mammas

Catering by their favourite restaurant  Copper Pot Seddon

Florals & Styling Creating Beautiful


A Celebrants Struggle is Real #1


Why the Bridal Bouquet?

There are many things written about the glorious and stunning flower bridal bouquet and the history that goes along with it, which I have always found fascinating, these traditions are old old old and you don't have to have them, but if you don't,  it just doesn’t feel like a wedding, so regardless of your budget it’s a no brainer you gotta have you some flowers.

Flowers  Make it Beautiful                   Image  Jenna Fahey White

Flowers Make it Beautiful                  Image Jenna Fahey White

Anyway, there are the boring versions of why the tradition of carrying the bridal bouquet came about, like it wards off evil spirits blah blah but my favourite step back in time reason the ladies carry a bridal bouquet, goes a little like this...

Many many years ago, 17th century years ago, women in the Northern hemisphere, only bathed once a year, and there was only so far a flannel and a little talc would get you, and that month was about the May/June mark, hence why so many weddings were held in June.

These massive bouquets were filled with herbs, spices and quite often garlic, this was to mask the  odour of our infrequent bather ergo our bride and bridal party because we didn't want our almost hubby running for the hills before the marriage begun. the massive bouquets, which are so en-trend at the moment, was placed on the wedding table and used during the wedding feast after the ceremony.

Floristry by  North St Botanical                     Image by  Alli Oughtred

Floristry by North St Botanical                    Image by Alli Oughtred

Flower crowns have been  a symbol of love, fertility and celebration throughout history and around the world, from the Greeks who honour the gods to Julius Ceaser as a form of victory and respect the Chinese culture wearing to symbolise fertility and hopefully bring children into the marriage. In this day and age it really is because they look so darn good.

Flower Crown and image by  Mary Mary Studio , who I had the honour of marrying this year,

Flower Crown and image by Mary Mary Studio, who I had the honour of marrying this year,

So why the flowers on the fella? I have no idea, perhaps it was in case the bride dropped hers and he had a back up plan right under his nose.

How to pop them on - See those two pins! use them both from behind the lapel thread one through the top and one through the bottom, and NOT at the botton hole, it looks ridiculous way up the place it an inch or two down from there, depending on your suit jacket of course, but the celebrant or photographer is always on hand to help out.

Buttonaires by  Flos Botanical Studio

Buttonaires by Flos Botanical Studio

The Big 'O'

Sleep deprived leading up to your wedding?

Or worse you can't fall asleep on the eve of your wedding and the more you try the more wound up you get! who will do what, when, where, how... or it is just pure excitement that is stopping the little sandman from appearing?

My very own wedding day was had on four hours sleep!  Image by  Free The Bird  

My very own wedding day was had on four hours sleep!

Image by Free The Bird 

I arrived home from my dream holiday on the Greek Islands last year and the jetlag was off the scale for a good 8 days, to the point of almost crying I was so frustrated from the lack of sleep. I researched, at all hours of the night on how to fall asleep, and there were 3 consistent remedies that popped up on my little iPhone screen in the wee hours. 

I felt prepared for my upcoming wedding eve sleeplessness that was inevitable because I know my 'never slow down brain' so here goes.

1. Clear your mind and focus on relaxing every part of your body, work you way up from your toes, ankles, shins etc and if you fall of the concentration train start again, yep toes, relaxed, focus, ankles,relaxed, shins, focus, knees…

2. Grab a comb, do little brush strokes up your arm, then swap arms when you reach the top, feels like someone is gently tickling you, strangely enough, it actually worked once or twice. 

3. The Big 'O' yep tried and tested, not only during that jet lag, I too married recently and my mind would just not shut down on the eve of our wedding, nothing was working except...YEP! THE BIG 'O' Ladies, rub one out, climax, orgasm, do whatever it takes IT WORKS!!! 

The final remedy might be a little trickier if you are sharing a bed or a room with your bridesmaids but I was lucky, I was sharing my bed with my soon to be wife, so by 3am we agreed we had to do what we had to do to get to sleep.


Walking up our very long grassy aisle about to be married, too excited to feel tired  Image by  Free the Bird

Walking up our very long grassy aisle about to be married, too excited to feel tired

Image by Free the Bird

One of my brides messaged me late on the eve of her wedding recently, asking if I would be bringing a good pen? and I responded with a “yes and clearly you are relaxing! Not! She couldn’t sleep so I said "have an orgasm, it doesn’t have to be mind-blowing just enough to release a little sleepy chemical” I don’t need to know if she took my advice or not, all I know is she looked all glowy the next day for her wedding, although at the time she said she couldn’t be bothered, and that’s the trap, you’re too tired to be bothered to do something that will get you to sleep almost without fail.

Very tired by the end of our wedding day in New Zealand, but a really nice loved up tired  Image by  Free the Bird

Very tired by the end of our wedding day in New Zealand, but a really nice loved up tired

Image by Free the Bird

Your Little Bit Goes A Long Way

To all my delicious Brides and Grooms

Thank you for choosing me, and as you know because I tell you in our first meeting, in return I do a little thing called Pay it forward you can have a little look-see here.

   Thank YOU because YOU bought two more pushbikes    Our Project 18 Pushbike

I became a celebrant and felt so happy I was doing something I absolutely loved it went hand in hand with paying all good things forward,  a part of my fee that YOU pay goes to Our Project 18.

OP18 is our all little charity doing little things for children less fortunate than my own. My daughter and I started this project up in July 2013 and since then have raised $20000, It was meant to be for two years, until Paige turned 18 however, since seeing the children several times over that period we can’t let them go now. We may not do much but what we do makes a difference to the children we help and that’s what keeps us going on our little projects.

Our first visit in 2013, we had a little party, they love punch balloons.

One of our favourite projects, which we created when we were there July last year and by far the one we are proudest of is Our Project Pushbike. We saw the difference it made to the first 5 children we bought the bikes for as they rode off home for their midday break before returning for afternoon classes, some children were walking up to 4 hours a day to get to and from school.

Our first 5 bikes which kick started our project pushbike on our last visit in 2015 read about it here

They were so excited choosing their bikes albeit still in shock

Anyway I could write about this for hours but for today this is what I am saying thank you for, shit my eyes are starting to leak I have got to get a grip of my emotions, helping two more little kiddlets from Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Sharon the Celebrant has just purchased two more bikes for two children in the Vung Tau community, we love that we can branch out from the two orphanages we support to also support the wee ones in the Vung Tau area who need it more.

Thank you again to all my gorgeous couples, see how a little tiny bit goes a long long way!

My angels Nhi, Mei and Ngoc on our first visit in 2013

A Celebrants Struggle is Real #1

This is a behind the scenes story of a stressed out marriage celebrant towards the long and winding road to Matty and Bec's wedding.

How divine, a winter wedding in the Otway ranges, paradise that is King Parrot in the heart of Pennyroyal. 

Roadie and I are super excited, so much so we book accommodation the night before the ceremony and use the excuse of a little getaway with a little rehearsal along the way to Lorne.

Wohooo and we are off, we hit Kings Way (2 mins from home) and it is bumper to bumper, apparently due to debris on the Bolte which is effecting the ENTIRE UNIVERSE ok so we might be a tad late for the rehearsal!

An hour later (5 km's) we finally hit the Westgate...onwards and upwards we say, still super excited, rehearsal still on the agenda.
Hour number three rolls around with Sat Nav having taken us up 2 no through roads, doesn't recognise the freeway, takes us off a beaten track it has turned dark, it has turned misty, Sat Nav completely lost now, Google maps yep, you guessed it GONE! Many quiet km's later, too scared to speak, we find ourselves in Lorne NOT Pennyroyal ARGHHH! 
Sorry bride and Groom I'll talk you through it tomorrow, I ain't travelling back through that treacherous windy, dark, icy road to find a track that doesn't exist at night, I don't care how much I like you both.
The temperature outside has hit 1 degree we rug up with every item of clothing we have packed wander the one street of Lorne, find a restaurant open and feast on ricotta gnocchi and 17 glasses of wine to calm the hell back to normal levels of calm, apart from frostbite all is right with the world.
We set off the next day, ceremony day, with a handwritten map from the lovely lady at Mantra on Lorne and we are off.
First wrong turn, another no through road, the smallest muddiest track abort! Abort! ABORT!

We feel like we are in the middle of nowhere, the car makes a screeching noise I think to myself WE'RE GUNNA DIE AND NO-ONE WILL EVER FIND US AND WE WILL MISS THE CEREMONY you may think I'm being dramatic but you weren't there so Shoosh! Back to the main road, more googling, hand written map missing a detail or two, more googling, we finally see the Kingparrot cottages sign and I burst into tears,I am serious, I realised I hadn't really been breathing properly since car noise incident half hour prior(roadie thought it was a wild animal not the car OMG! WE WERE COULD HAVE BEEN EATEN ALIVE) , roadie stops vehicle on dirt track and does her best to make me feel sane again, she grabs the rescue remedy from the suitcase and comforts me as best she can "it's ok honey, we're here now" makeup touchup, all intact, lets rock.
Wowsers! The ceremony setting is the most beautiful I have ever seen, and that is pretty big considering I'm such a city slicker, it looked surreal and vast and intimate and green and and and and...

The stunning view at King Parrot in Penny Royal.

Hi to the lovely owner Tony, chat chat chat to Bec the gorgeous Bride, chat chat chat and sort out Handsome groom and groomsmen, the last traumatic 20 hours, apart from the 17 wines and pasta, wash away.
Hmm gee what an angle that aisle is, there's mud, there's rough terrain my usual back and forth organisation is a massive workout mainly focusing on not falling over, I have the groomsmen as my backup catch me I'm falling guys, guiding me from one spot to the other then back again. Ive got everyone on aisle standby for any wonky steps along the way.

Admiring the view when I hear RIIIIPPPPPPPP crisis averted, Jonno just sorting that one thread on Cammo's suit pocket..I am a donkey on the edge

I'm so cold I don't care how ridiculous I look all buttoned up, my hands were shaking I could barely sign the marriage certificate, my nose started dripping, I had to scoot behind the groom to have a little wipe, lucky it was vow time.

A quick wipe of the snoze during the vows..by gingos is was cold

They were so ha hap happy and so was I.

Oh Lordy the second reader is way over the other side along with my mic, Ahhh Jason can you just grab that mic on the table in front of you and turn it on,yep that's the way, great thanks, the mud has me stuck in a safe spot I was rather comfortable in, he was a champ.

There's cheers and yahooing, the animals go running as I pronounce them as husband and wife and they pash like no one is looking, and they did, even I blushed... now let's get the stunning bride to the signing table unscathed, Da Dah!!!

The Animals

We did it, we are married, music maestro, let's get these two back up the aisle, safely, as Mr and Mrs Holding.

The moral of his story is,the struggle is real people, the cool calm and collected celebrant is racing 1000 miles an hour on the inside, and wouldn't have it any other way oh apart from the ruined favourite winter wedges from the mud, I'd have that another way.

Matty and Bec thanks for having me, it truly was one of the most stunning ceremonies ever, you both glowed and embraced each other throughout the entire shabang and my heart puffed and pumped with such pride it almost burst into a 1000 pieces inside.

Matty & Bec in one of their many intimate moments during their ceremony at King Parrot

The amazing florist was she's a wildflower, I will be a posting don't you worry, they were STUNNING oh and Bec's dress.

Melbourne Celebrant to MC or is Emcee...

...whichever it's meant to be

Recently I had the honour of being asked to be MC for my flower girls wedding in March at the fabulous Encore.

It was recommended by the venue on one of their very first meetings, they should try and choose someone who knows them well, and instantly my friend of 36 years, her daughter (my flowergirl) and the groom to be, all said Aunty Shaz! Well I was touched beyond belief but I had never been a Master of Ceremonies before but hey I had never celebrant-ed before last year either and I love that, both telling stories, both sticking to a schedule, both are about getting to know your couple, both public speaking , so how hard could this gig be?

Well hats off to all MC's out there, WOW! What a job, firstly you are to remain reasonably sober all night, which I failed miserably at!

When it came to sending they newlyweds off and trying to get the leaving circle into some kind of order I may or may not have called the brides mum and dad up as the egg and sperm donor to get them in the perfect spot for departure, damn champagne! But when you ask 'THAT' Aunty to be MC at your wedding reception, let's face it every has one, I guess you know what you are letting yourself in for.

I went in with gusto with my writing, wanting to do them both proud. As Elyse and Ben were to be married in a church, that personal story telling park of their ceremony was missing so I created a mini version for the opening of their formalities but being a reception and not a wedding ceremony I was allowed my potty mind free reign.

It started off nice enough with a "once upon a time this was a little boy called Ben who met a little girl called Elyse...and it may have gone downhill from there really.

I write things as they flow out and there were some bits I didn't really think of the consequences such as

“So I conclude with

Mr and Mrs Walton Healy,

May your dreams be lived,

Your lives together long,

Your orgasms plentiful,

Your happiness forever and

Your children abundant"

With my flower girls very own flower girl asking her mummy what an orgasm was? Well a girl can never be too educated about the female orgasm as far as I'm concerned, so Mummy Lea, you're welcome.

As stressful, time consuming and nerve wracking as it was throughout the evening I wouldn't have changed it for the world, they chose me because they trusted that I would let my personality be what they have grown up with and to set the tone of the evening from the moment they entered the room as Mr and Mrs Whalton-Healy, we love each other crazy warts and all.

See I can be serious! Image by Catherine Forge

Would I MC again?

ABSOLUTELY! But only for those special people who know me and my humour and of those I know will trust I will give them everything my heart and big gob can give.

So for your MC, look into your family and  family friends to ask, someone who is happy and is reasonably good at public speaking,and knows you well, I believe it can make a difference to your evening, for me it was a very special role indeed.

Ben and Elyse thanks for honouring me with this giant task on your special day, it is a role I will never forget.

Image by Catherine Forge


The Making of the Engagement Ring

The making of my engagement ring.

Before we get to my ring, I would like to chat about why we are given an engagement ring in the first place.

There are many versions of the history of the engagement ring, dating way back to ancient Egypt along with stories of it originating from ancient Greece, which my brother inlaw-to-be would be thrilled about, as he thinks everything comes from Greece and everything was invented by the Greeks but my favourite version would have to be the good Ole’ US of A’s and goes a little like this…

America in the early 19th century in short engagement rings were given as a form of virginity insurance.

We as women were expected to be virgins on our wedding day.

If he liked it, he had to put a ring on it, to loosely coin a phrase from Beyonce, so what was happening after that ring was placed? Sexual relations would occur of course, lets face it, hubby-to-be wasn’t telling the town crier his wife-to-be had her cherry popped by yours truly.

He then decides there is greener pasture on the other side of them der hills and leaves his bride-to-be living life in society as “soiled goods”.

This was such a rampant problem that an actual law was passed called the "Breach of Promise to Marry" which empowered women to sue their rouges if their wedding was called off.

Hence why we keep the ring!!

The engagement ring was kept by the scorned woman as collateral.

Now back to my ring, I assure you I am no virgin, nor will I be suing my love if the marriage were not to go ahead, don't get me wrong I would make her life a living hell, however I wouldn't sue her.

Getting the diamonds just right - champagne diamonds of course, matching necklace.

We wanted to follow a certain tradition we had grown up with, our parents had grown up and so on.

Like most couples, of course we talked about getting married, one morning I woke looking and smelling mighty fine, my beloved turns and says “It’s time to go get that ring” romantic hey! Well let me assure you, I was on the blower within minutes to our jeweller Ina Barry making an appointment to chose all the bits and pieces.

We always knew which ring that would be, it was to be a GIANT version of my necklace given to me as a birthday pressie a few years prior by my love, so off we go to choose my magnificent South Sea pearl.

The next meeting was to match the diamonds to said magnificent pearl and confirm the band was the perfect fit, being a pearl the ring can not be resized without removing my pearl, unlike a diamond ring.

Almost there...when will the proposal happen????

After those decisions were made rest of the process was taken away from me, I would not know when it would be ready nor would I know when I was to receive my golden orb of delight…. 

The day I received my beautiful engagement ring.

The day I received my beautiful engagement ring.

The proposal to end all proposals happened, was one of the happiest days of my life, will blog about that on another lazy Saturday afternoon in the near future.

Celebrate everything you possibly can!

What anniversaries do you celebrate? 

Is from when you first met?

Or is from your first date? 

Was it from your first 'cough' .... or kiss?

How about when you agreed to become monogamous and become an exclusive couple, is that your anniversary date?

Ok, so things are going so well you decide to become engaged, is that the new anniversary or just another special occasion?

Then there is the no brainer, you get married and start celebrating your wedding anniversary, but then say you have been dating for 4 years and 3 months! Your wedding anniversary then goes back to ZERO.

I think your anniversary should be 4/1 being 4 years together and 1 year married

When you marry, does that mean you don't celebrate all the other anniversaries anymore?

Not on my watch, I will use any excuse to celebrate my love and my relationship milestones. 

After 4 years and 3 months we don't go overboard on our monthly anniversaries anymore I must confess, however, we always always ALWAYS say "happy anniversary" on the first of every month.

Which leads me to these shoes...

Wittner, buy one get second pair 40% off, how could I resist

Next Thursday it was 4 years ago, we were watching a fabulous show in the Speigeltent when I became so overwhelmed with this crazy physical emotion, I leaned over to whisper in her ear "I love you" she smiles her big smiley whites at me and I melted.

Today I went out and bought some shoes to celebrate.

Happy 'I love you' anniversary for next Thursday Baby.

There are two morals to this story

Moral number one, celebrate your relationship any way you can and as often as you can, keep that spark by using any excuse to remind you how fabulous your relationship is.

Moral number two, find any excuse to buy new shoes.

Love Sharon The Celebrant x