The times are changing, and so is wedding etiquette. If you’re about to attend a wedding soon, you may be wondering what the protocol is these days; have some cast-iron rules fallen by the wayside? What about smartphones and Instagram? Let’s have a look. Can you wear black? You used to not be able to, but you can now as long as it’s done with style – team it up with interesting shoes or fun jewellery. If you’re planning to wear a black dress, keep it gauzy and shapely (it can be done). You can’t wear white or ivory, though. You just can’t. Can you take photos on your phone? It’s OK to take a few photos, and some couples encourage it, but make sure you know what the social media policy is before you even think about uploading anything. If you’re not sure, don’t post anything, as you could make a photo public before the bride does, and that’s not on! Also, don’t get in the way of the professional photographer. Or tag the bride in an unflattering photo… Can you RSVP by email? It depends. If you receive the invitation by email, with a request to respond by the same medium, then yes. However, if you receive it on some lovely stationery, you should respond in kind, as someone’s collating those response cards to work out numbers. Whatever the format is, hollering “We’ll see ya there, no worries!” is really not done. Can you avoid some traditions if you don’t like them? A contentious tradition is the throwing of the bouquet. Some women love it, others feel... read more
Pinning down your table-plan is important as your wedding meal is two or three hours long, so it’s a big part of the day. Once you’ve sorted it, that’s one sigh of relief you can breathe… Start early You can start planning even before the RSVPs come in. Start with your entire invitations list and winnow out the people who won’t be able to make it. Don’t leave it too late as it can turn into a rushed nightmare. Check out the venue Make sure the venue is large enough for the size, shape and number of your tables. You need to leave everyone enough room to get up and move around without feeling packed in and claustrophobic. Mix up friends and family It’s a hard balance to achieve, but avoid filling entire tables with family as no-one will be able to mingle properly. You shouldn’t put all strangers on one table either, though, as it can easily go wrong. Think about ages and interests. The singles’ corner Always seat partners together and don’t ever be tempted to match-make (at least, don’t do it obviously…). Don’t ever have a singles’ table. Just don’t. Even Stevens (and Stephanies) Try to have an even-ish number of men and women at each table so there’s a god flow of conversation and good behaviour. Can you imagine being the only guy at a table of drunk women? Place cards Make sure place cards are clear and visible. You could have themed table names, which is fun, a conversation-starter and avoids hierarchical table numbers. Try tables rather than seats You don’t have to pin... read more
Everyone gets nervous before their wedding, whether it kicks in several months before or on the day itself. Thankfully, it’s easy to combat these jitters with a few positive thoughts and clever tricks. Make a list of your main concerns and worries Some are bigger concerns, some are just silly, some involve things you can control and some are things you can’t do anything about so you have to let the worries go. Hang around with positive people There’s always going to be a few people who are a downer about everything or who try to impose their own agenda on you and your wedding. Try to avoid them and bring in more positive friends and families. Share your worries Don’t bottle things up or you’ll blow them out of proportion. Sometimes by sharing a concern you realise how silly they are, or you might find a way to work through more valid worries. Concentrate on breathing Of course, it happens by reflex! However, stress and anxiety can cause your breathing to become shallower, which can make you feel even more stressed. Learn to breathe from your diaphragm and to “exhale” your tension. Spend a few minutes each day practising your calming breathing so that you can switch into it when the nerves start up. You should also work on your posture, as stress can cause you to scrunch down and lower your eyes, which in turn makes you feel even more timid. Stand up, shoulders back, big smile… Let yourself be supported It’s your wedding, but it’s not just your responsibility. You can relax and delegate some jobs... read more
If you’re planning to do your own make-up on the big day, you’ll need some special tips to get it right. After all, it’s not just another day at the office, is it? Practice makes perfect Once you’ve chosen a look, you should practice it a few times, tweaking and adjusting until it’s perfect for you. Investing this time a few weeks before the wedding takes a lot of the worry out of it when it comes to the real thing. Have some facials You should, if you can, have two or three facials in the months leading up to your wedding so your complexion is as good a canvas as it can be. Make sure you have a quiet place to do your make-up You’ll need time and, more importantly, space to do this. If you’re milling around in the same room as your bridesmaids, then it can get a bit hectic, so ask for some privacy. Find your perfect foundation Take some professional advice here and take your time. You need the right shade for your skin and your outfit, as well as the right formulation for your skin type. Be patient. Don’t use anything with an SPF or sparkles in Many SPFs use titanium and zinc oxides, which, as soon as a flash hits them, make you look ghostly white. The same advice applies to very sparkly eyeshadow or highlighter, as well as white or pale finishing powder. You don’t want a clown mask, do you? Work on your brows Brows define your face and so you need to get them right. It’s another case of... read more
Autumn is probably the second-most popular season to get married in – the intense heat of the summer has receded but the temperatures are still mostly comfortable and there’s still quite a bit of daylight. Not only is the climate a bit more forgiving, but there’s some interesting and varied seasonal elements that you can incorporate into your ceremony and the reception. True, there’s some precautions you need to take to keep things running along smoothly, but it’s all good fun. Eyes down for an autumnal wedding checklist… Give your flower girls pumpkins This doesn’t mean they’ll be pumpkin girls instead! Carve and scoop out some pumpkins, create two holes in the sides and thread ribbons through to create baskets – then fill them with flowers! Make sure your bridesmaids stay warm Sometimes autumn nights can feel a little chilly, so why not give your bridesmaids a pashmina each as one of your gifts to them? The look gorgeous and serve a practical function as well. Bring in the space heaters It’s tempting to have an open-air ceremony and reception in autumn as the night skies can be very clear. Clear skies can mean chilly air, though, so have an area that’s warmed by space heaters for people to gather. Have a dramatic colour scheme Autumn is a great excuse for an intense palette. You can team up reds, oranges and yellows with rich dark purples, burgundies and even black. Try amber or cream-coloured candles White candles are more suited to summer weddings, whereas cream, golden yellow or amber candles give off a warmer, gentler glow. You can also... read more
Being this beautiful couples Celebrant and MC for their Dream Day was such an honour and privilege. I loved every minute of my time with Melissa & Brendan. Being a part of their planning from the beginning … Brendan and I still laugh about our first meeting at the first Expo. I wore a beautiful orange scarf that he loved and wanted to keep. We chatted for ages about the theme and their plans. That day I became their Celebrant and MC. We meet a further 4-5 times, had wine, laughed and planned more. Their photographer/videographer and I worked really hard and well together to capture their special day. Hence the great memories! And I got to keep my scarf!! Images & Video curtesy: White Images Wedding Photography & Myfilm… Toni Collett Celebrant Here is a few hints from them for your Dream Day.. Melissa and I are two lucky people. We encourage and support each other, joke, laugh and yes cry together. Melissa is my best friend, my confidant and at the risk of sounding cheesy my soul mate. It is a privilege to share this brief glimpse of our lives with others and we both hope that our story can inspire and help others. Picking the theme: Melissa and I set out with our wedding in mind from the moment we were engaged. We started out by imagining what our wedding would be like, who would we invite, where would it be, what we thought it may cost and when the big day was going to be. We decided to have an outdoor wedding on the Sunshine... read more
Increasingly, people are leading a secular lifestyle and so they’re choosing to get married outside of the church. They may be secular, or the couple may be from different cultures and so they’ve decided to find a third way that bypasses religion altogether. As well as cultural reasons, there are other great reasons for choosing a celebrant to guide you and your guests through your wedding. Here are the best ones… You can get married pretty much anywhere you want Having a celebrant to lead your wedding means you can choose almost anywhere to get married. You’re not restricted to a registry office or a place of worship, or even to set times of day. If you want to get married on a farm, or in a botanical garden, a Sami tent or on a beach, then you can. You need to make sure that it’s legal to get married there, of course, but once that’s for sure, you can crack on with the planning. You can make your wedding ceremony as personal as you like You don’t have to follow the more traditional wedding ceremony script if you don’t want to. You can write your own vows and your celebrant can get your own unique story out there for everyone to enjoy. You can have a few rehearsals Your celebrant can advise you on the best seating arrangements, timings, music and your PA system. You can also run through the proceedings to make sure that you haven’t left anything out and that all your plans work. Your celebrant is dedicated to you Celebrants tend to only perform one... read more
Many brides dream of a beach wedding; after all, they look great and we’ve all seen some stunning photoshoots, right? One mistake that people can make when they think about a beach wedding is that planning it involves exactly the same things as a regular wedding that’s not based on sand. There are special things you need to take into account when you’re getting ready to tie the knot by the sea. Don’t do the big dress Wearing a big dress on a beach can be a disaster – it’ll get drenched by the sea, it’ll blow about, it’ll be hot… Additionally, if there’s any lace involved, it’ll collect sand and other beach debris, so think lightweight, tight-woven fabrics. Keep it simple Beach weddings can be harder to hear and follow than ones held in enclosed spaces, so limit the length of the ceremony and any speeches as the sea breeze can whip the words out of people’s mouths. Forget about heels High heels and sand isn’t a great mix, as you can imagine. You could wear satin flatties, or flip-flops or even go barefoot. Stay sun-aware It should be a long day, so don’t forget about that sun! Make sure everyone has enough sunscreen, especially the kids. You don’t want to look like lobsters in your reception photos. The blokes can go casual as well If you’re opting for lightweight fabrics, then the guys should be able to do that too. Forget the black woollen tuxes and let them wear light-coloured linen suits or even shirts and Bermuda shorts! Make sure there’s enough shade Provide at least one... read more
If you’ve decided to hire a celebrant to conduct your wedding instead of a registrar or a religious figure, then you may face some questions from friends and family. You may have some questions yourself, too, so here’s a few of the main ones that arise. Why hire a celebrant instead of a registrar? If you’re not doing a church wedding, then why not have a registry wedding instead? Well, registrars have restrictions on time and on what can be included. While registrars are freer than religious figures, they still have some constraints. A celebrant can include pretty much whatever you want and there’s often no time limits. I want a few religious or cultural elements in my wedding ceremony; can I do this? Of course you can! It’s your day so you can include whatever you want. Will I be legally married? You will still need to have your marriage registered officially for it to be legal, but your celebrant can do this for you. Where can I get married? Wherever you are allowed. You can get married at a hotel, or a national park, a restaurant or in a field! As long as you have permission to use the venue or land for that purpose, you’re good to go. I don’t want a quick, rushed-through service, can I make my ceremony a bit longer? Yes; there’s no need to rush, as chances are your celebrant won’t have another ceremony that day, as you find with a church or registry wedding. What’s so wrong with a registry or church wedding? Absolutely nothing! All weddings are amazing occasions, no... read more
Not hiring a professional make-up artist and stylist Unless you’re a professional yourself, or you’re extremely low maintenance and understated, then you’ll need someone to come and do your hair and make-up for you. On your wedding day you’ll have enough to think about without trying to consider how such-and-such a colour will look on camera. You also can stop worrying about getting your eyeliner straight – leave it up to the professional! Following trends without thinking Just because lots of other people, including celebs, are sporting sarongs on their beach wedding days doesn’t mean you have to do this as well. Know your style and don’t force yourself to go along with trends if you don’t like them or you know they won’t suit you. Feeling uncomfortable in an unfamiliar style of dress will stand out like a beacon in videos, in photos and in person. Work out what your style is and what suits you, then work up from that, not off at a tangent. Not dressing for the venue If your venue has a particular look or feel, you don’t have to exactly match it, but you should take care not to clash with it. If you’ve always wanted your groomsmen to wear zoot suits, don’t get married in a rural, farmyard venue. If you’re really stuck and confused, aim for natural and subtle, with no bright, clashing colours that could go very wrong with your backdrop. Trying to fit in too much to your look in one go It’s difficult to avoid thinking about all the separate elements of your wedding outfit. You want that... read more
If you’ve decided to have a celebrant conduct your wedding rather than a religious official, you might find that some (usually older) relatives seem very worried about your choice. It’s easy to become impatient with them if they keep bringing up the subject, but you have to understand that they may be genuinely concerned about your welfare – especially if you’re the bride. Traditions matter The thing is, your older relatives may well belong to a generation that places a lot of importance on traditions and ceremony. They may really worry that your marriage won’t actually be legal and that you’ll be left high and dry by your cad of a fiancé (sorry). You need to reassure them that a celebrant is a licensed professional who is legally able to conduct weddings and other ceremonies and that any ceremony led by one is real. As in legally-binding. The ceremony isn’t the legal part People only think of the ceremony at weddings and so they may think that all the palaver is what makes the wedding legal. It’s not, it’s the submitting and the signing of the documents and then the registration of these documents that is legally binding. Your celebrant is actually authorised to do all this for you in the same way as a priest, rabbi or imam is. Which brings us onto… The safety of your everlasting soul. You and/or your partner may be atheist, or you may be from two different religions and so rather than trying to combine the two faiths you may have decided to tread a middle path or avoid religion altogether. This... read more
Your wedding day is the biggest and most important day of your life. You’ll be surrounded by friends and family, and of course you’ll be joining together with your loved one. It’s important to get it right and to make it a day to remember and so having the right celebrant with you, leading the way, is vital. Here’s how your perfect wedding celebrant should be. A good communicator Your celebrant should be able to listen to you and your ideas and be enthusiastic about them, but also be able to dissuade you from any ideas that might not work (without you realising it…). A good adviser You haven’t done this before, but your celebrant has! You should choose someone who is a good guide, who knows the legal aspects of getting married and who is a logistics whizz! You need to be confident that all the legal papers are filed on time and in order. Open to feedback Don’t go with anyone who railroads you into anything you don’t want. If your celebrant pressures you to incorporate something into your ceremony and won’t take no for an answer, they’re wrong for you. He or she should also be easily contactable and responsive. Has their own equipment Your marriage has to be audible to all present – legally! Your celebrant should have their own PA system, as well as being able to make adjustments to make the acoustics as good as possible. Creative Having a celebrant means you’re not doing an off-the-peg wedding. You’ll have your own ideas and you should share them with your celebrant, who should be... read more
If you’ve decided to elope, then you might be imagining that you’ll get away with all the planning and the organising. This is true to an extent, but there’s still a bit of forethought and logistics involved – it’s just that it’s more about the two of you than the two of you and both of your extended families! Sooo, here’s how you plan to elope. Drop the guilt Many couples feel a bit guilty about eloping, as it means leaving their friends and families behind for this most special of days. However, ultimately, your wedding is about you two. Your family and friends want to share it because they love you, but that love will also help them to accept and understand your decision. Plan a party or other event after the fact If you are racked with guilt, then throw a drinks party or another bash after you return from your honeymoon. You could treat your guests to a slideshow of your actual wedding if you think it’ll go over well. Don’t sweat the guest list Just imagine – no worrying about keeping those two aunties apart. That should assuage any lingering feelings of guilt. Look for the savings Bigger weddings can get seriously expensive, so think about what you’re saving and think about how you can spend some or all of it on just you two. The holiday of a lifetime? Saving for a baby? It’s up to you! Not everything is cheaper though – photographers tend to have a flat fee for weddings, for example. Think big, even if your wedding is small You can... read more
Most people opt for summer weddings; after all, what can go wrong? The days are long, the sun shines, there’s little chance of rain and everyone expects a summer wedding, right? Well, not absolutely everyone; in fact, winter weddings are becoming increasingly popular as people realise that these out-of-season nuptials offer advantages the warmer months simply can’t. Here’s seven of the best. Darker, romantic evenings The days are a bit shorter in winter, so you can either start your reception a bit earlier to make the most of the light, or you can embrace your dark side and bring candles, lanterns and fireworks into the mix. This works well for smaller weddings as the darkness brings people closer together in an intimate atmosphere. Out of season can be cheaper Winter isn’t as busy for many wedding vendors and suppliers so you can strike some good deals and bag some great bargains if you get married in the less popular months. Venues have more availability After the mad rush that is summer, many venues have a bit of down time in the winter, so you’ll have your pick of more weekends. You will probably find it all a bit cheaper, too. People are keen to party Chances are that people won’t have been to a wedding for a few months by the time winter rolls around so they’ll be raring to go! Mulled wine Or mulled cider. Or hot chocolate. Enough said. Guests will expect a spot of rain You know there’s a chance of a chill in the air in the morning and evening, so it won’t come as... read more
Of course, you and your intended are unique, as is every couple. The only trouble is, weddings tend to follow trends and customs and it can be hard to make yours stand out from the crowd. These days, though, there are lots of ways to make your wedding memorable, and here are four of the best. VIP bags for guests Your guests will love VIP bags that contain, say, miniature bottles of Champagne or cava, as well as snacks, gift certificates or vouchers for local coffee or toiletry shops. Of course, there should also be a welcome note from you guys. Take-home care packages If your guests are going home in fleets of cars or buses, them help them to prepare for the day ahead by packing hangover kits into these packs and place them on the seats. These could include isotonic drinks, eyemasks, lavender spray and healthy snacks for the morning after the night before. On-site childcare Everyone knows how kids love a wedding, but we also know how tired they get after a certain point in the day – usually just as their parents are getting warmed up… Make sure there’s a room where overwhelmed children can go to sleep, complete with cushions and blankets, a DVD player, soft lighting, snacks and games. And of course a couple of babysitters to make the magic happen!!! Transport of delight If your reception is some way from the ceremony venue, then you can lay on some amazing transport for guests. How about a fleet of school buses, decked out with their destination? Or even a hot air balloon or... read more
I would love to work with you for your Special Day
Toni is a fantastic celebrant, her upbeat & vibrant personality is amazing, I always have a great time working along side of toni being a celebrant myself. Nothing is ever too much trouble for her. Highly recommend her..
Toni was an absolute pleasure to deal with! We really wanted a celebrant that was fun, outgoing but relaxed, and who understood the type of people we are and reflected that in our ceremony. She did exactly that! Our ceremony was fun, light-hearted, bubbly and totally a reflection of us! Our guests enjoyed it just as much as we did! We cannot thank her enough for her time and effort leading up to the day! Thank you so much Toni!! xread more
I highly doubt there is a better celebrant in Australia! It was so much fun having Toni as our celebrant. She was highly professional and made our wedding ceremony perfect. Toni took care of every little detail and organised so much, even liaising with our venue to ensure every aspect was perfect. She has a sensational personality and went to a lot of effort to get to know us. Our guests thought she must have known us for years as she was able to fit right in amongst our families and made everyone feel important. I actually wanted her to stay and party on with us!
Katie & Barry Clackread more
Toni strives to give her clients what they desire for their day. She has fantastic communication and never once did I have to chase her for anything (rare to find these days!!) Toni did a wonderful job and provided a very personal touch to our special day and is also well priced. Highly recommend. Thanks Toni!!read more
Toni was fantastic! We loved her from the moment we met her. She is fun, vibrant and we help cater your ceremony to your wishes.
When we said we'd like to do a hand-fasting ceremony she did all the leg work finding the perfect ceremonial spiel and helped me with the colour guide for the love knot.
If you want a celebrant that will make your day all yours Toni is your gal!
Thank you again Toni!
Love Susan & Chrisread more
When we first met Toni we didn't realise how lucky we were. Toni immediately made us feel relaxed and provided us with the support we needed. Her personal touches, professionalism and unwavering dedication to Melissa and I during the year leading up to our wedding were well and truely above and beyond. We have made an amazing friend in Toni, thank you so much for making our Wedding day so special. So many of our guests commented on how beautiful our ceremony was. Melissa and I can not find the words to describe how greatful we truely are.read more
Toni was a pleasure to work with. I loved that she respected our wishes and was flexible to make "our day" as perfect as can be- the way we wanted it. Our ceremony was tailored to meet our unique requirements and our story was very personal which is refreshing- when reflecting upon some of the lovely but stale weddings we have attended in the past. Our guests loved hearing our story and funny little details about our relationship. The process and support offered by Toni before, during and after the big day is great. Toni is very professional and takes a lot of pride in herself and her work- this is what originally attracted me to her when selecting a celebrant. There is no doubt that Toni s very passionate about her job and we are so glad we found her. Highly recommend Toni Collett Celebrant.read more
Toni was so wonderful and easy to deal with. She communicated with my husband and I often, guiding us towards our wedding day. Even going to the extra mile when my husband was so busy with work! She wrote such a lovely ceremony - thank you so much!!!! Everyone was happy and smiling!!read more
Toni runs a professional, first class celebrant service. I would highly recommend her to any couples looking to tie the knot. She is friendly, welcoming and warm before, during and after the ceremony. Thank you Toni!read more