Grandma and the Romantic Rose Garden – A Case Study

chris-and-rosanti-3u2a7389We were both thinking the same thought after our first phone call on July 5th; “Yikes! Not very much time”.  Grandma was coming from overseas to visit and the wedding would need to take place on July 30th.  The Groom and I went over some important details, right then and there.  We would need to move quickly in order to pull this wedding together.

Connection is so important between a couple and their Celebrant.  I really felt as though I was a true partner in this wedding ceremony, right from the first contact to watching the beaming smile on Grandma’s face while pronouncing them Husband and Wife.

“You gave us far better value than other celebrants we had met with.”

Here’s what happened in between….

Start to, Sweet finish, in 26 days!!

 With just 26 days until Wedding Day there was very little wiggle room to get all the arrangements made.  My Groom went into swift action.  The first information I emailed him was where to get a Marriage License – without that there is no legal marriage and that was unthinkable.  To my delight, my Groom was very responsive to my emails.  He got back to me straight away and we began a daily dialogue that helped both of us stay focused and take our next best moves.

rose-1575215_640Multiculturalism and mixed-faiths can be complicated for a couple who just want to get married.  My Bride and Groom wanted something sweet, personal and more spiritual than religious, so we agreed that I would cut my usual Blessings from the ceremony.  This left a bit of a gap in the ceremony that started my creative juices flowing.  I wanted to give this lovely couple, one or two added features – just to make their day as special as possible.  So I asked these questions:

  • Would you like to include the “Blessing of the Hands”?
  • Tell me why you have invited these guests.  What do they mean to you?
  • What’s your Grandma’s name?
  • How would you like to be introduced at the end?

We were starting to build substance.  The Groom got back to me right away with answers and he also had more questions.

Let’s meet…

We agreed to meet by the end of the first week.  Our first meeting at the venue, was so valuable.  We hit it off immediately and we were all able to talk about, and add, our thoughts about what we needed and wanted at this ceremony:

  • Music
  • Table for signing
  • Chairs and position of the chairs
  • Where the front should be
  • Best Photo Opportunities
  • Hand-made Marriage Certificate
  • Examples of Vows
  • Photographer
  • Timing: deliveries; ceremony; reception
  • Child care (9 children attending)

I offered to provide these items:

  • CD player
  • PA system
  • Table Cloth for signing table
  • Order of Service
  • Contact the Photographer with the Order of Service

Here’s what the photographer said:

“Hi Jayne:  Thanks for getting in touch. This information is really helpful as I haven’t yet met with them, we are going to have a meeting this Friday, so it will be easier to figure out where the pics needs to be taken etc.  I’ll see you on 30th then.”

We were also able to do a mini-rehearsal that gave us confidence in the decisions we already made and a physical vision of the ceremony.  As we parted, my couple was off to look for a wedding dress and a flower-girl dress!

The next day’s email said the chairs and signing table had been ordered.  It included a delivery and pick-up time.  Now our Framework was in place thanks to the diligent work of our Groom.

Not only did they find a Wedding Dress but they found the Flower-girl dress AND the suits for the Groom and Best Man!  The next thing I knew, they had also picked out and ordered their rings.  To say that I was impressed, was an understatement.  Here’s some of the encouragement I offered them:

This sounds great!!  You did an amazing job.  A Dress, Suits, table and chairs.  Next time someone asks me to help plan their wedding I’m going to get them to call you!!  You are working miracles and doing an excellent job.  It’s going so smoothly I can’t help but know that this was meant to be.

10 Days to go.  That Groom’s on fire!

By now we were about 10 days to Wedding Day.  The excellent communication through emails and phone calls continued.  I really felt like part of the “team” because we kept each other updated, every step of the way.

chris-and-rosanti-3u2a7332I sent a reminder for the next set of details to look after – The information I needed for the Marriage License and the choice between 4 sets of ready-made Vows.  I was also able to give them a choice as to which hand-made Marriage Certificate they would like me to make for them.

Not only did I receive all this information back but I was also told that flowers were coming, the final guest count, and, that the Groom had decided to add a personal touch by singing a song during the ceremony.  He also confirmed the number of recorded songs they wanted to play before, during and after the ceremony!  This groom was on fire!!

I loved their choice of Vows – it matched them perfectly but as I was putting the final touches on their ceremony, I wanted to suggest tucking in an extra line.  With their permission, the line was added and it really made their Vows pop.  I also suggested that they put out a guest book – a fine detail they wouldn’t have thought about with everything else going on.

They felt they might be nervous speaking in front of their guests so it was really helpful when I emailed their Vows and their Ring Vows, so they could practice.

2 Days to go.  Final details!   

It was July 28th, 2 days before the Wedding and the emails were still flying.  We only had last minute things to discuss and set in place.  My Groom made his final decision that he would sing his song at the ceremony!  A few last minute pieces of advice were shared:  what order to be in while walking down the aisle; reminder to walk slowly; when to queue the music; who was queuing the music; confirmation of what I was bringing.

Wedding Day!

I arrived at the venue to find people busily working and helping with set-up.  There were decorations for the chairs, boutonnieres for the men and flowers for the signing table.  The Rose Garden was in full bloom.  Some of the guests had started to arrive.  There was happy excitement in the air. Everything we had planned was coming together.  It was lovely.

I started doing my own set-up and sound check with the PA system.  I helped the fellows with their boutonnieres and placed the table cloth on the signing table.  I had the chance to meet the Best Man and give him a couple of last minute tips about what he could expect to happen during the ceremony.

I snuck off to the side to complete the Marriage License with all the info my Bride and Groom gave me during the 3 weeks of planning.  Then, I added tiny sticky notes to the License and Registry to help everyone know where to sign.  Timing was perfect, the moment arrived….

…and the ceremony began.chris-and-rosanti-3u2a7393

I welcomed their guests and told them how special they were, using my couple’s own words.  Everyone was delighted when I introduced the Groom’s Grandmother.  I added a bit about the commitment of marriage.  I asked the guests if they would support our couple in their marriage and got a resounding “I Will”.

We moved on to the “repeat-after-me” Vows (this helps when people are nervous) and I spoke about how their rings could remind them how valuable their marriage is.  We signed all the legal documents and then, the best and most personal part; the Groom sang to his Bride.

I could see Grandma’s huge grin, throughout the whole ceremony.  She cheered the loudest when they were pronounced Husband and Wife and during the Wedding Kiss.

What a wonderful day for a wonderful couple, in the perfect venue, with the sun just peeking through the clouds.

chris-and-rosanti…And in the End

I took my opportunity to congratulate the Bride and Groom and then met some of the guests.  While shaking hands with the Groom’s father, he was full of gratitude for all of my kind words during the ceremony.



Here’s what my couple had to say:

“My wife and I are extremely happy to have chosen Jayne to officiate our wedding. She helped us plan every aspect of our wedding, she hosted / MC’d the actual event, wrote and performed beautiful custom vows for us, and drafted our beautiful certificate. She made our wedding really special and classy. It was non-religious but she managed to add a “blessing of the hands” ceremony which added some importance and spirituality to the event. She planned a detailed Order of Service so we knew what to do every step of the ceremony, and helped us make sure we knew what our best man, bridesmaid and guests should be doing and what supplies we needed. She helped us with a nice tablecloth and PA system and stereo system for the event as well. Jayne was fast to respond to our questions by email or phone and provided suggestions advice and encouragement as we planned the event from getting our marriage license to making sure we had everything right for our ceremony, Jayne did it all. She worked with the photographer and other guests to make sure the event ran smoothly and all our guests appreciated that we chose her to officiate our day. Thank you Jayne!”

A-w-w-h-h-h!  I love weddings, don’t you?

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Copyright By: Rev. Dr. Jayne A. Gibson                                                                                                     All rights reserved