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Congratulations. You’re Engaged….Now what?

Congratulations!  You’re Engaged…Now what?

So you’ve finally found the perfect partner, your first mate and companion til the end. The proposal has been and gone the list of mandatory phone calls to friends and family have been made and before twenty four hours has passed you’ve started thinking of the dress, your bridesmaids and where the main event, your wedding ceremony and reception will take place. But before you can say “I do” there are a few things to consider making sure your day goes off without a hitch. I must admit, I had a total brain freeze when my fiancé popped the question, I was just in shock and couldn’t believe it was really happening, thinking where to begin and I help my couples with this every day.

1)     The Magic Number:

Although we have our own order of priority the first thing you really need to think about is who is coming, because the number of people will define the budget, the ceremony venue and the reception venue. You don’t want a venue that doesn’t have enough room for all your guests and on the flip side you don’t want a venue that swallows you congregation. So get out your pen and paper and start counting heads.  We did a rough count and decided that we would have around 40 guests each.

2)     The Date:

So you have counted all your cousins, aunts and uncles and it’s time to approach your suppliers to confirm a date. Nine times out of ten dates are chosen upon availability so if you have a month in mind that will be the best approach. Generally suppliers will take bookings twelve months in advance so keep that in mind. If you have a specific and popular place in mind it’s best to call them as soon as possible.

3)     Order of Importance:

The next question I would ask is what is important to you?

Is it the ceremony venue, the food, the dress or the photography?  The way I personally help my couples is by suggesting they work backwards. Start from the end, after you have your approximate number of guests start with the reception – are you having a sit down dinner or a cocktail event? From my experience, for a sit down dinner the amount per head should be between $100 and $150 per person not including the venue. It’s all about how the package is presented to you. This is where a big part of your budget is going to go. We looked at a place where we could bring in our own caterers which reduced costs and we knew the food would be amazing. Being Italian, it’s all about the food.

4)     The  “I DO’s”

The Ceremony. Where are you going to have it and who is going to marry you? There is a balancing act that is required to co-ordinate each supplier and the quicker you do it the better. One way of saving money is to have an outdoor wedding. You will still need to get approval from the council and there is more freedom when choosing a Celebrant. If this is an option I can help you with outdoor settings as well.

Now it’s time to contact the photographer and florist, find that dress and take the girls shopping for their bridesmaid dresses. Along the way you will find your colour palette the favours and little extra’s to make you wedding day special.

If you have any questions or would like advice on suppliers, feel free to contact me.

I believe to be the best celebrant I can, I must understand the full life cycle of the ceremony world, which is why I perform naming ceremonies, coming of age, weddings, commitment, renewal of vows and funerals.


I live, and celebrate life!

Cassandra Iacono

Wedding and Civil Celebrant

Weddings, Commitment & Naming Ceremonies, Funerals. All of Life’s Celebrations.


The Proposal

blog3pisaWho doesn’t love a good old love story?

This, my friends is the cheesiest, most unexpected and totally romantic engagement proposal you have ever heard and it’s a true story. Tissues at the ready, girls, the wedding is going to be epic.

I think it is really important to travel with someone before you decide to spend the rest of your life with a person. It’s not just the getting around from place to place, it’s the 24 hours on a plane, stressing out because you don’t understand the language and the little moments where you need to lean on each other both physically and emotionally. You don’t know how a person is going to be able to handle being a traveller. That’s just another reason for you to go on holidays together.

We have been dating for two years, living together for one. Talk of wedding’s and marriage is common in our household considering my chosen profession. Meeting with newly engaged couples talking about The Ring, The Venue, The Dress, The Theme, The Bridesmaids, The Vows and the rest. I’m actually surprised that he wanted to marry me at all.

Every year my family makes the long journey to Italy for the European summer.  This year I suggested that my now, fiancé and I travel together. This was to be his first trip to Europe and in the months leading up to our departure I would regale tales of how wonderful it is riding our bikes to the beach and eating new and amazing food.

I knew that it would be overwhelming for him to travel so far as he has a hard enough time sitting still at home let alone a thirteen hour flight followed by a nine hour flight.

Regardless he put on a brave face and was anxious yet excited. He was doing this for me; he knew Italy held a special place in my heart.

Finally, we arrive; my parents were there to greet us. The following day was spent in Bologna. We visited the anatomical rooms in the University of Bologna, which is said to be the oldest University in Europe opening its doors in 1088 and still open today with 85,000 students. The following week we relaxed, ate, rode our bikes to the beach just as I had said. We even rode bikes in other cities such as Lucca a walled city. I didn’t have a care in the world, spending time with my family and partner relaxing and having fun.

A few days later it was time for my brother’s family to leave and go home to Australia. My parents had decided to drive them to Milan the night before. We now had a few days on our own. We could stay in Tuscany, visit the Cinque Terre, go to the beach and relax or visit Rome and take in the sites. The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Vatican City. We decided to do neither of these and follow our nose north up the coast. Being that my future husband claims to be the king of wing we got on a bus, it turns out that this bus goes round and round in circles so we get of at a random stop and get on a another bus that we were told went to the next train station. Little did we know the train station is over an hour away and the king of wing, who was sitting behind me, is tapping me on the shoulder every five minutes asking “where do we get off? Where is the station? tap tap tap”. How can I answer any of these questions? I had never been here before, I had no idea where we were and Mr Wing was driving me NUTS!!! Finally, thank goodness we arrive at the train station and we got on the next train to Santa Margherita. My sister has told us about this beautiful place and we thought we may as well go for it. After an hour and a run in with some disgruntled America travellers we found ourselves at the beautiful Santa Margherita. Cue exhale, except…hold that thought…cue torrential rain. Two drowned rats jump in a cab and get to the Hotel Laurin. We think, yes we’ve made it, only to find out that we needed our passports to check in. Not just credit cards.  We quickly found out that all tourists are required to provide their passports on check in, which are then sent to the local police department. Frantically, I call my mother, hoping they hadn’t left for Milan and I ask her to scan our passports and send them to us ASAP. We were sitting in that lobby for an hour, wet and annoyed. Now, I love my mum but she and technology don’t really go hand in hand, but she came through in the end. We get up to the room, get changed and back out for a drink. Wow, aperol sprits and some nibbles by the water. Yes please.  It started to get chilli so myself and the king go back to the room and get our jackets. Back out and we find ourselves on the pier, it’s sunset, the view is amazing, I’m taking panorama shots on my iphone and he turns to me and asks “isn’t this great, what would make you happier?” and I nonchalantly reply “maybe a drink and some food?” and I asked him the same question and in one swift move he is on bended knee, has produced the most sparkly ring I have ever seen and ask “if you would marry me?”

How about that!

All I could say was “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” I think there was a “YES” in there somewhere and then I immediately felt like throwing up. I had no idea that he was even planning it. Didn’t know he had a ring and I’m so happy that he asked my dad.

So it turns out this celebrant business I am into has turned out in my favour. He listened to all the questions I ask my couples about their engagement, where was it? How did he propose and especially did he ask those dearest to you for their blessing.

I now practice what I preach.

Didn’t he do a good job? I’d love to hear your engagement stories. Send them through.

I believe to be the best celebrant I can, I must understand the full life cycle of the ceremony world, which is why I perform naming ceremonies, coming of age, weddings, commitment, renewal of vows and funerals.

I live, and celebrate life!

Cassandra Iacono

Wedding and Civil Celebrant

Weddings, Commitment & Naming Ceremonies, Funerals. All of Life’s Celebrations.