|Posted on 2 July, 2018 at 19:40||comments (0)|
Photo by The Raw Photographer
One of the most special things I love about being a celebrant is the trust people put in you. For most, I am a stranger to them. I might have been recommended by a friend or family member, but they really wouldn't know me personally. Yet, they ask me to perform one of the most special things in their life: to make them husband and wife (or husband and husband, or wife and wife).
Usually, weddings follow a familiar format: proposal, engagement, ceremony, reception and finally, the honeymoon. But what happens when this becomes too much? When the costs begin to sky rocket, when meeting everyone else's expectations means that yours become forgotten? When all you really want to do is marry the one you love? Planning a wedding starts to become no fun at all. So, what can you do?
Well, for one couple, they decided that they'd throw caution to the wind and planned a surprise ceremony, to be held at their engagement. This style of doing things has become increasingly popular in recent times, so when Sophie called me to ask if I had done one of these, I had to say no, but I was very willing to. Despite having booked me for a September wedding, they asked if I was available for a February one instead. I said the only thing that might stop me would be a cyclone. My first surprise wedding had been booked and I couldn't wait.
The day of the engagement/wedding arrived, and I was quite nervous; that's to be expected when you're about to do your first ever surprise ceremony. But it went off without a hitch. The plan was to allow DrewBoy to play his acoustic guitar in the background while everyone enjoyed drinks and canapes. Sophie left the ceremony discreetly with her Dad and sister-in-law, ZedHair owner, Sam Bruggemann, to don her stunning bridal gown from The Reformation. I crossed paths with her just to make sure all was in place. No-one saw me standing in the background listening to the music, but when I asked Drew for the mike, I made myself known. Because I knew a few faces in the crowd, I mentioned that a few might recognise me, but for those who didn't, I mentioned that I was a marriage celebrant. And that is all it took for the guests to cheer, whistle and clap. I didn't need to say much more.
We quickly swung into action to get ready for the ceremony: set up the PA system and put out the paperwork. Tarren received lots of congratulations and pats on the back. Then Sophie arrived, and she was stunning. The grin could not be swept off her face. And what followed was one of the most heartfelt ceremonies I have conducted. There was so much laughter, lightness and love. Being true to themselves certainly lessened the stress for Sophie and Tarren and made the start of their married life a very blessed one. I am so thankful to them for trusting me with pulling off the surprise and bringing them together as a married couple.
Because, at the end of the day, that's what's important: Marriage to the best person you know, in front of the people who love you.
Venue: Wharf One Cafe, Cairns Wharf
Bride's Dress: The Reformation
Groom's Outfit: Sportscraft
Bride's Hair: ZedHair
Bride’s Makeup: Brow Babes
Photographer: The Raw Photographer
Florist: Nine Blooms
Donuts: Duke's Donuts
Rings: Bejewel Cairns Jeweller
The idea of the surprise ceremony was actually Tarren’s - his reason was simple. He didn’t want to wait to be husband and wife. He felt we were just stagnant and these plans for a big wedding where stopping us from living our lives the way we wanted to. He asked me to trust him and I’m so glad I did. His only worry was that I would feel as if I’d missed out on something by not having the traditional wedding but that is far from the truth. I feel we did something really special. We trusted each other and did what felt right for us. The result was the same but with none of the stress and none of the ridiculous expectations.
The day was perfect, and everyone had such a beautiful time - still our guests comment and say how much fun they had, how it was a great idea. Even with a city-wide blackout.
|Posted on 2 July, 2018 at 19:35||comments (0)|
Planning your wedding day can be stressful and choosing a celebrant can be a daunting task. Do you choose them based on price or reputation? Availability or convenience? Personality or appearance? All of these factors are important, but why not consider doing what one couple did: they chose their celebrant based on creativity and skill.
They used the usual channels of selection to create a shortlist: website review, word of mouth and phone book. They then emailed the three celebrants they had selected and asked them to submit a reading that most reflected their shared values. How do I know this? I made the shortlist.
I clarified some expectations: did the reading need to be original? Not necessarily, was the reply. I knew which one I was going to submit straight away: I am Love. And they loved it. I was booked straight away.
Why is this unusual? Because they booked me unseen. There were no face to face meetings or phone chats. There was no request of a quote at all. The only criteria that mattered (apart from availability) was how well the celebrant could match their requests.
Am I suggesting that every couple use this process? Not at all. But I am suggesting that you really consider what is important to you when selecting a celebrant, and focus on that. The wedding planning process can be arduous. Why make it more stressful by not being true to yourselves?
This particular couple were true to themselves in every aspect of their wedding day. The ceremony was at 7:30 am on the Winter Solstice. A time when the sun rises to greet the dawning of a new day. Guests were encouraged to wear pyjamas and onesies were the height of fashion. A breakfast reception followed. Guests then headed into the local township to enjoy the Yungaburra Markets and a swim at the iconic Lake Eacham before donning steampunk attire to continue the wedding festivities into the early hours. It was held at their home. It was completely and utterly 'them': their love, their family and their friends. They spent money on what was important to them and the start of their married life.
Here are some steps to help you choose your celebrant:
1. Ask for recommendations from people you trust. Who have they seen in action or heard of?
2. Check out websites and social media - do they look professional? What do the reviews say?
3. Email or phone - ask for availability, outline of services and fee. What is included in the fee? What isn't included in the fee? Maybe ask them to select a reading that best reflects your shared values.
4. Create a shortlist based on which ones have so far impressed you. Ask to meet in person or over Skype. Most celebrants are happy to do this, obligation free.
5. When you meet, consider what you want to know about the celebrant. Maybe ask to read a ceremony they have created, or what they might recommend to include in the ceremony. How do they make you feel? Do you feel inspired and confident?
6. Book the one who has met your criteria. You might find that price no longer becomes a factor if the one you likes also happens to be the most expensive. At the end of the day, you want someone who best fits you.
If you would like to know if I best fit you and your requirements, send me an email to [email protected] I would love to hear from you:)