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Celebrating fathers

This Sunday, the 1st of September is Father’s Day across Australia.  A day to celebrate the involvement of fathers of every size and shape in the care and development of our children and the support of our families.  Today's blog is written by TCN Celebrant, Melanie Lawson from Greater Western Sydney.

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Guest — Shirley Naylor

Malt Loaf

My Dad has a deep and abiding love of Malt Loaf, the traditional Yorkshire variety, eaten with a strong tasty cheese. I am making ... Read More
Friday, 30 August 2019 00:16
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The Importance of Naming Ceremonies

Have you ever thought about having a Naming Ceremony for your child? Today's blog has been written by TCN Celebrant Pamela Fynan who talks about what an important life ceremony a naming can be...

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What is a Naming Ceremony?

The Naming Ceremony is a celebration where you formally introduce the newest member of your family to your extended family and friends. You can use this as an opportunity to share the names you’ve given to your child and the reasons why those names were chosen as well as the hopes and dreams you have for your bundle of joy.
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Why is Ceremony Important?

Why are ceremonies important?

The dictionary defines "ceremony" as:

noun (pl-nies

1. a formal act or ritual, often set by custom or tradition, performed in observation of an event or anniversary

I recently came across a great webpage belonging to a Canadian Celebrant, and thought that her explanation of why we have ceremonies was spot on and I couldn’t have worded it any better myself....

Here's what Celebrant Michele Davidson of Modern Celebrant says on her webpage:

"Longing to Connect
Have you ever wondered why we put so much effort into celebrating the start of a marriage with a wedding ceremony? Or why celebrations of life, memorials and funerals feel so incredibly important to do – and to do right?  What about the feeling we have when we bring a new life into this world…. doesn’t it feel like there should be some sort of community event?
One of the most beautiful aspects of being human is how strongly we yearn to connect with the people we love. We quite naturally long for emotional richness and a sense of significance when it comes to the big experiences of life. For some people it’s a very conscious desire; for others it is something they can’t quite name or put their finger on. 

It’s such a shame that in our fast-paced society, many people no longer truly ‘get’ the profound opportunities ceremony offers! They either do nothing, or go through the motions with perfunctory (just get through it) ceremony.
We’ve evolved and grown in so many ways – as a culture and as individuals – but for some reason we play small when it comes to honouring life changes.

Ceremony should be a Catalyst
A well thought out and lovingly conducted ceremony takes you through a gateway. Metaphorically through the words and gestures of your ceremony, you move with greater intention from one phase of your life to the next; from one way of ‘being’ into another. For instance, a wedding ceremony is not merely saying, “I do.” A wedding ceremony should be a catalyst that allows two individuals to really ‘get’ that they now step forward into a life that is shared.

Your ceremony should actually mean something. Not be just a pretty sparkly thing that is soon forgotten.

Something that you will remember forever."
[thank you to Michele Davidson - Modern Celebrant for allowing us to use her webpage]

Ceremonies happen at many events:

* At birthdays we blow out candles and sing "Happy Birthday" - would the party mean as much if we didn't do those things?

* We celebrate people's greatness by giving out awards and making speeches - would the recipient feel as special and appreciated if we made no fuss?

* At funerals and memorials we lay flowers and recite poetry to show respect to lost loved ones - how would we feel if we didn't mark their death in some significant way?
* We exchange rings and vows at a wedding because it actually means something to the couple.  They're saying 'I choose you to take this next step in life, will you join me?'  It's binding, not just legally, but emotionally.


The more that we pay attention to the ceremony, and accept that it is there to help make our transitions through life smoother, the easier it will become to understand why it is so important.

Talk to a TCN Celebrant today about adding ceremony to your next life event

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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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20th Wedding Anniversary - What advice would you give?

ASK A CELEBRANT BLOG: When Rona Goold TCN Coordinator celebrated her 20th Anniversary, she sent her 'sweetie husband" Steve a personal e-card on the theme of 'Life is a bowl of cherries' - when you have a good partner, where one's joined at the heart and that they made "a good pair" with this image :-)

Steve and Rona say that knowing each other's Love Languages is one way they strengthen their relationship.

 "Fortunately 'gift giving' is not high on either of our lists, but words of affirmation and acts of service are.On receiving his e-card, Steve declared that it is really great to feel so close that neither "gives each other the pip"!" says Rona

What are your words of advice to newly weds about strengthening their marriage over time?

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Cameron Moore
My advice would be to take time to listen to each other on a daily basis - either over a coffee, wine or just sitting around. Face... Read More
Saturday, 23 November 2013 10:54
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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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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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CELEBRANT VIC Melbounre Bayside Marzia Magris


MarziaMagris-col-portraitMarzia Magris is a former Victorian Public Servant with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, with a Degree and Graduate Diploma in teaching, career counselor, school industry work experience and vocational learning.  Marzia has 32 years as a professional educationalist having worked in secondary schools, and as an Executive Director of a not-for-profit program linking business and schools. Also active work in pioneering hospitality studies and early introduction to secondary schools with a background in food and hospitality she is author and writer of a VCE study and school/TAFE text for Hospitality studies and taught apprentice cooks at TAFE. 

She was a Ministerial Adviser to the Minister for Education over a three year period and has been involved in many Victorian State education launches, events, openings, conferences and award ceremonies.

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Saying Goodbye - Your way. Act Now

Saying Goodbye – Your way



Act Now before your final Goodbye.

When families are confronted with trying to prepare the funeral, shock and grief can make it very difficult to remember those things that they need to know about “Mum” or “Dad”!  Generally your children look upon you as only their parent, not from any other perspective.  So the other compartments of your life, as a lover, partner, friend, student, teacher, mentor, work colleague, employer, team player, sports person, voluntary worker, etc, etc, are not fully appreciated or understood. 

The same can be said for your life experiences and their context.  All this information is needed to prepare a fitting life tribute that will do justice to a person’s life as a whole. 

So when is the best time to get started?  Now – none of us know when our time is up!

So what can you do to start this process?  Meet with your local independent Funeral Celebrant to discuss your funeral ceremony and the way you would like to say goodbye to your loved ones.

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A Christmas poem from a TCN member

DSCF8768-SUNSET-150ASKACELEBRANT BLOG: Christmas in Australia by TCNA Celebrant Member Eunice Phipps

Christmas in Australia is always so darn hot;
If we could build a snowman, he would melt right on the spot.
Christmas in Australia is never white with snow;
Its boiling in the coolest shade, no matter where we go.
Christmas in Australia means there is no fireplace;
For Santa to step out of, with soot upon his face.

Christmas in Australia means we can’t ride down hills on sleds;
We’d have to use a billy cart and brave the roads instead.
Christmas in Australia means we cannot skate on ice;
Unless we go to skating rinks, and pay a hefty price.

Christmas in Australia, not a snow plough to be seen;
We do have trucks that sweep the street, to keep our cities clean.
Christmas in Australia and not a single reindeer in sight;
Here Santa uses Kangaroos, to pull him through the night.

Christmas in Australia, Santa’s suit is way too hot;
But still we see him struggle on, he must really sweat a lot.
Christmas in Australia and it’s way too hot to cook;
Our Christmas lunch is shared with flies, who want our cold cooked chook.

Christmas in Australia means there is no snow ball fight;
I guess we could throw ping pong balls…. at least they would be white.
Christmas in Australia no chestnuts to roast upon the fire;
But we can buy boiled peanuts; if that is our desire.

Christmas in Australia no real fir trees to decorate;
We all use the store bought ones, and some look really great.
Christmas in Australia is as hot as hot can be;
But my Christmas in Australia, is the only place for me.
Because it’s shared with you my friend,
And my precious family.

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, New Year!

by Eunice Phipps

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Robbie Fincham
Eunice, what a great poem about Christmas in Australia. I look forward to sharing it with my family on Christmas Day. Thank you.... Read More
Sunday, 22 December 2013 09:44
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Understanding differences while Saying Goodbye

The celebration of a Life is an opportunity to say goodbye, honour, celebrate, say thank you and give meaning to a person’s life.  As we are all different and unique each of us merits a ceremony that recognises our lives’ strengths, weakness and achievements and our beliefs.

No matter what your personal beliefs are, you, as the Funeral Celebrant, should honour, celebrate and give meaning to the person’s life in a manner appropriate to them.  This sometimes involves research into their beliefs and putting aside your own personal beliefs.

Recently I needed to research funerals in various faiths so I could prepare Celebrations that did not offend any of the family members while at the same time acknowledged deceased’s deeply held Christian beliefs. 

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A Day of Hope

Birth-coming-age-cover-BW-250A Day of Hope

Recently I visited a young family who had lost their second son at 3 months; he had caught a virus at 6 days and 11 weeks later he passed away, at home, surrounded by his loving family.  The family had contacted me to conduct his Memorial service on Monday 19th August. 

The family is having a pagoda constructed in the backyard and planting a Japanese maple beside it during the Memorial Service and the mulch will be stones with messages from family and friends loving placed.  A visual reminder of their son’s life. So I thought that they chose this date as the construction would be complete by then.

Asking why this particular day, I was told “this is a Day of Hope, and we wish to support this initiative by Carly Marie.  Check out the website” When I arrived home I checked this webpage. 

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What music do You play?


What Music do You play?


Death of a loved one is a difficult and stressful time for families; there seems so much to arrange on top of the emotional turmoil of losing a loved one. 

A funeral is a time of loss but also a time to commemorate life and music can and does play a vital role within the service to expression feelings, to enunciate emotions, prompt memories and to offer messages of hope and eternal love.  For centuries music has formed a very important part of rituals and ceremonies and by using music in a meaningful manner can assist family and friends with the grieving and mourning process.


Once you have spoken to your Funeral Celebrant and developed the Order of Service, what poems, verses or prayers you have selected to achieve the mood you wish for then consider the music.  What music do you feel will reflect the life of your loved one, what will honour them and commemorate their life in a fitting way. 


The music chosen is a very personal choice; you may wish to play a song loved by the deceased person, or a song that will bring hope or offer inspiration to the mourners, a song that will lighten the mood and bring smiles to all.  Music can be a selected that will remind family and friends of time spent with the departed, or because they will evoke memories of happy times spent together or because the deceased just ‘loved that song.’ As I wrote earlier: a very personal choice. 


Funeral songs fall into mainly three categories – Hymns, classical or popular music.  The lyrics of a song can also help to remind us of a loved one, or describe the life of the deceased or the emotions being felt by all those present.  Listen to the lyrics, or read them and see if they express the emotions, feeling or mood that you want to achieve with the music. 


If you are having difficulties consult your Funeral Celebrant, they are experienced and they can help you with suggestions to make your Funeral service a ceremony that reflects the life of your loved one in the manner you want.


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A Circle of Love

A Circle of Love

Naming, celebrating, honouring and welcoming a Child into a family community.

What a wonderful way to spend Easter Saturday morning – with a family of four generations who were together to officially name their baby girl, to celebrate her birth and survival after  a very premature birth, to honour her position in the family and to welcome her into the family circle of love.

A circle has no beginning and no end and to celebrate the family circle connection Abigail worn a Christening Gown made by her great, great great grandmother and there was a direct line to seven of those present who had also worn the gown.  What a wonderful way to pass on the spirit of the family in a tangible way – the circle of family love is never ending.

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Hand tying or handfasting. But what coloured ribbons should you choose?

From Rebecca Skinner

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

Hand tying or handfasting adds a lovely new dimension to a wedding ceremony. But what coloured ribbons should you choose?

All colours have their significance. For instance red is the colour of passion, strength and fertility; orange represents attraction and kindness while yellow is linked to confidence and joy.

Green, often used by financial institutions, represents prosperity along with health while blue, the colour of the ocean, stands for tranquility, devotion and sincerity.

Purple represents power, white- purity and peace and black, strength and success.

Pink is the colour of romance, brown is very grounding while gold is linked to energy, wealth (of course!) intelligence and longevity.

Silver on the other hand is the colour of creativity and inspiration.

So knowing all that, which colours would you choose? Maybe a mixture of them all...

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Rona Goold

Hand Fastibg

I have done several Handfastings. The most recent was lovely as were the others. The Bride and Groom said their vows in conjunctio... Read More
Thursday, 11 April 2013 19:19
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