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Get comfy

How you position yourself during your ceremony makes a big difference to your comfort levels.

PHOTO: Holly @ The Evoke Company

Wedding ceremonies are invariably a time of great, big nervous feelings. Even if it’s just you, your love and the minimum-required witnesses, you’ll still be feeling a bit flippy in the tum. This is ok. This is normal.

But nervous feelings can take you out of the moment, have you fretting over details that don’t matter or can’t be changed, and can generally just get in the way of a good time.

Well, discomfort is the best friend of anxiety. If we can take discomfort away, we can help get anxiety out of the picture, too. Or at least, just off to the side. Let’s have a look at some key strategies for increasing your comfort, and therefore happiness, during your wedding ceremony:

1: Snuggle in close

Touch is essential to thrive. A long time ago, a researcher named Maslow did some pretty cruel experiments on monkeys to figure out exactly how important care and nurture are to us. Turns out, they are more sought-after than food! So, yes, touch is a good place to start for comfort.

It is so normal to feel wedding-day jitters. Think about it; you’ve spent months preparing for this moment and everything is culminating right now. When your ceremony starts, that train is in motion and everything you have planned for is now out of control. This is actually such a good thing because you can finally just let go but it can feel pretty freaky. And, if you have guests at your wedding, the weight of their excitement and anticipation can be pretty heavy, too.

So, when you greet your love and stand together in front of everyone, gearing up for your big moment, touch each other. I don’t believe mere hand-holding is enough for big nerves. I always suggest to my couples that they stand together, hip-to-hip (once you’re in close, though, holding hands is excellent!). This level of touch and literal support goes a long way in bringing that anxiety down and replacing it with loving feelings. See the photo above for proof!

PHOTO: Eve Imagery in Cairns

2. Stand together, facing everyone (or sit – whatever works for you)

It’s unlikely that I will be standing between you for the storytelling part of your ceremony. Usually, I will stand off to one side. This facilitates better storytelling and engagement with everyone present.

However, if you’re standing together, facing each other, one of you has to crane their neck to look at me. And trust me, the stories, jokes and beautiful moments mean we do actually look at each other a lot. We riff. There is banter. And nobody wants to crane their neck during their wedding. The photos look shocking and you’ll end the day unable to turn your head.

So, I encourage you to stand together, looking out. Not only can we make funny faces at each other but you can look out at all your guests and pull faces at them too!

So, snuggle in tight, just like Amy and Nick in the photo above, and enjoy the story!

3. When you do the marrying bits (the ones which might scare you) I will join you and bring supportive energy.

Often the most nerve-wracking parts of the wedding ceremony are the walking-in and the vows. When the vows, I Dos and rings part of your ceremony comes along, I will usually come join you in a triangle of love and support; you two, standing facing each other, holding hands and loving each other, and me to the back of you, facilitating all the things.

One of the most common sources of anxiety I have encountered in my couples is the not-knowing. Not knowing what to do at what time, worry about forgetting the exact sequence of events etc. Well, not only do we walk/talk through it the week of your wedding but also, I am there with you for all of those active parts of your ceremony. Right there, in whispering distance, keeping everything on track and reminding you of exactly what comes next so you don’t need to hold those details in your fizzed-up overloaded mind (full of good stuff). So, this is my final piece of advice for increasing the comfort during your ceremony: lean on me, bring me up there with you for all the action, put your trust in me to sort it out and pour your energy into the joy and beauty of these moments, rather than the organisation of them.

PHOTO: Holly @ The Evoke Company

PHOTO: James @ Luminosity

PHOTO: Medhi @ Tulieve

Why I don’t share ceremony scripts before the big day

In the celebrant world, there are two camps: in one, they very generously and freely share their working copy of the ceremony script with their couples, while in the other they keep the script to themselves until the day arrives and they deliver it by way of fabulous oration and eyebrow animation*.

*well, I am assuming. I can’t move my eyebrows independently of each other, so you don’t get any great eyebrow animation when I deliver a wedding ceremony. Sorry.

I belong to the latter camp – the non-sharers. I like to keep a script close to my chest and reveal it on the day. Now, if there are parts that I think could be misinterpreted, or if there is sensitive ground, I do check these parts with couples. There is a line I draw and I certainly don’t want any hurt-feelings or crossed-wires.


Here are three reasons why I don’t share scripts:

  1. THE GIFT OF THE SCRIPT REASON: Part of the ceremony planning process involves divulging a fair bit of intimate information to me. I view this as an immense honour and absolutely love hearing the wonderful and imaginative ways people find to love one another. I listen and read all the words you write about each other and I work it into a ceremony just for you. When you stand there, in the heightened emotion of your wedding day, and hear your relationship reflected back to you, it can be so surprising and exciting. To me, it is this element of surprise and mystery that elevates a wedding script from a piece of text to a gift. You simply wouldn’t have that level of joy and anticipation if you had already seen the story written out.

2. THE PROFESSIONAL BIT REASON: Being a hired professional, I am fortunate not to carry the burdens of expectation that you do. I know that you have so many pressures as you plan your wedding; your own, those of your partner, family, friends, the possibility that it might all end up in the feed of an ex, society *blergh*, Pinterest yada yada yada. If you were to write your own ceremony script, or even supervise it, the many voices and opinions of all these people would be too much. I know it might seem weird that I, a stranger, could write a ceremony more true to your real wishes for your ceremony, but it is actually possible AND probable. If you give me plenty of information in your Love Quiz, then I can form a really good picture of your love and your life and paint it into the words of your ceremony. (Don’t you just love my absolute mashing-up of metaphors here?).

3. THE IT’S-ALL-IN-THE-DELIVERY REASON: A very ordinary sentence read in just the right tone can be incredibly powerful. It’s all about delivery, timing, tone, expression and pause. Delivering your script is 50 per cent of the job and I write words that I will say comfortably and from my own, unique voice. That’s why I like to keep scripts as a surprise – I know that sometimes, to read what I have written, you might be underwhelmed. That’s because it often comes down to how I present it to you.


So, there you have it. The three reasons I keep scripts secret until the ceremony arrives. If you feel nervous about handing over this responsibility to your celebrant, my advice would be to trust, have faith and enjoy. The ride is that much more exciting for the surprise and anticipation you feel when you hear your love story told in a whole new way.

How to eco-wed?

I believe weddings are a great place and time to celebrate the earth while we also celebrate human love. As a marriage celebrant I can see the industry trending away from big, fussy weddings (which can really cost the earth, literally and figuratively) towards more meaningful celebrations of love. Wild weddings, eco weddings and love-filled elopements are becoming ever more common and I am glaaaaaaaaaad!

There are a few things I do to help bring down the eco-cost of weddings, and there are plenty that you can do too. None of us needs to be perfect but it’s great to start with what you can – every little bit helps.

wedding cake, wedding doughnuts on timber stands

Here’s what I do:

1: PAPERLESS-ish

I operate in a nearly paper-free office. Aside from your pretty lil’ marriage certificate, given at your wedding ceremony, all other forms of paperwork can be done digitally. I use a Samsung tablet – aka my best friend – and a stylus to receive your paperwork and sign all wedding documents (barring the commemorative certificate mentioned above). I store your information in a password-protected digital cloud and use Google Forms to gather all the information I need from you.

2: CARBON OFFSET

I partner with Greenfleet to offset one-tonne of carbon emissions for every wedding I conduct. If you’re new to carbon offsets, this means that something like tree planting is done to counteract the carbon emissions created by transport, production and general living. Learn more here!

3: WEAR SECONDHAND

I like to look nice at weddings and I really want to feel good in my clothes so I can be my best, happiest and most confident self. But I buy almost all my clothing from other celebrants or from Op Shops. Shoes are a different story (OMG where are the size 10 at op shops?!). Wherever I can, though, I thrift my clothes to step out of the toxic and wasteful Fast Fashion cycle. Learn more about Fast Fashion here.

4: RE-WEAR

As the saying goes, “the most sustainable product is the one you already own”. Even thrifted clothing needs to be transported. So the most truly eco-ethical way to dress is in what you already have. I try to pop some clothes away for a while so I can get excited about them when I bring them back out. You know, shop your own wardrobe! There’s a whole movement around this on social media – it’s called #onegreendress and it’s a great way of normalising re-wearing.


Here’s what you can do:

1: REDUCE

In whatever way you can, reduce as many aspects of your wedding as possible. Weddings with less guests will likely attract less waste and eco-harm; there are fewer people travelling, eating and doing weddingy things like buying new outfits and receiving invitations. Of course this isn’t possible or even desirable for everyone – some of you want big parties and that’s rad. There are certainly other ways to bring down the eco-cost of your wedding. Weddings with less new stuff will be kinder on the earth and weddings with less kilometers to travel will emit less pollutants.

2: RE-USE

It is an unspoken rule of wedding planning that everything must be bought new (for specialness? I don’t know…) but let’s challenge this notion. You might be able to use your own decor to pretty-up your wedding, or maybe you can buy a heap of glassware from an op shop and then use it in your home and be reminded daily of your festivities. Maybe you’ve already got great shoes that can be worn or a suit from a previous wedding? These are little steps you can take but they count.

3: RECYCLE

Have you heard of dress re-wearing? Beautiful pre-loved wedding dresses are available for you to buy from places like Still White which allow you to save coin and make the most of the fabric, craft and effort already poured into the dress. Recycle your florals by gifting them to guests or having them sent to local hospitals and nursing homes. Sell or donate your unwanted decor and fashion items so they may live on in love and celebration!

4: CALCULATE YOUR FOOTPRINT

Head on over to Less Stuff More Meaning to use their wedding footprint calculator.

When the bride walks in to a Disney tune…

Photo credit: Nathan Kelly from Cairns Wedding Photography

…you know you just won the Wedding Guest Lottery!

Courtney and Ben, now The Kahlers, were an exceptional couple in their loveliness, their openness and their dedication to fun. Their July ceremony was not only a pleasure to perform but also a hoot to write, rehearse and deliver. And anyone lucky enough to have been invited was left exhausted by the end, both from laughing their guts out and crying all the happy tears.

Courtney stated early on that she would turn around and begin the processional again if Ben was not crying when he saw her. However, I think everyone – the bride included – was all too caught up in the giggles when the penny dropped; Courtney was entering her wedding ceremony to I’ll Make a Man out of You from the Mulan soundtrack.

**If you don’t know this song, please go listen to it. It’ll change your mind about what constitutes a suitable processional song.

The laughs continued on throughout the ceremony and that’s what will stay with me most about these two legends; their willingness to lean into the beautiful art of laughing with, and at, your partner.

As with any wedding I write, there were times were the jokes were put away and the true, beautiful seriousness of what they were doing took centre-stage. I shared with the couple some of the loveliest Disney sentiments, and talked about the deep love this couple has for one another, learned from the fine example their parents set.

At the ceremony’s end, as the sun kinda peeked through the clouds over Lake Tinaroo, and I snuck off home, smiling from ear-to-ear.

You just can’t ask for better days than this.