Welcome to The Busy Bride community
Jennifer Cram – Marriage Celebrant & founder of Pride Ceremonies
|Owner||Jennifer (Jenny) Cram|
|Location||Brisbane and surrounds, QLD|
|Travel available||Depends on the destination|
|Rating on Google||5 stars|
|Rating on Facebook||5 stars (Jennifer Cram, Brisbane Marriage Celebrant)|
5 stars (Pride Ceremonies®)
Getting to know Jennifer Cram – Marriage Celebrant
Sauce, Substance, Solid Know-How
What inspired you to become a celebrant?
To be frank, being a celebrant had never crossed my mind, and I had only been to one celebrant wedding before. Around the time the Marriage Act changed to allow individuals to apply, I recognised that my whole life experience of managing organisations in the Information Management space presented an opportunity. Writing, speaking at national and international conferences, stage and choreography experience, and wide travel and intercultural knowledge had solidly prepared me for celebrancy work.
My “bush-lawyer” mind didn’t go amiss either, but I still asked a wide variety of people what they thought. Every one of them encouraged me enthusiastically! At the time, I was five years into my breast cancer survivor journey and flying all over the world for work was no longer an option. I had to apply and wait for two years to become a celebrant, so in that time I not only did a lot of further formal study in celebrancy, but I set up the business and officiated non-legal ceremonies such as commitments, renewal of vows and baby namings.
Note from The Busy Bride – “bush lawyer” is an Australian term for someone who has legal knowledge but does not have a law degree.
What is your favourite moment during a couple’s ceremony and why?
It depends on the couple. For different couples, different parts are significant.
I marry a lot of refugees and a lot of older couples whose stories lend significance to various iconic parts of the ceremony. But the things that never get old are the quiet glances between the couple when their eyes communicate so much, spontaneous laughter, and caring and loving involvement of grandparents and parents in meaningful ways.
I still get warm fuzzies from the memory of grandparents, both of whom were suffering from dementia, presenting the rings, with help from the bride’s mother. The love that flowed between them was palpable. The grandparents may not remember, but it was a moment of pure joy, and the photos will help everyone relive it.
What wedding moment has given you the biggest “feels” so far?
The first time I got to say that marriage is the union of “two people”, rather than having to say “a man and a woman”, I teared up! Four years later, it never gets old to be able to acknowledge, legally, that love is love.
Knowing how much it means to same-sex couples who can now marry, and their loved ones who previously had the bittersweet knowledge that they could get married while their brothers, sisters, and others could not, is special.
Every wedding delivers a moment. Sometimes an obvious one and sometimes a very quiet one. But always a special moment that will live in my heart every time I think of that particular couple.
What advice can you give couples when choosing someone to officiate their special day?
- Do a little thinking and discussing before you start googling! Think about how you want your ceremony to feel both to you and to your guests.
- While an OTT celebrant might ramp up the party feel of the ceremony, do you want your guests to remember the celebrant, or the two of you?
- There’s a lot to be said for a celebrant who can create a great ceremony and hold the room while delivering it, but at the same time remain somewhat outside the limelight.
- Does your celebrant take the time to explain your options in terms you can understand?
- Does your celebrant share your values?
- Is your celebrant committed to ensuring the ceremony is a loving reflection of who you are and what matters to you?
- Does your celebrant have solid knowledge and understanding about the legal side of getting married, together with experience and the ability to create and deliver the ceremony?
- Is your celebrant a problem-solver? Not that any situation or request should be treated as a problem, but that all the skills necessary to come up with a great solution are present and willingly employed.
- Does your celebrant go with the status quo (you must/this is the way it is done), superficially tweak the status quo, or genuinely think outside the box with a fresh approach?
- Does your celebrant have presence?
Jenny’s insightful advice for choosing ceremony music and writing wedding vows is…
Music drives the feel of a ceremony to a huge extent. I tell people who aren’t sure about that one to watch a horror movie with the sound turned off! So, I suggest:
- Matching the music to the formality of the wedding. For very formal weddings, classical music sets the tone. For very casual weddings, anything goes.
- Don’t just listen to the lyrics – Google and read them. Then, skip any song with inappropriate lyrics.
- Double check with your venue and your celebrant as to what format your music needs to be in, and how it is going to be played. When live music is your choice, make sure it will work in your venue. An outdoors ceremony needs louder instruments (think brass) and instruments that can brave heat and/or moisture. Sun and rain are anathema to wooden instruments.
As for vows:
- Work on them together. While it is very common for vows to be a surprise on the day, that throws up lots of extra challenges. When you think about it, your vows are about how you are going to behave towards one another for the rest of your lives. So, it makes sense to negotiate those terms.
- Don’t try to pack your love story into your vows – that will be shared in other parts of your ceremony.
- Don’t copy vows off the internet! Recycling is wonderful, but not for emotions.
- Start with dot points and then flesh those out later, in conversational language that is recognisable as you.
- Consider giving the dot points to your celebrant so that they can turn them into sentences that flow.
- Don’t try to be too funny. Humour is great but it can also overwhelm your serious expressions of love and commitment Funny promises, and trivial ones, can be included elsewhere in the ceremony to great effect.
Jenny’s passion for meaningful marriage ceremonies shines through in her responses. In particular, her dedication to inclusive weddings. It’s been wonderful having you join our vendor community, Jenny!
If you have any questions about Jennifer Cram’s marriage celebrant services, please reach out at the details provided or drop us a line in the comments below.