When I tell people I’m a wedding Celebrant, the first thing they say is “You have the best job in the world!” and they are right. It is my joy and privilege to be a part of your special day and the memories it makes.
This year has been a quiet one, with weddings mostly cancelled. No opportunities to put on my smart shoes or my ceremony cloak, or to welcome a happy couple and their loved ones into a celebration space. I have missed it!
To remind myself of the good times and why this truly is the best job I could wish for (and for anyone whose wedding has been cancelled this year or who might just need a smile today) here are my Top 5 Favourite Wedding Ceremony Moments.
1) The Preamble
The time before you arrive, when I am there to arrange the space, is so precious to me. It’s a chance to get my Celebrant-head on and start to soak up the atmosphere of the wonderful location you’ve chosen for the ceremony.
If it’s outdoors, I’ll usually spend some time exploring and acknowledging the space and the living beings that are already present; trees, flowers, earth, and sky. I’m an animist so this is important to me but you wouldn’t know I was essentially chatting with the local wildlife, I mostly look like I’m admiring the scenery (and I’m doing that too!).
As guests start to arrive, I am the calm and welcoming presence that greets them. Whether they are chatty or prefer to hold an anticipatory silence, I am always honoured to be standing with them, as part of your community of loved ones. Their smiles and nervous excitement really get my adrenaline going!
2) The Entrance
Seeing one or both members of a wedding couple arrive and enter the ceremony space is always a breathtaking moment for me.
Part of it is the outfits: stunning suits and beautiful dresses of all kinds, shapes and colours that always speak the truth of the individual so perfectly.
Another part is the eager excitement that passes from guest to guest, followed by the broad smiles and chuckles as that excitement overflows into joy.
That joy is fed by the love that radiates from even the most nervous of couples. You have worked hard to get to this moment (the journey has taken your whole life!) and your relief and pleasure at finally being here is infectious. Watching a couple meet one another or arrive together in the ceremony space is like seeing two magnetic poles snap tight; and it is hugely satisfying.
If you look towards me when making your entrance, you will see a face shining with excitment and pride.
3) The Laughter
I love it when you and your guests laugh!
Often it happens when I’m telling your story, sharing those past moments of silliness or hopeless romanticism that you shared with me while we were planning. Often your guests only know part of your story as a couple; filling in those blanks is a wonderful way to create a sense of connection and community within the ceremont, that lasts into the Recepetion and beyond.
Sometimes the laugh comes from you, when you remember a particularly treasured memory or if I’ve played with words specifically to bring a smile. I like making couples laugh; it relaxes you, helps you to breath, and stretches out the moments so they can be fully lived and remembered.
Laughing is memorable too. Even moments of awkwardness – like when the ring won’t go on or when a flower child decides to loudly announce how hungry they are – become joyful memories when we can all laugh at them. As your Celebrant, I work hard to transform those moments of uncertainty into memories you can treasure.
4) The Handfasting
It is no secret that I am obsessed with Handfasting.
There is something about this simple ritual that speaks so perfectly the promises and intentions behind loving relationship and marriage.
Handfastings can be a little bit magic, a little bit emotional and are always beautiful. I love it when family and friends are invited to be involved. My heart swells to see and use cords handmade by them; they are always full of imagination and good intentions.
I once performed a handfasting in silence and the intensity of that moment was deep and powerful. I’ve giggled with families who get their cords tangled and I’ve watched couples become dry-mouthed speaking their vows with their hands tightly bound.
The power of this act is not to be underestimated and is always going to be a huge talking point and memory for those who witness it.
5) The Announcement
Nowadays not everyone wants to be pronounced “man and wife” but I strongly encourage my couples to let me announce them to their gathered guests. It can feel a little strange, especially to anyone who is shy or introverted, but honestly your guests really want to cheer and clap for you and this is the best time for it.
It’s a great way to end a ceremony, bringing a huge surge of energy and joy that you can ride all the way through the welcome drinks and photos, into the Reception. It shakes out all the pent up emotion and nerves you still might be holding on to; helping you to ground yourself back in the moment again, ready to meet your guests.
And it announces that we’ve done the deed, my job is complete, you are in fact married!
It is such a nice feeling to know the job is done and you can be sure that, as you leave the ceremony space and head off for a quiet few minutes alone (make the most of them, they might be all you get!) I’ll be cheering you too, with all my heart.
What are your favourite moments of a Wedding? I’d love to hear!