Some Things to Think About Before You Meet a Celebrant

Things to think about before you meet a celebrant.

Are you having entrance music?
If it’s live, what instruments will be used and where will the musicians be?
If it’s pre-recorded, will there be a CD player and a PA system at the venue, and who will operate it?

Are you having an Order of Ceremony?
It’s not essential but is a good idea, as it allows everyone to see who’s doing what and when. 
Click here for some examples.

The entrance of the bride
This isn’t the 12th Century, so there’s more than one way to do this…
Click here, and here for some other ideas

How do you want to stand?
In a humanist ceremony, you’re not marrying in the presence of god or the state.
So you don’t have to stand with your backs to your friends.
Instead, you can face one other, so your friends and family can see how you feel.
Then during the vows and exchange of rings, you turn face-to-face, hand in hand.

Welcome & Introduction.
This is where I (or your friends) will talk about how you met and how your relationship has developed.

See this post for an interesting way to approach this.
It can be a good idea to introduce the bridal party, as not everyone will know who they are.
A member of your family may want to say something to welcome your partner, and vice versa.

It’s a good idea to invite your friends or family to read a poem or a piece of prose and I’ll send you a copy of our collection to give you some more ideas.
I would suggest two or three readings, but you can have more.

Are a great way to break the ice, but remember to pick a song everyone knows…
‘500 miles’ by The Proclaimers works because it’s easy to sing! 
If you’ve got musical friends or family members, so much the better.

The Vows
While you are free to say the time-honoured formula, “I FULL LEGAL NAME accept you FULL LEGAL NAME as my lawful wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, etc etc”, remember that you can write your own vows, mutual ones as well as individual ones.
There are lots of different ways to say your vows too; check out this post.

Exchange of rings
Who will give these to you? 
Symbolically, it looks better when the bride takes a ring from another woman, rather than the best man, so you might give one to a bridesmaid – or a child. 
I’ve had them delivered by “Owl Post” before as well…

Signing the Marriage Schedule
Make an appointment to collect it from the Registry Office during the week before the ceremony.
The groom should be responsible for bringing it on the day.
Choose someone likely to remain ‘a responsible adult’ to take it from me after the ceremony and put it somewhere safe before taking it back to the Registry Office within three days.

Well-Wishings or Blessings
To my mind, these work best when everyone joins in.
I used to suggest putting the words in the Order of Ceremony; now I think it works if they repeat the lines after me, while looking at you; this is the first time that you get to see how they feel, and I think it’s an important moment.

I’ve just posted about this here, but here’s the short version.
A few days before your ceremony I will be happy to host a rehearsal to which you may wish to bring anyone else involved, like your best man, bridesmaids, flower girls, photographers, parents and any friends who will be reading. 

When should we expect the celebrant to appear?
On the day, I usually turn up about 30 minutes before the ceremony starts and leave after I’ve kissed the Bride and had a glass of champagne! 
Or not, if I have to drive, Officer…

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