wedding season 2016-17

celebrant margaret river anita revelWedding season normally starts off with a trickle in September and ending in May. This season, however, I came home from my three months off, and hit the ground running with four weddings and a funeral — literally — in my first week home. So it appears no season is ever the same, (which is a good thing — it keeps things interesting!)

So as is my custom, here are my impressions and recollections of ceremonies I’ve conducted.

Andy & Sarah: A lovely little elopement under the trees in Boranup Forest, attended only by friends and two children dressed as bohemian gypsies. The children threw petals after the ceremony, which was gorgeous. Normally I would stay and share a toast to the couple’s happiness, but I had to drive to Perth straight away to get ready for a 50km hike to raise money for Oxfam.

Cam & Nadia: As I mentioned on my Facebook post: “Today’s theme: flowers, trees, sunshine, Hindu, Noongar, Aussie and… HAPPY SHINY PEOPLE all around!” The bride arrived in a horse-and-carriage, the aunties lit a sacred fire and performed a blessing to ward off the evil eye, and mum directed the ceremony from her front-row seat, a giant smile across her face. I love the way weddings are celebrated in the Indian culture!

Luke & Emma: I met this couple the day before their wedding. When they offered me wine (instead of coffee) I knew I was going to like them! They married under umbrellas in the Boranup Forest surrounded by their closest friends. The umbrellas added to the colour and celebration of the day, and the on-again-off-again rain added good luck to their union — a wet knot is harder to undo than a dry one after all!

Rhys & Silla: This beautiful couple were supposed to elope in the Boranup Forest, but due to severe weather warnings, it was decided to conduct the ceremony in the foyer of their accommodation instead. I was disappointed for them, but when I walked into the Empire Retreat I changed my mind. The staff had made sure the lounge area looked extra gorgeous, with candles and lanterns everywhere. I was super appreciative to them for going this extra mile for my couple. The sun came out just long enough to duck outside, grab a quick iPhone photo, and run back inside.

Mitchell & Kirsty: Again, the weather gods were not kind, and we had to resort to Plan B — inside the foyer at the Abbey Beach Resort. With the towering glass window back-drop, it is actually a beautiful Plan B! The vows were a tribute to Tim Burton, (Corpse Bride), and they exchanged rings with “With this ring, I ask you to be mine.” Turns out I play tennis with the best-woman’s mum, so I look forward to hearing news from this couple in the future.

Bob & Michelle: This autumnal couple married on their back porch with their kids and grandies witnessing their vows. Their poodle was the best man (bow tie and all!), but had to be locked in his room so he wouldn’t be a distraction.

David & Margot: I was using the mic and amp supplied by the venue, which malfunctioned. I was sooooo glad I’d brought my own mic and amp as a back-up, which I was able to whip out and use in less that a minute. The show went on!

Yasha & Brooke: The bride walked through the forest serenaded by a saxophone, and they exchanged gentle and elegant vows under the 60m tall karri trees. I was particularly impressed how a shard of sunlight burst through as I pronounced them married, lighting up her dress and adding to her already-radiant glow.

Josh & Lauren: I was super impressed at this couple’s down-to-earth and genuine natures, especially given that they live in the spotlight. This is possibly the biggest wedding I’ve ever done, with around 200 guests, most of which were family and friends. Kelly and Nico at Solitaire Homestead set up a generator and 150m long extension cord so that Paige Valentine (musician) and I could power our amps, which was much appreciated.

Funniest client meeting ever… After noticing on the NOIM that he listed his occupation as “Athlete”, this is how it rolled…

Me:           Oh, what kind of athlete are you?
Groom:    I play football.
Me:           Oh! What code?
Groom:    Um, AFL…
Me:           Cool! Do you play in Perth?
Groom:    Ah, yeah, you might have heard of my team? The Eagles?
Me:           😳 I have! *pause* Lucky I don’t follow the footy or I might be star-struck right now 😁

Will & Amelia: The cutest young couple I ever did meet. They met at 16 years old (their first kiss was behind the card rack at the newsagents where they worked), and knew from that moment that they would be together. They eloped on the rocks at Redgate Beach, where the twilight lit their faces with a golden glow. I loved the simplicity of their union… But I will add, their promises to each other were the longest in history, at five pages each! LOL

Grant & Hannah: Married on the steps of Margaret River’s Secret Garden, the bride’s three brothers stood up and each read a blessing to the couple. It was so cool, all the guests applauded. While signing the register, the bride’s sister played guitar and one of the bridesmaids sang. It was so beautiful I forgot to help the couple with the where-to-sign bit, and just stood mesmerised, watching the girls own the stage. Oops!

Shaun & Donna: It was a light and happy, family-oriented occasion, in the rose garden at Caves House. Parents to three children each, they made a Brady Bunch style union, only the kids were already grown up and deliriously happy that their parents had met their match.

Ben & Michelle: Oh I am officially in love with Irish weddings. The bride’s mother read a beautiful version of “Union” by Robert Fulgam, followed by her brother reading a sonnet by Shakespeare that was so lovely I added “See a Shakespeare play in Ireland” to my bucket list! The intimate wedding, at Xanadu in Margaret River, was attended by 26 smiling guests, genuinely happy for the bride and groom. A truly joyous occasion.

Elliott & Jenna: I couldn’t have been happier with the efforts of Kelly at Solitaire Homestead, for finding me 60m of extension cord at the 11th hour for my amp. I arrived on site to find it missing, but Kelly — ever calm — set me up with minutes to spare. It meant I could use my mic and amp to tease Elliott a little, without having to project my voice and lose the “teasing” aspect of the welcome speech.

Raunak & Martina: I met these videographers at another one of my wedding ceremonies, and they knew straight away that there was going to be no other Celebrant for them. Together with Michelle Troope (Folklore Photography), we traipsed into the forest at dusk and married by firelight beside the Donnelly River. Given there was a power outage in the village, and the nearest restaurant was half an hour away, the bride and groom invited us to enjoy their wedding feast (a BBQ!) on their porch afterwards. Truly touching.

Stefan & Debra: These two exuberant souls married under a tree at the quirky Willowood Barn in Rosa Brook. As a part of their ceremony, they made promises while tying threads onto a “story stick”. Later, the guests were invited to weave their own blessings into the stick also… These are the words I used to explain the symbolism.

A Story Stick is what Native Americans use to freely express themselves. Whoever possesses the Story Stick cannot be interrupted for as long as it’s in their possession. Once a person fully expresses themselves, they pass it along, until all who have something to say, express it truthfully, without fear of reprisal. It is made of found items in your environment, both physical and emotional, and becomes a symbol of truth, peace, and understanding. Stef and Deb are going to start their story stick today by entwining a thread to start their new adventure. Later on, they invite you all to add your own voice to this stick, by adding a thread and sharing a blessing or what’s in your heart.

James & Danielle: My nephew!! I was absolutely STOKED that a family member would ask me to officiate their ceremony. I couldn’t have been more delighted to present this ceremony… It was spitting with rain, so I enjoyed the “ooooohhhhhhh” smiles from the guests when I reminded them that, though it might rain while the couple are tying the knot, let’s remember that it’s good luck — it’s harder to untie a wet knot than a dry one.” Awwww.

Tom & Jess: The groom’s glasses fogged up when his bride appeared at the top of the aisle (which of course I teased him about! Light-heartedly, naturally!) The ceremony start-time was delayed while waiting for some helicopters to take off, but the guests were awesomely patient, and the ceremony went without a hitch.

Chad & Pauline: This was supposed to be a small wedding of 10 people in the front garden. But being a barman, Chad couldn’t help himself — I turned up to find around 60 guests, most of them patrons of the Club. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Chad’s bride walked down the aisle, with her mum watching on via Skype. A true honour to be the Celebrant to marry these two.

Tom & Mouna: Wowwwwwww, in my eight years of solemnising marriages around Australia, every wedding has been different. This one I co-presented with a Druid Priest from England.  I did the legal bits, he did the ceremony. It was really delightful!

wedding with druid priest margaret river

Kevin & Shirley: All they wanted was a low-key elopement with their kids, so even though they’d dressed for sunshine and it turned out to pour with rain, they were still all smiles. They married on the porch of my husband’s office with a view to the Heartland forest in the background, and used a stack of pavers as their signing table. (He’s a builder, so having a stack of pavers nearby isn’t unusual!)

Samuel & Theresa: No comment, but their case has been handed over to the appropriate professionals.

Richard & Jya-Jya: Loved the Chinese tea ceremony the couple incorporated into their ceremony, whereby the groom makes tea for his new in-laws, and the bride makes tea for hers. It’s a way to welcoming each other to their respective new families.

Pillar & Alba: The couple had 10 attendants, as well as a three-piece band, all standing in the cave at Wave House Studio, Yallingup. They made a stunning line-up! Pillar’s dad “Christmas” (because he was born on Christmas Day), said a Samoan prayer, which, though I couldn’t understand it, sounded amazing.

Imre & Kärt: They married in front of my new LOVE sign, in the forest at the Margaret River Heartland (a farm wedding venue I’m setting up). As soon as I pronounced them married, their conversation went like this:

Groom: Great! Now we can have babies and buy a house.
Bride: Yes. That is the plan.

Despite the matter-of-factness of their first conversation as husband and wife, (very Estonian!) I still got tears in my eyes — such a beautiful outlook and HOPE for their future!

forest wedding venue margaret river

Jacob & Alyce: I travelled to Perth for this one, and married them by the river in Dalkeith. The page boy carried a ring cushion down the aisle, that the groom’s brother had carried as a page boy, before the groom was born. Family traditions are strong in this family! I also loved that the father of the groom gave me glowing thanks after the ceremony, saying it was the best one he’d ever been to. (My heart is happy!)

James & Tia: This was another intimate ceremony, this time on the lawn at Yallingup overlooking surfers point. The bride’s brother was asked to make an impromptu blessing which brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Everyone then released balloons to send their wishes to their loved ones in heaven, to ensure they knew how to best keep an eye on this couple’s wellbeing.

Rhys & Aleisha: I’m glad I’m reasonably fit, to cope with the hundred-odd stairs down to Honeycombs beach in Wilyabrup! Not to mention the 1m drop from the last stair to the beach. All fit and able men were called upon to help the ladies and the older generation cope with the bottom step. The kids didn’t need help though — they thought it was great fun to launch themselves onto the sand! Afterwards, the couple came back to the Heartland forest to have their photos taken. Such beautiful light!

Mark & Julia: This couple had every one of their suppliers gooey over their beautiful natures and generous gratitude. Really down to earth, genuine communicators, big hearted people.

Arthur & Hollie-Anne: My goodness, sometimes “simple” is as mind-blowing as any $50,000 wedding. Her dress was $40 from eBay, the groom wore shorts, and they became husband and wife on the viewing deck over Injidup Beach as surfers passed to and fro, and three friends popped the champagne corks.

Kurt & Rechelle: During the rehearsal Kurt bragged he wouldn’t cry. I threatened to bring a pin and give him a little poke if I didn’t see any tears during his bride’s walk down the aisle. Turns out I didn’t need the pin ;-P

Robert & Cassia: As the elopement specialist in the Margaret River region, I see lots of them. But I can honestly say, I will never get sick of them. This couple hired a holiday house in Dunsborough, invited their parents down for the weekend, and when the time came, walked out to the back lawn and said their “I Do’s” right there on the spot. The family was delighted, and were truly gorgeous in sharing their happiness for the couple.

Robert & Nollaig: Another surprise, intimate wedding, on the portico at Voyager Estate Winery in Margaret River. They were so cute, with their Irish accents giving their vows an irresistible sing-song melody. I could see by the tears in the eyes of all the guests that they were deeply touched by the genuine emotion in every word the couple spoke.

Brendan & Jasmine: I married this couple by the lake at the Millbrook Winery in Jarrahdale. The groom disappeared before the ceremony (unbeknownst to the groomsmen, who were busy discussing the ducklings on the lake!)… he’d snuck to his car to brush his teeth one last time. (Of course I teased him about this after the first kiss, and got him to kiss the bride twice so she could appreciate his fresh breath, LOL).

Graham & Kellie: An elopement in every sense of the word… They didn’t tell a soul what they were up to, and asked me to supply the witnesses… As they were marrying in the gardens at Caves House in Yallingup, one of the owners of the hotel put up her hand to witness. Though the ceremony was short and sweet, the bride still managed to cry and laugh (sometimes both at the same time!) and it was nice to see both witnesses getting as teary as me.

Steven & Hendrika: The bride told me she would be using a temporary ring during their ceremony as they weren’t able to get her proper wedding ring made in time. The groom surprised her during the ceremony with the real wedding ring, which he’d secretly arranged to get completed in time. The bride’s eyes popped with surprise and happiness!

Jayde & Dionne: On the last day of the 2016-17 wedding season, this lovely couple exchanged their vows in my gallery, in front of a painting called “The Song In My Heart”. Even though it was the lowest of low-key weddings (a bare bones, registry office style wedding), they were so loved up they didn’t notice I was wearing odd shoes! (I was wearing a surgery boot next LOL).

And that, my dear couples, future couples, readers and friends, was my 2016-2017 wedding season. There’s no rest for the wicked, as the saying goes, as my 2017-2018 season starts next week!

Au revoir, and shine on beautiful people,

Anita Revel

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