A Ceremony By Design

A Ceremony by Design

So we did get married in Dad and Mum’s apartment in Fairy Bower in a very low-key ceremony on a Monday, the day after a surf carnival at Narrabeen … we eloped I guess you could say from the town in which we were living to be married in ‘secret’. I do so understand couples who come to me wanting their wedding to be as quiet and unobtrusive as possible! I think it was because I didn’t want this most private and intimate intent to be made public property. Would I do that again? Maybe, maybe not – I do know that in the excitement of the day before I was married and on the day that people just want to wish you well after all.

Walking down the aisle in the Royal Botanic Garden
Walking down the aisle in the Royal Botanic Garden

In the following decade or so I didn’t think about the institution of marriage at all; I didn’t even go to many weddings until I was invited to the wedding of a friend I taught with at MLC. She was married by a very well-known northern beaches celebrant in the Botanic Gardens – and that’s when I thought: “ I’d like to do that.” I thought there was enough theatre in me to create a mini production for people, to design ceremony with the right words, the right flow with readings and music bespoke to them – true to their purpose, a reflection of their relationship, true to their relationship. So I set up “A Ceremony by Design” and though it has evolved over two decades now, I have not changed what I wrote in my first ceremony:

“…marriage is a partnership not entered into lightly: it is a union based on love, loyalty and trust. It is a friendship too, where tolerance and understanding will grow, where good humour and respect for each other’s individuality will allow each to flourish and find fulfilment. Married life is a shared life, which, generous and sincere, allows a richer future of lighter burdens and increased joy. Commitment in marriage means caring for your partner’s welfare as for your own, being willing to listen, and encouraging each other in individual challenges. Where forgiveness and open communication play a part, marriage will stand up to all the stresses inevitable in life: it is an enduring bond – it does not change under pressure. It is constant and true, and knows no measures or conditions.”

Ideally followed by Shakespeare’s sonnet 116.

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© 2022 A Ceremony By Design by Susan Artup, Marriage Celebrant.

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