Why a Celebrant? Good Question!
When my husband proposed, I assumed we would get married in a registry office. We aren’t religious, so that was our only option, right? Wrong.
And thank God I found out in time. As the first blog for Vidal Ceremonies, this seemed like the perfect place to start…one of her brides sharing their own journey and shouting about why a celebrant could be the right choice for you.
Lee and I had been together 12 years when he proposed; we both knew that for us, a wedding was about sealing the deal. We were already life partners, owned our own home, and had two beautiful (if slightly feral) children. Our day needed to celebrate the life we shared and the one we were building for our future. In a nutshell, we wanted a party – one big fat whoop to everything we had achieved. And we wanted all of our friends there to share it with us.
How it all began…
The first item on the list was to find a venue. Strangely that went pretty smoothly. We had a place in mind, arranged a visit to discuss it with them, and had a date provisionally booked within the week. But the meeting took a strange turn of events. Over a glass of Bucks Fizz – it was only 10am, but who’s judging? – we discussed the possibility of upgrading the wedding reception to the wedding and swerving the registry office ceremony .
That’s when the venue suggested a celebrant (keeping the Registry Office to a minimum, no frills business, at our leisure) and even had someone in mind. A recommendation from a friend of a friend led to a phone number arriving in my inbox. She was described as a warm, friendly, funny and slightly naughty woman (where appropriate, of course) from Peterborough that would be a perfect fit for our personalities…. I was intrigued. To me, registrars were serious and wore grey suits, and they certainly were NOT naughty. And celebrants? Well, I didn’t even know what they were. So that’s how I ended up on the phone with Gill, aka Vidal Ceremonies.
An hour later, I hung up and looked at Lee. Then I started crying. We knew instantly that this woman would marry us. Her mission was to learn about the life we shared and create a ceremony tailored to us. Not a generic speech. Not a religious speech. Not something that would send our guests into a deep sleep. Instead, we knew our ceremony would be filled with fun, personality, and the odd bit of cringe because those are the things that separate our story from everyone else’s.
Between our first conversation and the wedding, we developed a fantastic relationship with Gill. She kept in regular contact with us via zoom calls, emails, and texts; we even met for a Costa…her treat! By the time the wedding arrived, Gill was an important part of our lives. She had heard a journey that even those closest to us probably didn’t know every aspect of. And she had seen me cry when we talked about the ups and downs of our crazy 12 years together. I didn’t realise what an emotional journey working with a celebrant could be. If you are considering it yourself, be prepared for an experience you will never forget. There will be laughter, tears, moments of pure joy, and times when you question things you had never really thought about. It truly was a crazy few months, but a time I would relive in a blink of an eye if I could. I’m sad it’s over.
Let’s cut to the big day…
When I walked down the aisle, I saw my husband and cried instantly – I knew I would, hence the fake lashes and waterproof mascara. I was a mess of emotions. But I also saw Gill. The woman we had shared some intimate moments with over the past six months and the woman who would unite us as husband and wife. Her face immediately put me at ease before she whispered, ‘let’s do this’. I was ready to embrace our special day. The one I had waited over a decade for.
Our ceremony was everything I imagined. It was emotional. It was funny. And it was honest. Gill spoke about who we were as individuals and as a couple. She spoke about how we met and all our crazy times together. Our guests laughed and cried and occasionally gasped; all the emotions were there. I can’t even begin to describe how Gill captivates a room. She is endearing and delivered our story beautifully. I felt like this woman we had known for such a short time knew us better than some of our guests. Why? Because she had taken the time to.
Her mission from the first day we met was to embrace our world. Our ceremony touched everyone who shared our wedding day, and if I could go back and do it again, would I have done it the same way? Abso-bloody-lutely. My wedding day was the best day of my life, and Gill played a massive part in that.
It was a no-brainer…
If you are considering a celebrant but need to hear the first-hand experience of a blushing bride, then I hope my story has opened your eyes – and heart – to the joy a celebrant can bring.
If you want someone who will prompt you if you get your vows mixed up (not talking about myself, of course), then Gill is your woman. And if you want someone that will bring the ceremony back to ‘the moment’ if your husband’s phone rings mid-service (not talking about my husband, of course); plus all of the above-then Gill could very well be the right fit for you.
A celebrant is a friend for life, not just an extra guest at the wedding. We made the perfect choice.
Charlotte Milbank, Cambridge
Guest Blogger and Bride of 2022
(Chatty Puffin Writing Services – Writing Services | Chatty Puffin | Ely)