In the celebrant world, there are two camps: in one, they very generously and freely share their working copy of the ceremony script with their couples, while in the other they keep the script to themselves until the day arrives and they deliver it by way of fabulous oration and eyebrow animation*.
*well, I am assuming. I can’t move my eyebrows independently of each other, so you don’t get any great eyebrow animation when I deliver a wedding ceremony. Sorry.
I belong to the latter camp – the non-sharers. I like to keep a script close to my chest and reveal it on the day. Now, if there are parts that I think could be misinterpreted, or if there is sensitive ground, I do check these parts with couples. There is a line I draw and I certainly don’t want any hurt-feelings or crossed-wires.
Here are three reasons why I don’t share scripts:
- THE GIFT OF THE SCRIPT REASON: Part of the ceremony planning process involves divulging a fair bit of intimate information to me. I view this as an immense honour and absolutely love hearing the wonderful and imaginative ways people find to love one another. I listen and read all the words you write about each other and I work it into a ceremony just for you. When you stand there, in the heightened emotion of your wedding day, and hear your relationship reflected back to you, it can be so surprising and exciting. To me, it is this element of surprise and mystery that elevates a wedding script from a piece of text to a gift. You simply wouldn’t have that level of joy and anticipation if you had already seen the story written out.
2. THE PROFESSIONAL BIT REASON: Being a hired professional, I am fortunate not to carry the burdens of expectation that you do. I know that you have so many pressures as you plan your wedding; your own, those of your partner, family, friends, the possibility that it might all end up in the feed of an ex, society *blergh*, Pinterest yada yada yada. If you were to write your own ceremony script, or even supervise it, the many voices and opinions of all these people would be too much. I know it might seem weird that I, a stranger, could write a ceremony more true to your real wishes for your ceremony, but it is actually possible AND probable. If you give me plenty of information in your Love Quiz, then I can form a really good picture of your love and your life and paint it into the words of your ceremony. (Don’t you just love my absolute mashing-up of metaphors here?).
3. THE IT’S-ALL-IN-THE-DELIVERY REASON: A very ordinary sentence read in just the right tone can be incredibly powerful. It’s all about delivery, timing, tone, expression and pause. Delivering your script is 50 per cent of the job and I write words that I will say comfortably and from my own, unique voice. That’s why I like to keep scripts as a surprise – I know that sometimes, to read what I have written, you might be underwhelmed. That’s because it often comes down to how I present it to you.
So, there you have it. The three reasons I keep scripts secret until the ceremony arrives. If you feel nervous about handing over this responsibility to your celebrant, my advice would be to trust, have faith and enjoy. The ride is that much more exciting for the surprise and anticipation you feel when you hear your love story told in a whole new way.