Wedding Music- Where the Tunes at?

Does music matter to you? Are you feeling overwhelmed about where to start with tunes for your wedding?

When we were planning our wedding, tunes were the first thing we booked. I knew immediately who I wanted and was prepared to change my date if he couldn’t play that day.

So, where to start with finding the right fit for you?

Ask your vendors- particularly if you gel with them and they’re music people too. Vendors work with music makers all the time and they’ll have some recommendations.

Hit Insta. Most bands and DJ’s will have sample tunes to give you an idea of their sound. Check their reviews. Watch their vids.  Sometimes they’ll play public gigs so go and see them. Do they have the vibe you want?

Honestly, in my opinion, if you want a banging wedding, tunes are non negotiable. There is nothing- NOTHING- that will create an atmosphere/ an energy/ a vibe like music- particularly if it’s live.

I put recorded music on as soon as I arrive at a wedding. Generally I ask the couple to make me a couple of playlists so it’s personal and I hook it up to my PA. It gets me in the zone and there’s nothing worse than guests arriving to complete quiet. It’s like a wake and everyone will be awkward and immediately get their phones out to scroll. Social alibi and all that.

Must have tunes (even recorded) and give them a drink! Nothing says this is going to be a fun gig more than these two elements from the get go. It gets people in the mood and gets the party vibe started early.

So, as far as tunes go- who are my faves/ what are my recs?

It depends entirely what you want.

An ideal wedding for me involves acoustic duo pre and during ceremony and for the signing and dinner then later- a DJ who will get the place absolutely jumping.

You cannot go wrong with some 80’s, some 90’s R n B, funk, disco and hip hop. Everyone loves it. You will have a full dancefloor and a big vibe on this kinda tune catalogue. Music can be so complementary but it can also be polarising. Death metal or dubstep may be your thang but it’s probs going to leave your guests a bit confused and disengaged. Tunes need to be fun/ inclusive/ nostalgic/ even a bit daggy. Honestly, there’s nothing better than a whole crew of people singing or giving a bit of that toot toot, some of that beep beep.

If you’ve got a DJ, send them a playlist of tunes you love so they get your vibe.

If it’s a live act, ask them what they can do. Honestly. Fidel and Sarah, who are one of my faves and do awesome folky tunes have done some really crazy shit in their own style and absolutely smashed it. Acoustic Chop Suey with ukulele? Amazing!

Put some time into your choice. Your wedding will be so much better for it. We still have guests almost 10 years later talking about our mad d floor.

A few of my faves in the mix right now:

https://www.fidelandsarah.com/

 

http://www.littlebusterbrown.com/

 

http://blackcaesarevents.com/ (We had Eric (Obliveus) for our wedding- he’s amazing)

 

http://makebelievemusic.com.au/portfolio/haybax/

 

http://www.morelandcitysoulrevue.com/

https://www.thevintagestylus.com/

 

https://www.likethiscorporate.com/

 

https://www.tobimusic.com.au/

 

http://djteepee.com/

 

http://www.mainent.com.au/

 

Go get em!

 

 

 

Wedding Ceremony Traditions that can GTFO

 

These dogs have had their day.

It’s Friday and I thought I'd take aim at some wedding ‘traditions’ that can in my opinion just die already. There’s so few legally required things to include in your wedding ceremony so it’s really free reign! I love to cobble together a bangin’ personal celebration for my couples and they’re often surprised not only at what we can include but what can totally be left out. 

Ceremonies should be 20-25 minute affairs that totally hum- lots of fun and laughter/ some personal tunes and a few tear jerking moments during the vows before finishing with a big bang of joy and massive vibes.

And none of the below:

Readings. Only include them if they’re going to enhance the ceremony and at to the personal vibe of it ie your favourite poem/ novel/ song lyrics/ quote etc. Can be great if relevant but if it’s not what’s the point?

Old school lame arse rituals like unity candles and sand ceremonies. Ugh. Why?

There’s so many modern ways to honour people in the ceremony or make a statement about the togetherness of a family etc that do not require these things. A good celebrant will know exactly what’s right for you and give you options.

Releasing doves/ balloons/ butterflies. Just no. Totally lame. Plus butterflies don’t live long and spend probs half their lives in a box for you to release them. Just leave them alone to flutter free for their short pretty life. I’ve heard stories of doves being snapped up by hawks on their release (not ideal) or shitting on guests (hilarious and I’m gutted to have not seen it). Again- leave em be. Please. Balloons I shouldn’t have to explain. This is an unequivocal NO. Basically a statement that you are completely bereft of environmental consideration. No sea turtle is going to be eating a piece of glitter latex on my shift, ever.

Giving away of the bride. Where the celebrant asks ‘Who gives this bride to be wed?’ Lots of my brides tell me straight up there’ll be none of that because you know- they’re adult women who are not owned by their parents. I concur. Not necessary. Traditional. Naff.

Walking down the aisle with your Dad. This can be lovely if you love the shit out of your Dad and he’s a stand up dude. If yours is a dick like mine, leave it out. You don’t have to walk with anyone- you can walk in on your own. If you’re nervous it’s nice to have someone with you though- and even one on either side. Your Mum, auntie, bestie, sister, dog- or walk in with your partner if you want. No rules people.

An Asking that includes words like ‘cherish’ or ‘obey’. Fuck that. A modern Asking where you’re asked questions and then answer with I do/ I will, Hell yeah etc can be a brilliant segue to vows but do it well. Keep it this century yeh?

Signing after the rings. Celebrants be divided on this one but I’m a big after the ceremony advocate. Why? Because it’s pretty boring, no one is that interested in it and is the biggest energy sucker ever. After the rings and kiss I want that vibe heading north allll the way to the after party. I’ll let your feet touch the ground first, get you a drink and sign 15 minutes after the ceremony without everyone watching you. Don’t even start me on the signing table. Not. A Fan. Let’s just do it on the bar, on a wine barrel, a car bonnet or on a clipboard on each other’s backs. Cool yeh?  Make those shots the photographer hates taking a little interesting.

Finally.. those bloody horseshoe things people give brides to hang off their arms. Couldnnnnnn’t!! I know older people think it’s the done thing but straight up get the word out before your wedding that you don’t want any of them. Those polyester and plastic lace numbers have been ruining wedding shots for like ever. I can’t tell you how many of these I’ve taken off brides and hidden in the bride’s mums bag. Just don’t even on the horsehoe. Wanna wish good luck? How about a shot? Or just say it. Be gone with shitty horseshoes hanging off arms and being dropped on the ground, getting tangled in beautiful bouquets and ruining the vibe of your very expensive dress. Bye bye.

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Who is the best celebrant in Melbourne?

Great question. Stick with me whilst I give you a short summary and then a convoluted answer..

The answer is: It depends what you want!

If you want fun, relaxed and a bit loose- or demure, classy and sincere or funny as in telling jokes and putting on a performance. Maybe you just want safe, middle of the road, a little of column A, a little of column B.

Do you want someone to hold the show because you’re not limelight people?

Want to be really involved and to share the space with your guests and bridal party with your celebrant leading the way?

Perhaps you want someone a bit cheeky who will take the piss a bit and have everyone in stitches?

Someone quirky and cool, a little left of centre?

Or you want a nurturer- someone warm and lovely, perhaps a little bit older?

Someone confident and experienced who can handle a crowd? If your wedding is going to be rowdy and full of big personalities you want someone who can roll with that and allow some looseness but not let things get out of control.

See where I’m going here? Some of these qualities will cross over in each celebrant of course and that’s rad.

Me personally, I’m never going to be the celebrant doing fancy elaborate weddings south of the river- it’s just not my jam. But there are plenty of celebrants who fit that bill perfectly and are awesome at it.

I’m a local venue/ bar/ warehouse/ backyard/ winery kinda girl. Anything a bit different that attracts people like me: people who love good food, great booze and mad tunes, I’m in.

Think about what you want and then stalk the shit out of us on Insta and see who you think is the best fit for you.

I'll let you in on a secret: celebrants do the stalk too. We want to see if you might be a good fit for us also before we get to meeting stage.

Narrow it down to a few heads you like the vibe of and then meet up.

Don’t sleep on it though. Great celebrants are booked at least a year ahead. Tick tock!

How much does a wedding celebrant cost in Melbourne?

 Answer: For a good one $800-1600. Fact.

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. You can definitely get one off Gumtree or some dodgy local directory for $400 but I can’t guarantee what your experience will be like.

The value of a great celebrant lies in how they make you feel:

·      Excited as they have lots of options and ideas for your ceremony

·      Thrilled when you receive your ceremony that is personalised and perfect for you

·      Supported: being able to contact your celebrant at any time/ ask questions/ bounce ideas off

·      Relaxed because they’re totally on to it: they have a process they move through, everything is sorted and they’ll be there on the day, on time and warming up your guests, prepare all the legal docs meticulously etc

(Don’t scoff- twice last year I took over at the last minute for bargain basement celebrants who became uncontactable in the months pre wedding)

·      Happy when it’s delivered and it is awesome, gets the laughs, is delivered with warmth and humour and gets a few tears too

·      Stoked when your guests all remark about how fun the ceremony was and how much they enjoyed it. A great celebrant gets a little bit mobbed at the end of the ceremony- with positive feedback and requests for biz cards

15-20 hours go into the average ceremony so the fee is not for ’15 minutes work’ as we often hear.

There’s meetings, research, witnessing and preparing docs and writing and rehearsing before we even get to the presenting part. Then there’s more doc prep post.

If you’ve never seen a great celebrant in action it’s fair to say you don’t know what you don’t know. But do ask around- ask others about their celebrants and their experiences. They’ll either shrug and say ‘Yeh she was ok- did the job’ or will rave about them and foist their details onto you ‘I’ll ask my friend who hers was at her wedding a few months back- she was awesome!’

You can’t take it back once it’s done. If you’re going to do then do it well. Start your wedding as you wish to continue it into the reception- with great vibes.

Finding (and choosing) the right celebrant for you- 6 TIPS

How to find and choose the right celebrant for you

Ah, here’s an area that’s fraught with confusion. There are a LOT of celebrants in Victoria and just quietly, there’s a lot of pretty ordinary ones too.

How, in this big pool of different people, personalities and price ranges do you find the one who is right for you?

Word of Mouth

Ask your mates who they had or take note at weddings you attend- what is it you like or don’t like about their ceremony? Your photographer is often a good person to ask also as they work with us all the time. As far as venues recommending celebrants- that’s all well and good but you are still entitled to seek one from elsewhere if the ‘preferred suppliers’ don’t float your boat.

 Directories

Hello May, Ivory Tribe, Easy Weddings etc. Scroll and find heads you like the look of, read their bios and narrow it down to a contact list

Instagram

Instagram is a goldmine for finding the right wedding suppliers! You can totally stalk someone and get a great feel for their vibe just from their Insta page. You can often hear them speak in Stories and vids also which is invaluable. A good Insta profile will tell you exactly who that celebrant is and how they roll. Look at the type of weddings/ types of clients they have, the way they speak, dress and their personality should shine through the photos.

Reviews

Read reviews on directory listings, Facebook biz pages or Google. You will find reviews tucked into Insta pages also, perhaps pinned as stories at the top or throughout the feed. These give you a great idea of the experience you could get from this person.

Google/ Hashtag search

What are you looking for? A funny celebrant, a funky celebrant, a quirky celebrant or a fun celebrant? We often tag our pics with these descriptors to make it easy for you to find us. We’re all different but there’s pockets of celebrants within our networks that roll a similar way. We talk to each other, refer to each other and know that if we can’t do the wedding, the person we’re passing it on to has a similar vibe and style and will bring the goods.

Final Words

I often say to my couples when I meet them- choose someone you could drop into your reception with your guests and they’d fit right in and have a good time. It’s a fairly intimate relationship- you’re sharing a lot of stuff about your relationship so you want to feel comfortable about it. Also, you want to head to your meetings looking forward to seeing your celebrant. You should be able to have a chat and a laugh with them (and a wine too in my case). You should feel you can rely on them and that their presence is calming.

Prices vary widely but as a guide, any celebrant worth their salt in Melbourne currently is charging $800-$1600. Which is still a very small percentage of your wedding budget- for the only thing you legally require to be married. Don’t be governed by your pocket. Choose the person you click with, who you can see standing up there and owning it for your big day.

It feels awesome for me when I'm mobbed post ceremony by guests telling me they loved it. It's going to feel the same for you too, knowing you chose well. 

Is it wrong that I'm singing 'You're Welcome' like Maui from Moana now?

Is your wedding guest list stressing you out? Cut the chaff!

I am asked all the time about guest lists. Usually along the lines of- ‘we wanted 50 people tops but it’s blown out to 92 already’

This happens when partners have to come, whether you like them or not and particularly when you start grudgingly adding people you feel like you should. Parents are great for driving this. ‘Oh, you have to invite your grandma’s neighbour- we’ve known her for years’ or ‘you can’t not invite Uncle Joe etc.

What if Uncle Joe is a creep and you haven’t seen him for ten years? What if the neighbour is just someone you say hello to when you visit your Nan once a quarter?

If you want a small guest list I say stand your ground. Cut the chaff.

What makes this difficult is if the parents are paying for your wedding. They then feel they have some say into your guest list. I’ll leave that to you to figure out but I will say this- there’s two good reasons why small guest lists are awesome:

1. They create a warm and intimate vibe

2. You have less people to ‘get around to’ at your wedding- and this is a stress. Actually a pain in the ass and I see so many brides rolling their eyes and over it by the time they’re halfway through the group photos. They just want to get a drink and have fun. Instead they then spend the evening ensuring they speak to everyone and getting pulled this way and that, which is not fun at all.

Think about who’s on your list- you want people you genuinely want to jump on and hug as you’re so damn happy they’re there- your inner sanctum. You need to be on that d floor, not looking guiltily at old Mavis in the corner thinking you should go and thank her for coming and get stuck in another 20 minute convo. Or hiding from Uncle Joe’s sweaty embrace.

Fuck that.

Keep it tight peeps. Do what is going to make you happy and your day awesome.

Who says you have to invite your entire extended family? Just be clear- it’s a small wedding of close family and friends. The end.

They’ll get over it. And if they don’t well… too bad.

Divide your list into people you are genuinely thrilled to be there and the rest- those you’re kinda ambivalent about, those you feel obligated to invite plus all the random people from the gym, work etc. Do you really want to pay $150+ a head for all these extras?

Be brutal. The other upside is you can have a much better quality wedding with a smaller crew.

And that shit is golden.

 

 

Wedding Planning- Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Getting overwhelmed by all the wedding stuff?

Take a load off.  Honestly. Just keep it simple. Don’t get stuck in a Pinterest vortex. No one is going to notice the type of paper on your invites or whether you have a perspex seating plan. 

Worried your 3 yr old nephew might not walk down the aisle and might create a scene?

Who cares? They probably will and if you want to get them to play that part you have to suck the risk up. One of the best wedding photos I’ve ever seen is of a 3 yr old girl standing up with her Mum and Dad who are getting married lifting her dress up above her head. Absolute gold. Totally real. And probs the most Insta-worthy pic of the entire wedding to be honest.

The thing is- social media can be awesome for inspiration and ideas but it can also be a complete head fuck. So many different options/ choices etc.

Breathe.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

There is one thing you require legally to get married. A celebrant. But I’ll come back to that.

Secondly- the other three things that make for a cracking wedding are:

1.     Good food

2.     Lots of booze

3.     Good tunes

Simples.

I promise.

Everything you research/ commit to/ purchase- ask yourself, do you need it to make your day awesome? There is so much waste with weddings. Can you lessen that waste and reduce the impact of your brain and your wallet also?

For example-

Can you use potted plants in lieu of cut flowers on arbours and chairs? They can then go in your house afterwards. Or gift them to people who have really helped you.

Choose what’s in season in terms of flowers. Cheaper. Easier. Don’t be a diva.

Can you hire some stuff?

Why can’t people wear their own versions and choices of bridesmaids dresses within a colour theme? They’ll wear it again and get value out of it if they’re comfortable in it and they may not mind paying for it themselves if they’re not up for $500 for a dress they’d never wear otherwise. Forget those bridal shops. Forever New and Sheike and the likes have heaps of good stuff for less than $150. 

Buy the suits in the mid year sales and have them tailored so they're totally schmick. I hate poorly fitted suits. Big no no. Go for blue or grey that is classic and can be kept over the years and worn again.

Put tags on wine glasses and give them out with bottled beers so guests know which is theirs when they leave it and go to the toilet/ d floor etc. Otherwise they forget which is theirs and just get another one. So wasteful. We used guitar picks for our wedding with our fave band names written on them. People loved them!

In regards to a celebrant- they are the one thing you cannot get married without.  A good one is worth every cent as they set the vibe for the reception and will entertain you guests. Gone are the days of old aunties in their sensible shoes monotone-ing out the same corny dialogue. There's a new breed of celebrants in town.

A great celebrant in Melbourne will set you back between $850-1600. If you want a goodie- get in early. They book out a year in advance and you’ll be left with the aunties and the dodgies off Gumtree quoting three hunge for your ceremony. Would you cheap out on airbags? This is one make or break purchase. I always say guests will always remember a great ceremony and never forget a bad one.

Now- food and booze… no brainer. If you’re not a-la-carte people then don’t have a fancy sit down meal. Do burgers or pizza or mac and cheese or whatever it is that you love. There’s no rules! One of the easiest crowd pleasers to do is multiple roasted meats and a couple of quiches plus a shit load of amazing salads and condiments. Some great bread. Let them serve themselves. Done.

With booze, you will need lots of it. Don't go Gossips chardonnay but don't go Penfolds Reserve either. There's a lot of decent stuff in between. Get someone in the know to help out. Don't give people too much choice either- 1-2 whites, a red, a pilsner/ lager and a pale and bubbles. Shitloads of bubbles.

Now.. tunes..

Non negotiable in my opinion. You need either live or recorded music happening from the get go. From before the guests even arrive and people are setting up and your celebrant is doing a sound check. It creates a vibe and an energy and you cannot quantify that value. Two songs for ceremony- one to walk in to, one to walk out to, one for your signing if you're doing it in the ceremony. Tunes should continue after the ceremony also. Only turn them off if you want guests to go somewhere ie start moving to reception.

Tunes should then go all night. A great DJ who plays old skool hip hop, funk and up tempo rock will satisfy everyone. You want a full d floor of happy sweaty faces. The best fun happens on the d floor and you want the kind of music that entices even the non dancers up for a boogie.

The rest is all noise people. Let it go.

Remember- food, booze, tunes. And a cracking celebrant

 

X nat