A Day In The Life Of A Celebrant: Valencia Wedding
Before I became a Celebrant, I honestly had no idea what the job fully entailed or what the day to day would look like, and it is one of the things people ask me the most and are most surprised about.
The joy of working for yourself - as all self-employed people will know - is that the work is flexible. So, I can take time off whenever I like, go to walk my dog, see a friend for a coffee, BUT I also work long hours and often turn down plans because I have so much to do! There are lists coming out of my ears. But I love it.
This blog series “A Day In The Life” will hopefully give you an insight into what I do and will answer lots of questions that I get about how I spend my time, and what I actually do when I'm not at weddings! But as always, if you have any questions leave a comment below or send an email.
Last week I had the pleasure of travelling to Valencia to perform the wedding ceremony for a wonderful couple called Robert and Elizabeth. I travelled on Thursday afternoon by ferry and checked into my hotel, had dinner and got a nice early night for the busy day ahead.
Here is my diary of the next day.
Friday 8th June 2018
Rise and shine! I was going to skip breakfast and check out early and find a nice café to have brunch in, but I woke up hungry so went across the courtyard over to the restaurant for the breakfast buffet.
I went for a quick 15 minutes in the hotel's sauna - I wanted to try and squeeze in a little bit of luxury from a one-night hotel stay!
Shower, prep and pack my overnight bag again for check out at 12pm.
I read over the ceremony script for the wedding ceremony which is at 5pm and time it to make sure that it last the specified time, and double checked and organised the folder that I will give to them after the ceremony with the printed script, readings, custom designed certificate and a note from me.
Then read through past emails from a bride-to-be who has enquired for her ceremony next year at Aiyanna, in preparation for a call with her at 11am to talk in more detail.
WhatsApp video call with said bride-to-be.
We talked through the details of both ceremony packages, the differences between the Written For You and the Classic ceremonies and the process involved in each so that she and her partner can decide which is most suited to them.
She loves the idea of a personal ceremony, but her partner is drawn towards something more simplistic and traditional, so I talk her through the options that can be involved in each package to create a balance and compromise for them both.
Search on Google Maps for a nearby resort with a café or restaurants, which is also not too far from the wedding venue Maisa Campo Anibal, so that I can get some lunch (and some water, as the breakfast buffet did not include this basic survival essential!!) and work for the afternoon before heading to the wedding later on.
I check out and head to Playa Puebla de Farnals, a beach resort which is only 15 minutes away, and 10 minutes from the wedding venue.
The resort is very quiet, eerily so, which is great for getting work done, but I also wanted to enjoy the short time I have here, so I headed to a pool bar/restaurant called PROA, which had music playing loudly from its rooftop terrace which overlooks the beach.
After paying a €5 cover to get a table with a view (and a drink included, so not bad), I found out they don’t have wifi. Oops!
Not the end of the world, I connected my iPad to my personal hotspot from my phone and got writing. Whilst on the ferry to Valencia from Ibiza, I had made a list of around 40 (!!!) blog articles which I want to write, so I made a start on a few of these ideas.
Like I said earlier, I have so many lists, and they grow every single day, but I adore this part of my job, thinking up new ideas, getting excited about each one, and ticking them off when I’ve completed them.
Intermittently, I made Instagram stories because it is very pretty here. And because I was excited about being invited to Valencia for work and super motivated about all of the new blogs and ideas I had - and noone sitting beside me to share all of this with, so Instagram is my next best friend!
Break for lunch in the restaurant area of PROA, which is beautifully decorated, all white and blue – my absolute favourite colour scheme – and the food was delicious!
I ordered a platter of the starters - sliiightly too much for one person! But the hotel had been fairly (very) disappointing in terms of food & atmosphere, so I was hungry and in the mood to spoil myself a little.
Reply to emails from some of my couples who have sent me documents, additions that they would like to include in their ceremony, and answers to questions I had for them.
I paid my bill and took a couple of photos of the beach before I making my way to Masia Campo Anibal. I like to arrive early so that I can meet the venue organisers, be there when the groom and guests start to arrive, check the sound system, prepare the ceremony table and do a last read-through of the script.
I meet with the event manager Carmen, who shows me the ceremony area in the garden. It is SO. PRETTY.
She shows me around and then leads me to a room where I can work for a while until the groom arrives. I did sneak off to take some more photos though…
The groom, Robert, arrives! We spoke via video call two months ago when they first enquired and booked but we hadn’t met in person yet, so I went to meet him and made sure he was confident with all aspects of the ceremony and make sure he wasn’t feeling too nervous about anything.
We went through some last-minute details together and I let him know that I was around if he had any questions for me or needed me for anything at all.
I made some small updates to the script in response to our chat, so instead of reading from my paper folder that I had printed, I updated it on my iPad so that I could read from this instead. (I don’t like to read from a script which has pencil marks over it or changes scribbled in, as it can be distracting when I am reading aloud, and if someone catches a glimpse it doesn’t look very nice!).
I finish up my edits as guests will start to arrive in 10 minutes, so I make sure everything that I don’t need with me is put away in my car. I retouch my make up quickly and double check the script on the iPad, reading through it and checking the changes that I made are saved and correct. I have this document saved to my Dropbox, so I make it available offline and then I put my iPad into airplane mode, making sure there are no unexpected notifications popping up during the ceremony.
Guests start to arrive so I mingle and introduce myself to people and head over to the ceremony area to make sure that my table is set up as I want it.
I have a sound check with the technician to make sure the microphone is a good volume for everyone to hear, as it is a wedding of 130 people many will be standing in the garden around the back of the seating area, so it needs to be loud enough for everyone at the back to hear too.
One of the friends of the bride organises the seating of the guests and I speak another friend who will be reading during the ceremony. There are two options of where she will stand so she tells me where she feels the most comfortable and I let her know at which point in the ceremony I will ask her to come up so that she is not feeling anxious and wondering when her turn is coming.
The Maid Of Honour, mother of the bride and flower girl arrive. The bride, Elizabeth, is on her way, so we make sure that everyone is seated and Robert and his Best Man know their positioning of where to stand for her arrival.
The bride arrives, and I ask everyone to be upstanding for the bride as she begins her walk over to the garden.
The ceremony is absolutely gorgeous, and the couple is congratulated by all 130 guests as they leave the ceremony area and make their way to the cocktail area to start the rest of their evening together.
I wait around to congratulate the couple one final time, and they pass by me with their photographer as they have started their photos, so I am lucky to catch in a moment where it is just the two of them.
They are so happy and told me that the ceremony was exactly what they had wanted, and as you can see from the picture I snapped with them just after this, I was so pleased to be there and to have made them so happy!
I say my goodbyes and head off, leaving them to enjoy a magical evening with all of their family and friends around them.
I drive 30 minutes to Valencia port and sit to wait for my ferry back home. The ferry will depart at 21.30 but starts boarding 90 minutes before, so I arrive very early but I didn’t want to risk being late!
I people watch, listen to music and read a book to pass by the time, leaving work aside until tomorrow.
Board the ferry, get myself a glass of white wine and go and to make myself comfortable with some Netflix movies on my iPad, and finally relax after a whirlwind day and a half!