When looking at the wedding industry from afar it can seem like a blur of “stuff” that gets all the more consuming once you start wedding planning. With so many components to think about in putting a wedding together, it’s no wonder that wedding planning and stress seem to go hand in hand.
Can we let you in on a little secret? The only things you really need to get married are two people in love, and an awesome celebrant. (Plus changes in the law for some). A celebrant who gets you as a couple, and can help you set your intentions from this day forward is worth their weight in gold. What I love about Sarah Tolmie‘s approach to wedding ceremonies is the way she views the the ceremony as a way of creating your own special circle that surrounds the two of you. A sacred space to be nourished, handled ever so gently and intentionally moulded over the years. This is the ultimate deeper meaning to your day, and worth investing your time, budget and heart into as much (if not more so) than any other aspects of your wedding day.
Read on as we chat with Sarah Tolmie, Marriage Celebrant and Relationship Coach, about her approach to bespoke wedding ceremonies. Sarah also offers workshops and soon an e-course for creating a Miracle Marriage – highly recommended for any couple setting off on a marriage journey or those wanting to re-charge or raise their relationship to a stronger level.
What made you turn your focus to ethical & sustainable products/services?
I’ve always regarded myself as an holistic celebrant and what I mean by that is when I engage with my couples, I am fully investing in them and their relationship and working with them to create their Marriage. For me, it is not so much a wedding but rather a marriage ceremony. I create a relationship, I learn their story, I find out what’s been their journey to love and what being married means to them. In those conversations we traverse a lot of intimate, family and personal meaning and dreaming, and their ceremony needs to be an authentic and real expression of all of that. A marriage ceremony is a profound and sacred rite of passage and working this way with my couples, it is in fact, a vital part of the preparation for their marriage. By the end of all our planning, preparation and creatively curating their story into ceremony, they find they are ushered into the sacred energy that builds and activates in the marriage ceremony with readiness, a whole-hearted openness and an awareness of the deep and profound meaning of their ritual.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your industry when it comes to taking an eco-ethical approach?
Well from a ceremonial perspective, I see an eco-ethical mindset as one that honours the craft of ceremony and ritual; ceremonies that acknowledge land and country; ceremonies that hold people safely in emotions and ceremonies that recognise and respect a couples story, family and cultural landscape. I think an eco-ethical mindset is caring and tending to your couples’ relationship truth and honouring their love by investing in both their history, their day and their future. I stay connected with my couples. As a marital therapist, I have been called upon by many of my couples as they traverse through life & love to provide support and help and mentoring. My care extends beyond the wedding and holds them throughout their marriage.
Now that’s my contribution to the ‘sustainable’ wedding movement……sustainable marriages J
If I was to speak more broadly about the challenge in the ‘wedding industry’, perhaps it is a yearning to see the experience of marriage, weddings, and ceremonies returning to a more community and wholesome intention. It is not the ‘surface’ look of things, that is important at the end of the day, it is what gets expressed at a deeper level…the love, the relationships. It is what is created that is important….families, communities. I love this movement we are part of with Less Stuff More Meaning, Mindfully Wed and Ethical Weddings because at every level, whoever the provider of whatever service or product, there is a common, deeper motivation to honour love, relationships, community, meaning and wellbeing that seems to be the driver and motivator. That makes my heart sing.
What would you like to see more of in your industry?
More singing, more dancing, more belly aching laughing, more outrageously real declarations of love, more intimacy, more vulnerability in being emotional and feeling real feelings…..more babies and kids and doggies at weddings too! J And marriage equality!
What is one thing you do on a daily basis to ensure you are living purposely?
I nurture all my sacred relationships and try to live a heart-led, love-led life. I call my mumma daily and tell her I love her. I tell my teenage man-boys I love them and am proud of them. I kiss and hug my husband and tell him and the beginning and end of each day how much I love and appreciate him as well as telling him I love him throughout the daily calls in between the morning and evening kisses and hugs. I walk my doggie on the beach and tell him how much I love him. And I pray….I am a big advocate for daily prayers in praise and gratitude for Life & Love.
What do you wish couples planning a wedding knew more about/thought more about when it comes to planning a wedding consciously?
When they work with me, I talk about the meaning of marriage. The miracle of marriage. The sacred journey and invitation marriage asks of couples….it really asks them to invest in each other, to gift to another fully for their happiness and full expression. I share that the ceremony and celebration is a magic alchemical time of deep bonding and community building…..it really is the ceremony, the emotions, the story, the laughing, the dancing, the feasting, the crying and the being in joy and love that really marries you, not that piece of paper. I wish for them and want to tell them to go in full heartedly, whole-heartedly, unashamedly in celebration of love – be vulnerable, feel, create intimacy, make it personal….don’t be afraid to be in full glorious expression of what is important and meaningful for you.
What is one of the quirkiest things you’ve seen at an ethical wedding?
This is not so much a quirky memory but a lovely example of recycling and sharing the joy beyond the day, I used to work as a volunteer hospital chaplain (spiritual non-religious), and one of my brides knew this, and after the wedding she donated all her flowers for me to take the hospital the next day and gift to all my patients. It was so lovely and generous.
And finally, what in a wedding, is your absolute favourite?
So many things…perhaps the moment of the couple joining together at the start of ceremony….and the vows I always find deeply moving…..it’s just like being in a real vortex of joy and love.
Images by Sandra Henri Photography, founder of Less Stuff – More Meaning.