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2020

T H E U N H O LY M AT R I M O N Y M A G A Z I N E

REAL COUPLES WEDDING ARTISANS

RITES & RITUALS

MAPS OF UNION: A RITUAL REVIVAL

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PHOTO: BRI A R S ATL A S


. 3 e u s s i o t e m o c l e W

People often ask me where the idea for this magazine came from and why I decided I needed to create it. If I want to take the easy way out of answering that question I just respond with something like, ‘I got tired of seeing the same ol’ same ol’ every other weekend while out on the wedding trail and I wanted to create something that gave couples a sense of agency, inspired them to be brave enough to back their own ideas, break free from tradition and expectation, and most importantly, to diversify the wedding market.’ That’s what I usually say. But it’s deeper than that. Much deeper. And I think that’s the whole point, to be deep. To move away from superficiality and the tug of external beauty on the human heart. To ponder and discuss the bigger themes and mysteries surrounding weddings and ceremonies - like love and death - and how we can mark these moments in our existence with purpose and intention. That’s what art is, isn’t it? Creativity backed with intention, purpose and emotional power. That is where the adage we created for Unholy Matrimony - the dark art of love - came from. I need much more than the few hundred words I’ve been afforded here to be able to adequately express my thoughts on this matter. But essentially, it comes down to this: we are all seekers of authenticity and connection. Real human beings without filters, who are brave enough to step forward and share their reality in its most true and raw form, no matter how unpolished it might be. In a world where everything we see has been edited and curated to adhere to our insatiable appetite for perfection, UM Mag champions a much dirtier, more genuine version of reality. Inside these pages you will discover the stories of some of the most brave, artistic and beautiful souls you will ever encounter and it is our absolute privilege to share them with you. Welcome to UM Mag. A N N I E

M O L E N A A R ,

E D I T O R .


COV ER

E D I T O R

Annie Molenaar A R T I S T I C

D I R E C T O R

Sophie Sauzier E D I T O R I A L

C O N T R I B U T O R S

Fiona Gohari Anna Russell Oliver Thomson Ben Urquhart F I N D

U S

O N L I N E

www.unholymatrimony.com.au P H O T O S U B S C R I B E

B R I D E

www.unholymatrimony.com.au B E C O M E

A

S T O C K I S T

hello@unholymatrimony.com.au S U B M I T

Y O U R

W O R K

hello@unholymatrimony.com.au

# U M M A G

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@ U N H O L Y M A T R I M O N Y _

Aaron Shum Stephanie Villanueva


If you could see feelings Maybe they would form like fine lines Linking you to your loved ones Like road maps of the heart Feather and Finch navigate those maps to produce images that move you. Escape the ordinary. G O L D C OA S T, A U S T R A L I A | F E AT H E R A N D F I N C H P H O T O G R A P H Y. C O M . A U


CONTENTS

Artisan - Photography

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Culling your guest list - Fiona Gohari

Artisan - Celebrant

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Ceremony with Cacao - Anna Russell

Artisan - Videography

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Turn and Face the Strange - Bottlebrush Films

Artisan - Celebrant Inclusive language - Oliver Thomson

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ISSUE --- THIS

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THE NEXUS BETWEEN NONCONFORMISM AND NOSTALGIA P H O T O G R A P H Y W O R D S

As atheists, Mark and Christine don’t believe that there’s an eternity for them after this life. There is only this life. Thus, to give oneself in marriage for this lifetime isn’t a waystation on the way to some other heavenly eternity—it is all there is. It is a commitment to be together until they no longer exist, until they are nowhere and nothing. Mark and Christine first met online, through a dating app called OK Cupid that matches you based on questions you answer. These can range from “What’s your favourite colour?” to “How do you feel about porn?” and everything in between. Their answers were very compatible – they can’t recall exactly, but somewhere around 96% or more. And the more questions they answered, the higher their compatibility score went. After a few conversations, they quickly worked out that they only lived a couple of streets from each

JEPS WEDDINGS

A N NIE MOLENA A R

other – a 5 minute walk – and had lived nearby for several years. It even turned out they’d worked in the same building before and had attended some of the same concerts. With such a high compatibility score and only living a few streets apart, not to mention the obvious gravitational force of the universe magnetizing them toward one another, it definitely encouraged them to arrange a time to meet up. The first time Christine saw Mark’s profile picture with his long, curly hair blowing in the wind, she knew she had to meet him. She didn’t have a profile picture up for herself at the time because she wasn’t really serious about the app. She was essentially just window shopping the local singles with no intention of actually setting up any dates. Then she stumbled onto Mark and she was like, ‘I gotta have me some of that.’ When he messaged her, she couldn’t

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quite believe it and it immediately prompted her to upload her own photo. The cheeky smile she had in that pic captivated Mark straight away and he was hooked. Turns out that a quick snapshot at 2am can do wonders for your love life. Their first date, despite almost not eventuating due to Christine actually forgetting they had arranged it, went swimmingly. Christine said she didn’t feel nervous at all. She felt instantly comfortable and totally intrigued. It felt like Mark was one of her best friends who she’d known for years. It was so easy to talk to him. Mark says he’s definitely one of those people that has a “type” and once he met Christine, she ticked all of his boxes (and then some). Her amazing smile, charm and thoughtfulness combined with her English rose complexion and rock chick aesthetic had him smitten from the get-go.


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W E L L - B E I N G S U D D E N L Y I M P O R T A N T

K N O W Y O U R A N D

was so cool, smart and adorable and she immediately looked for the next opportunity to see him again. And that has never stopped. She is still trying to find and grab every opportunity to see him and talk to him. Y O U ’ R E I N P A R T N E R ’ S

Mark says that you know Y O U R O W N ” you’re in love when your partner’s well-being and happiness suddenly becomes more important than your own. And the thought of not having them in your life is unfathomable. About 12 months after they met, they nearly broke up. Without going into too much detail, Mark realised a little too late how much Christine meant to him and that he wanted to share his life with her, and build a deeper relationship. He managed to convince her to see him once more and he explained himself and confessed his feelings to her. Luckily, she still had a candle burning for him. Admittedly, he nearly pissed it all away before it began, but Christine is incredibly forgiving which is just one of the things he loves about her. She gave him a second chance, which he is very grateful for and never intends to squander! H A P P I N E S S

B E C O M E S T H A N

After that they started spending as much time together as possible and seemed to just slot into each other’s lives in a way that made it seem like that’s where they had always belonged. I asked them if there was a definitive moment in time when the realization they had fallen in love dawned on them and Christine said she’s been falling in love with Mark since the moment she first saw his picture until this day. She fell in love with him because he is just so interesting to her. Even now, after 7 years of togetherness, they can stay up late talking until their throats are scratchy. One of the main things that attracted her to him was his openness to try things, new foods, new experiences, new learnings, and a willingness to change his mind/opinion if presented with the right information. On the first night they met, she thought he

M O R E

Since those early days of their relationship they have done and achieved so much together, not least of which has seen them move in together and then buy their own home. They have furthered themselves in their chosen career and study paths, travelled overseas, grown their family by gaining some doggos, and spent countless hours playing games, watching TV shows, and listening to music. One of their favourite memories together is sitting at GODZ Metal Bar in Tokyo drinking and requesting metal songs until the wee hours of the morning. In fact, Mark

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says that might just be his favourite memory of his entire life. They have planned trips, meals and schedules around each other. They live and work together and will both tell you that despite spending practically 24 a day together, they never tire of each other’s company. Finally, on a trip to Europe in 2017, while hanging out in the shade of the Eiffel Tower, Mark asked Christine to be his wife. And that is exactly what has led them to this point in their lives – their wedding day! They tied the knot at Gold Coast’s most iconic venue - Mobile Barber Shop Depot - in a sea of neon, red roses and black pillar candles. A slave to no one’s tradition, Christine and Mark did things their way and the result was truly spectacular.


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P H O T O G R A P H E R :

Celebrant Lady Love

C E L E B R A N T : V E N U E :

Mobile Barber Shop Depot

F L O R I S T : N E O N B A R :

J e p s We d d i n g s

Po l l i n a t e G o l d C o a s t

S I G N S :

Neon Republic

Austream Affairs

M U S I C : S I G N S

Lily Budiasa A N D

I N V I T A T I O N S :

Bonne Chance Creative


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--- ARTISAN

U N H O LY M AT R I M O N Y

CULLING YOUR GUEST LIST A WEDDING DAY GUIDE TO DETOXIFICATION W O R D S F I O N A

G O H A R I

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&

F I O N A

I M A G E S A N D

It’s so easy to forget during the wild tango of planning a wedding that the day is about the two of you. This is a journey that the both of us learned the hard way. Repeat it to yourself once more, the wedding day is about the two of you. Spit, rinse, repeat. Create the mantra and invite it to rest under your tongue, let it melt under the heat of your desires, and swallow. It’s not a hard pill to ingest, but for some reason, somewhere along the blurring lines of tradition and modernism, the narrative became confused and muddled. The vast ocean of crystal blue waters that each and every one of us is submerged in, gently treading water, somehow becomes a mud bath as we get closer and closer to the wedding day and our vision and intuition becomes hazy and confused.

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P H O T O G R A P H Y

Marriage is birthed from the explosion of un-going and unwavering commitment of two people to one another. The wedding is the celebration of that. Nonetheless, so many of us still fall into the pitfalls of feeling guilted, in one way or another, to include people onto that coveted guest list who are, underneath it all, imposters in our lives.

In our everyday lives, we make constant decisions as to who we want to have lunch with, who we decide to have over for a drink and who we invite to stay over in our home. These are the people that we trust, we adore, we love, people who uplift us, those that share their vulnerability with us, their difficulties, their loses and their wins. Yet somehow, when it comes to making that all important guest list for your wedding celebration, those choices become confused, darkened, muddied or influenced.

Bobby and I fell into that murky trap. Don’t get me wrong, there was so much about our day that we did our way. Bobby wore the suit he wanted, I wore the dress that I fell in love with. We chose our dream venue nestled within the Malibu Hills, complete with empty barns, animals and a Ferris wheel. We chose the flowers that the two of us wanted and even opted to have vegan cheesecakes as the wedding cake. We married under a 100-year-old oak tree which homed birds and bees going about their daily routines. It was tranquil and idyllic. But underneath it all boiled a festering anxiety. And at the end of the day, none of that beauty and visual perfection mattered one bit, because half of the people we included were not our biggest supporters in this life. It makes a difference. Something like this will taint the lead up to your wedding celebration, it carves a hole in your stomach and sits there, waiting for unexpected moments to rear its head. It casts a hue of apprehension over all your memories associated to your wedding.

Choosing who bears witness to the most intimate moment in your lives together shouldn’t be that hard. It should be an easy decision. It should include the people who contributed to your narrative, the people who weaved the two of you into existence, and those that have created boundless space within their life for you.

This day that you’re planning, is about the two of you. You are throwing caution to the wind with the intension to be bound endlessly to this one other person in life that is equally as weird and wonderful as you are. The presence of everyone else on the day is the icing on the cake, but just like a cake, if those ingredients aren’t the right ones, your

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day will make you feel nauseous. Of course, you can ignore the photos where people who have caused you negativity are featured, but the memories will still be there. There’s only so much you can ignore, retouch or photoshop. Be still your heart on your day. Let it beat in comfort. Let the cause of its rise and surge be summoned by the gentle caress of your love on the day, not from the tension of the presence of people you would rather not share your most intimate celebrations with. Each person plays a special role at your wedding, no matter how small or large your celebration is, and if those elements are not just right, then so will the rest of the day be dampened. We are all complex people. Each and every one of us. We have a history of growth and interactions that have led us to this very moment. Not every journey has been a positive one. We would be naive to believe it any other way. But that’s ok, because that interaction gave us the emotional tools to develop and mould our future into the space that we want to inhabit. And isn’t that space a beautiful one to be in? Do not feel pressurised to share that space that you have worked so hard to create with those that have caused you emotional harm, financial stress, physical damage or allconsuming sadness at any stage in your lives. Sometimes, we have to make hard decisions to disassociate with those that say that they want our best, but whose actions say different. That noxious person pending on your guest list could be a friend of a friend, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, or even a parent. The unbalanced dynamic manifesting in your relationship with that person can come in many forms, it never discriminates, which is why it’s often so hard when it comes to deciding whether they should attend your day. What exists within so many family structures are emotionally traumatic relationships and boundaries. And yet despite this, many people still invite those traumafuelled dynamics into their wedding like a guest. There are moments on this journey in life when you have to hold back and stand your ground, put that relationship on hold and give distance to the toxic ties that once held you together. Sometimes, time can bring with it growth as a result of reflection and relationships can be nurtured to grow again. But while that toxic air still strives, restricting access to the fertile ground of a wedding day is the only way of navigation to a healthier more joyful experience of your day. As the saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy. Everyone seems to have the perfect life. From the outside, peeping in, we always think that someone else seems to have it all. The perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect family, and the most perfect social life. All the elements of their

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life weave wonderfully together in a way that breathes an effortless beauty, that it almost feels like we are on the outside watching the slow and exuberant dance between the most blessed beings on the planet. The reality is, nobody is perfect. No life is effortless. No job is all glory. No laughter is without its sadness. And no relationship is without its flaws. But there lies the joy. There lies the growth. Life is hard… and in some weird and bizarre dynamic of comparison, so are guest lists. Consider this to be the guest list of your life - the star players, the people that are ever present - give those souls the seat of honour to your wedding day adventures. And if you are one of those that has had to deal with these traumatic, abusive, one sided tumultuous relationships, don’t sit there in the throes of wild despair. Hardships in life are plentiful and those hardships always give birth to wonder and joy. Growing into this new stage in your lives where you establish boundaries may feel like your limbs are breaking at first, but a new space will open up before you in time. You are both where you need to be at this stage in your lives. Those that don’t respect your views, your decisions or your lifestyle need not be a part of your narrative at this pivotal part in your lives. No feeling is final. No person is perfect. Allow your choices to fall like rain through your hands. The climb is hard, but the view is always momentous. Those that empower you while acknowledging all your imperfections are worthy of having a seat at your table.


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(Re) h i t c he d: Ja c + Dy la n’s Vo w Re ne w a l P H O T O S W O R D S

We’re both from the same small country town. In our teenage years, we crossed paths in the school yard or house parties and I swooned over him at the local Battle of the Bands; he was the drummer for hardcore metal band, ‘Corpses Bleed’ and would don tight as hell Supré skinny jeans. He had side burns. He had a tattoo. We were 17. We never said a word to each other. Several years later, we got talking with the security blanket of Facebook messenger. He was still cool as hell, still had sideburns… and owned an F100.

KINGS AND THIEVES

JACI N TA M E W – JAC T H E H ITCH E R

I agreed to a first date. He came around in his work truck at 4am for his run into the city one midweek morning. His day involved delivering a heap of steel to building sites and he coaxed me along for the ride with a promise of him shouting copious amounts coffees and hash browns. He handed me the aux chord and gave me the official title of DJ for the entire trip. It had the potential to be the most uncomfortable 12 hours of my life. We were married within 9 months. The phrase “when you know, you know” was thrown around quite a bit

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back then and whilst we don’t regret for one second our hasty decision to do life with one another, we later started to regret our wedding. Don’t get us wrong, it was the one of the greatest days ever – burlesque, champagne, and a high-energy Baltic dance party were sitting very high on our priorities but our ceremony was right there at the bottom of the list. We never wrote vows to one another. We didn’t care. We just wanted to sign the papers already.


U N H O LY M AT R I M O N Y

Skip forward to today and I’m now a fucking full-time marriage celebrant. Safe to say my view around the importance of ceremony has changed somewhat and together, the way we both define marriage is much more profound. Dylan would hear these ceremonies I write weekly and also the incredible vows that my clients would send through. It was Dylan that proposed we have a crack at doing it over. He wanted a turn to put pen to paper. 7 years and 4months after our wedding, and one small child later… we eloped. Like most marriages, we’ve certainly been through some shit. There have been rough patches that could strain even the tightest of bonds, and we’ve had some highs that have brought us back stronger than ever. Without a

doubt navigating our way through the shit-storm that is parenting has been the most difficult rollercoaster ride by far. Renewing our vows was a chance to stop. Take stock. Reflect on how far we’ve come as a couple, declare that we’ve kicked that ‘seven-year-itch’ in the balls, to make a new pact that we’re still in it for the long haul and scream our love from the mighty Blue Mountains. We told no one our plans; this moment would be just for us and our daughter. We felt the powerful emotion and intimacy that were absent on our wedding day… and we’ve become even more obsessed with one another. Renew your damn vows. You don’t need a special occasion, a specific amount of years, the guests…or even a celebrant for that matter (says the celebrant). Do it when it feels right or perhaps annually if you feel so inclined. Take the time to really ‘talk’ to each other and make those promises for your future or refresh the ones you’ve already made. All you need is each other… and in our case, a fucking excellent photographer to tell the story and document our legacy.

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L I ST E N, F UCK W E DDI NG PHOTOGR A PH Y, R IGH T I’m not about to halt the flow of your wedding day to force you into awkward (and ultimately less meaningful) wedding-y poses for hours on end. I also don’t really give much of a stuff about pretty styling or epic views. Nor do I think your wedding is the ultimate pinnacle of your lives. I’m neither ‘dark and moody’ nor ‘bright and airy’, because I don’t force my photography into a mood that doesn’t feel authentic to the day. You also won’t hear me commanding crowds or see me with a tonne of photo gear, yammering on about Photoshop and Instagram likes. I’m tattooed and pierced. I have a huge beard and a Scandinavian scowl. I also wear dark denim, weigh a hundred kilos, love to deadlift, and I’ll drink beers and eat vegan ‘til I die. So, yeah. I’ll probably scare your mum. But really, I’m a huge cuddle monster. And I think that love is more enveloping, layered and powerful than many give it credit for. I think a lot of folk are stuck inside little social and traditional constructs and they’re unable to see the big picture. And seeing big picture is kind of essential, isn’t it, especially if we’re going to live for 100+ years. You see, a lot of wedding photographers read the same guides, fawn over each others’ work, and they all use the same approach. They’re all stuck

inside the ‘wedding box’. That’s why all their photos look the same — a bulk of their influence comes from other wedding photographers. It’s a bit of a wank-fest, right? I’d go as far to say that if a wedding photographer was truly passionate about their work, they’d step out of that box, see the big picture, see the legacy of the humans they shoot, and have a steady diet of inspiration outside of wedding photography. Man, I hardly even call myself a ‘wedding photographer’ anymore — we are chroniclers, and the camera, this box with a hole in the front, miles better than many of this century’s greats, is our tool for creative and passionate expression. I value the humans in front of my lens more than the photos I take of them. I don’t shoot for the front page of magazines, nor for my own portfolio. I think relying on awkward posing and static movements is lazy and meaningless, and that emotion and drama will always win out over perfect composition and exposure. I’m an artist, more than I am a businessperson. And as much as I like to plan for a wedding day, I crave spontaneity and anarchy, so you know I’ll be ready for sloshed beers, flowing tears and an inappropriate atmosphere.

P U T

S I M P L Y

I aim for the soul more than the sky, because I know these photos of you will mean more in a hundred years from now. I’m intuitively led, focusing more on human emotion than epic portrait setpieces. I photograph your day according to the flow of it, Never interrupting, never repeating or posing, Simply shooting the events as they unfold, in a powerful and impactful manner. Powerful Wedding Chronicling for the Reckless at Heart K I N G

A N D

T H I E V E S

K I N G S A N D T H I E V . E S


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ANCHORED BY LOVE TEGAN AND SHAYN S RITUAL UNION

P H O T O S

E.L SIMPSON PHOTOGR APHY

W O R D S

Rain. A valley filled with mist. Bare feet on raw earth inside a rock circle. The distant sound of running water and jingling bells. Tw o s w o r d s d i p p e d i n s a c r e d w a t e r, w i p e d o v e r t w o h a n d s , f a s t e n e d t o g e t h e r. T h e k n o t i s t i e d . Tw o f a m i l i e s a r e u n i t e d . S o u n d s l i ke a n a n c i e n t C e l t i c wedding ceremony from the 6 t h c e n t u r y, b e a u t i f u l i n i t ’ s s i m p l i c i t y, centered around the elements, family and timehonoured traditions, which is e x a c t l y w h a t Te g a n a n d S h a y n e w a n t e d f o r t h e i r w e d d i n g d a y. W h i l e p l a n n i n g t h e i r b i g d a y, Te g a n a n d S h a y n e d e c i d e d t o ke e p e v e r y t h i n g s e c r e t , t o a v o i d having to hear others opinions on what their wedding should l o o k l i ke . T h e y k n e w e x a c t l y w h a t they wanted …. and they got it. Jump back five years to 2015. It’s the auspicious eve of Friday the thirteenth, past midnight, o u t f r o n t o f Te g a n ’ s a p a r t m e n t , i n t h e m i d d l e o f w i n t e r. S h a y n h a s c o m e t o c o n v i n c e Te g a n t o hang out, after connecting and

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chatting for hours on a dating app. With no plan of where to go, they find a $1 coin in Shayn’s car and flip it to decide which direction to walk, soon finding themselves strolling along a beach boardwalk, in the pitch dark, and in the freezing cold. Ho u r s g o b y a n d n o t h i n g e l s e matters… They’ve found each o t h e r. A n d t h e r e s t i s h i s t o r y. Between the girls is a 10-year age difference. Shayne says that at the age of ten she dreamt her perfect match into existence, b u t h a d t o w a i t f o r h e r. W i t h i n a f e w w e e k s o f m e e t i n g Te g a n , Shayn was already saving to buy an engagement ring, knowing that she’d met the one. After a c o u p l e o f y e a r s , Te g a n d e c i d e d to secretly beat her to it, and had a local jewellery designer create the ring. Deciding the proposal didn’t need to be a big spectacular event, she caught Shayne asleep on the couch one day after work, got down on one k n e e o n t h e h a r d t i l e d f l o o r, a n d p o p p e d t h e q u e s t i o n . Ne x t t h i n g

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they were both laughing and c r y i n g , i n w h a t Te g a n d e s c r i b e s a s ‘ t h e b e s t m o m e n t e v e r ’. They decided to have the same j e w e l l e r y d e s i g n e r m a ke a r i n g f o r Te g a n , b u t s h e d i d n ’ t e x p e c t t h e s u r p r i s e c o u n t e r- p r o p o s a l from Shayne, down on one knee inside the front door as she arrived home from work! Both girls are extremely family oriented and wanted to honour their family cultures and t r a d i t i o n s i n t h e i r c e r e m o n y. Fo r t h e m i t w a s i m p o r t a n t t o continue these traditions and rituals, but in their own unique w a y, f o r t h e y o u n g e r g e n e r a t i o n s in their families to witness and carry on. They also wanted to involve their family members in the ceremony by giving them special roles. It began with a group procession to the ceremony site, led by the two eldest from the next generation. Shayn’s father p e r f o r m e d t h e c e r e m o n y, w i t h her younger brother alongside h i m . Te g a n ’ s f a t h e r b r o u g h t t h e family blending bowl for the


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symbolic merging of the family mottos. The girls’ mothers held each other’s wedding rings, which also went into the bowl and Shayn’s grandmother did the tying of the knot for the handfasting. One knot for Shayn’s life, o n e k n o t f o r Te g a n ’ s l i f e a n d o n e k n o t f o r t h e i r n e w l i f e t o g e t h e r. A chalice is traditionally used to pour water over the handf a s t i n g , b u t Te g a n a n d S h a y n instead used matching swords, which they dipped into the water inside the blending bowl and then wiped over the hand-fasting to seal the knots. The beautiful thing about their chosen venue was the number of different spaces they could utilize, in order to separate the different ceremonial stages of t h e d a y. T h e s e c l u d e d p r o p e r t y, w h i c h ‘ f e l t l i ke i t ’ s o w n l i t t l e w o r l d ’, h a d a l l t h e t h i n g s t h e girls wanted, including a tree to get married under near running w a t e r, a b a r n f o r t h e r e c e p t i o n , an undercover area for the pre-

wedding mingling time and a separate shady spot for the tea c e r e m o n y, w h i c h f o l l o w e d o n f r o m t h e w e d d i n g c e r e m o n y. When Shayn was little she made a promise to herself that she wouldn’t drink tea or coffee until she was married. She p l a n n e d t o m a ke t h i s s i m p l e daily ritual a special one, shared with the special person she’d b e e n w a i t i n g h e r w h o l e l i f e f o r. Incorporating a tea ceremony into their wedding day was a given! The girls had both originally wanted to wear black for the wedding, black being the family uniform and what they’re both m o s t c o m f o r t a b l e i n . Ho w e v e r they decided on white for the c e r e m o n y, t o m a ke i t f e e l m o r e special, and then after the w e d d i n g p h o t o s , t h e y d u c ke d away for a surprise costume change, jumping into black dresses with dark lipstick for the reception, so they could enjoy the rest of the night feeling more l i ke t h e m s e l v e s .

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Two professional photographers and two videographers were hired to capture the event, which w a s a p r i o r i t y f o r Te g a n a n d Shayne, and according to the g i r l s ‘ d i d a n a m a z i n g j o b ’, w e l l worth the expense. ‘ We l o v e t h a t e v e r y t h i n g we wanted and chose was put together and pulled off exactly a s w e p l a n n e d ’. E v e n t h e r a i n ! ‘Some people might think we’re crazy but even the rain was exactly what we wanted!’


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E.L Simpson Photography

Cowbell Creek, Austinville

V I D E O G R A P H E R :

Lovedays Cinema

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All the cakes and delicacies that come from the Torte kitchen are lovingly hand crafted by Mirjana. Using only the finest available ingredients like whole milk butter, free range eggs from Mirjana’s own chickens and honey harvested in her mother’s garden. Torte would love to work with you to create something beautiful and unique to share with family and friends. M E L B O U R N E , A U S T R A L I A | T O RT E B Y M I R J A N A . C O M


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The first time I participated in a cacao ceremony was in a riverside shala in Changu, Bali, while on a shamanic plant medicine retreat (with Jemma from anchoringthelight.com), a pretty epic way of experiencing this powerful ceremony for the first time.

Ceremony; ‘a unified ritualistic event with a purpose, usually consisting of a number of artistic components, performed on a special occasion’. Across all cultures and since the beginning of human civilisation, ceremony and ritual have been used to mark life’s essential moments and life’s great passages.

After a mind-blowing journey of breathwork, praying, journeying with animal spirits,ecstatic dancing and of course drinking of the cacao, I came out of what felt like a deep hypnotic trance. The shift I felt in my whole being, but especially in the vicinity of my heart, was palpable and profound. Isn’t it just hot chocolate? How could it affect me so deeply?

In ceremony we participate in something deep and significant, moments which move our heart and touch our spirit. Contracts are made in front of witnesses, declarations of love and promises of eternity are shared, achievements are recognised and tributes paid, group blessings on unborn babies are showered over expecting mothers, cheeky challenges and rights of passage are inflicted on hens and bucks about to let go of their singledom, poetry and storytelling and symbolic rituals mark the transition from one phase of life to the next, right up to our inevitable passing from this earthly realm where ceremony allows us to collectively express our grief and loss.

I was surprised and immediately curious, looking forward to my next ceremony. I subsequently sat with cacao in Peru and in Australia, each time going deeper, and coming out more transformed. Responding to the calling, I continued down the rabbit hole, completing a course in Cacao Ceremony Facilitation, (@sacredchocolatecacao with Jemma) and am now holding my own ceremonies in Victoria, NSW and QLD.

Ceremony brings people reaffirms self identity values and beliefs, reassurances of It removes us and stress of c h a n g i n g the ordinary flow of

I invite you, if you’re keen or curious, to come along on a journey of personal transformation and heartopening with me, to meet Maestra Cacao and allow her to guide you, as you call in whatever it is you want in your life, and let go of whatever is not serving you.

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together, and shared and offers life’s purposes. from the chaos our forevermodern world and life, and places


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Cacao is an entheogen; a ‘psychoactive’ (or mindaltering) substance, used to connect to the sacred plant spirit of the cacao plant. In the traditions of the indigenous cacao-keepers who lived in harmony with the natural world, it is believed that every plant has a spirit, and plants are seen as intelligent, living beings with their own unique healing powers.

us in a sacred space, where we can experience both a sense of stability and continuity, as well as the magic of the mysterious and the mystical. In this way, ceremony acts as a bridge between our outer and inner worlds, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the profane and the sacred. In ceremony, we are reminded of the inter connectedness of all life, as that which is eternal within us is awakened, and we are shown how our individual lives are part of a much grander design.Renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell once asserted that the level of civilised behaviour in a society is directly linked to the practice of ceremonies and rites of passage in that society. [10] Why not bring more, andmore meaningful forms of ceremony into our lives, and use this precious tool to help us shine, both on an individual and a collective level? T H E

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Maestra Cacao is considered a powerful teacher and in my experience, a gentle, playful one, who helps us connect with our own inner wisdom and step into who we really are. Her potent energetic medicine, when sourced ethically, prepared ceremonially and drunk with intention, is capable of bringing us closer to God, whatever that means for each of us. C A C A O :

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Everyone’s heard somewhere that chocolate is good for you.. Well organic, raw cacao is a superfood; rich in antioxidants, plant-based iron, healthy fats, magnesium, calcium, abunch of other vitamins and minerals, fiber, natural carbohydrates and protein.

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The current buzz around ceremonial cacao in the urban jungle is a beautiful example of the way that ancient wisdom is merging with modern day culture.

Cacao contains an amino acid called PEA that is a precursor to the happy brain chemical serotonin. It also contains Anandamide, a neurotransmitter known as the ‘bliss molecule’, which binds to the THC receptors of the brain, causing a similar effect on the body as CBD oil. Caco’s main active constituent, Theobromine, causes dilation in the blood vessels of the cardiovascular system, which results in a sense of alertness of the mind and relaxation of the body simultaneously. This effect on the heart, is part of why it’s considered a heart-opening substance, and could be why chocolate has been linked with the heart and with love, even in Western culture, since way back.

Used ceremonially for thousands of years by many South and Central American peoples, cacao is so much more than just chocolate as we know it. In Western culture we’re trained to think of chocolate as a naughty treat. However cacao, the raw material of chocolate (minus the processing, heat, milk, sugar and additives), is actually a super food and so much more! Known in the ancient Mayan culture as ‘ The Food of the Gods ‘, Cacao’s scientific name ‘ Theobroma Cacao ‘ literally translates from ancient Greek as ‘food of the gods’ and cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as currency.

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On a metaphysical level, cacao acts as a tool for connecting to the energetic space of our hearts, and to the hearts of others. It can assist with healing, gaining clarity around love, relationships, purpose, and personal growth and is a powerful tool for deepening our inner work, whether that be meditation, journaling, creating art, or shamanic journeying. On a broader scale, cacao helps us expand our understanding of who we are, and nurtures our connection with Nature and the Universe, something I see as severely lacking in the current Western World,

governed by ‘dominator-cultures’ with the mentality that nature is for controlling and ravaging, rather than respecting and cherishing. Perhaps if everyone’s hearts were healed and open, this sort of destruction wouldn’t happen, and we wouldn’t be experiencing the natural disasters that we are. By starting with ourselves, we can call upon cacao to help heal our own hearts and perhaps create a ripple effect, helping others heal theirs. And who knows what’s possible for a civilisation healed and transformed by chocolate!


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TO THE GRAVE EM AND DAN S CADILLAC OF CREDENCE

P H O T O G R A P H Y

R I C K Y G E S T RO

W O R D S A N NIE MOLENA A R

“... did you ever look up into the night sky and feel certain that not only was something up there, but it was looking down on you at that exact same moment, and was just as curious about you as you were about it?” - Fox Mulder

Eight years ago, while Em and Dan were both studying film at the same college, they were introduced by a mutual friend and shared a sweet li’l chat outside an editing lab. Fast-forward to now and you’ll find them sitting side-by-side in the lab as professional editors. Em and Dan live and work together. They also share the same birthday and a love of velvet, tattoos, fringe and arts shows, and have a penchant for watching re-runs of The X-Files and The Simpsons on the couch with their darling cat, Helena. They are self-professed homebodies and happiest when in each other’s company. Marriage wasn’t ever something they talked about or wanted - it just wasn’t a priority for either of them. But in a short space of time, they went through a lot together. Em had two consecutive spinal surgeries that were quite risky and took

her out of action for a few months. During all of this their idea of marriage started to change. With everything they conquered, they knew they would be together forever. One day, they were laying in bed after Em had returned home from hospital and they started talking about the prospect of marriage. Dan simply asked Em if she would like to marry him. She said she would love to and in return asked if Dan would like to marry her. He said yes. That was it - no frills, no ring, no elaborate plan, just the two of them deciding they were each other’s person for the rest of their days. When they began the planning process, one of the most important things to Em and Dan was having their family and closest friends come together to celebrate and have a good time. As well as being sure to do things their way and not give in to the idea of what a wedding

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should look like, they just wanted to get married, enjoy the day with their people and eat good food! The ceremony was easily their favourite part of the day. It was intimate, funny and full of personality. Their celebrant created a really beautiful moment for them and exchanging their own personal vows was incredibly special. They both admit there is something so magical about telling your love just how much they mean to you and making promises that you plan on keeping forever. They also loved getting ready together in their own home and going on the trip to the Museum of Natural History for photos before the ceremony. This location was suggested by their photographer and videographer and was, according to Em and Dan, utterly perfect for them. It was here they were able to create some of


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“perfect” – the reality is that it’s probably not going to be perfect and you can’t plan for everything, so you’ve just got to roll with it and have fun. Remember why you’re doing this – it’s all about the love! Also, definitely do a receiving line – we didn’t get around to talking to everyone during the night, “ I N E E D Y O U M O R E T H A N A N Y O N E E L S E O N so we’re really T H I S E N T I R E P L A N E T C O U L D P O S S I B L Y E V E R glad we had the receiving line N E E D Y O U . I N E E D Y O U T O T A K E C A R E O F M E , straight after T O P U T U P W I T H M E , A N D M O S T O F A L L , I the ceremony N E E D Y O U T O L O V E M E , ‘ C A U S E I L O V E Y O U . ” where we got to - H O M E R S I M P S O N talk to everyone briefly and their favourite images. They described thank them for coming.” this pre ceremony adventure as being like a little date before all the craziness ensued. Special mentions go to: Em’s mum and family friend, Nikki, for A huge highlight for them was having doing the florals (which have been given Dan’s 1966 Cadillac Hearse there on show. a second life inside their home as dried arrangements). [Yes, Dan owns a 1966 Cadillac Hearse. Em’s dad and family friend, Craig, for WTAF.] building their custom designed arbour. Videographer, Till Death (Mel Branson) Obviously it looked killer, set off some and photographer, Ricky Gestro - an great vibes and was a huge hit with their unbeatable dream team who Em and Dan guests. felt so lucky to have. [We are beyond impressed. Coolest. Car. Ever.] And as for parting advice? Well, Em had this to say: “The most important advice we can give is that you should do the whole day YOUR way, and to add as much of your life and personality to the day as you can. You don’t have to do any traditions that you don’t vibe with. You don’t have to have a bridal party and you don’t have to be separated before the wedding – in fact waking up together and getting ready together made the day so much more special for us. Don’t give in to the pressure of your whole wedding day having to be

Their food truck, No Gluten Worries, had everyone raving about the food, especially the huge serving sizes. They allowed them to create a custom menu and all allergies were very well catered for.

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P H O T O G R A P H E R : V I D E O G R A P H E R : C E L E B R A N T : M A K E U P : D R E S S : H A I R :

Vikki Aldridge

Elle Zeitoune Swanbrook Estate

N o m a b l e T r e a t s , N o G l u t e n Wo r r i e s

F L O R I S T :

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Till Death

Married by Claire

Maine Event Hair (Casey)

V E N U E : C A K E :

Ricky Gestro

Tr i s h K e l l y a n d N i k k i D i R e n z o


The hippest little wedding chapel this side of Vegas REGISTRY WEDDINGSTHATROCK! M E L B O U R N E , A U S T R A L I A | T H E A LT A R E L E C T R I C . C O M . A U


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Bottlebrush Films – Turn and Face the Strange

something about going through the process of getting married that strips people down to their very core. “Weddings are everything that’s good about living – eating good food, drinking good booze, telling people you love them. It’s basic but it’s true,” says Andrew, and they why he can’t stay away from them.

Grace and Andrew met while they were in film school and became increasingly close through Grace’s couch surfing habit. In her defence, she lived ages away, and Andrew’s couch was arguably more comfortable than her bed anyway, especially after a few beers. She got used to not paying rent and he got used to having her around. They connected creatively and also started to get a bit of a heart swell for each other. Before they knew it, they were living, studying, then working and sleeping together.

Curious, I pressed them both to give me details on wedding day disasters and Andrew flinched a bit as he told the story of his worst day ever at work at a wedding last October. They had decided they would do a shoot with the couple and their kids the night before the wedding, and their dad, who is an amazing chef and lives in Japan, cooked up a storm. Andrew tucked in to the tasty morsels and was having a blast until suddenly, he choked on a piece of pork and it became stuck in his throat for about 20 hours. He got no sleep that night – it was excruciating. It finally dislodged during the ceremony the next day.

Eventually, Andrew got a job working for a big studio in Melbourne shooting fairly generic wedding films and discovered he really enjoyed being at weddings. The vibe, the people, the love (he’s a real softy) … the whole gig generally made him feel warm and happy. Not long after that, he shot a friend’s wedding – his first solo undertaking – and he loved it even more. Grace took care of and loved the editing side of things and so they decided to push themselves with this idea of working as a team in the wedding arena and give the wedding film industry a bit of a shakeup.

Don’t ask these two what their style is because you’ll only get some bull shit response like, “We have no style. We are fucking chameleons, man.” They say that in jest, of course, but in all seriousness, they have this unspoken agreement that no two films should be the same. They love leaning into the messy, real (in between) moments and inject as much personality as they can. As long as it’s a true representation of the couple and isn’t cheesy and formulaic, that is how they work and that is their style. Imperfect and haphazard.

And so, Bottlebrush Films was born. Andrew admits, “Working for yourself is never fucking easy.” But the places they go and the people they meet make it all worthwhile. Grace reckons she loves picking people’s idiosyncrasies out and “peeking behind the curtain at people’s weirdness.” She says there’s

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who trust them to do justice to their style and their story. These are their favourite kind of people.

Grace and Andrew aren’t the kind of people to say how a wedding film should or shouldn’t be shot and edited, but they are pretty pleased to see how much the industry has evolved over the last five years. It’s a relief that people finally realise that you don’t just put a camera on a tripod, press record for 3 hours and come back to it. They’re much more raw, real and gritty. Couples are getting creative now and starting to realise that they can do their wedding any way they want, and that’s now being reflected through wedding films. “Boundaries are being pushed. We are no longer bound to acoustic covers and slow-mo, perfect cinematic air-brushed images. Weirdness is celebrated. Diversity is embraced. Get married by a bonfire. Wear a green dress. Have your first dance to Ramstein. Do whatever the fuck you want,” says Andrew.

I asked them how things are going after so many years of living, loving and working together and Grace said, “We are two really different people who pretty much challenge each other on everything and sometimes it can get pretty intense but that’s because we are equally passionate and maybe that’s why we work so well together.” Andrew added, “We have our roles distinctly separate which helps but Grace did have to go and work out of a co-op work space at one point just to give each other a bit of breathing space.” Andrew is the dreamer - cheesy, lovey and romantic. Grace is more practical and grounded – she’s a realist. They balance each other out well.

If it were up to Grace and Andrew, we would see more weirdness, more diversity, and more people “doing shit their way.” They offered up this pearl of wisdom to couples who are currently planning their wedding – “If the reason you’re doing something is ‘just because’ then it shouldn’t be included in your wedding. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, don’t do it.”

And their parting advice for couples who are debating the importance of film on their wedding day? Well, it’s simple really: “Film your wedding. Because when you’re on your death bed you’re gonna say, ‘fuck I’m glad I got a wedding film instead of that $5,000 TV.’”

Bottlebrush attract a wide variety of couples but a common feature is people who aren’t afraid to be themselves, who want their story told truthfully, and who value film. Sometimes their clients value film over photo and when that happens, they know they can be wildly explorative and creative. These are the couples

W O R D S

Words by Annie Molenaar P H O T O G R A P H Y

Lulu and Lime | Jackson Grant Weddings

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HOTTER THAN HELL A CEMETERY CEREMONY P H O T O G R A P H Y W O R D S

Rachel and Justin pledged their love for one another while the souls of Ross Bay Cemetery stood sentry. They’d met some years earlier at a bar Rachel was dancing at at the time and Justin says he was pretty hooked straight away. He remembers looking over and seeing her chatting away with some people at the bar. She was laughing at something that was said and he couldn’t take his eyes off her. The friend he was with ended up buying him a dance with Rachel because he was too shy to introduce himself (and also because he was pretty blind and didn’t want to slur his way through his first words to her). He kind of swayed and slurred his way through that dance anyway but he reckons Rachel could tell he liked her. What Justin didn’t know at the time was that Rachel had actually seen his band ‘3 Inches of Blood’ play back in 2009 and she knew exactly who Justin was (although she pretended not to). Suffice to say, they positioned themselves firmly on each other’s radar from the very beginning. After that, they kept in touch and although Rachel played it

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cool, it didn’t take long for them to start spending time together. Since then, they have become so heavily entrenched in each other’s lives that the idea of doing life apart is inconceivable. They have been through some wild times together, including attending a KISS concert with full faces of makeup - Rachel as Paul Stanley and Justin as Ace Frehley - and managing to garner enough attention in the front row that they were on the jumbotron consistently throughout the show. This was a huge highlight for both of them as they’re HUGE fans and seeing their own faces up there on the stage right behind KISS totally ruled. They have also traveled and adventured around the world together and avoided some near death experiences. Rachel remembers being on a scooter in Thailand with Justin on the back and turning around a corner on loose gravel where they slid suddenly into oncoming traffic. Rachel looked up to see a truck coming straight for them before Justin quickly hooked her under her legs and

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dragged her off the road. They looked back in time to see the scooter run over and annihilated by the truck. Justin literally saved her life. Justin proposed to Rachel on the bow of a BC Ferry bound for Nanaimo, BC. After Rachel said yes and the ring was on her finger, the Captain of the ferry announced their engagement on the intercom and when they both looked up they could see the captain and crew clapping and giving them the thumbs up. Justin says it was cute in its own way, however he kind of feels like he could have put more thought into it. All he knew was he couldn’t wait to propose, and it just happened to be then and there. Rachel says she was wearing activewear and did not look cute - that’s how she knew he truly meant it. When it came time to put plans in place for their wedding, they firmly agreed on most things, including their ceremony location. They wanted their wedding day to reflect who they are and have a dark and moody atmosphere. Given that Justin is a cremator and Rachel is a badass bitch who dances for satan,


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describing their love and unity while also managing to slip in lyrics to Hot Chocolate’s “Every1’s a Winner”. He also didn’t hold back any KISS references (for obvious reasons). Ross Bay Cemetery felt like an obvious choice. To them, this place holds a lot of sentimentality. They love that it’s

They wrote their own vows and Justin described Rachel’s as being beautiful and moving. He responded by reading her god awful lyrics to a “ G I V E N T H A T J U S T I N I S A C R E M A T O R A N D song by The R A C H E L I S A B A D A S S B I T C H W H O D A N C E S Barenaked F O R S A T A N , R O S S B A Y C E M E T E R Y F E L T Ladies. We are L I K E A N O B V I O U S C H O I C E ” assuming these so aged and haunting and that there lyrics didn’t make up the entirety of his are deer roaming around everywhere. vows but if they did, we aren’t judging They have spent a lot of time wandering (much). through the grounds there, doing photo shoots and drinking many bottles Admittedly, the day could not have of wine. Justin says it sets in a lot of gone any better in their eyes. Their nostalgia for him too as it has ties to guests were all well behaved, the rain Blasphemy and Conqueror, both of held off until they were indoors, all the whom are legendary Canadian death venues were amazing, and the dinner metal bands that he’s been a fan of for and cake were delicious! Looking a long time. His own past bands have back, they wouldn’t change a single also taken photos in Ross Bay, and he thing. But Rachel says that for her, had his high school grad photos there the most enjoyable part of the whole as well. Finally, ‘Ross Bay Cemetery’ experience were the few days leading was also the subject in a fake memoir up to the event. Together, they spent from the 1970’s called MICHELLE most of their time at Fairholme Manor REMEMBERS, where Michelle claims taking gorgeous baths adorned with Satanic Rituals took place. dark flowers and crystals, listening to It’s not at all hard to understand why they wanted to be married there. Their ceremony took place on a beautiful autumn evening, just after 6pm in front of the Pooley Angel. A very small number of guests attended - only their closest friends and family. By all accounts, their officiant, Brian Pankratz, did an amazing job of

the album ‘Avalon’ by Roxy Music on repeat, and drinking so much red wine she feared her teeth would rot out of her head. They had Justin’s friend and bandmate, DJ CAM PIPES spinning a killer playlist of classic rock, 80’s pop, and the occasional disco hit to finish off the night. Then Justin surprised Rachel by performing a song with some more of his old bandmates that was particularly sentimental to them - a cover of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. They then played Motörhead’s Bomber and Deaf Forever. Then Cam joined them on stage and the five guys did a little 3

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Inches of Blood reunion, finishing the set with “Trial of Champions” and “Battles and Brotherhood”. Fair to say, Rachel very much enjoyed the tribute. Parting advice to couples who are getting married: Hire a planner. No questions. Just do it. Standout vendors: Their photographer, Natasha, from Wild Oak Collective. They experienced tears of joy going through their photos and also really enjoyed having her there with them on the day. They also wanted to give a special shoutout to Logan’s Pub for hosting their very wild after party! What he wore: A colourful ensemble consisting of a black leather jacket, black dress shirt, black tie, black jeans and black boots. What she wore: A beautiful champagne and ivory Madison James Bridal gown with a red fringed leather jacket by Toxic Vision - a one of a kind handmade piece that has a print of the Gates of Hell by Giacomo del Po on the back. She paired it with green snake stamp leather boots by Elena Iachi.silhouetted against the stark white


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P H O T O G R A P H E R : C A K E :

Ooh La La Cupcakes Po p p i e s F l o r a l A r t

F L O R I S T :

O F F I C I A N T : P L A N N E R :

Yo u n g H i p a n d M a r r i e d

Rad Occasions

Everything But The Groom

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To x i c V i s i o n S h o p

Fairholme Manor

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Natasha Shepherdson

Zambris


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Neon Republic creates original LED neon signs, enamel pins & keyrings for all events. Their team of talented graphic designers and hand-lettering artists can create the perfect statement for your big day. Neons can be used as an eye catching arbour, a photobooth backdrop, or to light up your dancefloor. Pins and keyrings make for the perfect favor. The possibilities are endless! Welcome to the brightside. G O L D C OA S T, A U S T R A L I A | N E O N R E P U B L I C . C O M . A U

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INCLUSIVIT Y: YOUR OUT-DATED L ANGUAGE NEEDS TO GE T IN THE BIN P H O T O G R A P H Y

D AV E L E PA G E | F I O N A A N D B O B B Y P H O T O G R A P H Y

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OLIVER THOMSON

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, enough is e-bloodynough. I mean, in today’s social climate, you’re almost better off opening with “Hey fuckos!” over “ladies and gentlemen” because at least ‘fuckos’ is an inclusive term.

waltz. The list goes on. Now, before you get technical on me, I am well aware that the term ‘bridal’ historically didn’t have a specific gender reference. The technical term for a groom is bridegroom after all. But language, like most other things in life, changes and evolves over time. It must, in order to keep up.

Weddings can be as colourful and combinative as the couples choosing to be wed.

Moving ahead, we’re at a point now where we can look at a bridal expo and think, ‘but what if there is no bride in that particular wedding?’. This is a positive move forward and something we should be thinking about. Surely we can move away from ‘bridal expos’ now and simply call them ‘wedding expos’ - that’s an easy one! Actually, it’s pretty easy all-round, it just takes some practice. Instead of defaulting to what we’ve always said/heard, let’s rejig our speech habits to include all peeps. For example:

This leads me to discuss something really important: the use of inclusive language. My point here is not to make speakers petrified of saying the wrong thing, but to simply raise some awareness and be more conscious collectively so that we are all at least trying to use inclusive language. No one is going to hate on you for being unintentionally exclusive if they can see you are making an effort. This article is here to help you think about what currently exists and look at the ways these common terms can be re-worded to be more inclusive of all people, regardless of the gender with which they identify.

Ladies and gentlemen could seamlessly become ‘everyone, everybody, folks, family and friends’. Or you could leave that part out altogether and begin with “Good evening. Thank you for your attention.”

As professional speakers, it is our responsibility to lead the way and use terms that are inclusive. In most cases, it’s not particularly difficult either. Some of the most commonly used turns of phrase (like ladies and gentlemen), are easy to eliminate from our repertoire. I will give you some alternatives to explore towards the end of this piece. First, let’s look at how and why we find ourselves in this position where much of the common terms and language surrounding weddings that were once ok and are now most definitely not ok.

‘Bridal Party’ is now referred to as a ‘Wedding Party’ because that covers the two who are getting married and their team, who could be made up of a variety of different people with different genders (no more ‘bridesmaids’ and ‘groomsmen’). ‘The Bridal Waltz’ is simply the ‘First dance’. ‘Bride and Groom’ can be changed to ‘newlyweds, couple, partners in life, consciously coupled’… ok, maybe I’m getting a bit too Gwyneth with that last suggestion, but you get where I’m coming from.

As a cisgendered male, I am well aware that I speak from a position of privilege when discussing these issues and I do not assume to be an authority on anything. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can give a much more informed understanding on this topic, but it is because of my privilege that I have had to put in a concentrated effort to know and understand the why and the how of all this works. And now that I do understand it, it irks me when I see others still using out-dated exclusive language and not even trying to make an effort to curb those habits. That needs to change. Stat. Conversely, when I see it done well, it’s a refreshing turn for the better.

Remember, words are powerful and you can be too, if you choose them wisely. Small changes can feel very big and make the world of difference, especially to those who might be feeling left out. It’s time, as an industry, to move language away from biased gendered terminology and into a space that feels accessible to everyone.

Oliver Thomson is a Sydney based celebrant for weddings and funerals and also an MC for events. You can reach out to him via his website www.oliverthomsoncelebrancy.com

When it comes to weddings, there are so many bloody traditions that we refer to which, in my opinion, create such division. A bride, a groom, a bridal party, a bridal

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NOT FORSAKEN A RITUAL UNION

P H O T O G R A P H Y W O R D S

Steph and Army have a way of communicating love that converges in a kind of esoteric dance. You only need to spend a few minutes looking through their wedding photos to recognise that when they are together, the rest of the world falls away. Steph describes the first moment she saw Army, almost a decade ago at Newtown Festival, as being a moment of recognition. After some wild times together and a misspent youth, these days they spend most of their time living quietly in the country with their dogs. They knew very early in their relationship that they had found in each other their long-haul partner. Talk of marriage was bandied about

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in a casual manner and always discussed in terms of ‘when’ not ‘if’. Of course, they had to wait for the government to catch up to the equality movement before any of their dreams could come to fruition. But that didn’t stop Army from proposing. One day, while Steph was at work, a delivery arrived for her. It was a present from Army - a jar filled with origami stars. With it, she found instructions to open the jar and unfurl each star one-by-one. Inside one of the stars was written - ‘Will you marry me?’ Of course, the answer was ‘yes’ and they celebrated quite simply with a few drinks together. When it came time to put wedding plans in place, they knew exactly what they wanted to create - an intimate,

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relaxed, sit-down dinner with their nearest and dearest that felt much like any old time, only fancy. Locking in their dream team of suppliers proved to be fairly simple as they were already in agreement on a couple of big decisions. Both self-professed closet fans of ‘Housewives of Melbourne’, Steph and Army recall the episode when Gina Liano revealed she was becoming a Marriage Celebrant. They loved Gina in the show and both commented on how great it would be to have her marry them. The stars aligned and they were able to secure Gina for their big day. This was a huge highlight for them. They had previously discovered their venue, The Church House, while on a


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gentle and moving. Many tears were shed. Army met Steph at the foot of the stairwell - they both remember this as being their favourite moment - and they entered their “ A R M Y M E T S T E P H A T T H E F O O T O F T H E ceremony S T A I R W E L L T H E Y B O T H R E M E M B E R together. They T H I S A S B E I N G T H E I R F A V O U R I T E described M O M E N T A N D T H E Y E N T E R E D T H E I R the feeling C E R E M O N Y T O G E T H E R ” of finally being able to marry one another as emotionally overwhelming. They walked down the aisle to Jen Cloher’s random AirBnB search some months ‘Eden with my Eve’. earlier and loved the look of it. When they began hunting for a place to hold Upon reflection, Steph and Army say their wedding, it quickly popped back there isn’t a single thing they would into their minds. With such a small change about their wedding day. number of guests, Mary and Peter, the Steph got to wear her dream ‘Ziggy’ owners, were able to accommodate gown from Rue de Seine bridal. their needs perfectly and made the Army got to indulge in some post-nup girls feel like family. vaping. They were both able to share Aaron Shum and Nathan Kaso were their digital dream team. Steph and Army were lucky to win a competition on Instagram to have them capture their wedding. Not able to speak highly enough of either of them, the girls describe the work they delivered as stunning and beyond their wildest dreams - they couldn’t recommend them more highly.

deep, meaningful and considered moments with their favourite people. And most importantly, their day reflected who they are. Congratulations, Army and Steph.

The aesthetic they set was dark, moody and muted but their guests described the feeling of the day as

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P H O T O G R A P H E R :

Aaron Shum

V I D E O G R A P H E R :

Nathan Kaso

V E N U E

A N D

C E L E B R A N T :

H A I R :

Gina Liano

Melissa Maier

Shae at Iggy and Crumb

I N V I T A T I O N S :

H A N D - P A I N T E D

S I G N S

A N D

F L O W E R S :

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The Church House

Jess Jenkins

M A K E U P :

C A K E :

C A T E R I N G :

Pa p i e r M A P :

P L A C E

Elizajstudio on Etsy

C A R D S :

Fox and Hart

Flower Witch Luna Moss


mighty rambunctious. matriarch relaxant. moment recorder. martini refresher. mixtape rockstar. memory reviver. magic recaller. map reader.

morgan roberts.

morganrobertsphotography.com/ / @morganrobertsweddings


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FAT A N D S K I N N Y C ATE R I N G

PR ECI O U S CE LE B R ATI O N S

Melbourne, VIC

CELEBRANT

Melbourne, VIC Stand up and celebrate or sit down and feast with magnificent food for magnificent people. Cooked and served by the merriest party makers in town.

Precious by name. Precious by nature. Celebrating love in all its forms.

W W W. FATA N D S K I N N Y. C O M . A U

W W W. PRECIOUSCE LE BR ATION S .COM . AU

JAC THE HITCHER

N E L L D A R K- J O N E S - C E L E B R A N T

Melbourne, VIC

New L ambton, NS W

“Jac the Hitcher is a Killer Celebrant claiming marriage victims in Melbourne and surrounds. Say the words, sign the papers... ‘til death do you part.”

Proof that you can have your double beef extra cheese celebrant burger and eat it too (and yes she will have fucking fries with that… and a schooner).

W W W . J A C T H E H I T C H E R . C O M

W W W . N E L L D A R K J O N E S . C O M

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I AM CELEBRANT SAM

HIRESTYLE - MELBOURNE

Brisbane, QLD

Melbourne, VIC

Here to make your wedding as kick-ass as possible. Marriage may be a tradition but the way we do it doesn’t have to be.

Luxe props, decorations, and tabletop hire for your alternative and non-conforming celebrations of love. W W W . H I R E S T Y L E . C O M . A U

W W W . I A M C E L E B R A N T S A M . C O M . A U

CEREMONA - CELEBRANT

GET ON THE FLOOR DJ’S

Byron Bay, NSW

Brisbane & Gold Coast, QLD We’re Party starters, not your average DJ’s

Rewilding your wedding with shamanic ritual, infused with ancient wisdom and injecting the old ways back into modern life. Ann handcrafts ceremonies for the nature worshipers, adventure seekers, gypsy lovers and free spirited couples who are searching for a wedding that is sacred AF.

W W W . G E T O N T H E F L O O R . C O M . A U

W W W . C E R E M O N A . C O M . A U

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T H I E V E S

P o w e r f u l We d d i n g C h r o n i c l i n g f o r t h e R e c k l e s s a t H e a r t K I N G S A N D T H I E V . E S


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Unholy Matrimony Issue 3 2020  

MAPS OF UNION: A RITUAL REVIVAL

Unholy Matrimony Issue 3 2020  

MAPS OF UNION: A RITUAL REVIVAL

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