Take a look at the websites of any number of celebrants and you will see phrases promising:
- to create a unique wedding ceremony for you
- every ceremony I conduct is unique and special to you
- a marriage ceremony that is tailored to your taste and closely follows your wishes
- a ceremony that is exclusive to you!
- the ceremonies I create are tailored especially for you
- important your ceremony is as unique as you are
With so many celebrants making these claims – just what do they mean? If you want a truly personalised ceremny it is important to ask this question. When you look closer at these claims you may find that ‘personalised ceremony’ means many different things. It may mean:
- Here is a range of ceremony samples –pick what you like from them and I will put your choices together into your ‘personalised ceremony’.
- Here is a 70+ page booklet of options – pick those you like and we will use them to create your ceremony.
- Here are some sample ceremonies, pick what you like and give me a paragraph or two about your relationship to include.
- Here is an outline of the ceremony format along with copies of ceremonies at which I have officiated, including some additional pledges and vows. You can choose from these or something you have put together yourself, or a mixture of all the above.
Or it may mean a celebrant who takes the time to get to know your story and what you mean to each other, who sits down with a blank piece of paper and all of the information and stories you have given her and writes ‘from scratch’ the main parts of your ceremony – the parts that can truly be exclusive to you. Because a wedding ceremony is a staged, cultural event, there are elements that are difficult to make truly unique, but there are always ways to ensure they fit with the overall feel of your ceremony.
As a professional marriage celebrant I have devised (and frequently revise) a questionnaire that I ask each of you to complete in as much detail as you can. Your responses allow me to ‘get inside your head’ and to capture you ‘voice’ in your ceremony. I do sit down, usually on my veranda, with a blank page and a pencil, your questionnaire responses plus any other ideas and insights I have gleaned from our time together and write your ceremony. I work with you, if you wish, to craft your vows so that you are saying truly meaningful words to each other as you promise to join your lives together. Once drafted, you have as much input as you desire as to the changes, additions and deletions that you want to have happen to ensure your ceremony is just as you wish it on the day.
Yes, I do provide you with a loan copy of a CD of resource materials containing complete ceremonies, options for various parts of the ceremony and a wide range of potential readings, prayers and unity rituals that you may like to consider. If you choose material from this resource, I will incorporate it into the words I write for you in a way that flows and creates a truly bespoke ceremony.
This attention to the details of your personalities and your story is one of the reasons why I receive such lovely compliments as these:
Our ceremony was beautiful, we both felt that it captured us and our relationship perfectly and set the mood for the rest of the evening. We had many compliments about how lovely the ceremony was and how beautifully you shared the story of our relationship. We were even asked if we wrote the ceremony ourselves as it reflected us so much! We feel this was testimony to the time and skill you put in to creating and crafting such wonderful words and sentiments for us to share with our family and friends. Once again many thanks for your wonderful and professional services,
Alice & Chris Brennan. 2012
Pete and I cannot thank you enough for being our celebrant on Saturday. We watched the video of the ceremony today and it was simply beautiful. It just wouldn’t have been the same without you there. Love always, Greta & Pete Sept 2011
We wanted to thank you for all of your help and guidance in creating a wedding ceremony that was entirely US! Your professional good humour and support was much appreciated, and by conducting such a well prepared ceremony, you helped to make out day that much more special. We recommend you to everyone, and wish you and your family all the best in the coming years. Jen and Ben, 2010
Our ceremony was prepared with such attention to detail. The questionnaire that we completed helped Merlin to know our story. The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and I will remember this day for the rest of my life. (Karolia & Peter, October 2009)
Information provided by Montville Maleny Marriage celebrant