One of the moments I really enjoy as a Marriage Celebrant is the time with the groom and his party as we await the arrival of the bride. Everything is done and we're ready to go. I've checked the ties, brushed the jackets and often pinned on the buttonholes - which can be surprisingly tricky to attach sometimes! I've even had a look at the rings just so that I know that, all joking from the Best Man aside, we do have them!
What happens then? Usually I spend the last few minutes chatting with the groom. We talk about all sorts of things and the conversation is usually designed to calm those last minute nerves. Some want to go over key parts of the ceremony. Others want to talk about how they met their partner, family members who can't be present or even their beloved pets who have been banished from the ceremony because of their potential to wreak havoc with a gorgeous dress! What I do find is that you can't predict which grooms will be calm and which ones really nervous.
I always ask that the groom and his party arrive with a good 30 minutes to spare. That allows for unanticipated vehicle or traffic delays and last minute tasks to be completed. It also allows the groom and his party time to chat with family and friends. Photos are taken and the rings get checked again .... and again by a nervous groom! At a recent wedding I celebrated we arrived at 1.15pm for a 2.30 wedding. It was 1.4 degrees outside and such dense fog that we had a maximum view of about 5 metres. We all agreed that the wedding would be inside and used Plan B to get that ready. The huge fire was stoked up and all was ready to go. At 1.50 the cloud suddenly rose incredibly quickly and the sun came out. We reverted to Plan A and the chairs for 140 were taken out by the groom and his party and the venue staff. All achieved in less than 10 minutes and no panic! It's always good to have that time available for these last minute changes.
So, we gathered at the top of the aisle, overlooking the stunning vines of Rippon Vineyard and Lake Wanaka and chatted. Everyone was incredibly calm and ready to go. It is a special time for a groom and his closest mates. There is always lots of laughter but always a special sense of what is to come! And sometimes, a final word from me! Apparently my final pep talk isn't always that serious .......