No, no, no… a marriage ceremony is NOT just the bit you “get through” before you go off to party. It’s not supposed to be like everyone else’s. It’s not supposed to be generic. Or dull. Or monotone. Or meaningless.
And here’s why…
Your marriage ceremony is THE reason for all the celebrations. Written and performed well, it should be the highlight of the entire day.
It is your guests’ introduction to the celebrations that follow, so it should engage them, and interest them and make them want to listen.
It’s a very expensive party, if you don’t get this bit right!
But here’s the thing…..
Your guests arrive expecting to be bored. Past experience tells them that they will have to sit or stand for about half an hour, while someone drones on about something or someone and that none of it will really mean anything – and all of it will sound like the last wedding they went to. And the one before that….. (but they’ll be rewarded later for their patience with food and lots to drink!)
So, let’s surprise your guests. Let’s make Mum tear up and your friends laugh. Let’s have everyone thinking, listening, paying attention! Trust me, the difference simply can’t be imagined!
It won’t be as easy as the standard process of “here’s three scripts, pick the one you like and we’ll put your names in it”. That’s how boring, generic ceremonies are born. Those are the ones that no-one really listens to.
You will have to do your homework. Firstly, choose a celebrant that really wants to do the work. Someone enthusiastic. Someone who cares enough to tell you the difference. Someone who is excited about you – and about telling your story- the best way possible.
Be prepared to put some work into the ceremony yourselves. Think about what is said, and the tone that you set. Have some ownership. It is your wedding – you have to help! ( Yes, you do have time!)
Think of it like this. You will probably spend as much or more time looking for a fabulous pair of shoes to match your dress, than you will doing your homework for your ceremony, BUT your shoes will probably be hidden under your dress, and 60, 80, 150 people may be listening to your ceremony for half an hour!
Let’s keep it real. Very few of us are standing in a corner, spouting sonnets at each other, so stop trying to pretend that you do. Don’t be someone else for this very important half hour of your life. Be yourselves. Tell the truth. Are you alike? Are you different? Do you clash? Do you have funny stories to share? Do you have a cultural background or symbolism that can be included? Do you love a laugh? Get the idea?
OK, I know you are thinking that you aren’t that interesting, but you are. You really are! All your guests are there for you. They think you are interesting! They want to celebrate you!
I could go on and on… and I will – in another post, but let this be a little food for thought, and I promise, I’ll be back to help again soon.
Ms Polka Dot says: Robyn from Robyn Pattison Civil Marriage Celebrant is a Directory member and a celebrant with attitude and a great sense of humour – encouraging us to make the most of those all important wedding vows! Thank you Robyn for sharing your wisdom with us – no excuses now for a dull ceremony!
Robyn adds: I am quite possibly the happiest marriage celebrant in Sydney! Weddings are my thing! Nothing makes me happier than a really happy couple – every time.
Photographs by Wayne Robertson of Weddings by Wayne