What do you do when the borders are shut, and your Celebrant can’t make it to your wedding?

Roses and two wooden hearts overlaid with text from wedding vows, I will show you how much I love you, even when words are hard to find.

Last Thursday, I met the most beautiful young couple, and on Saturday, I married them!

Things don’t normally move that fast, but with the recent closure of the Queensland/New South Wales border, I was privileged to jump in for a Celebrant who was unable to travel to Brisbane for the ceremony. It was time to put the wedding contingency plan in action! He briefed me and forwarded the all-important paperwork, then I took the ball and ran with it.

Even though I met R & M in person only days before their wedding, you could say we ‘crunched the timeline’ in getting to know each other! And we quickly came to an easy, comforting place of trust. R & M knew I had their backs; that was my promise to them.

Our rehearsal gave us the perfect opportunity to check that everything was coming together just as they envisioned, and by Saturday, it felt as though it was always supposed to be this way.

Many details made R & M‘s wedding ‘oh so special’, but three of my favourites were…

💍 Firstly the original poem written and read by the bride’s stepdad. (Goosebumps!)

💍 Secondly, the time we dedicated to one-on-one conversations between myself and the bride and groom at the rehearsal. Those meaningful, honest chats gave me the insight I needed to ‘ghostwrite’ deeply personal vows, just for them. And they delivered them from the heart. (Goosebumps on goosebumps!)

💍 And thirdly, the perfect rainbow that arched across the sky as I was driving away from their wedding. I’m sure that’s a wonderful sign. (Dare I say it, even more goosebumps!)

I’m so grateful for the trust R & M (and their original Celebrant) placed in me. It all led to an uplifting ceremony that flowed with natural warmth, and celebrated their love story in an authentic way.  

Big virtual hugs to Shirley and her lovely team at Boulevard Gardens – always wonderful to work with you!

Things happen the way they’re meant to happen. 

A Special Anniversary

Ten years as a Marriage Celebrant

by Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

This weekend is a special one for many reasons. Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mums, and big hugs to those who can’t be with their families this year. With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it really makes us stop and think about what’s truly important, doesn’t it? Happy Mothers’ Day to my own lovely mum in New South Wales. I’m hoping for an easing of travel restrictions soon, so we can cross state borders again and visit in person.

Also happening this weekend is a significant anniversary. It will be ten years since my friends, Coralie and Andy, were married. Congratulations, lovely people!

I remember their wedding like it was yesterday…

  • our good friends, looking gorgeous and so, so happy, as they tied the knot;
  • the Groom’s son, Jack (then just a teenager), playing guitar during the ceremony, and giving us an early glimpse of the musician he was becoming; (seriously – check him out! @Jack Botts Music);
  • and me, up front, complete with six-month baby-bump, officiating my very first ceremony as a Marriage Celebrant.

Bride and Groom signing the marriage register and celebrant showing them where to sign

Ten years as a Wedding Celebrant! I can’t believe it’s a decade since I took my first steps on this career path that I love so much.

From that very first ceremony, I was hooked. Hooked on the excitement and anticipation; the heady privilege of witnessing the love and sincerity between a couple as they say their vows; feeling their vulnerability, as they stand together, suspending the every-day for a little window of time as they publicly honour their relationship.

My celebrant friends and I call it ‘the Love Buzz’, and it never gets old. What a privilege.

May 2020 was on track to be my best month to date in my celebrancy business; that is, until the dreaded C-word came along and uprooted the plans of so many couples. The old 2020 wall planner is pretty much a series of scribbles and adjustments, but the 2021 calendar… that’s going to be a different story completely!

One of the unexpected bonuses over the last two months (and the months ahead) has been the opportunity to bring to life some incredibly special elopement ceremonies, as couples pivot to keep their dream alive.

Bride and groom wearing masks as they kiss

Each elopement has felt so beautiful and significant, with a unique intimacy and sense of fun brought about by their refusal to let the circumstances rain on their parade. I’ve adored this time with each couple, (all at a safe social distance, of course!) and can’t wait to see them again next year when we gather all their friends and families, and celebrate their marriage with a cracking Vow Renewal ceremony!

In the meantime, I’m doing my best to focus on all that we have to be thankful for, especially here in Australia, where – dare I say it – we have managed to ‘flatten the curve’ in most regions, for now at least. I am loving the laughs with friends over social media and video chats; I’m enjoying hardly ever having to put fuel in the car, and – like all the parents overseeing their kids’ online schooling, I’m trying not to pull my hair out too much. (Not sure I’m winning on that front.)

All the while, I’m really looking forward to the day when I can hug people again, and big weddings are once again, a thing.

So let’s stay safe, keep washing our hands, and truly relish life on the other side of this thing. Let’s make 2021 The Year of Togetherness!

#2021theyearoftogetherness #COVIDelopements #tenyearworkanniversary

Weddings on the wave of COVID-19

Couple kissing while wearing face masks
Photo credit: Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash.

By Lorraine Wright, The Wright Celebrant

Your plans may have changed, but your dreams have not.

If you are planning your wedding, this should be a time of great excitement and joy for you and your loved ones. But the COVID-19 pandemic, which is encroaching on just about every aspect of our day-to-day lives, is now causing genuine concern for engaged couples, their families, and those working in the wedding industry.

If you’re not sure whether everyone will be able to make it to your wedding this year, I truly feel for you. Your wedding is a milestone event in your life, and it’s natural to want to share it. So let’s talk about using technology to livestream your ceremony, so your more vulnerable loved ones can stay safely out of harm’s way, but still witness your “I Do’s” via a screen.

If you’re trying to decide, ‘should we postpone our wedding?’ or forge on, perhaps in a modified format, I understand your dilemma. It’s heartbreaking even thinking about changing your carefully crafted plans. But if your group is larger than the allowed gathering (100 guests at the time of writing), or you’d just rather wait until everyone can be with you on your big day, let’s talk about finding you a new date. I do have availability from October 2020 and throughout 2021, and I’ll bend over backwards to help you.

Or, you might consider having a small elopement-style ceremony on your planned date with just the two of you and your two witnesses, but waiting till later in the year (or even next year) to have your big party. I’m definitely open to helping you reimagine the style and logistics for your ceremony.

Until such time as the Australian government further restricts the gathering of people, and as long as I remain fit and healthy and you remain fit and healthy, I would be honoured to officiate for you. We will adapt to the circumstances, by incorporating social distancing and stepping up hygiene measures, for instance:

  • no handshaking, hugging or kissing anyone you don’t live with;
  • spacing out chairs to give everyone more personal space;
  • wiping down microphones and pens with disinfectant wipes;
  • liberal use of hand sanitiser;
  • ensuring no bubbles are blown over anyone;
  • and importantly, asking for strict compliance from anyone who has been in contact with a known case of COVID-19, or has any symptoms consistent with the infection (fever, sore throat, dry cough, shortness of breath) to NOT ATTEND the wedding.
  • You could even ask everyone to check their temperature before coming, as an extra safeguard.

Of course, please refer to the advice of our Chief Medical Officers and the World Health Organisation for specific information on COVID-19, as this is not my area of expertise. 

If I am unlucky enough to become unwell and unable to officiate for you, I will reach out to my amazing colleagues and find you a substitute celebrant, transferring the legal paperwork as per our discussion at the time of signing our agreement. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that, but contingency planning makes sense right now.

As this is a very fluid situation that is changing by the day, I will be continuing to heed the advice of our Chief Medical Officers and government leaders, in terms of any restrictions imposed on gatherings, in the days and weeks ahead.

But please, if you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, or send me a message. I’m here for you.

Let me finish by saying, your wedding is going to be amazing. Your plans may have changed, but your dreams have not.