What’s in my celebrant “bag of tricks”?

All you need is love and … a bag full of essentials.

So those of you who have met with me, in my capacity as a wedding celebrant, and have had me officiant your wedding day know that I lug around a huge black shoulder bag. It’s my bag of tricks. It has everything that I or possibly the bride or groom could need for the before and/or during the ceremony.  This is a carefully curated list/bag of items that has been collected and added to over previous weddings.

Here’s a list of what’s hiding in the big black bag.

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1 Rescue Remedy – If you haven’t heard/used this before, it’s awesome. It’s a homeopathic spray that you spray on your tongue to help calm you down. Works perfectly for anxious grooms.

2 Wipes – Perfect for hands and for men’s suit/shirt shoulders, which always get make-up on them from all the hugs and kisses they get before the ceremony starts. Helps smarten them up for photos.

3 Lipstick – For me not, the groom.

4 Water bottle – I get a dry mouth when I know I have to do a lot of speaking, so water is essential. Have also had nervous grooms take a swig as well. Side note: it is definitely water and not vodka in there. Yes, it is a sponge-bob square pants bottle!

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Shannon and Sean

5 Heart shaped rocks – For holding down the paperwork before and during the signing if there’s a breeze.

6 Vehicle Log Book – for recording the km’s for yucky tax.

7 Business cards – you never know when an opportunity exists.

8 Hand cream – dry hands make rings harder to slip on.

9 Tissues – I always have at least 2 tissues in my pockets, for either the bride or groom during the ceremony.

10 Compact mirror – to make sure I look presentable before everything kicks off.

11 Matches – just in case someone forgets the matches for lighting a candle of remembrance.

12 Spare battery – for the microphone.

13 Comb – kinda goes with the compact mirror and lipstick.

14 Microphone – so everyone can hear all the lovely words, the couple say to each other. I always have a spare in the car, just in case.

15 Pen – for signing the paperwork, in case the couple don’t have a special one they want to use.

16 Cellphone – the cellphone is loaded with the couple’s playlist for their ceremony, and is definitely switched onto meeting mode during the afternoon.

17 Red folder – the meeting folder, this contains the couples file, with all their contact details.

18 White folder – the folder I use during the ceremony. It holds the ceremony and the couples vows and any readings they are having.

19 Lollipop – used to give to flower girls and/or ring bearers when they have made their walk down the aisle and are about to take their seats.

There is a lot in there (believe me, I have to lug it around) but it is everything I could possibly need for a wedding ceremony, to make sure the groom looks and feels his absolute best (I spend more time hanging with the groom and his boys on the actual wedding day than the bride)  and to make sure I perform the best ceremony I can.

View from the front.

All you need is love and … what the celebrant sees.

As a marriage celebrant I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of many weddings, and it is always an absolute honour and privilege to be present and to guide a couple into married life.  All the weddings have of course been different, some have been big affairs with hundreds of guests in castles, and some have been very intimate, with only a few guests, on the beach.  One of the things they all have in common is the feeling of love and happiness that hangs in the air and surrounds the couple, it’s quite magical to witness.

Lately I have  been open and aware to experiencing and noticing the different ‘looks’ that you always see at a wedding, whether it’s big, small, on the beach or in a church.

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Leah and Keirin pic by SVZ photography

Look 1 – This is the look that is exchanged between the groom and a flower girl and or ringbearer, especially if said flower girl/ring bearer is their own child.  This is a look of pride ‘that’s my kid’ normally the child is nervous and a little shy, but once they see their dad at the end of the aisle all that disappears and they break out in a smile.

Look 2 – This is the look exchanged between the bridesmaid and the groom.  Normally its a full on smile because she knows how fantastic the bride looks and knows how nervous the groom is and wants to reassure him ‘it’s going to be ok, and just wait till you see her.

Look 3 – The father/mother of the bride as they escort the bride down the aisle.  This look is pure joy, they are so proud to be able to escort her to her awaiting groom, sometimes a little sadness (their little girl is growing up) but normally big smiles.

Look 4 – That magical moment when the groom sees his bride walking towards him, sometimes there are tears, but in all the weddings I’ve been part of there has been a huge smile, a ‘she looks stunning, I can’t believe she’s marrying me’ type of look.  Its magic and one of the best parts of the ceremony.

Look 5 – When the couple are finally standing in front of each other at the altar, shes given her flowers to her bridesmaid, the music has faded down, they are holding hands and we’re ready to start.  When they get to look each other in the eye and know that their lives are about to change forever.  Usually it’s a giant smile, a little trepidation, and sometimes the giggles come out.

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Amber and Jeff pic by lisa reid photography

Look 6 – One of my favourite parts of my job is to witness the little things that make a couple, a couple. I usually suggest a couple hold hands during their ceremony. Some don’t but most do. And I think those that do love that feeling of contentment they get when they hold the others hand, almost a “OK I can do this now!” it seems to help with the nerves. I love it when I look down at them holding hands and one of them in gently stroking the others hands with their thumbs, it’s such an intimate and loving action to perform to re-assure the other “don’t be nervous, it’s just me you’re talking to”

Look 7 – During the ceremony I suggest to the parents that they sit on the opposite side to their child, that way they get to look at their own child’s face during the ceremony.  When I am performing a ceremony I look into the faces of the guests and I always see a look of pride and absolute love on the parents faces as they witness their child getting married.

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Emma and Malcolm Pic by Wedding by Melt photography

Look 8 – This is not always a look but more of a conversation, after I pronounce a couple married and they share their first kiss, we then step to the side and sign the marriage licence, this is normally the first time a couple have had a chance to speak privately to each other on the day, and usually it’s a ‘you look stunning/beautiful/pretty’ type of conversation.  It’s always lovely to see a couple standing together, arms wrapped around each other, normally a bit relieved because the ceremony is out of the way and they can now get to the party section of the day, just enjoying the fact that they are surrrounded by their favourite people on such a magical day.

These looks are the kind of things that absolutely make me love my job.  The fact that I get to witness these types of looks, emotions, love, tears, declarations and laughter and see couples who are pledging to love and care for each other all their days, it absolutely makes my heart sing.