It was time, guys. Mr. Big and I were standing literally inches from each other, unable to take our eyes off the other. Meanwhile, Celebrant J commenced the ceremony.
The ceremony was written in collaboration with Celebrant J. We took our favourite pieces and mixed, matched, added, and subtracted until we got to something uniquely us. I’ll talk more about it in my vendor reviews, but in short, everyone loved our ceremony.
For the sake of clarity and to keep the sincerity of the ceremony, I kept our first names as is:
It is my very great pleasure to welcome you to this most joyous occasion, Grant and Eileen’s wedding day. They are delighted that you all have been able to join them in this expression of their love for one another, especially those of you who have travelled great distances to be with them today.
Grant and Eileen are ecstatic that their experiences have brought them to the place where they are ready to fulfill what is theirs to accomplish in this life, to join the forces of their individual spirits, capabilities, and backgrounds.
For Grant and Eileen, marriage means never being too old to hold hands, remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day, and never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted. It is standing together, facing the world. It is doing things for each other, speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways, and giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is not only marrying the right partner, but being the right partner.
The commitment they make today is made understanding each other’s weaknesses and accepting them, and knowing each other’s strengths and encouraging them.
And this is as love should be. However, love is not meant to be the possession of two people alone. Rather it is the source of a collective energy, an energy that gives you the strength to live your lives with joy and courage.
For Grant and Eileen, marriage represents a solemn lifelong commitment to each other. It is walking this life together and helping each other through the ups and downs. It’s being the shoulder to cry on, the crutch to lean on, the enthusiastic “high-fiver,” the comforting hugger, and the encouraging presence. It is all about being a best friend, confidant, lover, and the best partner each could ever want. They feel their relationship is still securely established in that blissful “honeymoon phase,” even though they’ve been together for a little more than three years. Something they hope continues for a long time to come!
Taking the vows of marriage in front of the many people they care about makes today so much more important. Not only are Grant and Eileen uniting, so too are both their families with Eileen joining Grant’s family as a [Mr. Big’s Last Name] and Grant becoming a [Miss Big’s Last Name].
The journey that sees Grant and Eileen standing before us today began in 2010 when they met over the internet. After exchanging messages, they chatted regularly for weeks on end. Through their little talks, they got to know each other, paving the way for Grant to request meeting in person.
Upon seeing Eileen for the first time, Grant’s first thought? “She’s so little!” (This got a few laughs!)
That first date they had lunch, got to know each other a little more, and then watched their first movie together, the “very romantic” Christopher Nolan movie—Inception. To this day, Eileen still has the ticket stub to that movie—framed and proudly on display!
Before long, they were seeing each other weekly. Eileen found happiness in their talks but also in the moments of quiet. And she found comfort not only in Grant’s touch and kisses, but by simply being with him. In his presence, she knew she could spend the rest of her life loving this man.
Grant knew he wanted to take their relationship to the next level when Eileen asked him to join her and her family on a trip to Indonesia and China. The fact that he was unofficially a part of the family made him realise he wanted to make it official.
For Grant, that “magical moment”—the proposal—in the magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand, had been in the pipeline for weeks! This was despite their in-joke that Grant would only propose while intoxicated and would do so with a bronze pipe washer purchased from Bunnings to save money. So when Grant “casually” proposed underneath Sterling Falls, Eileen was caught off guard!
Her response, “Are you serious?” had him thinking that perhaps he hadn’t been as traditional as some would expect…so down on one knee he went and asked again! Ironically, he had bought a washer for the proposal and incidentally left it at the hotel two hours away. Smiles all around, the momentous event filmed, and post-proposal group hugs all added to that special day which in fact was Eileen’s 24th birthday—a day that Grant had promised to treat her to “something special.”
Over time spent together, Grant and Eileen have become the best of friends. With their complementing personalities and unique and quirky senses of humour, they’ve lived life and loved the only way they know how: fun-filled and with enthusiasm!
They’ve settled into that special place that everyone dreams of: love, contentment, and growing in understanding of each other. As a team, they are looking forward to supporting each other to achieve personal goals, while pursuing their own individual dreams.
Everything that Grant has wanted in a life partner, Eileen fills that role. In his own words, “She’s affectionate, smart, funny, accepting, and somehow is not only the greatest friend I could want, but the best, most caring supportive partner I could hope for. I think it’s great that neither of us runs the life of the other, and that—having so much in common—we both have a lot of the same hobbies and interests.”
Grant and Eileen value their time together. They act not just as lovers and partners, but as best friends, sharing in-jokes and being able to lovingly poke fun at each other. Grant especially loves that they are both capable gamers and, even when pitted against each other, he can still be proud of Eileen when she kicks butt!
Grant’s love for Eileen is unfathomable. She loves his intelligence, his deep breadth of knowledge, and most of all, his very willing and generous heart.
With Grant, Eileen knows that she can be herself. She’s not afraid to show her weaknesses—and Grant has the ability to play to her strengths. His presence makes even the direst of situations that much less so. In her own words, “He’s a constant in a life full of inconstant.”
As big dreamers, Grant and Eileen’s hopes and dreams for the future are already formulating. They want to travel the world and experience all life could offer; to celebrate every moment and tackle every problem side-by-side. Most importantly, they want to keep getting closer, the way they have since day one.
Grant and Eileen haven’t been happier. Their laughter is never far from their eyes, and their love and respect for each other can be seen and heard in their words to one another.
At this time, Grant and Eileen would like to take a moment to acknowledge the family and friends who were not able to make it here to share in this wonderful occasion, but who hold a special place in the hearts of those here. Specifically, the happy couple would like to recognise their families in New Zealand and Indonesia, who send their love and blessings for this union.
In recognising family, Grant and Eileen would also like to take a moment to acknowledge the relationship they share with their parents, [Mr. Big’s Papa] and [Mr. Big’s Momma], and [Miss Big’s Papa] and [Miss Big’s Momma].
At this point, Mr. Big’s and my parents were called forward by Celebrant J:
One of the closest relationships in life is that between caring parents and their children. This connection continues to grow and change as these children grow into independent and mature adults. As parents, the love that each of you has shared within your own marriages has been a legacy conferred to Grant and Eileen.
For them, marriage seems natural and you have offered them quiet yet inspiring examples of how it can be. You have encouraged them to live their own dreams and offered them support that has been greatly appreciated.
Today, Grant and Eileen would like to take the time to honour this relationship. Grant’s parents, [Mr. Big’s Papa] and [Mr. Big’s Momma], and Eileen’s parents, [Miss Big’s Papa] and [Miss Big’s Momma], represent their families and all of us when I ask them:
Celebrant J: “Do you give Grant and Eileen your blessings, and pledge them your love, support, and acceptance of this marriage?”
The Bighorn parents: “We do.”
At this point, Papa Bighorn was supposed to grab my hand and place it into Mr. Big’s hand, but because this isn’t a customary thing to do in Chinese culture, we had a hugging session instead, which later turned to a BIG GROUP HUG with all the parents.
As I repositioned myself to stand in front of Mr. Big, Celebrant J then read out the monitum, a legally binding statement that is compulsory in all marriage ceremonies in Australia:
Family and friends, my name is Jennifer, and as a Civil Marriage Celebrant, I am duly authorized to solemnize this marriage according to Law in Australia. Grant and Eileen, before you are joined together in marriage in my presence and in the presence of these witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn, the serious, and the binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage, according to Law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
Celebrant J then continued on with the ceremony, asking MoH M&Ms to hold my bouquet as I grabbed Mr. Big’s hands in mine:
The hand which you each offer to the other today is an extension of yourselves, just like the warmth and love which you express to each other. Cherish this touch, be sensitive to its pulse, and try to understand and respect its flow and rhythm, just as you do your own.
Grant, I now ask you before all those present, do you take Eileen to be your lawful wife, to share your life with her, and pledge that you will love and honour her, with tenderness and affection, forevermore?
Grant: “I do.”
Eileen, I now ask you before all those present, do you take Grant to be your lawful husband, to share your life with him, and pledge that you will love and honour him, with tenderness and affection, forevermore?
Eileen: “I do.”
After we said our “I do”s, we moved on to the wine ceremony, a ceremony Mr. Big and I wanted to incorporate for two reasons: (1) we’re in the Hunter Valley, the wine country of New South Wales, and (2) wine has a special place in our relationship. We split the wine ceremony into two portions: a wine ceremony ritual where we would drink and toast some wine; and a wine box ceremony which, unfortunately, we didn’t get still photos of (but heaps of video and our stop-motion).
Today, Grant and Eileen have chosen to celebrate their union through the symbolism of wine. Wine has been called the symbol of life. It is like the blood flowing within our bodies.
The glass of wine symbolises the sum of your life experiences. It contains within it sweet flavours symbolic of happiness, joy, hope, and love. This same wine also holds some bitter properties that symbolise sorrow, grief, and life’s trials and tribulations. Together, the sweet and the bitter essences represent life’s journey and all the experiences that are a natural part of it.
As you drink from this cup, you accept the commitment to draw from your marriage all that you need to wash away the bitter flavours and savour the sweet.
Drink now, and may the cup of your lives be sweet and full.
By sharing this glass, the two become one and the parts become whole; two paths intertwined, each separate, yet united in love. May all the sweetness that it holds for you be ever the sweeter because you taste it together, and may you find life’s joys heightened and its bitterness sweetened.
At this time I’d like to draw your attention to the box beside Grant and Eileen.
They have written letters to each other expressing their feelings as they begin their marriage. In these letters, they have detailed why they fell in love and what they truly admire about the other person. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes, and they have not seen what the other has written.
These letters have already been placed inside the box with a bottle of wine. Together they will seal the box, and on the happy occasion of their 5th year wedding anniversary, they will open the box, drink the wine together, and read each other’s letters.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any pictures of the actual wine box ceremony, but this photo shows you how the ceremony was laid out.
Grant and Eileen, by reading these love letters, you will be given an opportunity to reflect upon the reasons that you fell in love with each other.
I now ask you to place the letters in the box and seal it shut.
Next up, the vows and the big kiss! (OOOOooooooOOOOOO!!) Stay tuned, guys!
[All photos by Studio Something.]
Need to catch up?
- Laugh, weep, and celebrate with us by watching our wedding video.
- I am a delegating ninja! (I’m really not.)
- We have a “nice” morning of Car-Tetris fun!
- I tell you guys about the frenzy that is the lead-up to our wedding day.
- We practice walking and talking.
- We eat a loooooot of meat.
- I celebrate my last night as a Miss.
- I talk to you about a major wedding regret.
- The girls get their pretty on.
- The guys clean up nicely.
- I get all fancy with my duds.
- We cut some ribbon.
- I walk down the aisle.