Your Ceremony has nothing to do with your Celebrant

Celebrancy

 

Yes, having a celebrant (or minister) is essential to having your marriage legalised, and yes, there are certain things we have to say in order for your ceremony to be legal. But outside of what is legally required, the ceremony actually has nothing to do with the celebrant.

I’ve talked about the legal stuff in a previous post here, but this post is about what in my opinion really makes a ceremony.

And the answer is, YOU!Bianca helping Sarah and Rick get through their vows

Your family, friends and loved ones have gathered to witness you and your Fiance get married, not to watch a celebrant waffle on about a bunch of stuff that doesn’t actually reflect you. I consider it my job, as your celebrant, to help you articulate how you feel, or better yet, help you put pen to paper to write something straight from the heart.

Some of my favourite ceremonies happened recently at our Pop-up event in May. Most of the couples had their own vows, my job was to help them get their vows together before hand, make sure their legal vows were slipped in at the right moment, and to witness it.   One couple had written such amazing vows that I handed over the mic, held the brides flowers for her, and got the heck outta the way! The entire ceremony was me saying the Monitum, them speaking directly to each other, and then signing the docs.

Bianca Way Canberra Celebrant moves out of the way

So you love the idea of having this really personal ceremony, but that scares the heck out of you, or you hate public speaking or your just afraid your going to cry your eyes out if you actually say what your heart is feeling at that moment. THIS is why you hire a celebrant.
Not so you have someone standing in the back of your first  kiss shot grinning like a weirdo, and reading out ‘Ceremony 6’ with the 2 readings you chose out of a book. In my opinion its the celebrants job to help make your ceremony authentic.
The best celebrants (totes including me!) will take the time to get to know you both, chat to you heaps to help you feel comfortable and safe to get those emotions flowing. They will of course put a ceremony together that has the right feel that suits you both, assist you in writing vows, and hopefully get the balance of happy tears and laughing just right 🙂

Bride and Groom First Kiss

Images captured by Silque Photography and Design at our Popup Wedding held under the stunning elm tree at Poachers Pantry. Flowers by the amazing Moxom & Whitney , styling by Style My Aisle

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Rituals aren’t just for ‘hippies’

Ceremonies

I often ask couples if they want to include any rituals as part of their ceremony, and I usually get a questionable stink face in return. You know the one where you lift one side of your top lip towards your nose and frown a little. (if you are sitting there practicing your stink face, excellent)

But most people don’t realise that a wedding IS a ritual. Human beings have been developing traditions and customs for centuries, it is the essence of a wedding ceremony, and the legal side of it is the most recent addition to the process. So it’s worth considering what is out there, and what fits you as a couple when considering what to include in your wedding ceremony.

I’m not religious, but marriage is a ritual performed by nearly all religions. Yes there is the legal meaning of marriage, but it is in its essence about love, promise, commitment and the joining of two people. Who ever they may be or whatever they may believe.

The brilliance of booking a civil celebrant is that you can pick and choose what you want to include, so I’ve compiled a bit of a list of some of the rituals out there.

Handfastening
This is an ancient Celtic tradition where the two parties hands are fastened together with ribbon or rope. It is designed to symbolise the joining of the two people as one in marriage.
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Broom Jumping
An African tradition, the jumping of the broom is to symbolise sweeping the old negativity away and starting as a new beginning. Sweep, then jump.
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Smudging
This is an ancient Shamanic/Native American wedding ritual where the officiant burns a smudging stick for the purpose of cleansing and purifying the marriage.
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Sand pouring
This is getting more more popularity in Australia, essentially the bride and groom each pour sand of different colours into one primary vase. The grains of sand symbolise the blending of two people’s lives and as the grains of sand can never be separated, it also is a symbol of unity.

Below is available from Etsy
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Hand/foot washing
More formally known as a Purification ritual, the mothers come forward and wash their child’s hands (or feet) as a symbol of a fresh start for their marriage.
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Planting a tree
In love this idea, even though with our track record we would probably have killed one by now! As part of your ceremony you plant a little tree and it will grow with you as time passes.
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Tieing a knot
I’ve had a couple do this and it was super cute, depending on the knot used (typically a fishermans knot) as it is tied it strengthens under pressure, which is a lovely sentiment about Marriage.
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Fight box
No, it’s not a secret club (rule #1 we do not talk about fight box) it’s where together you place items into a box that you know will represent how you feel for eachother the day of your wedding, should you ever experience hardship, you open the box.

This box is also available from Etsy
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This is just a selection of rituals out there, if you’re thinking about adding something in that is a little off beat, let me know as I love researching this stuff.

Out with the old and in with the New!

Ceremonies

Late last night, I was laying in bed and I decided that I wanted to change how I ran my business. My role as a celebrant is an important role which carries some weighty responsibilities that I take very seriously. But my business doesn’t have to be something that is too serious. Because, well, I’m not.

From this day forward, I won’t be sending out ceremony examples to any new clients, this isn’t to ‘protect’ my words, but because I feel that the bride and groom are the only ones that can own their ceremony. And thats the same reson why all new clients and I are going to work from scratch, each and every time.

I have lots of readings and poetry in my database, which we can chat about, I have lots of nice fluffy things to add in about Marriage and how awesome it is, but I want to make sure my clients are approaching their ceremony nice and fresh.

One of the tricky things about ceremony writing is that not many people know what they want to include, do they write their own vows? What order should everything go in? Is there stuff you have to say?

There are a few hard and fast rules.

You have to say your full names, I have a dorky middle name and no matter how much I hate it, I had to say it for my marriage to be legal.

I HAVE to say the Monitum:

My name is Bianca Way and I am duly authorised by law to solemnise marriages according to law. Bride and Groom before you are joined in marriage in my presence and in the presence ofthese witnesses, I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage according to the law in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

You HAVE to say these vows:

I call upon persons here present to witness that I, (Groom Groomy Groom), take you, (Bride Bridey Bride) to be my lawful wedded wife

and

I call upon persons here present to witness that I, (Bride Bridey Bride) take you, (Groom Groomy Groom) to be my lawful wedded husband

Do you have to write more vows of your own? Not technically, but gee it is nice 🙂

Do you have to give rings? No, not if you don’t want to

Do you have to be ‘given away’? Nope, not unless you want to

Is there a specific order? No, but I do have a basic format that I use, depending on what you would like included.

Do I really have to say the Monitum? YES and I’ll explain why in another post.

Your ceremony is yours, my job is to help it be everything you want, and to make sure its legal. One of the best parts of my job is trawling through the internet finding new and unusual rituals, traditions, song lyrics, movie quotes and of course writing as much as I can myself.

I throw around the word ‘Organic” when I am chatting to clients, because I feel that you, your guests, and I need to feel like everything that is being said is true, real and organic to ourselves. Aside from the above few sentences, its all yours.

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The photo above was one of my most unique ceremonies, Rene and Alex had their puppy in their bridal party and I was 8 months pregnant at the time! They also had the poem “Falling in love is like owning a dog”

“Falling in love is like owning a dog,”

First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
 So think long and hard before deciding on love. On cold winter nights, love is warm. It lies between you and lives and breathes and makes funny noises. Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs. It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

 Love doesn’t like being left alone for long. But come home and love is always happy to see you. It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life, but you can never be mad at love for long.


 Love makes messes. Love leaves you little surprises here and there. Love needs lots of cleaning up after. Sometimes you just want to get love fixed. Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper and swat love on the nose, not so much to cause pain, just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!

 Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk, because love loves exercise. It runs you around the block and leaves you panting. It pulls you in several different directions at once, or winds around and around you until you’re all wound up and can’t move.

 Throw things away and love will bring them back, again, and again, and again. But most of all, love needs love, lots of it. And in return, love loves you and never stops”.