There is always a small moment of butterflies just as I am about to begin a wedding ceremony. Despite having completed six hundred weddings, I still pause to mentally check in and remind myself that this wedding ceremony – like every other – deserves my best – rain or shine.
My good buddy and terrific speaking coach Steve Lowell says that everyone experiences some nervousness before going on stage. No matter how experienced you are there is a moment where you get butterflies in the stomach. The key to a good performance is taking that nervous energy and transforming it for your audience so that they can feel your message.
Ever speaker has their own method, habit or trick that kicks in this transformation. For me, I look upon all the happy expectant faces in the audience realizing that they are here to share and witness love. I pause, take a deep breath and focus on the present to share and witness love with them. In being present, I open my heart and my mind to the moment – and then I know that this wedding ceremony will get my best for:
The Couple. They have imaged this day for a long time. Having worked with them on the ceremony, they have it in their mind how it will be. It is their dream come true – and I have the duty to deliver on that dream. I performed an outdoor winter ceremony at Strathmere this January. I was with the guys lined up and the bridesmaids were about to enter the yard. The bride was tucked around the corner in the horse drawn carriage ready to come in when signaled. As soon as the first bridesmaid came out, the skies opened and it poured rain. “The show must go on” I reminded myself and onward we pressed. I focused on their love, their dream and spoke on.
The Family & Guests. They want to part-take in the best ceremony too. I can’t imagine how many times I’ve heard couples complain about sitting through a tortuous ceremony. With the rain pouring, the family and guests were there to witness the couples love but at the same time were getting sopping wet and cold (it is January in Ottawa after all). I had discussed this possibility with the couple in our planning meeting. So instead of hurrying through the heartfelt words, I skipped over some bits. The result was a well felt yet shortened ceremony. Once having witnessed the warmth of the couples love, they gratefully retreated to the warmth of the lodge where they were served hot apple cider.
Me. I take it upon myself to be there for the event and give it my best every time. I want to be satisfied with every wedding so that everyone present – the couple, family, friends, wedding vendors and me – know that we shared something special. When I walk back to my car, I like to be able to recite a quote from the movie Shrek – “That’ll do, Donkey. That’ll do.”