Recently a bride-to-be was looking for advice on a Wedding Facebook Page about how to include her 12 yr old sister in the wedding party. It would be a lop-sided wedding party if she did. Plus her Mum wanted her to be paired up with someone. Problem was, the groom didn’t want to have any more of his mates in the wedding party. Quite a dilemma but totally unnecessary! Nowadays quite often the wedding parties do not have even numbers.
As a marriage celebrant I have seen several scenarios: More bridesmaids than groomsmen and the groomsmen have very happily exited with a bridesmaid on each arm! They loved that! And more groomsmen, we found a mother of the bride and a special granny who were only too delighted to be escorted from the ceremony.
Wedding Traditions such as equal numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen are only important if you want them to be. You should feel free to do whatever you are comfortable with. Many couples are now only having a Maid of Honour and a Bestman. And here’s another idea for you. There is no reason why a bride can’t have Bridesmen and a Groom Groomsmaids! Go on, be brave and do what YOU want to do and enjoy your special day because it’s exactly what YOU wanted it to be!
… and how to write them.
Many couples have a fear of writing wedding vows. Don’t panic and don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you’re less of a couple. Putting big, meaningful and life-altering feelings onto paper is not easy and I hope some of these hints will help you. Actually, the best wedding vows come straight from the heart and in your own words. Some couples like to write them together and others like to write them separately, enjoying the look on their lovers face as they hear them for the first time at the ceremony.
Here are a couple of basic rules which can help you start the process.
Firstly, it can help if you agree on how much you are going to write, so your vows are roughly the same length.
Secondly, agreeing on whether you will include any ‘fun vows’, is also a good idea.
Then, to get you started, use the words ‘I promise…’ or ‘I love you because…’ or ‘I always smile when…’ to begin your sentences.
Most importantly, there are no rules! You can do what you like. It’s only important that your wedding vows reflect you and your personality, your partner and your relationship with each other.
As a marriage celebrant I get to hear many wonderful vows, as well as some very funny ones. I like to encourage my couples to write their own vows as it may be the only opportunity they will have to make promises for building one of the most important relationships of their lives. The best wedding vows talk about your past, present and future.
Here are some real-life vows from some lovely couples I married recently:
I promise that this is a once in a lifetime love, and no matter what challenges come our way, we will face them head on and holding hands (because we’re otters).
I promise to continue to work on packing lighter when we travel. I won’t wear high heels through an airport terminal, but I draw the line at sprinting to a departure gate like a contestant in “The Amazing Race”. I cannot promise that my map reading or navigation skills will improve though.
I promise to give you my unconditional love, even when you might not deserve it, as we both know that this is when you need it the most.
I promise to support you in every aspect. I will encourage your interests and passions…Yes, even your frequent snowboarding trips!
I promise to give this marriage everything I have. I will approach it with my entire heart, mind and soul. This is not the end of a search, but a new beginning for both of us.
I promise to always listen to you, to treat you with respect and honesty, to protect
you, to nurture you, and to always be faithful to you.
I promise you crystal clear waters (with no sticks, or bits) wherever you swim, and I also promise to not leave the garage door open so rats and bugs don’t have easy access to the house.
I promise to hug and kiss you always, to rub your feet when they’re sore, to keep you warm when you’re cold, and to hold your hand as we journey through life together.
I promise to never again ask you to do a bungy-jump with me, and realise that
Para-gliding is the limit of your extreme.
I promise to give you my all, my 100%, and my best efforts always. To never let the
day end with unresolved issues, and I promise you my love and my heart forever.
I love you for the way you treat me like a princess, care for me and love me unconditionally.
I love you for the way you make me see rationally when I’m worrying.
I love that you have such strong love for your friends and family.
I promise to always stand by your side during the good times and the bad times.
I promise to share in a life of wonderful adventures with you, as your wife.
I promise to be your personal alarm clock for all of your work meetings.
I love you for your beautiful smile and how often I see it. To me there is nothing that makes me happier than to see a smile on your face.
I love you for your bubbly, positive and cheeky outlook on everything, which never fails to bring out the best in me.
I love you for putting me first in everything you do, even when I resist or disagree with you. Bacon excluded of course.
I promise to make you feel like the beautiful princess that you are for the rest of our long life together.
I promise to never let you go and do whatever necessary to keep that beautiful smile on your face.
I promise to tolerate and support your endless desire for teacups, ducks, country music, bad TV shows and Disney, even if it drives me mad.
“We travelled all the way from Germany to get married in Perth. Just the two of us and our two children. Delwyn made it possible and turned our wedding day into the best day of our lives, she made our dreams come true. Thank you so much.” Henry & Julia
It’s a long way to come from Germany to Perth and when that journey is to be the most romantic one you ever made, then everything needs to be perfect… perfectly fabulous!
Es ist fuer mich eine riesige Freude wenn Deutsche-Verliebte sich bei mir melden und ganz vorsichtig Fragen ob ich eine Hochzeitszeremonie in Deutschesprache fuer Sie durchfuehren koennte. Ja, Deutsch ist meine zweite Sprache und es ist ein grosses Privileg fuer mich das machenzukoennen.
“Wir haben uns sofort wohlgefühlt. Von der ersten Email von Delwyn wussten wir, dass wir die richtige Wahl getroffen hatten. Wir wollten eine einfache Zeremonie an einem wunderschönen Ort. Und Du, Delwyn hast das sofort verstanden. Deine Aufklärung über die australische Rechtslage war einfach zu verstehen und wir fühlten uns in guten Händen. Ohne deine Hilfe und Unterstützung wäre unsere Zeremonie nicht so wunderbar gewesen wie sie war. Wir liebten den Bambus Rahmen, die Garnelen and Champagner am Strand. Und das perfekte Timing, das das meiste aus dem Sonnenuntergang und dem frueheren Vollmond holte. Wir sind extrem glücklich. Es war Alles so richtig. Die Tatsache, dass Du dich mit Regina getroffen hast und dass Wir uns nicht um standesamtliche Papiere kümmern mussten, war großartig. Es war außerdem auch großartig, dass wir regelmäßigen Emailkontakt hatten. Dadurch konnten wir Dich ein bisschen besser kennenlernen und wurden auf dem Laufenden gehalten. Dein Service war sehr, sehr, sehr gut. Danke. Definitiv. Du bist die Beste. Wir sind sehr glücklich.” Bruno & Katja
“Wir freuen uns RIESIG Dich kennen zu lernen! !!! Du warst uns bisher schon solch eine tolle Hilfe! !! Wahnsinn, ohne Dich wären wir nie so schnell so weit gekommen !!!! DANKE dafür schon!!!!!” Steffi & Sebastian
“Our dream was it to celebrate our wedding abroad. Australia was the place to be. Delwyn made it so easy for us to let our dream come true. From A to Z everything was just perfect. We got all the information we need for Australian legislation as well as for German legislation. With Delwyn’s help it was easy to fulfil the requirements of both countries. Working with you was always a pleasure! It was a very friendly atmosphere at any time. Your little special touches were awesome! Please stay like you are and keep this wedding service as individual as it is right now. All the best for your business.” Kai & Dori
After all of the fun and excitement of planning and experiencing your wedding, comes the time-consuming task of changing your name. Many new brides say they feel nervous about the name change process, but it is actually a quite straight forward process. It’s just a bit time consuming and it helps if you know where to start, and have a plan.
If changing your name is something that you want to do, there are a few options for you to choose from:
* Take on your husband’s last name.
* Hyphenate your last names (ie Smith-Jones), which approximately 5% of brides do.
* Double barrel your names (ie Smith Jones).
* Turn your maiden name into a new middle name and take on your husband’s name as your last name.
* Make up a new last name that is a combination of your maiden name and married name.
* Make up a totally new name.
You can start using your new name whenever you like, and you don’t actually have to change your name on any documentation if you don’t want to, this is called ‘name by association’ and is perfectly legal. Quite a few new brides take on their husband’s name in this way – they use their married name in social circles, but keep their maiden name on their official ID documentation. This can get confusing though, which is why most newlyweds choose to change their name on your driver’s license, passport, bank accounts etc, and go about their name change in a more official way.
And here is the good news: if you’re just taking on your husband’s name, this is a very simple process. An Official Marriage Certificate issued by your state or territory’s Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages is sufficient evidence that you have married and you do not need to go through any application process to change your name. While this will not change your name on your birth certificate / birth record, it will allow you to legally change your name on all of your identification documents. You can start officially changing your name as soon as you are married and have your Official Marriage Certificate.
If you are wanting to change your name in any other way however, you will need to go through the standard name change process.
Name Change Checklist
Below is a short list of 25 places that you will need to change your name. Thank you to the After The Wedding Name Change Kit for permission to reprint this extract from their checklist, which contains another 42 places for you to change your name.
Driver’s licence, Passport, Electoral enrolment, Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Medicare,, Council (for rates if you own a property), Centrelink (if receiving benefits), Bond authority (for renters), Utilities, Phone, Bank accounts, Home loan / personal loans, Store accounts (eg Myer card), Home / contents insurance, Doctor, Ambulance membership, Your employer (HR / payroll), Superannuation funds, Union membership, Gym membership, Loyalty programs (eg FlyBuys, Myer One), Video libraries, Your will, Accountant, Tollway accounts (e.g Citylink)
I love it when I am looking for poetry for weddings, vow renewals or commitment ceremonies you find something that gives you a full-bodied laugh. Hope you enjoy this.
LOVE ME WHEN I’M OLD AND SHOCKING – by Bee Rawlinson
Love me when I’m old and shocking
Peel off my elastic stockings
Swing me from the chandeliers
Let’s be randy bad old dears.
Plump the cushions on my chair
Let me tease your white chest hair
Scaring children, swapping dentures
Let us have some great adventures
Take me out on lavish dates
Or send me off to meet my mates
Fillet my fish and bring me tea
Show me how it’s meant to be
Take me out to rugby games
Let’s go watch the Hurricanes
You in shorts and socks and sandals
Me with wrinkles and love-handles
Keep the coffee hot and the beer cold
And say I look pretty even when I’m old
Make me laugh without constraint
Buy me chocolate body paint
Hold me safe throughout the night
When my hair has turned to white
Believe me when I say it’s true
I’ve waited all my life for you.
There are certain little things that can spoil an otherwise perfect wedding. They are badly tied ties and bowties, tacking on new suits and new shoes that give you blisters. My Dad taught me how to tie a Windsor Knot and a half Windsor knot when I was just a kid and it was my job to tie all my brother’s ties. Does anyone still do this? Well it’s one of the fun things I get to do as a marriage celebrant when the groom and or groomsmen are not sure how to tie their ties 🙂 Another thing is cutting and removing the tacking on new suits, many guys are not even aware that this needs to be removed. And new shoes! Girls are pretty switched on about ‘breaking’ your shoes in and carrying a spare pair for the reception but that concept is completely foreign for most guys!
So here’s a check list for the groom and his best men:
1. Learn how to tie a Windsor Knot or the Knot of your choice before your wedding day.
2. If you are wearing a Bowtie, buy a real one and learn how to tie it. There is something special about a guy who can do that 🙂
3. Make sure all tacking is removed from your new suits.
4. Take your new shoes for a few test runs around the house to see if they give you blisters. If they do, put plasters on for your wedding day so you can enjoy the day and the first dance. Take a couple of spare plasters too, you never know who might need them 🙂
Wedding Ceremony Rehearsals
It might be something that you think you can save on but the wedding ceremony rehearsal is actually pretty important. You could say it’s practice making perfect! It’s the logistics that are important and a run-through with your wedding party and wedding celebrant will ensure everyone knows when to walk and where to stand. You also need to know if your chosen piece of music will be long enough for the bridal party entrance. If there are Wedding Rituals or readers and performers it’s also important that those involved know when they are ‘on’ and that they do a sound test and practise with the microphone they will be using. If you are using Skype for overseas guests, use this time to make sure you have a strong signal. You may need to bring your own dongle.
So who needs to be at a wedding rehearsal?
The most important people to have at your ceremony rehearsal is everyone who will be participating in some way, whether it’s walking down the aisle or doing a reading. Of course the bride, groom, parents (whoever is walking the bride down the aisle), and wedding celebrant need to be present (since we’ve all got starring roles!). There is no need to go through the whole ceremony, in fact I don’t recommend that at all, it’s better if it’s ‘fresh’ on the day. But going through the general order that things will happen in, like does your sister’s reading come before or after the hand-fasting, does everyone involved in the hand-fasting know where to stand and how to tie the ribbon, (or at least the first person…), that’s important. These things all ensure everyone feels confident on the day.
Having as many of your wedding party there as possible is also helpful. If one or two can’t make it the others can update them about the details of the processional and recessional and standing positions. There may be other ‘special’ things happening too – recently I had the groomsmen collect the bridesmaids at the top of a long flight of uneven stairs and escort them to the ‘Altar’. This decision could never have been made without a rehearsal.
Don’t think a rehearsal must be boring. Use it as a time to catch up and I will keep it as short and fun as possible. You will never regret having a rehearsal.
Skype for Wedding Ceremonies
The technology of today is amazing! I have many couples who have had parents, grandparents and
friends from all over the world at their weddings, even though these same guests were unable to be
there in person.
With Skype guests are able to enjoy the wedding ceremony and feel included, even responding and
being involved in a meaningful way.
There is one very important thing to remember when you are considering using Skype. Does your
venue have a strong enough internet signal to facilitate it? Perhaps you need to organise your own
internet source, so which provider has the strongest signal in the area your venue is in?
Another issue can be the best positioning of the person holding the tablet or phone. Work out where
the sun is going to be beforehand, the rehearsal might be a good time to do this, so you are not
having to point it into the sun.
Remember too, if the Skype-guests are not involved in the ceremony itself, to turn down the volume
so they can hear but can’t be heard. It might not always be amusing to have them chatting away in
What a fabulous job I have! As a bilingual German speaking celebrant, I have had the privilege of experiencing some very moving moments. One bride’s Mum could not make it to the wedding at the last moment because of a serious health issue. We did the ceremony in German and English so the bride’s Mum & Dad and granny could all enjoy it on Skype, live with the rest of us. It was very touching. The bride hung photos of her mother’s and grandmother’s weddings in the tree under which the ceremony took place.
Wedding Rituals tend to be a very important part of wedding ceremonies where either the bride or groom, (or both), originate from overseas. When family, friends and loved ones can’t make it to the wedding they can send meaningful objects such as ribbons, photos, books, and recordings, which can be included in the ceremony. It’s a beautiful way to include more of their own culture.
“I don’t even know where to start. Delwyn (our german speaking celebrant) did an absolute amazing job. She did our ceremony in German and English. All the guests also loved her. She helped us so much with creating our ceremony so we could give it a very personal touch. I will def call her again if we ever gonna refresh our vows. Delwyn war einfach nur super. Unsere Trauung war auf English and Deutsch. Alle Gaeste waren begeistert. Ich werde Delwyn auf jeden Fall anrufen wenn wir irgendwann mal unsere Eheversprechen erneuern.” Laura H