The extraordinary is part and parcel of the work of a celebrant.
What do you do when the bride simply doesn’t show up at the wedding and there’s no functioning wifi or phone?
How do you draw up a ceremony for a (surprise) wedding proposal that you will have to observe in secret?
What do you say, when you’re asked to conduct a naturist ceremony?
Do you agree to work with someone who is obviously a potential Bridezilla?
Can you draw up a ceremony for a half-Jew marrying a pagan?
As a wedding celebrant, I have had to deal with these issues, and more. They give a flavour of the range of desires of clients – (well, potential clients, as I didn’t work with all of them) – that I may deal with.
I’ve also – tragically – had to deal with a marriage break-up the day following the wedding, but that’s another story.
The beauty of what I offer is that the client has freedom to choose exactly what they want for their big day. They may be open to advice and guidance from me; they may have a very clear vision of what they wish for.
Usually, at the preliminary meeting, we have a chance to see if we’d be comfortable working together and start exploring the possibilities. Do they want religion? Yes? Then, how much? Who will be participating in the ceremony? Will any rituals be included? What sort of tone is going to fit?
Once the enquiry turns into a booking, I e-mail a draft as soon as possible. This is for the clients’ approval. If they don’t like something, it goes out! They may suggest readings themselves – usually, these will be included automatically, as I always bear in mind that it’s the clients’ day. (That doesn’t mean that I haven’t occasionally advised against a certain reading or practice!)
By the end of the process (and the draft may need several partial rewrites), the client should find that they’re left with the ceremony of their dreams – every word of which they will have approved.
So, extraordinary as their requests may sometimes be, I can normally take them in my stride. There’s certainly never a dull moment in my job!