One of the things that completely inspires us here at Polka Dot Bride, is the passion that the vendors we meet, have for their work. One of those who continues to inspire us is Sydney marriage celebrant Robyn Pattison. She’s an old hat at making couples feel comfortable, and relaxed on their wedding day but it’s the little things she does, that often are never seen, that are her true talent. The guidance of dad before he walks down the aisle, the gentle touch to reassure a nervous bride or groom. And now, not only is she a celebrant? She can bring that warmth right throughout your wedding day as your MC! It was such a pleasure to interview Robyn recently and we’re so thrilled to share our chat with you today!
How long have you been in business as a wedding celebrant?
It will be my ten year anniversary on January 3rd. Unbelievable!
Are you going to celebrate this significant anniversary in a special way?
Yes – I’m going to travel to Berrima, and marry two beautiful girls, whose families are coming from Europe to bring their love and support with them, in a very small and intimate ceremony – and then, we are going to eat cake! (I love cake).
Photo by Ballyhoo Photography
What do you put your longevity in the industry down to?
I have always treated every wedding as though it is the only wedding I will ever do – because it is – for them. I always give every couple more than they paid for – and much more than they expect.
I also remind them that my job is not to be perfect – because nobody is. My job is to sprinkle as much happy around as I possibly can – and to ensure that that moment is infinitely better than it would have been, if I wasn’t there – and then I do exactly that.
Photo by Lara Ivanova
You are known as the ‘Wedding Pixie’. Where did this cute name come from and what is it that makes you a pixie?
Many, many years ago, I was doing a rehearsal for a couple – and the whole – enormous – family came along. The Mother of the Bride watched me flittering around and showing everybody – what -and how to do everything – and she turned to the bride and said: “she’s like a pixie!” The bride came straight back with “She is! She’s the Wedding Pixie” – and kept calling me that online – until it became a thing.
What are five fun things we should know about you?
I am a very well trained cat slave, that also loves dogs. I have both – and I adore them.
I will never be too old for a tulle skirt – or sparkly shoes. EVER.
Diet Coke and M&M’s (out of the freezer) are my favourite treat.
I am a book worm, a plant nerd – and although you would never guess – also quite shy.
Image by Nattnee Photography
In every word you write, there is an excitement, a joy and enthusiasm. How do you express this in your ceremonies?
It’s easy! I really do get excited and I never fake it. I love a good story and tell it with my whole body (or so they tell me). I’m giving up when I get bored. My couples deserve my enthusiasm.
Image by Russell Stafford Photography
How do you assist the bride, her father and bridesmaids before the ceremony?
In so many ways!
My brides walk their dads down the aisle (never the other way around). With a little guidance, dad won’t tread on her dress – or her veil, get in the photographer’s way or do anything that might embarrass himself. We’ll give him a little love and respect, and guide him to his seat at the right time, feeling great.
My brides know The Rule. Never, ever come down the aisle until you have seen me first. They arrive early, so I can meet and prep them out of sight, calm nerves, show them what to do, teach them where to hold their flowers, so they don’t get hidden behind them, how to kick their skirts out (to the side – not the front!) to prevent stepping on it. The list is too long…….
Photo by Jack Chauvel
Do you also provide assistance for the groom and groomsmen? What sort of advice do you give them?
Ha ha! Groomsmen – get your hands out of your pockets – or you’ll look like you don’t care. Sunglasses off – long before the ceremony, so you don’t leave dents in your head. Empty your pockets, so that you get clean lines in your photos. Stand to the side with the rings and use the arm closest to the groom, so you don’t block the photographer – or the view of the guests.
Groom – all of the above. Plus, how to greet dad – or mum and dad – as they come down the aisle with his bride (or groom.)
Follow my lead!
Sometimes we see that couples seem to want to rush through the ceremony in order to get to the party afterwards.
Photo by Angus Porter
How do you make the ceremony ‘the very best part of your whole day’?
For all the beauty of flowers and photos, of styling and cake – none of it means anything if they aren’t there to get married. The wedding is secondary to the marriage. If they are there for love – and of course, they are, then the words that are spoken, the energy we share, and the love being celebrated is never more intense than within the ceremony.
My ceremonies are very, very personalized – and written to be meaningful and honest – and romantic because they are real. Many, many couples come back to me, long after the Big Day and say that their ceremony was their favourite part of the day.
Photo by Ballyhoo Photography
What do you do pre-ceremony to lift your mood or prepare for the ceremony?
Lots of lovely (often crappy) pop music for a car singalong – or podcasts to open my mind.
You make wonderfully sensitively written and informative videos which we can view on your site. Do you find that these videos are an integral part of your information that couples access?
I think so – I’ve always wanted to make sure that everything you see of me online is the truth. I don’t pretend to be anything – or anyone I am not. Those videos are absolutely me – being me – even if I look silly – or scrunched up my nose – or laugh my head off – or crying my eyes out.
Photo by Clarzzique Photography
You’re also a Wedding MC. Do you see this as a natural progression of your celebrant skills?
Yes! I’m really good at talking – and telling people what to do 😉
But even more than that – those couples that have me for everything have somebody to trust and rely on – and lean on – through the whole process. They love it.
Photo by Jack Chauvel
As an MC – how do you see your role?
I’m the PA, the hype girl, the coordinator, the host, the event manager, the MC – the one in the couple’s corner that will take care of everything – and everyone – to ensure that they have the best day possible. I even keep the dancefloor jumping.
How do you ‘read’ the crowd? Are you able to add a less serious element to the night (and how do you know when to apply this)?
I’m not the kind of MC that just gives instructions and moves to the side. There are plenty of other people who do that perfectly. I’m more involved, conversational. I connect with the guests, as fast as I can – and let them bounce off me, and I will bounce off them. There’s a trouble table at every wedding. I just have to find it as fast as I can. They’re going to help me keep the vibe up.
Photo by Angus Porter
What do you feel your MC style gives guests ‘permission’ to do?
Have a great time. Relax. Get up and dance – even if they’re shy. I can’t tell you how many couples have told me that their parents won’t dance – or boogie in as they enter – and then turn around to me tapping them on the shoulder – to show them how much fun they’re having. I’m the dancing MC – and I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have me on the dance floor, dancing with everyone vs. letting them slip away.
You seem to have such a connection with your couples and their families. Reading from your My Favourite Moments section, there are stories that are so touching. You must see the very best of people at a wedding!!?
Yes – but in the lead up – and often afterwards too.
Photo by I Love Wednesdays
How do you wind down from the wedding day?
I can wind down easily after a day of ceremonies – but if I am MC too, that’s much harder. The longer the day, the more dancing, the harder it is to switch off. I’m like an energizer bunny. I just keep going…….( lucky I love a great book)
What do you like to do on your days off?
What days off?
A big thank you to Robyn for chatting with us today! If you want a celebrant and MC who will truly look after you with a smile, who will cry with you, laugh with you and leave with a joy-filled start to our marriage you can find Robyn here or via her Polka Dot directory page here.
Headshot by Yulia Photography