When it comes to your Wedding Day, it can be vital to manage the finances and make savings where you can. A recent spate of articles, suggests that one way of doing this is to have a friend or family member officiate your ceremony. But there are some important things to be considered before assuming they can do the same job as a professional Celebrant. Is the person officiating at the heart of your big day the best way to save a bit of money? One experienced Celebrant tells us why your mate might not be the best person for the job.
I am incredibly confident and capable when it comes to public speaking and this is because I’ve done it a lot! It is a skill that all Celebrants learn and hone and without consistent practice the quality of delivery can’t be guaranteed. Speaking too fast, too quietly, or with unclear delivery can be triggered by unexpected nerves or even over-confidence in the inexperienced speaker. It is vital your guests hear every word, especially as you’ve opted for a unique ceremony that will likely differ from the ‘traditional’ wedding script we all know from TV.
It isn’t just reading from a script either; at a wedding anything can happen, from inclement weather to a vocally enthusiastic flower girl, and the handling of these unexpected moments can make or break a ceremony. It takes a fair amount of confidence and experience to encompass spontaneity whilst keeping everything flowing in the right direction.
Then there’s the matter of timing; knowing when to leave exactly the right number of seconds for laughter, contemplation and emotion. Not to mention being able to work with your hands and off-book entirely if you are performing a handfasting or another tricky bit of ritual; all skills you learn through practice and that few could claim to master in a single rehearsal.
You might think that a friend or family member is able to tell your story better than someone who has only recently met you; after all, they’ve lived it!
But sometimes people can be too close to pick out the moments and memories that really shine. Your friends and family know you within the limited frame of their unique perspective, which could lead to the ceremony feeling like one long in-joke between you and the friend, but confusing and alienating for the rest of your guests.
Your Celebrant has the benefit of an outside eye and can use their skills as a writer to seek out and polish the magic moments that will have the most impact if included; creating a ceremony that is both inclusive and intimate.
An experienced Celebrant is a deep well of ideas, inspiration and possibilities which then becomes available to you. This knowledge gives your own imagination the confidence to really express your deepest desires for your special day and is balanced with the Celebrant’s understanding of what will function best in reality. Not to mention we are far more friendly and accessible than a Google search!
For anyone concerned that there might be a lack of real connection between you and a ‘stranger’ officiating, I would point out that most wedding bookings are made 12-18 months in advance. In that time, most Celebrants will meet their clients multiple times and spend a lot more time communicating via email and telephone to ensure the ceremony drafts are progressing well. By the day of the ceremony, I often feel like a welcome acquaintance or even a friend joining the couple for their special day; and some of the feedback I have received leads me to think that my clients feel the same way too.
So, if you are still wondering why you should pay a professional for a job your friend can do for free, then consider all you might be missing out on. A Celebrant is not just someone who turns up on the day and reads from a few sheets of paper; they want to tell your story in all its uniqueness and are ready to use all their skills and experience to do it justice. They will be a supportive presence in the months and weeks leading up and can provide a wealth of advice and understanding on the workings of venues or the flow of the day. Finally, their sole focus will be assuring that your ceremony - the all-important heart of your Big Day - goes off without a hitch. No friend or family member, who quite rightly wants to relax and enjoy the whole thing from start to finish, can offer you that.
Photography by kind permission of
Althea de Carteret
Keli Tomlin is an Independent Celebrant based in Derbyshire; creating unique ceremonies for all occasions, inspired by a deep love of the natural world and your wild and precious life.Visit Keli's web site here
22nd May 2020
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