The training to become an authorized celebrant is extensive and covers not only the legal aspects and obligations of the role but also how to design the ceremony and the variety of rituals, vows, pledges that other, more experienced Celebrants have used in the five years we have been delivering legal weddings. I still vividly remember the stories of the outdoor weddings in howling gales and one in six inches of snow. But, on the day of my first wedding and a Registered Celebrant, it was the discussion about children at weddings that came back to me most powerfully.
John and Zoe Scally, as they now are, were to be married in the Clubhouse of the Prestonfield Golf Course on the 1st May 2010. I met John and Zoe and their three year-old son Zac and worked with them to design the ceremony they wanted on their special day. Being my first wedding I thought it wise to be as prepared as possible so I visited the Prestonfield Golf Club and it was amazing, with panoramic views over Arthur’s Seat and the eighteenth green sitting beneath. Being midweek during February the clubhouse was, of course, very quiet.
The day arrived and I got to the venue early but not before half of the guests who were already enjoying themselves at the bar, arranging tables, and, as far as I could ascertain, running a crèche. As promised they had closed the partition to separate the bar but behind that partition were, what sounded like, a hundred golfers all shouting at the top of their voices over a television showing the Hearts game. We got ourselves organised, I managed to calm John down, eventually tracked down the two of their elder children who were going to do the readings and found the one who was bearing the rings. Zoe entered and the place went wild, everyone on their feet, cameras flashing and then Hearts scored in the bar next door. I gestured wildly to the bar staff who managed to quieten things down, got some semblance of order in my half of the clubhouse and the ceremony started. Fortunately, in my other life, I am a management trainer and, in the early part of my career, I was voice coached by an actor so I know how to project my voice. I needed every ounce of that training, Cicero in the Forum would have been impressed.
We got the heart of the ceremony when the bride and groom make their declarations with many tears flowing and a few good laughs as well. Then came the crowning moment. As, for the first time as an authored Celebrant, I was making my first legal declaration, “As you have now both made a solemn and binding contract and by virtue of these declarations, made in my presence…” young Zac bolted forward from nowhere, grabbed his Mum’s wedding dress and shouted, at the top of his voice “Are you a Scally now?”