Ask A Celebrant - CCN Blog

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More CCN Blog posts can be found in the Blog Categories to the right.
Jun
03

The Great Outdoors - Planning a successful outdoor ceremony

An outdoor ceremony can take a lot of planning and today, CCN Celebrant and Guest Blogger, Melanie Lawson from Richmond, NSW is taking us through all the ins and outs...
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Mar
21

Harmony Day

Harmony Day - bringing everyone together, celebrating our differences and acknowledging our similarities in humanity...
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Feb
21

Celebrating Our Seniors

Celebrating Our Seniors

This week's blog is bought to you by Sonia Collins, CCN Celebrant, Guest Blogger and Host of the 'Tell Me Your Story' senior's workshop, held in conjunction with the New South Wales Seniors Festival which is taking place from February 13th – 24thOther States hold Seniors Week at different times but the purpose of these celebrations is always similar – to celebrate Seniors and to encourage them to live healthy lives filled with enjoyable activities.

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277 Hits
Nov
22

Sticking to a budget

Sticking to a budget

Planning a wedding, or any festive celebration can be a pricey affair, but there are ways around it so that you don't have to remortgage your house or sell an organ on Ebay.  The best way is to set a budget and to stick to it.

There have been surveys done that show people are spending an average of $30,000 on a wedding day.  Obviously there are people who spend way more than that and if that's what they want to do and they can afford it, then good on them - go crazy.  However, if you'd prefer to spend your well earned money on something else... a house, a car, a holiday, your kids, whatever.... then a budget is the way to go.

ABC Article - How much do weddings really cost

In the past we have written blog posts with ideas on how to have a gorgeous backyard wedding on a budget, so searching for ideas on ways to save is a great start.  

Here's a CCN member's blog post about budget wedding ideas



Next, make a list up of all the things you'd like or that you think you have to have at a wedding, then put them into two lists:  

1. the things you definitely can't live without and 2. the things you can.

Things like:

the designer dress.....the huge bridal party.....the trillions of guests.....the venue/location.....the open bar.....the vintage cars - [which I think are really cool... but It's not me who is paying].....the hens/bucks nights/bridal shower/kitchen tea/etc....the flowers .....the DJ/Live band.....the cake.
 
Then while you're looking at that list and trying to convince your partner that you really can't live without those designer shoes try and remember what the day is actually about.  It's about the two of you pledging your love to each other and getting married.....
and you won't be any less married if you aren't wearing those Manolo Blahniks.

 
Tips to sticking with a budget:



1.
do your homework

2.
write everything down

3.
be in agreement with each other about it and discuss any changes

4.
Ask a third party to be your voice of reason

5.
Keep a picture of your ultimate goal for after the wedding ie: holiday destination, house or car up on the fridge or near your computer to keep you motivated not to spend all your savings on this one day.


 
 
When it comes to your cermeony - marriage, commitment, vow renewal, naming or any other life event you're celebrating, speak to a CCN Celebrant

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?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  
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?Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!
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Oct
31

Questions to ask other than... "How much do you charge?"

Questions to ask other than... "How much do you charge?"

Yes, I agree - sticking to a budget is very important when planning a ceremony - of any kind, especially a wedding which can blow out very easily.  However when you're choosing your celebrant, price should be the last question that you ask about.  You are going to engage a person that you probably haven't met before to perform the ceremony at one of the most important events of your life, so wouldn't you like to know a bit about them?  Wouldn't you like to know that they are a good fit and are able to provide the service that you have dreamed about?

Asking any wedding supplier if they available on your chosen date is probably the first question you would need to ask, but there are a few other questions that are more important than price that can help you to make sure you are a good fit for each other.



When you book your caterer, you would probably first ask if they can provide the food that you want served

When you book your band or DJ, you would first ask if they can play the music that you want for your reception

When you book your reception venue, you would probably first ask if they can accommodate the amount of people that you are inviting

So, why then, when people book their celebrant do they make their first question all about price?

Do they think that all celebrants are the same?



Do they think that all celebrants do is turn up for 20 minutes on a Saturday and say some words? 
(See last week's blog for what celebrants really do)

Well, there are over 8,000 civil celebrants registered with the Attorney General's Department and with that comes over 8,000 different personalities, styles and ways of doing things.  So here are a few more questions that you might want to ask to make sure that you are hiring the perfect person for the most important part of your wedding day.  

Remember, without your celebrant, you're just throwing a really expensive party.

1. Are you available?

2. What services do you offer

3. What are your thoughts on marriage equality?

4. How many ceremonies have you performed?

5. What made you want to become a celebrant?

6. I would like to have my horse as my best man - do you like horses? (or other niche requests)



7. Do you provide a PA system?

8. Do you speak any other languages other than English?

9. Are you willing to travel?

10. Are you willing to dress up in a costume?

11. Would you like to perform our ceremony?



12. We'd like our dogs to carry the rings.... are you ok with dogs?

13. We're naturists and we'd like a nude ceremony - are you comfortable with that?

14. Do you have ideas for including our children/family in the ceremony?

Every couple and every ceremony is going to be different and not every celebrant is going to fit the wants and needs of every one.  So meet with potential celebrants and ask questions and if you find a celebrant that ticks all of your boxes, that's when you'd ask about their price.....

Remember, the most expensive isn't always the best so it's important that you find the best fit.  Celebrants will charge you what they think they and their services are worth, so if you've found somebody who is perfect for you and they're available, then my guess is that they're worth every cent!



To find a CCN Celebrant in your area - click HERE

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Thank you for 
joining us....

?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  
There is a comment section ? at the bottom ⬇ of the blog for you to do just that.  
?Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!
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Oct
03

Why would I want to know about relationship education?



Why would I want to know about

relationship education?



Today’s blog starts off with a legal note about the rules that are set out in the Marriage Act (and the Guidelines to the Act) for all Commonwealth Registered Civil Celebrants.



Rules
To quote “As soon as practicable after receiving the NOIM, an authorised celebrant must give the parties a document outlining the obligations and consequences of marriage (subsection 42(5A) of the Marriage Act). This document has been approved by the Attorney‑General in the form of a brochure entitled Happily Ever Before and After, and indicates the availability of marriage education and counselling and other important legal matters concerning marriage.


A notation of the giving of the document should be made by the authorised celebrant in the appropriate space on the reverse side of the NOIM. If the space is left blank it will indicate that the authorised celebrant has not fulfilled their obligations.”

Scales
And, yes there is more with the Code of Practice stating “ Item 6 requires Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants to maintain up-to-date knowledge about the range of information and services designed to enhance and sustain marrying couples throughout their relationship, not just in the period immediately preceding the marriage ceremony. Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants must also inform marrying couples about this range of services. Meeting this obligation requires ongoing action by Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants. The family relationship services available in their area should be reviewed by them annually at least to ensure the information they provide to marrying couples is up-to-date.” 
So, what do all of these legal words mean? 

Relationship blog pamphlet
Your Commonwealth Registered Marriage Celebrant is legally required to give a copy of “Happily Ever Before and After” to both the bride and groom as soon as practicable after receiving your Notice of Intended Marriage. 

This handy brochure outlines some points that you might need to consider:

  • Health and welfare benefits
  • Changing your name
  • Citizenship
  • Making a Will
  • Taxation after Marriage
As well as some information about strengthening your marriage with:
  • Before Marriage : Marriage Education
  • During Marriage : Family Counselling
  • Marriage Breakdown : Dispute Resolution.

This brochure has also been translated into a variety of different languages if English is not your first language. Your celebrant can obtain a copy for you very quickly as they are also available in PDF format.  The brochure also provides information about the Family Relationships Online Website and Advice Line.

Relationship blog Family Relationship

The other important part of the legal requirements for all Commonwealth Registered Marriage Celebrants, is that your celebrant must keep up to date with information about the local Family And Marriage Counsellors in your area, and should provide you with a list of these practitioners at the time that they give you your copies of “Happily Ever Before and After”.

Relationship Education and Counselling has gotten a bad rap over the years, with people thinking it is only for couples who are heading for the divorce court.

However, Relationship Education prior to your wedding can highlight all the good parts of your relationship where you are really compatible, and tease out the areas that you might need to work on, and let’s be truthful, every married couple has a handful of these.

Most counseling is done in a relaxed setting, with lots of talking, lots of laughter, lots of agreement, lots of ah-ha moments and lots to take home to discuss.

Relationship blog discuss


Counseling Services in your area can support you before getting married and throughout your marriage if tricky issues become sticking points, and they offer a safe space to discuss the myriad of concerns that every married couple has over the years, especially in this fast paced, high stress society.

Counseling is no guarantee, but it can provide a solid framework of understanding for your marriage to grow.

Click here if you'd like to speak to a CCN Celebrant about getting married or obtaining more information about Relationship services in your area.

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?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  
There is a comment section ? at the bottom ⬇ of the blog for you to do just that.  
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Sep
26

It's Time



It's Time!


Spring equinox 23rd September 2017


It's officially spring....
the flowers are blooming...
 new life is emerging....


Photo courtesy of The French Click

IT'S TIME to book your celebrant

If you are planning on getting married anytime in the next eighteen months (that’s how long your NOIM is valid for) then call and book your celebrant soon and get that paperwork done.

You can still get married this spring if you're quick, the Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form must be lodged with your celebrant one month before the ceremony; plenty of time still for a November wedding.


Photo courtesy of The French Click

IT'S TIME to plan your summer celebrations

Clean up the garden, pack away the winter clothes, and make your bookings for festivals, concerts, holidays, backyard BBQs and beach weddings.

elaine blog3
Photo courtesy of The French Click 

IT'S TIME to have your say on marriage equality


Interesting Fact from Wikipedia: With several countries revising their marriage laws to recognise same-sex couples in the 21st century, all major English dictionaries have revised their definition of the word marriage to either drop gender specifications or supplement them with secondary definitions to include gender-neutral language or explicit recognition of same-sex unions.  The Oxford English Dictionary has recognised same-sex marriage since 2000. 


 Haven't Voted Yet?
  
Fill in and post your Vote as soon as possible and if you would like more information visit

CCN's Marriage Equality section. 

elaine blog4


Remember not to add anything other than the response required (i.e. no comments, no glitter, etc) or your survey response could be invalid.

If you’ve lost or damaged your ballot, you can request a new one from the Australian Bureau of Statistics here any time before October 20th.

IT'S TIME to begin planning the final celebration

If you plan on living your life to the end, then you can start by talking to a celebrant about recording ‘your life story’ or filling in those important documents such as: Advance Health Directive, Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship, a valid Will (who gets what) and emotional will (words of love and wisdom)



Don’t leave it to your family to make difficult decisions at an emotional time, have the conversation now.

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Passage of Time

Sadness passes with time 
A hollow field blanketed with snow 
Soon fills with swaying blooms A darkened sky suddenly illuminates            
A weary traveller’s way 
And Spring follows a Winter’s road 
Which butterflies array 
Somewhere, somehow, shadows 
Give way to sunbeams 
Life’s fabric is painted with promised purpose 
And each day new freshness springs 
Laughter envelops an empty room 
And a broken heart sings 
With an abandonment of joy 
As it finally kisses the dawn 
Of a bright new day!


Little Pebbles and Stepping Stones, Compositions from the heart by Ruth Van Gramberg - 2005


For more information on any of the above or to contact a Celebrant near you visit
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?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  
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?Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!
? Don't forget to subscribe ? to this blog - the "subscribe" button is up the top of the page ⇞⇞⇞ and the blog will magically ?? appear in your email inbox ?.
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Sep
01

Day of Love Ceremony Credits

"I hope you don't mind
that I put down in words
 
How wonderful this life is
while you're in the world"
 
 
Elton John



Each of these celebrants is offering you a credit for any ceremony if you call today to make a booking. 

So, check out these amazing celebrants and get on the phone and start booking .... #sharethelove



Shell Brown - Mandurah, WA


Elaine Dinnigan - Perth, WA



Sonia Collins - Batemans Bay, NSW

 


Susie Roberts - Grafton, NSW

 


Fiona Hall - Central Coast, NSW



Anna Wong - Melbourne, Vic

 You can find all our other fabulous celebrants HERE 

Thank you for being a part of CCN's Day of Love

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Thank you for 
joining us....

?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  
There is a comment section ? at the bottom ⬇ of the blog for you to do just that.  
?Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!
? Don't forget to subscribe ? to this blog - the "subscribe" button is up the top of the page ⇞⇞⇞ and the blog will magically ?? appear in your email inbox ?.
Also please feel free to share ? our blog on your social media ? so we can spread the love ?! 
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Find us on FacebookInstagram & Twitter

 

 

 
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Aug
03

Make your wishes known now - before it's too late

Make your wishes known now - before it's too late

In keeping with CCN’s contribution to Dying to Know Day next week our blog today is about the importance of making your wishes known before it’s too late.

While no one really likes to think too much about dying it makes sense to prepare for death in the same way that we prepare for other major events in our lives. 

Let’s explore some of the benefits in forward planning...
 
None of us know exactly when or how we are going to die, but you can make your wishes and preferences for your end of life care known by making an Advance Care Plan or Directive.  This will let your family and doctors know what you would like if you are no longer able to make decisions or communicate your wishes.  You can nominate someone to make your health care decisions for you and you can state what is and is not acceptable to you – for example, are there treatments or outcomes that would not be acceptable to you?  



Do you have a legally valid Will?

According to the NSW Trustee and Guardian, 45% of Australians don’t. If you are one of them, there is a risk that your estate – property, money and other assets will be distributed according to a legal formula instead of following your wishes. 
 


So make a Will now!!

What about your funeral? 

You can really help your family out by letting them know what you would prefer – church or civil service, burial or cremation, who to notify of your death, any special music, photos or readings for the ceremony.  It will be much easier for your family or friends to make arrangements if they feel confident that they are fulfilling your wishes.  Rather than saying “just put me in the compost” why not write down and talk about your wishes and tell the family of any plans you have put in place such as a pre-paid funeral arrangement. 



If you are not sure what is possible for funerals why not talk to a CCN funeral celebrant.

Leave a special legacy by recording your life story 

This might be in words, pictures or both.  It might be a published autobiography or a hand filled photo album.  How many times have you wished that you asked your grandfather more about his wartime service or looked at a family photo and wondered who that very old man in the centre of the photo is? 



We live in such a rapidly changing society that the things we thought were normal and mundane when we were young, now seem like ancient history to our grandchildren. Your first job may not even exist today. Your first car may now be viewed as a vintage model.  

If you would like ideas and help to get started with recording your life story contact a CCN celebrant


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Thank you for 
joining us....

?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  
There is a comment section ? at the bottom ⬇ of the blog for you to do just that.  
?Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!
? Don't forget to subscribe ? to this blog - the "subscribe" button is up the top of the page ⇞⇞⇞ and the blog will magically ?? appear in your email inbox ?.
Also please feel free to share ? our blog on your social media ? so we can spread the love ?! 
Please use this ? link: https://www.celebrations.org.au/blog when you share. ? 
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Jun
25

5 Tips for Staying Calm on Your Wedding Day

All the planning for your special day is complete.  You have chosen the perfect music, you're wearing the perfect wedding ensemble, your ceremony location is even more picturesque than even you could have imagined, you've taken care of every last detail.

With so much effort having gone into creating such an amazing day there are sure to be a few nerves.  Not only do you have to handle the pressure of everyone wanting your attention, but you also feel the stress of wanting everything to go smoothly.

Pre-wedding jitters are totally normal and we're here to help you with these 5 tips for staying calm through your marriage ceremony.

Be Yourself

 

Try and remember that this ceremony is about you and your partner declaring your love and promising to live a beautiful life together.  It is not a performance for your guests.  Nobody is expecting more from you than you are able to give.  If you are nervous about talking in public, then just imagine it is you and your partner (and your celebrant) simply having a chat.  Most couples who were nervous beforehand say afterwards that it wasn't nearly as bad as they thought it was going to be.

Delegate! Delegate! Delegate!
 


You (and your partner) have important things to be thinking about; your sole job today is to get married.  Leave all of the other side bits and pieces to somebody else.  Either employ a Day-of Wedding-Co-ordinator or ask a trusted friend to take care of all those last minute things.

Keep Up The Communication

 

It's important to keep up communication on the day of your wedding. With your fiance, check on how you are both feeling.  If you are choosing to not see each other before the ceremony, then you could write each other a little note confirming your feelings and putting their minds at ease; with your Day-of Co-ordinator/trusted friend, keeping them informed as things change (also a great idea is to give this person's phone number to your celebrant and other suppliers); with your bridal party - if you're feeling nervy, let them know so they can help you through it.

Let It Go


Photo Credit: Arina B. Photography

There are going to be things that go wrong - there I said it.  You have to accept that and move on.  The most important thing on this special day is not whether the flowers are the right colour or if the flowergirl tipped all the petals on the ground in one place, then stormed off...... The most important thing is that you and your partner get married.  Everything else is decoration and/or funny.

Find The Funny


Speaking of flowergirls doing the dump and run... being able to laugh relieves stress and nerves tremendously!  You might like to speak to your celebrant about including a funny story into your ceremony, helping you to relax whilst engaging your guests.

Why not contact our CCN Celebrants to ensure a stress free ceremony.

* __________________________________________________________ *

Thank you for joining us....

?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  

There is a comment section ? at the bottom ⬇ of the blog for you to do just that.  

?Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!

? Don't forget to subscribe ? to this blog - the "subscribe" button is up the top of the page ⇞⇞⇞ and the blog will magically ?? appear in your email inbox ?.

Also please feel free to share ? our blog on your social media ? so we can spread the love ?! 

Please use this ? link: https://www.celebrations.org.au/blog when you share. ?

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Recent comment in this post
Sonia Collins
And I'd like to add - Trust your Celebrant. We understand that the big day can leave you feeling nervous but we are professionals... Read More
Saturday, 16 July 2016 18:09
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Sep
03

10 Reasons why you should join CCN

CCN is a not-for-profit association for professional civil celebrants with a focus on promoting our celebrant members and a range of ceremonies and celebrations to the public.   CCN Members are marriage celebrants, religious celebrants, memorial and funeral celebrants, family and naming celebrants, student celebrants and celebrants for all occsions.

Here are just 10 of the reasons why you should join us...

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May
02

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

A day for Mums to sit back and relax whilst her family dotes on her by making breakfast, taking her out to lunch, doing odd jobs around the house and bringing her flowers and gifts…. If she’s anything like my mum you will probably find her tidying up after all those activities and arranging the lunch herself! 
 
A mother’s work is never done!

Here are some fun ideas to do with younger kiddies…

Find the Funny: Start a new tradition this year by creating a family comic strip. Take a long sheet of paper, and draw three or four large squares next to one another, like a newspaper comic strip. Then think of an event, or something funny that happened this Mother’s Day and draw it in the panel. You can include dialogue, a date, and a title. Make your Mum the central character.  Save your comic strip, and create another one next year and others in years to come. Year by year, you will have built an amazing book.

 


Planting Memories: Spend the day in the garden with Mum planting some of her favourite flowers that together you can water and look after.  Together you can create labelled markers to stick in the dirt with the flowers with the date.

 



Mother’s Day Selfie:  Start another family tradition of taking funny selfies of your family with your Mum as the central figure.  Then you can print them out and make a collage of the day.  You can look back on that every day and remember how special your Mum is.

 

What about some fabulously fun ways for the grown ups to celebrate Mother’s Day?

A family reunion - gather all your beloved family members together at a park or someone’s backyard and whilst you bbq and share out the potato salad, you can share stories of why the mothers in the group are so wonderful.

 


Share in your Mum’s hobbies - maybe gardening is her passion, she might like old Doris Day movies, or she might just love pottering in the kitchen making those mini cakes she’s famous for - get in there with her.  Learn, laugh, love.



Surprise Mum with a “This Is Your Life” Ceremony - all you need to do is speak to a celebrant and together you can pull off the most fantastic surprise for your Mum.



Click here for more information

Every year my Mum says “All I would like is some flowers and and choccies.  I don’t need anything else.”  But she does get more than that, even if she doesn’t realise it.



I’m not talking about tangible, wrapped handkerchiefs or scented candles or soaps, I’m talking about the unconditional love, admiration and gratitude for everything that she does for me.  To me, she is more than my Mum - she’s my best friend and it brings a tear to my eye to even say the words ‘I’d be lost without her’, but there are lots of people out there who will be celebrating Mother’s Day without their Mums.  Your Mum will always be special and it's important to keep them in your memory.

* Make her favourite recipe

* Sew all her old scarves together into a patchwork quilt

 CLICK HERE you'll find some more lovely ideas to keep her close with you this Mother’s Day.

Thank you for joining us....

?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  

There is a comment section ? at the bottom ⬇ of the blog for you to do just that.  
 
It looks like this:       

?Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!

? Don't forget to subscribe ? to this blog - the "subscribe" button is up the top of the page ⇞⇞⇞ and the blog will magically ?? appear in your email inbox ?.

Also please feel free to share ? our blog on your social media ? so we can spread the love ?!

Please use this ? link: https://www.celebrations.org.au/blog when you share. ?

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Recent Comments
Anna Wong
A great tribute to Mother's Day. Wishing all mothers a day filled with the knowledge of love and appreciation.
Sunday, 08 May 2016 08:53
Shell Brown
Some beautiful ideas here. Well done CCN team!
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 15:09
816 Hits
Apr
22

The History of CCN

 
Anzac Day this week has really made me think about our history and in particular, the history of CCN, and who better to chat to about it than the founder and now life member of Civil Celebrations Network Inc - Rona Goold.

 



What is your background in celebrancy?

I was appointed a Commonwealth Civil Marriage Celebrant at the age of 42, after working in schools and the health department in a range of roles. I was looking for a career that used my skills and talents, as well as give me the flexibility to work when I chose.

The goal was probably achievable given that a substantial number of celebrants were making a wage from the work - the statistics in 1995 indicated that celebrants averaged 64 weddings per celebrant per year, nothing like the 10-11 average now.



Although I had extensive experience from my previous careers, I had no training in business knowledge and skills.  Also, as a government appointee, one could not ‘tout for business’. One could not advertise in any way that made you stand out from another celebrant, a simple White or Yellow pages line was permissible as was a single line in the Public Notices of a local paper, Nothing more.

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Shell Brown
What a terrific blog! Reading about the history of our association and how it came to be was really interesting. It's also very ... Read More
Friday, 29 April 2016 19:50
847 Hits
Feb
10

Mardi Gras Fair Day 2016!

Party With A Purpose!

 

This Sunday, the 21st February 2016 is the Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day. 

10am - 8pm @ Victoria Park, Camperdown

It is a family day out with community minded stalls, music, food, friends and lots of fun!

 

This year, for the first time, Civil Celebrations Network - CCN will be maintaining a stall to share our vision for family celebrations.  
 
Celebrants do more than just weddings and funerals and there are so many more opportunities throughout our lives to celebrate who we are, what we've achieved and what our future looks like because of the families or communities that surround us.

 

Click last week's blog post to see a list of the life celebrations you could be adding more meaning to.

 

Come and visit our stall at Fair Day and meet some of our fabulous

CCN Family Celebrants.

 

 

Read more about how you can celebrate every stage of your life

 

 

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