This year's spring wedding season sure is here. As a civil marriage celebrant, I have had the privilege of attending eight weddings in the last six weeks, with another five to follow before I call it a year.
I am a bit biased, but I love rural weddings the most. Nothing beats the incredibly well thought out details that I see my couples include in their wedding day. From salvaging cotton or wheat to form part of their bouquets and buttonholes, using a pre-existing windmill in place of an arbour or choosing a wedding date based on the ideal stage of the crops for photographs, their well-planned and intertwined details never fail to blow me away.
I love seeing family farms, community halls, local showgrounds and race tracks utilised as wedding venues, too. They are incredibly sentimental places that truly are at the core of our rural families and communities, so they can bring such a special feel to the day if held there.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it, the current El Nino conditions are adding a bit of stress to the ceremonies at the moment. Hot, dry and windy days are very unfavourable, but with prior planning or compromise, they can still be equally great.
I contacted two of my fellow celebrant friends, Pippa (Goodman) Moore from Trangie and Jennifer (Jen) Shepherd from Cobar, to help me deliver some of the best marriage ceremony planning advice for readers.
In Pippa's words, every wedding only needs the below three things to be a "red-hot success".
The first is food. Pippa says, "Give your guests plenty of food. No one wants to be fighting over the last canapé like a couple of seagulls with a chip at the beach".
The second is water. "Have plenty of water. Water is always welcomed, especially if you're getting married in the warmer months."
And her third and final recommendation is shelter. "On a cold and wet day, guests will be looking for somewhere warm and dry to hang out, and likewise, on a hot and dry day, they will be looking for somewhere cool and shady to beat the heat."
As a huge supporter of small and local businesses, Jen encourages couples to "use their local vendors first. There is so much talent in your own backyard."
Jen also recommends stashing baby wipes in every venue's bathroom, vendor bag, and vehicle. "Baby wipes are great for sweat and remove makeup, dirt and dust from suits and dresses."
Her third and last tip is, "Do the ladies a favour and let them know what kind of ground they will be required to walk on. Letting them know if it's a grass ceremony location or a gravel dancefloor will help them to pick their shoes appropriately."
- Keiley Noble is the 2023 R.M. Williams RAS Rural Achiever.