Why I don’t share ceremony scripts before the big day

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:

  1. 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.

How to eco-wed?

I believe weddings are a great place and time to celebrate the earth while we also celebrate human love. As a marriage celebrant I can see the industry trending away from big, fussy weddings (which can really cost the earth, literally and figuratively) towards more meaningful celebrations of love. Wild weddings, eco weddings and love-filled elopements are becoming ever more common and I am glaaaaaaaaaad!

There are a few things I do to help bring down the eco-cost of weddings, and there are plenty that you can do too. None of us needs to be perfect but it’s great to start with what you can – every little bit helps.

wedding cake, wedding doughnuts on timber stands

Here’s what I do:

1: PAPERLESS-ish

I operate in a nearly paper-free office. Aside from your pretty lil’ marriage certificate, given at your wedding ceremony, all other forms of paperwork can be done digitally. I use a Samsung tablet – aka my best friend – and a stylus to receive your paperwork and sign all wedding documents (barring the commemorative certificate mentioned above). I store your information in a password-protected digital cloud and use Google Forms to gather all the information I need from you.

2: CARBON OFFSET

I partner with Greenfleet to offset one-tonne of carbon emissions for every wedding I conduct. If you’re new to carbon offsets, this means that something like tree planting is done to counteract the carbon emissions created by transport, production and general living. Learn more here!

3: WEAR SECONDHAND

I like to look nice at weddings and I really want to feel good in my clothes so I can be my best, happiest and most confident self. But I buy almost all my clothing from other celebrants or from Op Shops. Shoes are a different story (OMG where are the size 10 at op shops?!). Wherever I can, though, I thrift my clothes to step out of the toxic and wasteful Fast Fashion cycle. Learn more about Fast Fashion here.

4: RE-WEAR

As the saying goes, “the most sustainable product is the one you already own”. Even thrifted clothing needs to be transported. So the most truly eco-ethical way to dress is in what you already have. I try to pop some clothes away for a while so I can get excited about them when I bring them back out. You know, shop your own wardrobe! There’s a whole movement around this on social media – it’s called #onegreendress and it’s a great way of normalising re-wearing.


Here’s what you can do:

1: REDUCE

In whatever way you can, reduce as many aspects of your wedding as possible. Weddings with less guests will likely attract less waste and eco-harm; there are fewer people travelling, eating and doing weddingy things like buying new outfits and receiving invitations. Of course this isn’t possible or even desirable for everyone – some of you want big parties and that’s rad. There are certainly other ways to bring down the eco-cost of your wedding. Weddings with less new stuff will be kinder on the earth and weddings with less kilometers to travel will emit less pollutants.

2: RE-USE

It is an unspoken rule of wedding planning that everything must be bought new (for specialness? I don’t know…) but let’s challenge this notion. You might be able to use your own decor to pretty-up your wedding, or maybe you can buy a heap of glassware from an op shop and then use it in your home and be reminded daily of your festivities. Maybe you’ve already got great shoes that can be worn or a suit from a previous wedding? These are little steps you can take but they count.

3: RECYCLE

Have you heard of dress re-wearing? Beautiful pre-loved wedding dresses are available for you to buy from places like Still White which allow you to save coin and make the most of the fabric, craft and effort already poured into the dress. Recycle your florals by gifting them to guests or having them sent to local hospitals and nursing homes. Sell or donate your unwanted decor and fashion items so they may live on in love and celebration!

4: CALCULATE YOUR FOOTPRINT

Head on over to Less Stuff More Meaning to use their wedding footprint calculator.

When the bride walks in to a Disney tune…

Photo credit: Nathan Kelly from Cairns Wedding Photography

…you know you just won the Wedding Guest Lottery!

Courtney and Ben, now The Kahlers, were an exceptional couple in their loveliness, their openness and their dedication to fun. Their July ceremony was not only a pleasure to perform but also a hoot to write, rehearse and deliver. And anyone lucky enough to have been invited was left exhausted by the end, both from laughing their guts out and crying all the happy tears.

Courtney stated early on that she would turn around and begin the processional again if Ben was not crying when he saw her. However, I think everyone – the bride included – was all too caught up in the giggles when the penny dropped; Courtney was entering her wedding ceremony to I’ll Make a Man out of You from the Mulan soundtrack.

**If you don’t know this song, please go listen to it. It’ll change your mind about what constitutes a suitable processional song.

The laughs continued on throughout the ceremony and that’s what will stay with me most about these two legends; their willingness to lean into the beautiful art of laughing with, and at, your partner.

As with any wedding I write, there were times were the jokes were put away and the true, beautiful seriousness of what they were doing took centre-stage. I shared with the couple some of the loveliest Disney sentiments, and talked about the deep love this couple has for one another, learned from the fine example their parents set.

At the ceremony’s end, as the sun kinda peeked through the clouds over Lake Tinaroo, and I snuck off home, smiling from ear-to-ear.

You just can’t ask for better days than this.