Jennifer and Charles

As a marriage celebrant, you’re not supposed to cry at weddings. You’re the one who’s meant to anchor the ceremony, to stay calm when the bride, groom and their families are carried away by emotion. But I’ll admit I came close at Jen and Charles’ wedding.

East 13 Photography

I first met Jen almost a decade ago when we were both exchange students at a German university. Over a period of several months we studied German, travelled through Europe, ate our combined body weight in Belgian truffles and laughed. A lot. The memories from those days remain some of my fondest. Therefore, when she asked me over lunch a little while ago if I could marry her to her partner of five and a half years, Charles, I had no hesitation in saying yes.

Jen arrived on her Dad’s arm to the strains of Balcony Scene, from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack. This particular piece of music lasts for about 5 minutes and was the perfect length for their long walk into the park. By the time Jen reached us, the music was at its crescendo. The strings and piano combined with Jen’s calm radiance and Charles’ obvious pride gave me goosebumps and I had to wipe away a tear. I’ve got goosebumps just remembering it now!

Arriving with her Dad

Jen and Charles are both family-oriented people and their ceremony was a reflection of this.  They paid special tribute to Charles’ much-loved late Dad and Jen’s late Grandpa and included every immediate family member on the day.

Jen’s parents gave her away. Readings were given by Charles’ sister and Jen’s Granddad. Jen’s brother was entrusted with the rings. Their mothers acted as the witnesses to the marriage.

East 13 Photography

As a celebrant, you get used to seeing a lot of love, yet it never fails to astound me. The feelings of wonder and joy – yes, joy! – that I get when I see different generations of people uniting for the single purpose of celebrating love can’t be described. They have to be felt.

When I pronounced Charles and Jen husband and wife, quite a cheer went up. A cheer much louder than that which can be made by 20 people. So where did the noise come from?

East 13 Photography

Unbeknown to us, a children’s fair was scheduled for the same day as their wedding. A few kids and their parents had wandered across to admire the handsome couple and been caught up in the magic of the day.

It’s lovely when those who know and love you wish you well, but when people you’ve never met start yelling out a ‘Congratulations!’ or two,  you can’t help but feel that love really is (to paraphrase a somewhat sappy 90s song) all around.

Congratulations, Jen and Charles. xx Koren

East 13 Photography

Jennifer and Charles, 20 March 2011
Venue: Darling Gardens, Clifton Hill
Photos: East 13 Photography
Bridal gown: Mariana HardwickCelebrant: Koren Harvey

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Jazzing it up

Earlier this year, we attended the wedding of our friends Elysha and Wil. They married in a religious ceremony at the picturesque Stones of the Yarra Valley on a crisp autumn morning.

Elysha and Wil

Lysh is my little sister’s best friend and having watched her grow from a gorgeous teenager into a beautiful woman, it was particularly poignant to witness her marriage to the equally beautiful Wil.

Both Lysh and Wil are stylish, creative souls and put their own innovative touches on their wedding day.

The stunning chapel at Stones of the Yarra Valley

The chapel was decorated with red and orange floral arrangements to honour Elysha’s Dutch heritage and her late Mum. Friends read blessings and poetry to the couple and Lysh and Wil’s sisters acted as their witnesses. It was an intimate celebration of love and family.

After Wil and Lysh were pronounced husband and wife and prepared to make their exit, the opening bars of Fly Me to the Moon seemed to float down from above.  Wil had organised a jazz band and hidden them in the choir loft as a surprise for his bride. 

As Wil took his new wife for a dance, signs began to pop up around the chapel.

In another surprise for Elysha, Wil and some of his friends had hand-stencilled signs to hoist aloft as they danced their way into their new life together.  It was a perfect moment and resulted in much delighted laughter.

Other signs included 'W loves E' and 'Congrats!'

The newlyweds then made their way out into the sunshine to the strains of jazz standards, where they posed with their wedding party and perhaps the most appropriate sign of all.

What unique touches will you be incorporating into your wedding day?

Elysha and Wil, 1 May 2011
Venue: Stones of the Yarra Valley
Bridal gown: Collette Dinnigan
Bridesmaid gowns: Ted Baker
Flowers: Blooming Brides

Kiran and Lachlan

Part of the joy of being a celebrant is getting to know new people, however there’s also something very special about marrying someone you’ve known for years.

Kiran and I met in grade 4 and remained friends all through school. Travels and uni saw us lose touch after high school but through the wonders of Facebook we were able to reconnect as adults.

When I announced my intention to become a celebrant, I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from Kiran, who now lives overseas. Kiran and her fiance, Lachlan, were coming back to Australia to be married – would I be able to marry them?

To say I was chuffed would be an understatement. Kiran was the first friend I made when we moved to Melbourne and I never forgot her beautiful smile and generous spirit. It was a truly special feeling to be able to participate in the marriage of an old and dear friend.

The beautiful bride. Photo by Peter King.

As Kiran and Lachlan were returning to Sweden soon after their wedding, family and friends from all over Australia took the opportunity to join them in Melbourne for the celebration of their marriage.

Everyone assembled at a Melbourne restaurant late on a bright spring Sunday morning. The bride and groom circulated amongst their guests whilst a friend played violin before we called everyone together.

Lachlan and Kiran then became husband and wife in an intimate, relaxed ceremony that honoured their families, friends and their commitment to one another.

I love how happy Kiran looks as Lachlan says his vows. Photo by Peter King.

It was my absolute honour to be part of Kiran and Lachlan’s wedding day and it meant so much to me that my first experience as a celebrant was at the wedding of a friend.

And it reinforced to me that this is exactly what I want to be doing.
 
Always.
Kiran and Lachlan, 14 November 2010 
Photos: Peter King

Edit to add

My parents have just been over for dinner with Dave and I and two very dear friends, Jane and Henry.

It was a great night, with memorable conversation fuelled by lamb roast, maple syrup and pecan puddings and red wine (pinot, naturally).

Over the course of the evening, it emerged that not only had Mum and Dad read my new blog, so had Henry and Jane. I was thrilled to have all of their support, however Mum was adamant that I quickly apprise all readers of an error I made yesterday.

It turns out it wasn’t Abbey Bridal in Brisbane that we used to visit when I was just past the terrible twos, but Gardams. Mum wanted me to let you all know as this is apparently integral to the story. Something to do with the amount of stairs in Gardams (monumental and over several storeys) vs the amount of stairs at Abbey Bridal (single storey, straightforward staircase).

In any case Mum, thank you to you and Dad for indulging my childhood love affair with weddings. It’s given me many happy memories over the years and I think it’s safe to say it has turned out for the best…