Jeff asks:

When/how did you now it was ok to not share ceremony content with the couple but just have them trust you on the day of? Couples and guests really love what I put together (I guess I’ve figured out that much ha!) and I have lots of reviews that say it’s great – removing the step of sharing content would literally make things faaaar easier, just wondering how to get couples on board with that or when it’s ok to do that.

This is such a good question Jeff, and the answer is far deeper than you imagined.

When I became a celebrant I witnessed a common theme amongst celebrants where the normal mode of operation was that a couple who have never been married before, and have never planned a wedding before, who have never created a ceremony before, were given the job of creating a ceremony and approving a final draft of the ceremony script.

That was always an absurd thought to me. It’s like me walking into Ford and telling them how to build a car to sell me. I not only lack the skill and talent to build a car, I’m literally paying Ford to build a car, they’re car building experts, I really should trust them.

So that’s how I presented my celebrancy service.

Of course the ceremony is created in a personal manner, but the couple don’t know what makes a good ceremony or a bad one, and even if they think they do, they don’t know how to translate their taste in wedding ceremony into a ceremony designed to encourage, celebrate, and marry them.

So even if I interviewed them and went away and created a ceremony on my own, to then hand them a draft of a ceremony and expect them to give it the ok is ludicrous.

It’s like handing a script for the next Mission Impossible movie to me. I am a terrible actor, and I do not possess the skills to read a script well, to imagine how a script would play out in a film, and in the edit, and I especially do not possess the skills to judge whether a movie script is a good one or not.

So I don’t think that most couples have the required skills to accurately judge a wedding ceremony script.

They can fact check stories, names, dates, etc. But I would do that in person, or on the phone, checking that things line up well. I take copious notes on what they tell me to do, and not to do, and I make sure my plans match theirs.

Dealing with the surprise

A couple experiencing their wedding ceremony fresh on their wedding day isn’t a surprise unless you brand it as such.

I tell my couples that I have their wedding ceremony planned and it’s going to be awesome. If they have questions about it I let them know, but the underlying communication there is that I tell them what they need to know and the rest they will experience fresh on the day. I communicate that I have got this and all of my marketing, branding, and communication up until now has been of the theme that I am really good at this and that’s why you hired me.

So it’s not a surprise, it’s just me doing my job.