The Best-Laid Plans!

Sep 6, 2021
outdoor celebrant-led ceremony

In my experience, a couple goes to a lot of trouble and expense to ensure that preparations for their wedding are comprehensive. Eventualities are considered and weighed up, and experienced professionals are usually employed.

From my point of view, I ensure that the couple approve every word of what I am going to say, and this was the case in my latest wedding.

So what could possibly go wrong?

I had worked for a couple of years (delayed because of Lockdowns) with a lovely couple, and we covered all the necessary ground. They were using an event planner at the venue, but I discussed with them well in advance the logistics of an outdoor ceremony.

Lovely Horwood House

We had a room in the house booked just in case of intemperate weather, but the first choice was a pergola situated a few hundred metres from the house. Recorded music was to be played, and a professional sound engineer (and assistant) had been employed to ensure all went well. They were also responsible for a microphone for me.

As usual, I arrived in good time and went to check out the pergola. The sound engineer was there and explained that he’d just found out that, for technical reasons, he couldn’t connect to the electricity supply in the house. In short, this meant that I had no microphone. Well, with only 60 guests and a fairly wind-free day, I am able to project my voice sufficiently, so this unpleasant surprise wasn’t an issue at all.

The processional, with music played via Bluetooth, went well, and we were off! We then came to the hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. As per the Order of Service, I invited the guests to rise and join in (they had the words on a sheet).

I waited for the music to start. Silence. I turned to the sound engineer, who just returned my look. I waited and he mouthed “I haven’t got it!”. Not good news!

I had to ad-lib. Importantly, people saw the funny side. With the bride and groom’s go-ahead, I suggested that we could gamble on me leading the singing unaccompanied. Luckily, people joined in. It wasn’t perfect, but we got through it.

The major issue came when we reached the second and final hymn. I wasn’t confident enough to lead that one. We were about to omit it, when one of the guests found a version on his mobile and passed it to the sound engineer. He was able to connect it up to the speaker. The words didn’t exactly maych those on the hymn sheet, but another hurdle was successfully negotiated!

The rest of the service went well (although we had to substitute water for wine, as the couple had left the bottle in their suite!).

What all this confirmed is that, with the best will (and planning) in the world, things can still go wrong. People will do their best to help out – and nobody will grumble, provided that the problem was not caused by negligence. Feedback I got about the service was that it was first-rate. Phew!

The couple – and their guests – may well look back on the day in the future, remember the problem(s) and share a little laugh.

It’s all about unique occasions, and some are more unique than others!