Telling (well, announcing if we’re honest; I’m rather proud of it, I must say) people that I am a marriage and civil union celebrant is often met with shock/astoundment/weirded-out-ness/disbelief; perhaps because those who wed are often pictures as fuddy duddys in a short of beige pantsuit (not in a stylish way; more a three breeches and a brooch fashion)? Or because of my age and somewhat buzzy personality? Anyway about it, people seem to find it unusual. Probably me more than anyone too; when I actualy consider the fact that I have the power to legally unite a couple, I’m a tad weirded out myself.
So. How did it all come about?
At the tender age of 16 I was working at Onyx Cafe & Bar, a thriving restaurant in the heart of Cambridge (where I have actually worked on and off for the past eight years and – let’s face it – will probably be donning my black Chucks and apron for shifts yet again in the forseeable future). I worked with a lass called Aroha, two years my senior. As a duty manager I feel at first feelings towards me were not all that favourable (I.e., she didn’t want a bar of me and I’d be sent home after the obligatory two hour at least every night she was in charge) but I soon won her over with my erratic charm and we became chums.
She started seeing a lad by the name of Aaron and I informed her that I could feel the two would get married one day. “Rack off,” she responded. “No way.”
“Oh way,” I enthused. “And what’s more, I’m going to be the one to marry you fellas.”
It was an ongoing joke over the next fair few years, when in 2013 (during one of my away spells) Aroha called me.
“I’m engaged!” She hooted. “To Aaron. You were right.”
After a few hoo-rays and discussions about the when/what/where, a thought struck me like a Spaniard impailing some Iberian ham.
“Bro,” I said. “Should I actually look into what it entails to marry you?”
And so began the application. Lengthy, it must be said; lots of forms and what not (good thing I adore surveys/Q&A’s/filling in info about myself). Then the phone interview. Then the in-person interview. And finally the phone call and follow up email letting me know that yes, I had been successful and that yes, I could legally wed any two consenting adults among New Zealand soil (provided on criteria such as that they were not already united in matrimony, that they were both in sound mind and that the two witnesses to sign the registry were not inebriated – I.e., not bladder we after partaking in too many morningn champers).
And I wouldn’t say all in good time; the paperwork came through a mere three weeks before the wedding date of Mr and to-be Mrs Croft.
But my word (pun), how I adored prepping for that wedding! Writing the script, aiding in writing the vows, putting together the groom’s speech and proof reading and editing all the programmes and what not. Getting to know what really made the two tick, constructing a script that was suited to them as a couple, leading a recital run through of the ceremony the day before the big day; it was fab, well and truly, and I think I was on par with Aroha for behind the most elated.
So it was kind of done for a one-off thing. Marry one of the best mates, havea great ha-ha for the rest of our lives that we’d actually done what we said we’d do when we were mere teens, havea extra line that sounded rather fabtastic at the bottom of my CV. Done that, for the t-shirt (well, the title), move on to the next random thing in the life of APRWW.
But a funny thing happened. People started approaching me asking how much I charged. Asking if I’d be around in the summer of ’16, autumn of ’17, the spring of 2022 (ok, a bit of an exaggeration on the old date front, but my word some people plan in advance!). At first I had a chuckle at the thought of it actually becoming a “thing” but then it struck me (once again like the knife of a Spaniard carving up some berrano; did you know one dude gets paid thousands and thousands to slice jam for celebs? Having done so for big names such as Barack Obama, Robert Redford, a number of other Hollywood heart throbs and heroines? Ridiculous right?); why not make it an actual thing?
So. Part of the plan for the old return next year is to make a bit of a side line go of it. Just a little venture, wedding couples throughout old Feb/March especially, in my element writing up scripts and being amongst all that love and hosh tosh.
And the best part perhaps? The incorporated pun: POP the question.
So. Any one looking to wed? ‘Cause I’m looking for engagements (oh you glorious pun you).