Don't make the celebrant sing...and other cautionary tales...
Sometime ago, after many weddings, I started thinking about how a couple can get the best out of their wedding celebrant. This is Part 3 in the series...or further random thoughts! Having left you, after Part 2, with the first draft in your hands, making sure it is all you want it to be, what next? Well, I think, some practicalities.
When you've decided on the readings you want - the poem, the extract from a novel, someone's wise or witty words - you need to decide whether the celebrant will read them - or whether you have willing (and able) friends or members of family who would like to be involved. I think it's a good idea to have at least two readers - simply so that the guests are not just hearing the celebrant for the whole ceremony - it's good to involve your guests. A good celebrant will make contact with the readers before the start of the ceremony, to make sure they are comfortable and know where their reading comes in the ceremony, but it is worth suggesting to your readers that they practise the piece in advance and that they speak more slowly than they think necessary - people tend to speed up, if they're a bit nervous, in an effort to get it done!!
Couples spend a lot of time choosing their processional and recessional music and it is sometimes a shame if the recessional music starts a little late - as a newly married couple, ready to walk/dance jubilantly down the aisle, or through your guests, you don't want there to be an anticlimax while you wait for the music to start. Make sure the celebrant, or a designated person, cues the musicians, or the person pushing the button, to start just a little bit earlier than they think they should.
This is an interesting one! I would say don't ask guests to sing unless you have a choir amongst them or very extrovert guests, who you know will sing! Furthermore, unless your celebrant has a great voice and is happy to lead a song do not ask them to sing! I have now seen three weddings where the couple assured me their friends would want to sing - I said they wouldn't - and, yes, you've guessed it, they didn't - and they didn't...!
Think about who is sitting where in advance - it's really not the celebrant's area of expertise.
The confetti moment is one of my favourites! It should be dramatic, fun and photogenic! But, again, you need to plan for it in advance - you photographer needs to know what you want and where it will be and, if you are not using a wedding planner, one of your guests - a good use for the ushers maybe - should be prepared to organise everyone. I think it ends a ceremony on an anticlimax if, after you have walked down the aisle in triumph, the celebrant has to organise the guests.
Maybe more words of wisdom - or experience - next year!