You talkin’ to me?
I get to meet some incredible people as a celebrant. I find after I meet a new couple I usually end up hopping around our living room, exuberantly telling my husband that I just met an AMAZING couple who are SO cool and I want them to be our FRIENDS! I'm a very lucky girl to be able to interact with so many wonderful people on a regular basis.
As well as being generally awesome, the couples I marry have also been raised well. It seems that many of them were taught by their parents that you look at people when they're talking to you. Rightly so. It's a way of demonstrating that you're listening to and interested in what someone has to say. And it's (almost) always appropriate.
I may be going against years of etiquette and have Emily Post rolling over in her grave, but I give you permission to break this rule.
The one time when you can get away with not looking at someone who's talking to you?
Your wedding ceremony.
When I first began my celebrant career, I noticed that couples were looking at me throughout their ceremony instead of each other. It isn't because they don't want to look at one another, rather a result of conditioning. As the celebrant, I do most of the talking in a ceremony and as per polite convention, the couple will often fix their gaze on me. (I told you they were well-raised).
But relax. You don't have to look at me. I won't be offended, I promise.
Although I read the ceremony, I am not the centre of it. I'm simply the teller of a story that is ultimately about you and your partner. Just as with a good book, the focus should never be on the narrator but on what's at the heart of the story.
You only have one wedding ceremony. Absorb what's happening around you and most of all, share it with your partner. Do this through eye contact, holding hands or wiping away a stray tear on your partner's face - whatever works for you as a couple.
After all, when the ceremony is over and you're married, which memory is going to move you more? I bet a recollection of the beaming grin that spread across your partner's face as you said 'I do' beats the memory of the way the celebrant's mouth moved. Hands down.
Which is just as it should be.