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Tag Archives: marriage

Weddding Rehearsal

photoOne of the last items to tick off our preparation list was the wedding rehearsal and I can now report that it is has been ticked. Jane and I gathered at the church last week to run through the ceremony with the main celebrant Bishop Porteous, Archdeacon Anthony from the Melkite Church, the Master of Ceremonies (a very good friend), the altar servers (more friends), our parents and of course the bridal party.

Before we began the actual practice there were some logistics to sort in regards where the furniture in the sanctuary would best fit. On the day, along with Bishop Porteous, there will also be in the sanctuary, the Melkite Eparch Bishop Rabbat, a few clergy friends and the bride and groom. Thankfully the church has a good sized sanctuary so there will be enough space. Being the Christmas season there is also a large Christmas tree in the sanctuary to work around. Read the rest of this entry

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Last Minute Preparations

wedding-countdownWell I can now count on my two hands the number of days until Jane and I walk down the aisle! I cannot believe that after 33 years of life and 15 years of seriously looking to find my vocation, I am about to embrace that vocation in Jane. If I sit and think about it I am probably still not completely sure that it is all real. To desire and pray for so long to meet someone and then for that to actually happen is an awesome reality. I think back to all the conversations I had with people about wanting to get married and now I am on the threshold of that reality…praise God!

A few people have asked if I have cold feet and I think my feet are just fine. If I had any worries those were all at the start of being engaged and getting used to that. I am looking forward to everything, although knowing that I am not a huge fan of change there will no doubt be some adjusting to married life in the beginning. At this stage it is the excitement of the reality of being married that is present. Read the rest of this entry

Gifts and Gift Registries

wedding gifts by cwmgaryOne of the nice things about getting married is partaking in the generosity of family and friends in regards to gifts. As we near the wedding some people have begun delivering early gifts which we will excitedly open upon the return from our honeymoon. However one of the ongoing questions we have had is about our gift registry…the reason being because we do not have a gift registry. Why not you may ask?

Well apart from writing this column, I also write a separate fortnightly column called ‘Foolish Wisdom’ which looks at issues in news and culture, and earlier in the year (before being engaged) I wrote an article on the subject of gift registries and why I thought that they were utilitarian in nature. Instead of paraphrasing, allow me to include some sections from the article that explain my thoughts. Read the rest of this entry

What’s in a Name? By Jane

changing namesIt’s impossible to ever forget about the life-changing event (aka wedding) taking place for me very soon (especially when I am asked almost daily how the preparations are going). But every now and then, I have a sudden ‘Oh My Gosh!’ moment where it really hits me just how close and how real it all is. An example was the other day when a friend greeted me as ‘Miss Brotherton’ before playfully adding ‘but not for long’. Realising that she was right (yes, I will be changing my name once married), I suddenly felt as though I should be making the most of the short amount of time I have left to use my surname… like taking the opportunity to announce my full name each time I answer the phone at work or somehow savouring those moments when I have to write my signature.

I read somewhere that 82% of newlyweds change their name and that 20% of brides admit to feeling nervous about the name-changing process. I would have to say that I can relate. One reason is for the simple fact that I hate paperwork. Unfortunately, the numerous forms of identification and membership cards in my wallet don’t automatically change the instant that I become Mrs Toutounji. It seems that the list of people to inform of my new name and address might be considerable. There are of course the bigger ones like my drivers licence, passport, Medicare, ATO, bank accounts, health insurance, phone company, electoral roll, etc. but there are also many others like email addresses, business cards, club memberships and magazine subscriptions, not to mention my discount card at the local coffee shop! And then I won’t even begin to tell you how ridiculously unnatural and clumsy I have felt in my few attempts to practice my new signature. With all that effort, it’s no wonder some women decide not to change their name! Read the rest of this entry

Searching for a place to call Home

first-home-buyersThis week’s installment is about an adventure that took Jane and I across Sydney and to a final place that we didn’t expect to find ourselves…and this adventure was looking for a place to live. We had already decided to rent initially, so we were not looking for a family home for the next fifty years, but rather a reasonable place for a shorter period of time. We both work in the city so our criteria included close proximity to a train station and a price that would allow us to save a good amount for a future home purchase.

I live in the Inner West of Sydney while Jane has spent her whole life in Southern Sydney so we planned to look at some units between those areas. We compiled our list of destinations and inspection times the day before and were ready at the first place 10am Saturday armed with pen, paper and camera. This first unit was a modern one bedroom but we only had to be there a minute before knowing it wasn’t for us. We had toyed with the idea of a one bedroom unit and we probably could fit everything into a unit that size but we wanted to leave ourselves some space to move about. Also this particular place was more expensive than some other two bedroom units we had listed so we got back into the car and Jane navigated us to our next destination. Read the rest of this entry

How many children to have?

Another important aspect of our marriage preparations has been in the area of Natural Family Planning. Contrary to popular belief, the Church does encourage married couples to plan together their family size, but there is vast difference between the Church’s vision of family planning and that of the secular society. Out in the world ‘family planning’ usually means the choice of contraception that a couple will use in between having their one or two children. In the Catholic vision, however, family planning takes on a much more positive and personal understanding. At a foundational level, children are always seen as a great gift and a sign of God’s blessing. All through the Old Testament the blessings of the Lord were always seen in the children bestowed upon a couple and it is wise for us to recall that.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about one of our marriage preparation sessions on the sexual union and how it should be seen as the pre-eminent form of communication because it echoes the love of God. If this ideal is carried through then it can be seen why contraception is so harmful to marriage. Contraception says ‘I give you all of me but I withhold my fertility, I do not want our love to be fruitful’. With contraception, the language of the body becomes distorted. The Church is often criticised for prying into the bedrooms of couples but it is God himself who has made us as sexual beings and that sexuality has a very real meaning. In this fundamental teaching on contraception the Church is simply reminding couples of their dignity and the greatness to which they are called in their love. The Church could never approve contraception because contraception turns the sexual union into something other than what God planned it to be; and it is only in living out God’s designs for life and love that genuine happiness can be found. Read the rest of this entry

Planning the Wedding Ceremony

With almost forty days to the wedding it was time to begin planning the finer details of the actual wedding ceremony. Not that we had left the wedding to the end. You might recall one of my earlier columns on the big discussions Jane and I had about whether to marry in the Melkite Catholic Church or the Latin Catholic Church. Having discerned to marry in the Latin Church we asked Bishop Julian Porteous, the auxiliary bishop of Sydney, to be the main celebrant. While we both know different priests, we know Bishop Porteous in common and we both work closely with him in our respective jobs. We were honoured when he agreed to marry us.

As I had also written about earlier there had been the hope to include some elements from the wedding ceremony (more correctly called the crowning ceremony) of the Byzantine rite. Jane and I met with Bishop Robert Rabbat of the Melkite Eparchy to discuss this and he recently came back to us with permission to incorporate some parts of that rite. Bishop Rabbat also accepted our invitation to be present at the ceremony which is a double blessing. Read the rest of this entry

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