'The Wedding' starring Bianca & Lachlan NOW SHOWING

I pledge to not get frustrated that your diet consists mostly of jerky and beer
I pledge to make you all the salami and cheese toasties you can eat
I pledge to always be your number 1 fan because I truly believe you are all things
I pledge to be your person
— - Bianca

It's not often that you meet a couple like Bianca and Lachlan. When I first met them for a casual coffee in East St Kilda, I was instantly blown away by the personality that is Bianca. She is outgoing, loving, outrageous, and unashamedly herself. And together, they make an amazing team. Bianca and Lachlan have been together 10 years and have such a wonderfully easy partnership, and there is so much love between them. As we spoke more, and I spent a bit more time with them, I saw more of Lachlan's quiet loveliness, his clever quirkiness, his passion, and the sparkle in their eyes when they looked at each other. These two are a truly wonderful pair and their wedding day was a true reflection of them. 

I vow to watch your movies, sometimes, no matter how bad they are.
I vow to laugh, smile, sing, and dance awkwardly with you.
I vow to be your greatest cheerleader when you’re kicking arse.
I vow to help you kick arse when you need it
— Lachlan

 

The wedding was 'performed' at the stunning Westgarth Cinema in Northcote, and attended by family and friends. There was SO MUCH LOVE in the room. Bianca and Lachlan laughed and cried their way through the ceremony (really..there was snorting..into microphone..) after Bianca ran across the stage and threw herself into Lach's arms when she arrived.  Their lovely friend Andie shared the load with me and helped perform the ceremony, and we were pretty much the wedding ceremony DREAM TEAM.

It's days like this that reaffirm why I do what I do. What a wonderful celebration of love, life and choice this day was. Congratulations you stunning humans, let's do it all over again!

Photo credit to the fab Samara Clifford.

Dave and Dani (aka that amazing couple with the amazing bride in the amazing black dress)..

Dani and Dave are undoubtedly two of the best humans I have EVER met.

At the risk of sounding cliched..I met with them for a drink to discuss their wedding, and we just 'clicked'. They’re the kind of people you could just be chatting with, and suddenly realise that 4 hours have passed, everyone else has left, and the bar has closed!

They are completely themselves. Passionate, loving, clever, spontaneous, and head over heels in love. They embrace life and each other and wanted a celebration that truly reflected them. Well..scroll through and I think you’ll see that they succeeded..

Meeting people like this and being able to play some small role in such a wonderful celebration makes me feel like the luckiest! I look forward to bumping into you again on a Melbourne rooftop somewhere..or maybe a rooftop in some other fabulous part of the world! Congratulations you wonderful pair!

Photos by Rosie Melfi
Ceremony venue: State Libary of Victoria

Reception Venue: Trattoria Emilia

 

Lauren + Jason get hitched!

When Lauren and Jason planned a November wedding, they probably didn't predict that it would pour with rain the whole day before the wedding, and threaten to rain all day on the wedding day! But..it is Melbourne..and that is exactly what happened! Luckily, it turned out that the wet weather made for a gorgeous shiny green setting in the Carlton Gardens, and absolutely stunning photos!

We had a wedding rehearsal the day before their big day, in the exact spot they planned to get married. Lauren was pretty determined that they would stick with the space they had chosen in the gardens and not resort to plan B. The decision was made on the wedding day to brave the grey sky and persistent drizzle, and the weddings gods smiled down on this lovely pair as they said their vows. 

Known for shedding a tear or two, Lauren managed to get through the ceremony without too many tears, as she couldn't hold back her smile.

Lauren and Jason had friends come from all over the world for their big day and it was a wonderfully proud crowd who turned up to celebrate with them. The lengths their friends and family went to to celebrate and be there with them is a testament to this lovely couple, and the joy they bring not only to each other, but to all those around them

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Congratulations Lauren and Jason, thank you for having me involved in your big day. Wishing you a wonderful life together.

Photos by Sheehan Studios. 

Marriage Equality - an open letter to our MPs

You may have noticed that the landing page of my website makes my stance on equal marriage rights pretty clear. I recently moved and enrolled into a new electorate..and discovered that my Federal MP does not support marriage equality. Here is my letter to him asking for a free vote for the Coalition, and for him to support the marriage equality bill recently put forward.


I urge you to support a free vote on marriage equality, and to vote in favour.

I write to you today as one of your constituents. I was born and grew up in Melbourne and have lived my whole life in a wonderfully open and forward thinking community. I am currently in a same sex relationship and have never been on the receiving end of any discrimination, homophobia, or negative comments from anyone in regards to my sexuality. In fact, really the only form of discrimination I have faced to date, is from my own government.

I am turning 30 this year, and have attended and been involved in a number of weddings of close friends in the last few years. I became qualified as a celebrant in 2013, and have performed civil marriage ceremonies for lots of couples; though I am yet to perform a same sex commitment ceremony.  Although I have now performed a number of ceremonies, and now know it off by heart, I still feel a little bit sick in my stomach every time I have to recite the monitum which includes the words ‘between a man and a woman’. The number of people I have had conversations with at weddings who are horrified or embarrassed and squirm in their seats when these words are spoken is astounding. All of the couples I have performed weddings for have wished to add some kind of personal statement into their ceremony stating they do not personally believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

My partner is Irish and we have discussed the fact that we will not get married or have a commitment ceremony until marriage equality is legal in both our countries.  Never did I imagine that stereotypically conservative Ireland with such a catholic history would get there before us. Well done Ireland.

Research suggests that more than 70% of Australians support equal marriage rights. This percentage of our population are not asking for LGBTIQ people to receive any special treatment or consideration. They are only supporting what is right, and asking that discriminatory wording be removed from our legislation. It is in fact illegal in Australia to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and yet that is exactly what our own government is doing.

A free vote will allow all federal representatives to represent their electorates rather than be bound by party policy. This is in line with the Coalition principle of individual freedom. It is also consistent with Coalition policy of allowing a free vote on issues related to marriage and sexuality.

Marriage is a celebration that joins people together and denying same-sex couples this opportunity limits us as a society. Equal Marriage is the only truly fair way.  It will create a climate where the bonds of love and commitment are recognised equally and celebrated widely.

The ability to make equal commitments is fair and just. Discrimination is not.

I urge you to do what is right, and what the Australian people want, by supporting a free vote on marriage equality, and voting for marriage equality.


A Wise Choice - Chloe & Cale - 30th May 2015

It felt like the day had been coming forever. Six and a half years together...a journey full of love and laughter, ups and downs, houses, travel, friends, family...all leading to this day.  As I said during the ceremony, I think everyone around Chloe and Cale had been waiting for this wonderful day maybe even longer than they had.

Chloe - with her keen eye for design and all the pretty things - had planned and designed the gorgeous winter wedding from start to finish.  There were fur shawls for the girls, hand sewn mittens for the guests, a wet weather plan of 'if it rains..we'll get wet', and warming wine for all. The guests enjoyed the open air courtyard as the sun started to set, and were surprised with some twirling under the stars as the bride and groom entered for their first dance, followed by Chloe's amazing Nonna joining in for a boogie.

 

The night continued with so much laughter, and the happy tears flowed as the  crowds were delighted with emotional speeches, more surprise dancing, homemade limoncello, and a gelati man..in case you hadn't had enough to eat and drink!

Chloe and Caleb embody everything that marriage means to me. They are completely devoted and committed to eachother, and to building a life together. They look at each other and their eyes light up. They are so different, and yet are like 2 puzzle pieces that only fit with each other.  A wedding is often a true reflection of the couple getting married, and this wedding reflected so much love, and a couple who gives so much to everyone around them.

My dear friends. It was a true privilege to be included in your perfect day. Wishing you all the love and happiness in the world. xxx

Photos by John Warren

#jilliegilliegethitched - 11/04/2015

'Two peas in a pod..meant to be...a dream come true...a perfect pair..' ...all phrases that have been used to describe Elise and Stewart by various friends and family. They met in 2013 and it was clearly love at first sight. Within 7 months they were engaged, and within 16 months married.

The wedding took place at Elise's parents gorgeous property in Echuca, and boy did Echuca turn  it on for the occasion! Clear blue skies, sunshine, crisp clean air..there were no complaints. The theme of the wedding was multicoloured. The bridesmaids wore bright floral dresses, and everything was decorated with all the colours of the rainbow. Brightly coloured lanterns, flowers, vintage mismatched plates on the table and vases for centrepieces. A stunning rainbow cake with hand crocheted multicoloured flowers made by the bride's endlessly talented Mum, and masses of handmade bunting..sewn by both the bride and the groom-to-be! 

The setting was no doubt absolutely stunning, but it wasn't just that that made the day perfect. Elise and Stewart exude happiness, enthusiasm and positivity. They bring a smile to everything they do and everyone who crosses their path. The vibe at their wedding was no different. Visitors came from far and wide to celebrate with them and there wasn't a single person who wasn't smiling. The ceremony was fun and filled with laughter and happy tears.

In case you didn't love them enough already..Elise and Stewart made a donation to Australian Marriage Equality in lieu of bonbonniere, as an acknowledgement of all the couples who do not yet have the right to marry in Australia.

 

Elise and Stewart it was such an honour to be a part of your big day. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness together.

 

Photo credit goes to the fabulous Tori & Sal. 

I heart New York - James & Suzette say I do.

This is the stuff that movies are made of. Suzette- a Pennsylvania girl, and James - a Melbourne native. Their paths crossed when Suzette was living in New York and James was holidaying there. If they didn't believe in love at first sight before that moment - their minds soon changed. They both acknowledged that they knew from the first meeting that they wanted to spend their lives together. Soon after James returned home to Australia after his travels, he packed up his life and moved to the USA to be closer to his love. 

J&S ceremony

James and Suzette chose the gorgeous Quat Quatta in Ripponlea for their wedding. In true Melbourne weather style, it was a stinking hot day with threatening thunder storms. But nothing was going to stop these two. Their families walked down the aisle with them. He cried. She cried. They both mentioned being each other's 'one and only' in the vows they had written privately. The ceremony was perfect, and the reception was even better, with the champagne and the tears flowing equally! The frozen yoghurt truck that arrived after dessert was the perfect conclusion to their fairytale wedding. Wishing this wonderful couple an amazing life together, wherever you end up!

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A Webber Wedding

So the day finally arrived. Lisa Perkins and Andrew Webber. Lisa and I have been friends for about 15 years, and as housemates in our very first place out of home.  I was around when Lisa first met Andy..little did we know then that they would end up here! 

 

My favourite thing about Lisa and Andy is that they let eachother just be. They cherish the time they spend together, and they allow eachother time and space to have other friends, partake in other activities, and do what it is that makes them happy individually as well. You'll never catch these two giving the other anything but a rave review.

 

It is so special to be able to perform a ceremony for someone you know, and even more so when it is a couple as special as this.  The girls' day started with a lazy morning, and a walk down the street in our matching pyjamas and robes for coffee. I have to say..it didn't get any harder than that! The bride was relaxed and smiling, full of excitement for the day to come. She frequently exclaimed "I can't believe it's really here"!  There were plenty of photos, laughter, food, champagne, and only a few tears. The trip to the gorgeous Encore at St Kilda Beach was perfect, in a red kombi, and it was all too soon when the time came to walk down the aisle. There were only a few tears from the groom as he watched his stunning bride to be walk towards him. The rest of the evening went off without a hitch as the sun went down perfectly timed with photos on St Kilda Pier and the bridal party entered to a packed room full of excited guests. This is one wedding I'll never forget, and one couple I know I will always have in my life. Can't wait to see what's next for these two. Congratulations you gorgeous pair!

Photos by Elise Kapeller.

Judy and Gavan - a day to remember

What a perfect day.

Judy and Gavan chose the intimate venue of Cerberus Beach House for their wedding, which overlooks Half Moon Bay in Black Rock. The ceremony was family only, followed by a reception with close friends. When I went to the venue with Judy a few days before the big event to finalise everything, Half Moon Bay wasn't even visible through the fog that had rolled in on my drive down there. It being the end of August...and it being Melbourne..the weather could have gone either way, but we were blessed with a stunning clear day and a gorgeous sunset.

Congratulations Judy and Gavan. Such a special day.

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A Naming Day for Evie Rose

My gorgeous friends Mel and Nic asked me a few months ago if I would perform a naming ceremony for their beautiful little Evie at her first birthday party.

It was a perfect day. The sun was shining, there were family members, friends, 40+ children, presents, cake and singing. We had readings from her 'Oddparents', and a time capsule to be opened on her 18th birthday - with contributions from all in attendance.

I have such a great affection for this lovely family, and it was so special to be asked to perform a naming ceremony and officially welcome darling Evie into it.

Happy birthday little one! 

 

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“A family is a place to cry and laugh, to vent frustrations, to cry for help, to tease and yell, to be touched and hugged and smiled at.

A family is people who care when you are sad, who love you no matter what, who share your triumphs, who don't expect you to be perfect, just growing with honesty in your decisions.

A family is a circle where we learn to make good decisions, where we learn integrity and table manners, and respect for other people.

Where we are special, where we listen and are listened to.

Where we learn the rules of life, to prepare ourselves for the world.

The world is a place where anything can happen.

If we grow up in a loving family, we are ready for the world.”

 


Penny & Matt Vicars - 1st March, 2014

Penny and Matt's wedding was a long time coming for me. Their engagement gave me the push I needed and it was the reason I went and became qualified as a civil celebrant. Knowing this lovely couple from their first date meant that the wedding day was a very emotional experience for me and one that I will never forget.

For Matt's epic proposal to Penny in 2012 I donned a disguise and stalked the two of them down St Kilda Pier to take sneaky photos (yes, I am the stealthiest person alive).

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Keeping to the theme of 'Bridie Cavanagh: stealthiest person alive', we didn't reveal to any of the wedding guests or even to the groomsmen that I would be the celebrant. On the big day there were audible gasps and major dropping of jaws when I stepped out from my spot with the other bridesmaids holding a microphone instead of a bouquet, and announced that 'I will be your celebrant today'. The ceremony was beautiful and incorporated vows written by Matt and Pen, each of whom had not heard the other person's. Needless to say...there wasn't a dry eye in the house!  

The wedding day was seamless, and although I was very busy - playing the dual role of both bridesmaid and celebrant - I managed to let my hair down and dance up a storm after the official part of the day was over.  

 

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Thanks to the lovely Jen for letting me use some of her gorgeous pics of the ceremony.

Thanks to the lovely Jen for letting me use some of her gorgeous pics of the ceremony.

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Photo credit for these last two to the fab Tori and Sal.

Photo credit for these last two to the fab Tori and Sal.