I can't express in words how much I love it when a couple gets in touch with me about their wedding and they already know what they want.
I mean, if you don't know and you want a little advice, some direction or my recommendations, that's cool too and it's why I wrote my 52 page Ceremony Planning Guide in the first place.
But to me, if you have a good grip on what you want your wedding to be all about at the very beginning, it is the single most important and foundational element to ensure you have a top wedding day AND a great planning experience too.
Because what you've got to try to keep in perspective when your well meaning friend exclaims "oooh, you haven't booked them, yet?! You'd better get onto it", or your mother-in law is getting in your ear about everything and anything, is what is most important to you. You need to know what your non-negotiables are.
Ben and Maria are an excellent example of that.
Neither of them are particularly comfortable in front of a crowd and the thought of expressing their deepest thoughts and feelings on their wedding day to masses of people did not thrill them in the slightest.
For them, their lives are all about their family and friends and top food and wine. So when it came time to plan their wedding, they made sure they only focussed on what they truly value.
With a general lack of pretense, pomp and posing, Maria and Ben wanted their wedding to all about celebrating with the people who mean the most in the world to them at one of their favourite restaurants in the world, d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant at d'Arenberg in McLaren Vale.
I love how they chose to forego having bridesmaids and groomsmen because they considered all of their 40 or so guests to be their bridal party (just without the taffeta dresses with big bows on the bum).
And when I get an email like this, I know I got something right:
"Thank you again for being the most incredible celebrant for us. We had an amazing wedding day celebrating with friends and family and your ceremony structure fitted in so perfectly.
Thanks for managing two unorganised, pretty nervous people.
I had so many close friends - and even our parents - come and ask us where we knew you from as they were confident that you must have been a long time friend of us both.
It was a really beautiful ceremony and we can't thank you enough for your support and guidance.
Thanks again beautiful lady. We feel so blessed to have you involved in our special day xx
Lots of love, Maria and Ben Doyle."
Their photos are courtesy of the generous and talented Pete Thornton of What Pete Shot.
Bouquet & flowers: Maria's Sister, Amanda
Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo
Cake: Maria & her mum
Celebrant: Me! ;)
Groom's suit & shoes: Godwin Charli
MakeUp: Michelle MacDonald MakeUp
Photography: What Pete Shot
Rings: Georg Jensen
Signage: Sketch & Etch Creative
Wedding dress: Bianca Spender