Recently I chanced upon one of my wedding couples. It was three years after their wedding. With his wife looking on, this big strong pro-hockey player told me through tears that their completely bespoke wedding ceremony was one of the best moments of his life. Right there in front of people, he got all weepy as he spoke about the reflective work we did together. Zowie – manna for my heart! Totally made sense. In my experience, ceremonies without personal narrative are rarely felt in the heart and almost never remembered.
Wish I could have bottled up what he expressed with such genuine openness. Because people often ask me, “How did you do that?!” I even ask myself what that mysterious quality is. Indefinable, me thinks. And there is a huge truth in that… much of the light and beauty of this life is unspoken. My role as a Celebrant is to give it voice. Yep, it’s hard sometimes but mostly it seems to flow naturally for me.
But still… how do I do it?
When visioning what a ceremony can be, I’m fully present and asking, “How can this be a emotionally shifting moment in the now and also become a treasured memory for the future? How can this ceremony bring people together in way far more meaningful than is normally experienced in day-to-day life? How do I help people of disparate personalities and backgrounds tap into the beyond words ‘thing’? What can I explore? Who really is my client? How can we collaborate to create a ceremony so that everyone present will ‘get’ them, not just witness them?”
When I open myself up to these questions, it helps me look beyond the usual aspects of ceremony in our society. And inspires and compels me to make something REAL happen!
There are many different reasons why people gather in ceremony. Ditto for the countless personalities, faiths, backgrounds, and forms of expression in the world. Working closely with individuals, couples, and families, it’s my hope always to create something worthwhile for them – through their own words and experiences – a ceremony that counts for something. I see and feel each time the vast potential of a personally authentic ceremony — It’s incredibly exciting!
When the day comes to hold the ceremonial space, I can FEEL how in-the-moment people are when I begin to speak. It is palpable. How one speaks is pretty huge. You can write a Nobel prize winning ceremony, but if you can’t bring life to the words…. the impact is lost. So back to the mysterious quality that unlocks emotion – perhaps it is not one thing. It is all things, and how finely they are woven together. Bring it on!
Celebrant Michele Davidson, Founder and Principal Celebrant