2018: A year in review
Well. So here we are again, and so soon?! Who can believe that 2018 is already done…
I’ve married 35 couples this year, 6 of which I wouldn’t or couldn’t have married before the legislation changed in 2017. This included marrying couples where at least one of the couple identified as non-binary or transgendered, couples that are in a same sex relationship and another where both of the couple identify as straight but wouldn’t get married until the law changed. Which is exactly what marriage equality was about - making marriage equal for all people regardless of gender or sexual preference (side note: which is EXACTLY why I hate it being called “same sex marriage”. Just no).
I was also delighted to see that some of the weddings that I’d officiated were featured in Hooray Mag, Polka Dot Bride and Modern Weddings Magazine. It was so lovely to see the smiling, happy faces of couples I’d worked with you be shining out from the screen. And I was honoured to be asked by Dancing with Her to talk about my experiences as a Celebrant in the changing climate of Australian weddings.
But lets talk about the year as a whole…
I kicked 2018 off with a bang and married my first couple for the year on the 5th January then, lucky me, took the rest of the month off from marrying couples and focused on the weddings that were coming later in the year.
It was also the month that my sister got married in Nashville. Unfortunately I couldn’t fly out to see her sign the legal documents, but I was able to see her later in the year at the wedding party (you can skip ahead to Winter if you’d like to read more about it!)
Then it was time for my own wedding anniversary and it was so lovely to reflect on what our first year of marriage had bought. It was definitely a busy year for us both, but “they” say that the first year is the hardest in marriage, so bring on the next 40 years!!!
February was super fine and bought a mix of weddings, baby naming ceremonies and summer hangouts. I loved having my best friends over from the UK, US and Germany and it was so lovely to be able to reflect on the year since I’d last seen them.
It was also the month that bought my first wedding where I was marrying people I knew already! I married Keegan and Carmen at the RACV Club in Inverloch - overlooking the beautiful Inverloch beach. It was a really different experience marrying someone that you already know, but also really really amazing.
March in particular was busy with 7 weddings conducted - my equal busiest month for the year, the other month being November. I got to go all over the place with weddings in Daylesford, Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne, Gippsland and the Yarra Valley - to name just a few locations. Highlights were definitely hanging out with Penny Lane - maybe my favourite wedding dog to date. It was also a pretty epic month as at a wedding I conducted I also got to announce that the bride was pregnant - on the very same day that I found out my sister was pregnant and that I was going to be an Aunty!! Massively crazy, and very awesome.
April was lovely because apart from marrying a totally rad couple (where neither partner felt the need to propose and instead they discussed it together as a couple and came to the decision together) but also because I also got to go home to the UK and meet my husbands family - for the very first time! It was a little odd meeting his family after we’d already been married for a year, but as we both live thousands of kilometres away I guess it’s also understandable.
May was brilliant for not only the Royal wedding, but for more weddings for my own. I got to marry the most amazing women in Preston, right near my place (double win!) and got to stand up and marry them - after they’d been together for 23 years. Something that had been denied to them the very year before.
And then at the very end of May - and I mean the very end!!! it was the 31st! - I flew out to Nashville to see my sister and witness the big party that her and her husband threw in Nashville to celebrate their wedding.
WINTER (or Summer in the USA)
So it’s June, I’m in the States for the very first time, but more specifically in Nashville, home to country music and Dolly Parton. My absolute hero. I had a bit of culture shock going to the southern states of America, not least because it was so damn hot and so utterly humid. It was crazy! Whenever I saw people in the films hanging outside fanning themselves sitting on their front porches, well I’m not going to lie - I thought they might be a little bit lazy. Turns out it’s just really freaking HOT there. Eww. You can imagine my hair…. I’m not going to lie. It was nuts. But after a week in Nashville hanging out with my sister (who turns out was pregnant! OMG I’m going to be an Aunty), my family and some friends back home I went off to New York City for the very first time, all by my lonesome.
My favourite things about New York were (in no particular order) - seeing the production of Sleep No More, shopping, walking around, hanging out in drag dive bars, meeting up with friends from home that were also there, walking around, meeting the people, walking around, attending a poet speak easy night, the Mexican food, getting the best hair cut of my life, Brooklyn and walking around some more. I really hope to go back (husband in tow) in 2020.
When I got back it was into full on planning mode throughout July with lots of couples meetings of new couples and couples that I had booked in to marry at the end of 2018 / beginning of 2019. I really love the planning meetings I have with my couples because by this time they’ve had a chance to look through the materials I’ve sent them and think about what they’ve hated in previous weddings they’ve attended, and what they’re really looking to create for their own wedding. These meetings usually last between an hour, to an hour and a half and we talk about EVERYTHING. It’s a really lovely process where we take the time to talk it all through.
August was my birth month. (Hey, I’m a Celebrant. I celebrate for a living. Did you expect anything else?) But unfortunately it was also the month I got sick and had two hospital stays. I’m on my way to being better now, but still have headaches or head spins most days. It has been hard dealing with it day to day - I can’t exercise which means my mental health has been a little bit fragile - and the Doctors don’t quite know what’s causing it, but I’m really lucky that it’s really manageable too and I have a great support network. It effects me maybe once or twice a day for 6 minutes to a few hours, but the adrenalin hit that I get for weddings seems to keep it at bay.
Spring had sprung! A favourite, if cliched, saying.
September was mainly spent recuperating from my headaches and conducting a few legals only weddings, whilst also preparing for the hugely busy October - April period. It was nice to spend a little time chilling as my last free Saturday until the end of the year was in September before a mad rush of wedding fever.
October kicked back off my wedding season in full force and I was ever so lucky that my first wedding back was with two of the most incredible women, in their friends backyard, right near my place. It was a super awesome day and you can read all about it here if you’d like.
Then it was back to back awesome weddings, each with a different vibe. Through October and November there were Steampunk weddings, poolside weddings, inner city weddings, winery weddings, colourful weddings. Weddings for people who identified as men, women, non binary and transgendered. Weddings with 2 guests, all the way up to 220 guests, and everything in between.
What struck me most is that every week bought something new and almost completely different. Yes, every couple has to say the legal wording for a marriage to be recognised by law, but apart from that every wedding was so utterly different and so very, very special.
December has been no slowing down. Every week has bought something different and it’s been a beautiful mix of celebrating the year that has been, catching up with friends from overseas, planning weddings with future couples and conducting weddings for amazing people. People often think that December is a slower month for weddings, but really it’s not that much slower. If you took the week out for Christmas then really it’s just as busy as November, February, March or April. And that’s brilliant. The world no longer stops for Christmas, it pauses for a few days and then it’s normal life, just with a great chance to reflect.
2019 and beyond
It’s already looking like it’s going to be a great year with lots of opportunities to create weddings for great people. I am almost fully booked until April, when I’ll head to Thailand with my husband (he lived there for 16 years and speaks the language which makes it so much better as a vegetarian ordering street food!) before coming back and attending the Celebrant Conference in Sydney that The Celebrant Society hold every year.
My bookings for the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 are now open and starting to get booked up. It’s going to be a busy year and I for one can’t wait!!!!!
Love P xx