Driving home from a very busy wedding fair on Sunday, I had the car radio tuned in to BBC Radio Oxford. A very old tune came on – very old, but one that I can remember from my dark and dismal past. It was Gilbert O’Sullivan singing “Matrimony”, circa 1973, a catchy little number. My attention was caught by the first few lines.
“I've no wish to hurry you luv
But have you seen the time
It's quarter to ten and we're supposed to be there
I don't think the registrar
Will be very pleased
When we show up an hour late
Like two frozen peas”
I had to smile to myself. Two frozen peas? What was that about? But, no, the thing that really made me smile was the fact that, you might have got away with it in 1973, Gilbert, but in 2017, showing up an hour late for the registrar would mean you’ve missed your slot. No matrimony for you. At least, not today.
As a celebrant, I only book one ceremony a day. You are not going to be a slot in my diary for that day, you ARE my diary for that day. You won’t have to have your ceremony at 9 o’clock because that’s the only time slot left, you get to choose. Sunrise, by all means, if it’s what you want, or sunset. Morning, afternoon or evening. And while I wouldn’t want to stray too far from the arranged time, I’m not going to be tearing off if the bride is a little more than acceptably late.
So, on arriving home, I had to look up the rest of these amazing lyrics. The song goes on
“I know how you've dreamt about
Being walked down the aisle
But think of the money we'll save
And you'll see it's worthwhile”
Looks like Gilbert is about to break the news that a church wedding isn’t for him. But that doesn’t mean his beautiful bride has to give up the idea of walking down an aisle. An aisle of trees, an aisle lined with rose petals, an aisle in a stunning barn. These are just a few of the stunning aisles I’ve seen in my ceremonies. And who walks down them? The bride and her father? Obviously, this is the traditional bridal entrance, but many couples are putting their own twist on this part of the ceremony. One bride walked in alone, met half way by her groom and they finished the walk together. One bride entered with her mother and her father. Other couples want to walk in together – why should the bride get all the attention? As a celebrant, I love this kind of personalising of the ceremony.
It won't please our mums and dads
But they don't even know,
Besides if they did what's the betting
They wouldn't even go
Looking at these next lines and my eyebrows raise to the heavens! How many times have I heard from couples that their parents (and I’m afraid it’s nearly always their mums) don’t like the idea of having a celebrant lead the ceremony because ‘it’s not a real wedding’. Well, parents, that really depends on what you see as the real wedding – the celebration of the love and commitment your children have for each other, the promises that they want to make to each other, their unique way to share all this with those that are dearest to them? Or the repeating of two mandatory sentences and the signing of the paperwork that legally registers their marriage? A process which can all be completed in about ten minutes, lead by a complete stranger and witnessed by two random people they found outside the registry office. As a colleague celebrant once told a sceptical mother “You didn’t have the registrar in the delivery room for it to be a real birth. So you don’t need one at the ceremony for it to be a real wedding.” But you don’t have to believe me – just read Dave’s review after I worked with him and his bride in 2017.
“Whilst my family is rather alternative, the bride's were much more traditional. Going with a celebrant was not I'd say a risk but bound to come under far more scrutiny than a religious ceremony would have. On the other hand, there was simply no way I was going to go down the religious route personally! But the point is, people were sceptical, but to a man every piece of feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. People loved the ceremony, and it wouldn't have been possible without Lynn.”
Thanks, Dave. It was my pleasure!
Gilbert, you were really ahead of your time when you wrote these lines, but good on you.
You and me are all that matters
Disregard the rest
Choosing the right celebrant for you is so, so important. Wherever possible, I will always meet with my couples, even before they’ve made the decision to book me. We’ll meet over a coffee, or at a venue. In a pub or in your home.
This meeting will give both of us the chance to see that we are a good fit for each other. But then, when you’ve made that booking, you two are all that matters. I will spend all the time leading up to your ceremony getting to know you, getting to know the kind of ceremony you’re after, researching ideas we might include, remodelling some that are almost right but need a tweak. Because this is YOUR ceremony, written especially for YOU, created from YOUR choices and hopefully written in YOUR voice.
And if you want “Olé” after your vows, so be it!
Marriage-the joining together of the two people
For better or for worse Till death them do part
Now, if a celebrant sounds right for you and you’d like to find out more just get in touch with me. You can use the contact form or
And if you want to listen to Gilbert himself, you’ll find him here. Oh, those fashions!)