What do I get for my Money?

What do I get for my Money?

You usually know what benefits you will gain from a purchase. £2 may get you a newspaper. £50 may fill your car with petrol. It’s easy enough to assess the value of these purchases.

Differing sales results

Sometimes, the relationship is not so clear. What if you buy a house for half a million pounds? You’re paying for a lot of things – the structure itself, its atmosphere, the location and facilities. These are not necessarily going to be the same from house to house. And buyers are not all going to be attracted by the same things.

Service Providers

Similarly, if you buy a service, it may not be immediately clear what you are buying into. What does a concierge offer you? You’ll probably need to read the website or ask a few questions before you buy into that.

Clearly, you want to know that your particular needs will be met.

Choosing a niche service

If you go for something that isn’t mainstream, you’ve really got to check that the supplier can actually deliver what you’re looking for.

Civil Celebrants

Most people don’t know what a civil celebrant offers. To make it more difficult, no two celebrants will offer absolutely identical services. This is because their personality, their style, their delivery, etc. will be personal.

I know somebody who is comfortable doing a “Las Vegas style” wedding. I’m not. So when I was asked to do one, I was happy to pass the client on to him.

So how does this help you ensure that you are going to get results and value from your celebrant?

What all celebrants should offer

Most celebrants will begin with a consultation. This is a chance for you to ask questions and see if the celebrant is someone you want to work with. Are they pleasant? Do they seem to care about your vision? Do they have a sense of humour? Do they seem flexible? How dependable might they be?

If you hadn’t already, you definitely should have a picture of your ceremony in your mind after talking to the celebrant.

If you don’t feel comfortable with them, then you’re not going to enjoy having them around on potentially the biggest day of your lives, so you should bow out.

If you do want to work with them, ask for the Ts & Cs. Do read them through (boring as they might be!). It’s not that the celebrant is likely to fleece you; it’s just safer to avoid assumptions.

You may want to talk to two or three celebrants so you can make comparisons.

Price should only be an issue, if your budget depends on this supplier. (Maybe you could make a saving elsewhere to accommodate the best celebrant. Quality is so important in such an event, and it’s not a good idea skimping.)

How to make your Decision

When choosing your celebrant, you should consult their website, look at FAQs, read a few reviews and look at the photos. This won’t necessarily tell the whole story, but it will give you a guide. You can then proceed to a face-to-face call (these days, more likely to be online, of course) and ask those questions.

Is your celebrant experienced? Do they project themselves well? Are they passionate about what they do? Do they listen to your ideas, or impose their own?

What USPs do they have? I read Hebrew and speak several European languages. That might be something especially relevant to you.

Answering such questions will help enormously.

Do feel free to approach me for a non-obligation chat!

Photo: www.elwoodphotography.co.uk

Weddings and Arguments!

Weddings are meant to be happy, wonderful, unforgettable occasions. They, almost inevitably, bring stress with them and this sometimes spills over into the big day (and even beyond).

Here are some things to look out for, to ensure that the wedding day remains unforgettable for the right reasons!


Money can be one of the sources of stress – after all, weddings do not come cheap; but see my blog Avoid being ripped off at your wedding !

The family

Usually, conflict is family-based. It can be between parents and the couple, but it can also be between the fiancés. Sometimes, the conflicts are the result of deep-seated issues that should have surfaced and been resolved previously. Often, the subjects are very petty.

The wedding should be a time of peace and harmony. Try reason and compromise where conflict arises (although there may come a time when you have to put your foot down!).


Features such as jealousy or desire for the limelight can be powerful motives for unpleasantness. Strong personalities who are unable or unwilling to see, let alone accept, other people’s viewpoints can create all sorts of problems.

Maybe you can offer them a special role (eg as a reader) so that they feel valued and will then be prepared to give ground elsewhere.


You also have to achieve a balancing act. If you have a limited budget, whom do you NOT invite? Have you got enough jobs to distribute (eg usher, etc.) and will anybody feel left out? Have you done the best you can with the seating plan?


It is not just the hosts who can be affected by finances; it may also be the guests. They may need to lay out to get to the wedding, to stay overnight, organise baby-sitting, buy special clothes and purchase a present for the newly-weds.

There may be things you can offer (eg crèche or activities to entertain the children) to ease the stress for those guests.


The period of time surrounding a wedding is not the time to address resentment and grudges. Family and friends need to ensure that they have any personal issues in check that might possibly upset (or even poison) the atmosphere at the wedding. If possible, these difficulties should be aired in a different environment, in a civilised way.

Weddings are all about love and warmth. As long as underlying tensions have been dealt with effectively, well before the big day, the couple, their families and the guests have every chance of enjoying a wonderful, inspiring and, yes, unforgettable wedding.

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

Your wedding – a day of harmony?

Of course your wedding day should be harmonious!

What about the run-up to it, though?

For a start, you may not have a lot of money at your disposal. Secondly (and not unconnected, usually) you may have parents who are paying for most of, if not all, the event. Thirdly, you and your partner may come from different backgrounds and cultures.

Putting all these issues together and still producing the ceremony you actually want can be quite a challenge!

So here are a few areas to think about.


If your beliefs do not tally with those of the people (probably parents) who are financing your wedding, try and be diplomatic! It may be possible to reach a compromise which keeps all parties happy. The same may, naturally, apply to you as a couple.

The service could include the Lord’s Prayer (to satisfy a practising Christian) and, say, the Apache Wedding Blessing prayer or a love poem (for the non-Christian).  Combinations like these can be surprisingly effective.

So, as a couple, discuss what you really want – prayer, meditation, music, rituals, or none of these. Talk it over with your celebrant to customise a wonderful ceremony.


You will need to decide on who else will participate, and in what way. Will you write vows? Will there be ritual? There are many of these questions to consider, but a good celebrant will go through these with you early on, and set your mind at rest.

Don’t Leave It Too Late

You are unlikely to end up with the same ceremony plans that you started with. A lot of things look different over time. Your celebrant will offer you various drafts and you are free to tweak or even rewrite them. Just don’t hurry it.

If you’re working with a wedding planner, allow them time to get all the arrangements in place.



  • Work together as a pair (good practice for your married life!) and decide what you really want for your wedding. Remember it is YOUR day,  although it can pay to compromise a little.
  • Do work with your celebrant to come up with the ceremony you really want.
  • Start the process early.
  • Look forward to a most wonderful day!!