It’s Wedding story time! Sit back and enjoy recent behind the scenes wedding stories told through the eyes of a Photographer, Makeup Artist and Celebrant.
Listen to Kathryn, Chrys and Susan on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…
Kathryn Goddard, Capture This Moment
Susan Denton from Celebrate With Sue
James [00:00:02] Hello everybody and welcome. I’m joined today by Kathryn Goddard from Capture This Moment. And Chrys Chapman who is a fantastic make up artist. And we thought we’d do something slightly different. Now, when I was very small, at primary school, one of my favourite parts of the day was actually story time. I kind of carried that through to my adult life. I love reading. I love hearing stories. I love watching stories.
I love everything about stories and as you probably know a lot of Wedding Espresso is about wedding stories. So today I thought it’d be really cool if we got some suppliers together on here and just shared a couple of our most recent wedding stories.
So without further ado I’m just going to invite Chrys to share a story with us. So Chrys would you like to take us through your “once upon a wedding”.
Chrys [00:00:54] Hiya! Yes definitely. So I am telling you about a wedding that I had just a few weeks ago actually, a really lovely bride. I mean I very rarely get to hang out with the groom. So yeah it’s basically down to the bride and her tribe, when I do wedding hair and makeup. So this one was a very early start. I was up for four o’clock to get there on time.
James [00:01:18] That is an early start!
Chrys [00:01:19] It’s dedication. It really is. And it was going to be a really long day. So this particular bride was very concerned because, one she’s a crier, and she’s a self-confessed crier, like me, if I’m really honest. And she was concerned that makeup was going to need touching up after the ceremony. But the ceremony location was about an hour away from the getting ready location et cetera. So we decided that I’d stay on for touch ups, and actually we came up with a whole new service just for her.
So actually instead of just staying on for the bride and her party for touch ups after ceremony, I set up a beauty bar, which was amazing.
So I got to be a part of the reception as well. So Kat, the bride, was just brilliant in keeping me as part of the day. So it was not like I was an extra piece, as it were.
Chrys [00:02:20] But yeah it was a lovely, lovely day. As I said 4 o clock start, getting everybody ready. And it was one of those weddings where you have to wear lots of different hats. So I wasn’t just being a hairstylist or a make up artist that day, I was doing all sorts of jobs that I hadn’t really anticipated.
James [00:02:42] Was that helping the bride out and the bridal party at various times?
Chrys [00:02:45] Absolutely. So, I mean we talk a lot about brides getting cold feet. Well she genuinely had cold feet, and I dug out a pair of clean socks from my kit bag, which I always keep with me, as you do! Things like her page boy couldn’t get his belt to stay on. So I had to do a quick improvise and that was down to my skills with scissors and all sorts. And I even ended up having to tape her lucky sixpence to her toe and help her get her shoes clasped on.
So yeah being a makeup artist isn’t always just about the makeup, that’s for sure. I felt like one of the guests and she actually made me cry, which never happens when I’m at work EVER!
Chrys [00:03:38] But she went through and thanked all of her suppliers, and I think maybe it’s something to do with being up from 4am and being on it all day had something to do with that, but I was really touched and very emotional. So yes it is lovely to be such an intimate part of a bride’s day. And I think when you hire a make up artist or hairstylist you don’t necessarily think about what that person is going to bring to your party, apart from just making you look good. But definitely in that instance it was a lot more than just making people look pretty for the day.
James [00:04:16] I think that kind of speaks volumes of your experience then doesn’t it Chrys? Being able to, you know, having the confidence to step in and problem solve.
Chrys [00:04:24] I hope so. I think that’s part of my personality. That…
if you see something going on you just got to step in and use your initiative. And at the same time being very respectful of it being her day and not becoming too involved.
I think there’s definitely a fine line there. And I think when I work with other suppliers who are involved in the day, it’s definitely getting that balance right. So particularly when working with the photographers and stuff. That’s the moment at which any of my direction tends to just stop and I listen to them and what they need me to do, or not do as the case may be. Yeah I think you’re right. I have that experience that really speaks to that.
James [00:05:08] So Kathryn have you ever been to a wedding where they’ve had a permanent Beauty Bar?
Kathryn [00:05:12] No I haven’t.
James [00:05:15] This is new!
Kathryn [00:05:16] It is new! and it’s really exciting as well. I have been to a wedding where the bride and the make up artist have touched up after the ceremony. But never stayed past that. So that’s a really interesting idea. Really. Yeah. I think a lot of the guests would really benefit from just a little bit of a touch up, a bit of a freshen up. Yeah there’s a really nice idea. I love it.
James [00:05:46] Correct me if I’m wrong Chrys but did we touch on this a few months ago. Did we discuss the possibility of the Beauty Bar at some point?
Chrys [00:05:51] I think it was probably shortly after Kat’s trial that the concept kind of was born for me. So I think the last time we talked I was still kind of putting together how it was all going to work. And I’ve gotten to do it a couple of times now which is just really lovely. So you get to know the guests, you get a feel for who the bride is outside of that intimate space getting ready, and all the guests as well. I think the day for guests especially, it’s a really long day for them.
And being able to take their look from a ceremony appropriate look into more of a party look for them, that’s really fun or even getting to really personalise a wedding ceremony. So you get a lot of brides now who want a real party.
So almost like a festival feel for the reception. So being able to bring face jewels and glitter and that kind of thing. We bring the sparkle! Come on!
James [00:06:45] I love it. Yeah it’s funny actually because I’ve just finished writing a chapter in our upcoming book about talking to wedding suppliers and asking them what else is possible. Because obviously a lot of the cost associated in doing that beauty bar is already tied up with you actually going to the venue in the first place. It’s your time. So once you’ve been booked, it’s so easy to add something extra on for not a lot of extra money. And like you say, it completely transforms the feeling or the look of the day. It’s phenomenal. We’ve seen so many times brides will have a couple of dresses and will get changed for their first dance. I’m sure Kathryn you’ve seen that time and time again! But obviously having the make up artist there to be able to help transition that look as well. That’s got to be a big thing coming up. So we should be seeing more of that shouldn’t we?!
Chrys [00:07:46] I think you can thank Meghan Markle and Harry for that one because we all probably saw a very big transition from one look to another. And I think actually she didn’t have a huge change with hair and makeup, but I promise you, somebody was doing some touch ups for her.
James [00:08:06] Brilliant.
So yes there’s a story that has actually spawned a whole new approach to wedding makeup during the day which is phenomenal. Brilliant.
So are the plans to carry on building that throughout this year? And you said you’ve got a couple of bookings for this already, or done a couple already?
Chrys [00:08:26] Yeah it’s definitely one of the things that we’re introducing to the Brides now. And even ones that have already booked me for their day, and just letting them know that the service exists, and seeing what their response is. But yet still sort of in the baby phases. So definitely doing a little bit more market research to see what the general response is but I think you definitely touched on this the last time I did one of these with you guys. We talked about entertainment that you could book for the reception, but also that they could stay or come early.
James [00:09:02] The same, the very same idea of reusing the music throughout the day!
Chrys [00:09:07] Absolutely.
And I think it’s just informing and educating people that that’s something that I do as well, and that other make up artists will be doing. I would say it really maximises your investment in your suppliers. Because the more we can do on the day, the better really.
James [00:09:28] And everybody is generally quite willing to do more. In fact it excites them you know, it’s exciting for wedding suppliers to try new things. Kathryn, Have you ever seen that where the band will do an acoustic set during the drinks reception? Like an unplugged acoustic set? And then go and do a full band thing in the evening?
Kathryn [00:09:45] I haven’t, but I have got a Wedding coming up where we have a singer during the ceremony. And then she will be staying on and singing during the drinks reception. She’d been booked to do some singing during the drinks reception and the couple decided to utilise her during the Ceremony too, which will be really good, it will be really nice to see that. So I’m looking forward to that one at the end of the month.
I really do think, because budget is one of the biggest issues with wedding planning, getting everything into a budget. I think this idea of, it’s not recycling, but reusing, or finding ways to use again, something that you’ve already booked is a phenomenal kind of budget maximising technique.
Kathryn [00:10:35] Yeah because quite often brides will use the flowers from Bridesmaids bouquets to decorate top tables and things, utilising those types of services as well and having them used later on during the day is quite a nice way to keep the budget down and still makes things look beautiful.
James [00:11:02] Really nice. So that being said then Kathryn, is there anything in the photography world where things double up or combine? I know it’s putting you on the hot seat a little bit.
Kathryn [00:11:11] It is! It’s just making me think now!
I quite often give (this is not as an extra service) but I quite often give guests tips on how to use their iPhones and their Smartphones. How to take nice photographs of each other and of the bride and the groom.
On Saturday I was saying to people “If you do this, this and this, you’ll get a much better picture” if you use the sound buttons to make the phone work as a camera, you’ll take a much sharper photograph, and things like that so I often give tips to guests on how to take their own photographs. So I think that’s quite a nice touch, and you get quite a lot oh “Oh thank you. That was really nice”. “I didn’t know I could that on my phone”.
James [00:11:58] And obviously that rolls back to the bride and groom doesn’t it? Because they get slightly better pictures from their friends and family.
Kathryn [00:12:03] Yes. Yeah. And then I quite often recommend a couple of apps that you can use to share those photographs from all your guests and things like that.
So that’s quite a nice thing, just to be able to say to people “If you actually just stand them here, and if you touch the screen here, and slide the sunshine up and down”, you’re getting a much nicer photograph of that person.
Kathryn [00:12:25] So yeah I quite often give little hints and tips, but I’m not sure how else I could expand the services. Occasionally I bring along a box of photo booth props if people don’t want the photo booth, but perhaps still want some of those fun photographs during the evening, so I quite often bring a box of those with me. And then, though I might be capturing the dancing, if I seeing people playing around with things on sticks and hats and wigs and things like that then I’ll capture a few of those to go into the album as well.
James [00:12:58] So just remind us. Do you offer an engagement shoot as part of your package?
Kathryn [00:13:07] Yes I do.
James [00:13:08] So that’s becoming quite normal. But that is a Value-Add isn’t it. Because obviously that entire process is gelling your relationship with the couple before the big day.
Kathryn [00:13:20] Yes. And they are a more relaxed type of session, you can have a lot more fun, you can play around with ideas and just get to know each other a bit more.
So during a two hour or a 90 minute photo session, you can actually just get to know each other so much better. The benefit is on the day you actually know how comfortable they’re going to be with each other, and with you, and they’re used to having their photograph taken as well.
So it’s quite different from doing a selfie isn’t it? From having a professional portrait session?
James [00:13:53] So Chrys have you ever had experience of doing makeup for an engagement shoot, because I know this does happen?
Chrys [00:14:14] Yeah.
Trying to coordinate with the bride, the photographer and obviously the Groom as well, to do their trial on the same day as their photo shoot, is one of the things I really do try to promote.
And it means that we can see what the finished result is going to look like before we get to the day. So if there’s any tweaking that we need to do, then we can get that feedback both from the bride and from the photographer. I love that kind of feedback from a photographer because you guys are the ones that know what it’s going to look like as the end result. So yeah it’s definitely a good shout to try to coordinate those things I think.
Kathryn [00:14:53] Yeah I’ve had a couple of Brides that have had their make up trials done and then we’ve gone off on the photo shoot as well. But I also find combining a pre-wedding shoot with a visit to the venue to be really useful, because then we can look at why they chose that venue. What type of places they want to use, where we can go if it rains and all that type of thing.
So combining the two means we actually get some really nice photographs of them more relaxed at the venue and then we know roughly where we might want to go on their wedding day as well.
So it’s a nice thing to do, combining the pre-wedding shoot and the venue visit.
James [00:15:39] Well I absolutely love the way we Segway’d into all sorts of different ideas and conversations there. But yes so Kathryn do you want to share with us your “Happily Once Upon a Wedding Story”?
Kathryn [00:15:50] Yeah I’m going to share a little bit from Saturday’s Wedding actually. Although it was a very awful day, we had terrible weather down here with storm Hannah hitting us quite amazingly. So it was very windy and very, very cold actually, really really cold compared to the Easter Saturday when we had…..
James [00:16:12] Yes of course, it was scorching!
Kathryn [00:16:12] Beautiful sunshine, so it was probably the other extreme, it was a bit too warm and bright sunshine. So on Saturday I photographed a wedding for a young couple, both Vets, who were getting married in her village church. So she’s getting ready at Mum’s. Really nice, relaxed. They all had just a few glasses of Presecco, not too much, but enough whilst hair and makeup was being done.
But the moment that really, really struck me was when all the girls got together, the bridesmaids and the bride all got together, and they they just spoke words of encouragement to the bride before she went off to get married.
Kathryn [00:17:03] And it was just like the power and the energy and the support that they had for each other was just incredible. I’ve never really thought about anything quite like it. As an outsider there photographing it and documenting it, the support for the bride from her bridesmaids was just incredible. And in fact she actually brought tears to my eyes and I was so glad to have my camera so I could quickly go and hide behind it. Also the fact that we were able to be more flexible. We couldn’t do the photographs outside because it was just so windy. But we were able to go back inside the Church and do our group photographs there, which actually added something special to it because it was the Church in which she was christened, and then to get married, and then to do her group photographs there. It was just such a wonderful day because the weather was totally against us and their reception wasn’t a fancy venue. It was just the local village hall which they decorated with streams of bunting and festoon lights and long tables with food to share amongst everybody on the table.
But the fact that I think there was just so much love and support actually made it a really joyous day, regardless of the weather. You know we can’t control that, but it was just such a wonderful feeling of support and love on that day.
And it really made me feel really very privileged to be a part of that day and to capture it and document the day, and then to think about what we could do. Oh it’s too windy, it’s too cold to go outside. You know there was rain coming across as well. So how can we do group photographs? How can we get those family photographs? They came back into church and capturing something that actually means a lot to her and her family, to have the photographs done there. So yeah that really sticks with me that memory of Saturday, I know it’s a really new one as well.
James [00:19:24] Yes hot off the press! That’s fantastic when you hear about weddings where the primary concern is the love and the connection between the people. Because I think one of the dangers, especially coming in from the media.
One of the dangers of weddings these days is to overdo. To put too much attention into things that don’t have that much meaning, or don’t reflect you as a couple.
Perhaps so much as just being yourselves, you know, trying to be something that you’re not, or put a show on. And these are all OK, in moderation, but they are also dangers!
James [00:20:06] Hi Susan. Welcome.
Susan [00:20:13] Hi.
James [00:20:16] So Rachel just popped something amazing in the comments here. She said that she read earlier today that “The words you speak are the house you live in”. So obviously those bridesmaids are obviously very, very close people to the Bride. And you know the people that you have around you on your wedding day will matter, and can, as you found, create the ambiance.
Kathryn [00:20:44] Oh it did. And also during the Church Ceremony the members of the guests read Prayers as well. So there were four or five guests who said prayers and some of them had written it themselves, specially for that couple. And that again created an amazing energy and just showed so much support and love. And I think to me that just, like you were saying earlier, it was actually showing the reason why they were together and why everybody was there. And not just because it was going to be a big party with a lot of drinking later on. I mean they did have that too!
James [00:21:28] Absolutely. Obviously.
But there was so much love and support for those people. Yes. It was an amazing wedding.
James [00:21:38] That’s incredible. I think some of our favourite weddings that we filmed were definitely ones where you can tell straight from the outset that it’s not about flash. It’s really about the people. And from the get go you just immediately have the sense of family and connection and love between the people and the couple, and they’re always the best. They’re always the best weddings.
Kathryn [00:22:06] I think they’re always my favourite weddings.
When I go back and I think about those weddings, I think of the ones that have had all the support and the love and happiness, and they’re not necessarily, like you said, they’re not in the grandest of venues, not the flashiest of weddings at all. But it’s more to do with the support and love on that day.
James [00:22:29] I’ll add that it’s not to say that you can’t have that in the flashy venues, but it’s not just about the flashy venues.
Kathryn [00:22:41] Yeah. Some of them have been in beautiful venues and things like that, but it’s more about the support of the people involved in the day, which makes me remember certain weddings more than others.
James [00:23:01] So Chrys obviously you’re there during the Bridal Prep, have you ever seen that kind of connection between the Bridesmaids and the Bride and thought “Oh” and had to go and hide your tears?
Chrys [00:23:14] Well I do try and keep any of my tears reserved for when nobody else is watching. Because tears can be contagious and I don’t need to do be doing any touch up on that part of the day. I did just do a wedding the weekend before last and it was a gorgeous bridal party actually. So it was a bride with nine of her closest bridesmaids, as you do! So it was a really big party. But she had a really interesting background. She grew up in Hong Kong and had come back to the U.K. because she was from the U.K. originally, and went to uni here. Her parents lived in America.
Chrys [00:23:58] So she had these connections that were completely international, very far flung and these 10 women that were in the room together were all so very different, but all there for her. And they were all so focussed on making her morning just the best it could be. And they were markedly very supportive of each other and kept looking at each other and going “Well you look amazing. Oh that looks really lovely. Oh it’s so nice to be with you”.
These really genuine moments of appreciating each other. And I think in those kind of moments you do feel very humbled and I think you said as well that it’s a privilege. And I think those kinds of parties where everything is quite calm but still there is that buzz, that energy that’s happening in support of the bride.
It’s quite magical, and it is such a privilege to be a part of it because there aren’t a lot of jobs in the world where you get to have that kind of energy, and you get to have it almost on a weekly basis doing what we do. And that’s pretty exciting actually.
James [00:25:07] I love it. So Sue, we haven’t introduced you because you just popped in there. But welcome, you’re Susan Denton from Celebrate with Sue. She is a fantastic wedding celebrant.
So Sue obviously you are really at the heart of wedding celebrations, being a Celebrant. Your experience spans all sorts of fantastic bespoke experiences that you’ve created for the bride and groom.
Would you like to share a recent or favourite little wedding story with us? And the reasons why you think it stands out or is remarkable?
Susan [00:25:45] Yes. Hi everybody. Every story is unique and it’s very much down to them what they want, and that’s where I come in.I spend a lot of time listening to what it is they want and the more time I can spend with them, then that also means I get to know them better, their personalities and also their relationship with each other. And then that can be reflected in the script and then into the ceremony.
Susan [00:26:34] So we had one very recently the other week where the couple wanted to share the similarities between them, as well as the differences. And they came up with a drinking ceremony which was a port ceremony, because the groom was very keen on port, and they had some links in his life to do with port, and they both liked a little bit of a drink.
James [00:27:03] I could get behind that!
Susan [00:27:06] So they were going to be drinking the port during the ceremony, like we’ve just talked about earlier, but they also wanted to make that a ritual during the Ceremony. And that did work, it worked really well. I don’t dare use the word “neck”, but he did drink his in one go, which was caught on camera. I haven’t seen the professional version of that, but I have seen a photo. But the bride was a little bit more, shall we say polite in the way that she sipped it, but they both enjoyed it and everybody enjoyed seeing that.
Because I think the thing is, people don’t know or aren’t familiar with the non-legal type ceremonies that I do, and other Celebrants do as well. And that makes it really fun for them.
Because you’ll still have people saying “oh can we sit on this side? do we need to sit on this side? Do we need to sit on that side? How long is it going to last? Do we have to do anything?” And so on and so forth, so that’s all part of it. So that is starting to become a little more common as other people who’ve been to celebrant ceremonies will be more aware.
Susan [00:28:16] So they are that little bit more relaxed as well. And also things like we had very small children coming in as Page Boys and as Flower Girls. And the night before they’ll be skidding down the floor in the room, in the venue, and then the next day when it comes to the ceremony, and everybody’s there watching, then the children, as per usual, behave absolutely amazingly and hold hands or whatever they’re doing with the older bridesmaids, and play their part in the ceremony.
And obviously that’s all making memories for them and for their families which will last for a very long time. It’s all those sorts of things that are memorable to families, that might have had sadness in them, that they’re having a really lovely happy occasion.
So they’ve got something new to remember to layer into their family.
James [00:29:23] Because it’s new and because it’s different, it might stand out a little bit more than something that’s maybe less so.
Susan [00:29:31] That’s right, and it was their choice, the venue itself, (I’m putting little bits of other people’s stories in) but that venue itself was absolutely marvellous. And they put a lot of time and effort into thinking how they wanted it all to look and how it was all going to fit together. And then we also had a lovely lady who was playing the harp which I found very relaxing moving into and during the ceremony. She was playing while they were doing the port Ritual.
Every single ceremony is different and every single one I’ll come away from and say that was the best. I can think of all the different elements, the fun elements, the romance. Yes there are tears.
Sometimes the bride might even apologise for crying, and I cried myself last year. It’s all the emotion coming through.
Susan [00:30:34] I wait a while for them to get through that little moment, as they waited for me, and then you move through to the next part. And it’s all full of emotion. I come away and I have a bit of a sit down because they’re giving, and you’re giving, quite a lot of yourself into the process, but I enjoy doing that. So that’s all part of it James.
James [00:31:07] I love the fact that you brought up the harp actually because I was reading… it’s totally un-wedding related.
I was reading a book the other day and it actually said there was a study, and it says that music in a social gathering makes people 12% more sociable! So it’s now actually a science!
Susan [00:31:25] Wow and of course we get the audience to join in, so we will have a bit of a part to it where I’ll say “Family and Friends. You are here as support. And to witness this occasion. And can we all say we will support the couple”. “We will!”. So getting them more involved, sometimes we will sing a song or whatever and that will also bring everybody in to the occasion. That’s one small part of it. And then you can, if the couple want it, you can build other elements of audience participation into the event, into the occasion.
James [00:32:11] So Kathryn, I’ve got to ask, are you seeing a rise in celebrant led ceremonies at the moment?
Kathryn [00:32:17] I think there is. Yes definitely. There is a definite rise because they are able to provide the wonderful uniqueness to a service compared to if you have a registrar or somebody else involved.
And I think with a celebrant you can add wonderful things that means your personality is expressed more.
Susan [00:32:47] Absolutely.
Kathryn [00:32:47] The last time I did a wedding with a Celebrant we had a Sand Mixing Ceremony and that was lovely because obviously there was the brides family, and then the grooms family. And they all combined this sand into a beautiful jar, just showing that their families are now together and will never be able to be parted. And that was a really symbolic part of the ceremony. Yes. I think there is a rise in Celebrants being involved in weddings.
Susan [00:33:22] I think there is. Without talking in any detail (because it’s not happened yet).
We got together yesterday for a wedding that I’m conducting on Saturday, and they are also going to have a Sand Ceremony. And they’re going to use a picture frame for that. And so that’s going to be very interesting.
So that’s their take on it, everyone has a different take. Obviously you need glass, but what the glass receptacle looks like can be anything. So again there’s no line, there’s no delineation about what it is, or what you should have. Because it’s all so different. Also we’re going to have some other elements too, which I’ve not done before, (which I’m not going to mention now) but which I’m looking forward to. Because people can come up with original unique ideas that are personal to them, and will work for their venue on that occasion.
James [00:34:28] Chrys, taking Susan’s point about the post wedding coming down. I mean, I understand this completely. When we used to come home from a wedding we would have to consume massive amounts of calories, and then sit there for an hour in front of Netflix, and just let it all come out of us because we were just overwhelmed.
James [00:34:51] So basically, I really want to take this into the idea of the Beauty Bar as well, because at the end of the bridal prep in the morning, obviously emotions are sky high. That moment that you release the bride to go and get married. I mean that is a peak of excitement and anticipation. So for you then personally, is there a point afterwards where you just have to take a deep breath and let it out, and then power yourself back up again for the Beauty Bar? Which is obviously not so stressful?
Chrys [00:35:26] When we did the beauty bar, I was really quite fortunate actually. Because the wedding ceremony was such a trek for the bride to get to. It meant that I had about a three hour window. So I actually did sneak a nap in. It was a 4:00 a.m. start and I didn’t finish at the wedding until nearly gone 9:00 at night. So yes, a little power nap never hurts. For a non Beauty Bar booking, I can definitely identify with what you’re saying, that you come away and actually you’re on such a high with the bride you almost forget that you’re not part of that party. And I don’t think I’ve had a getting ready portion of the day where I didn’t come away feeling like “Well I could just go home and have a glass of Prosecco”, because everyone around me has been having a glass of Prosecco. And you feel like I should be doing that too. Not that I’ve had a glass Prosecco every time I get home or anything. I think for me it is usually the drive home that needs to be my come down time, and I do find myself listening to certain music that either helps to keep me on that high, or will help bring me back down, depending on what I need to do once I get home.
Because you know, I think people forget that once we finish our bit with the wedding, if we’re done, that’s it. We’ve just got to slot back into our normal lives.
I think planning ahead and knowing what’s going to come after a booking is finished is kind of important, or else I could just be having Presecco every day.
James [00:37:04] So Kathryn I’ve got to ask then, because I’ve certainly felt what Chrys has just described there, and the fact that you become so engaged with the couple and the day, that when you go home it feels odd. So do you, I mean we spoke the day about the anticipation, the excitement before a wedding didn’t we? Do you have any kind of come down rituals? Or do you find that it takes a while just to settle at the end of the day?
Kathryn [00:37:31] It does takes a little while to settle, and I usually make myself a Gin & Tonic. Actually, quite a large Gin & Tonic! Normally it is late in the day, it is in the evening, I mean this is not at midday. So generally speaking it’s like 9, 10 o’clock, maybe 10:30pm, maybe even a bit later. And then the first job after I’ve made the Gin & Tonic is to start to back up, because I really want to just make sure, that’s always part of my winding down, that I can actually be assured that I’ve captured the day. And I’ve got all the main details. So it’s just starting that backup process. But it gives me that peace of mind because I also don’t want to spend the whole day checking the back of the camera, because you can’t do that, it’s not productive.
Kathryn [00:38:32] By coming home and starting that backup process with my G&T, actually just means it gives me that reassurance and that peace of mind. And then I usually have to read.
And regardless of what time it is, much to my husband’s annoyance, so if it’s 2 or 3am, I do tend to read for a while before I can switch off totally from the day, and that’s what I do. I think physically I’m tired, but mentally it’s that reassurance that I have to check that I’ve done it all, and I’ve got everything that they’ve asked for, and I know that I’ve got a good record of that day.
James [00:39:17] Brilliant! So Susan I think you missed Kathryn’s story, but she was describing a recent wedding where the Wedding was definitely more about the couple and the family than anything else. That was the most important element of their wedding. So would you say that typically then, if a couple educate themselves to the point where they understand and want a celebrant led ceremony, would you say that that ceremony then becomes one of the, definitely one of the key elements and aspects of that wedding, on that day.
Susan [00:39:51] Yes definitely. Also we’re getting more couples starting to talk about putting a little tiny section of remembrance of members of the family who might have died, or are unwell, or too old to travel to and from different parts of the country. And we have a couple of minutes where I say a couple of verses, and then we just stop for a couple of seconds. And I tend to say to people, you know it does seem like it’s a long time, but actually it will only be less than a minute or a minute or whatever. Sometimes couples have said when I am talking them through it that they want to do something, but sometimes they don’t want to introduce an element of sadness in what is a really happy occasion.
Susan [00:40:50] But sometimes they understand that they need to do that and then move forward with it. So we tend to introduce that earlier on in the ceremony, and then we’ll come in behind with reasons for marrying and a ritual or a poem or whatever. The other thing that you’re talking about is the poems tend to be Mum’s who are more involved with those. Often a Mother has chosen a poem that they’d like to read, and sometimes that’s a secret from their child and the other member of the couple.
Susan [00:41:31] I go with this on the odd occasion, it’s beautiful when friends modify one of the poems specifically to match the couple. Which works extremely well because Chrys, you know how you talked about the bride and those nine bridesmaids, and how you could see that relationship between them? So with this you could clearly see the very close relationship between the bride and these three guests who had collaborated together and put this poem together, and then read it for her. And obviously these were three strangers to me on that day. But you could see their love and affection for their friend coming through in the care that they put into modifying this poem for them, which was lovely. So that made it, even though we talked about the family, very, very much the family as well. But also these friends who have been supportive to the bride and the bridegroom that came through very much with the poetry.
James [00:42:58] I’m glad you brought up the point about acknowledging missed loved ones actually Susan because time and time again Rachel and I, we’ve always had Celebrant led ceremonies, we had a celebrant ceremony for our Wedding, and we recently had a celebrant for our Son’s naming day.
And we always find it very difficult to incorporate that element, because like you say, it is sad, and it can be upsetting to some people. And it’s always been one of the hardest things to consolidate and actually work out how to approach effectively.
Because you’ve got this range of emotions and some people are going to be very heavily affected emotionally by it. Some people they won’t be quite so emotionally affected by it, but you want to make sure that they feel that you’ve done it justice, or you’ve acknowledged them in an appropriate way. So is that something that you find comes up quite often now? How do you tackle it? How do you help people through that?
Susan [00:44:04] Because I’m getting to know the couple, they might mention a member of the family who has died. And also because I do a very comprehensive questionnaire that’s got the question in it already, so I don’t need to pre-empt, that’s already in the questionnaire. And they can write in the questionnaire whether they’d like that little session of remembrance. And then I’ll talk to them about it. I think I’ve got better at talking people through it. You know, as I’ve had more experience of that, I’ve found ways of talking about it with couples. Sometimes they will say “Oh we’re not sure”. Sometimes they say “we’re not sure” because you know one person will be maybe much sadder than another and so on. So we talk it through now a little bit more, and then I’ll say to them, well this is exactly what I’m going to do. And then normally they’ll come back and say “yes we’ll go ahead with that”. And what I’ve found is percentage wise, where before people come back to me and say “we’ve changed our mind now. We don’t want to put that in.” I’m finding that’s happening less.
Susan [00:45:33] But everybody’s different. I’m talking about different people in different situations. So that’s just me, one person, with so many couples, so we’ll see as time goes by. But I do feel that other people acknowledge by having a table don’t they? At the reception with photographs on it? And I myself, I’m going to have a (I’m just a bit greedy really) another ceremony in four weeks time with a Celebrant in my Mother’s garden, because that’s been a crucial part of our family’s life for over 50 years. My children are not that old. So there’s key people in our lives and outer family. And of course my husband and his family, and he now is spending quite a lot of time in that garden. So he’s getting to know it really well. So we’re going to be in the garden and we’re going to, for example, hang some photographs on one of the trees, of family members who won’t be able to be there. So that’s another element isn’t it? That people maybe will have the table, but they don’t want to introduce it into the Ceremony.
James [00:46:50] You can have a visual representation. You don’t actually have to speak it.
Susan [00:46:53] I think that they find that helps them and supports them, and it’s there. And also I think for the children you’ve always got to remember, you know you can say to the children, “do you remember so and so at the Wedding?” When you have got photos there, or even on the day you can say “Oh this was your Great Granddad” or “this was your Granddad” or so on.
Susan [00:47:16] A bit like when I did a naming, and I know we’re not talking about Namings, but you did talk about a Naming earlier. I did a Naming just after Christmas. We talked about how they were going to have a book with a photograph on one page and then a comment from a family or friend on the other page. Those photos were going to go in a book for when the child was older, so you could look back and say that this is so and so at the Naming, or this was so and so at the naming. Especially as this couple’s family live on the other side of the world. So they won’t see those people as regularly. And if people come back to England, which is what they do a lot for Weddings, or people from London move out of London, often to have their ceremonies in various places, you could call them destination or family locations. Then again these families don’t always see each other and children don’t always see these members of the family. And that’s another way isn’t it, of bringing them to their knowledge.
James [00:48:25] Absolutely. So guys we’re closing in on the top of the hour, so just before we wrap up Kathryn/Chrys, any further thoughts on anything we’ve discussed today, any lingering ideas you want to throw out there for everybody? It’s OK if you don’t!
Chrys [00:48:42] So for my Ceremony my parents had passed away, so we couldn’t include them. We just had two seats at the front of the room that were on my side. Each with a single sunflower on because that was the flower that we used in both the funerals.
Obviously when I got to the top of the aisle (because nobody gave me away) I got to speak about them, and just remember them there. So like you were saying, bringing that in at the beginning and then moving forward with lots of joy in the ceremony I think was really important for me personally.
But I think you’re right, it is becoming more and more acceptable and common to embrace those people that we’ve lost, because they’ve shaped us. And I think that notion of who gives this woman is a really convenient place to talk about those people because it’s not just one person that gives a bride away is it? Really it’s your whole family.
Susan [00:49:51] It’s a representative of the family.
James [00:49:52] What a lovely beat to finish on. Thanks Chrys. All right guys thank you so much for sharing today. That brings us to a close. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you. And of course people can check you out online, click your links and go and have a look at Websites and investigate you in greater detail. No doubt if they get in touch, you’ll have all sorts of wonderful stories, tips, suggestions and ideas for them that you’ll be more than happy to share with them. So thanks again for joining me. It’s been fab and I hope speak to you all again soon.