Ceremony top tips with celebrant Megan Thompson
Your ceremony truly sets the tone of the celebrations to come on your wedding day, so choosing the perfect celebrant, is crucial.
Tribe celebrant, Megan Thompson, not only comes with a tonne of talent and a wealth of experience, she is down to earth, relaxed and loves to keep the ceremony experience upbeat and fun.
We couldn’t resist sitting down with Megan and getting to know her better, as well as some top ceremony tips!
How long have you been a marriage celebrant for Megan, and what lead you to this profession?
I’ve been a marriage celebrant for 5 years now and in the time, I’ve also had my two beautiful daughters. So, I can say without any doubt that the last 5 years of my life has been the most rewarding both personally and professionally.
What lead me to become a marriage celebrant was quite random as I come from a banking and finance background, a completely unrelated field. The light-bulb moment actually came during my older brother’s wedding. I was sitting through the ceremony and felt as though I’d been hit with a tranquiliser dart!
The ceremony was morbid, uninspiring and not at all a representation of my brother or his soon to be wife. I remember sitting there thinking “how nice would it be to hear about the couple, their future and their dreams and to hear ceremonies being delivered in an upbeat and celebratory way – right balance between humour and romance.”
As I was sitting there, staring off into the distance, I decided that I was going to become a marriage celebrant and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made.
PS – I really hope my brother doesn’t read this! Sorry Leigh! Everything else was great!
You are clearly passionate about the wedding scene – what is it about your role that you love most?
For me it would be two things – the people I get to meet and the stories I get to write. Being a Celebrant really involves my two favourite things which are talking and writing. I love getting to know my couples and having lengthy conversations with them, wedding related or not. Understanding them individually and as a couple is what helps me capture their relationship for the ceremony.
You are always receiving such glowing praise from those you marry, what do you think couples gain most from working with you ahead of their wedding day?
I get told a lot that I’m a ‘relaxing presence’ and that I have a way of calming those who may be feeling a tad overwhelmed. My philosophy is that everything always works out and by the end of this ceremony, (rain, hail, 45-degree heat or any other extreme Victorian weather forecast), soon you will be married to the love of your life and that’s really all that matters!
Could you step us through the process a couple might go through to find the perfect celebrant?
To find the perfect Celebrant, the first thing would be to start this process at least 12 months in advance. Celebrant’s book out quite quickly so this is a must. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations or visit some online wedding blogs for listings. Once you have a shortlist, set up face to face meetings or video chat with them, simply to see if you connect and that their ‘style’ will suit yours. For instance, my style is quite relaxed and light hearted but I understand this isn’t for everyone.
Select someone you feel comfortable with and who you know will be super organised and most importantly, will write you a memorable ceremony.
A bride and groom are particularly shy and unsure of being in the ‘spotlight’ – what do you do in this instance?
I’ve worked with a lot of shy or introverted couples over the years who are completely freaked out by the thought of being the centre of attention or worse, public speaking. My approach is to never make them do anything they don’t want to do. If they hate public speaking, say the bare minimum. Hate being in the spotlight, simply turn up to your wedding and don’t feel you have to ‘walk down an aisle.’ Do what makes you feel comfortable. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to feel anxious about doing something that doesn’t come naturally to you.
Having experienced all kinds of wedding celebrations – you must have seen it all! What are some ways in which your couples have bucked tradition or gone against the grain when planning their ceremony?
Every year I’m seeing more traditions steam closer to extinction. As mentioned previously, I’ve worked with a lot of couples who are simply ‘turning up’ to their weddings and then asking guests to simply gather around to begin the ceremony. This always creates such a relaxed atmosphere and I love it!
I also feel that having readings throughout ceremonies are becoming a thing of the past. I always tell my couples that if you have always loved a particular reading or poem then let’s definitely have it in there but don’t just throw stuff in for the sake of it or as ‘filler’. Have what’s meaningful to you.
Symbolic rituals like candle lighting or sand pouring are also becoming few and far between! Let’s pop a bottle for that!
The ceremony is such an integral part of the day, what tips can you offer for couples unsure of how to make their ceremony a perfect reflection of themselves?
My biggest tip would be to collaborate with your Celebrant as much as possible. Give them the information they need to ensure your guests walk away from your ceremony having felt every emotion.
If your Celebrant gives you some homework, take your time with it and include anything at all you feel might be worth mentioning. A good Celebrant will know what to add or omit to make sure the finished product is amazing! My all-time favourite compliment from a guest at the end of a ceremony is “thank you, that was so them” – that’s how I know I’ve done my job properly.
Your ceremony will set the scene and mood for the celebrations ahead so a little effort goes a long way!
Can you share any great trends or changes to weddings that you are seeing come through at the moment? How are couples shaking things up?
Having both parents walk the bride/groom down has become a popular trend which I love. Sometimes the Mum’s get a bit left behind with Dad doing both the entrance and speeches so seeing Mum’s included more is a very big thumbs up!
Also, if you are having live music, pausing the ceremony for a live performance can be magical. A lot of the time the live music is just played for the entrance and exit but to actually have everyone stop for a moment and listen to a live song can create a very special moment within your ceremony.
Without giving too much away – what’s the biggest wedding day hiccup or hilarious story you have witnessed and can share with us?
Probably the biggest hiccup would have been during a beach ceremony in Barwon Heads. It was a late afternoon wedding and as the ceremony was proceeding, the tide which had been slowly coming in suddenly started rushing in and then a massive wave came in knocking down the arbour and causing the guests to pick up their seats and run! We reconvened on dry land and although the bride and groom were a bit devastated, they soon started laughing which is really all you can do in a situation like that.
Your top tips for beating on-the-day jitters?
That sometimes things don’t go to plan, rings don’t fit, words are said wrong and it might rain. It doesn’t matter.
The most important thing is that you have found your person and that doesn’t happen for everyone. Soon you will be someone’s husband or wife and that’s all that really matters.
Everyone there loves you and can’t wait for the celebrations to begin!