Ageist Judgement Makes Me VERY Cross

by Jennifer Cram (05/05/2019)  |  Categories: | Celebrants | Inclusive Wedding | Wedding Ceremony |
Angry MedusaFrankly, I don't stalk other celebrants. I've been in this business for long enough to be confident in my own style, my own creativity (and, though it is difficult for me to blow my own trumpet, having been brought up with a clear understanding of hubris) I'm pretty darn good at reading people and creating the ceremony they never knew they wanted or needed.

Actually, I'm more than pretty darn good. I'm completely brilliant!  What lies at the heart of that is that I DON'T JUDGE.

But I do get mega-annoyed when I read outright criticism of older celebrants framed as personal patting on the back by young, green, celebrants with 2 minutes experience as a celebrant, and clearly not much life experience if they think 50+ is the new "one-foot-in-the-grave, the other on a banana skin".

So, when I stumbled across a celebrant self-promotion in which said celebrant-for-2-minutes self-described as someone who "doesn't do Bogan or Circus, doesn't have one foot in the grave and doesn't have a blue perm rinse" I said some pretty rude things to my computer screen!

The first part of the statement doesn't make sense. Not sure how one would "do Bogan".  If that means that this celebrant doesn't do ceremonies for people she characterises as Bogan, that's A. Judgemental B. Snobbish and C. Stupid. It is a term I've never quite understood, anyway, because it seems to be applied randomly. If it means she won't do ceremonies in a manner she classifies as Bogan, frankly, I have no idea what that would be. Presumably one not littered with readings from Shakespeare, but really, who the hell needs a ceremony that is an anthology of other people's writing (the mark of a lazy celebrant) when a more powerful approach is to use simple, conversational language and to express the couple's feelings in their own words?

Doesn't do Circus? If that means including lots of other people in the ceremony. Bring it on. If that means you wearing what you want. Definitely. If that means riding in on horseback, including your furbabies in the ceremony, and giving me the opportunity to invent a one-of-a-kind ritual. I'm in!

And as for blue rinse. Gosh, how many brides, bridesmaids, and guests have I had the pleasure of interacting with who have blue, green, purple, pink etc streaks or ombre and who look fabulous as a result. At least she didn't suggest that we older celebrants smell of moth balls - which another just-burst-upon-the-firmament celebrant did a couple of years ago.

So, here's the reality. You don't know what you don't know, lassie. To be a great celebrant takes a lot more than ignorance shored up with vast amounts of ego.

Photo of Jennifer Cram, Brisbane Marriage
                    Celebrant with the text PRICE is what you pay me.
                    VALUE is what you get from me. GIFT WITH PURCHASE?
                    Absolutely! The Wisdom, Increased Empathy, and
                    Advanced Social Skills that come with age and
                    experience. PRICELESSIt takes hard work.
It takes thoughtful reflection.
It takes life experience.
It takes continuous learning.
It takes continuous improvement.
It takes modesty. Because unless you are modest you will think you already know it all and that there is no need for all of the above.

Far from turning the celebrant/wedding business on its head - something we are hearing boringly often - we older celebrants have been quietly doing that for years.

One of the things that guests at weddings almost routinely say to me is "I"ve never seen that before in a ceremony ..." (said in a good way!).

I was injecting spontaneity into my ceremonies years before a new celebrant decided an unscripted ceremony was the way to go. Spontaneous unscripted moments are one thing. A totally unscripted ceremony generally translates into someone's personal way of doing a ceremony without having to bother to get the couple to approve the ceremony. From day one, I've been using a huge amount of cultural knowledge, built up over many years living in other countries, together with research skills developed over many years working in the information field, to make sure that the ceremony honours you as individuals, respects your family background, and celebrates everything you are.

And I've never had to wear "look-at-me" clothing, or be centre-stage and centre of attention during your ceremony.

Perhaps, though, I've been too darn modest in the way I've been advertising myself, and too honest in making sure that my fees are reasonable, rather than indulging in ego pricing!

So, here goes. As a person, I'm kind, friendly, or, as one of my brides quite recently said, "...warm, down to earth, and incredibly helpful (think: like the cool Aunty who tells it like it is, and helps where it’s needed)"

As a celebrant, I'm pretty darn amazing! But apparently I don't have an ego to match .... or let that ego hang out enough!

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