Magali, Wedding Celebrant since 200910 October 2016
Cocktail – A fun ritual for your wedding ceremony10 October 2016
My First Wedding Ceremony in France
Dear Bride & Groom,
Let me tell you about my first wedding ceremony. I had never heard of the symbolic or humanist wedding ceremony until 2009 when a friend of mine who worked as a freelance wedding planner asked me to conduct one for a French/American couple she was working for.
As a translator, I indeed had the language skills but did not have the first clue about how to create, let alone celebrate a wedding ceremony!
As I did not want to let my friend down, I agreed to help her, then later on in the day, sheer panic came over me. I thought to myself: “What on earth got into you Magali? What are you going to do now? I pulled myself together and decided to take this venture as a new challenge and after all, my friend was counting on me but above all, so was the couple! It was up to me to do my very best!
Fortunately, I had 8 months to prepare myself for the Big Day. I started by doing a lot of research on the subject. As there was not a lot of reading material in French, i turned to English websites, books and media as this concept came primarily from the US and the UK.
The next stage was to draft a selection of documents such as questionnaires, quizzes and guidance sheets in order to get to know the couple and provide useful advice. I felt it was crucial to learn about the bride & groom’s personalities, tastes, values and ideas.
Then I started to write about them. I would throw ideas on the paper, leave it for a while and come back to it. I spent hours working on my script and submitted it to the couple for comments. My translating experience has always encouraged me to be thorough and choose the exact word or phrase to express an idea, however I had never had to express other people’s emotions and feelings before!
As I had to organise and perform presentations as a former Marketing Manager, I knew I was comfortable with public speaking however the circumstances were radically different! Again, I never had to convey people’s feelings for each other before, create emotions or arrange for people to exchange their vows and wedding rings!
It is at this very moment that I realised how important my role was: It was not just about reading a text. My role was to coordinate every stage of the ceremony as naturally as possible. I had to give the right intonation, create the right emotion at the right time, lead the ceremony when needed and take a step back to let the couple and their loved ones express themselves.
Then the Big Day came. No need to tell you that I did not sleep a wink the night before and got up to rehearse my performance again and again using a hairbrush as a microphone. I had mixed feelings: On one hand, I was close to nervous breakdown and on the other hand, I was looking forward to deliver my performance as best I could to make the couple happy.
When I walked through the gates of the chateau that the couple had hired for the occasion, I felt I was ready. I conducted the ceremony with sincerity, respect and humour and I enjoyed every minute of it! And so did the couple! It was the start of a new venture.
Since that day, I celebrated over 80 ceremonies mainly in the Poitou Charente regions but also in other parts of France. I thoroughly enjoy sharing this privileged moment with the couples I have the pleasure to work with. I believe that the trust they put in me is a gift they offer me. I feel that, in return, my gift to them is to offer them a carefully prepared wedding ceremony which makes them and their guests happy.