You’re engaged! Now what?

He asked. She said yes. You’re getting married!

It’s such an exciting time. There’s so much love in the air, not just between the two of you but from all the people around you who are so genuinely happy for you both. I didn’t really understand this until the boy and I were engaged recently. We couldn’t get over the amount of cards and good wishes that came pouring in. It made it just that little bit more special to know that others were as thrilled as we were that we’d found each other.

Of course, hand in hand with the good wishes come questions. Well-meaning friends and family want to know all about the big day – have you got a date, found a venue, booked a photographer, chosen a dress? Given my profession, the most common question we were (and still are) asked is ‘but who’s going to marry you?

This, to me, is the most important question and one I wish more couples were asked. Now, I imagine you’re thinking ‘of course she’d say that, she’s a celebrant!’ but stop for a second. Think about it. You can get married without a venue, photographer, dress, cake or cars, but you absolutely cannot have a wedding without someone authorised to marry you!

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I’m blessed to know a number of wonderful, talented celebrants who I refer couples to if I’m not available (and those superlatives are understatements – these ladies are awesome), but the average couple doesn’t have a contact list bulging with fantastic celebrants. If you want the pick of the bunch, move early. If possible, you should have your celebrant locked in no later than 9 -12 months from the big day.

This post has come about due to a few things that have got me thinking about the order of planning a wedding. Firstly, the fiancé and I are in the midst of planning ours, so there are precious few minutes in the day when I’m not thinking about someone’s wedding. Secondly, my dear friends at Melbourne Marriage Celebrants and I have recently been inundated with last-minute enquiries from frazzled couples. When it’s left this late, more often than not we’re already booked. There is no joy in having to turn couples away, particularly when we can see how stressed the search for the right celebrant is making them.

Generally speaking, the busiest period for the wedding industry is September – March, so if you’re planning a wedding during these warmer months, start looking ASAP. I’ve seen too many couples leave choosing their celebrant until the last minute and end up disappointed.  There are only so many days in a year and many celebrants (myself included) book just one wedding per day to ensure each couple gets the very best service possible. Last week I had to turn away a couple looking for a celebrant for their November wedding. The poor bride was so stressed that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that all my November Saturdays had been booked by April.

East 13 Photography

I cannot emphasise this enough: once you’ve decided on a wedding date, start talking to celebrants. It’s not just about finding someone who’s available – you have to find someone you both click with.  After all, this is the person who is going to preside over one of the most intimate and important moments in your life and you’re trusting them with your story.

You need to feel comfortable with the celebrant you choose and it’s imperative that they understand who you are as individuals and as a couple.

It should feel like you’re being married by a friend rather than a stranger.

End lecture!

*And for the record, the very first person we spoke to about our wedding – before we even had a date – was our celebrant. I practice what I preach!


Jane and David

When a couple tells you they’d like their wedding ceremony to include music by Nick Cave, The CureThe Pixies and from the musical Rent, it’s safe to say it’s going to be one heck of a celebration.

East 13 Photography

Which is exactly what Jane and Dave’s wedding was.

After a first date that went for 9 hours, both David and Jane were sure they’d found someone special. When their second date went for even longer, they knew they’d found THAT someone special. On 5 November 2011, just over 22 months after that first fateful meeting, they became husband and wife in front of an excited and emotional gathering of friends and family.

East 13 Photography

With the ceremony location marked by a sea of bobbing balloons, Jane and David’s nieces led Jane into North Fitzroy’s Edinburgh Gardens. Jane’s entry into the Circle of Trees on the arms of her Mum and Dad to the haunting strains of Into My Arms by Nick Cave was so beautiful that it was met with absolute silence. This is no mean feat when you consider that we were literally surrounded by dozens of picnickers on the first warm Melbourne day in months.  Everyone, however – even complete strangers – was stunned by the beauty of the moment.

Both Jane and David are  a bit cheeky so their ceremony included a few irreverent touches. One of these was the use of Edward Monkton’s picture book, A Very Lovely Love Story, as a reading. They had blown up the pictures from the book and as the story was read, new pictures were revealed.

East 13 Photography

Further evidence of Jane and David’s cheekiness was the sneaky comments they made to each other whilst exchanging rings. I can no longer remember the exact conversation but it was enough to crack the three of us up – repeatedly!

At the end of the ceremony, David and Jane invited their family and friends to celebrate with them by releasing a great big cheer and dozens of balloons, which contrasted beautifully against the green spring grass and azure blue sky.

When we first got together to plan their ceremony, Jane and David told me that they wanted their wedding to be fun and ‘a celebration of love. A celebration of a love as amazing as ours but also the enormous love and gratitude we feel for our families and friends.’ I hope that’s what we gave them.

Congratulations, my dear friends. Love you both lots. xx Koren Jane and David, 5 November 2011Venue: Edinburgh Gardens, North FitzroyPhotos: Taken by the always magnificent Andrew of East 13 Photography. It was such a joy to work with you again!
Celebrant: Koren Harvey