Ah Kim Oakhill – Celebrant is one of those people impossible not to love, and we’re thrilled to have her amongst our eco-ethical wedding tribe. We chat with Kim and get to know what makes her truly one of a kind.
As a funky, boho celebrant, how do you bring this to your wedding ceremonies?
I am so truly blessed because I’m naturally a cruisy, boho, hippie chick, so what you see is what you get with me! I love that I can wear my every day clothes to my weddings (although I generally do “frock up” a little more for weddings, and wear my “special” head scarves and pop some lippy on!) but I am so truly blessed that I get to wake up in the morning and be me!
I became a celebrant because the norm seemed to be really formal, really serious, stiff and stuffy two piece Millers suits, and the tone and vibe of celebrants seemed very beige. I wanted to bring joy and heaps colour, not just physically with my younger, fresh, modern appearance, but also with the words and vibe of a vibrant ceremony.
I am real, genuine, friendly, relaxed and calm, and by being unapologetically, authentically me, my ceremonies reflect this, people feel more at ease and comfortable and we can all just breathe and take in the good vibes of the magical moment we are blessed to find ourselves in.
How on earth where you ever a lawyer in a previous life??
I know, it’s crazy right!
I am often heard saying, “Oh, I was a terrible lawyer. I’m a lover, not a fighter” and this is so incredibly true! I studied law because my parents always told me that I’d be good at it. I was always on the school debating team and did a whole heap of public speaking, so I think naturally people thought that would make me a good lawyer. Perhaps when our little ones at school do really well at public speaking, instead of telling them what a good lawyer they would be, we should tell them about a career in celebrancy! It’s so much better, I know firsthand!
In all seriousness though, I am really grateful for the discipline and resilience I developed by studying. I have epic research skills now, and feel comfortable adapting ceremonies and ensuring they are still legal.
You are someone who glows from inside and out…what is your happy place?
Naww, thank you beautiful! I am naturally very optimistic and a positive thinker, and I truly believe that mindset is everything!! I have an attitude of gratitude and try to find the positive in every situation. I am a very spiritual person, and I trust that the universe has my back and that any challenges are lessons. I also have pretty strong boundaries, and try my very best not to engage in drama or things/situations that drain me.
I have a few happy places… sometimes, it’s by myself on a yoga mat or in our beautiful home yoga studio. Other times, it’s hanging with my family in nature, or surrounding myself with “cup fillers” (those that lift me up). I also love creating, so I’m in my happy place when I’m creating new workshops or programs or offerings. I think it’s important to have a tool kit of lots of different “go tos” – some for moments of stillness, and others for crazy live out loud experiences!
What can couples expect when they book you?
Most of my couples become my mates! It’s crazy how often I meet a couple for the first time and it feels like we’ve known each other forever!
I don’t have a set “template” ceremony, so I work closely with my couples to create a truly unique, one of a kind ceremony just for them. To do this, I have a questionnaire for my couples to complete with preferences and ideas for their ceremony, as well as sharing their story with me – how they met, what they liked about each other when they first met, what their hopes and dreams are for the future… lots of warm fuzzies that I can share during their ceremony.
Majority of our contact is by email, but we always meet up at least once before the day to complete the legal paperwork (even if it’s the morning of the ceremony if we don’t have any other opportunity!) I also love a good Skype/facetime sesh!
My latest creation is a special project where my love of meditation teaching and celebrancy have magically come together… I created and published some Calm Bride Meditation and Affirmation Cards a few years ago (which are available on my website), and I am now offering Calm Bride workshops. The first one was absolutely amazing – a mix of journalling, mindfulness, breathing and deep relaxation. This has evolved as my beautiful couples are now seeking meditation circles with brides and their bridesmaids leading up to the wedding, and also meditations on the morning of the wedding for the couple and their family and friends. It is all evolving beautifully, and I am so excited for the future.
What is your secret sauce to creating such a happy and connected space on your ceremonies?
I am truly blessed with the gift of intuition and I can feel totally and utterly feel a vibe… this allows me to read a crowd and adapt my tone and put my energy where it needs to be… e.g. If I arrive an a groom is pacing and I can tell he needs some space from people asking him a million questions, I’ll politely take him away for some “important legal ceremony business” and give him some space. Also, if there’s an emotional element in the ceremony, eg. Remembering someone special who has passed, then I will allow the moment to be felt and not rush it, but also not dwell, and intuitively know when to move on and proceed.
Being a naturally joyful person, I feel into emotions deeply… and how happy and amazing are weddings!! So by being authentically me, being naturally happy and upbeat and excited about life, this rubs off, through my ceremonies and out into the world!
What are couples greatest fears about their ceremony, and what is your advice?
My couples are the ones who care about the marriage, not just the “wedding”. So because of this, their greatest fears tend to be around their wedding vows. What should they say? How long should they be? Will they be too short? Should they be funny? What if they’re too serious? The list is endless!
My advice is always to write from the heart. Vows are promises, and generally, we want to be the best versions of ourselves for the rest of our lives. I always offer my couples some real life sample vows for inspo, and if they want to keep their vows secret from each other until the day, I offer to be their sounding board and wing lady. 9/10, they are absolutely perfect! The only constructive feedback I have ever given was that one set of vows were really light hearted and funny, whereas the others were very serious.
At the end of the day, just write from the heart.
Here’s a little meditation activity that might help – Sit somewhere alone without any distractions, close down your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Clear your mind of distractions and thoughts. All you have is this moment. Be all there… Then visualise your partner, and think about all the things you truly love about them. Then visualise the best version of you. All the qualities you want to have, and all the things you want to be able to do for your partner. Then, when you’re ready, spend some time journaling and write down all the things that come to mind.
A good little structure to help might read something like:
I love you. I’ve loved you since _____. I promise to: _____ forever and ever.
We love your authentic, open and warm approach, especially in regards to relationships. How do you reflect about marriage? What have you learned along the way?
One of my favourite mantras to live by is: “All we have is this moment”. Wherever I am, I try to be all there, and over the years, people have told me that they learn a lot from me, which I am truly humbled by, as I am always learning myself. This insight gave me the courage and confidence to live my life “out loud”, and social media has enabled me to do that – to spread my learnings and my messages to hopefully inspire positivity to those I connect with.
I have been married for 7 years, and people who know us have always said that we are the “perfect couple”. The ones who have it all and have it all together. So our world was pretty rocked when my Mr O and I separated last year for 5 months. It hit me hard, as I thought we were unbreakable. We had lived by the Steven Covey quote – “Love is a verb” – a doing word, and that if we show love to each other, we’ll reap the reward of the feeling of love, but our journey took a rocky turn due to some mental health issues that thankfully, we have now come through the other side. We are stronger than ever.
Our 7 year anniversary was on 9 April 2018, and I reflected on 7 things I’d learnt about marriage and shared with my tribe. Here they are:
1. All we have is this moment. Cherish and nurture the now.
2. Only you can make you happy. We can’t expect that from anyone else, ever.
3. Love is a verb. A doing word. Not just something we say.
4. Communication is absolutely paramount.
5. We don’t expect our car to run forever without regular servicing and maintenance… Marriage needs this time and investment too.
6. Don’t be “goopy” in our relationship. Be complete and whole in ourselves, and then see our marriage with a soul of its own that we nurture together.
7. That you can fall in love over and over again [with each other]. And nothing compares to this love…
What would you tell your younger self about marriage?
The 7 things above! In particular, that it is so absolutely imperative that we don’t lose ourselves in our marriage. We need to stay on our own paths, continually working on ourselves and being the best versions of ourselves that we can be. Then we can shine together, rather than one shining and one feeling dull, or both becoming dull as we lose ourselves trying to shine on another path.
What are your top tips for couples to enjoy their wedding day to the full?
Take it in and be all there! Don’t worry about the past, don’t think about the future, just live every single moment. Stay calm and grounded. Peaceful. And if things don’t go to plan, go with the flow. Take some time out to be alone. (I often send my couple away for a minute or 2 to take in the moment just after they sign the marriage docs when their witnesses are signing… this allows them to fully take in the first few moments as husband and wife!)
You have big dreams and passions, tell us about your Helpful Love movement?
What can I say, I’m a dreamer, creator and believer! I truly believe that we can do absolutely anything we set our minds on, and that our only limitation is our mind!
Helpful Love is a for profit, for impact social enterprise that I founded in 2016 following the death of my dear friend’s little girl. Everyone sent flowers – like thousands of dollars worth, and they went in the bin due to a hay fever allergy. When tragedy first strikes, there is so much support, but this eventually drops off. Months down the track, I thought to myself, surely there is something more helpful that we could have done for that beautiful family.
I went looking for a one stop shop of helpful service providers – meal delivery, cleaners, lawn maintenance, mobile massage, fruit and vegetable delivery, counselling… things that actually help! But I couldn’t find what I needed, so I created it.
Helpful Love is a community, a website directory and an online store which sells the Helpful Love Gift Voucher. All vendors in our community accept the voucher, and we are now proudly servicing Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Port Stephens, Canberra, Melbourne, Central Coast, Port Macquarie and Brisbane, and growing!
Helpful Love is not only a practical gift for times of tragic loss, it is also regularly used for new babies, deployments, Mothers Day, birthdays and even weddings!
You can find out more at: HELPFUL LOVE.
If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
I know this is cliché, but I truly wish for a peaceful world, even more so now that I have two beautiful children. I want them to grow up in a loving and peaceful world where all beings everywhere are happy and free. I believe that world peace starts at home by loving our family, so I’m starting there.
My other wishes… I wish that our earth could be repaired overnight, so we could have a fresh start and treat her right, and lastly, I wish (and hope) that I can leave a beautiful legacy in this world. To make a positive difference that I can look down from the universe and be proud of 🙂
Kim Oakhill marries awesome peeps in Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Port Stephens, Forster, Mid North Coast, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and beyond.