Have the wedding you want, not the wedding you think you should have
Yup. you read that correctly! I do, I do, I do, I do. Four couples, one wedding.
But how? What? Why? Well, because, why not?!
Jack, Lim and Erica, two brothers and a sister, grew up dreaming of the day when they got to share a wedding together.
Jack met and fell in love with Joey, and Lim met and fell in love with Eva, who also happens to be Joey's sister.
Meanwhile, Erica met and fell in love with Richard, and Leon (who happen's to be the brother of Eva and Joey!) met and fell in love with Mindy.
Confused? Let me attempt to make it less confusing.
AA and AB are brothers. AC is their sister.
BA and BB are sisters, BC is their brother.
AA married BA
AB married BB
AC married ZZ
YY married BC.
See? Super not confusing. Ha!
Over the years, all four couples got married but the weddings weren't the celebration they wanted, and yet Jack, Lim and Erica couldn't shake the dream of having a wedding together.
In true elopement style, they chose to come to Stoneridge Estate at Queenstown with only two sets of parents and three little kids as the guests. The weather wasn't super great so we ended up inside the Chapel on the Lake, which was plenty big enough for 9 people across (with little room to spare ha ha!)
The ceremony was structured as one ceremony (rather than four!) with each couple stepping forward to do their own individually written vows and ring exchanges, then being presented as married and kissing all in unison!
Each bride had their own, individualised wedding dress and flowers and each groom brought their own style to the wedding as well. And each couple brought their own personalities to the day.
The whole experience was so much fun, so much laughter and so much love!
So this just shows that no idea is too crazy, no wedding idea is out of your reach! Whatever you want from your wedding can be achieved with the right people on your side!
When planning your wedding, it's easy to get drawn in by all the things you want from your Big Day - it is, after all, (probably) the only time you will get married! Of course you want the very best from your day, in every area of the planning. The best photographer, the best hair and makeup, venue, flowers, cake ... the list goes on. And, we expect to pay for what we get. If we want the best photographers, we have to pay a little more, and that's okay. Same goes for all the other areas too.
One of the biggest battles we as celebrants face, is justifying our fee to couples. I mean, a celebrant just arrives, talks for ten minutes, signs a bit of paper and leaves, right?
I mean, there are some celebrants who do this, but I can assure you that many of us out there put so much more into each of our weddings.
For some people, being a celebrant is a hobby. For others, a part time gig. And for many of us, it's more than a job - it's a passion. Watching people who we grow to know over the months we know them, experience this awesome day together, is just ... I don't know, there don't seem to be the words. It's truly awesome.
A good celebrant will get to know you both. Whether you meet them in person before the wedding or not, they will feel like they know you, and you them as well. A celebrant should be a friend, a confidant, someone you put your trust in both in the lead up to, and on your wedding day, to make sure that your day will go exactly the way you want it to, without your having to rush around checking on things and making sure things are going to plan.
As celebrants, we have performed hundreds of weddings. We know what works well, and what might not work. And every wedding is different, so a good celebrant will have the ability to put into practice that knowledge and fit it into your circumstances. A good celebrant often does things without you noticing, but that you would definitely have noticed had they not been there to do it.
We celebrants have families, and lives outside of weddings, as well as having many other couples and weddings booked. Yet we manage to balance and juggle all of these things, to ensure that on your wedding day, you are front and centre in our minds. On your wedding day, a good celebrant will make you feel as though they have no other care in the world. That you are the only couple ever to have been married.
Not only do we celebrants have to commit to your wedding, often months or even years in advance, we are also committing ourselves away from any personal events that may crop up. Celebrants, like many others in the wedding industry, have to consciously block out dates, sometimes a year in advance or more, to be able to have a family holiday.
A good celebrant will take the time to listen to what your theme is, who your photographer is, what your wedding will be like, and they will fit their style and tone to match. If your bridesmaids are wearing pink, your celebrant won't rock up in a pink dress. It's these little things that don't matter to you in the lead up, but might in the aftermath.
A good celebrant works with your MC to ensure that everyone is seated and comfortable. They work with the music person, sometimes providing their own cellphones for downloaded music when the original one won't work.
Each wedding ceremony takes around 3-4 hours to compose, making sure that it is perfect for the couple. For some of us, the only time to write ceremonies is late at night, once the kids are in bed. We print the ceremonies out, we print the vows out. We celebrants all have that little extra something we offer to our clients as well, all at our own cost.
A good celebrant arrives at the wedding early enough to make sure you are all happy and relaxed(ish) and ready for the wedding. A good celebrant also sticks around until they are sure you are happy and relaxed and ready for the reception. No matter what is going on in the celebrant's life that day, a good celebrant will leave it all in the car when they arrive. Because, like I said, it's your day and a good celebrant will make it all about you.
And so, when you are married and the honeymoon is over, and you get those amazing photos back from your wonderful photographer, please don't forget to mention the celebrant when you share these photos. Often we see the make up artist thanked, the hair dresser, the venue and the caterer. The car company and the jewellery. The cake and the flowers. But what about the celebrant?
And when you get a quote from a celebrant, don't balk at the fee. Because a good celebrant puts in a butt load of work for your wedding. If you are ever concerned about what the fee covers, just ask them! A good celebrant would be more than happy to tell you what they offer. And just as you wouldn't necessarily use an amateur photographer or cake maker, consider this as well when looking at celebrant options. While an unregistered family member or friend might do a good job, we celebrants are experienced professionals with a lot more to offer than just standing up, chatting away for fifteen minutes.
We might not be the cheapest, we might not be the youngest. But there is a celebrant out there for you. Go with your gut and don't be afraid to meet with more than one before you make your decision. Because, like I said at the start - a good celebrant should be like a friend. They should leave you with that warm, comfortable feeling that everything just went to plan. That your ceremony was as memorable as you ever dreamed. And allow you to look back on your day with a smile.
Because a good celebrant does this as a job. And a great celebrant does this as a passion too.
Elopements. One of the top wedding trends of 2017. Well, I'm not sure about that but they sure are growing in popularity.
But, why elope? What "kind" of people elope, and why?
The answer is simple - all kinds of people elope! For all kinds of reasons!
Traditionally, elopements were for very specific reasons and had a certain stigma attached to them. People eloped because the bride-to-be was pregnant, or because one the couple was not deemed to be a "suitable" match for the other. Interestingly, money was a major player in the elopement game as well - people eloped because they didn't have the means to throw the big bash that society expected of them.
Today, there are many more reasons why a couple chooses to elope, and the stigma attached to an elopement isn't there anymore. Elopements are an accepted way to marry in modern-day New Zealand (and, one of my personal fav types of weddings!).
If you are engaged (or thinking about it) and trying to decide whether or not to elope, here are some points to consider.
Privacy - If a small, intimate wedding is what you desire, you can really achieve this with an elopement. You need two witnesses for a wedding but these needn't be guests - some elopement couples use the photographer and videographer as their witnesses, since they are there anyway! And if you don't have any witnesses, that's not a problem either - I often bring a witness or two along.
Venue Freedom - With an elopement, you have the freedom to choose whatever venue, whatever location that you want. Lakeside, hillside, a hot air balloon - the world really is your oyster.
Cost - This always has been a major factor in wedding planning - some people don't want to, or simply don't have, the money to have the big wedding. Did you know that the average wedding in New Zealand is $35,000? In today's day and age, when parents are no longer in a financial position to pay for the wedding (as per tradition), or couples are self sufficient and prefer to pay their way anyway, it can be hard to find, and part with, thousands and thousands of dollars for a wedding. Elopements in general are considerably cheaper than a big wedding, without having to sacrifice all the things that you want in a wedding.
Your wedding, YOUR WAY - Elopements give you the freedom to mold your day into the wedding you dream of, without having as much pressure to conform to the proper wedding Do's and Don'ts.
Shhhhhhh, it's a secret - One of the best advantages to an elopement, is the ability to keep your wedding under complete wraps until you want to let people know. Whether you tell people as you board your plane, or simply change your profile picture on Facebook when you get back - however you choose to do it, if having your wedding be a secret/surprise for whatever reason is what you are after, elopements are the way to go.
Pressure to have the perfect wedding, mason jars and all - Pinterest is an amazing tool in wedding planning. How anyone planned a wedding before the internet, I have no idea! But, it is really easy to get caught up in the Pinterest Wedding Ideals - what you should do, what you have to do, what you absolutely need to do. Well, truth be told - you don't have to do anything. Aside from the one legal line that is required in the ceremony, everything else is gravy. Your choice. Up to you. 100%. If you want a 7-strong bridal party, that's awesome! If you want your dog as your bridal party, that's awesome too! Don't like flowers? Don't have them.
Family have feelings too - Even though the wedding, at the end of the day, is about the two of you getting married, the reality is you may well have family members who will be invested in attending the wedding. They might be hurt that you choose not to include them in the day. That being said, a little conversation goes a long way. My husband and I were all set to elope (to Vegas, no less!) but chose not to for fear of upsetting his parents. When we came home they were genuinely surprised that we didn't elope, and would have been perfectly happy with it!
You want the big white wedding - if you want the big wedding, the big shindig with all your family and friends, then by all means, go crazy! And enjoy it! Elopements are not for everyone, just like anything in life! Many people live/dream/desire the big, wonderful wedding and love it.
You are so fed up with wedding planning, LET'S JUST ELOPE! - this is a tricky one. One on hand, are you wanting to elope because you are just fed up with the inevitable drama/politics/colour schemes of wedding planning? Are you so tired and brain-farted with wedding plans and Pinterest boards that you are starting to think, why in the heck are we not on a plane to Bali right now?? On the other hand, are you wanting to elope because you feel like the wedding planning has gone away from your initial vision of your perfect day, and you just don't know what to do?
It's a generational thing - As mentioned earlier, elopements used to happen for very specific reasons. I was trying to explain elopements to my father the other day, and the conversation went around and around. He kept trying to get his head around why someone would elope, while I just kept reiterating to him - it's because they want to do it that way. And that that is a wonderful enough reason!
So, why elope?
The answer when asking if you should elope or not is simple - how do you see your day, marrying the person that you love? It's really easy to get caught up in all the wedding planning, and lose sight of the base line - the reason why you are getting married. Remember that guy sitting over there on the couch? Yea, him. The love of your life. Remember that time you first saw that hot chick on Tinder? Yea, her. The love of your life.
We are really lucky in New Zealand to have a marriage system that allows most any kind of wedding to go ahead. When we say to you, you can do what you want to do, we mean it. If you can't bear the thought of not sharing the day with all of your family and friends then have the wedding you dream of. You can have a fun, personalised wedding and still have 120 guests.
But, if the thought of speaking in front of 40 people makes you sweat, if you close your eyes and imagine your wedding as being you, your One True Love, and your very few, very close friends by your side, then perhaps an elopement is the way to go.
Elopements no longer carry the stigma that they used to, and are a fun, affordable, personalised and intimate alternative to a standard wedding, if that is what you are looking for.
For more information or any questions about eloping here in Queenstown (or anywhere!), give me a call or flick me an email!