Every wedding that Celebrant Margo Smith performs is as unique as the people she is marrying. Margo shares her experiences and explains why she loves the wedding industry.
Please introduce yourself and describe what you do.
I’m Margo Smith, and I’m a Commonwealth registered marriage celebrant who’s had the privilege to perform close to 600 weddings in the past decade. I believe I have the best job in the world – no one beats me for job satisfaction!
Where did the inspiration come from to become a celebrant?
I always knew that one day I would be a celebrant, as I’d listened to my mum perform weddings for years prior to me training. I saw firsthand that Mum’s role as a celebrant was vital to the couples’ happiness on their day, and how important that role was.
I feel honoured to now have that role in ensuring my couples always have a memorable ceremony to cherish for their lifetime. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what your budget is – I believe everyone deserves a beautiful wedding. I’ve been lucky enough to perform an elegant ceremony at the Packer estate, Ellerston, one week, and the following week I married a couple at a rehabilitation centre. Both were equally special.
Weddings are a beautiful celebration. Can you tell us about some of your most memorable?
The ceremonies I remember the most are the heartfelt ones – and that has more to do with the happiness of our couple, and nothing to do with age of the marriage partners or money spent, for example.
My oldest bride was 89, and she cried with joy – as did all their family and friends! In fact, most of my couples shed a tear or two – usually the grooms, who assured me prior that that would never happen! Guests are often overwhelmed with happiness and comment to me later that they could “feel the love” – and I know I’ve done well!
The fact that I love my job shows and is reaffirmed when guests contact me later to ask me to perform their impending ceremony, knowing they’re in good hands.
You have a busy year planned with your weddings. How do you keep your presentations fresh?
Every wedding I perform is personal and unique to my couple, to ensure the ceremony reflects who the marriage partners are. I encourage couples to write their own vows if they would like – but it doesn’t matter if that’s not their style.
I respect all choices, and I’m open to any suggestions my couples may have. I offer them many options, from how they would like to walk down the aisle, to how they would like to be announced at the end of the ceremony.
I have a lengthy questionnaire to ensure the ceremony is tailor made for that particular couple. I’m always researching and updating my words to reflect each individual couple and their personality.
You also do same sex marriage ceremonies. Are there any differences between them and men/women marriages?
I was thrilled with the introduction of same sex ceremonies and have performed many since that memorable day. I actively campaigned to ensure marriage equality was granted in Australia, and there were many tears when the yes vote came in. It was me that had to be consoled during the first same sex ceremony I officiated at – I was so very pleased for the lovely gentlemen, who had patiently waited 45 years for their day. I was proud to help them achieve their dream.
I’ve since been involved in many ceremonies, and some have been for the couples I’ve performed commitment ceremonies for in the past and they’ve come back to me to help make their union official. In reality, the same sex ceremony is no different to services I perform for heterosexual couples – after all, love is love.
I’ll always be proud of the fact that I was part of Australia righting what I believe was a terrible injustice, and the rainbow on my website is a cherished addition.
Can you give us your top three tips for future brides and grooms when it comes to planning their wedding ceremony?
I love helping my couples plan their whole day, and I’m often called upon to offer advice on everything from a good florist to how to write your own vows. When couples choose to book me, I email them booklets of ideas and suggestions on everything wedding.
To me, the most important element of the ceremony is your vows. Couples often write them together; however, the trend now is to write them in secret, and surprise each other on the day. Initially one or both parties may be daunted by this; however, I always offer to help if they would like, and I give them many examples to guide them. And, there’s always Google!
I offer the couple (and wedding party, parents and anyone else who wishes to join us) a rehearsal – often the afternoon before – to ensure that everyone is happy with the whole ceremony, and that the aisle in particular looks professional. I feel that the rehearsal helps to put the couple at ease and allay a few fears.
But most of all, I encourage the couple to make the ceremony a happy one, and try to enjoy their day as much as possible. I understand they’re nervous, and I encourage everyone to relax, smile and enjoy the best day of their lives. Then I feel my job is well done!