Ad-free news, views and advice on the local wedding scene for Canberra ACT and nearby NSW, and on getting married in Australia in general. With Michele Bolitho, registered civil marriage celebrant for well over one thousand wonderful weddings. ... Your day is my focus. That's my promise. It's my pleasure.

14 December 2011

Tuggeranong Homestead hosts the happiest wedding, and we get my favourite photo for the year

Hello, and welcome
     Last month it was my great pleasure to join in the joy of Rebecca and Scott's wedding. I love this photo Rebecca sent me. It instantly became my favourite photo for 2011. 
     I started this post pre-Christmas, and I'm glad to be finishing it before this year finishes, as I head to a midnight picnic to watch the fireworks with my husband David. 
     I wish you all the very best for 2012. 
My favourite wedding photo of 2011 from hundreds collected throughout this year.
This photo of Scott and Rebecca being presented to their guests as newlyweds, reminds me completely of just why I enjoy my job so much. I think the beautiful bride and handsome groom look like models on a wedding website!
     Scott and Rebecca were married at the recently refurbished Tuggeranong Homestead.   After the ceremony, I spent some time talking with Neil, our host. He has done wonderful things with this historic Canberra asset. 
     There's a new pergola for ceremonies, and close to this, is a large building like a shearing shed, set up for the celebrations to follow. Neil and his team have been meticulous with the restorations and the new gardens are a lovely enhancement to this unique place. It has the friendly feel of a country setting but it's right in the suburbs, across the road from Calwell shops. 
     I'm so glad that the old Homestead has been rejuvenated as I've had several weddings there over the years and, though it was always a good venue, it had potential to be so much more. 
     You could also consider having a winter wedding inside the historic building. I've been to a winter wedding there, with fires burning in the old fireplaces, and it all worked very well. 
     While I was still wandering around taking some photos to let you know about this excellent venue, I had a couple of barbecued prawn kebabs. Yum! The other pre-reception food coming around with the drinks looked delicious and the serves were very generous. 
     If you book Tuggeranong Homestead for your wedding, the cafe will be closed and you'll have the place all to yourself. What a convenient venue for locals to 'escape to the country' and 'get away from it all', so close to home! What a memorable venue for sharing with interstate visitors, our easy-going Canberra 'city in the country' lifestyle. 
     There are more photos in the slideshow to the right of this blog post. Don't you just love the Tuggeranong Homestead post in the photo on the right?

Lee and Colin married in the Heart Garden
     My last wedding for the year was last week, when Lee and Colin married in my beautiful romantic Heart Garden. (Available free of charge for small weekday weddings, since we have no registry office weddings in the ACT.)
     The wedding of Colin and Lee was another very joyful event. In all the cool weather we've had in Canberra this December, we got a glorious summer day. 
     From this wedding I have many memories of sunshine and laughter to bring to a close another wonderful year for me as a civil marriage celebrant.

     Thank you for visiting my blog. I'm thrilled to know I've had over 22,000 page views of my 56 posts, even though I'm writing for a small, select, mostly local population. It makes me feel like we're having a two-way conversation. 
     If you have any questions, please put them in the comment area below, and I'll answer them as soon as I return from holiday for my first 2012 wedding on Friday January 20.
     
Farewell to 2011, and to newlyweds Colin and Lee
as they leave the Heart Garden to begin married life together.
     
If you would like me to be your celebrant, please phone me (from January 20) any day between 9am and 9pm on my mobile 0406 376 375. Or email me. I'll be checking my emails every few days (when my ship's in port) and text messages will reach me. I would love to be your celebrant on your wedding day as you too, make happiest memories to last you a lifetime.

Till next time
Sincerely
Michele

30 November 2011

A sprinkling of sweet gentle rose petals instead of confetti or bubbles

Hello, and welcome
Early November sees the first flush of roses in Canberra, and what better place to enjoy the glory than our national heritage Rose Gardens at Old Parliament House. The House of Reps garden is my personal favourite.
     On 11-11-11, Paige and Justin married in the garden. It was a perfect morning and a very happy occasion. Their photographer, Pamela Heggaton of Brilliantl Family Photography sent me some lovely, romantic photos. As I usually do, when I put photos in a blog post, I like to put others in the slideshow to the right. You'll see more from Pam there and also on this dedicated page on her website.
     I've also included in the slideshow, lots of photos I took before Paige arrived, to show you what an exquisite venue this is in late Spring. It's FREE, and it truly is a national treasure. 
(Please note here that photos from older posts appear in the 'Slideshow Archives' on the right.)
I took this one:
Pam took this one:
    Because this post is about roses, I want to tell you about a beautiful service that's available to all local brides, even though it's based in South Australia. Simply Rose Petals.com
     In an email to me last year, Sarah, the co-founder, wrote, after I told her of my pleasure in discovering her site:
"If there’s ever anything we can help you with (even something as simple as helping one of your brides pick her rose petal colours), please let me know.:" 
     I've been sprinkling brides with rose petals from my own garden in this last month and I think it's such a pretty, gentle thing to do. They're biodegradable as well as beautiful, and they won't leave spots on delicate bridal-frock fabric like bubbles may do. Unlike confetti, rose petals haven't been banned in public places.
    On such a memorable date as 11-11-11, it's not surprising that I had another wedding booked later in the day. The weather stayed perfect for Margot and Stephen who married at 5 in the Senate Courtyard of Old Parliament House
     (Note the rose petals on the red carpet.)
     This is one of my favourite venues because it's private, enclosed and elegant, and, with the large wooden pergola, it's well-set up for wedding ceremonies. It easily accommodates musicians as well.
     It's clear that Stephen and Margot are enjoying being married to the max! 

I'd be delighted to take the celebrant role on your day of days. There's plenty of information about the services I provide in the Wedding Pages, top right of this post. 
     If you have any questions, please feel free to phone me on 02 6161 0718 any day between 9am and 9pm, or on my mobile 0406 376 375. Or email me and I'll reply very soon.

Till next time
Sincerely
Michele

31 October 2011

Discovering da Nunzio's at Yerrabi Pond Gungahlin

Hello, and welcome
     This beautiful capital city of ours is just full of wonderful surprises! Last Friday, October 28, I discovered Yerrabi Pond District Park in Gungahlin, and I certainly intend to go back.
Just married!
Katya and Stan sign the certificates
     Katya and Stan were married in my Heart Garden and they invited me to join them for dinner. I have known Stan for many years. Please note here that there is no expectation when you book a civil marriage that you invite your celebrant to your reception.
    We all went to da Nunzio CaffĂ© Bar Restorante, across the road from Yerrabi Pond. What a great venue! The view is superb. I met Nunzio and he told me that the restaurant, with inside and outside dining, can cater for a wedding of up to 150. Their modern Italian style food is excellent. The friendly staff welcomed us and attended to our every need. I liked da Nunzio’s so much I'll go there for lunch on Saturday November 12, after I attend the wedding of Julie and Dale at their home in Giralang.

Would you like to marry in the Heart Garden?
     If you love cool shady paths through beautiful places, as I do, would you like to marry here in Spring or Summer? 
     I've taken lots of mid-Spring photos recently of the Heart Garden and posted them in an album October in the Heart Garden on my blog Come to my heart garden. You'd be so welcome to have your small weekday wedding here. Click here for information about my Small Simple (but still) Special Service. Occasionally couples fall in love with this lovely venue and have a larger wedding here. On these rare and special occasions, my full service applies.

Shades of Monet's garden in Giverny, France
(which I thoroughly enjoyed visiting)

FYI - Q and A 
(See more Q and A in Wedding Pages 
to the top right of this post)

Q: Who pays for the drinks at a wedding reception?
A: In the old tradition, as little as one generation ago, the groom’s family paid for the drinks. In those days, the father of the bride usually financed the wedding feast. This meant that the bride’s parents were the hosts and they had quite a lot of say about who had to be on the guest list. All this has changed. These days, many couples--if not most--finance their own wedding and reception. They choose the guest list and it’s not uncommon for wedding guests to be mostly friends and closest family only.
     So, who pays for the drinks nowadays?  Usually the marrying couple. The bar is ‘open’ for a specified amount of time and usually there’s a limit preset on the total drinks bill. The couple pays for beer, wines, still and bubbly, as well as soft drinks, mocktails and juices. Guests who wish to drink spirits usually pay for their own.

If you would like me to be your celebrant, please phone me any day between 9am and 9pm on 02 6161 0718, or on my mobile 0406 376 375. Or email me. I'm often at my desk and i will respond quite quickly. 
     It would be my privilege to be there for you both at such a significant and memorable occasion in your life together.

Till next time
Sincerely
Michele

19 September 2011

Getting married in Australia takes time – please take note

Hello, and welcome
Magnolia 'Star Wars' - star of the Heart Garden in early September
I know this was the subject of my last blog post but I want to mention it again. It really needs to be public knowledge.
You must wait one month and one day after you lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant (or church) before you can get married in Australia.
     I have just been helping a young couple who, due to unusual circumstances, want to get married very soon. It’s not that there’s an emergency, it’s that many elaborate and traditional cultural plans have been put in place at great expense and they didn’t know about needing to wait out the month and a day. They want to get married in the Heart Garden before they fly to her homeland for a major celebration. As I type, we are waiting for the Registrar’s adjudication.
     The answer on a request to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for time shortening is rarely ‘yes’. The government expects its citizens to know the law. For exactly fifty years the Marriage Act has decreed the one-month-and-one-day requirement pre-marriage. This law however is hardly ever mentioned in the media. I’m always hoping to spread the word to lots of people. I don’t want other couples to go through the anguish that the couple I am working with right now is experiencing. 
     I hope their news will be good.
George and Louise married in the green room on August 19
Their ceremony was simple but very moving


     Spring in the Heart Garden is glorious! It gets more beautiful every day. If you’d like to have your small simple wedding here on a weekday, you’d be so welcome, and there’s no extra charge for this. (There are no Registry Office weddings in the ACT). If the weather's unpleasant we can hold the ceremony in the green room/meeting room.
     Of course if you’re thinking of getting married soon, you’ll have to wait till late October at the earliest to have your wedding here—or elsewhere. The early roses will be appearing around then.
     My husband David and I have had the happiest weekend, reuniting with many friends from our ANU days. I did a collage of six couples, still close friends of ours, who shared a Bruce Hall romance and have been married ever since. (That's David and me on the right)


3 Seeds has moved
3 Seeds has moved to its new home at Fyshwick Markets. It’s such a good move I'm sure it will be permanent. I mention this excellent local business because the quality of everything’s so high, and the business belongs to friends of mine. For wedding reception catering, 3 Seeds is superb. 
     The last time I gave 3 Seeds a mention in my blog was to recommend a cooking class with top chef Andrew Haskins as a brilliant concept for a Hens’ Night. You’d learn lots and have heaps and heaps of fun.
     
Romance is certainly in the air as the sap is rising and the blossoms burst. If you’re planning to marry, I’d be delighted to be your celebrant. Please fill out the contact form or email me directly by clicking here. Of course you may prefer to phone. I'm available on 02 6161 0718 any day from 9 am to 9pm, or ring my mobile 0406 376 375.


Till next time

Sincerely,
Michele

18 August 2011

TV romance is not reality

Hello, and welcome

You can't marry in less than a month and a day
First the bad news. Bec and Matt are getting married next week on 'Winners and Losers'. Not that that's bad news. I am happy for them BUT here's just one more opportunity missed to help the Australian public understand their own Marriage Act. 
Bride-to-be Bec,
played by
Zoe Tuckwell-Smith
Groom-to-be Matt
played by
Blair McDonough
     In the storyline this week, the happy reunited couple found a celebrant (stereotypically, a female) who said something like 'they have a strong relationship' and she apparently gave them permission to marry in a week's time.
     I know this is fiction but it could be based on fact. If shows like 'Winners and Losers' spread the word that you can't marry in less than a month and a day (unless you have an extraordinary reason that satisfies the Registrar, not the celebrant) then celebrants would not need to disappoint couples who think they'll be able to legally marry in a shorter time. 
     This time requirement is nothing new. It's been law since 1961 and that's for the lifetime of most couples I'm celebrant for. I'll be glad when it's common knowledge.


Your paperwork can easily be transferred
If you like watching 'Winners and Losers' as I do, then you'll recall that Bec and Matt planned to marry some time ago. Here was a great opportunity to put something in the script like: 'The church said they can send the papers to our celebrant so we can get married next week'. 
     As a celebrant, I'd like to make it more widely known that your Notice of Intended Marriage must be lodged with your celebrant (church or civil) at least one month and one day before the wedding and, just like Matt and Bec, you can change celebrants if you wish, right up to your wedding.
      Last week there was a small private wedding in the Heart Garden for a beautiful young couple who had already married each other on a Mediterranean beach. They planned to legalise their union in marriage at the Registry Office in Sydney but it suited them much better for me to officiate for them in Canberra. The NSW Registrar's office simply posted the paperwork to me by registered mail. Easy.
     I realise that if you're not happy with the celebrant you've chosen, it may not be so easy to negotiate a new one but the good news is, your request to make a change will not be refused. 
     Our role as celebrants is to give you service. If you ask any celebrant to send your Notice of Intended Marriage to another celebrant, they will. Last year I was asked to send a Notice to another celebrant and I was glad the couple had found someone they felt more comfortable with. I've also received paperwork from other celebrants, mostly because they had to go out of town at short notice or weren't well enough to conduct the wedding. 
     Just for the record - in way over 900 weddings I've never been ill or had to find a replacement celebrant for any other reason.
     Everyone wants your wedding to be a happy successful day. If that involves changing your celebrant booking, go right ahead and do it. It's your day. You only plan to do this once. Everything needs to be just right.
Real-life happy couple Deb and Mick chose me as their
celebrant for their wedding on August 7
I'm very happy to say
     If you decide I'm right for your wedding, I'll be delighted to be your celebrant. Please  feel free to phone me any day between 9am and 9pm on 02 6161 0718, or on my mobile 0406 376 375. Or email me. Click here, or fill in this email contact form.
     If you'd like to know more about the full service I provide, I will post you a package of information, along with a Notice of Intended Marriage (and no obligation to lodge it with me).
     Please note that there are Pages of extra information, top right of this blog, including a page with twelve good reasons that I may be just the celebrant you've been looking for for your very special day.




Till next time
Sincerely 
Michele

01 August 2011

Celebrating in Two Harmonious Cultures - An Australian/Korean Wedding

Hello, and welcome 
An young ha se yo. 
Milla and Jay walk down the aisle as their guests clap and cheer, and a friend plays 'Here Comes the Bride'
     On Sunday July 3, Milla and Jay with lots of their friends and church community created a wonderful wedding. Milla dressed in western bridal tradition for the ceremony and cutting the cake. 
She changed to Korean traditional dress for the after party. 
     I felt honoured to be a guest as well as celebrant, and to get the opportunity to experience Korean culture. Loved the traditional Korean way to prepare watermelon (see also in photo slideshow to right of this post) and I intend to always cut watermelon this way from now on! Thank you Jay and Milla for a joyful afternoon.
_________________

Fee Increase Imminent
I am constantly refining and enhancing the services I provide to marrying couples. After more years than I can remember I feel it’s time for a fee increase. 
     As from September 1, the fee for the Simple but still Special Service, exclusive to my beautiful Heart Garden on any weekday of your choice, will be $350. A one-hour meeting in which we can do everything that needs doing to prepare for your wedding and make it legal is included in this fee. Please note here that there is no extra charge for holding your wedding in The Heart Garden. You are my garden's very special guests.
     The fee for my full service at any location in Australia at any time on any day will be $550. This will be payable in two parts - $250 at the first meeting, which goes for about half an hour, and $300 at the second meeting in the week of the wedding. This meeting where we get to finalise every little thing goes for about an hour. 
     If I need to travel ‘outside city limits’ for the wedding (past Lanyon, Hall, Watson or Queanbeyan) there’ll be an extra fee for return travel beyond those limits ($1.30 per K up to $200 max, like for a return trip to Sydney, Brisbane or the Coast). 
     I have added complete notes about the full service I provide as a PDF on this blog. I’ve uploaded through scrib’d and there’s an easy to follow menu for sharing, enlarging, downloading, storing and printing. You can also 'float' it on your phone. However, I still offer to send these notes to you by ‘snail mail’, along with a Notice of Intended Marriage (and no sense of obligation to lodge it with me). I keep on with this offer simply because I personally still find it's fun to get something good in the real mailbox.
     I think anyone who is planning to marry in Australia and is not familiar with the process will find these notes useful.



Michele Bolitho Civil Marriage Celebrant A2188 at your service
There are now over 10,000 civil celebrants in Australia authorised by the federal Attorney-General and at least 100 of these are in our local region. Out of the 10,000 I was the 2,188th celebrant to be authorised. You can tell how long a celebrant has been authorised – now called ‘registered’ – by their registration number. The lower the number the more experienced the celebrant is likely to be. 
     You may have noticed that sometimes I refer to myself as "the celebrants' celebrant". Five celebrants have chosen me as celebrant for their own weddings. I really appreciate this endorsement of the high quality service I provide by my peers in the industry.

     J and J who are both celebrants came over from South Australia to marry in the Heart Garden on July 9. What a privilege for me, and such a pleasure to share their wedding day. 

     After well over twenty years as a Civil Marriage Celebrant I am still deeply committed to giving marrying couples all the expert knowledge and assistance they need to have a very successful wedding, just the way they want it.
     Together we can create for you a wedding ceremony that will be truly memorable for all the right reasons, for both of you as well as all the special people in your lives who’ll be joining you for this most significant life event.
     If you'd like me to officiate for you as your celebrant, I'd be delighted to do so. Please contact me through this contact form, or email me directly
     Or you’re welcome to phone me on 02 6161 0718 between 9am and 9pm any day, including weekends, to discuss your exciting plans. 
     Or phone my mobile 0406 376 375. I am self-employed so I'm readily available to take your call, ring you back quite soon or email in quick response.
     
Till next time
Sincerely
Michele

28 July 2011

Ivy Cafe in Acton - A New Wedding Venue with a WOW! View

Hello, and welcome.
     Little birds are pecking around the plate of ice in the birdbath outside my window, enjoying an icy drink. It was minus 6 in Canberra last night and today we have one of those clear sparkly days that remind us all that we do love to live here in Winter despite the downsides. 
Ru and Sophia married at The Heart Garden on July 20 2011
     Yesterday there was a small private wedding in the Heart Garden, here at my home in Weston. For maximum comfort we had the ceremony inside in the heated green room overlooking the garden, but went outside after the signing for some great photos in the late-afternoon winter sunlight. My beautiful garden even produced a rare and special genuine English snowdrop (galanthus) for the lovely young bride. 
     The wedding of this young English couple was truly a joyous occasion. Due to residency requirements in the UK they were not able to have their legal wedding there next month when they marry in front of family and friends. I had mentioned to them that a small simple ceremony for the main purpose of legalising their marriage would still feel special and very moving. As he was leaving the garden the groom told me he had found this to be so true. To his genuine surprise I think.
     Winter was also kind to us when Sophie and Ru married last Wednesday. They wanted a small simple wedding just for close family before they met up with more family and lots of friends for a cocktail reception afterwards. Ru and Sophie were so happy they just kept smiling and smiling, especially Sophie. 
     The Small Simple but still Special Service I provide at the Heart Garden during the week appeals to couples in quite a few differing circumstances. In this blogpost I’ve mentioned just two. If the ACT had Registry Office weddings I'm sure many of the couples would marry there but yesterday’s groom also mentioned he was so happy to marry at such a beautiful place as my garden.
_______________________________________

Discovering Ivy Cafe
Polly and Alan share their vows,
smiling with happiness
     On Sunday, 2 July I was celebrant and guest, with my husband David, at the wedding of Alan and Polly. Alan is our friend from wayback, and Polly is our new friend. This couple just loves to have fun so even though of course the ceremony had some solemnising, we also had lots of laughs.
     Their venue was Ivy Cafe in Acton. It’s wonderful. The location is superb. It’s just near the Museum. The Cafe is in the historic building that used to be the Staff Centre in the grounds of the ANU. I was celebrant at several weddings there years ago and it was always an attractive venue. (I think it used to be called Old Canberra House.) Now it’s so much more attractive. A huge outdoor area has been built on so you can sit outside the cafe and overlook the lake. Even though it was a chilly sunny winter’s morning, we were well-rugged up and we had the ceremony outside. Inside the cafe was a cosy open fire. 
     I went for a walk down towards the lake and there was another setting there in a sort-of grassy arena that would be brilliant for a spring, summer or autumn wedding. John and I talked about upgrading and extending the gravel path down to this area for a spectacular arrival of the bridal party.
Polly jokes that Alan is now under the thumb!
Notice the glorious background with a view right across to Lake Burley Griffin  


We all had so much fun!
     John is the owner of Ivy Cafe. His number is 02 6257 0605. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday. Recently they’ve opened for Sunday brunch and I couldn’t think of a lovelier place on a sunny Sunday morning. The huge garden which gives this venue privacy is like open grassy bushland with old graceful gumtrees. Maybe it’s the original Monaro environment. John hopes to attract the biking fraternity/sorority who ride around the lake at weekends. I think they’ll love it.
     The food at Ivy Cafe was good honest tasty fare and as far as I know, well-priced. On Saturdays (and I think in the evenings) Ivy Cafe is available for weddings and other functions. I highly recommend Ivy Cafe for location, ambience and friendly service.
___________________________________________

If you’re planning to marry this October . . .

     Long weekends make for great wedding dates. Did you know that this October we’ll have two local long weekends in a row?  The first is Sat Oct 1 till Mon Oct 3 – ACT  SA & NSW Labour Day, WA Queen’s Birthday. The next is Sat Oct 8 till Mon Oct 10 – ACT Family and Community Day.
    I’ll draw to your attention here that if you want to marry in October you must lodge your Notice of Intended Marriage with your celebrant in September. The lodging must be a minimum of one month and one day before the event. FYI getting this time shortened by the Registrar is rarely possible. Actually, if you wish to marry on Saturday October 1 this year you will need to lodge your Notice with your celebrant by Wednesday August 31.

If you would like me to be celebrant at your wedding, in my garden, or in any other location in Australia I'd be delighted to do so. Please feel free to phone me any day between 9am and 9pm on 02 6161 0718, or on my mobile 0406 376 375. Or email me. Click here, or fill in this email contact form.
     If you'd like to know more about the full service I provide, I will post you a package of information, along with a Notice of Intended Marriage (and no obligation to lodge it with me).
     For twelve good reasons that I may be just the right celebrant for your very special day click here and click here if you'd like to see how I'd look and sound as your celebrant. (This video has winter images of the Heart Garden as well.)

     As always, there are extra images in the slideshow to the right to go with what I've discussed in this post. Often I load photos from other recent weddings as well. Hover over the slideshow and it will expand. If you enjoy wedding photos, as I always do, you may also like to visit the photo archives. The latest archive from March this year is this Picasa webalbum.

Till next time
Sincerely
Michele

30 June 2011

Your short and simple wedding can be beautiful as well

Hello, and welcome
Petals of winter-flowering apricot form a soft pink carpet on the lawn
     Here we are in mid-winter and the weather is definitely chilly. Much of the romantic Heart Garden is in hibernation but whenever there’s a wedding, it’s still easy for me to add some loveliness with flowers.
     A couple of weeks ago, for the wedding of Steph and Geoff, there was a stunning blue pot of white and pink camellia, plus lots of pots of violas that I’ve enjoyed colour co-ordinating. Our big winter-flowering apricot (prunus mume ‘The Geisha’) has come into full bloom, right on cue. The green room (my meeting room) is a cosy option on a chilly day. The bride and groom can stand in the bay window, with the garden around and behind them.
     Here are some photos from the wedding of Geoff and Steph whose happiness was contagious. Steph arrived unmarried and rather nervous. 

Very soon after, in this lovely magical place, she became a wife, beaming with delight. Geoff totally enjoyed the wedding as well. (More photos in the slideshow to the right of this post.)





At the small private wedding here the week before, a huge pot of sasanqua camellia and late-flowering fuchsia added a special splash of colour that complemented the bright colours in the bouquet of the very beautiful bride. (Wish I could show you more photos but the wedding was small and private, close family only.) 
     To celebrate, the bride prepared a treat for us all - champagne with preserved hibiscus flowers, adding an exotic sweetness and exquisite colour.

     There'll be two weddings in the Heart Garden next week. Blossoms and polyanthus flowers will still be brightening the winter scene. It’s good that the days are already noticeably longer and the shadow over the garden of our north-facing house on winter days is getting smaller.

Signing the register in the bay window of the green room
     I have just updated my notes about the Simple (but stillSpecial) Service I provide in my garden on weekdays. I have added more features, like the opportunity to linger in the garden, have a glass of champagne in a crystal glass and take photos, rather than leave straight after the ceremony. (Of course you may still do this if you wish.). I put many hours into preparing for weddings here and I love it when visitors want to stay a while, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and taking lots of photos. 
     The maximum number of guests is around six, including the witnesses.
     Occasionally a bride just falls in love with the Heart Garden and I agree to having a larger wedding here. My full fee of $500 then applies. These larger weddings would be held in Spring, Summer or Autumn. My Simple Small Service is available on weekdays between 9 and 5 all year round and the garden is endlessly welcoming.
      If you would like me to be celebrant at your wedding, in my garden, or in any other location in Australia I'd be delighted to do so. Please feel free to phone me any day between 9am and 9pm on 02 6161 0718, or on my mobile 0406 376 375. Or email me. Click here, or fill in this email contact form.
     If you'd like to know more about the full service I provide, I will post you a package of information, along with a Notice of Intended Marriage (and no obligation to lodge it with me). 
     Please note that there are Pages of extra information, top right of this blog, including a page with twelve good reasons that I may be just the celebrant you've been looking for for your very special day.

Till next time
Sincerely
Michele

16 May 2011

Just like Kate and Will, you too can ride in grand style in a genuine royal carriage

Hello, and welcome

Michelle and Aj married in The Heart Garden on May 5
     On Mothers’ Day, my sister and I took our dear Mum to Devonshire coffee at Crisp Galleries and Lavender Gardens, a large rural property on the Hume Highway, just past Bowning and one of my favourite wedding places. This amazing place is now even more amazing. Along with the beautiful gardens with lots of wedding site options and the unique ‘performance space’ which is perfect for grand concerts and memorable wedding receptions, there are now two new features. One is a woolmill. It’s truly extraordinary and in October will be opened by a very important person (and I’ll return to this post to mention her if I find out from Peter Crisp that it’s OK to do so) but the woolmill is not so relevant to this blog. 
Photo from Getty Images
     
     At Crisp Gardens and Galleries, there is now a coach museum. Yes, a coach museum! And in that museum there are coaches for brides to arrive in spectacular fashion at their wedding ceremony.       There’s a brilliant old hearse in mint condition but of course, you would not be choosing that one. There’s an original omnibus but you wouldn’t be needing that much space. 
     The obvious choice is the landau used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Yes, their actual royal coach! Not a replica, but the real thing. That’s why I'm writing in this blog that you can be just like the royal couple, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester as you travel in royal style on your own wedding day.  
     As you can imagine, the fittings in the royal coach are superb – very elegant and of the highest quality. There are more photos in the slideshow to the right of this post 
Photo from Crisp Galleries collection
   Another thing I appreciate about Crisp Gardens and Galleries is the enthusiastic way that Jeannine, the wedding co-ordinator and tender of the massive gardens, enthusiastically recommends me as a celebrant. I like to tell you in my blogs of venues to consider for your wedding and it’s nice for me to be recommended in return. Jeannine keeps a comprehensive folder of wedding service providers so if you choose to marry there, she can advise you on celebrants, caterers, transport options and local accommodation providers. 
     Click here to see a gallery of great photos. There's a photo of me in this one. If you prefer a more modern form of transport than horse and grand carriage, you'll also see in this photo, the helicopter that flew in the groom and his attendants. (There's also an airfield at C G and G)


     Nicole and Jig were married at Crisp Gardens and Galleries last month. The ambience was perfect for their informal get-together of family and special friends.      
     Jig and Nicole were so pleased to use a table for their signing that had been sculpted by their late friend Michael Murphy. Check out the table legs and feet! 
     Crisp Gardens and Galleries is a venue for the work of many sculptors and artists. At the moment, a chain-saw sculptor from Wales, Adam Humphreys is in residence and his prolific work adds character and interest around the gardens.


Congratulations Nicole and Jig!

Plenty of room for a party
______________________________________________



When Aj and Michelle turn to face each other to make their vows,
Michele the Celebrant hands Michelle's flowers to friend Michelle

   In The Heart Garden
     For the wedding of Michelle and Aj on Wednesday May 4, the weather was brilliant. In the late morning sunshine, we held the ceremony outside. 
     For the wedding of Hoami and Rob last Thursday May 12, even though the sun was shining in mid-afternoon, it was much cosier in the green room (my meeting room). There are windows in three walls and the autumn sunlight streamed in.
     There’s a small wedding here on Wednesday morning. It may be inside or out. We got our first big frost for the year on Saturday night and many flowers immediately froze – begonias, fuchsias, marigolds and impatiens. Colour in the garden now is mostly coming from autumn trees and vines, and there are plenty of those. Pansies, violas, polyanthus and camellias are coming into bloom and more sunlight comes into the garden as the trees lose their leaves. 
     You’d be most welcome to have your small wedding in the Heart Garden (or inside). Any weekday between 9 and 5, at no extra cost. After a couple of wet wedding days lately, I have made the maximum number of guests six so there’s plenty of room in my meeting room on a wet or cold day for the ceremony, the signing and the celebratory drinks.
     If you'd like to marry in my beautiful garden (especially in Spring)and you plan to have more than six guests, you are also most welcome to do so. In this case you may invite up to 40 guests but I ask you to have a back-up plan for wet, cold or fiercely hot weather. Perhaps your reception venue. Again, there is no extra cost to marry in my Heart Garden in Weston.
Looking out the Heart Garden gate
     Now that winter is imminent, things tend to go quiet on the wedding scene. Winter is a great time to get married though as you can marry in a warm place inside, free of weather worries. I plan to do a blog soon about the research into venues with open fires I have done for a bride recently. You'll also get lots of options for your reception venue in winter, and probably some really good prices as well.
     If you would like me to be celebrant at your wedding, in my garden, or in any other location in Australia I'd be delighted to do so. Please feel free to phone me any day between 9am and 9pm on 02 6161 0718, or on my mobile 0406 376 375. Or email me. Click here, or fill in this email contact form.
     If you'd like to know more about the full service I provide, I will post you a package of information, along with a Notice of Intended Marriage (and no obligation to lodge it with me). 
     Please note that there are Pages of extra information, top right of this blog, including a page with twelve good reasons that I may be just the right celebrant for your very special day.

Till next time
Sincerely
Michele