Love and Laughter make for an Unboring Wedding

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant  © (30/01/2020)
Categories: | Wedding Ceremony |
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Chalkboard reading
                          here's to love and laughter and happily ever
                          afterI've never met a couple who wants a boring wedding ceremony - even those who just want the barest minimum they can get away with and still be legally married. And I can't recall a single time I've met with a couple to talk about their wedding that we haven't laughed.

Laughter is terribly important in relationships. There are all sorts of reasons people fall in love, and all sorts of advice freely given about what you should look for in a potential life partner. Common among these and way up at the top of the list is how important it is to fall in love with someone who makes you laugh. Because, in the long run, you will need someone who can make you laugh to help you get through tough times.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post. Other than getting the legal bits right, to me spontaneous and shared laughter is the most important ingredient for a wedding ceremony. It lifts the mood. It relaxes everyone. When everyone is laughing they are engaged in an experience. They are not merely an audience. And having a partner who can make an off-the-cuff remark that settles your nerves during the ceremony is pure gold.

A ceremony memory that will never fail to warm my heart - even though it happened years and years ago - illustrates that point, beautifully. We had gotten to the vows. The couple had chosen to read vows to one another. Part way through, one groom choked up. Smooth as silk, the other said "Look at me, Kimmy". General collapse in laughter, nerves settled, vows done and dusted and happy smiles all round. [PS for anyone who doesn't get the reference, its an oft-repeated line from Kath and Kim.]

I suspect many couples are wary of saying that they want their ceremony to be funny because they've been subjected to a wedding officiated by a "stand-up comedian" celebrant. Dad jokes and one-liners that direct attention to the celebrant (and often embarrass the couple), make for an eye-rolling ceremony rather than an engaging one.

Genuine humour, particularly when it is pertinent both the moment and to everyone present, can break tension, can keep everyone in the moment and sharing it, rather than distracted by whatever unexpected intrusion there might have been. After all. Laughter is how our bodies respond to a thought.

You don't have to wait for the reception to laugh and enjoy yourselves


When you stand up in front of your guests to make a commitment to one another that is so serious that it will change your legal status forever, it is a solemn occasion. But the mood doesn't have to be funereal.

Your wedding ceremony is not just a legal matter, it is also
  • a reflection and expression of who you are as a couple - with all your quirks, shared history, interests, and personalities. It is the sharing of these insights that add to the enjoyment your guests feel
  • an opportunity to make your guests feel included, and there is no better way to do that than laughing together, so let laughter be the gift you give to your guests at both your ceremony and your reception
  • the best mechanism of breaking tension and allowing everyone to relax and be in the moment
Your guests come to your wedding wanting not only to be witnesses to your happiness, but to feel that happiness themselves. So, regardless of whether you are aiming for a casual, laid-back vibe, or have something amazingly formal (perhaps a theme wedding) in mind, give your guests (and yourselves) the gift of laughter.

Ensuring love and laughter ...


Your wedding is not a play, a stage show, or the Oscars Award Night, so be careful about how it is scripted. There is not going to be canned laughter. To work, it has to be spontaneous. This is where a great celebrant comes in. A great celebrant who knows how to create a wedding ceremony where the tone and mood changes - make them laugh, but also make them cry (in a good way), make them feel mushy round the edges, perhaps, and then make them laugh again, all without it looking artificial and scripted. But that also means that you need to give your celebrant great material.
  • Stories
    When I first meet with couples they often tell me funny stories about things that happened along the way to them falling in love. Human beings love stories. We live for stories. TV and movies would not exist if not for that. And lets face it. The quickest way to have someone glaze out is to tell them about your perfect holiday, or perfect renovation, or perfect anything. What we love, most of all, is disaster stories - how things did not go according to plan. Finding the humour in those situations is life-affirming, relationship strengthening, and a great way to make people laugh. So I will ask for stories, and we will work together to weave them into your ceremony.
  • The Unexpected - Unplanned
    However well-planned your ceremony is, there will almost inevitably be something that doesn't go according to plan. What my role, as your celebrant is, is to hold it all together, and sometimes that means acknowledging with humour (as long as nobody was hurt) what happened - helicopter overhead, flock of cockatoos sqwawking loudly as they swoop past, a loud question or remark from a small child - because doing so immediately brings a sense of connection as we are all experiencing it together. And then there is the spontaneous addition to the ceremony by the couple, which only happens if you are feeling relaxed and confident.
  • The Unexpected - Planned
    The Unexpected is a key element of comedy - and of verbal humour. Planning a surprise or two for your guests can be a great way to inject both fun and laughter into your ceremony. But please, no slapstick. So no "I've forgotten the rings" pocket-patting (that has gotten so old that any laughter is likely to be embarrassed titters). And definitely, nothing that that puts someone on the spot, nothing that is divisive or sexist, nothing that will embarrass, and no pranks. And it is best to avoid going for a cheap laugh in your vows.
    Instead, why not think about whether any of these ideas would work for your wedding
    • an irreverent reading - I can definitely help with that
    • an unusual music choice - I'm dying for someone to choose to walk down the aisle to the theme song from the TV show, New Tricks
    • the two of you speaking directly to your parents or other special people rather than having your expressions of love and gratitude delivered third hand by the celebrant. I had one bride who said some lovely things to her mother, and ended with "And for my teenage years, I'm truly, truly sorry!" It brought the house down
    • participation by guests - I had one couple who jumped the broom, their best man picked it up as he walked out behind them, and laid it down at the end of the aisle, turned around, and invited all the guests to jump it as they walked out. That ceremony certainly ended with a lot of laughter, and, I suspect, some pretty amazing photos.

It's all about sharing the joy ...


If you're still unsure about making room for laughter in your ceremony, think of it like this. You invited your guests to be present at your wedding because you want them to share your happiness. Giving them the gift of laughter shouldn't wait until the reception. Your guests will love you for it, and your wedding because of it.

Thanks for reading!
Jenny xxx Let's talk soon about how you
                          can have the best ceremony ever
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