Three vows and a game: Ceremony gold for Matt and Elly

Matt and Elly: Three lots of vows and a game – a ceremony like no other

 

Three vows and a game
Elly and Matt loved writing vows so much they wrote 3 lots each

Matt and Elly are such a delightful couple who met in high school and who really dived deep into creating a truly personalised and authentic ceremony.  They wrote three separate lots of vows for each other: I’ve included them below!

First, they wrote normal vows which were beautifully personalised , secondly, they wrote  sneaky Ninja vows (where they write the last line/s of each other’s vows as a surprise – my couples love this and it’s usually cause for a good belly laugh because it can get quite competitive.)

Finally, their third lot of vows were combined vows or as I like to call them “tennis match” vows because the crowds heads move from right to left as they watch each person speak – as Elly and Matt took turns saying a line each.  You could tell the couple really got into the whole wedding thing and they loved the Homework I send out to my couples – these combined vows evolved from the process of doing their homework.   Again, a lot of fun and really quite unique!

And finally, check out the game we wrote for the guests.  I asked everyone to stand and those who were already standing to put a hand up.   As I asked questions, people were eliminated as they sat, until only two people were left standing (or with their hand up): our two witnesses.  It was super cool!

Read them all below:

Enjoying their day every step of the way
Finding unique ways to celebrate your love is an art – and Elly and Matt nailed it

Matt’ vows

Elly, I dead set feel like the luckiest man in the world right now. The thought of sharing my life with you makes me so happy and excited. 

You make every moment worth living. Your eyes light up my life and your smile melts my heart. So, standing here right now I promise to always make you smile, to make you laugh. To always be silly with you, and as we might grow older together to never grow up.  

You continue to teach me so much about myself. To be truly mindful and thankful of this wonderful life we share with beautiful friends and family surrounding us. You show me how to find that little piece of good in every moment, to never dwell in any situation and to always be kind to myself and others. And for that I feel more alive than ever. So, I thank you so much for making me the best person I can be. For showing me a way of life that fills my heart with so much happiness and joy every single day. You are truly an inspiration to not only me but to everyone around you. Be proud of the person you are, because I know I am So I promise to trust you in all things, to support you as you follow your hopes and dreams, to remind you every day just how brave and beautiful you are! 

  • I will hold you tight and never let go
  • We will face whatever life can throw at us, whether it’s good or bad, as a team and with a smile on our face or tears in our eyes. 
  • I will follow you anywhere you want to go baby! It always leads to the best adventures. 
  • I will cherish every single moment I have with you, as my Best friend, my lover and now my beautiful wife! 
  • And I will love you more than I could ever put into words for the rest of my life. 

 

Matt’s Ninja vows (written by Elly) Neither of them knew what they had to say til I handed them the paper on their wedding day.

I vow to work on my time management skills and to acknowledge that 20 minutes late is not on time.

I vow to relocate all of the spiders instead of squealing and making Elly do it.

I vow to have belly laughs and cheesy smiles together forever.

Gal pals
Surrounding yourself with your best gal pals is important for a fun and stress-free wedding

 Elly’s vows

It seems like only yesterday that we were 15 years old writing love letters to one another from across the classroom. Just over thirteen years ago we held hands at the movies and that night you asked me to be your girlfriend. I said yes like you were asking me to marry you. Cringe-worthy high school sweethearts, we were.

I was on crutches at the time and you came over to my house every day. You teased me about not being able to ride my push bike or jump on the trampoline, but you made up for it by telling me that my scars made me look cool.

For the next two years of school you walked me home each day and we had so many adventures every afternoon. When it was time for you to ride your push bike home, we would say our ‘goodbyes’ and ‘I love yous’ as if it was the last time we would ever see each other. One night you were looking back with such an enormous cheesy smile, that when you turned around, you crashed straight into my parent’s mailbox.

We still laugh about that moment to this day.

Bodzy, I know that you’re my soul mate because here we are thirteen years later, still treating every moment together as though it’s our last.

You have always been clumsy, but I will never get sick of laughing at your stupid ideas and crazy mishaps.

I could write a novel on the belly laughs that we have shared together. Every so-called flaw that makes up you; the clumsiness, the forgetfulness and the lack of time management – none of them are actually flaws. When you’re clumsy, we have hilarious stories to tell, when you’re forgetful or late it’s because you’re spreading your positive vibes with the rest of the world. Every so-called imperfection makes up the perfect soul that you are, and you should be so proud of who you are, Matt.

The places that you have taken us with your “she’ll be rights”, cheesy grins and optimistic outlook are endless. Our life together is a constant adventure and you are forever teaching me to focus on the positive. Whether I’m covered in swamp water, the van is bogged up a four-wheel drive track in the middle of the dessert or we’re scrambling down a mountain in a hailstorm storm, you always find a way to make me smile, laugh and see the brighter side.

I still have the friendship ring that you gave me on our one-year anniversary. I look down at it often and it reminds me of your huge smile and how far we have grown together. It’s in the shape of a daisy chain, so I felt like it was perfect to have daisy chains on the straps on my wedding dress, it’s the simple things, right.

Thank you for showing me how to be the very best version of myself.
You are the most kind, genuine, funny and easy going soul.

You are my best friend, my lover and my soul mate.

I love you xoxo…

Elly’s Ninja vows (written by Matt)

I promise to understand that your version of clean and my version of clean are completely different.

I promise to always do my downward dogs in a way that you can check out my ass. 

I promise to never change the person I am, because I know in your eyes I am perfect. 

I love this photo – it’s like Elly is saying, “C’mon Matty, let’s get going!”

COMBINED VOWS (which evolved from them responding to the homework I send out) – I call these tennis match vows

Matt  I promise to always take you on adventures especially off the beaten track.

Elly  I promise to always adventure with you, even if it leads us to being stranded off the beaten track.

Matt  I promise to always be by your side and support anything you want to do, even if that’s taking jumping photos on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Elly  I promise to always be by your side and support anything you want to do, even if that’s fishing in croc infested rivers, scuba diving at night or surfing monster waves.

Matt  I promise to always party with you and follow you into any mischief that finds us.

Elly  I promise to always party with you and get you home safely even if that means hiding in a cemetery for a while.

Matt  I promise to always look after you any time you fall into a swamp.

Elly  I promise to always look after you any time you fall off of a balcony.

Matt  I promise to always laugh at your clumsiness because we BOTH know that you’re the clumsier one.

Elly  I promise to always laugh at your clumsiness because we ALL know that you’re the clumsiest one.

Matt  I promise to always be patient with your constructive criticism when I’m driving.

Elly  I promise to always be patient with your slow driving, even when you become an actual grandpa Bodz.

Matt  I promise to always have fun with you and to never grow up, even as we grow old together.

Elly  I promise to always have fun with you and to never grow up, even as we grow old together.

Matt  I promise to always be your soul mate, lover and best friend no matter what comes our way.

Elly  I promise to always be your soul mate, lover and best friend no matter what comes our way.

Grunt car
Cool car for a cool couple

GAME:  Questions to announce our 2 witnesses

Ask everyone to stand,and those already standing eg. bridal party to put their hands in the air.

As I asked each question, if yes, people in seats stay standing and people standing keep their hand in air.

  1. If you’re under 60 years of age
  2. If you have tattoos
  3. If you have blue or green eyes
  4. If you’re related to anybody here today
  5. If you were born in WA or QLD
  6. If your dad’s name starts with D
  7. If you have a brother in the wedding party

This game worked a trick and was a really creative, fun and interactive way to get the guests involved in the ceremony.

No-one will ever forget this wedding – it was just amazing!

 

 

Want your wedding to be a standout? Think outside the box with these 10 creative ways to get your guests talking.

Don’t want cookie-cutter wedding celebration?

And then this happened 🙂

In 2020, I’ve been a Sunshine Coast marriage celebrant for 16 years and there’s not a lot that I haven’t seen or heard.   I’ve signed the paperwork on boats, planes, cruise ships, rocks, motorbikes and horses’ butts.  I’ve played dress up and loved cosplay weddings, learned scenes from movies (Think: The “Mawwiage”  scene from Princess Bride),  obliged when a couple asked if we could stand waist deep in the ocean for their ceremony … overall, I’ve enjoyed a pretty amazing career of awesome weddings.

Because I’m naturally creative, I’m always after new ways or ideas that will provide a point of difference for my couples.  Many prefer the traditional stuff, but for those wanting something different, this blog shares some of these in the hope it will inspire you to think outside the box and really make your wedding your own.

Super hero wedding
Themed weddings are the bomb – that’s me as the Incredible Hulk in Mooloolaba                                                      Photo: Images by Lou O’brien

1. Give your bouquet to the couple who have been married the longest

Have all the guests stand, ask those who have been married less than a day to sit (obviously the bridal couple), then ask those who’ve been married for less than a year to sit, then five years, then ten years and keep going until only one couple remain standing. (You might need to get down to months and days if there’s a few couples remaining standing).  Then ask them what them what they think is the secret to the longevity in their marriage.  After, give them your bridal bouquet as a congratulations.

Give away your bouquet
Give your flowers to the couple who’ve been married the longest

2. Are you creatives?  Have the guests paint your portrait

Get your favourite picture of the two of you and print it out to a size where it’s easy to see.  Divide it into equal sized squares down and across.  Supply paints, brushes, water and aprons and allocate a square to each guest (or couple).  Your new portrait can pride of place in your home and will be a wonderful memory of your special day.

Creative wedding ideas
Have your guests paint your portrait – lots of fun and lots of laughs

3. Get the groom to make an entrance!

Everyone expects a grand entrance from the bride, but what about the groom?  Have him share in the fun but arriving in a helicopter (complete with James Bond music), a water ski, boat, horse and anything unique.  I had a groom arrive on a tractor for a country wedding.

Make an entrance
Have the groom arrive by helicopter

4. Games at the reception

Create your own quiz about your relationship, have the Best man read the quiz questions and pit the tables against each other to see who wins.

Games at receptions
Have a couple’s quiz at your wedding

 5. Design your own cocktail

Create your own cocktail, name it and serve it at the reception.

Reception idease
Create and name your own wedding cocktail

6. Hire a local artist to paint your ceremony while it’s happening – what a fabulous way to remember your day.

Creative wedding ideas
Have a local artist paint or draw your ceremony or reception real time

7. Donate to a charity

Rather than giving favours to guests as a thank you, leave them a note saying you’ve made a donation to a charity on their behalf (A charity idea: www.myweddingwish.org an Australian charity that gifts weddings to couples with terminal illnesses).

Wedding ideas
Have guests donate to a charity in lieu of gifts

8. Are you having a photobooth?

Send guests their photos with your thank you card.  It’ll put a smile on their dial!

Fun wedding ideas
Send your photobooth pictures to your guests with thank you notes

9. Want an alternative to the 3-course meal and alternate drop?

Have the food prepped and delivered to the tables so the guests can serve themselves creating a more intimate dining experience.

Creative reception ideas
Create an intimate family atmosphere

10. Want all the guests dancing?

When you send their wedding invitation, ask guests what songs would get them up on the dance floor.  Then give the list to your DJ to play to ensure everyone dances.

Creative wedding reception ideas
Make sure your guests enjoy themselves at your reception

Got any awesome creative ideas for your wedding or reception?  Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Kicking 2019 to the curb

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

Well, that went fast.  I’m sitting here at my computer reflecting on the year that was 2019 in all it’s beauty and all it’s rawness.  Reading through my wedding schedule and remembering each ceremony and each couple and I can honestly say they were all absolutely fabulous.   That’s why I love being a marriage celebrant: I spend my time with beautiful couples at the most joyous time of their lives.  That’s called winning at life!

Nailed it!
One of my favourite weddings for 2019 – a awesome fun-loving couple.  LUKE MIDDLEMISS PHOTOGRAPHY

In 2019, through my business Elope to Australia I added a new product to my range catering for couples who want to marry without all the fuss and cost.   My legals-only coffee table ceremony days, where couples marry in a no stress, simple ceremony for only $450 have been super-popular!  I knew they would be.  Perfect for those couples who couldn’t be bothered with wedding planning, the stupid costs, and the stress.  They’re also popular if you’re planning on getting married in another country (think Bali for instance), but want the legal stuff kept in Australia.  So many couples said they didn’t know this was an option.  Well now there is.

Couples book a 30 minute time slot, come to the agreed venue on the agreed date and WHAM: married!   How simple!

I have several of these days booked in for 2020, but if the dates I’ve picked don’t suit, you can pick your own date for just a small extra cost.  The beauty is that you can still pimp it up and wear a wedding gown, say vows, exchange rings and have up to 8 guests.  So the legals-only weddings are a perfect way to marry on the Sunshine Coast.

HINT:  (If I get enough inquiries I’m happy to arrange these days in other parts of Queensland and Australia – just ask!)

Love my job!
Yes, I married SuperGirl to Batman – that’s me as The Incredible Hulk.  IMAGES BY LOU O’BRIEN

I’ve conducted more funerals than in previous years – a heart wrenching time for the families left behind, but it’s always a real honour.  Two funeral ceremonies that come to mind were for young women who both died from cancer – both had over 300 guests attending to pay tribute.  Being told by family that the ceremony was ‘just perfect’ always gives me a thrill and I just love seeing big funerals – it shows that there is love in life, and love still, in death.

While I wasn’t marrying people, I continued to teach at University of Sunshine Coast my second home.

Ken and I were blessed to have two overseas holidays this year: a month in the US and Canada, then two weeks in New Zealand and we just loved every second.  Bring on more travel in 2020!   And more weddings with more fabulous couples.

Look at that view!
A favourite venue of mine for drop-dead gorgeous views: Maleny Retreat. This is Anna and Steve’s wedding – I’m having a laugh with the guests. So much fun!  OLIVE TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

I wish you an amazing 2020 and hope it brings you the joy you deserve.

 

Love, Lynette.

10 questions to help choose your celebrant before you book

Looking for a marriage celebrant and not sure what questions to ask?  Check out my hints to ensure you’re asking the right questions so that you choose your celebrant to make your wedding day perfect:

  1. How long have you been registered as a marriage celebrant?

Does it matter how long someone’s been registered as a marriage celebrant?  Well that depends.  If they’re newbies (and there’s nothing wrong with that – we all started somewhere), they won’t have the wealth of experience that a more experienced celebrant will have.  After a while you learn to think on your feet and know the best way to handle issues that might arise.  If you’re keen on a newer celebrant, you may be able to negotiate their cost down which is a bonus.

Love rules
Emily and Naomi – legally married in 2018 after their original commitment ceremony in 2014
  1. How many weddings have you performed?

This question is important because let’s say the celebrant has been registered for five years and they’re done 50 weddings, that means they’re averaging 10 weddings a year, which in turn assumes that they are a hobby celebrant rather than a professional celebrant.  Does that matter?  Well, that’s up to you.  Hobby celebrants are usually cheaper.  As a benchmark, the average celebrant does about 5 – 10 weddings per year while professional celebrants can do anywhere up to 150 per annum and this equates to a big difference in experience levels.

At the always fabulous Yandina Station, Rani and Luke wanted a natural stylish and elegant wedding
  1. How much do you charge as a marriage celebrant and what does it include?

Please never choose a celebrant on price alone!  Trust me, that’s fraught with danger.  There are basically three price ranges for marriage celebrants (though this is generalised to the Sunshine Coast and obviously changes according to different regions):

Up to $450 :  The lower end of the market – be careful how you choose your celebrant, don’t do it just based on price

$500 – $750:  What most marriage celebrants charge

$800 +  :  The high end of the market and usually an indicator that you’re dealing with a professional marriage celebrant (as in this is their main source of income)

But there’s other things to consider beside price.  For instance, you might find an absolute gem that ticks all your boxes for $450, or you might hire a dud when you’ve paid over $1000 (I’ve heard horror stories!)  Paying a lot does not guarantee a fabulous celebrant.  Do your homework on the celebrant’s you’re interested in and listen to your gut instinct – that’s what it’s there for.  I use gut instinct too, and because of it, have knocked back couples that I got queasy tummy flips.  Ain’t no-body got time fo dat!

There were almost tears of laughter with these two!
  1. What’s your natural style as a celebrant?

Trying to be someone you’re not will make for a very inauthentic ceremony, and no-one wants that.  Be clear on what style of wedding ceremony you want: romantic, emotional, quirky, hilarious, traditional – they all require different personalities.  Try to find out the true personality of your celebrant and make sure you ‘click’.  You can do your homework in other ways, for example check the photographs they use to advertise.  Most of my photos are of the couple, their wedding party and guests laughing because that reflects my natural style of ceremony.  The other thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people think that couples want all the gooey feely stuff which is just not true, so there’s a little bit of acting in this business!

Gorgeousness at Sunshine Castle set the vibe for an amazing princess style wedding
  1. What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you at a wedding?

This is where question 1. becomes important.   “What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you at a wedding?” is a pretty common question and I’ve got a few hilarious responses which I respond with (seriously, I should right a book).  Not everything always goes smoothly and it’s the way your wedding suppliers deal with what goes wrong that separates the wheat from the chaff.   To be more precise, you could ask about your personal ‘worst fear’ at your wedding and ask that, eg. “What if it buckets down half-way through my ceremony?”, or “What if someone has a medical issue during my ceremony?”  You’ll quickly get an idea of how your celebrant will react and whether you’d be happy with the reaction.   Whatever their response is, it will help you choose your celebrant.

This Tree – that is all … absolutely fabulous wedding with so much wonderful
  1. As a celebrant do you book more than one ceremony per day?

Some celebrants guarantee they only do one wedding a day and it really amuses me.  You don’t need to be an administrative genius to work out the paperwork of more than one ceremony, but what your celebrant should do if she does more than one ceremony a day, is work out the time allowed for each wedding and the time between ceremonies that will ensure there’s plenty of time to cater to those things that can go wrong: traffic jams, accidents, etc.   Let your celebrant know that if they do book another wedding on your day that you’d like to be notified so you can figure out if you’re comfortable with the timing and perhaps pre-negotiate a refund or partial refund when you originally chat to them.  They might say no, but there’s no harm in trying.

The rings are in the piniata – an action-packed wedding at Beerwah Hideaway
  1. Eeeek … I need help with vows!

Most couples are clueless when it comes to writing their own vows and it’s important that you feel supported by your celebrant and will be able to ask for help or be given some resources to help.   I have a stop by stop process that’s almost foolproof – check that your celebrant does too.

HINT!! Design your ceremony so you have as much fun or as much seriousness as what you want. Your vows should also reflect this.
  1. What’s happens if I’m late?

I have a late fee so my couples are rarely late.  Some celebrants don’t.  It’s good to know what you’re signing up for and if you plan your day carefully, you should be okay.  If you’re going to be late, please let the celebrant know as soon as you can, and they’ll advise the guests and other wedding suppliers.  (Try not to be more than 10 minutes late though, it’s pretty rude).

Booking the right celebrant will ensure your day is perfect!
  1. I’d like to have a beer/champagne before the wedding, as a celebrant, are you okay with that?

The law says that you can’t be intoxicated because you’re signing a legal document.  Some celebrants don’t mind you having one or two drinks before you get married, other celebrants will refuse to marry you, and will go away for a few hours until you’ve ‘sobered up’.  Check each celebrant’s rules on this.  Because everyone is different with their response to alcohol I tell my couples if they can legally drive a car, they can legally sign the paperwork.

A gorgeous elopement at Twin Waters Beach
  1. What happens if the celebrant can’t make it on the day?

A professional celebrant will have a strong network of ‘locum celebrants’ so if something goes wrong, they can easily call a backup.  Check that the celebrants you’re chatting to have this.   Also, check the reviews of the celebrants you’re keen to talk to, there are a few who take multiple bookings on the same day and time, and then eventually ‘pick’ the one they most want to do, leaving couples scrambling and panicked.  (This is across the board for wedding suppliers, eg. a venue may do this, preferring a wedding of 100 guests, rather than a booking for 40).

If you can’t have fun at your own wedding, than when can you have fun?

Lynette Maguire is a popular marriage celebrant on the Sunshine Coast, and has just about seen and heard it all when it comes to weddings in south-east Queensland.