Did you watch Married at First Sight? How much attention did you pay to the celebrant? If I can give any bride to be advice, it’s don’t just willy-nilly pick a celebrant off Google. I believe your choice in celebrant impacts the atmosphere of your ceremony. Meet and personally choose someone who resonates with you and your partner as a couple, because essentially, this is the person who will pronounce you man and wife! Lunch with Liz caught up with Shane Vincent at Summer Grove Estate, Carool (a beautiful wedding venue and restaurant just over the Queensland border) to delve a little deeper into what makes a good celebrant and tips for picking yours.
WHERE WE WENT: Summer Grove Estate, Carool
WHAT WE ATE: 220g Eye Fillet, parsnip puree, crispy rosemary potato, honey glazed Dutch carrots and brocollini, served with your choice of red wine jus, peppercorn or garlic cream sauce (GF). Chermoula baked snapper, caramelized pumpkin puree, roast cauliflower and quinoa salad, tomato and yoghurt salsa (GF) 2 courses $55pp, 3 courses $65pp
WHAT WE SIPPED: 2013 Totara Pinot Noir $9, 2014 Tar & Roses Pinot Grigio $9.5
Shane, how did you become a celebrant?
“What I knew about weddings before I was a celebrant you could write on the back of a napkin. I was at an age where all my friends were getting married and I started to attend some beautiful weddings in all different locations and noticed that most friends were using celebrants rather than religious ministers. I thought what a fantastic job, to be able to help guide and tell a couple’s story. In my younger years I worked in theatre restaurants as a singer and actor, and over the past 10 years I have found a passion in writing. I write anything from Stand-up, to screenplays and I’ve got notes spread around our house with ideas on them. As you can imagine my wife loves finding these. So writing ceremonies and being in front of a crowd are a pleasure for me. I feel like I have found my calling. It’s very cool to be a part of something so special and unique in people’s lives. It’s pretty crazy going from doing comedy skits to being a celebrant, but I really do love it.”
What’s your favourite part of a wedding day?
“One of the best parts of this gig for me is helping the groom through the nerves when he’s waiting on his bride. I’m an out going guy, but on my wedding day I was shitting myself! I have no idea why, but I have found it to be a constant with most grooms. When I am there with them I like to crack a few jokes, calm the nerves so they can relax a little and enjoy the moment. Grooms are generally the unsung heroes on wedding days, weddings are usually about the bride, and usually you don’t see a groom’s emotions too much in the lead up to a wedding until that moment when they see the bride for the first time and that’s my favourite part of the ceremony. When everyone turns around and looks at the bride walking down the aisle, I turn and take a quick look straight at the groom. Often to see if he’s turned white so I can get ready to catch him, because honestly sometimes they do go grey or white and get a bit flimsy on the old knees, but I love that moment seeing their emotions and how they absorb what they’re seeing for the very first time. Like with you and Ryan, I wanted to see his reaction when he saw you in your beautiful dress walking towards him. It’s such a real moment and very seldom in life do you get such raw, true moments of emotion. It’s a highlight of the ceremony for me.”
What do you believe a good celebrant does?
“Honestly loving what you do. Like anything if you love what you do it shows and if you’re just going through the motions then that shows too. A good celebrant drives the wedding but doesn’t make it about them. They’re in the moment, yet mindful of where they’re standing and getting out of the way of important shots. No one wants to see a celebrant standing in the middle of a first kiss, especially with a back ground like this here at Carool! They connect with the couple and they need to be truthful. Believing what you say is very important as a celebrant.”
Number one tip for a good ceremony?
“Have a great celebrant! You need to like the person who is standing there telling your love story. You need to be able to relax and expose yourself to them. You’ve got limited time to form a rapport with someone who will relinquish some of the most intimate details of your life and ask really personal hard-hitting questions, usually about your first kiss, how did you propose, are your parents alive, are they together, what’s your family life like and often you’re looking at this stranger who you’ve never met before and finding yourself having to release this information and it’s nice to be able to do it with some who makes you feel at ease and comfortable. So having that connection with a celebrant is paramount to a good ceremony. If you don’t get along, it can make things really awkward and harder to relay important information to the wedding. And secondly, always have a wet weather plan!”
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding?
“Weather’s a big thing. Weddings can become a waiting game around showers. People forget music and vows! Another wedding tip, send your vows to your celebrant, they’ll print them out and bring them, so there’s always a back up copy. I’ve been a celebrant for 18 months and I’m yet to have a runaway bride, but I’ve had groomsmen be late”!
Tips for writing your own vows?
“Be truthful, make sure it comes from the heart. Not every two couples are the same. Never ever google vows. It’s so obvious when couples have googled vows. Ceremonies are the one opportunity where you stand up in front of people you love, family and friends and you can profess your feelings for this person you love, your wife. You often don’t get another opportunity in life to do that. So to google your vows can cheapen that moment. If they’re personal to you, even if they’re funny, or awkward, or calling her a pet name, it’s all about your real connection as a couple. If you start writing about you and your mate ship personally, it will come out in your vows and once you start writing about that stuff, vows just flow and happen pretty easily.”
How often do you travel to destination weddings?
“I’d say 30 % are destination weddings these days. I’ve done 3 in Bali. Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne. I’m a Gold Coast boy, Coolangatta kid, and I’ve got incredible destinations on my back door step, look at the view here, so I do love to do weddings here.”
Choosing a venue can be so stressful, what are some of your favourites?
“Sky at Ayana, Bali where you got married is actually a favourite of mine. There’s photographic moments everywhere you turn. Somewhere like here at Carool is great, where it’s a one-stop shop, you can have your ceremony, your reception and stay with all your guests. There’s so many new wedding venues popping up on the Gold Coast and they’re all postcard perfect.”
What do you do in your down time?
“I surf! Hang out with my family and kids. I also love to travel. I’m just like any other Aussie bloke, I love the outdoors, football and golf but I’m not very good at golf!”
Advice for a healthy marriage?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff is my advice to anyone who wants to spend the rest of their life with someone. No marriage is perfect. Having two different personalities live together forever is always going to be difficult, but what you put into it is what you will get out of it.”