What do I actually do?

I lead my whole life in preparation to be your celebrant. Living the joy in my own marriage, leading my family, enjoying my friendships, travelling, living, drinking, sleeping, and eating, preparing for this succinct and breathtaking moment in your wedding. We’ll have meetings, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, coffees and beers. We email, talk, text, and DM, over months and years.

You walk down this aisle, everyone cheers, and then the crowd hushes.

You’re standing here, holding hands, and everyone waits for me to start talking.

What do I say? How do I say it? What vibe do I leave? How long do I speak for? Will it be too long or too short? Do I say and pronounce your name correctly? Will my PA speaker system actually work? How will everyone feel? Will I do anything awkward or weird? Do you trust me? What kind of marriage are we talking about?

It all comes down to that moment where I bring the microphone to my mouth and starting dropping syllables.

Someone watching me create a ceremony recently said that I just “ad-libbed” the ceremony because I didn’t read from a script. It’s so much more than that. I have to stand there confident about what I’m going to say after asking myself all those questions I just mentioned, and do it with a calm and happy demeanour, without burying my face and voice in a script.

I arrive an hour or more early, and I wait while you’re late, then stay around after to help with group photos or to help your Nanna to the reception.

I live an entire life preparing for these 18-minute-long moments we call a marriage ceremony. And it’s amazing, I’m so grateful I get to be that guy. Thank you for inviting me in.

Josh Withers @joshua