Marriage Miscellany

Jul 22, 2014

To be absolutely transparent: this article is really a mishmash of suggestions for the wedding day, rather than a “marriage miscellany”. I just couldn’t resist the alliteration – I hope you’ll forgive me!

Naturally, there are many factors that make up a successful wedding. As a civil celebrant, my specialism lies in the ceremony itself, but I get to see and experience other aspects too. So here are a few rather random – but no less valuable – thoughts that may help to make a difference to your big day.

The Bride’s appearance

As a middle-aged male, I don’t pretend to be an expert in this particular field. However, everybody seems to focus on the dress, make-up and hair. One area that tends to be overlooked is the skin. Without radiant skin, the cosmetics won’t be effective.

As for the dress, I’d only say that it should fit the occasion (ie stylish, if it’s a formal occasion).


I would always advise hiring a professional. Go with their advice about seasonal displays. They will also look after the flowers – wilting flowers at a ceremony are so disappointing.


Whether you want the occasion recorded by video or still camera, you can save money by asking a friend to do the job.  Just bear in mind that there are down sides to this. Firstly, your friend may well miss out on much of the celebrating and socialising. Then, if he is not a professional, he might stuff up, and there are no second chances at weddings! And, of course, if you don’t like his work, a long-standing friendship could be put at risk.

I think a professional is advisable, though a major added expense. Provided you choose wisely (and I have written several blogs about this – eg, the outlay will feel justified, once you see the results.


You need someone who knows what they are doing, that you can relate to and trust. Again, I have often written about choosing a good celebrant, but the importance of doing your homework can’t be overestimated. After all, you want the ceremony to be perfect. Some advice can be found at

The Reception

Table plans can be the devil to draw up, but are actually very welcome for guests (unless you have a mischievous streak and some scores to settle!). A big do can be quite disorientating and a little direction will not go amiss. If you mix people up a bit (judiciously!), they can have a lovely time making new acquaintances.


I have often written about children at weddings (eg . If you invite them, make sure they are occupied as much as possible. If they can participate in the ceremony, so much the better. At the reception, give them their own table (in the same room), with appropriate food and activities.

A miscellany, maybe, but I hope this was helpful and gave you a few things to think about.

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe.