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Are memorials becoming more popular than funerals?

It seems in recent times, more families, who would normally be choosing a civil funeral service, are having a private service or even a simple viewing to say 'goodbye' to their loved one, then organising a Memorial for the wider circle of family and friends a few weeks later. 

There may be many good reasons for taking this approach.

Flexibility with timing for the ceremony

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There are a lot of decisions to be made following a death, especially an unexpected one.  A private farewell and a later Memorial ceremony reduces the immediate stress and helps people make clear decisions about the type of farewell they would like.

Having a Memorial a few weeks after the death, gives extra time for planning the ceremony and more choice of day of the week, time of day, length and content of the ceremony, and location.  This flexibility can be very useful where family and friends are overseas or interstate.

The family can take time to find a civil celebrant who suits the style of tribute the family wants.  Civil celebrants are very flexible about the arrangements and will encourage family members to be involved in planning the ceremony and actively participating in it.

Consideration of Costs 

b2ap3 thumbnail Funeralcosts

A lavish funeral using the funeral company’s chapel and other facilities can cost many thousands of dollars.  A simple farewell is more cost effective and enables the family to consider how best to create a personal and fitting ceremony to honour their loved one.  


 The Memorial ceremony can be as beautiful and heartfelt as a funeral

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There are many ways a ceremony can involve beauty and show respect for our loved ones who have died. 

You may have a beautiful urn or hand crafted box with the deceased’s ashes as a focal point.  You may have a favourite photo, or display of personal items in place.

There could be floral arrangements, inspiring poetry, carefully chosen music, a slide show capturing the highlights of the deceased life, room decorations that reflect their personality or interests.  These can all be part of a Memorial and can be carefully prepared in the weeks between the death and the ceremony. 


b2ap3 thumbnail Foreverlovedchair

You may decide to have caterers arrange a lunch or afternoon tea to follow the ceremony, enabling family and friends more time to share memories and expressions of love and respect.


Remember to contact our TCN Celebrants first if you need to make arrangements for a loved one.
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Should we be talking about Funerals?

When we think of the end of our life, there are probably a few different thoughts going through our heads.

Have I lived a good, fulfilling life? Did I remember to sign my will? Who will look after my loved ones? Why me? I wish I'd lived, loved, laughed more. Are my affairs in order? Did I delete my browser history?
But one thing that not many of us have thought about, and if we have thought about it, haven't done much about it - is our funeral.

It's not the nicest of topics to talk about, but to those either on their way there soon or for those who just like to be prepared - this is an important conversation to have and it's important that we listen to the wants and needs of our loved ones.

If you're unsure how to go about starting this type of converstaion, there are people that can help you, like the organisation called: Death Over Dinner who recently featured on Ch 10's The Project who do exactly that - helping people to have that awkward conversation about your dying wishes.

Whilst the funeral is more for those left behind, you might like some particular words to be said; you may have a piece of music in mind; you might prefer your funeral to focus on celebrating your life rather than mourning your death; you might have a definite choice of being buried or cremated and maybe you have a specific location you'd like your ashes to be scattered.

None of these things will happen in your final moments though if you don't tell somebody about them.


You could also contact one of our wonderful TCN Funeral Celebrants to help you with ideas.

READ MORE about pre-funerals planning here.

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Calling All Spring Brides.

Spring is just around the corner!
Here are some fabulous ideas to make your Spring wedding amazingly fresh!


An indoor-outdoor venue

Spring certainly makes you think of flowers, new life and sunshine after the cold wintery months.  However, while a day full of glorious spring sunshine would be great, keep in mind that the weather is still a little unpredictable, so take this into consideration when you are choosing your venue.  

You will, of course have a back up plan just in case, and if your Plan A venue has a Plan B location - even better!


Book early!

Spring is a popular time to get married so your favourite suppliers, like the celebrant you've been following on Twitter may well be booked up. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut and make that booking as early as you can. This way you'll be organised and relatively stress free, whilst avoiding disappointment. Win/Win!


Go seasonal

Spring brides have a great choice when it comes to flowers. Late spring flowers such as sweet peas and peonies come in an array of different colours and are stunning in both bouquets and centrepieces.


If you’re going seasonal with your flowers this can be a good place to start your planning in terms of a theme, as your colours may well be decided by the choice of blooms available. 



Be prepared

Choosing an all-weather venue is a great start but you’re likely to want to have some photographs taken outside. Spring brides should definitely be prepared for showers and embrace the possibility of rain or wet ground by investing in a fabulous umbrella or a pair of statement wellies.


Rain on your wedding day is considered to be good luck by some cultures and remember that a wet knot is harder to untie!


Be kind to your bridesmaids

Floaty chiffon and tulle bridesmaid dresses can be stunning but aren’t the warmest outfits for a chilly spring day! If you’re opting for this sort of dress check out wraps or shrugs for them as well to ensure they are comfortable and are not a light shade of blue in the photos.


Spring Gifts

Think about how you can extend your Spring theme into gifts for your guests by planting small containers of spring bulbs as wedding favours, or maybe a packet of summer flower seeds to brighten up their gardens and remind them of your day.


Contact one of our TCN Celebrants and start sharing your spring wedding ideas!

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What is a Blessingway Ceremony?

What is a Blessingway Ceremony?


A blessingway or mother’s blessing* is a wonderful alternative to a traditional ‘baby shower’ that is held for a woman approaching birth.  A baby shower tends to focus on the baby with presents for the baby and games centred around the baby, whereas the Blessingway is all about the mother to be.  It literally blesses the way for the mother to be ready for childbirth.


 Traditionally, the mother would invite her closest female family and friends, choosing people who offer her friendship, wisdom and trust to participate in a beautiful and meaningful ceremony to help her prepare for the birth.  You can invite friends to bring a plate of food and/or a gift if you like, but the ritualistic ceremony is the central focus of the blessingway.

* Sometimes a blessing way is called a mother’s blessing out of respect for the Navajo people, who have a ceremony called a blessingway on which the modern ceremony is based. Because the modern ceremony does not adhere to the exact rites of the Navajo ceremony they do not always approve of the term being used.


History of Blessingways

Blessingways are traditional to the First American Navajo who mark the transition a woman makes when she moves into motherhood.  It is a time when she is nurtured and honoured by the other women in her community. The Blessingway Ceremony acknowledges the commitment and energy involved in being a mother and gives her a time where all the energy is available for her to receive. This ceremony can be given to a woman each time she has a child, as with each child comes a new level of commitment.


To make the most of the ceremony the mother to be should allow herself to receive all the positive female energy being offered to her.
The blessingway is also a great way for the mother to prepare for the birth.  This is an opportunity for the women to share their experiences and for the mother to express any fears or worries she may have within a safe and sacred setting, receiving much needed support.


Here are some ideas to help you create your special day:


You can choose as many rituals as you like, keeping in mind the length of the ceremony.  Choose a ritual that would best suit your group of ladies


Bead Ceremony

Bead Ceremony Blessing Way


Each woman is asked to bring a bead for a blessing necklace. At some time during the ceremony a bowl is handed around the circle and each woman gives her bead and a blessing for mother and baby – this can be in the form of a wish; a poem; a lyric or a word. At the end of the ceremony one of the women threads the beads together and gives the necklace to the mother to have with her during the birth. This helps the mother to be connected to all her women friends and draw on that strength when she is giving birth. People who are unable to attend the ceremony can still participate by sending their bead and their blessing for another friend or the celebrant to read out on their behalf.

Candle ceremony

Blessing Way Candle Ceremony


A candle is lit and passed to each woman in the circle. As they hold the candle they share their blessings for the mother to be and her baby.  An alternative to this is that the women can tie a second piece of string around a candle that the mother then lights during the birth.


 Massaging the Mother

blessingway massage


Take along some lush, pregnancy friendly, massage oils and be sure to give her the full treatment with as many women as possible joining in. Brush her hair, give her a facial, whatever indulgence she wants.



Flowers are symbolic of nature's abundance and beauty just as a woman is when she is pregnant. Ask all the women to bring flowers and create a beautiful crown for the mother to be to wear during the ceremony.


Belly Casting 

Belly Cast


A kit is usually the easiest way to ensure success with a belly casting. You can either do your cast in private and then have it at the Blessingway Circle as a group activity to decorate. Alternatively, you can create the Belly cast as part of your blessing way ceremony. 

Prayer Flags

Blessing Way Prayer Flags


Flags are a beautiful way to create a lasting memory of a blessing way ritual. Each guest is given a piece of fabric of equal size to decorate. You will need fabric pens, sewing materials, fabric scraps and more so your guests can create a unque prayer flag specifically for you and your baby.  You can also purchase ready made bunting to use if you are a little sewing machine challenged.


Post Birth Support

On the day of the Blessingway Ceremony have a close friend take the names and contact details of each woman present to be put on a ‘support roster’ for bringing meals after the birth. Each woman brings one meal (ensuring the ingredients are breastfeeding friendly) to the new mother and helps out in any way she can when she drops it off – e.g. dishwashing, clothes washing etc… This support is invaluable for the new mum at a big transition time in her life.


If you would like to know more about a Blessingway Ceremony - speak to a TCN Celebrant

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What's Your Back Up Plan?

Have you got a Plan B if the weather turns bad on your wedding day?


No matter how confident you are that your day will be perfect, there is always a chance it might rain or there might be an unscheduled heatwave or be too windy for your bridesmaids to stand up straight, or maybe the venue has just called to let you know they've started renovations..... you will have to make a snap decision as to what you're going to do.

Having a back up plan in place:

* makes things more relaxing for your guests, knowing they won't be uncomfortable

* takes the stress away from you on the day

*leaves you to enjoy your day in the sun..... or rain.

Do you have a story about having to change your wedding plans at the last minute?  

Share it in the comments.

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Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

A day for Mums to sit back and relax whilst her family dotes on her by making breakfast, taking her out to lunch, doing odd jobs around the house and bringing her flowers and gifts…. If she’s anything like my mum you will probably find her tidying up after all those activities and arranging the lunch herself! 
A mother’s work is never done!

Here are some fun ideas to do with younger kiddies…

Find the Funny: Start a new tradition this year by creating a family comic strip. Take a long sheet of paper, and draw three or four large squares next to one another, like a newspaper comic strip. Then think of an event, or something funny that happened this Mother’s Day and draw it in the panel. You can include dialogue, a date, and a title. Make your Mum the central character.  Save your comic strip, and create another one next year and others in years to come. Year by year, you will have built an amazing book.


Planting Memories: Spend the day in the garden with Mum planting some of her favourite flowers that together you can water and look after.  Together you can create labelled markers to stick in the dirt with the flowers with the date.


Mother’s Day Selfie:  Start another family tradition of taking funny selfies of your family with your Mum as the central figure.  Then you can print them out and make a collage of the day.  You can look back on that every day and remember how special your Mum is.


What about some fabulously fun ways for the grown ups to celebrate Mother’s Day?

A family reunion - gather all your beloved family members together at a park or someone’s backyard and whilst you bbq and share out the potato salad, you can share stories of why the mothers in the group are so wonderful.


Share in your Mum’s hobbies - maybe gardening is her passion, she might like old Doris Day movies, or she might just love pottering in the kitchen making those mini cakes she’s famous for - get in there with her.  Learn, laugh, love.

Surprise Mum with a “This Is Your Life” Ceremony - all you need to do is speak to a celebrant and together you can pull off the most fantastic surprise for your Mum.

Click here for more information

Every year my Mum says “All I would like is some flowers and and choccies.  I don’t need anything else.”  But she does get more than that, even if she doesn’t realise it.

I’m not talking about tangible, wrapped handkerchiefs or scented candles or soaps, I’m talking about the unconditional love, admiration and gratitude for everything that she does for me.  To me, she is more than my Mum - she’s my best friend and it brings a tear to my eye to even say the words ‘I’d be lost without her’, but there are lots of people out there who will be celebrating Mother’s Day without their Mums.  Your Mum will always be special and it's important to keep them in your memory.

* Make her favourite recipe

* Sew all her old scarves together into a patchwork quilt

 CLICK HERE you'll find some more lovely ideas to keep her close with you this Mother’s Day.

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Anzac Day

Anzac Day


Anzac Day, 25 April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War and then, after 1945 the services moved to include those who served in WWII.


I don't think there's a person alive in Australia who doesn't already know the Anzac story, so I won't try to educate you here.  What I would like to talk about though is the importance of ceremony, not only for the people who were directly involved, but for their families and loved ones who were left behind.


Holding a ceremony brought people together to mourn and to remember and give thanks to those brave soldiers who lost their lives during WW1.
The first Anzac Day commemorations were held in 1916, on the 25th April.  The day was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies, marches and services across Australia.  There was also a march in London and a sports day was held in the Australian camp in Egypt.  It wasn't until the 1920s that Anzac Day became an established national day of commemoration and every state in Australia observed some form of public holiday.  


The rituals and services we observe today - the dawn vigils, marches and two-up games started around the mid 1930s and have been a steadfast way of spending the day for the past 80 years.


So, why is ceremony so important?


It gives us a place to be with other people who are in the same frame of mind.  It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the many different meanings of war.  It gives us a way to speak to lost loved ones, to mourn their passing and to be proud of their courage and their strength. 


After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they had felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn and so a dawn vigil became the basis for commemoration.


Today, we collectively gather together with people that we don't necessarily know, but who are all there for the same reason.  It's usually pretty cold in April, especially at dawn and as you're standing there in the dark, shivering, it gives you a small sense of what those soldiers might have been feeling.  It gives me a feeling of loneliness, respect and gratitude and that is what ceremony does - it takes you out of your own world for a moment and places you into another and makes you think.


What will you be doing for Anzac Day?


There are plenty of ways for you to add ceremony to Anzac Day...


* Get together with famiy and friends and talk about it "Lest we forget".  
* Tell the younger generations the stories of the heros, both sung and unsung.
* Visit Gallipoli - I have never been to a more moving place


* Join a dawn service near you
* Keep up your own comradeship with your mates with a get together and game of two-up


This next snippet was on a friend's Facebook page today.....

"A lovely military man selling poppies stopped me today and asked if he could re-position mine - while doing so he told me that women should wear their poppy on their right side; the red represents the blood of all those who gave their lives, the black represents the mourning of those who didn't have their loved ones return home, and the green leaf represents the grass and crops growing and future prosperity after the war destroyed so much. The leaf should be positioned at 11 o'clock to represent the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time that World War One formally ended. He was worried that younger generations wouldn't understand this and his generation wouldn't be around for much longer to teach them."


Lest we forget...


Talk to one of our celebrants who can assist you with preparing a ceremony.

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April is Poetry Month

Poems play a very important part in all of the ceremonies we celebrants perform.

A poem that has been carefully selected, can add a depth to your ceremony. A great poem can add a touch of humour, a gentle romantic touch, a spiritual tone or a sense of solemn respect, and so much more.

 It can express a parent’s love for their child at a baby naming, a couple’s love and commitment in a wedding ceremony or renewal of vows, and showcase a life in a funeral ceremony.

The big question is, how do you selection poems.


One really workable suggestion is to build up a collection of poems to offer your clients, and to add to the collection all of the time to keep your selections fresh and appealing.

I keep mine in different folders to make it easier to pick the best poem for the ceremony: modern love poems, classic love poems, naming poems, funeral poems, etc., and make sure that you follow the copyright laws, and always, always, always acknowledge the poet.

hlp lf ocean folders
Fortunately, there are lots of tools online to help.

Here are just three wedding poem lists after a quick Google search:

And three funeral poetry guides :

Naming day poems are always very personal to the parents, and often the parents have researched and selected the poem for themselves.

Poetree Logo

On the Forum Board on our TCN website, there is a New Forum Topic for you as TCN members to put links to your favourite poems.

So, can you hop online, find your favourite poem and add the link to this Forum, and we will end up with a great resource section of poetry for all occasions.

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Our TCN Committee Members 2016-2017

Firstly we would like to offer a massive thank you to the committee members for 2015-2016 for your participation, your enthusiasm and your dedication. 

Some of the highlights from the past year include:

* The participation in the Mardi Gras Fair Day, which enhanced our standing in not only the LGBTI community, but the community at large, showing that TCN stands for equal and human rights for all people.


*  The creation of our brand new and improved website - more user friendly and easier to navigate, while still housing all the resources, articles, directories and forums that you could ever need.

* Our wonderful two day conference at the Novotel in Darling Harbour Sydney where our members met with old and new friends, heard some fabulous inspiring speakers and completed their annual professional development obligations.  


TCN is a national organisation that primarily communicates online, so it is possible for everyone to join in and participate in discussions and projects no matter where you are in Australia.  We are also continuing to build up a strong presence on social media with pages on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram

Our TCN Committee is a group of volunteers committed to supporting our members as well as strengthening the professionalism and expertise of all civil celebrants through our active involvement in the peak body, CoCA.

TCN members elect a new committee each year at the AGM in March, and we are very happy to welcome our new Committee for 2016-2017.

Sonia Collins160329 250

We very much look forward to a year of community, harmony, OPD days and special projects throughout the year. 

All celebrants and non-celebrant Affiliates are welcome to join TCN - Visit our webpage and see the fabulous resources and benefits we offer our Members.

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Easter a time to mull about life's mysteries

Rona Goold
Coordinator Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia
Civil Marriage and Family Celebrant

Last year our family had a tragic loss when one of my husband's nephews died while snorkeling. He was 26.

His life just opening up to all the wonder of life's creation and opportunities. "Life cut short too soon, wise, soft . . ."#

It was a bitter, bittersweet time to review his life. Seeing Sam as baby, a toddler, child, teenager and young man brought back the memories hidden in the mind and heart.

His ceremony strengthened resolve to treasure all our loved ones, with awareness that life is short. To honour all those who give a part of who they are, to become a part of who we are. To be present to pain and loss. To support those who grieve beyond ending. To be present to the love within us and around us. And yet to face a new dawn with courage and hope for one more day of life's journey, knowing our turn comes inevitably to join the mystery of death.

Civil ceremonies tap deep into the human need to honour life, to share our stories, our pain, our truth and  hope. They may or may not acknowledge the specific religious beliefs of some present, but they all aim to treasure life.

Easter time can be for everyone a time to mourn and treasure the past, reflect upon presence and the present, and renew hope for the next moment.

May this Easter bring peace of mind and heart to all - with a touch of delight in the shape of an egg!

# Words texta-d on Sam's coffin.

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Easter Celebrations

Easter Celebrations

As with many other Christian dates, the celebration of Easter extends beyond the church and since its origins, it has been a time of celebration and feasting.

Easter Sunday morning is often filled with children (of all ages) searching for chocolate eggs and treats which have been mysteriously hidden all over the house and garden. According to the children's stories, the eggs were delivered by the Easter Bunny in an Easter basket which children find waiting for them when they wake up. (The Easter Bunny's motives for doing this have still not been clarified.)


These secular rituals often have origins in Christian symbolism; the eggs, for example, can be taken as signs of rebirth and resurrection. 

Some of Easter's symbols can be traced back still further; some (such as the Easter bunny, originally a hare) seem to have their origins in earlier pagan rituals celebrating nature's springtime rebirth.  In Australia it is not spring time, however we have adopted the tradition in keeping with our northern hemisphere cousins.

Whether you belong to a religion or not, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Easter...

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day


Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent. In earlier days there were many foods that observant Christians would not eat during Lent such as meat and fish, eggs, and milky foods. So that no food was wasted, families would have a feast on the shriving Tuesday, and eat up all the foods that wouldn't last the forty days of Lent without going off.

Pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday because they were a dish that could use up perishable foodstuffs such as eggs, fats and milk, with just the addition of flour.

Many Australian groups and communities make and share pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. 

Selling pancakes to raise money for charity is also a popular activity - and that's what I call Partying with a purpose!


Family Reunion

Perhaps you and your family could use the public/bank holidays to reconnect with each other and to make it a more meaningful event, you could add a ceremony to your reunion celebrating all the fabulous events that have happened in all your family member's lives since the last time that you saw each other - you could invite your Family Celebrant to create a ceremony for your family gathering and make it an annual event!


What other Easter traditions are special to your family?




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Party With a Purpose - Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity Week and Harmony Day brings together Australians from all walks of life to promote community 

harmony and celebrate the many cultures that make our country so vibrant. 

There are some fascinating statistics about Australia’s diversity. 

Did you know:

* around 45 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was

* 85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia 

* apart from English the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek,
Vietnamese, Tagalog/Filipino, Spanish and Hindi

* more than 60 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia

* 92 per cent of Australians feel a great sense of belonging to our country

How do you Party with a Purpose in your culture?


Over the centuries as cultures have merged and intertwined, celebratory traditions have been adopted and adapted into our own wedding celebrations.
Have you heard of these wedding traditions?


The Scottish Quaich or ‘Loving Cup’ is a two-handled silver bowl which is topped up with whisky, usually by the bride, and then passed around for the wedding party to sip once the legal proceedings have been concluded.


Claddagh Ring
The Claddagh Ring is one of the old traditions that's widely know. The traditional ring is given by young Irish men to their girlfriends as a gift, and sometimes it's inherited from a family member. But the ring has a part in wedding ceremonies, too.

Single women traditionally wear the ring on the right hand, with the ring facing outward. When in a relationship, it's turned inwards, indicating that the lady isn't 'available.'

But the ring is moved to the left hand when the wearer becomes engaged (point outward), and turned inward on that hand once married.


An All-White Dress Code
At a traditional Japanese wedding, the bride and groom usually wear Japanese wedding kimono. The bride wears a white wedding kimono called "uchikake" with a white headdress. The headdress is big and bulky and is said to hide the bride's "horns" as a symbol of submission. The groom's kimono is usually black and has his family's symbol embroidered on it in white.


Releasing the doves
The happy bride and groom release a pair of white doves — one male, the other female — into the air, which represent a harmonious life together for the newly married couple.


Wardrobe Changes
In China, brides typically walk down the aisle in a slim-fitting, embroidered dress ... what is called a traditional qipao or cheongsam. For the reception, they change into a more poofy, decked out gown with Western flare. But the bridal fashion show doesn't end there! To cap the night, Chinese brides often make a final change into a cocktail dress. Total: three dresses!

This is what is so wonderful about living in such a multicultural society; each culture bringing with them their rich traditions and colourful customs. 

Together we stand in harmony


Why not speak to one our many fabulous TCN Celebrants to see how you can incorproate cultural customs into your own wedding celebrations?



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International Women's Day

How did you mark International Women's Day this year?


Every year on the 8th March women all over the world are celebrated.

In some countries it is observed as a national holiday; in some cultures it is tradition for the men to buy chocolates and flowers for all the female members of his family; in some countries there is no fan fare and women and girls are still suffering abuse and treated as second class citizens with no change in sight.


So there is still much more work to be done!


 We, at TCN are all about the celebrations in life; and we are all for equality and human rights for everybody.

We want to fight against child and forced marriages.  
We want to put an end to senseless violence against women.  
We want to Celebrate the fabulous woman in our history, in our lives today and those who will succeed and prosper in the future.



Celebrating Women

Here are some ways you can celebrate the women you know this month (and every month - why stop there?)

Note:  These tips are not just for men - women should be celebrating other women as well.

1. Tell your mother how precious she is to you and let her know you are thankful for everything she has done in her life

2. Show your sister that she is a very important person in your life

3. Encourage your daughter to be anything that she wants to be and let her know that her gender should never be a barrier

4. Visit your Grand Mother and use the annual Mothers Day to engage a celebrant for a special ceremony for all the mothers in your family

5. Start a support network for your girlfriends or women in your neighbourhood - it's nice to know you always have a backup person


These are all very simple and easy things to do, so if you want to stretch yourself further a field......

6. Volunteer at or donate to a women's refuge

7. Donate money or your time to women's charities

8. Be the voice in your company or organisation who stands up for those women not being paid or treated fairly

9. Join groups, sign petitions and be a part of the change that finally stops underaged girls and women being forced into marriages
10. Think about your views on the importance of women in our society and help to educate others.



Why not add a ceremony to the celebration of the women in your life? 

Contact a TCN celebrant to find out how


Read more about all the ways celebrants can assist you in celebrating life









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Want a fresh approach to your OPD?



The Celebrants Network Inc

"OPD Days with a Difference"

in partnership with International College of Celebrancy


All Celebrants Welcome




TCN are holding 6 full day (8.45am - 5.00pm) Professional Development days in various locations around the country this year.






The compulsory and elective topics for each session will be presented by:

Experienced celebrant and coordinator of the International College of Celebrancy's OPD Program

Yvonne Werner




TCN has chosen this elective topic:  

How Ceremony Promotes Health and Well Being

as this expresses TCN’s vision of civil celebrants' roles


in addition, TCN will present a session on:

How TCN can enhance your professional celebrancy practice

Each day will be fantastic and will build upon the importance of our roles as celebrants in our communities as well as exploring how you can use your TCN Membership to market yourself and the Civil Celebration Network.

What a great way to meet up with some of your fellow TCN members as well as some of the hard working members of the committee.





Just to make things easier for you...

You can choose to pay your OPD fees in three installments..... 

click HERE for part payments.


TCN is keen to make sure that OPD is not just another 'tick in the box' but a really valuable part of the services TCN offer to support it's members.


Book your place and find more information here

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Mardi Gras Fair Day 2016!

Party With A Purpose!


This Sunday, the 21st February 2016 is the Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day. 

10am - 8pm @ Victoria Park, Camperdown

It is a family day out with community minded stalls, music, food, friends and lots of fun!


This year, for the first time, The Celebrants Network - TCN will be maintaining a stall to share our vision for family celebrations.  
Celebrants do more than just weddings and funerals and there are so many more opportunities throughout our lives to celebrate who we are, what we've achieved and what our future looks like because of the families or communities that surround us.


Click last week's blog post to see a list of the life celebrations you could be adding more meaning to.


Come and visit our stall at Fair Day and meet some of our fabulous

TCN Family Celebrants.



Read more about how you can celebrate every stage of your life



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Welcome new baby with a naming ceremony

How are you going to celebrate your new baby and welcome her or him into your family and community?  For some couples the answer is easy - baby will be welcomed into their Church family, probably with the same ceremony that was used for the parents years before, and there will often be a family party to celebrate the occasion.

There is an alternative available for couples who prefer not to have a religious ceremony - a Naming or Name-giving ceremony conducted by a Civil Celebrant.  This personalised ceremony can be held in any location the parents choose - a park or garden, in a home, at a hall or restaurant - wherever suits your plans.  Baby can be welcomed in to the family or the wider friendship group in a beautiful ceremony that reflects the beliefs and wishes of the parents.  If you want to you can include some religious content such as a prayer or blessing.  Older siblings can participate in various ways, the parents might choose friends or family members to be mentors/guardians/guide parents/godparents to the baby. Music and poetry or stories will probably be included. 

There are more ideas here

Celebrants from the The Celebrants Network can help you by creating and delivering a beautiful and memorable ceremony to welcome your baby into the world.


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The Power of Celebration for 2016

Here's wishing a happy, healthy and hopeful New Year to everyone

2016 promises to be another big year for The Celebrants Network - TCN with our focus on Celebrations and our new mobile friendly website on

One of our TCN Celebrants, Narelle Adams, shared a link to a Huffington Post article called: What Is the Power of Celebration?

There are two great quotes in this article by Michael Feeley
"People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state -- it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle... Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions." -- Abraham Joshua Heschel
"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." -- Oprah Winfrey
Take the time to read this explanation of what celebration means.

May 2016 be a year for more celebration and appreciation of life for us all!

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What is your inspiration at this time of year?


One of our TCN Brisbane members Eunice Phipps penned this poem for Christmas for us to enjoy. It's called: My Christmas Inspiration

Perhaps you'd like to share what inspires you?

The Celebrants Network takes this opportunity to wish every TCN member, every celebrant and every one of our followers peace of mind and peace of heart during this annual holiday time. May you, your loved ones - family and friends have fun and relaxation as well as a safe time whereever you are and especially when you travel.

The TCN National Committee
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How can the cost of a great celebrant and ceremony be afforded?

ASK A CELEBRANT BLOG: We can pool our money and other resources to buy something really special such as making the celebration THE gift.

We could pool our $$$$ to engage a professional independent celebrant, rather than everyone buying their own individual gift.

Like well designed stage play, a special event may cost from $ 600 to $ 2000 or more.
This may seem a lot, but is it really if the price is spread across a lot of people and the event has longer lasting benefits.

A $ 600 ceremony package can be covered by

  • 20 participants donating $ 30 per head OR
  • 50 participants at $ 12 OR
  • 100 participants at $6 per head

A $ 2000 ceremony package can be covered by

  • 20 participants donating $ 100 per head OR
  • 50 participants at $ 40 OR
  • 100 participants at $ 20 per head


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What do old Books and Ceremonies have in common?

What to do with those books gathering dust on your bookshelf?

Here is a fabulous, low-cost, easy and fun craft activity, which you can make yourself to decorate your ceremonial space.  

A unique decorative idea for a wedding ceremony or any special occasion.  

These lanterns are made entirely from old books and were made by my daughters at our local library school holiday lantern making workshop this week.

Why not gather your bridal party together and make many?

All you need is a book and some ribbon!!  The older and more ragged the book with yellowing pages the better as the final product gives a fabulous vintage look to your lantern.   Feel free to email me for the instructions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted by Robbie Fincham Civil Celebrant, Melbourne


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Benefits of adding a ceremony

The changes to society in the last 200 years in western culture have brought many benefits, but also many negatives

  • people are separated from family support and roots by employment needs and thus young and old alike are more isolated. Thus at higher risk of depression.
  • the wedding is too late for relationship education. Becoming an adult, leaving home, getting engaged are better times to promote those services
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Why not give a ceremony as a gift?

birthday cake 916253 200Have you ever thought of giving a loved one a ceremony as a gift?  Perhaps this sounds a bit strange but think about it a bit more.  How many people recognise this scenario:

Your sister from interstate rings - "It's Mum's 80th birthday in 3 months time - what are we going to do about it?"  You talk a little more and decide that it would be a good time to get the family together and have a bit of a party to celebrate.  So the message goes out - the family are all primed to be at Mum's favourite restaurant where you have booked a private room for lunch on the big day.  A few of Mum's close friends are let in on the secret and invited and the plan is underway.

The next phone call is almost inevitable - "what shall we get Nan for a present? - it should be something special for her 80th"  So you talk to a friend who happens to be a Celebrant.  And this is what you come up with:

Let the celebration be the gift

Suggest to all attending that the very best gift for Mum will be the company and love of her family and friends. Agree that each will make a contribution to that gift by being a participant in the day.  Engage a Civil Celebrant to coordinate the arrangements and conduct a short ceremony before the lunch.  Decide to share the cost of the meal and Celebrant in whatever way is fair for your family and circumstances.  

Your Celebrant will put a lot of work into the day as Coordinator and Presenter.  She will work with you to design your ideal ceremony.  Her suggestions might include - Let the children and grandchildren nominate a role they will take on the day - to sing, play, read a poem, make a DVD from Mum's photos, compile a CD of songs from different eras of your Mum's life, present flowers, make a speech, bake a cake, escort Nan to the venue and so on.  Your celebrant will weave these contributions into a ceremony.  She may invite everyone who is attending to write a letter or card that shares some special memory they have of your Mum and compile these into a gift book.  She will probably record the highlights of Mum's life There are many possibilities and you will be able to discuss these and decide what suits your needs.

By the time the big day arrives you and your family will have created a unique gift for a special person.

To find a The Celebrants Network Celebrant to help you plan or to get more information and ideas for a special celebration have a look at our website

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Why engage a celebrant when old uncle Fred can do as well?


Having a skilled celebrant can mean the difference between an event being mediocre or an inspiring, memorable tribute to people who have a special place in our lives. 

Like any good entertainer, the time a celebrant spends in front of the audience is only a very small fraction of the time spent in practice and acquiring the knowledge and skills to perform well. 

A good celebrant is much more than a good performer. They need to be  .. . . .


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How do "civil" celebrants set their fees - some are wildly different?


Most professional civil celebrants are professionals in private practice.

That is, unlike most religious celebrants, the civil celebrant has to cover all their costs of operating a home-based celebrancy practice from the fees they charge 'up-front' for their ceremonies, BEFORE they make an hourly rate for their work.


  • Couples have not 'lay-buyed'  part of their ceremony as couples have via donations to a church or via government taxes to a Registry Office.
  • A religious celebrant is usually supported financially by their church stipend and has their travel, phone and other expenses covered by their religious institution. Likewise registry office celebrant.
  • A independent civil celebrant is required to ensure the ceremony suits the individual couple.
  • In most cases, this requires considerable extra work in sourcing wedding prose, poetry and other materials, or even writing of new material by the celebrant.
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Can a 'surprise' ceremony backfire?

ASK A CELEBRANT BLOG:  We all love to see expressions of delight when we make a love gesture a surprise!  But what if this backfires?

People need to be psychologically prepared to be the focus of attention, even if it is for a short while, by knowing they are going to a party or an event. Elderly people may have even more difficulty being fully present to the occasion if they are not prepared.

So the TCNA does not recommend “total” surprises for anyone. And of course, under no circumstances can the bride or groom be surprised about their own wedding . . .


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How old must I be before I can get a message from the Queen?

ASK A CELEBRANT BLOG: Problem is by the time I've reached this age, I'll probably need someone else to organise this for me!

So how can a congratulatory message be organised? Australians who are celebrating a special birthday or wedding anniversary can receive personal congratulations from the Prime Minister, Governor-General or The Queen.

Who is eligible for a congratulatory message?

  • The Prime Minister will send a message of congratulations to people turning 90 years of age or more.
  • The Queen and Governor-General will send a message on a 100th birthday.

Read more

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What is a civil ceremony?

Civil ceremonies and celebrations for significant life events - for individuals, couples, families or communities - are designed and delivered to provide an inclusive environment in which to

  • honour all people - respecting the diversity of their individual talents and skills; gender; sexual preference, race; family, educational, religious, social, cultural backgrounds; life experiences; beliefs; personal, emotional, spiritual, social and other needs


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How do you choose the celebrant for you?

ASK A CELEBRANT  BLOG There are many things to consider in choosing a celebrant

Like a jigsaw puzzle, there are many things to consider before you have the full picture. Some people go on first impressions or “gut feelings”. Others choose on price – the least or most expensive. Yet others look for value for money.

Each of these on its own is rather limited when you consider the celebration can never be repeated!

But each has something valuable to consider, when trying to make the best decision for your situation.

Consider the celebrant’s ……..

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The Celebrants Network Wishes for 2016


In 2016 let's strengthen family and community networks by celebrating with ceremony.

Let's celebrate:
o Civility (being civilized - cooperation, compassion, care, courtesy, chivalry)
o Creativity (celebrate and encourage different talents and interests)
o Companionship (cooperative partnerships, family and friendships, groups)
o Citizenship (respect, equality, valuing justice –“a fair go”, free speech, diversity and community)

The Celebrants Network Incorporated is a  non-profit community celebrant based association that upholds the important role of civil ceremony in Australian society, supports marriage & celebrant equality and promotes 'adding a ceremony' to all important life stages and changes.

FAST FIND A CELEBRANT - Party With A Purpose, Ask A Celebrant, Funeral Options, In Memory Of and Cvivl Celebrations Network Directory are projects of TCN Inc.

Ask a celebrant how to choose one of our celebrants  for your next special occasion.


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Why Wait to Celebrate a Milestone?

By Roslyn Macfarlane,
Access Civil Ceremonies

Having just passed our 42nd anniversary I have been giving some thought to having a ceremony to celebrate all of our years together.  Like most couples our journey through life has had some twists and turns,

some ups and downs and still, together we have created some wonderful memories.

Raising a family and having a successful, long term, loving marriage is an event worth celebrating and waiting for the major milestones to celebrate that makes sense in some ways, but when I think about it, there is no really good reason to wait.  Every year we have together as a couple and as a family is a blessing.  Fate can take us down any number of roads, and all too often we find ourselves wishing that we had acted on our good ideas sooner, rather than later.

So where do you begin to prepare for such a celebration?  Looking at the history so far; where it began, the roads you have travelled and the things that inspired you along the way can be a good place to start.  Bringing in elements of your life that have had significant impact such as holidays, professional achievements, social involvements and family.  If you  think a ceremony to celebrate your anniversary is a good idea then there are some wonderful ideas on the internet. 

Visit: Wedding anniversary ceremonies

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Want a great gift for a loved one with every thing?

ASK A CELEBRANT BLOG: How often do we think "things" when considering a present for our parents, children or other family members and friends? Why not think about experiences that can never be repeated, that can bring pleasure to everyone, and to which everyone can donare the money to make it happen?

For the 55 and over age group "things" become less important, more things to dust and more things to say goodbye to when the time comes to downsize into a smaller place.

So why not make the celebration itself the gift?


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Why have a ceremony?


Add a ceremony to your celebration!

Intuitively we know that a celebration is a way we mark important rites of passage.

Many Australians celebrate important events though, by having a booze-up and throwing in a few words towards the end.  We have forgotten that the food and drink were meant to accompany the speeches or ceremony, not be the celebration itself.

Without a meaningful core to the gathering, a celebration may be boring and unsatisfying and more likely to lead to excessive eating and drinking.

Ceremony is an Act of Love - quality time spent together, a way of re-establishing that meaningful core to the event.


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Missing loved ones at this time of year?

ASK A CELEBRANT BLOG. Merry Christmas! Poem by TCN Melbourne Funeral Celebrant and Poet Graeme Cook.

This is the little verse I put inside a Christmas Card for all the families I have dealt with through each year. It's called  Merry Christmas! I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

Set that happy Christmas table, you need leave no empty space,
For I shall sit between you all, in a peaceful state of Grace,
I shall hear your laughter, I’ll be a part of every smile,
From the kitchen to the pudding, I shall be there all the while.

The gifts you give each other, shall be your gift to me,
The Love that you shall share today, I will clearly see,
Enhance it with my memory, let your hearts be light and free,
For I’m that extra special glow, that coats your Christmas tree.

No matter where you have your Christmas, at home, the bush, the beach,
Cicadas, flies, and heat and gum trees, there no place I can’t reach,
Not just now, forever, as past the years go flying by,
I’ll be home for Christmas, on that you always may rely.

Graeme Cook 2007

Graeme Cook
Funeral Celebrant

Ringwood East, Melbourne Vic.
0417 149 382
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Exciting news - we are blogging again

TCN Members, other Celebrants and the general public will be pleased to see that the TCN blog is operational again on our brand new website  You can look forward to interesting information about celebrants and a range of ceremonies for love, life and loss.  Subscribe to our blog and stay in touch.
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Celebrate your Anniversary with Ceremony

Steve Rona 1993 wedding 200How do you and your partner celebrate your anniversaries? And what is it that you celebrate - the anniversary of first meeting, first moving in together or more traditionally, your wedding anniversary?

First thing of course is to remember the date!  This can be tricky as many of us know but it is usually greatly appreciated so well worth doing! 

Perhaps you are looking for a different and special way to celebrate this year.  Maybe it is a significant anniversary for you for some reason. It may be the number - 1st, 5th, 10th, 25th, 30th, 40th and 50th wedding anniversaries are often deemed more special,  But it may also be something else that is special this year - overcoming difficulties together, starting your family, having the last child leave home - the reasons are as individual as the couples who are celebrating.

Why not think about engaging a celebrant from the The Celebrants Network (TCN) to design and conduct a ceremony that meets your individual needs?  You can find a celebrant near you on our website .  You can also find lots of information about different ceremonies for anniversaries.  

Our TCN founder Rona Goold and her husband Steve had their 21st Wedding Anniversary last year and they asked TCN Celebrant Robyn Lenahan to conduct a ceremony for them.  

Rona made a YouTube video using pictures from their wedding to use as part of the ceremony, an example of an original idea that had significance for the guests at their celebration.  You can watch it here and enjoy the original song "I Wish For You" performed by the Two Macs which was first performed at Rona and Steve's wedding.

Tell us about your ideas for celebrating anniversaries by commenting below.


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Ask A Celebrant Blog goes live - subscribe now

wedding cakeOur new TCN mobile website has loads of information on celebrants, ceremonies and celebrations for everyone Topics such as - Fast find an Australian celebrant; Weddings and love ceremonies; Celebrating every stage of life; Ceremonies for loss and grief; Celebrations supplier directory; Win with a gold rose celebrant; About civil celebrants; About civil ceremonies.

Subscribe to this free Ask A Celebrant - TCN Blog now on :

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"You Can't Hurry Love" - A very special love story

Published by Robbie Fincham, Civil Celebrant based in Melbourne, Vic & Chairperson of TCN Inc.

The song "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes was the finale music played at Suzi and Evan's Commitment Ceremony, I had the very great privilege of conducting in January 2013.  What a fitting song it was too, as you will understand when you read about this most remarkable love story, which has spanned more than 35 years!!

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St Valentine strikes again

red_rose_turn_heart_valentines_day_md_clrPost by Rona Goold
TCNA Coordinator

Whether you received a special message today or not, isn't it great to have a day to acknowledge the value of love and friendship in our lives?

My husband and I will be married 20 years this year, so he did need the prompting of the local radio talk show to remind him that today is a special day :-)

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Tackling the Tough Times

Being-Thanksful-150From Rebecca Skinner

The Celebrants Network Incorporated Blog Coordinator
Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia Celebrant Member

From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. And it's not just a story about pain and suffering, it's also a story about survival, the learning process, and seeing the silver linings.

We often treat troubles as real negatives. They come into all our lives with no notice and we don't want to have to deal with them. But the reality is, troubles can often open the door to many positives.

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From Rebecca Skinner

The Celebrants Network Incorporated Blog Coordinator
Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia Celebrant Member

Why do we wait until birthdays, Christmas or New Year's Eve to celebrate? I believe life is too short not to celebrate EVERY moment we can.

Without making the effort to mark a particular moment, life passes us by far too quickly and achievements and blessings can so easily get missed along the way...

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