Sue and Lachy Suzanne Riley Marriage Celebrant   alanhughesphotography_AmandaJason_04
Photos by Images by Lou and Alan Hughes Photography both amazing Sunshine Coast Photographers

You know when you do something and you just ‘do it’ because it seems like ‘common sense’ and the most logical thing to do… and then someone comments on how ‘different, amazing, unusual’ these things are….

and you think to yourself… hhhmm yes, actually they are pretty fabulous…!
and… you realise that common sense really isn’t ‘that’ common…
So… here it is, I just have to share some of these ‘Suzanne-isms’ which have developed over the years, through so many ceremony designs and input and interactions with so many wonderful couples.
Most of these tips have become my signature and part of making my ceremonies more and more personal and totally memorable.

So here are just ‘some’ tips.. I have so many more!

12 most fabulous ‘thinking outside the box’ tips for your ceremony

1. ‘The father of the bride moment”
If you have your Dad walking you down the aisle and…. He’s been a gorgeous one…. Lets give him a moment too! awwww (this can apply to whoever you choose to give this special honour to)
So this is the man who has nurtured you, watched you grow and is probably the proudest person on the planet right there in that moment….. a moment no doubt he’s spent your lifetime thinking of.
‘Who brings this woman’ Just doesn’t cut it for me!!!
Lets give him a moment…. Greet him warmly, shake his hand have a brief warm intro chat.. ask him to stand next to you until the ‘giving away moment’ and when the ‘asking’ happens, he’ll be so much more relaxed and comfortable, knowing that he’s right where he should be. So, when the ‘question’ time comes… I will be honoured to share some heartfelt and sometimes hysterical highlights of his fatherhood before I ask him the big question. Now shhhhh we don’t tell him beforehand, because he has enough to think about with that walk! What a gorgeous surprise and honour for him, watch his chest puff out as he beams with pride…
This has been one of the most memorable and heartwarming, sometimes funny parts of my favorite ceremonies… LOVE it.

2. Standing with your back to the guests… never!
So, your family and friends have waited months to see you on your wedding day, the look in your eyes when you see each other at the end of the aisle, every special moment. So why does the celebrant face the guests and the couple face the celebrant with their back to everyone? hhmm? Actually, there is no reason….
How does this sound….. The bridal couple face their guests, standing hand in hand, side by side or gazing into each others eyes… the way it should be. After the hello’s, I walk to my lecturn which is cleverly positioned to the side, between the guests and the couple… Everyone can see the most gorgeous ‘photo framable’ view of the couple, everyone can see me, and the Couple can comfortably see everyone. Remember I mentioned common sense!

3. Frame-worthy Kisses!!
Of course I return to the couple and stand in the ‘traditional’ position for the vows and ring exchange.. intimate and beautiful… The couple stand face to face and hold hands here for this part… and then elegantly return to my lectern, completely out of the way for the KISS!!!! Yes a beautiful, frame-worthy photo Kiss moment with no celebrant photo bombing. No wonder the photographers love me!

4. ‘Best Lady’ and ‘Groomsman of Honour’
Just because Vogue bride ‘bridal must do list’ talks incessantly about your bridesmaids and groomsmen, don’t be fooled… YOU can have whoever you like as your bridal party! Groom have his Aunt? Yes of course… Bride have her best boy ‘friend’? of course… you can have your grandparents if you like, the rules are there to be made by you.

5. Signing the register
Rules? A witness is a person over the age of 18. There… so you can have anyone you like… AND it doesn’t have to even be someone in your bridal party. You can have parents, grandparents, best friends, family members.. the choice is yours. Reality is, that it’s only a ‘witness signature’ but it means such an honour to be asked ….so think about who you’d like to honour.

6. I LOVE the traditional, romantic bits ?
However you don’t have to stick to the traditional wordings…. There are only really a few legal wordings that we ‘must’ use at certain times, so much of your ceremony can be uniquely worded and written.
I DO… don’t have to say it… you can pretty much say anything that is an ‘affirmative’… I’ve even had ‘swearword yes’!! oh yes I have ? Rings? No you don’t even have to have them! but the girls love the bling so lets keep that part in!! I’ve had couples create a tattoo ring for their wedding band even.
We can have so much fun personalising your ceremony to be totally ‘you’.

7. Some guests can’t be there ?
With today’s technology, no one need miss out on the ceremony. You can hire a ‘live webcaster’ if you are serious about sharing your ceremony with out of town family and friends.
With ‘smart phone’ technology today in most people’s back pocket, I’ve found that guests can ‘FaceTime’, ‘Skype’ or even lifestream the wedding or video it for family and friends overseas.
So, this is the fun part….. If this is happening… Lets say hi to them all!!! If Grandma is sitting in her nursing home in NZ or UK, and is watching the video, how excited and proud will she be to have us all stop to say hello and tell her we’re missing her and thinking about her on the video. OH yes… such a personal touch, and a little sparkle of fun and magic for all involved. I love this.

8. Readings… why?
Do you have a reading, song lyrics, a poem, a love letter, a quote from Dr. Zeuss! that you just LOVE and can imagine being amazing at your wedding.. OH I’m so pleased! Lets choose someone amazing to read it and we’re on fire!!
Ok… so if you are thinking ‘oh we need a reading… we need to find a reading… oh no, who can read a reading? Where do we find a reading… Do we have to google something wedding-y for ‘our reading’?
Then let me suggest we don’t have a ‘reading’!!
I mean would you rather me write something personal, romantic, fun maybe about your love, your journey or do you have a great friend or family member who would love to do this?
Or we could google a reading about doves, or trees with roots that intertwine so the trees don’t fall down? Hhhmmmm what do you think?

9. Flower bouquets
I personally LOVE the live flower bouquets… traditional and they always look so beautiful. There are alternatives however! If you’re not really a ‘flower lover’.. I’ve had brides who look gorgeous holding a small adorned clutch purse, a parasol, bouquets made from origami roses! Yes, bouquets made from buttons and brooches for all of the female family members.. very nice. I’ve seen bouquets which have flowers plus succulents from the garden and even feathers incorporated into the design.. huge lollipops, pinwheels that spin in the breeze…. there are some really cool ideas out there. Remember if you want to remember special people who are passed, you can carry a small photo charm which can hang from the bouquet handle… so nice.

10. Sit the bridal party down
So the bridal party have walked down the aisle… and they then traditionally move to either side of the bride and groom, standing sentinel at your side for the entire ceremony.
How about having a vintage couch to one side and the bridesmaid walk down the aisle to the couch and elegantly take a seat… the Groomsmen can stand behind them… this looks very elegant. After the signing of the register, the bridal party can then assume their ‘sentinel’ positions for the recessional down the aisle. I personally love this idea and bridesmaids in high heels do too.

11. The Ring presentation
You can choose someone super special who you’d like to honour on the day to present your rings to you both, how about the grooms father? A nice way to honour him. When the rings are asked for, the best man can hand them to the Grooms father who can take ‘his moment’, say a couple of words to you both and kiss and hug you … What an honour he’ll feel.

12. Have some fun!
One day in your life… one of the most memorable… it’s a ceremony yes! BUT we’re not ‘on ceremony’ It’s great to remember and keep in mind this is ‘family’, this is something so unique and special to you both and to all of your family, they’ve waited so long for this moment too. This is a day you want to remember with fizz and a massive amount of joy and pride. SO of course lets respect the vows, lets enjoy the traditions and at the same time lets really have some fun and create something that is special, unique and reflects YOU.