People think that, because a celebrant is independent, they will not be emotionally involved in what is going on in front of them.
I consider myself as macho as the next wimp (!), and I have often been able to look at a ceremony objectively, though sympathetically. However, that has not always been the case.
Not unreasonably, it was a struggle for me to conduct the funeral of my aunt without tears, but of course I was emotionally involved, which people understood and accepted.
I found it incredibly hard to keep a dry eye when I conducted the funeral of a suicide victim, whose death had come as a total shock to his widow and young children. The general outpouring of grief was devastating.
In some ways, even worse was the time I had to read out the last message from a young lady to the mourners. “Moving” doesn’t describe how it was for me – let alone, the guests present.
I have had to hold back a tear at some celebratory ceremonies too. When I stand right next to a couple, and see the looks of unreserved love they are directing to each other, then that is a privilege and delight. If they cry, then it is hard not to follow suit!
In some cases, the couple has had to overcome huge adversity; in other cases, their stories are more mundane, but their true love no less evident and enjoyable.
I well remember my own wedding some 23 years ago. I was 45 and had given up hope of ever forming a meaningful attachment, let alone, marrying. In 1997, I met the lady who would revolutionise my life.
Isobel had been through an abusive marriage and had not had things easy. She needed the security and love that I would offer her.
Our guests were clearly so happy that we were getting together! You could feel the love, as you entered the building. It really was the happiest day of my life (hopefully, of Isobel’s too!). I couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot!
I think I managed to keep a dry eye, though!