It's always a hard task to find just the right song for your wedding ceremony. So here are a few more songs that you might have thought of but that might just be perfect.
Your vows are the point in your wedding ceremony where you go from simply being best friends to husband and wife, so it figures that you would want to do your best to make them great. They are probably the thing that I get asked most about, aside from the weather so here is what I have figured out when it comes to writing vows that don't suck.
Before you put pen to paper, or finger to screen, have a go at answering these statements.
- They are the love of my life because ....
- I can be the best husband/wife by ....
- I pinky promise to always ....
- When they are down, I can help by ....
- They make me laugh out loud by ....
- They made me feel .... the first time I met them
- I knew I couldn't live without them when ....
- I choose them because ....
- I will encourage them by....
- I will inspire them ....
- I will love them more than ....
- First, make them feel awesome - complement them, encourage them, affirm them.
- Then make a promise - or many promises after all, that is what vows are all about.
- Make it funny - an ‘in-joke’ or something cute, kitsch, can make a great addition.
- Look towards the future - tell them why you’re looking forward to growing old with them.
- And remember to keep it legal - under NZ law you need to say at some point in your vows “I full name take you full name to my legally wedded wife/husband”.
Keep it Real
Don't think that your vows need to be an epic two page long proclamation of love. Your vows are for each other (not your guests) so keep it real and honest by using the words that you would normally use and don't worry about what anyone else will think or how long they 'should' be.
So in Conclusion....
When it comes to writing your wedding vows, remember that they are simply the promises between the two of you that will form the basis of your marriage. By keeping them simple, honest, real and heartfelt your vows should be awesome. But if your still not sure send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you some great templates and examples to help inspire you.
Here are a few things, some obvious, some not so obvious, that I've learnt as a result of officiating at just about two hundred weddings...
Unlock Your Phone
If your planning on using your phone to play the ceremony music from, make sure you've told the person in charge of the music your password or even better taken it off for the day. There is nothing worse than having to wait while sorting out a phone. For extra credit pop, your phone on flight mode to make sure you won't get a phone call or text message notification broadcast halfway through your walk down the aisle.
Eat The Cake
Seriously after an amazing meal and a long day most likely with drinking involved a lot of people don't feel like cake. Which is a shame because no doubt a lot of hard work went into making the cake and it probably tastes bloody delicious. So why not cut the cake straight after the ceremony and serve it as a round of canapes, with or without champagne, while everyone can truly enjoy it? Another plus is that it means your photographer doesn't have to hang around waiting for you to cut the cake or you don't have to stage a fake cutting of the cake before your time with the photographer runs out.
Do Double Duty With Your Flowers
If you're trying to stretch your budget when it comes to getting the most of your flowers. Why not talk to your florist about using the flowers from your table settings for your ceremony space as well.
Whether it's water, juice or booze if it's hot during summer chances are people will appreciate a drink of some kind. Also, it gives people something to do while waiting without the awkward milling around.
Create a Focal Point
If you're planning on getting married outside chances are the spot you have picked is gorgeous but might be missing something to create a focal point and help make it feel special. If you add some elements, which don't need to be expensive, like a rug, barrels, hay bales for seating or a back drop it will help to make it obvious as to where the ceremony will be happening and elevate the whole feel of it.
Grass, if you're outside, and heels are not a good combo. Go for wedges, flats or those funny looking upside down mini wine glasses that slip on your heels to stop you sinking into the ground.
If you're outside and it's summer chances are it's going to be hot. One trick I've seen to help out with this is if your planning on having programs make them into fans, your guests will appreciate it.
Well yes and no ....
Do you need a rehearsal where everyone is lined up and measured to within a centimetre of where they are going to stand come the wedding day? No.
Is it a good idea to catch up with some of the key players on the day and have a run through about what’s going to happen? Yes, be logistically we do need to cover off;
- Roughly where people are going to stand
- Who is going to have the rings
- If anyone is going to do a reading
- Any last details that need to be confirmed
- Anything else to make sure you feel comfortable with what is going to happen and when
The bridal party might also like to have a walk through to make sure they will know where to go and if the music is long enough. However one of the things I see people panic about the most is about how they walk. Yes, they need to know where they are headed but how they walk doesn’t matter. Generally they just need to walk normally and enjoy the moment.
Rehearsals can start to go a bit funny when the couple get stressed about everything needing to go totally to plan. The best kind of ceremonies is when they are real, emotional and funny. Your guests aren’t there for some kind of over the top production. They are there to celebrate the awesomeness that is two best friends becoming husband and wife, husband and husband, or wife and wife, after all that’s what a wedding is.
So you already went and signed the legal paperwork and although you are technically married you want to still celebrate your marriage with friends and family? Regardless of how you may have come to find yourself married prior to your wedding day there are a few things that it will affect during your ceremony.
Can't We Just Pretend?
Under New Zealand law celebrants are unable to make it look like a marriage has taken place when it hasn't. We're not a bunch of party poopers who want to spoil your day (if anything we love a good party!), but we could lose our licence to marry people if we were found to be doing so.
So What Are Our Options?
We are however allowed to conduct a "commitment ceremony" while this may, in fact, look like a marriage ceremony to an untrained eye as long as certain words and phrases are avoided then we can still help you to celebrate the love you share and the commitment you're making in front of family and friends.
Can we sign something?
Once again we can't undertake any activity that might be seen as fraudulent, and you can't sign a fake marriage licence, but you can sign and certificate of commitment (or something similar).
What About ?
I've had a couple who decided to tell their guests as part of the ceremony, that although they had taken care of the paperwork earlier, they were excited about their wedding day and looking forward to sharing it with them. This way it avoids any awkward conversations and stops it from coming out later.
How about cost?
Sometimes couples think that because the paperwork has already been taken care of it might be cheaper. For me I still see your ceremony as being equally as important as any other, paperwork or not, and want to make it equally as amazing so therefore it costs the same as any other ceremony.
Although you might not be able to have a 'fake wedding' there are options. Have a chat to your celebrant and see what you can come up with to make your ceremony amazing!
Are you looking for ways to honour special people in your life with roles during your wedding? It's common to choose bridesmaids or groomsmen or bridesmen and groomsmaids to stand with your during the ceremony. Of course, most people choose their good friends or siblings for these roles, but what if you have a huge family and a ton of friends? How can you include them and make them feel special? Here are a few ideas for including those special people in your wedding.
The person(s) responsible for assisting the elders, or just special people, to their seats. Traditionally groomsmen do double duty as ushers but think about picking other folks to be ushers if you want to include more people.
the person responsible for carrying the ring and can guide the ring through the ring warming, if you doing that. I’ve had a 90-year-old Granddad be one of the most enthusiastic ring bearers I’ve ever seen.
This person goes down the aisle right before the bride (in a traditional wedding) and drops flower petals for her to walk on. This doesn't have to be a young child – and once again I have had grandparents do it (be warned they started throwing the petals at the guests).
Someone who comes up during the ceremony to read a poem or other bit of writing. Typical topics include; love, marriage, friendship, family, the couple's love story.
A person with a great voice, who has sung in front of crowds, who sings you a lovely song during your ceremony.
A friend or family member who is a professional musician to play your processional and recessional music.
In New Zealand you need two people to act as witnesses to your wedding who sign the marriage licence. Witnesses can be anyone, of any age, as long as they undertand the implication of a marriage
This person ensures the couple getting married always have, and regularly consume water during the wedding day. It's crucial the couple stay hydrated throughout the day and they often forget to drink water.
Sometimes it's nice to assign someone the role of point person for all your wedding vendors. This should be a very responsible person who knows your wishes and can make decisions for your so you're not bothered during your wedding. It may seem more like a job and less like an honour but firstly you need someone to do this if you don't have a wedding planner, secondly, it really is an honour since that person is in charge in your big day
I can't underestimate the role of this person. Getting the dance party started must be assigned to someone. Once one person starts everyone else will feel comfortable getting out there.
Thinking about getting married in the Hawkes Bay? Well below is my (not exhaustive or entirely unbiased) list of the top nine things about getting married in the Hawkes Bay...
It’s hard to beat the Hawkes Bay when it comes to weather for your wedding day. With an average of 2258 sunshine hours every year it would be pretty unlucky for it to rain during your wedding. Of course I can’t guarantee it won’t rain on your wedding day, but I can get pretty close to it.
Couples getting married in the Hawkes Bay have an incredible amount of choice when it comes to venues, from high-end luxury lodges, to rustic boutique hideaways, the always-popular wineries, and not to forget our stunning beaches and parks. Hawkes Bay weddings have some of the best venues in the country to choose from.
Amazing Wedding Folk
Seriously the level of wedding talent we have here in the Hawkes Bay wedding scene is out of this world. Despite being out on a bit of a limb here on the East Coast we easily have some of the best when it comes to our Hawkes Bay photographers, florists, hair and make up artists.
It might not quite be tropical island relaxed, but here in the Bay we move a little slower than in the big cities, its always easy to find a car park and people are friendly.
Just like with our Hawkes Bay wedding venues we also have an amazing choice of backdrops and surrounds, which is great when it comes to having your wedding photos taken. From the beautiful browned grass during summer, the beach and coastline, to some stunning bush pockets and the urban landscapes, Hawkes Bay has you covered.
Hawkes Bay is famous for its wine with good reason. Which is great for you as it means no dodgy booze at your wedding. Also the winery cellar doors make for great extra circular activities for your guests before or after your wedding day.
Our food is right up there with our wine. Plus nobody wants to leave a wedding hungry and have to stop at Macca’s on the way home.
Wanting to do an Art Deco wedding? Napier has you covered with everything Art Deco you could ever want.
Me! So if your thinking about a Hawkes Bay wedding, let me know I’d love to be your celebrant.
What does a Celebrant Do?
- Offer advice on how to apply for the marriage licence
- Recommend other wedding professionals they know and trust
- Listen to you describe the wedding ceremony you want
- Guide you through creating the outline or structure of your wedding ceremony
- Offer unique and beautiful sample ceremonies to get your creative juices flowing
- Collaborate with you both to write your custom ceremony
- Offer guidance to help you write your own vows
- Suggest unique ideas to add into your ceremony to make it super special
- Help you personalize your wedding ceremony with readings, poems, songs, vows, and music
- Offer advice on how to incorporate friends and family in your ceremony
- Offer advice on the timing of your ceremony and how it affects the rest of your wedding
- Help you think through the backup plan in case of bad weather
- Outline, organize, and facilitate the wedding rehearsal so that everyone knows their jobs
- Try to learn the names of your wedding party and family members
- Communicate with the musicians, the wedding planner, the site coordinator, the photographers, the videographers, the readers, and anyone else involved in the ceremony
- Arrive at your wedding early to greet you and your family and friends, make any last minute adjustments, ensure all the "props" are in place, practice the ceremony one last time, check in with all the vendors
- Line everyone up, psych everyone up, and wish you good luck before the wedding starts
- Help calm any member of the wedding party who needs it
- Perform your wedding ceremony with LOVE!
- Hold onto your used snotty tissue if need be
- Ensure you and the witnesses sign the marriage license
- Make sure you have a fancy pen and not just an ugly old Bic to sign the paperwork with
- Congratulate you and your beloved and give you a hug or high five before leaving the wedding
- Complete the marriage license and mail it in as soon after the wedding as possible
What a Celebrant Doesn't Do
- Show up on the wedding day, read a generic twenty minute wedding ceremony and leave
Every ceremony should be as unique as the couple getting married and the marriage that is being created. Unfortunately couples end up with the same boring old ceremonies because of what they think they a wedding has to be. The ideas below are just to help get you thinking – don’t be afraid to get creative!!
BEFORE THE VOWS
Cocktails first, ceremony second!
Consider throwing a pre-ceremony cocktail hour! This gives guests time to relax, get excited and most off all, be surprised! They will have walked in expecting to find a seat and instead they get to have a cocktail on the couple first! It’s definitely a fun way to kick the day off.
Celebration before the ceremony
Organize a group activity such as backyard cricket or giant Jenga to start with before the ceremony starts. These are all great ways to get the festive energy up amongst your guests for the moment the ceremony begins!
Instead of slaving over creating a slide show and screening it at the reception (where you may only have half of your guests’ attention), consider using it as pre-ceremony entertainment. That way all your guests will be watching and subsequently entertained before things kick off! It’s a wonderful way to share with your guests the journey you and your partner took to arrive at this big day.
Change up the seating
No two ceremonies are the same so why should the seating be? Arrange it in a circular shape, have guests sit on hay bales or relax on picnic blankets.
DURING THE VOWS
Walk in, side by side
Instead of being walked in by a parent, or one of you walking in alone while the other waits for you, consider walking in together. This is a beautiful show of commitment and equality. It will likely be a surprise for the guests as well, who will no doubt be expecting the traditional entrance.
Warm the rings
Have your guests pass the rings between them during the ceremony so that when you give them to each other, they are not only given as symbols of your love but also the love, blessings and best wishes of everyone present at your wedding.
Can’t decide who wants to go first when it comes to saying your vows? Have a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide, as well as put a smile on your guest’s faces.
Say no to the poem!
Instead of asking a friend to read one of the same old readings, consider giving you guests the opportunity to stand up and share with you a piece of their short and sweet marriage wisdom. This will be sure to bring laughs and some fond memories! Feel free to structure this as much or as little as you like.
Share the love
Instead of asking a bridesmaid to read out a reading instead, print out a favorite and ask everyone to read it out together for maximum impact.
Before the ceremony gets started tape two lollipops to the bottom of guests chairs and when it comes time to sign the paperwork get the guests to check beneath their chairs. Then ask those two lucky enough to get the lollipops up to witness the signing of the paperwork.
Play that music
Can’t decide on only a few pieces of music to play at important parts during the ceremony. Create a soundtrack and have music play throughout the ceremony to set the mood.
AFTER THE VOWS
Make some noise
Instead of usual confetti or rose petals place cheap, tambourines, kazoos, whistles, and other noisemakers so that your guests can raise the roof as you walk out.
Instead of rushing off for photos or celebrating with guests, sneak off and spend some time together celebrating just the two of you.
Thoughts to endure time
When your guests go to take a seat, lay out a piece of card and a pencil for them to write a little note to you and the groom. When all is said and the ceremony over, collect the advice and start the celebrations!
Have some staff pass around your favorite drink, such as a glass or bubbles or a tequila shot. Then toast to each other then and there. Think of something short, amusing and sweet for this, as more toasts and speeches are sure to come!
There’s a trend right now to have a wicked short ceremony, sort of just "get it over with" and then have a great party. While I’m all for parties, I try to remind my couples that the ceremony is what really matters. Getting up in front of those people who matter most to you in the world and telling them that you’ve found this really awesome human being who you love and want to spend the next fifty years sharing the same bed with is what its all about after all.Read More
As a wedding officiant you wouldn’t think that I would necessarily know how to but on a buttonhole, but actually, more times than not I end up helping the groomsmen do it. I’ve even had to remind the guys to put them on before the ceremony! I’ve learned a few tricks along the way, so here are a few things to know about putting on buttonholes.Read More
When it comes to making the decision about whether or not to change your surname after you’ve married it can be tricky. However there is no official requirement for you to do so. Here the run down on what and how.Read More
So you're married, now what? Get the low down on how to get a marriage certificate to prove your hitched.Read More
When it comes to getting the paperwork done on your big day there are a few things that are worth thinking about.Read More
During my time as a celebrant I have been lucky enough to officiate some really small and totally amazing weddings, the smallest being me plus the couple and the necessary two witnesses. There is any number of reasons couples keep their wedding small (small to me being anything between two and forty people) but I always find that they are really awesome. These are some of the best parts of having a small guest list. . . .Read More
I've seen the question come up on many wedding forums: when should I hire my celebrant? It's a good question to be thinking about since without a celebrant you really can't have a legal wedding. Here are my thoughts on when you should hire your wedding celebrant.Read More
Weddings when you stop and think about them can be really weird. We do a whole lot of things that we wouldn’t normally do just because we’re supposed to. Take wearing a veil, while totally awesome, when else would you walk around with a piece of curtain netting over your face?Read More
When it comes to organizing weddings it seems like there are about ninety billion decisions to be made and picking a celebrant is just another one of those. There is no right fit for everyone so the idea is to find someone who matches your style, whether it is fun, traditional, modern, quirky or something completely different. So what should you look for when it comes to picking your celebrant? Here are just a few of my ideas ....Read More
Woo hoo!! High fives all round your getting married, umm so now what? Well your going to have to get a marriage licence at some point and unless you’ve done this whole getting married thing before you probably don’t have any idea where to start. Hopefully this blog post will answer the numerous questions I get about how to apply for a marriage licence, like: Where to get one? How early to we need to get a licence? And where do we go?