You may have wondered at some stage, especially if have read part one, how we put together the various elements of a wedding ceremony. Well like most things, different people do things in different ways. Some, as mentioned in part one, take short cuts. Some use a one size fits everybody approach. Others develop a system which allows for flexibility, whilst others create from the ground up and build upon the experience gained over years of such creating.
All the various options have their place, the Pro and Cons and it is up to the couple to choose their preferred way of getting the result they are at least happy, if not delighted, with. The Method of comparison I will use will be to use the analogy of furniture; because most everybody owns some and knows a little about it.
As with most things fashion has dictated and changed the look and feel of furniture, but the functionality of much of it has not undergone large-scale transformation. A chair still acts to keep one off the floor and a table generally acts as a utilitarian surface to place things upon, be it food, drink or ornamentation. Because we have mentioned it already let us cover the Pre-Fab options first. Surprisingly this is not the construct yourself “flat pack” option such as Ikea. So…
Option one: This first option better equates to a furniture retailer such as a Harvey Norman experience. Someone off-site designed, manufactured and therefore dictated the look, feel and to an extent the price of the goods. The retailer than acts as a middle man and to a degree helps the customer create a harmonious whole (as much as this possible).
Advantages of this method are that you are buying a known commodity. You can cater your choice to match your budget and taste, within reason. You can expect no surprises; it should in theory work as it has before.
Disadvantages: No, or virtually no, input by yourself as to choice of look and feel. You modify your wants and needs to match not only your budget but also the limited selection of what is on offer.
Option two: The second can be equated to the flat-pack experience. Again the elements, look and feel are predetermined. One can (must) put the various parts together yourself, but you cannot mix and match with another to create a hybrid or something unique. Limited range gives limited results.
Advantages: It all works to a predetermined outcome. One size fits all, if that can be seen as an advantage
Disadvantages: Superficially look to be of quality but at its heart it is cheap with only a veneer of quality to disguise rather than distinguish it. Pieces are butted up against each other rather than dove-tailed so joins and the means of construction remain visible. It is where the superficial takes preference over substance.
Option three: The third option is custom made. This is where the client and the craftsman work is such a way as to create something that is tailor-made for the couple. A bespoke work worthy of the title.
Just as a furniture maker has a selection of woods, tools and methods he can use, so does the celebrant have at his disposal words, methods and expertise. A modern wood worker or upholster may draw on historical methods and degrees of craftsmanship, so too may the celebrant access traditional references and elements that act as an historical touch-stone, but then by adding contemporary components keep it relevant for a modern audience. The collaborative nature of good ceremony writing and construction means that the wishes and desires of the couple can be incorporated into the ceremony making it unique to them.
The final result is then an integrated whole, where the elements dove-tail together. One part transitioning into the next as seamlessly as possible. When that is the focus, the over-riding desired result, and time and effort is taken to allow it to happen, then you inevitably end with a ceremony that friends and family and the couple themselves believe reflects the personalities of the couple, conveys their thoughts and feelings on marriage and each other and resonates with those that know and love them most of all. That is the task at hand.
The process should not be rushed. It should be allowed to develop and then ultimately presented in such a way as to do it justice.
It is the professional celebrants role to supply an extensive map that can take the couple anywhere. Then one of his many roles is to be an experienced guide and confidant. It is not to act as the compass pointing in one direction only.
So as you can see there are many ways of working. My personal preference is option three. It is the one that is collaborative, creative and rewarding; which ultimately delivers the best results for all concerned.
If you wish to discuss any of the above or need assistance with any aspect of your ceremony I’d be delighted to assist in any way I can, obligation free.