Celebrating Marriage

j&l12

An explanation of my values and approach to conducting weddings…

About Me

My journey into being a celebrant started as a young kid, watching my father play the same role.  This has inspired a diverse and creative public life of community work in homelessness, cross-cultural youth work and as an educator.

Since 2000 my household has been based in Footscray where, with Rachael and our three kids, our family life has been centred in a  dynamic network of community relationships and projects.

My call and work is best described as the cultural animation of people and groups. The Celtic tradition of my Cornish ancestors recognises the role of Bard as one entrusted to keep the truths of ancient stories alive for contemporary communities.

This presently occurs through my pastoral work with Newmarket Baptist Church in Flemington, a  ‘kooky kinda spiritual’ mob of recovering drunks, gluttons and party planning sinner-saints; where I am privileged to curate the Flemington People’s Pantry; a community food salvation project of welcome, work and worship for people of many nations and faiths who are ever growing in our understanding that if you read the gospels without getting hungry you’re not paying attention!’

I am an ordained minister of religion, legally accredited to do weddings through the Baptist Union of Victoria under ‘Baptist rites.’

Your’ Story

We are all familiar with the “insert name here” approach of Registry Office or traditional church weddings, where there is no attempt to personalise the ceremony or where the words and symbols are superficial, or lack meaningful connection with a couple, their community or the unique journey they have been on.  In fact words and empty ritual can easily destroy weddings or conceal what is true.

Paul the Apostle describes the union of two becoming one flesh as a “great mystery”. Because a wedding is one of the most significant spiritual occasions of your life I am passionate about authenticity, quality, and honesty.

I am interested in a wedding ceremony that truly expresses you and your story; the things which are important to you; and your own particular style.

In creating unique and personalised ceremonies I have often spent time exploring the words and images that are important to a couple and their relationship.  The way we see things is shaped by the stories we tell. I am interested in the way your words and images connect with bigger stories of meaning and how to appropriately celebrate these, be it via traditional forms, or through your own creations.

As a Christian minister the story of meaning out of which I operate and have authority to marry people come from the Bible and the living story of Christ in the world.  I can provide some insight from this and various other traditions.  In the busy-ness of wedding preparation many couples don’t always have time to think about such things.  In my experience such work can be useful in giving a language, framework and emotional/spiritual resources that will not only create a meaningful ceremony but provide hope and support for you in the many challenges that any relationship faces.

weddingpicYour’ Community

Weddings are not just about you, they are a public event.  One of my aims is to create long lasting and beautiful memories that capture a sense of who you are and where you see yourselves going for both you and your guests.  In reality however, weddings can also be expensive, difficult, even painful occasions where personal, family and cultural differences lie close to the surface.  This can often be expressed in strongly held views and obligations. As a rite of passage in our society, a wedding signifies changes in relationships. Sometimes the words and images of a new relationship challenge the traditions, stories and identity of our families and friends.  Where appropriate I like to sensitively name such realities and assist pastorally in navigating these complexities.  As an external voice there are sometimes things a celebrant can say and ask that are sometimes difficult for families on their own.

I believe good art should both communicate and challenge. Like a gospel parable; a good wedding ceremony should warm our hearts with the familiar and respect tradition, but also be able to take risks that cut through our sensibilities and defences to take us on a journey into new realms and possibilities.

In my experience I have seen that risking honesty can create great meaning for people beyond your own relationship and that weddings can even become a place of unexpected healing and reconciliation.

This is where I’m coming from and what I value so if you just want to ‘get done’ I’m probably not the guy.  I don’t do a lot of weddings but value creativity and quality and believe the process of creating an ‘amazing day’ can also help build a foundation for a good marriage.

My Marriage Menu/checklist appears below. As a ‘religious’ celebrant my minimum requirement is that you allow me to introduce myself as a Christian minister and to pray a short blessing upon you at the Declaration of Marriage. I can provide you with some options and resources, and as much guidance as you wish, but ultimately you make the final decision over what is included in your preparation and the ceremony.

Please feel free to ask me any questions. The Wedding Stuff page on my blog contains the content of various ceremonies I have played roles in and may be an initial starting point for ideas.

Meur ras ha Cres (Cornish for Much Grace and Peace)

163 Gordon Street, Footscray, 3011

m: 0421 076 804

email: marcus.curnow@gmail.com

ringsMarriage Menu:

This is a list of the variety of services that I can provide as part of your wedding preparation and ceremony.  Feel free to consider things you are interested in or things you are not.  This forms the basis of clarifying the extent of involvement that you seek from me for your wedding.

Legalities

Intention to Marry form and marriage information

Marriage Preparation Options

Prepare Inventory

  • Online Questionnaire (1½hours)
  • Feedback Session 1
  • Feedback Session 2 (optional)

Bible Studies

Marriage and Creation: A Source of Life: Genesis 1 & 2

Marriage and Vocation: The Call :Ephesians 5

Marriage and Covenant:  The Promise :Hosea 2

Creating the Wedding Ceremony

Exploring Images of Marriage and your Relationship

Creating the Liturgy

Design & Produce Wedding Program

Design Wedding Space

Rehearsal

On the Day

Preparation

liaise with venue staff, ushers, musicians and photographer

check Design of Space, microphones, chairs, other symbols/ elements

bring/test the PA system

diplomatically organise the guests for the greatest harmony

make sure all participants are present and will be heard clearly

provide any other assistance necessary

The Ceremony

Reception (MC or making thematic connections with the ceremony)

Beyond Words

Follow Up and Future

Money Matters

I don’t charge a set fee. I do ask couples to make a donation toward the work of Flemington People’s Pantry of Newmarket Baptist Church who allow me this time and from which my work is sustained. Some civil celebrants charge as little as $250 or as much as $1500 depending upon the level of involvement.  In making a donation, consideration of the value of the service provided in relation to other parts of the day; my expenses and the value of my time over the course of this process is appreciated.  Weddings can be expensive and financially stressful, rest assured this is my calling and whilst I’ve literally done weddings for a slab of beer or a night away my family, we greatly value your generosity.

wedding singers

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