Oh, no! The groom turns up without a ring. The hotel is making a barbecue, but the kitchen goes up in flames. The bride is late – very late – for the wedding and can’t be traced.
These are all things that have happened in my experience as a civil wedding celebrant, and I have come to know that I must “always expect the unexpected”.
Resolving the issues
Perhaps you’d care to know the outcome of those situations?
The groom had left the ring in his hotel room. Fortunately, the hotel was a short drive away, and he had arrived early. He managed to retrieve the ring and return before his bride (who was fashionably late) arrived. Not the best of starts to a wedding, though.
The fire meant that we were unable to use the interior of the House until the Fire Brigade had cleared it. They came quite quickly, but, as it was a Grade One listed building, the checks took for ever. I was about to suggest an outdoor ceremony (despite the large number of guests and lack of public address system outside), but we got the ‘go–ahead’ just in time.
The bride was known for her punctuality, but was half an hour late on a very hot day. After about twenty minutes, the Best Man had tried to contact her, but there was no reception (wouldn’t you just know it!). The groom became progressively more agitated – all the more so, when some tactful soul suggested that his bride might be standing him up at the proverbial altar. (Yes, someone really said that!)
Fortunately, not long afterwards, the bride did arrive (the driver had got lost!).
Who’d have expected it?
According to my understanding, I am a civil celebrant, charged with creating ceremonies and conducting them. But I’ve currently been asked to do some rather different jobs, which I hadn’t foreseen.
Firstly, I have been asked to write a Vow Renewal ceremony. Nothing odd about that, you say. But it’ll take place in Australia. Unfortunately, the couple are not thinking of paying for me to go out there (so stingy!!), so I won’t actually be conducting it.
Secondly, I was asked to do some business work, proof-checking profile texts for LinkedIn and the like, and rewriting where necessary.
Thirdly, I have been invited to interview a 90-year-old, then transcribe and edit his reminiscences. Absolutely fascinating (especially the war years), although the transcribing is not quite as exciting.
Finally, I have been asked to start work for a client. Nothing strange about that, you’ll agree. But what is odd is that I don’t recognise the name of the person, and I have no information about where and when the ceremony will be held (and what type of ceremony)! (Not ideal.)
I presume that the potential client spoke to me quite a time ago, and has now decided to go with me. Having nothing more than a name (which rings no bells for me) and an address, to which I have sent an explanatory letter, I am awaiting developments.
Unpredictable it may be, but I’m not complaining. All this flirting with the unexpected makes my job even more wonderful!