If you pride yourself on your style, creativity and desire to delight an audience, aim to make your wedding experience your greatest achievement yet. It’s not about spending big bucks, it’s about having big ideas then executing them with flair and originality.
Assuming you don’t have the budget to stage an event that would shame Cirque du Soleil into retirement, the best way to wow your guests is to design the entire ceremony/reception experience so it tells your unique story in a manner that is meaningful and entertaining.
The aim of this article is to pass on a few storytelling tips I’ve gained over my own journey as a comedian, Master of Ceremonies, speech-writer and celebrant. By mulling over the following thought starters, and discussing them with your partner, you’ll be able to clearly articulate the essence of your story, and also be well prepared to brief those who may be helping you express this story, such as your photographer, celebrant, MC and any guests making speeches.
So, what do I mean when I say ‘tell your story? I don’t just mean the words that tumble out of a few mouths. I mean using a rich range of ceremony and communication elements to convey the various aspects of your journey. Approach your wedding day like you’re creating a living work of art or piece of theatre, with your relationship playing the central role. Craft a narrative made up of one Ah-hah! moment after the other and take your guests on a roller coaster ride of fresh insights into your lives, both as individuals and as a couple.
But how do you do this? It all starts with finding your sweet spot.
Photography: Same Love Photography
Finding your Sweet Spot
Your first task is to identify the core ingredients of your story, your partner’s story, and your story as a couple. To this end, I have developed a process that looks at your lives from three angles:
This is the sum of all those things that comprise ‘the real you’ … your own unique blend of character and personality ... plus physical and mental attributes. For many people, their core identity is established at a young age, and they stay that way. Other people may go through a massive change during their life – it’s as if they didn’t work out who they really were until much later.
This refers to your insights, wisdom and expertise. This is not so much what you got from genetics or your family, but what developed over a long time … and this can take us more deeply into your work, business or community interests. What great ideas have you or your partner come up with, separately or together? What have you become highly skilled at? And how do these skills and ideas play out in your relationship with each other, and in your relationships with friends or family?
What is it that has inspired each of you to do the things you’ve done, and be the person you are? Nature? The arts? Social justice? Inspiration often reflects what you see as your life purpose or reason for being. Also, what inspires you as a couple? And how do you inspire each other? There’s a certain energy and spirit that flows through each one of you as individuals, which turns into something quite magical because of your relationship. And in the future, it will flow through you to inspire others.
Photography: Love Is Love Photography
The overlap between Identity, Ideas and Inspiration is your sweet spot, and that’s what you want to build your story around. Your sweet spot should be the source of those Ah-hah! moments you want your guests to experience on your wedding day.
I expand upon this storytelling process in the embedded video clip, Love, Life, Laughter: How Happy Couples Tell Their Story
The Celebrant Storyteller