Being Appreciated

Being Appreciated

It means a lot when your efforts are not just taken for granted! Being appreciated means a great deal.

It is not as simple as it seems to be a celebrant. There are many elements that need to go together to create a successful ceremony.

The work is worthwhile, though, when the couple show their appreciation.

I’d like to give a flavour of what can be achieved. So today I shall simply share a short testimonial I received recently from a happy couple.

“Michael was so wonderful. We chose Michael to officiate our elopement in London immediately after we spoke with him the first time – he resonated much more with us and our very ambiguous ideas for a ceremony. He was so kind and patient, and helped us craft a truly unique and special ceremony. He helped guide us toward a ceremony with so much meaning and encouraged us to bring in our own elements. His words made both of us cry, and his presence and grace made our ceremony truly magical. We couldn’t thank him enough.”

Perhaps you can understand why, although I am relieved (only because of the weather forecast!) that I don’t have a ceremony to conduct this week, I am so looking forward to the next. Being appreciated like this is a huge motive force and is an adrenaline kick. (Yes, I admit it: I’m a bit of a junkie for that!)

So if you know of anybody that would like to share the delight that a memorable ceremony can engender, please pass my details on to them.

I am looking forward to being appreciated again!

Being Appreciated

What does an Elopement Ceremony look like?

When I performed my first elopement ceremony recently, a number of people were curious. Did this take place in secret? Were there elements that you wouldn’t have expected in a “normal” ceremony?

The circumstances were as follows: Anita and Bruce (not real names!) simply did not want razzamatazz. They definitely dreaded being the centre of attention. They got married officially in the States, where they live, but booked a photographer and myself to conduct what was to be the “real” wedding in London (where nobody else could follow them!).

They wanted a part-religious (spiritual rather than conventional) ceremony, so a celebrant made sense.

We all dressed up (I was a little more conventional!), as the photo shows.

Unusually for London, the weather played along, and it was a beautiful day. Also, the venue was very atmospheric: the lovely ruins of St Dunstans-in-the-East, near Tower Bridge.

The service had been agreed over the months and consisted of the following:

After a short introduction, I read a poem called “Why marriage?”, which seemed appropriate!

I then gave an address about the significance of marriage (not too heavy, though!) before moving on to the Exchange of Vows. Anita and Bruce chose to recite traditional vows, but also wrote their own. After agreeing the basics, they had composed their vows independently, and this was the first time either of them had heard what the other had prepared.

It was predictably moving and very beautiful.

Anita had written more of an essay (!), but what was clear – if it hadn’t already been – was that they were deeply in love and were absolutely serious about their relationship.

We then heard a poem “The Meaning” by Kellie Spehn before moving on to a Handfasting, preceded by an explanation of the ritual. The couple were bound together for a minute or so in an infinity knot.

Then it was time for the ring exchange before we concluded with the Blessings of Divine Qualities and the pronouncement allowing a kiss! (This was certainly the longest I have witnessed!

A round of applause from some (distant) onlookers followed, and we were done!

After a week in London, our couple returned to the States, to commemorate the event with a couple of (small!) receptions.

Their testimonial was heart-warming (“magnificent!”) and made me proud to have been part of such a joyous but significant occasion.