It has been a very busy summer full of weddings and love. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being a Wedding Officiant. Most people might find it intimidating to get up and perform a ceremony in front of groups of people, sometimes a hundred or more. This their BIG day. I found that my background in Business, when I gave many financial planning seminars provided a good foundation. If I could give a seminar to the heads of the Toronto Police and an enormous crew of officers, I figure I could do anything. I also found that being a teacher at the University of Guelph greatly helped me. If you can stand up and teach a group of students in the Food Sciences department you needed Hutzpah. it is far easier to ask wedding guests to turn off their cell phones than very distractable students.
Weddings have evolved enormously since the days when I was married. Back then, the rules and protocol were firm and most couples followed them.There was a lot of stress following all the rules. Just one small detail; getting the invitations printed and hand addressed and sent within the very specific 6 weeks prior rule. So many scrutinized details; even how you placed the invitations in the envelope had rules. Nowadays, many couple just do E-vites from their computers. I suppose that is saving trees. Somehow social mores dictated in my day at the that the rules are the rules. When the social compunction to follow the rules was tossed out the window, the choices became endless and that is both liberating and paralyzing. The choices can be overwhelming and many brides find it hard not to get hooked on Instagram images and all of the impossible to reproduce rings,dresses, flowers, venue, music,style. Social media can make it hard for brides to choose or to be satisfied with their ultimate choices. Everyone else’s weddings were nicer than their own. Costs have skyrocketed and that is why I find many couples forgo the honey moon. Many couples are celebrating their weddings at their homes and that can help curtail the costs. One word of warning- you need lots of energy and friends to pull off an at home wedding.
There are so many aspects of officiating that I enjoy. I get to meet people who are planning their weddings and although they can be stressed out with all the details, they are happy. The common thread is family, friends and commitment. Of course everyone is anticipating a wonderful celebration of some type. Today there are no rules for weddings or receptions and that is what makes my job so rewarding.
I had the great pleasure of marrying a dear friend in a touching ceremony in her backyard on sand with 5 people attending. I think that I cried as much as the gorgeous bride.
Interestingly, the couples that I marry have been together for a long time. Their relationships are complicated and they have weathered many storms together. For me that makes their decision to commit in marriage even more meaningful. When they are repeating their vows, they are sincere. I find I am the one tearing up when I see the procession begin. I especially enjoy all the variety of wedding styles. Couples really express themselves so uniquely. One couple used a picnic bench for its guests to sign instead of the traditional book. That is another bonus to living in a rural area. So many couples use the country theme and it really works.
What I feel from the friends and family is love and support and yes joy. It is one of the few times I see pure joy. Of course a new born baby is another joyous moment, but that is another story. When I glance around at the guests and I see all the stereo types and all the different manners in which people dress I take real pleasure in it. Today, weddings have become so much more casual and shorts are not unheard of.
All the world feels happy when they see a tent. Perhaps it goes back to my years doing weddings as a Chef. Believe me that job was not so joyous… I recall the day a cook dressed the salad for the starter before washing the lettuce. I had a real dilemna on my hand to serve or not to serve? I suppose my love of tents goes all the way back to my childhood. not just weddings. I use to marvel as a child When I saw a tent set up on a neighbour’s lawn where no tent should be. I would wonder what was it all about.Two things I did know was that a celebration was taking place and secondly I wasn’t invited. that brings me to another hot topic that has always placed couples at odds or in an awkward place. Who to invite? In my day we would include all sorts of my parents friends, even ones I didn’t know. Weddings were larger affairs that mostly took place in some type of church. Nowadays, Talking to couples, I find that the guest list is still an issue of contention. many of today’s couple who seem to be about a decade older pay for their own weddings and that gives them to create a guest list that suits them. Way back in the olden days, it was the bride’s family that paid and the couple had less control over the guest list.
I recognize that I can offer couples possibilities and venues that were heretofore unheard of. I had the great pleasure of officiating at a lakefront property on Georgian Bay, where the couple arrived in canoes to the sound of bagpipes. The wedding party was in their own canoe and all were dressed in Scottish garb and so was I. Another wedding was held in a hurry with me holding a big black brolly. One bride had chosen cowboy boots and country music with a pig roast to follow. This Saturday I am officiating at an airplane hangar that just happens to be 2 farms up from me. Last Saturday, I officiated at a lovely wedding where the blonde ring boy in a tux grabbed my hand and took me for a stroll. In his other hand he was clinging tightly to his Thomas the train. When we returned he decided to throw all of the rose petals from his sister’s the adorable flower girl) basket. We scrambled to collect them as the bride has arrived.
Every wedding seems to have a few hiccups and that is what makes them so memorable. We all need a sense of humour as the tension is high and the feelings are running deep. What happens when the bridesmaid falls and needs medical attention as she is getting out of the stretch bus? What about when the music doesn’t start or stop? One of the most common problems is the rings don’t fit. Here is one interesting and surprising fact; it is not the bride who is usually late.
Another wonderful thing came about with respect to the weddings and my hives. Couples want to give out my pure raw honey as wedding favours. They customize them with their own label or I supply them with mine, which are vintage. Just a note, despite the drought, it was a record year for honey. Some of the hives had 9 supers (shelves), they were like bee sky scrapers. Having a couple of ponds really helps the bees when there is no rain. It has been such a busy summer that I had little time for vegetable gardening. My strategy was to throw down wild flower seeds all over the beds and hope for the best. Hoping was no help. Bees pollinate flowers beautifully, they do the same to weeds and grasses. My wild flower garden turned into a sea of twitch grass choking out even the stubborn sage and parsley. An utter disaster. I had initially planted about 36 tomato plants, far fewer than I usually do. Much to my gardening surprise a certain culprit; a cut worm, a deer or a determined groundhog ate all of the plants even before they flowered. This year I did the right thing and put the cages on at the time of planting. That is why I said the ground hog must have been determined to works its way around the cage. After 2 straight years of blight, I suppose I am glad to have had a fallow year.
While it is usually the bride that I do the most communicating with. However, recently I called a bride and she quickly told me that I should deal with the groom. She wanted to elope and because he didn’t it was his job to do everything. He did and it was a fabulous wedding and the Hall was full of pictures and memories and of course all the planning and attention to detail paid off.
I am not quite done yet as I have a few more weddings to go. I am looking forward to the fall colours as an outdoor backdrop to the ceremonies. I must say that I have had a most wonderful wedding season. Thank you to all the couples who brought this joy into my life.
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