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What can a Civil Celebrant do for me?
What can a Civil Celebrant do for me?

10 November 2020

A Civil Celebrant can play an immense part in the success of a ceremony. But not everybody understands how to get the best from one.

The first misconception is that a civil celebrant is the same as a wedding, or event, planner. No, it’s not!

Wedding Planners

The planner’s job normally includes booking the venue and organising suppliers. Examples include florists, caterers, photographers, make-up artists, musicians, entertainment, and decor. Then they supervise the day itself.

Those are rarely, if ever, the brief of a civil celebrant. Our role on the day is confined to the ceremony only (although that can be responsibility enough!).  

Civil Celebrants

People are not always aware that we do more than just show up on the day. One thing a civil celebrant does (in common with the planner) is to put in a shift or two well before the wedding day itself.

The hidden bits

The process usually begins with an initial conversation (pre-COVID, face-to-face or, now, on Skype or Zoom). The idea is to establish a picture of what the client wants (and what is practical) and to see if a working relationship is viable.

Then the civil celebrant will put in research, as a draft ceremony is prepared, and plenty of writing. Once the draft is ready, it will be e-mailed for the client’s approval. Then there’ll be further contact. Tweaks are often made before the final version is agreed.

Well before the big day, the couple will have agreed with the celebrant the exact text of the ceremony. Thus no unpleasant surprises will lie in store. Their dream ceremony is ready.

On the Day

The one part of the day the wedding planner has no control over is the conducting of the actual ceremony. And that’s the celebrant’s big moment.

On the day, our role is to conduct the ceremony. Very occasionally, we are around for other parts (canapes, ‘breakfast’, even the reception). We can be asked to co-ordinate events like a toastmaster, but that is not the job specification of a regular Civil Celebrant.

The bit of the job of a celebrant that the public sees is on the day itself. Ideally, we arrive at the venue in very good time, check all is set up correctly, make contact with the major players (event planner, couple’s family, musicians, photographer, etc.) , meet the ‘team’ (eg Best Man and ushers etc.) and calm the Groom down! If possible, we let the bride know we’ve arrived.

Then we’re in charge of the ceremony. We conduct it from the ‘front line’ calmly, clearly, professionally and with humour (as appropriate). We co-ordinate with the other ‘actors’. We ensure the couple are at their ease. We have to be ready to react suitably to the unexpected (you’d be surprised!), and make the ceremony memorable, enjoyable and special for all concerned.  

The public part of what we do only extends to the half-hour (or so) ceremony, plus the hour beforehand. But plenty of homework goes in earlier to produce the desired result.

And that’s what a civil celebrant can do for you!

Feel free to have a chat to find out how a personalised ceremony can work for you.

Author:

Michael Gordon can help prepare and conduct a tailor-made civil ceremony in or around London or, indeed, in Europe. Telephone me now on +44 (0)7931 538487 or contact me directly by e-mail.

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