My Most Memorable Moment as a Celebrant

Celebrant Nicki Sunderland shares her most magical moment on the job.


Family. Sometimes it can be complicated by dynamics. This was never more present to me than a recent second-time wedding I did for a gorgeous Waikato couple.

Their whole purpose for getting married was to unite their multi-generational family of step-children, children, grandchildren and step-grandchildren. Much laughter and goodwill ensued on the rehearsal day and the actual wedding day, as I tried to establish who belonged to whom and how they were all connected.

I realised pretty quickly that none of that mattered. They were family – one big, rambunctious clan, a little bit like the TV show Offspring, And this was not just the couple’s big day, but the whole family’s unique and much-awaited celebration. They were such an delightful couple to work with and they put their full trust in me. “Just come up with something you think would suit us, we’re not fussy,” was their brief. They looked forward to being married after many years together, and sometimes love, and sharing that love, is all that matters.

They chose Papamoa Beach as their location, and it was a wild, wet and windswept Bay of Plenty morning. The ceremony had to be moved indoors. I sat with the bride – fifty-something – as she stepped into her breathtaking white gown with her perfect makeup and hair, which promptly got rained on. She laughed, we all laughed, and she wandered off, hand-in-hand with her gorgeous groom, to be married by me.

The guests had arrived and we were all set to go when one of the page-boys accidently got his hand caught in a door. I scooped him up – ceremony papers aside – and wandered around the room with him on my hip. “Who is your mummy?” I asked his tear-stained face. One of the bridesmaids stepped forward. I had assumed she was the bride's daughter but she was actually her new daughter-in-law. “I’m his step-mummy,” she said. At that moment his step-sister Isobel looked up at me and slipped her hand in to mine and said, “I’m so lucky, I’m getting a new Grandpop and Nana today.”

We took our places and began. I fought back the tears for them, a gorgeous, haphazard family with all their unique connections to each other. My heart filled with joy for all of them and I felt so much pride to be able to make their dreams a reality as they became a ‘real' family. Squashed little page boy fingers and all, it was a perfect day for all of them. And for me.

Visit takeavow.co.nz and visit Nicki's Facebook page.


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