Celebrations of Love, Unity & Commitment.
Oh my goodness, Dinah and I had an absolutely fabulous response to our new monthly podcast, Ask A Celebrant. In episode 1 we answered the question What is A Celebrant? We invited listeners to ask us questions and many were based around alternative weddings; celebrations of love, unity and commitment. You asked how we could reduce the stress, and cost of a traditional wedding. We were asked how else and what else could we do to celebrate love. So in episode 2 of Ask A Celebrant we talk about other celebrations of love, unity & commitment.
So many people over the last two years have had to contend with the stress and disappointment of Covid-related cancellations; wedding venue and suppliers going bust; loss of deposits. Couples have rescheduled and rescheduled. So many of you have looked at your plans for a big, showy, traditional wedding in a fancy venue with hundreds of guests and decided to rethink. To avoid the disappointment and worry of potential future restrictions, many couples have decided to downsize their wedding and create something more intimate.
The benefits of thinking differently
There are lots of benefits to this, least of all cost. A smaller wedding does not mean a less meaningful or less fancy affair it simply means a more couple focused, more flexible, more affordable, less stressful but equally special occasion.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with the big wedding. It suits lots of people. Equally, many couples feel pressured to go big; spend tens of thousands on one day; invite every person they know; keep up with their peers and tradition.
What Dinah and I are suggesting is that there are lots of ways and lots of reasons to pause, focus, and celebrate love, unity and commitment.
Sometimes big weddings are stressful because one or both of the couple hate being the centre of attention; are filled with fear at the idea of speaking in front of a crowd; or pressured to invite loads of people, some they hardly know, or maybe don’t even like (!) .
What is the point of putting yourself through that? Why are you truly getting married?
And there’s the other point.
Marriages v Weddings
Marriage is a legal contract. Relevant for various financial reasons. It certainly uncomplicates life as children become involved and if someone dies. A legal marriage is also important if you have a faith that requires you to be joined in the eyes of a god.
A wedding is something completely different. It does not require the legal marriage, we often confuse the two and the two stage process of a wedding. A wedding is a celebration of your love, unity and commitment, it should be for you, about you and reflect your personalities.
It should be an opportunity to express what you love and value about each other; to acknowledge the journey you have travelled to date; and to make promises and commitments for the future.
Love Unity and Commitment
A celebration of love, unity and commitment can be relevant many times in your lives. It can run alongside a legal marriage. It can stand independently. It could be a reaffirmation of vows; perhaps after a period of years (10, 25, 50 etc). Equally it could be after a major change of circumstances you have navigated together.
Sometimes you might show appreciation for your partner with a date night or a thank you gift. Sometimes it feels that the gesture should be ‘bigger’.
I gave up work and retrained as a celebrant. Without the support of my partner; not only the belief he has in me, but his willingness to cover the gaps in earnings and household chores whilst I trained; I would never have done it. That deserves more than a snog, a dinner, or a card. It might even be worth an event; where we can be somewhere significant to us and I can pledge my gratitude and future promises to him and he can do the same. ( I think I might suggest that.)
Valuing our partners openly is so worthwhile and life affirming; their part in making us even better versions of ourselves; their role in creating your partnership; your gratitude for their sacrifices; your joy at their or your joint achievements.
What makes you a partnership?
We all survive journeys together; reach crossroads and decide which way to travel together; act as each others life boat on rocky seas. Let’s take those moments and celebrate. Let us acknowledge the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Why not tell each other what we value about our partners and the positive difference they have made to our lives. We should take time to make or reaffirm promise when we embark on a new chapter together. And we should celebrate our willingness to move forward together with the same love, commitment and unity.
A good celebrant, like Dinah or myself, always starts each couples celebration with a blank sheet of paper. As if we have never done it before. It’s your story, your journey, your celebration. It will be uniquely written for you and delivered how you choose.
So, let’s not just get married. Lets not just have a wedding.
Let’s have all the non-weddings!
Instead, let’s have the vow renewals; the rituals; the appreciation of chapter changes; the gratitude ceremonies; the achievement ceremonies; the joining of two families; the survival events; and the events to just focus for a moment on each other.
LET”S CELEBRATE LOVE UNITY AND COMMITMENT
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