Twenty Years From Now…

Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now. you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things that you did.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the Trade Winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”

Twenty years ago today, I walked down the aisle and into married life. Far from ‘throwing off the bowlines and sailing away from the safe harbour’, our marriage has been an incredible safe haven – the home port from which I have been able to confidently face the next adventure, and to which I have gladly returned at the end of the day.

As the days have turned into years, it’s started to feel as if those years have turned back into days – I don’t know how we squeezed all those experiences into less than a month, but sometimes, that’s about how long it seems to have been.

A lot has happened in twenty years. As a f’rinstance, take another look at the photo for this post. That’s 1GB of 1990s technology storage – massive compared to the terabytes we carry around today. I’ve been married since before the world-wide web existed, longer than 50% of YouTube users have been alive, since the days when Prince Charles was still married to Diana, before Whoopie Goldberg hammed it up in Sister Act, before Boris Yeltsin was a household name, back when Mount Pinatubo erupted. WAAAAY back in the day.

Suddenly I’m feeling like I ought to be feeling old.

No-one is more surprised than I, to discover we’re so far down the track and still happily married. It’s not been an easy route – [you know me, I always want to know what might be up that other path, and in the past twenty years, we’ve travelled most of them] – it’s been better. It’s been worse. We’ve been comfortably off, and we’ve been totally, hopelessly broke. So far we’ve survived Norovirus, Crohn’s disease, infertility, parenthood, pets, prangs, and pranks.

There’s no magic formula, though. It’s not like we can map out a schedule, and say ‘do this, then that, and you’ll be fine’. I can recommend for you a large assortment of things you shouldn’t do, or say. There have been times when we’ve each said things we’ve lived to regret, days when the only reason to go home at the end of the day is because all our stuff was there. We’ve battled through seemingly irreconcilable differences, and come through that to be on the same side against some pretty insurmountable odds.

And, so far so good, we have both managed to love and to cherish each other, to remember that we chose and committed to this relationship, and ultimately, the only ‘trick’ is that each of us has come back around to choosing it again, and again, time after time after time.

And there’s the uncomfortable truth. In the same way that it doesn’t matter how shiny and perfect one face of a coin is if the other side is missing, it doesn’t much matter how hard one side of a couple works at the relationship, if the other side is missing, or fake. As awesome as I am [and so, so modest!] I have to acknowledge that a significant part of the success of my marriage belongs to the guy I happened to marry.

I’m looking forward to sharing the for richer, for better with him, and content that if there must be a for poorer, or worse, a death that inevitably parts us, [hopefully many, many for than another 20 years away], I won’t mind so much, if I can do it with that guy by my side.

Twenty years from now….

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Sounds Like… Time I Updated My Opinion…

As much as I joke that,” if it wasn’t for my humility, I’d be perfect”, I don’t mind admitting that, now and then I am completely and utterly wrongheaded about something. Today’s wrongheaded woolly thinking blog post on the topic of mics and sound at weddings is brought to you by the letters O and K and by the number 1, and it goes like this:

As a Celebrant, I am prejudiced beyond debate about how important it is that the words of the ceremony be clearly heard by the guests – after all, the ceremony is the reason for the celebration!  To that end, I work hard to make sure that every word I speak is clearly broadcast, either by using ‘my big voice’ [ TM], and having the couple speak out their own parts of the ceremony ‘repeat after me’ style – so that every one present is able to be an active participant in the ceremony and the vows they have gathered to witness.

I take a great deal of pride in the fact that some well-respected DJs and sound crews who have worked ceremonies with me in the past are confident enough in my speaking volume and clarity to back off the amplification.  I’ve had sound techs unclip the mic and put it away when they’ve realised that I’m the Celebrant who will be speaking.

I’m not afraid to use a microphone, and in certain settings, it’s a necessity. Applied skillfully and discreetly, amplification is an incredibly wonderful thing, subtly supporting those who are speaking.  After working alongside skilled and intuitive operators, with quality gear, I know that it’s not that difficult to place microphones so that the couple can be heard without looking like they are speaking their beautiful wedding vows to a microphone, and not to their own true love, or to quickly adjust for changes in wind direction, or the speaking volume of different participants.It’s my considered opinion that the skill of the tech AND the quality of the gear are equally important – leave one out and it would be like making cheese on toast, without the cheese. Or without the toast…

I hate-hate-hate it, [with the fierce and fiery passion of a thousand dying suns], when PAs and sound gear are used badly, either because the DJ has good gear but no real art, or when the gear is whatever battered old bits can be hired for cheap. To be blunt, poor quality sound is at best, a waste of time, money and effort to set up. At its worst, bad sound is a horrible distraction, overshadowing the words with the way they are broadcast.

So, for that reason, whenever a couple has come to me asking where they can hire a PA system, they’ve usually been the recipients of my somewhat scathing opinions about the quality of the gear an average person can affordably hire, and the lack of skilled operating that tends to come bundled with it.

I’m becoming aware that the times they are a-changing, so I’m drawing my line in the sand, and saying, there are some fantastic options for excellent sound available now, and I’m recommending them without reservation!

First shout must go to Ali Holmes, Avago Entertainment, who is one of the best DJ’s working in Nelson. I’ve had the good fortune to have worked alongside Ali at a number of weddings now, and it’s SUCH a luxury to be in such skilled hands – her gear is top quality, carefully maintained and set up, with attention to detail that is second-to-none. I’ve seen her transition smoothly through subtle pre-wedding background music, through the bride’s entrance, mic-ing the ceremony, and then segueing smoothly into pre-dinner music, mics for speeches etc, and finally cranking up into full party mode for the rest of the evening, reading and responding to the requirements of the guests throughout.

And, since sometimes, the reception venue, or the musos you’ve hired for the party, will have 90% of the sound under control, when you just need a little bit of sound for the ceremony, I’m excited to be able to say that Andrew and Kath at Event Audio have the perfect solution with a totally portable system, totally wireless, and able to be set up in the middle of the remotest paddock, deserted island, or backyard. The main unit is about the size of your commuter’s wheelie suitcase – and with an 8 hour capacity battery, there’s no worries about running extension cables for miles! With a really simple interface, it takes just moments to grasp the basic knob twiddling skills required.  Add in extra mics, CD or mp3/4 players, additional speakers – the sky’s the limit!

And that’s just the start of it – Event Audio were responsible for the sound at the recent Crusader’s game at Trafalgar Park, so I’m pretty confident that they can handle whatever size event you’re planning!

In case you missed it, in among all that, this is me, saying, hand to heart, YES! I do know where you can get really good audio services, and heartily recommending that you go talk with Ali, or Andrew, about your specific requirements. [I’ve never been so glad to be wrong! ]

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive the options are. Plus, you’ll enjoy the confidence that comes with crossing something off your planning list, knowing you’re actually able to get what you’re looking for! YAY!

 

 

 

 

Wedding Planning Extravaganza: Nelson Wedding Show 2011

If you’re even remotely dreaming of getting married in the next few years, then the wedding expo this weekend should be at the top of your ‘things to do’ list.
This Sunday, 26th June, 9.30-3.30 at the Trafalgar Centre, $10/person.

It’s a great opportunity to get ideas and information, but most of all, it’s a really efficient way to meet with a wide range of vendors and get a feel for how they might fit with your wedding plans. It’s a really important factor in your decision-making, and usually, the only other way to do it well is by spending literal hours traipsing around meeting with vendors individually.

This Sunday, you have the opportunity to wander the aisles, checking out over 75 different options in one go, watching the way different vendors interact with people, and actually getting to see their setup.

Given the choice between two similar, great options, you’re always going to go with the one that you ‘click’ with – whether that’s a good rapport with the people, or a preference for the colour of their particular version of things – and those are the kind of things you can quickly and easily get a feel for at a bridal show.

If you haven’t already, you still have time to enter the competition to win a wedding dress from Beautiful Brides of Hope, just by telling us about your proposal [enter here or submit to the entry box before 11 on show day] or tell us how you’d rock your frock and you could win the opportunity to do it in an awesome Trash the Dress photo shoot with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography [enter here]

As well as all of that, there will be three really practical, FREE wedding planning workshops, at 9.30, 12 noon and 3.00. I recommend you arrive early, and plan to stay a while – It’s going to be busy:
The first workshop starts at 9.30, as a warm up to the wedding show opening at 10.00, followed by a fashion show at 11, a second wedding planning workshop at 12, the winner of the Beautiful Brides of Hope gown will be drawn at 1.45, before the fashion show repeats at 2, and the show closes at 3 with a final workshop to finish up the day.

– Just for coming along you could win one of the following great prizes: a luxury night’s accommodation at The MudCastle,  $250 voucher for wedding decoration or hire items from Creative Occasions, Custom designed wedding bands from Glen James jewellers, or an engagement photo shoot from Tasman Photography.

I’ll be there, of course – the last site as you head out the door, and at the workshops – and I’d love to chat with you about what you discover, and how what you’ve learned fits into your wedding plans.

I’m looking forward to chatting with you see you Sunday,

Ang

What Could YOU do with One Quiet Hour to Work on Your Wedding?

The Wedding Whisperer recently launched a service called ‘One Quiet Hour’, where The Wedding Whisperer meets with a bride, or couple, or whomever, to intensely work on the current challenge they are facing in their wedding planning process. There are so many different strands to keep track of that you can begin to feel completely overwhelmed.

A Quiet Hour gives you 60 minutes of expert advice that you can really trust, based on the experience of hundreds of weddings. Even if you’re doing something totally and completely different [and to be honest, that’s rarer than you’d think] there’s still a wealth of knowledge that can be applied. You’re not expected to be an overnight expert – and, since you’re not planning on doing this again any time soon, it makes sense to tap into The Wedding Whisperer’s wisdom and experience, rather than racing around re-inventing the wheel.

The Quiet Hour is charged out at $35 per hour and makes a fantastic gift, if you’re standing on the sidelines of wedding planning chaos and unsure how you can help.

Depending on the subject, it can take place at The Corner Store, at the wedding or reception venue, or in your home, at whatever time is appropriate. You can bring as many others along as you wish – depending what you’re working on, you might need to get your team all on one page, or just have a bit of  a heart-to-heart about some of the details – it’s really up to you!

I’m dedicating a section to the Quiet Hour, because, so far the situations I’ve brainstormed are fairly common challenges. I plan to blog some of the more generic tips and tricks, which may be enough to get you going again, or perhaps highlight how much you could do with a little bit of extra help.

Watch this space for some of the challenges other couples have overcome [No revealing details, I promise!], or make an appointment for your own Quiet Hour, and get your momentum back!

Make the House ‘Christmassy’ with Willow Floral

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas?

One of my favourite florists, Katrin of Willow Floral Design, is once again inspiring  you to get your home looking and smelling festive before Santa comes. Katrin Lilla has been a Florist for more than 15 years and is a qualified Florist Master and has also worked as a Teacher in floristry at a Technology and Vocational Education Centre in Germany. Katrin is passionate and enthusiastic about her profession and loves to share it in her workshops and demonstrations.

Whether you pick one or two classes or enrol for the full course, I know you’ll enjoy sharing cookies, chocolate and other goodies while being creative, learning,  andgetting into the Christmas Spirit!

Wednesday  24 November:  Christmas wreathes/Garlands for your door, to attract Santa, or a garland for your fireplace, Create a traditional Xmas decoration to bring a seasonal touch into your home

Wednesday  1 December: Topiaries in funky shapes from miniature Xmas trees for a reception desk or a little give away or just a nice treat for your table/ corner at home

Wednesday 8 December: Table arrangements using a container of your choice….from traditional to modern arrangements

Wednesday 15 December: Christmas Posies using frames, Xmas baubles, cinnamon, star anise, pine cones, silver and gold details, interesting greenery, with that Xmas scent

Classes are available including material or excluding materials
Including materials – a basic selection of flowers/greenery/ accessories will be provided $30/ class
Excluding materials- please enquire before course begin what to bring $15 / class

If the course is fully booked [max 12 per class] there will be the opportunity for an additional course with same themes on the Thursday night.

Due to the traditionally high demand for these classes, you will need to book in and pay in full prior to course. Enquire instore at Willow or email Katrin with your enquiry.

Happy Holidays!

Raise your glass, if you please…

Or, raise your coffee cup, if you’re at work, like I am. Today is our 19th wedding anniversary. The Mister and I have officially been married for at least as long as I was ever single, and it’s a good, good thing.

A quick glance at the list of non-traditional anniversary gifts suggests that this year The Mister and I should be celebrating on an exotic beach somewhere. The reality is much more pragmatic – instead of blue skies and ocean beaches, we’re both at work, and tonight, though we will go out for dinner, [ETA: the Mister’s just phoned to say he’ll be working late because the other guy is sick], and we’ll plan to be home not too late for the babysitter. Of such is most of married life, I’ve found. There have been days of roses and chocolate and twinkling starlight, but there have been at least as many days of tears, stinky socks, and stormy skies.

I’d never claim to have a perfect marriage – after all,  50% of ours is me!  Our wedding vows were fairly traditional, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, made with no real comprehension of what those words might mean. And I’m grateful for that naivety – I don’t know that I’d have had the courage to make any wedding promises if I’d known some of what “the future so far” has held for us. There’s an old saying, “If the rough road gets you there and the smooth one doesn’t, which one are you going to take?”.  I can honestly say that, regardless of how rough the road has been in places, there’s nowhere else that I’d want to be right now than here.

Celebrating this anniversary is made bittersweet by the fact that one of my best friends was widowed this year, another has just moved out of her family home toward separation from her husband, and my magic wand got lost or broken decades ago. I wish I had a 4 step strategy for a guaranteed happy marriage, but in the end, I don’t even know how to explain how the girl he married has turned out to be the wife he still loves, and vice versa. I’m so glad those starry-eyed kids grew up to be us!

Whatever the future may hold for us both [and I’m still glad that I don’t know] I’m incredibly happy to be heading down the road towards it with the good man by my side. Wish us well!

Nelson’s Ultimate Wedding Experience 2010

While, to be honest, I’m not sure that it quite lived up to the claim of being Nelson’s ULTIMATE wedding experience for 2010, the bridal show hosted at the Grand Mercure Monaco this past weekend was a heap of fun, and incredibly well attended.

If you didn’t manage to get there, don’t fret! I went for you. Which means that The Corner Store has even more up-to-date information about who’s doing what for weddings in the Top of the South. [I also saved you a piece of wedding cake, but I eated it…]

Sites of note [other than, of course, MINE!] included:

Edible Creations, makers of the afore-mentioned, and very delicious cake! I always recommend Edible Creations because they do such great work – and always with a smile. I’ve called on Yvonne and her team a few times this year when DIY brides have arrived at The Store, in tears over marzipan that’s refusing to mould right. Without a hint of fuss or recrimination, Yvonne has worked with them to rescue and decorate the cake. It’s rare to find someone who is such a professional and who is also so very approachable and easy to work with!

Fields Designer Florist are one of my favourite florists. I’m not sure whether it’s because Wendell is a bloke, [and therefore approaches the whole floral design thing from a completely different angle], but I have been consistently surprised and delighted by the way he as interpreted my [often garbled, and never ordinary] requests for floral arrangements. Their new premises on the sunny side of Queen Street, Richmond, is a gorgeous boutique where you can find traditional or funky floral designs to suit any occasion!

Avago Entertainment: I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Alison and Keith a number of times now. Normally, I HATE HATE HATE it when a couple suggests we’ll be using microphones for their wedding – done badly, it’s distracting and disruptive. Pretty much the only exception to my hate-hate relationship with sound gear is Alison Holmes / Avago Entertainment. Getting the sound right in the challenging environment that most weddings present is a real skill, and Alison manages it with minimal fuss, boosting vocal volume perfectly so that it’s almost undetectable.

As well as making me happy, Avago also provide music entertainment, from DJ and Dance tunes through to Karaoke, with a range of music available from 1940s to current chart hits, tailoring playlists to your requirements, and even offer versatile vocals as the singing duo good4tunes. You can track Alison down the old-fashioned way, by phoning 03 5419414 or 027 635 3955

Nelson Tailors Menswear Now, I should point out that, being a girl and all, I don’t have much call for suit hire services, so this is gossip and hearsay, but… it’s all good! Paul and Sue have been in the business pretty much forever, and those years of experience really show. They give excellent advice – trust me, any time I see a groom or groomsmen in poorly fitted suits, I know before I even ask that they didn’t come from Nelson Tailors Menswear. Because all their stock is held in Nelson, you can be sure that your suits will fit and look fantastic, rather than waiting and hoping that they arrive in time and in shape. Their range is massive – almost all styles are accounted for, from top hats and tails to mafia style pinstripes, or even disco fever coloured suits!  Seriously. Why would you go anywhere else?!

Southern Distributors Ice Sculptures are your source for gorgeous ice sculptures. Priced from as low as $20, these are a cool addition to your reception decor. I’ll admit, they’re not everyone’s idea of classy decor – people either love them or hate them, but, lit from within, these are a great alternative table decoration!

So there you have my top picks – and, for the record, NONE of them are paying me to say nice things about them! – of course, there were heaps more fantastic wedding professionals who weren’t exhibiting at the show, too.  For expert advice from someone who’s watched them at work, call into The Wedding Whisperer’s Corner Store. It’s more efficient than throwing darts at the Yellow Pages, and more comprehensive than any list of paid advertising could ever be.

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