Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Role of Children in Your Wedding Ceremony

As a mother and grandmother, I must admit I like to do wedding ceremonies which include blended families, and I try to write the children into the ceremony whenever I can. This little boy was the ring-bearer at a wedding earlier this year, and carried the rings in this conch shell I provided. We took this picture so he could use it for "show and tell" at school.

A beach wedding on Seven Mile Beach is ideal for a casual wedding with children. They enjoy playing in the surf and searching for shells and other stuff. One of the easy ways to involve children in a beach wedding is to use "the blending of sands" ceremony. This is appropriate and meaningful, instead of the "unity candle" ceremony.

Sometimes parents choose to give the children a small token like a bracelet or a pendant on a chain, immediately after the exchange of rings. This makes them feel a part of this new family, and establishes their important place in it.

Traditionally we use flower-girls and ring-bearers, but if the children are bigger than more thought needs to go into an age-appropriate role, including getting them to actually have a speaking role in the ceremony. Since I give my couples a personalised script of the ceremony, this becomes anotheer memento of their very important day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What's in a Name?

In January 2007 I was appointed as a Civil Registrar of Marriages for the Cayman Islands. I had been a Deputy Civil Registrar for 12 years, but this meant I would have my own Register. This is a picture of me receiving my certificate of registration from the Honourable George McCarthy, OBE, JP, the Chief Secretary of the Cayman Islands, while his office manager, Mrs Christine Wright looks on. I am one of two Civil Registrars in the Cayman Islands, my mother, Francine Jackson was the first Civil Registrar appointed.

My position is also known as Marriage Officer, Wedding Celebrant, or Wedding Officiant. What it means is that I am registered in the Cayman Islands to perform marriages.

Once I have officiated at a wedding, there are 3 copies of the Marriage Certificate. One certified copy is given to the couple, one is kept in my office in what is known as a Marriage Book, and the other is filed with the Registrar of Marriages. I always encourage couples to get a copy of their Registered Marriage Certificate. This is the legal document they must have as proof of their marriage when they go home. Usually I mail it to them within 5 days of their marriage, but sometimes if they are staying in Cayman for a couple of days, I drop it off at their hotel or condominium.

European couples often find they have to get an Apostille stamped on their Registered Marriage Certificate. This is a form of authentication which is only issued by the Governor's Office. Most times I arrange this for my couples.

Some of my local couples call me "Judge", this is because in their country a judge, or magistrate is allowed to perform marriages. I am a Justice of the Peace, which is a lay magistrate but I don't sit on the bench in our courts, although I could sit as a magistrate in some of the courts like Juvenile Court, or Traffic court. I am also a Notary Public, and I find this useful in my work as a Civil Registrar.

Lastly, I have an MBE (Member of the British Empire). This was awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for services to the Cayman Islands.

Quite often I have potential clients ask for my credentials. I think this is fair. The other thing I get asked is how many weddings I have performed. So far this year (as of 11/26/07) I have done 71 weddings, by the end of the year I will probably have done 100 or so.

What you might not know is that my mother and father are also Marriage Officers. As the owners of Cayman Weddings, they were the first wedding planners in the Cayman Islands. Between them they have done over 6500 weddings in 23 years! So you see, I am carrying on a fine family tradition, and one which I enjoy very much.