Charis white is a Melbourne wedding celebrant with an enormous amount of experience in weddings large and small all over greater Melbourne and Victoria, for every type of couple you can imagine. With all her experience in running brilliant ceremonies, Charis shares her thoughts on how to write a wedding ceremony, how to write your vows, and how to ensure that it’s a smooth experience – especially for the shy and introverted.
When you consider how to write a wedding ceremony, what are the perfect elements a great one, and how do you personally service them?
Getting to know the couple well means they will have a great ceremony. At a wedding I did recently, a guest asked if I was a friend of the couples. This is the best compliment ever as it shows I really know them and reflected their story in an awesome way.
Do you recommend a process for couples to think about their vows content?
I ask them if they have an idea about what they want to talk about. If not, then I give them some vow inspiration to look over and guide them along. I also read over the vows and offer advice and guidance.
What are your best tips for couples that are shy at the idea of being vulnerable in front of their community?
I tell them to face each other, that way they are only seeing the face of their bestie. If you are nervous, a reassured look can calm you down. I am also up there with them to reassure them and guide them through the process.
How do you take the inner vibes of your couples and translate that into an overall wedding ceremony that’s meaningful to them and congruent to their vows?
When I meet my couples, we have a chat about their day, their expectations and the overall vibe they want their ceremony to take. Once we have chatted through their story, I send them a questionnaire with more comprehensive questions. I also give my clients the draft to look over, it reassures them.
In terms of their vows (see Jake writing his wedding vows), I cast my eyes over them to make sure they are both semi aligned. EG, if one vow is very funny, then I will go to the other person and tell them to weave in a little humour.
That way they are both balanced.
How do you ensure that aside from the couple, their family and community is entertained or spoken to by the ceremony?
I talk about family and friends in the ceremony. I also love engaging with people prior to the ceremony, especially the oldies and kids.
If there is a way to weave a few friends into the ceremony story, I love to do this and love the relatability of it.
I see a lot of vows written the morning of the wedding. Brave! What is your advice on writing the vows ahead of time or in the moment on the day?
Laura and Walker looking super cinematic. See why I shoot film.
My advice is totally against this. Actually, I bully them into giving them to me prior. JK. If the couple wants me to have their vows, so they do not need to carry anything on the day of their wedding. I ask for the vows prior to the ceremony. I then populate them into the final draft.
My timeline on this is at least two weeks prior to the ceremony. Sometimes I get them the morning of.
However, most couples are pretty good with getting them to me on time. I also look over their vows prior to the ceremony.
Long story short – don’t leave your vows until the last minute!
Your top three parting tips for couples looking to hire a celebrant?
Follow your gut, trust the process and believe in your team.
Find Charis White online (and hire her for your Melbourne elopement):
See here for how to plan wedding music.