Lindy Cooke Celebrant


We all know that anything can and may happen when we least expect it. It’s for this reason that the power of improvisation is a skill which should be encouraged. Here are a few occasions when saying just the right words or using humour can save the day at a wedding.


Dropping the rings

This happened at one of my weddings early in my celebrant career. Back then, I used to ask the Best Man or ring bearer to place both rings onto my open ceremony folder at the appropriate time and I’d then ask the couple to select their partner’s ring in preparation for the ring exchange. On this particular occasion, there was a gust of wind and one of the rings was swept off my folder and onto the ground. Fortunately the bride wasn’t phased and was able to find it quickly but I often wonder how easy it might have been to locate it if the ceremony had been held on a beach!

I remember there being an audible gasp from family and friends when the ring was swept away. The best part about this story is what I said after it had been retrieved. I uttered the words “and that just shows you, ladies and gentlemen, that nothing of value will ever be lost from this marriage!” There were smiles all round after this so I knew it was the perfect thing to say.

Since then, unless there is a little ring bearer with a ring cushion, I suggest couples place both rings into the one ring box and have the Best Man step forward and open the box at the appropriate time. That way, each person can select their partner’s ring and hold it safely until they place it on their partner’s hand.

Certificates Flying Away

On the beach, high on a clifftop and in other situations where there are gusts of wind, it’s important to ensure that the marriage certificates don’t fly away either. I always put my paperwork inside a certificate folder and, if I’m on the beach or on a clifftop, I place a mandala (a beautifully painted stone) on top so that everything stays safe and can’t blow away. I also bring spare certificates with me in case of an emergency.



Normally, these could be expected from toddlers who, on the wedding day, are faced with a lot people they don’t know and are expected to walk down the aisle or take on another role as part of the ceremony. It may not always work, but I suggest having a rehearsal the day before, if possible, and running through things once only with any children so that they have an idea about what to expect. If things go awry on the day, it’s always best to go with the flow and be prepared to go ahead without this particular element.

The other times there can be tears are when partners see each other for the first time as one walks down the aisle. It can also happen later in the ceremony when one or both are saying their vows. Both can be quite emotional moments.

If you think either of these times might result in tears, you could consider having a “First Look”, a private 10 or 15 mins before the ceremony starts to help you both to feel a little more relaxed at ceremony time. Your photographer can capture some natural photos of the two of you which will be special reminders for you to keep forever. You’ll be able to read further on this option by heading over here.

Photo credit: Anna Barber Photographics

An alternative is to mingle with your guests before your wedding begins so that much of the stress melts away. The couple pictured above decided to go with a “First Look” and mingled for 15 mins or so with their guests before the groom gathered everyone together for the ceremony by striking a singing/prayer bowl with a mallet several times. It got everyone’s attention without being a jarring intrusion.

Building a rapport with your celebrant will also help as they’ll be able to give you time to catch your breath when you need it and allow you to enjoy the ceremony part of your special day. Supporting each couple is such an important part of our role.


Lastly, technical difficulties can arise even when you’ve prepared and tested everything ahead of time. If it concerns the sound from a PA, or your photos or video, each supplier will no doubt have a Plan B. Whatever happens, the important thing to remember is that, at the end of the day, you will be married and embarking on a fabulous new chapter in your life! While we would all love things to go off without a hitch, there are occasions when it’s not always possible. It’s more about how you react to things that matters.


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Planning is key if you want your wedding to go seamlessly. Communicating regularly with your suppliers, making a checklist and not leaving things to the last minute are all strategies which will help things to flow on the day. Where something goes awry, the power of improvisation will often save the day (many times without family and friends being aware of the need for it at all.)




103 – ©Lindy Cooke Celebrant

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