A celebrant friend has been going back and forth with a couple who want a celebrant that’s not her. Maybe they’ve been on the blogs and Pinterest and they’ve decided that this is how you deal with a celebrant, or maybe their friends and family have told them how to act this way, regardless, they are taking themselves on a different customer journey to the one my friend would normally take her couples on.

Today she asks, “should I fire them?”

Firing someone is not just for you, it’s for them

I read a book about volunteering years ago and there’s a whole chapter on firing volunteers and it went in a completely different direction than I imagined. At the time I ran a team of volunteers and like most people in that situation I had a few volunteers who didn’t really help, they hindered. We kept them on out of pity for them even though they made my life harder.

The author of the book suggested something else was going on.

While I was hosting a pity party for these terrible volunteers I was literally holding them back from being useful somewhere they could, should, and would be useful. I was actually negatively impacting on their life by keeping them on out of pity.

It’s a similar situation with your couple who you’re just not jelling with.

The celebrant friend and I have talked a few times about them and how she works one way, and they want her to work another. Ultimately the couple are going to be unhappy with the celebrant’s performance. Even if she bent to their will and preformed how they wanted her to, she’d be outside of her peak performance zone, doing something she’s not good at, and creating a high risk of failure for herself.

There’s such a high risk that the couple are not going to enjoy their ceremony – the opening act for their marriage celebrations – and another celebrant could have actually done a better job. There’s a universe that exists where this couple have a perfect wedding, and if you’re my friend (or in a situation like hers) then you’re actually holding them back from having a great wedding. Plus you’re quite possibly going to have a bad day at work.

What about the money?

Most of us would have a service contract, or the goodwill, to refund the deposit or money paid if we’re cancelling on them. It’s the right thing to do, and it might hurt your back pocket, at least you can sleep well at night knowing that you’re not going to ruin their wedding.

How to tell them?

I’ve done this twice in my career, and I said something like this:

Dear Rick and Mary, I’ve been reflecting on our last conversation about your ceremony and I have some concerns about how I might fulfil your requests. Your requests are valid, but that’s not how I create the ceremonies my couples love me for. My methods, although different to some you might find online, allow me to create the moments you read about in my reviews and testimonies. Ultimately I would rather you have an awesome wedding without me, than a wedding ceremony you might not love with me, and if you are of the same opinion I would like to offer you a full refund and the opportunity to find a celebrant who can cater for you needs. However, if you believe that I am the right celebrant for you, and you would be open to creating your ceremony in a way that suits my methods, then I apologise for our misunderstanding and it would be an honour to continue being your celebrant.