A wedding celebrant is someone who officiates at a wedding and often helps couples write their wedding vows and create a warm, relaxed and special ceremony. Wedding celebrants are not restricted in what they can say in any way. But they do have a vital role to play in helping set the tone for a wedding that’s memorable for all the right reasons.
If you are married by a wedding celebrant, you’ll need to arrange the legal side of things separately.
As more and more people choose not to get married in church, the number of wedding celebrants is on the rise. Even Donald Trump wants to get in on the act. Can you imagine? And good wedding celebrants are in high demand, especially here in Mallorca.
So how do you find the right celebrant for your wedding? You could start, as I did, by chatting to Jackie Waldren, Deia’s own wedding celebrant.
When and why did you become a celebrant, Jackie?
I started in 2014 when I was asked by an events organiser, a friend of my daughter, if I’d be interested in conducting a wedding in English for one of her clients. She felt my experience as a university lecturer and public speaker would allow me to take on this new role. At the time, I had no idea what a ‘celebrant’ was!
What did you have to do to become one?
After I did some research online, I realised that there were no rules about performing ‘lay’ ceremonies. I decided I wanted to be ‘lay’ because it gives me more room for creativity when designing the ceremony. I began by meeting the couple, hearing their ideas and finding out a bit more about them.
What appealed to you the most about becoming a celebrant?
It was an exciting adventure into the romance of courtship and marriage, at a time in our modern society when so much has changed, and it still is.
What do you offer people?
An in-depth interview and an original, secular ceremony based on their life stories, integrated into a semi-classic framework: introduction, the story of how they met and their life together thus far. Most have lived together for between two and eight years, some have children and others are just beginning.
I offer a few insights into the challenge of marriage – the sharing, the compromises and strengths each brings to the union, coming together while preserving individuality and so on. They might write their own vows, or I give them choices of poetry or suggestions from past ceremonies I’ve conducted. Rings are exchanged and they’re pronounced man and wife, husband and husband, wife and wife or lovers and friends forever.
Yes, I’ve performed all kinds of unions most pleasurably.
Why do you enjoy your work?
Obviously, my own experience of 43 years of marriage gives me a rather positive approach to the ideal but the loveliest part is getting to know the hopes and dreams of others and how they set out to complete them. Every couple is unique and for a short time I can help them reach their goals by making this an unforgettable joyous occasion.
Where do your clients come from and how do they find you?
Most are from the UK. However, I have also done bi-lingual ceremonies where one partner is Spanish or Mallorquin and the other English. I even did a Dutch wedding ceremony on an ancient ship in the Palma Bay. In most cases I am contacted by the agency I started with and a few new people approach me each season.
Have you been a celebrant at any really special weddings and, if so, can you tell me a little bit about them?
The one on the ship was amazing, another on a mountainside was great. One with only the bride and groom and his two daughters was moving. Each one is special. One famous couple (unnamed) were moved to tears. Also, I did a renewal of vows after 30 years for just the couple under palm trees in an abandoned area.
How much time before a wedding should people work with a celebrant to write vows?
People usually begin with the events planner a year before the wedding date as there are so many details to cover and locals get booked up far in advance. I prefer to be contacted three to six months before the wedding date. I use a questionnaire to learn about the backgrounds of the couple, how they met, what they like best about the other, and anecdotes that can be included to lighten the ceremony and share with the guests. More often than not, they love to have a laugh during the ceremony.
Could you recommend venues in Mallorca for people who don’t want conventional weddings?
Weddings can be arranged in forests, on the beaches, in the gardens of dozens of fincas all around the island. City Halls and private owners set fees and have to give permissions. The events planners usually show the couple three or four venues depending on what they say they would like. Rustic weddings with wild flowers and straw barrels as seats, have replaced the elegant, formal garden ceremonies
Thank you, Jackie. If I ever decide to get married in Mallorca, I’ll know where to come.
If you’d like to talk to Jackie about her acting as your wedding celebrant, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +34 699957902.