ADVICE FOR YOUR WEDDING DAY FROM AUSTRALIA’S BEST CELEBRANTS

Getting married can bring up all types of emotions and stresses. In this day and age of pandemics, major natural disasters and other things we don’t even know about yet, wedding planning can be so very daunting. 

Not only will it be the next most important moment of your relationship, but it can also be one of the most expensive parties you will ever throw, so ensuring you make all the right decisions is crucial to a successful and loving day for you and your partner.

We recently opened up a conversation with our best celebrants on what advice they give to their couples getting married in 2022.

As a general rule remind yourselves who you’re planning your wedding for. It’s not your parents, your grandparents or your friends, it’s the day that you and the love of your life are committing yourselves in marriage, so it needs to reflect who you both are as a couple.

Kerry loves to watch her couples do their wedding their way. Celebrant: Kerry White, Photo: James Devine

Kerry White celebrates love in Adelaide, most commonly known as Radelaide, says;

Stop making so many concessions for your wedding.

If there is something you desperately want for your wedding, whether it’s a supplier, a ritual, the dress you envisioned your bridesmaids wearing, or some kind of entertainment. If you find yourself making concessions to please everyone else, except you – then I urge you to re-evaluate this. You shouldn’t need to jump through hoops in order to have the day you want! You’ve probably dreamt of this day since forever and know down to the smallest detail of what ‘everyone’ else thinks are trivial. Allowing room for flexibility is a given but changing ‘entirely’ the whole vision of what makes your day special, and unique to you and your partner, is not the plan. Start by getting people as excited as you are about your vision for the day. Highlight the things that matter most to you and why they are so important. Stop stressing, take a deep breath, and continue planning, Your Wedding, Your Way.”

Make sure your suppliers know exactly what your vision is for your day. You’re paying them a lot of money so you want to make sure those flowers you see in your head are the same as the ones you will see hanging from the arbour as you walk down to meet your love, or stand under as your love walks towards you. Belinda Tee knows this from personal experience.

“When it comes to booking your suppliers, trust your instincts. 

You really need to have a great connection and vibe with your celebrant and photographer. Once you have established that they are totally your people, who you feel most comfortable with and are reassured of their abilities and professionalism, things will all fall into place.  This is advice from a celebrant who married the love of my life just over 6 years ago and our biggest regret was the celebrant we booked, they messed up so many things on the day and was absolutely terrible.  We also decided not to have a photographer and instead let our teenage kids take the photos. Another regret!”

Beline regrets not choosing a celebrant who they had a really strong connection with. Photo: Shell Bells Photography

Don’t be like Belinda and have regrets from your wedding day, ensure you’ve taken the time to get to know the people who are working for you to make your day one the best days ever.

Danielle Emily from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria tells all of her couples to

“Enjoy the wedding planning process.

So many couples let wedding planning stress them out. It’s such a special day in your life and as a former bride I absolutely understand how it can be overwhelming and time consuming. Don’t let things like the guest list or the seating chart put pressure or stress on your relationship. Remember why you are getting married in the first place and what is really important to you for that special day. Every element of the day is meticulously planned by the two of you and on the day, you hand all of that planning over to your vendors. Trust them! They are professionals and they will have their job on the day covered so you can just kick back, relax and enjoy yourselves.”

Danielle made sure she and her hot new hubby enjoyed the wedding planning process. Photo: Jessica Rose Photography

 

Sue Warner has been a celebrant for almost a decade, she’s seen so many wonderful moments within her ceremonies, her biggest advice is to;

“Think outside the box when deciding on your witnesses.

A lot of people assume it should be their besties, but I love suggesting the two mums and, if they like that idea, to make it a surprise. I suggest it, as often the mother of one of the parties may not have been involved in the wedding thus far and it’s just a nice way to include them. Most of my couples love the idea and I do a lovely build-up in the ceremony and there are often tears of joy. I like to word up the photographer so they can catch the look on the mums’ faces. It can also be a grandparent too which would have a similar result.”

We agree this is a lovely way to include your mum’s or grandparents and they literally never expect it.

Sue advises her couple’s to have fun when choosing their witnesses. Photo: Stafani Driscoll Photography

Emma Homewood has so much advice for her couples most of which has been seconded and even thirded up above, but the one piece of advice we love from Emma is:

“If there are children or animals you love, include them and embrace the madness! 

Sometimes the most memorable things that happen on wedding days are the unplanned moments or things that seemingly ‘went wrong’. Well, I’m here to tell you to embrace the madness. If that flower girl bursts into tears and runs away tearing her flower crown off during the processional, or the page boy gets a tic tac stuck up his nose that the bridesmaids were bribing him with, just hope that your amazing photographer that you so carefully selected captured these moments and you can look back and laugh at them fondly for years to come. Plus, you can get your own back at their 21st! Meaningful wedding days should be filled with moments that reflect the real people and loved ones involved at that time, real people and loved ones aren’t perfect, and that’s why we love them so embrace the chaos.”

Emma urges her couple’s to embrace the chaos, as this often leads to the best images. Photo: Lara Furst Photography

Embracing the chaos can be hard to take but if you go with the flow and know that whatever happens you’re creating wonderful memories for you and your love, go with the flow of the day.

Kerri Watkins has been kick starting love parties since 2008, so she knows a thing or two. She’s also a married woman to her love Paul, together for over 18 years. Her biggest tip is:

“Take a night or, even better, a week off from wedding planning, and have a date night. With one rule: No wedding talk allowed!

Wedding planning can be overwhelming, especially if you are caught in the ‘need to please everyone else’ bubble. I like to check in with my couple’s a few weeks before the wedding and nine times out of ten they’re super stressed. So, I give them homework, to have some real quality time together. In my time as a celebrant, I’ve noticed that many times my couples aren’t even talking to one another in the days leading up to their special moment, because they’re so busy with their to do list. So it’s important to reconnect with one another and remind yourselves why you’re getting married in the first place.”

Kerri knows real marriage success is in the connection.

After 17 years of making married people Lilian Lyon has seen a lot, not only does she marry people, but she also trains people who make married people too.

“Trust your celebrant, but don’t trust just any celebrant.

Choose your celebrant carefully and do your research. Read the reviews and check their posts on socials. Also read the comments on those posts. The vibe you’re feeling from their images may tell you more than just what they’re wearing or how pretty the arbour looks. Organise a chat then trust your gut. Ask questions that are left of field eg. “What would you do if it’s ceremony time and only half the guests have arrived?” or “I don’t want to be walked down the aisle by anyone, is that okay?” A really good celebrant cares about what you care about. They listen before making suggestions. Ask yourself if you want a one-dimensional celebrant or, are they good at several things; they may look fabulous, but will they be on time? Also, don’t worry if the celebrant you vibe with is a newbie, they could bring you a really fresh approach and a new energy to your wedding day. Most importantly, on your day get out of planning mode and into party mode.”

Lillian knows that a celebrant should care about what you care about. Photo: Red Berry Photography

If you’re planning a wedding it means, you’ve found that one person whom you want to spend the rest of your life with, and that’s a really big deal. Make sure you’re connecting with them in the weeks leading up to your big day; ensure your vendors are really clear on what you’re both wanting for your love celebration; and don’t make decisions based on what other people think – there’s something really empowering about doing things your way. 

The bottom line is your wedding day is the beginning of the rest of your lives together so have fun and try not to let the stresses get in the way. If you do it your way, trust all of your suppliers, and most importantly have fun, you will have the best wedding anyone has ever seen.

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Author Bio

Victoria Armstong

Victoria is a full time marriage celebrant and lover of love in the Northern Rivers region, and our local leader for the great state of NSW. She moved to Ballina almost 8 years ago from Sydney and has found her little slice of paradise.
She loves dogs, people, pretty dresses, swimming in the sea and the colour pink. She doesn’t love washing the dishes, cleaning the glass in the shower or eating eggplant. When she’s not frocking up to marry people you can find her walking her four legged bestie – Gidget, enjoying rose’ with her girlfriends or getting away and camping in the back of her fiance’s van somewhere along the east coast of Australia. Her life is pretty great!