As Mother's Day approaches, I thought I'd reflect on being a mother myself and how grateful I am to live near my mum, and share the journey of mothering with my sister.
I often get asked what 'a day in the life' of a working mum celebrant looks like, so I thought I'd share my weekend with you.
May started with a bang! A few peals of thunder, a whole lot of rain, some flooding and then unexpectedly, a sunny Saturday in the Byron Shire.
The first weekend of May was a big one for me, with three weddings and my husband working away. Thankfully we have a wonderful support team in my mum and sister, so our little kids had loving carers for the weekend while we were both working.
The three weddings were so different and I was excited about all of them.
Jennifer and Daniel's private elopement at Wategos, with no guests, Hannah and Dan's inmate and elegant wedding on the private property venue, Gurragawee, with only 40 guests and then Kit and Odie's 1970's Black Tie themed party of the year nuptials extravaganza with 150 guests!
I left my house in Mullumbimby very early on Friday morning. I was a bit anxious that I might forget something, with all the paperwork, audio equipment, outfits, clothes for the kids, nappies etc that I had to pack, but in the end all I forgot was the dog's food - sorry Frankie.
However, he was more than happy to eat left over lamb stew.
First stop (after dropping off the kids in Ballina) was a ceremony rehearsal at Kit and Odie's house in Bangalow.
Kit's mum, Margaret, first contacted me as she was doing most of the admin behind the scenes for the wedding. Margaret and Kit work together in Marg's Interior and Events Styling business, Alida and Miller. They do amazing work, and the wedding was the perfect example of what this great mother-daughter duo can produce. (Mums rule!)
The tipis for the wedding were all set up thanks to Samikata Tipi Events, and due to the rain, Kit and Odie had arranged an extra tipi for the ceremony.
It was a hilarious ceremony walk through with the bridal party. We also rehearsed the music and had a bit of a dance to Nelly's "Hot in Herre", their exit song. So fun.
Next stop, was just around the corner at Gurragawee in Brooklet, just 15 minutes away. The rain was pouring down, so we rehearsed Hannah and Dan's ceremony in the foyer of the main house at Gurragawee.
As Hannah and Dan were having a small wedding, it wasn't a worry at all, it was the perfect wet weather option, and would be intimate and so cosy in that gorgeous room.
Hannah discussed about how she would prefer the ceremony outside if there was some kind of miracle and the forecasted 350ml of rain didn't come. It didn't look likely though.
Hannah and Dan were the first couple to book me for May 2nd, and when I got Kit and Odie's enquiry, I emailed Hannah and asked if she would feel comfortable with me booking a second wedding so close to hers. She said she hadn't sent out her invitations yet, and that she would be happy to move her wedding forward by 30 minutes to allow me to book both jobs. Hannah said she had done the sums on how many weddings I could do in a year, and that she wanted me to be able to work as much as I could. How amazing is she!? During their ceremony Dan commented on how much he valued Hannah for her boundless love, how she gives herself fully and always puts others above herself.
I am often pinching myself about the amazing couples I get to marry.
I left Brooklet to go back to Ballina to have lunch with my mum and kids, (thanks for lunch, Mum) and to get ready for Jennifer and Daniel's wedding, but we still hadn't settled on a venue, and the rain just kept on coming down.
The logistics of where to have Jennifer and Daniel's elopement had me a little worried as it was planned as a Wategos Beach ceremony and we didn't really have a wet weather back up.
Overnight they had made plans to have it on the grounds of a stunning property in the shire, but then due to potential flooding, it seemed as if that wasn't going to work, and then last minute they were able to get the amazing penthouse at Rae's on Watego's.
I arrived at Rae's at 2:30pm on the Friday afternoon.
Elisa from Pineapple Images was there snapping away in one of the bedrooms, as Jennifer had just put on her dress, and Daniel was in the living area looking after their son, Corby, with the help of the photographers mum, Elizabeth. (Again, mums rule!)
Elisa and Elizabeth were the legal witnesses for their marriage as well.
I assisted Elisa in setting up a 'first look' moment, which she photographed, and I filmed on my iPhone, just so they could have a little record of it.
The ceremony was conducted on the balcony, while the rain poured down, it was very simple and sweet, and a bit raw and exciting due to their feelings and the weather. I spoke a little about how much they loved each other, and then they said some words to each other about how much they meant to each other, which also tied in their vows.
They exchanged rings, shared a kiss, and viola, they were married!
(All official after we signed the paperwork in the gorgeous dining room, of course).
(Professional images courtesy of Pineapple Images.)
Saturday morning, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sky was blue. Hannah's fine weather miracle came through!
We had a slow morning as we were flooded in and that was a little worrying, but the tide went down and I was able to drive out.
I spent about 30 minutes trying to put my hair up in a chic beehive (didn't quite nail it), while my daughter did the world's biggest poo in her nappy (didn't see an instagram post about that, did you?), and then dropped the kiddies off at my sister’s house and travelled out to Gurragawee for Hannah and Dan's wedding.
Hannah looked stunning in her Grace Loves Lace gown, just so feminine and beautiful.
Hannah and Dan had chosen to walk down the aisle together, as they felt it marked a special beginning on their ongoing journey together.
This meant they also set up a 'first look' moment with their photographers, Josh and Joey from Ethereal Photography.
I was lucky enough to see that sweet moment as well.
Their ceremony was so heartfelt and intimate, their 40 guests were all seated in the garden, yes, they got their garden wedding, and the sun was shining.
Once the ceremony was finished, I packed up my gear, spent about 20 minutes saying goodbye to the other vendors, Hannah and Dan and their guests and then got in my van to head off to Kit and Odie's wedding.
Beautiful bouquet above by Estelle from The French Petal.
And then the big finish at Wizard Mountain for Kit and Odie's amazing 1970's Black Tie themed wedding.
This wedding is a whole blog post on it's own, or a link to which ever lucky bridal blog or magazine gets to use Amelia Fullarton's outstanding images.
Kit and Odie, with the help of Marg, pulled together a great team of vendors, and they did so much themselves.
The themed wedding really took the event into a whole different realm. It really felt as if we were in another space and time that existed purely to celebrate (bow down and worship) Kit and Odie's deep deep deep love for one another.
Kit is a stylist, and she has her own little vintage styling empire over at Alida Buffalo, and she supplied that amazing spotty dress I wore. Got to love playing dress ups for work.
I was lucky that my sister needed me to get back to her place ASAP, otherwise I would have found myself in the awkward territory of being the party crashing celebrant. I really didn't want to leave that amazing celebration, but I couldn't leave my sister and her husband to do dinner and bedtime for four kids without me, so off I journeyed into the sunset.
My beautiful sister cooked dinner for us, and we got all the kiddies to bed, and I was still on a high from the amazing festivities and proceeded to talk her ear off for the rest of the evening.
It really does take a village to raise a child, and I feel so blessed to have such a supportive family.
Happy Mothers Day the amazing women in my life.