I was reading a forum for celebrants the other day and it occurred to me that many celebrants supply their clients a selection of what I can only describe as pre-fab ceremonies. A selection of two or three ceremonies where only the names need be changed and the job is done. Admittedly this gives couples choice, but negligible options only gives the appearance of choice.
Every wedding will have some elements that can, to a degree, be pre-empted, pre-written; such as the legal components. Other options such as a variety of introductions and selection of readings may likewise be written ahead of time.
There should also be the ability to mix and match any such elements to create something suitable for each couple. This allows for greater choice and still maintains a degree of order. It follows a plan !
It is the number, the originality, the style and quality of these elements that helps determine the final result.
Good design, that is to say structure, brings about clarity. It means that the ideas being conveyed, either visually, aurally or both, are clear and easily understood. When these two elements are consistent then understanding is enhanced and when there is inconsistencies between the two (what is being said and the manner in which it is being said) then less than optimal understanding is the result; which leads to less focus.
I am of the opinion that every couple deserves the right to choose every part of their ceremony, which is permissible by law. To enable this right they need to be given the means of doing so; a person of ability and experience to act as a collaborator. Someone that supplies the means, the necessary advice and the desire to create a truly personalised and unique ceremony that conveys the personalities, the beliefs and the story of each couple.
A part of any creation or creative process is decision making. Be it design for a website, creating a work of art, writing a piece of music or a short poem. It always comes down to decisions. This rather than that; one colour chosen over another, one word chosen to be better suited for a particular piece. It all comes down to a selection process and that, for better or for worse, is where the work is; for couples and celebrant alike.
This process, for the celebrant, is a three part journey.
One : Creating the resource material that couples can use to start the process of ceremony creation. This selection should include as much original material as possible. This unfortunately relies on the creative writing abilities of the individual celebrant. This is why, those with limited abilities will choose the pre-fab option. But limited options means less contrast, fewer possibilities for light and shade, peaks and valleys.
Two : The celebrant then needs to take the various elements and arrange them in such a way as to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
Three : Once the celebrant has this first draft, the collaborative process begins and once again it relies on the artistry and experience of the celebrant. It is his job to bring the wishes of the couple to life.
From the couples perspective the final component is that of presentation. This is what all the build-up, the months of toing and froing, the extensive selection process and final decisions have been leading up to.
Of course the presentation is likewise a three part process. There is the visual, the auditory and the inexplicable third element of interaction or style.
All the above goes into creating a unique and engaging presentation. The more personalised and engaging the presentation, the more memorable it will be. And isn’t that exactly what we want; a ceremony that lingers in the memory and lasts a life-time ?
I would be happy to discuss any aspect of the above and delighted to have a no-obligation chat about your ceremony. Regards, Ron Gallagher. www.yourcelebrant.com.au