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The man you want to see on your wedding day

Celebrant David Emery knows how to make your day perfect and looks great doing it.

Words: Damien Woolnough

22th May 2018

With a warm smile, chiselled jaw and eyes that refuse to stop twinkling, Sydney celebrant David Emery is just the man you want guiding your wedding ceremony.

But there's more to picking a celebrant than pin-up good looks, so Emery is here to help, no casting couch required. He's already done the deed on television monolith Married At First Sight but away from the reality tv cameras he's more realistic about happy ever afters.

How should couples go about selecting a celebrant?

I'd ask for recommendations from friends first and suggest chatting to at least three celebrants face-to-face to compare costs, find out what the celebrant will provide creatively and to make sure you get along.

It's like dating. Your wedding guests are generally a really diverse group of people, so you want to know you’ve got someone who will connect with all of them and reflect your values as a couple in the ceremony.

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What makes a great celebrant?

I think being inquisitive is the most important thing. To make your wedding personal and memorable the celebrant should be asking you questions to make sure they're creating a ceremony exactly to your needs.

Being flexible with planning makes a difference too. If the groom and groom want to change the running order the night before, that should be totally fine.

What is your favourite part of the ceremony?

The moment couples first see each other always makes me smile. You see such a range of emotions - excitement, nervousness, and often a lot of tears.

Before the law was changed, straight couples would often ask me to say that they didn’t believe in the 'marriage is between a man and a woman' bit which I was legally required to say.

As a gay man, having straight couples on their wedding day take a stand for the rights of my community always got me choked up.

You see such a range of emotions - excitement, nervousness, and often a lot of tears.

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How do you feel about gay couples creating new traditions?

The thing with a tradition is that the familiarity of certain phrases or moments is what makes the wedding feel real to a lot of couples. So keeping some traditions like the kiss I would say is important. Adjusting elements like the bride walking down the aisle to both partners walking down the aisle together or individually from different sides or going all out and doing a kabuki drop in a theatre to reveal the wedding party can still offer the same feeling to the guests without assigning traditional gender roles to either one of the people getting married.

Gay or straight, finding traditions that are specific to your culture always enhances a ceremony. One couple planned a G&T ceremony instead of a tea ceremony to modernise an element of their Chinese background which I thought was fun.

And, of course, legally there are still a few things your celebrant will need to include in the ceremony so it's not totally carte blanche.

How long should couples kiss for during the service (the couple getting married that is)?

As long as they want - go for it! I’ve had couples kiss most of the way through the ceremony because they’re so happy to be getting married. I would recommend practicing the kiss and having the conversation about what you’re going to do. A dip seems romantic until someone puts their back out, and going for a massive pash when your partner is more reserved doesn’t set quite the right tone for the marriage.

Why get married?

Because it’s not just about the couple, it’s also about their community. It’s about asking your friends and family to support you in the challenges that lie ahead. A wedding changes the conversation of a relationship from loving someone in that moment when life is great, to loving them in those unknown times when it may not be. That takes faith in yourself and faith in your partner and if you have that, you deserve to celebrate it with everyone you love.

Contact David Emery

A dip seems romantic until someone puts their back out.

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