Nearly all my couples are dog owners, dog rescuers or even dog trainers! It’s a popular trend these days for couples to involve their dogs in the ceremony: ring bearers, accompanying the bride down the aisle or just being part of the day. But of course my couples are enjoying a destination wedding and there simply isn’t luggage allowance for beloved furry family members. However, I can promise you that they will most definitely get a mention in the ceremony because if I didn’t, they would know…
I too am a dog owner and rescuer so I get it. Anyone who thinks a dog is ‘just a pet’ has never shared their home with one and probably should not approach me to write their wedding ceremony! So I get it, these beings are family members and we love them with all our hearts. So let me share the love and introduce my own pooches with you.
I’ll be honest here. It doesn’t pique my interest who your wedding dress was designed by or where you got your suit from, how many roses you want in your bouquet or where you got your wedding rings from – unless of course there is a reason why you made that choice or a story behind it. Then I want to know ALL about it! Another confession coming up – I was a bit ignorant about how significant jewellery can be. I got that pieces hold sentimental value if they are passed on from precious loved ones and of course I got the significance of rings exchanged during a wedding or vow renewal ceremonies. But I had never considered that the design and materials used to create something new could hold as much of a story almost as a bespoke ceremony. That was until I met Linda Syrigos. Linda is a jewellery designer and the creative energy behind ‘Ilion Design’. She’s the girl you need to go to when you want engagement rings, wedding bands or just anything really important designed to do with jewellery. And she’s pretty cool too. So I would like to introduce you to the lovely Linda and let her tell you about why she does what she does.
How did you begin doing what you do?
I’ve been drawing and creating since I can remember. I made jewellery for friends and family from a young age and was always interested in taking apart old jewellery and revamping it into something more ‘on trend’. I completed a bachelor of Industrial Design where I took on an elective class involving jewellery production techniques and fell in love working with precious materials and understanding the processes involved with jewellery making. After a move to Melbourne, and many years working in fine Jewellery houses, it was only natural to start my own business venture in jewellery.
What do you love about your job
I love bespoke work! Sitting down with clients over a cuppa and discussing their story. Whether it be a love story, special birthday or anniversary, the beautiful part of bespoke work is that you are working together with the client, encompassing their vision and story and creating a piece that will be worn and celebrated for many years.
(See what I mean? How lovely is that?!))
Tell me about one or two of the best moments to date in your work, something REALLY special:
I recently designed a pendant for a client whose mother had passed away. She had a stone that mum held on to in her jewellery box for many years and even though it wasn’t a precious stone it held so much sentimental value to her. We created a pendant design that could be worn in different ways so she can change up the piece depending on the day and carry a piece of her mum with her.
(Now that’s what I’m talking about.)
I’m just releasing my website and a new collection called Amalia, which is such a special moment in my work. Seeing the designs come to life and being involved with every part of the process was both challenging and rewarding. The new collection is about embracing each moment, living present and getting into touch with nature where we can.
What do you believe is your unique selling point?
Producing bespoke celebration jewellery pieces combining rare ‘one of a kind’ gemstones with exquisite diamonds.
Tell me something about yourself that other people may not know
I use to be a Dj and still collect vinyl even though I don’t play anymore.
(I told you she was cool!)
Where can people find you or get in touch with you?
Apparently, the Christmas holidays are the most popular time of the year to pop the question. I haven’t found that to be true with the couples I have written and performed ceremonies for, but what the heck. I’m still going to share some lovely proposal stories with you.
In my job as a wedding celebrant, I always ask the couple how the proposal went down and usually I get rewarded with some amazing, funny or just downright romantic stories! As this is a pivotal point in the relationship, I usually like to include some of the details in the ceremony. Or if it was particularly spectacular, I sometimes get them to re-enact it. Like Ash and Olly. Olly had written a fab proposal poem and set it to the tune ‘O sole mio’ and even got to execute it perfectly on a gondola in Venice just as they rounded a corner into the bright sunshine (although that might just have been Ash’s smile) We couldn’t get the gondola and a canal, but we were by the sea, so Olly went down on one knee and gave us a repeat performance to a standing ovation. Luckily Ash still said yes!
I think that the style of the proposal says so much about the couple and the tone of their relationship. It’s a true litmus test of how well they know and understand each other. Like when Steve proposed to Julia with a motorbike instead of an engagement ring, with ‘will you marry me’ number plates. Knowing that Julia wasn’t a fan of jewellery, but was a huge fan of owning a new bike, showed that he completely understood her and respected her lifestyle choices and taste, that he was prepared to give her something she would truly value even though it meant breaking tradition.
Often the best proposal stories are the ones that didn’t go exactly to plan, but actually turned out to be even more perfect because of it. Chris had planned his proposal to Kelly for their trip to Amsterdam. Their afternoon nap over ran into the evening, losing their dinner reservation, a disagreement about what time of day was the right time of day to go to the ice bar put another spanner in the works and when a great romantic moment on skinny bridge presented itself, neither of them had any battery on their phone to take pictures. But that was ok because an Estonian couple happened to be passing by with fully charged phones and happily allowed them to take selfies to their heart’s content. Not ok was the exchange of email addresses which got lost in translation so that none of the photos were ever received!
And then there was the proposal which was just so awful and badly timed, that I let them have another go with the words and tone that they wished had been employed the first time around.
But one of my favourite proposal stories has to be D and L. For me, it just bodes so well for a partnership of love and teamwork. Plus it’s incredibly romantic!
“I proposed when we went to Greece for summer holidays a couple of years ago. I purchased the ring from a friend jewel setter in Athens and was planning to pop the question at a romantic place in one of our island destinations. I didn’t have a plan as such but was confident an opportunity would present itself, which it did on the island of Amorgos. There was a castle in Chora and I found out no one could go there unless they had the old door keys. These were to be found in a café near the castle where I had to go and ask for them. It is fortunate L doesn’t speak Greek, so didn’t really know what was about to go down! Unfortunately, the key lock proved to be an extremely difficult one and after 10 minutes of frantically trying to open the door of the castle, I was about to give up and try something different another day. As I was thinking what to do next I offered L the keys and asked her to try it one more time. Naturally, she gently turned the keys counterclockwise and after a loud click, the door finally opened! ‘This is it’ I thought to myself, it obviously takes two to tango and I realized more than ever that she is the one to walk with and unlock all the closed doors we might find in our journey together!”
I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to propose, there is only a right answer. Whether it’s elaborately planned and executed like a military operation or spontaneous and ring-less, as long as it’s from the heart that’s what counts.
If you have a wonderful proposal story, I’d love to hear it! And if you are doing the proposing, get in touch and let’s get writing that wedding ceremony!
P.S. the gorgeous engagement ring is from the super talented Linda at Ilion design. Check out their bespoke jewellery over at www.iliondesign.com And you can meet her next week in an interview and hear about the creative process for making pieces of bespoke jewellery – especially wedding and engagement rings!
The photo above was my very first wedding ceremony as a celebrant. At least it was supposed to be. As it turned out, an emergency situation meant that it actually became the second ceremony I performed.
I was prepared, super prepared. I was confident that I had written a beautiful, personal ceremony which not only included some beautiful details from the couples love story, but we had also included our version of the wedding crowns, a nod to the bride’s Greek heritage. So I was feeling pretty relaxed. And so I should, I had weeks, months, in fact, to prepare and email back and forth with the couple to get things just so.
And then I received a phone call from another distraught couple. They believed they had booked a Catholic wedding ceremony at their hotel in two days time. They had family and friends coming from all over Europe. But there was no Catholic wedding happening at the hotel and an unscrupulous staff member had misled the couple, not even preparing their paperwork for a civil wedding registration. They were devastated and mortified at the prospect that their wedding party would feel they had a wasted journey. Would I be able to perform a symbolic ceremony for them at such late notice? Um, in two days time, you say? Ok!
And so that was actually my first ever wedding ceremony. Unexpected and written with the intense focus that only such a deadline can evoke, and with a determination that their ceremony would be even more amazing to compensate for their terrible distress. And it was! We laughed, we cried, we basked in the warm glow of the sinking Mediterranean sun and the love of a couple with a story of restored bicycles and lost buttons.
This was the ceremony that convinced me that I had found more than a new job. It showed me that I could make a difference in one of the most important days in any couples lives. And that I could even do it at very short notice if I needed to!
If you are curious to find out more about me, head over to the official ‘about me’ page here. Or just ask anything you want to know by email, on the facebook page or my Instagram.
I look forward to meeting you, but please don’t leave it until 48 hours before your wedding to ask for a ceremony! Unless you really, really have to of course…
I love it when other people get involved in the ceremony. (But only if they have been invited to do so by the couple, if they are just randoms then it can be a bit awkward.) But who do you choose and most importantly, what do you choose for them to read, and maybe even more importantly, do you let them do the choosing?
So let’s take these decisions one by one.
Who should you choose?
I often see a lot of subtle diplomacy deployed here. ‘Important’ roles are distributed amongst the best friends and family members – maid of honour, best man, bridesmaids, dad/mum/brother walking down the aisle. But oops, the groom has TWO best friends, the bride has THREE BFF’s and there’s a stepdad or a spare brother, how are they going to be presented with a starring role when there just aren’t enough to go round? “I know!” You cry, “We’ll get them to do a reading!” So this is how sometimes your second, but no less significant, best friend gets a reading foisted on her/him when quite frankly they would rather eat their own leg than stand up on one of the most important days of your lives and read a slushy poem.
Your wedding Vows are the pivotal point of your wedding ceremony. With a Celebrant led wedding ceremony, there are so many ways you can choose to conduct your wedding ceremony, elements you can emphasise or even exclude, but the wedding vows will always remain. After all, it’s this exchange of promises that seals the deal. How you choose to exchange your vows is a very personal decision. You might only want to say ‘I do’ or you might want to write a stream of declarations and promises. Discuss the way you want to make it happen with your partner.
During the wedding ceremony, we usually arrive at the Vows before the exchange of rings. If the rings are a tangible, physical signature to the agreement, then the spoken words of your vows are the fine details. So you don’t want to get them wrong! Continue reading “How to write wedding vows”
It came as no surprise to me that my Greek brides would want to include some significant Greek wedding traditions into their ceremony – they may have been second generation from parents that emigrated to the states and Australia, but there is nothing more Greek than a Greek that lives outside of the motherland! At both weddings we incorporated the wedding crowns (you can read all about these in my guest post for the Celebrants directory here) But it wasn’t just the Greek brides that wanted to include it Continue reading “Get your Greek on – the bits I loved from 2017 continued”
Flashmob style happenings are quite a thing in weddings these days whether they involve the bridal party in a secretly choreographed dance routine or bursting into song. I love the element of surprise and delight these offer as well as the obvious dedication and time spent rehearsing by all involved, and as I’ve said before I’m a huge fan of audience participation in wedding ceremonies. So I was wondering how I could include something similar into an intimate beach ceremony where the guests were all a big group of friends and really close family. I seized the opportunity when I met the maid of honour, who was obviously well up to helping me organise the task. I took her to one side and explained my plan. She thought it was a great idea and set off to find other willing participants. So during the ceremony where I had included an 8 line reading about soulmates by Richard Bach for me to read, at the point where the reading started I gave the nod to the maid of honour and she toned out:Continue reading “Flashmob reading – the bits I loved from 2017 continued”
A lovely Swedish couple had been refused at their planned wedding location due to a mistake with some paperwork. As they had made all the other arrangements, not to mention a load of friends and family travelling from afar, they contacted me in desperation just a few days before their planned wedding day. I love a challenge and a bit of drama so of course, I said yes. Continue reading “The last minute one – the bits I loved from 2017 continued”