Friday, 18 April 2014

Celebrants online welcomes ...

Marriage Celebrant, David Courtney, CMC.

David is Scottish and prides himself on offering weddings that can incorporate authentic traditional Scottish ceremonies, e.g. hand-fasting, pinning of the tartan and sharing of the Loving Cup.

Based near Gosford on the NSW Central Coast, David travels extensively throughout the Sydney, Central Coast & Hunter Valley regions.

To learn more about David, visit his profile on Celebrants Online.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Celebrants Online welcomes ...

Marriage Celebrant, Orna Binder, CMC.

Based in Sydney's Northern suburbs, Orna is an experienced Celebrant. She services all areas of Sydney and works out of a wide range of venues. Orna enjoys working closely with clients to produce ceremonies that are elegant and meaningful.

In addition to Wedding Ceremonies, Orna also celebrates Naming Ceremonies, Commitment/Love Ceremonies and Renewal of Vows Ceremonies.

To learn more about Orna, visit her profile on Celebrants Online.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Marriage Celebrants Program Reforms

Beginning 1st July 2014, the Australian Government is instituting a Marriage Celebrant Registration Charge.  First touted by the former Labor Government, the Marriage (Celebrant Registration Charge) Bill 2014 was passed by both Houses on 27th March.

The new Bill imposes an annual registration fee on all Commonwealth-registered Marriage Celebrants and allows for the fee to be indexed annually.

Set at $600, the registration fee is expected to net the Government approximately $6.3 million from over 10,500 eligible Celebrants. to the chagrin of many of those Celebrants, Ministers of religion of a recognised denomination proclaimed under Section 26 of the Marriage Act and State and Territory Officers authorised to celebrate marriages are exempt from the registration fee.

In addition to the registration fee, the Government will also raise funds by charging a fee to those applying for registration as a Marriage Celebrant and those seeking exemption from the various newly imposed charges!

Read the Bill Explanatory Memorandum here (pdf format in browser).

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Wedding Dresses Transformed

Over 1,000 wedding dresses have been donated to a drive organised by WFAA-TV in Dallas, Texas. The donated dresses will be transformed in to beautiful 'angel gowns' for babies that don't make it home from hospital.

The Angel Gown Program is run by NICU Helping Hands, a local Fort Worth organisation that supports parents dealing with the premature delivery of a child.

Accompanying the wedding dresses as they were donated were heartfelt stories of love and loss, and the desire to make a difference to families in their time of suffering.

What a beautiful outcome for one's wedding dress.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bishop Backs Gay Marriage

Right Rev. Nick Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury has offered his support to gay marriage and gay couples, saying that gay marriage, "embodies a commitment to be faithful, loving, and lifelong. These are virtues which the Church of England wants to see maximised in society."

On Saturday, same-sex marriage became legal in Great Britain. Gay and lesbian couples across England and Wales were wed, to joyful acclaim from family, friends and the general public.

Although the Bishop was forthright in his comments, the Church of England is divided by the question of marriage equality. The Church's formal line is that Anglican clergy are not to marry partners of the same sex, despite heterosexual clergy being allowed to marry.

Bishop of Salisbury, Nick Holtam - Photograph: London News Pictures/Rex

Monday, 10 March 2014

Forced Marriage in Australia

The issue of forced marriage happening in Australia has reared its ugly head recently, with the case of a child being 'married' to a 26-year-old man.  The case came to light when the 'husband' attempted to enrol his 'wife' in school. The imam who celebrated the 'marriage' has been charged, as has the 26 year-old man.

Until this case hit the headlines, many Australians would have vehemently protested the notion that forced marriage happens here in Australia. "There are laws preventing such a thing happening." "That only happens in 3rd world countries!" "No one would do that to a child!" and so on.

But it does happen, it has been happening and it will continue to happen unless people are educated and more are willing to take a stand.

The Marriage Act expressly states that a couple being wed must be aged 18 or over, unless a court has waived that rule for one or other of the couple. And the Slavery Act just on a year ago was specifically changed to outlaw forced marriage in Australia.

And yet it still happens. At a forum held at the NSW Parliament a number of advocates against forced marriage called for increased education on the subject, for students and for religious leaders. Young women need to be educated in human rights and the laws of the land, as do the religious leaders who hold sway in their communities.

Over 14 million girls are forced in to marriage each year according to the charity, Plan International. This is an appalling, shocking statistic. Education and awareness raising, community and generational change may, in years to come, save some of these girls.

Child marriage in India, Public Domain from Wikimedia Commons

Friday, 7 March 2014

Marriage Equality on the Agenda Again?

The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Sydney by ACON Online
Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Opposition Leader, is set to introduce a new Marriage Equality Bill to Parliament.

Based closely on the Bill that was voted down in 2012, Plibersek has the support of Labor's caucus to introduce the private members bill.

Plibersek has indicated she will only introduce the bill if Prime Minister Tony Abbott allows all Liberal MPs a free, conscience vote as opposed to a Party bloc vote.

Without such a commitment, a new bill seems unlikely to pass.

The 2012 Bill was soundly defeated 48 votes to 92.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Anna Richards - Featured Marriage Celebrant

I wasn’t always going to be a Celebrant. In fact, when I was growing up and I used to sneak around the house when my father was preparing his Sunday sermon, it couldn’t have been further from my thoughts that I would one day be officiating at similar ceremonies myself. I spent the first forty odd years of my career being a nurse, still am a nurse! 

Anna Richards, CMC with Julie & Joe
Funnily enough, one day I went to watch a marriage ceremony because my daughter was one of the bridesmaids and I came to see her looking beautiful. That ceremony changed my life. I kept thinking of myself being the Celebrant and how I would have conducted the ceremony. The thought wouldn’t leave me and even though my husband thought I was nuts and definitely didn’t think I was serious I went ahead and did the course. It was one of those short crash courses and, as I didn’t even know how to use a computer then, it was the most difficult week of my life.

Anna Richards, CMC with Helen & Pasquale
I spent weeks pre-reading and preparing for the course. Most of the others just went home and Googled what they needed to know! I plodded on regardless and got through (teacher was very happy). The problem was the Government decided we had far too many celebrants at this time and I had to wait two years before I was registered even though I was qualified. Finally registration came through! Now for a booking!  Being a rather shy person I didn’t mention to anyone that I was a celebrant so needless to say, I didn’t get many bookings. 
That was 10 years ago and I haven’t looked back. I love my work and only nurse two days a week so I can spend time expanding my Celebrancy business. In 2012 I updated my qualification to Certificate IV in Celebrancy at The Gordon Institute of TAFE in Geelong to be able to provide my couples with even more resources and to give them the best ceremony possible and something they will always remember because it was just as they imagined it.

I like to think of myself as the friendly Celebrant with a professional image who really cares about and listens to what my couples want. It is their day and it should be all about them. I give them a 20 page comprehensive Celebrant resource booklet which covers everything from the legalities to examples of vows, readings, music, writing your own vows and how to apply for an official marriage certificate.

I have learnt how to use the computer by the way, and my computer guru son is quite impressed how I now manage my own blog, website and various other forms of social media.
I love performing marriages for couples from overseas and have helped many couples obtain their prospective spouse visas.

My most memorable ceremony was in a suburban backyard where the groom decided, after having first said the legal vows, to sing his own vows to his bride.  I was a little apprehensive but she loved it and it was amazing how he kept it all together. We were all in stitches!

Anna Richards, CMC with Annie & Ben

Monday, 3 March 2014

Destination Weddings - To Be or Not To Be?

So, you've decided to get married in Bali, Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand, Noumea ..... insert your destination here.  It'll be your dream wedding: bright blue sky, palm trees swaying, crystal clear sea gently lapping as you and your beau stand on the gleaming white sand and exchange vows.

But wait! What's wrong with this picture? Oh yes ... the guests.

Choosing an overseas destination for your wedding opens up a huge can of worms and can create all sorts of problems with family & friends. You will have valid reasons for choosing the location - it may be to tie in with a honeymoon, it may be that that has been your dream since you were tiny, it may be that family is spread out across the world and you've chosen what you think is a central location.

But have you thought about the expense involved for your family & friends?

Flights, accommodation, living expenses, use of annual leave or leave without pay ... all can add up to be a pretty costly endeavour. Your closest friends and nearest and dearest want to be with you as you celebrate such an important milestone so, when choosing the destination bride and groom should talk about what you might need to do to make it a reality for those you love. How much of the cost can you / are you willing to contribute? Can you set up some technological solution so those who really can't be with you in person on the day can still be a part of the occasion?

Talk with your family & friends well before-hand. Find out what they think about it. Ask them what you can do to make it a reality. This is such an important occasion. Do whatever you can to enable your loved ones to be with you. But be prepared for some knockbacks. Understand that not everyone can take leave at the drop of a hat. Realise that plans for annual leave may have already been made and can't be changed. Know that not everyone has the ability to save hundreds or thousands of $$, even when given plenty of notice. Perhaps you can have a relaxed, informal party when you return home and relive the occasion via your videos and photos?

Above all, be realistic about what you are planning and what you are asking of your potential guests.

Wedding trellis with twin palm trees by Captain Skyhawk / CC from Flickr

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Beijing Wedding Outfit Accessory

Not sure if this article is fair dinkum or whether it's a political protest with models, as the couple is not named at all in the article.  Nor in the various other articles I looked at. Regardless, it does highlight the horrific pollution blanketing Beijing and the impact it's having on the daily life of the citizens. Perhaps gas masks will become de rigueur ... the next trend?

Image from the Mirror via Twitter / AFP