In October 2017 I officiated my 50th ceremony since becoming a Celebrant in late 2016. Time has flown and it's been genuinely awesome. I tell everyone how lucky I am. Even when they don't want to hear it.
Here's a list of the 50 lessons I've learned during that time...
1. A spoon a day keeps the divorce papers away.
2. Put some effort into a potential indoor option. And make sure you have one. Melbourne’s weather is as reliable as a broom from Kmart.
3. For summer weddings always have some ice water and umbrellas on hand. Those little cheap fans – provided they’re not too loud – work a treat.
4. A few drinks for guests before the ceremony is ok. If they’re shotting kegs 15 minutes prior then you’ve got a problem.
5. Your mouth may be a wee bit dry when saying your vows. Apparently – and I do mean apparently – tic-tacs under your tongue keeps everything moist (apologies - I tried using a variety of different words but moist suited best).
6. In keeping with the above, Fisherman’s Friends are a vastly underrated breath freshener.
7. Don’t be shy about culling the invite list. It’s your day. There’s a reason why you’re having second thoughts about inviting your second cousin’s niece who stole $50 out of your wallet last Christmas (I don’t care if she’s only three).
8. Avoid using Bowser or Mario if you’re planning on clocking Rainbow Road on Mario Kart.
9. Make sure your bridesmaid is on hand to receive the bouquet of flowers once you finish your walk down the aisle.
10. I hear talcum powder is a winner if you sweat lots.
11. Take your time picking a celebrant. Make sure they align to what you want. Ask if they have an example of one of their ceremonies. Videos of their ceremonies don’t tell the entire tale, but they do give you an insight into their presentation and style.
12. Keep your vows short and sharp, but be sure to throw in somethin’ spesh – maybe something that no-one else knows - about you and your partner.
13. If there is some extra info you want to say at your ceremony, save it for the reception.
14. Pick your best man wisely. If he’s a drunk tell him to lay off the booze prior to speeches.
15. Have six songs for the pre-ceremony. Two songs for the signing. Three for the walk back down the aisle. P.s whatever happened to Shaun Mullins??
16. If you’re a groom and your fiancée is Irish, for God’s sake don’t go out drinking with her Dad the night before.
17. 18 plus font for your vow cue cards is a must if you have poor eyesight.
18. Further to the above, avoid Old Bookman Shelf. No real reason – it just copped a flogging in High School.
19. Nuts are a good alternative to lollies when snacking.
20. Mentioning that you met online is totes fine. It’s the way things get done these days. As long as you are both are happy and have a proportionate ownership of who decides what to watch what on Netflix, it doesn’t matter in the slightest how you met.
21. Keep a regular exercise schedule in the months leading up to your ceremony. It’ll relieve stress, keep your mind clear and have your calves looking defined for the d-floor.
22. Drones provide some ripping shots and footage. Ask your photographer or videographer for more info.
23. Some traditions in ceremonies in weddings are dying. Perhaps deservedly so. One that’s should be kept is having your fam sitting up the front. It’s bloody lovely.
24. Surprise weddings require extra planning and smarts. Have one close confidant or amigo (sister, brother etc) who knows and can help you plan it out.
25. Keep stringent on your RSVP dates.
26. Rehearsals are a great way of getting a feel for your surrounds and practicing your rhythm.
27. Fellas there's no shame in being little spoon. I dig it.
28. Again, for the males, make sure you get a haircut a week or two prior. You don’t wanna rock up to your wedding with the drill sarge look.
29. If you think your crowd can handle their booze, espresso martinis are a God damn delicious – if slightly dangerous - selection.
30. Practice your pronunciations and check with relatives to make sure you’re spot on. I check with my Aunty Sylvia every time.
31. A good and responsive venue manager is worth their weight in gold.
32. Have someone on cue to pick up your wedding train if it drags along the ground. White and mud don’t mix.
33. Case for photos before the ceremony: Keeps a great flow for the rest of the day and you can quickly get down to partaying.
34. Case for photos after the ceremony: Captures you in one of the best moments of your life.
35. Fellas it’s ok to cry. And I ain’t just talking about the ceremony. Try watching The Elephant Man without shedding a few.
36. Circuses are not a good place for a first date.
37. Ladies allow plenty of time for makeup.
38. Worry about things you can control and do something about them.
39. Forget about the things you can’t control (rain, wind, your mother in law).
40. There is noooo excuse for a celebrant to bring a shit PA no-one can hear. Celebrants make mistakes from time to time, but this is a fatal flaw I hear about far too often.
41. Don’t underestimate winter weddings. They’re tons cheaper and can be as cozy as a cottage in the woods with a bottle of creamy soda.
42. Having accommodation for guests if the ceremony is in a remote locale is crucial. Also, keep your guests away from Burkittsville in Maryland – that’s where the Blair Witch lives.
43. Make sure your Celebrant gives you all the deets about your wedding docs. They’re pretty straightforward but can be overwhelming.
44. Keep pets away from delivering your rings. I don’t care if it’s one of those super intelligent alien chimpanzees. Keep the rings with your bestie or best man. Better yet, give it to someone who you want to involve in the ceremony but isn’t part of the wedding party.
45. Readings are also a nice way to bring folks into your wedding.
46. Avoid a red wedding scenario. It’ll be a massive clean-up bill.
47. If you don’t want to hold hands for the whole ceremony it’s nice just to do it for the vows.
48. I’ve done a lot of weddings and haven’t seen Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson once.
49. It’s good to get a copy of your script beforehand to double check everything is good to go.
50. Takes the day as it comes and have a wonderful time!