Carleen Walsh Blog

How Can A Celebrant Help You On Your Special Day

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It is your special day and you want everything to be perfect so how can your celebrant help?

I guess what I am trying to say is choosing the best celebrant for you can be a big benefit when it comes to making your day perfect. I have found through my experience is where the celebrants positions themselves as far as the ceremony goes is very important for the photos of the day. I used to do the service planted dead centre of the couple while they held hands. This I have found has not been a wise place as every photo angle of their service has you in it. You have met the couple to do their wedding years later they probably won’t remember your name so why do you have to be front and centre of every one of their photos?

You have a PA system that allows the whole service to hear you so within eye contact of your couple will be fine to conduct the service. I stand to the side of the couple and get the bridemaids and best man to leave a gap of around 2 arms lengths between them and the couple. I then work the floor so that I am looking direct into the couples eyes when I am doing the “asking” part of the service and within eye contact of each couple when they say their vows but I allow the photos to be taken of the couple only. If I happen to get into the fringe It can be photo shopped out.

I involve my couple in all the major decisions of their service but the little things I decide quickly and without fuss. At the rehersal that is where I obtain confirmation that the service is everything they have imagined we time the service at that point and decide on the more finer details.

I always advocate that as a celebrant I am always part of the solution and never the problem for my lovely couple. I always assure them that on the day it is my job to make sure they are married legally and with as little fuss so that they can get onto the celebration part of the wedding which is important to them.
~ Carleen

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From Toastmaster to Civil Celebrant

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A lot of people have asked me from time to time what made you decide to become a Civil Celebrant.

My reply is simple. I was a toastmaster for seven years and it seemed to me a natural progression from Toastmaster to Master of Ceremonies.

It is really very similar writing a speech and writing a service. You have a set of objectives and after you have met the couple you are going to marry and talked with them a little, you can weave a story and then present a wedding service according to their set of criteria.

Helping a couple to define their story is what I enjoy - to capture their unique essence as a couple and what they value in their relationship. You then reflect their values and their special memories into a service – designed just for them.

My couples (as I like to call them) have come from many different backgrounds and age groups. So they are all unique. I love to sit with them and just talk and get to know how they met and what has brought them to the decision of getting married. Soon, general themes of friendship, similar interests and backgrounds, or the classic boy meets girl scenario begin to emerge.

I then ask them to look at some sample services and we develop one that is personal and unique to them and sits well with how they want their service to be performed.

Being a celebrant is like preparing and giving a toastmaster speech but the words and the performance are much more personal. Words are straight from the heart and the audience are those people who truly care about what the couple mean to each other – friends and family - Mothers, Fathers, Siblings, Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Close Friends and special work colleagues.

If readings are selected as well, they are usually poems, verses or psalms, which also have meaning to the marrying couple and their family and friends.

As for the big day, the celebrant service is delivered with precision and timed just like a speech with pauses in the right places. The only thing missing is perhaps the lights (green, yellow & red) that Toastmaster moderators use to keep you on track - and the applause when your speech is completed.

Better still, it ends in a kiss when you pronounce the couple husband and wife and suggest he can now kiss his bride.

I just love being a Celebrant!
~ Carleen
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