The (other) special someone

Went to a gorgeous little wedding celebration last weekend.

The couple had already been married the Thursday prior, to coincide with the bride’s grandparents wedding anniversary.   A couple I was privileged to meet.

The just-married couple, known as ‘Bolivia’ to our circle of friends (a nod to all the couples in the world that are identified by the portmanteau) were then extremely relaxed for their slightly more public vows.

They’re a quirky couple, partly why so many people love them. The other part? They’re just so friendly, down-to-earth, thought-provoking and well, you just want to be around them.

So, the second ceremony (the one that we were invited to) meant they could really have some fun. And the fun started when they chose their ‘celebrant’. Out of a hat. Unreal.

Squeals and applause ensued when our other darling friend was chosen as the master of the ceremony.

Tim was born to do the job. He is a tall Englishman that has clearly reincarnated to be exactly the same person he possibly was 100 years ago. He is a fine gent. And his mother is to die for.

I would love for Tim to do the same for The Mister and I when our time comes (theknot.com screams 215 days to go), but he would also need an officiant to make it, well, official.

Before you start thinking, ‘just get him to get ordained over the interwebs’, it’s not that easy. What I didn’t realise was how much serious study goes behind being a celebrant.

Not only does it take the best part of a year of study to become a celebrant, there are ongoing costs involved in meeting the requirements to maintain registration as a marriage celebrant.

This is why a celebrant, a decent one, can cost upwards of $500.

I asked a celebrant-friend of mine, Chrissie Maus, to explain to me exactly what kind of study was involved. She said that a celebrant-in-training are given assignments on business, etiquette, legal issues and of course, are marked on performance.

“You’ve got to be able to handle problems that might crop up on the day, like what to do and say if it rains or if a drunk uncle rocks up,” she said.

She also makes a point that the cost of the celebrant can be attributed to the personal effort that goes into composing a bespoke ceremony.

For instance, she writes a ceremony from scratch, after getting to know the couple on a few celebrant dates, usually over dinner.

“Some celebrants just email the couple a questionnaire and they fill it out and send it back. I like to know them personally, like a relationship.”

So a celebrant is like choosing a boyfriend (or a third, if you catch my drift.)

What I want in a celebrant

  • A give a damn-ness
  • Original and personable
  • Someone I can have a say with
  • Someone interesting and interested
  • Non-judgmental

What I want in a lifetime partner

  • A give a damn-ness
  • Original and personable
  • Someone I can have a say with
  • Someone interesting and interested
  • Non-judgmental
  • Super spunky

Whhaaaaa?

This isn’t to say that the celebrant shouldn’t be super spunky, but this is a wishlist, if they have to be super spunky so be it.

A friend confided in me recently that she felt so bad turning down one celebrant over another that she ernestly passed me her business card.

Apparently, the turned-down celebrant wanted written feedback on why she wasn’t the chosen one. The reason, deep down, was that the ‘chosen one’ was the chosen one as she had a certain je ne sais quoi – like we do with some lovers, and why some lovers are one-time lovers only.

Jesus, this was sounding like daterate.com.au – but then it dawned on me – if there was a celebrant ‘dating’ agency, how much easier would choosing one be?

At the dusk wedding expo recently I ran the gauntlet, again. As you do. It’s like the real-life version of The Hunger Games.

This included the celebrants’ booths. I felt like it was closing time at the Breakwater on a Wednesday night in 1998. Desperation reeked as fixated celebrants shoved their details in your hand, whether you were interested or not. That wasn’t the way I wanted to find my knight in shining armour celebrant.

So, how to know you’ve found the right celebrant for you?

You’ve got to kiss a lot of them it seems. Or at least meet them.

Having a glass of wine over some salt and pepper squid is a great way of getting to know your love interest celebrant – not a pamphlet shoved in your face at a sterile wedding expo.

If you don’t feel a connection with your love interest celebrant, you don’t have to feel bad. Just move on.  If they ask, say something like the chemistry wasn’t quite right.

If you’re feeling the chemistry, make another date. Don’t fall into bed book them straight away.

Although there is an easier way to do all this and it seems no one has cottoned-on to this at all – and yes, you can confidently say this is my idea.

Wouldn’t it be easier to arrange a night of speed dating – but with celebrants?

They say you know whether you’re into someone about 40 seconds of meeting them, so I can’t imagine it would be any different to someone that is performing such a personal ritual with a couple…

Hear me out.

You arrive at the event and there are ten or so tables set up with the prospective celebrants. The bell rings and you know that you and your partner have 5 minutes with the first celebrant. Sometimes you click, sometimes you don’t. The bell rings again and you mark on your little card with a tick or a cross.

By the end of the speed date, you have a decent idea of who you might want to see again, and who you’re just not that into.

I think that’s a 50 minutes very well spent. And no one gets hurt.

Celebrants should also think of their name. Not their first name, but their business name.

To appear at the top of the alphabetical list, it might seem perfect to call yourself AAAcelebrants. But it sounds like you mainly dabble in dodgy mechanics.

Same goes for the word ‘budget’.

I will write-off a business if their webpage hasn’t been given much thought. This includes using too much red and using photos of themselves with too much soft-focus, memes, over-representation of exclamation points or dollar signs, clip art or comic sans font.

Also, I don’t react well to the word ‘pizzazz’, nor the contact phone number appearing in every single paragraph of your website.

OK. Perhaps I’m being too precious about it. A recently-married couple, I’ll call them Mr and Mrs Longshanks, found their celebrant in the phone book. They met him. Liked him. Booked him. He did a great job and didn’t make their wedding all about him by reminding everyone of his radio-heyday and winking at the bride.

I guess you really can just meet that special someone anytime, anywhere.

Have The Mister and I found ‘the one’ yet?

No.

But it is thrilling to be (sort of) on the prowl again…

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