What Would They Know? Danicia Quinlan of Pastel Blues Ceremonies

by | Ceremony Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

Where would we be without wedding celebrants? Providing an alternative to the traditional church based ceremony, a celebrant is the most important part of your wedding day. Without a celebrant, the day becomes – well – just a beautifully planned party. And Danicia from Pastel Blues Ceremonies does just that. What a great profession – helping a couple craft the words that fit their unique story, guiding a couple throughout the ceremony to the end point of being legally married, sharing in the joy of the moment. Now isn’t that the perfect job?

What was the catalyst for becoming a wedding celebrant?

I had recently sold my consulting business and was sitting on a veranda feeding my youngest babe when the postman delivered a flyer advertising the Cert IV Celebrant course at a local TAFE. I had spent most of my career consulting on quite challenging resource and community projects and all I could think of was how nice it would be to regularly be surrounded by people who were truly and genuinely happy. So I enrolled that day and have been surrounding myself by wonderful folk ever since.

How long have you been in this business?

4 ½ years.

Image by Arlene Bax Photography

What is the most special thing for you, being a marriage celebrant?

The most special thing about being a marriage celebrant is having the opportunity to hear and share a couple’s story. I feel so privileged to sit down with my couples and hear their honest, heartfelt, funny, sad and sometimes truly inspiring stories on how they found and picked each other. Out of all the millions of folk wondering about the planet that they decided to make a call to share the journey of life with each other.

How does a bridal couple go about deciding which celebrant suits their personal style?

Offering a bespoke service means I need to understand what each couple is looking for and work to incorporate not only their story, but adapt the presentation of the ceremony to suit their expectations. For most couples, the decision is based on the gender of the celebrant, how formal or personal they would like their ceremony and what expectations their family may have on how the ceremony will be presented. They usually decide this through an assessment of a celebrant’s website and social media profiles, word of mouth recommendations and then meeting the celebrant for an initial meeting in person.

How scheduled should a ceremony be, as far as timing, atmosphere, readings etc? Is there room for flexibility?

My theory is weddings are crazy enough and random things do happen quite regularly! The best way I have found to deal with that is to have a fairly strict script so everyone knows where we are all going on the day. It just makes it easier to deal with the chaos that may unexpectedly arise.

From my perspective it is also crucial that the couple feels completely comfortable on the day. This is achieved by ensuring they know what is coming next and have walked through it all beforehand.

The flexibility comes in the development of the ceremony in the lead up to the big day so it is personal and atmospheric.

Image by Angela Higgins Photography

Do have set ceremony formats, or do you guide couples to personalize their ceremony as much or as little as they wish?

I see my job to facilitate the process rather than insist upon it. I work with my couples to think through the structure of the ceremony so we cover all the people they wish to involve and the bits that are important to them in the ceremony. I then use their story to drive the content development.

Can you suggest readings or poems that might suit the particular style of ceremony? 

Generally once I get a better understanding of the couple’s story and the focus of their ceremony, I recommend a number of readings and styles that might suit and we work together to select something. In other instances brides (or grooms!) have ideas and we work them in. For example, I’ve had one bride carry around the lyrics to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” since she was 17 so naturally we just incorporated this.

What are some examples of readings or poems that you have come across lately that are a little different? 

I love Woody Guthrie’s ‘Wedding Blessing’ that one of my couples brought in not so long ago and the lyrics to Barry Louis Polisar’s ‘All I want is you’ regularly warms my heart. It doesn’t matter how many times I hear it I still think E.E Cumming’s ‘I Carry Your Heart’ is so beautiful.

Image by Ben Adams

You must see many delightful unplanned moments. Without giving away too many secrets, do you have one or two you can share, that touched your heart?

One of my favourite unplanned moments was when a father of the bride asked for the microphone before he handed over his daughter and he looked his future son-in-law in the eye and he simply said, “this girl is our joy and our light, before I give her away I want you to promise you will do nothing to crush her sparkle”. It took everything in my power to stop the tears running down my face. The poor groom, he was white as a sheet but he made the promise and then took his gorgeous bride’s hand.

Any suggestions for beautiful places to consider for a marriage ceremony?

I am quite partial to an indoor ceremony and love Indianna’s in Cottesloe, Kidogo Art House, Fremantle and the Linton & Kaye Gallery in Perth City. Outdoors the Marlee Pavilion in Kings Park is my absolute fav.

What is your most treasured item?

Oh tricky, I have a few treasured items – a painting that makes my heart smile every time I see it, all of my books and a 1960s Amethyst Cocktail ring that I had loved since I was a wee lass and my mother gave it to me the day I gave birth to my first son.

Image by Libby Edwards Photography

What books are your reading at the moment?

I have just finished Lost River by WA author Simone Lazaroo which I adored. John William’s Stoner is still on my bedside table as well.

What do you like to do in your leisure time?

My life is a little crazy busy at the moment as, in addition to marring people on weekends, I have taken on the GM Operations PFCI at the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for leisure but I do love sailing, spending time with my two delightful boys and lurking in the odd wine bar around town.

Thank you Danicia for sharing your story with us. To find out more about Pastel Blues Ceremonies visit the website.

Headshot by Nicolle Versteeg Photography



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