When you operate a business and you are totally engaged in it - you invest your all, not just for personal goals, but to give the best possible service to your customers....
I find that no amount of planning or years of experience can ever prepare you enough for how unique each ceremony is.
By following some standard procedures, you can ensure you don’t miss a beat in your preparation, and in the lead up to the event but why is it that one thing always seems to go other than planned?
Generally, you may give a slight sigh of relief when that one thing goes wrong unexpectedly, but sometimes there may be more than one unplanned surprise!
At Justine and Nathan’s fairy tale ceremony, I hired the help of a family member (or two) to ensure the new PA system was in place and perfect for their requirements. We arrived 1 hour early, we worked together. It took the full hour to get it right (yikes!) the bride arriving in her stunning horse-drawn carriage were right on time, like, arriving with the guests! So, no time to enjoy the atmosphere, let’s get straight down to business!
Breathe... Everything looked A M A Z I N G !
In that moment the couple set eyes on each other, and the guest watch on, in awe of their love, are the few minutes you have as a Celebrant to do that final check in your head ✔️ At this particular ceremony, my mental check included a few seconds of ceremony script changes - as the sand blending was still missing. A sand ceremony can be used within a ceremony as a symbol. There are many meanings behind sand blending. Often it is related to, the blending of two families or people, to create one united bond. Props such as colored sand jars and one jar to combine are used as the visual component. Symbolic words are also spoken.
The ceremony has begun so in a moment of opportunity I quietly ask the two people who have all the answers; the bride and the bridesmaid. The bride is gently reassured that the flow is changing slightly, and not to worry it will be perfect, while confirmation is sought for the missing sand. Whilst the photographer steps in to grab some snaps of the couple, this is the perfect opportunity to ask my go to family member to grab the sand ASAP! (This superstar was back in a flash and no one noticed a thing... Phew... thanks Mr Photographer and Mr Go To Family Member!)
The sand ceremony, in fact, the entire ceremony turned out perfectly! Why? Because everyone worked together.
Only a few days prior we gathered at the venue for a rehearsal. This is an important step, especially when multiple people are participating, or there is lots of movement between inclusions such as symbols. Inclusions in ceremonies can be readings delivered by others, ring exchanges and symbols such as the sand blending ceremony. Inclusions and symbols are a way to get others (family and friends) involved in the ceremony, making it more memorable and heartfelt. Attending the rehearsal allows time to ask questions at the venue, about the venue and to also finalise ceremony content and flow. Also, the ideal time to gather the inclusions and symbols needed for the day of ceremony!
Having an opportunity to meet the couple again just prior to their big day, can calm nerves and put all participants at ease. Everyone now knows where the venue is, what their role involves, and what the expectations are. Everyone is working together.
As Justine and Nathan's ceremony unfolded, we were privileged to witness two pages of personalised vows from Justine. Justine had written these vows from the heart, she considered everything, including her humour, and this is what made the ceremony perfect.... a special moment with them.... this beautiful couple before us. As Justine read her vows, I maneuvered around her gorgeous gown, holding a microphone whilst trying to keep Justine placed on her content. We all laughed, some shed a tear, but we were all engrossed in every word - all the while Nathan held the hands of the love of his life!
At various moments throughout the ceremony, I glanced over to acknowledge and thank another family member who helped with the PA set up and took on the role of music director - doing a S E N S A T I O N A L job - the era of tech teenagers is outstanding! Asking for help from others simply makes for better ceremony proceedings. Everything flowed exquisitely because of those family members who would have helped with anything I asked, in order to make the day unforgettable. It is these people that I am always so grateful for.
Many ceremonies will conclude with the signing of the register and a pronouncement of marriage. At this particular ceremony, we took our time as the photographer snapped many shots - the witnesses were both the couple’s mothers – such an honourable tribute. The photographer instructed me to gather the guests at the conclusion of the ceremony for a group shot, but to stay on track with the couples wishes we continued the ceremony flow as planned - the couple appeared on cloud 9, as they kissed as husband and wife for the first time and left the rotunda to head back to the horse and carriage.
When you are selected out of all the talented Celebrants around, it’s a privilege and honour to craft and deliver such a sacred ceremony. Despite our diversity, as celebrants we are employed by the couple as we are a fit for them. It is our duty to deliver a ceremony that meets the Code of Practice for Marriage Celebrants [contained in Schedule 2 of the Marriage Regulations 2017] https://bit.ly/2fQeVtB
Even when, not everything goes to plan, there is usually a way to make it work and make it magical for your clients. Use the resources you have available, the guests, family and friends, meet and greet the venue staff, and welcome any vendor that you will be working with on the day. Get familiar with the people you are surrounded with, creating a professional working environment.
The warmest thank you goes to Mr and Mrs Papadionisiou and their family, may your lives be filled with only the finest.
/Checklist for ceremony preparation; Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 Appendix B - Checklist - Marriage Celebrant Obligations when solemnising Marriage https://bit.ly/2ZVTXjw
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