Bridal parties saying ‘I do’ to coastal weddings
THE Tweed, Byron and Gold Coasts, with their beaches, headlands and natural beauty, are becoming the place for outdoor wedding ceremonies, often conducted by wedding celebrants.
Margaret Walgers, a Tweed Heads celebrant of Amoret (love knot), is a civil marriage celebrant covering the Tweed and Gold Coast to Byron Bay area, and is booked ahead most weekends in the spring and summer.
"This area is very popular as a wedding/honeymoon destination, attracting many couples from interstate as well as overseas, with benefits flowing on to the local economy," Ms Walgers said.
Why celebrants? She explained: "Many traditions are undergoing change, including those around one of the most important and life changing events of all - our wedding.
"Today many couples haven't been brought up in the tradition of church-going, but still want to solemnise and have witnesses to their commitment and take ownership of their own ceremony. "There's also a fun, creative side, and I just I love working with couples to make their wedding a memorable personalised experience."
Ms Walgers is a part-time schoolteacher, a people person, and preparing for the time when she retires.
"Teachers have lots of skills, we know how to plan and communicate, and then there's the research and discipline of paperwork. Each couple are different - the celebrant guides them through each stage and I help them personalise their ceremony.
"You asked me if I was a romantic. I must be at heart; I get a lot of happiness and satisfaction doing this, and it's very meaningful, because for a short time I'm close to and a part of the couple's most important day of their lives to date."
A marriage celebrant must be adaptable. "I've taken off my high heels and trekked up mountains, been on countless beaches, officiated at a wedding that got off to a watery start when the officiating table was swamped by a rogue wave.
"I've waited with the bride, whose groom was late because he and friends were wearing old-fashioned bow ties no one knew how to tie.
"Most unforgettable were the recalcitrant puppy dogs that brought the rings in tied around their necks, and took off with everyone in hot pursuit.
"They're all different and there's a wow factor when it all comes together. I'm there for them, to make this the most special and memorable day of their lives - and I love being part of it."