Your Celebrant for Perth or Bali

trans photo wedding ringsAlmost 100% of the couples that I marry already live together.  Many of them already have children.  This means that choosing to get married is about taking an existing relationship to a different level, at a time of their choosing.

It seems that many couples still feel that getting married does make a difference, after all…….

They couple declares to the world:  “Hey, we did it!  We got it right!  We know that we want to spend the rest of our lives together and now want to publicly declare that in front of family and friends”.   I love this about being a Celebrant – it is such a privilege and an honour to be a part of this intimate, yet public moment in people’s lives

I love these stories – hearing them and telling them.  Realising that no matter how people’s journeys differ, they are often are so similar.

What is your story?  Maybe you can get in touch, so that we can meet for a coffee and a chat……

I specialise in:

Perth Ceremonies:  whether weddings, same sex ceremonies, commitment ceremonies or naming ceremonies.  I offer low key, simple midweek ceremonies (think.. getting married, with a glass of champagne in hand, at sunset with a couple of close friends) to traditional, personalised ceremonies in front of hundreds of guests.

Bali Ceremonies:  having lived in Bali at one time, I have developed a network of excellent suppliers there – from local celebrants, to photographers, venues or wedding planners.  I can tell you about the joys of a Bali Wedding and can suggest ways to avoid some of the possible disasters, at the same time as helping you with the legalities.

As Dr Seuss said, “I am weird, you are weird. Everyone in this world is weird. One day two people come together in mutual weirdness and fall in love.”

Overseas Wedding. Should you give a present?

So, you have been invited to a friend’s wedding in Bali? The burning question is: should you buy a wedding present?  After all, you might have just forked out $1000 just to attend!

A while ago I asked this question on Facebook and it generated a great deal of debate. I was prompted to ask, because a young friend of mine, who was living in London at the time, had been invited to be Best Man at his mate’s wedding in Europe.  My friend and his wife spent more than $1000 on air tickets, accommodation, clothes etc – only to find that the groom was disappointed that he hadn’t brought gifts as well.

Although destination weddings have always been an option, they have become increasingly popular in the past decade.  This is partly because prices here have soared, with the average price of a wedding being about $40,000 in Australia.   My favourite investment writer, Scott Pape talks about ways to reduce this figure

However, going overseas means that couples can perhaps have the wedding of their dreams for up to half the cost, without having to follow Scott’s cost-cutting measures!  Also, with travel becoming cheaper, the Destination Wedding can seem like a fun and cost effective option.

But where the Bride and Groom might save money, for the guests, it can cause them to spend a great deal more than usual.  If attending a wedding in their home town, guests might buy some new clothes; they will fork out for a wedding gift and possibly add in a night’s accommodation or a taxi fare.  Costs would be completely within the guests’ control in this situation.

However, if invited to an overseas wedding, guests are often compelled to use up leave, travelling to a destination that they might not otherwise have chosen for their annual vacation.  They need to pay for flights and accommodation; with the Bride and Groom often expecting their guests (particularly Bridal Party) to stay in the same hotel/villa as themselves.

For the couple to then expect wedding presents from these same guests might be stretching the friendship, one would think? However, there are some horror stories.

Gordon, one commenter on my original Facebook post, stated:  “Overseas wedding = NO GIFTS!!! If I was asked to gift after paying exorbitant money to be there, I would buy them something really f#%*ing big and let them work out how to get it home. I would buy them a 1 tonne/6′ tall Balinese statue !”

A mother of one young lady, planning a wedding in Bali, wrote:  “Wow, are they really friends with these people … I would think the people haven’t given presents as they couldn’t afford it and had spent enough already … Who would sulk about not getting presents, when they have made the effort and spent the $$ to be there on their special day ..On the bridal party question, we are paying for all their outfits etc and have spoken to them about costs etc.. And everyone seems happy! Communication would seem to be the answer.”

Another said:  “I would think that if you choose to have your wedding overseas you should be able to pay for the bridal party and the guests pay for themselves, but I don’t think you should expect gifts as well… that’s a bit steep”.

Then of course, there is another issue – culture and age.  Older people still prefer to give gifts – and are gradually becoming more comfortable with the Wishing Well scenario!  Asian guests will always want to give a gift of some sort, as culturally it can be seen as rude to turn up empty handed.

A Vietnamese lady, Trinh, put it like this:If we don’t bring anything to the wedding, inside I will feel weird and strange while everyone in the wedding does. For me, I will bring something small such as an wedding album, a wedding frame, a couple of special even glass…by the way I believe my attendance in their wedding is the biggest expectation that they would like”.

So what should the protocol be, for this quite new, but increasingly popular, scenario?  Is it ok just to turn up empty handed?  Should the couple make it very clear on the invitation that they are grateful for your ‘presence’ only?

As traditions quickly change and cultures meld, it is hard to work out the correct way to deal with these scenarios.  In the old days, the rules were hard and fast – making it more unlikely that mistakes would be made.  However today misunderstandings occur as there are few guidelines; and as a couple get caught up in the excitement and frenetic planning, they can often not realise the faux pas that are being made.  Friendships can become very strained if thoughtlessness leads to the kind of upsetting scenario that my friend in Europe experienced.  (From being Best Man at the wedding, my friend and the Groom no longer speak to each other!)

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Perhaps together we can come up with some guidelines?  Wouldn’t that be useful….

If you would like to contact me privately about this, or anything else to do with Weddings, either here or abroad, please click here.