You are in the early stages of your wedding preparation. You have found the venue, the Celebrant you feel is right for you, the magical-eyed photographer. You are still thinking about a thousand aspects. And then a question pops into your mind, which makes you feel a bit anxious: “Who should speak at our ceremony?”
Many of the people who have chosen me to weave and officiate their ceremony (wedding, symbolic union, baby naming, kind uncoupling, etc.) ask me this question quite early on our path together.
Please take a deep breath. Exhale. Let’s solve this together…
This ceremony is first and foremost yours. It is important, for it to be fully vibrant, that it resembles you. That it conveys your deep wishes and dreams. That it pleases you. So if “pleasure” is the keyword of this unique day, “should”, on the other hand, is not a welcome guest on your day or, at least, it should be a discreet one, depending on what is possible for you.
So I want to tell you that no one should speak at your ceremony. I would love you to be in a “Pleasure & Wish” mindset instead.
Who do you want to hear during your wedding or baby naming ceremony? Here’s a question tied up with the pleasure I have just mentioned, a question I would suggest you ask yourself.
Why not write down a list (a dozen names maximum) of the people you love that you want to hear during your ceremony?
Please be careful to think about each and every personality! You love your best friend, you would love to hear him or her… but this friend is extremely intimidated by public speaking. Maybe their name on your list would not be a sweet present for that friend in that case.
In my opinion, it is important not to “pressure” anyone to speak at your ceremony; they might feel awkward saying no to you and feel they have to accept that mission.
Instead you may want to tell all the people on your list that, if they want, they could read a text or make a speech on your special day.
Whoops! If someone who is not on your list spontaneously steps in for the speaker role, what are your options?
It may be kind to greet these gestures of support, friendship and affection with delicacy.
First, you can check-in with yourself. Are you comfortable with these guests speaking during your ceremony? If that is fine for you, if there are no big-sized blocks, you may want to add their name on your list.
If you do not feel ok about this idea, or if you are absolutely against if, for any personal reason, maybe you can ask them to contribute to your wedding or your other ceremony differently, again without it being imposed.
So now you have several people who have confirmed their willingness to speak during your ceremony. Plus the ones who were not on the list originally.
It is important to keep in mind that too many speeches and readings can dilute the power and rhythm of a ceremony; assessing this is a subtle and delicate art in which a celebrant is often very skilled.
In case you have too many enthusiast speakers you can, for example, have collaborative participation: the “aunties speech”, like I advised recently for a baby naming ceremony, a paired reading from two parents to their daughter, at her wedding, a joint speech from two or more bridesmaids, etc.
If the number of speakers, even when paired, remains too high, if you prefer someone to participate differently or if you want to respect everyone’s personality, keep in mind that speaking (with a speech or a reading) is not the only option.
In fact there are many ways a guest can participate in a memorable way to your ceremony. For instance with:
and many other ways depending on their wishes, their talents, their possibilities, their personality and the type of ceremony.
Each person will then participate from a free comfortable place in order to contribute, with love, to this unique moment, this meaningful life passage which will stay with you preciously all through your life.
Sabrina Bendersky is a Life-Cycle Celebrant. She has been bathing into the English language and worldwide cultures for most of her life. Sabrina offers her knowledge, kindness, attentive ear, non-judgement, respect and love as a weaver and celebrant of ceremonies, and also as a doula and women's support.See Sabrina's profile here
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