Civil Ceremony in Ireland
Whether you are straight, gay, young, old, conservative or unconventional there are certain magic ingredients that make a civil ceremony come alive. I write hundreds of ceremonies every year and there are some that stand out for having that element of universal truth which comes from a couple’s own story. The best weddings give the friends and family a glimpse inside the hearts of a couple, they come away with a feeling that they have been lucky enough to witness a secret and that they know the couple a little more afterwards.
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Often, coming into a consultation with us, a couple will have had no time to sit and focus on the actual civil ceremony itself having spent months on invitations, outfits, venues, bands etc.
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When we ask them to design the ceremony with us they are always surprised at how the whole thing unfolds. It gives them time and space to really consider what poetry or prose or songs best represent them, the stories they want to tell, the reasons they chose each other, the hurdles they have met along the way and the promises they want to make to one another which will shape their future.
The civil ceremony itself creates a very strong memory which stays in the psyche and has a profound psychological impact. In a sense it is casting a kind of a love spell. The best ceremonies are the ones which are unique to the couple rather than being generic and impersonal.
A mix of the conventional and new is a good balance in a wedding. People like to feel that they are familiar with the proceedings and know what to expect. On the other hand, having some changes to the normal predictable wedding format makes things feel more live and spontaneous and keeps everyone interested.
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Couples will very often change the processional and come into the civil ceremony together, hand I hand. This is naturally met with whoops and applause which is a great, high energy way to open proceedings. This makes more sense than having the bride walked up the alter and given away by her father which in any modern context doesn’t sit very well and especially for a same sex couple.
There are many small rituals which can work well in ceremonies such as Celtic Handfasting, blending of sands, lighting of candles and creating time-capsules. They add symbolism and give a sense of transformation from the couple being two separate entities to coming together as one. As we welcome the constitutional recognition of same-sex marriage we also see a huge change in the landscape of how all of our rites of passage are happening.
Many of us are currently re-imagining how we can best mark the major events in life in ways that are meaningful to us. The modern celebrant is a conduit for people to mark the major milestones in their life in a way that is structured, dignified and true to them.
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