John and Chandra both just love secrets as the following story will prove!
John and Chandra asked me to conduct their marriage ceremony 12 months ago but they wanted to keep their marriage secret from everyone except their parents. Chandra was expecting a baby and they both wanted to be married before the baby was born so decided to have a small ceremony with just their immediate family.
However they both really wanted to have a celebration with their friends and other family members so decided they would have a surprise ceremony on their first anniversary. By law this is not allowed to pretend to be a wedding so the invitations went out for “A Commitment Ceremony with a twist”
In my capacity as a nurse I work with Chandra and was required to keep this secret, it was a lot of fun. I kept my side of the bargain and no one was any the wiser even her good friends at work. The day of the Commitment Ceremony came along and excitement was buzzing at work, were they really going to get married and what was the twist?
The ceremony commenced with a PowerPoint presentation of their wedding day 12 months previously. The room of over 100 guests was silent as the information was absorbed and then the excitement as they realised what was happening. I was then called to the microphone to conduct the ceremony. It was a short ceremony where I told the story of their wedding and their wish to keep the secret. They then renewed their vows and exchanged rings for the first time. Little Jack their 10 month old son was a very cute ring bearer come pageboy! I had a lot of fun writing the ceremony and have included a few excerpts below. It actually turned out to be a double twist because they surprised everyone by revealing that they were already married and renewed their vows.
John and Chandra’s ceremony (excerpts)
Well here we are! I wonder what everyone is thinking! How about these mysterious two. John and Chandra, full of intrigue, secrecy, surprise and fun!
Chandra had a chat to me at work about 18 months ago she was in a dilemma John had proposed to her and they couldn’t make up their mind how to go about getting married. First they thought they would wait until after the baby was born but then John being a decent sort of bloke decided to do the proper thing and make an honest woman out of her. And Chandra having lovely old-fashioned morals decided they should get married before Jack was born.
So the arrangements were made but I was not allowed to tell a soul. Let me tell you when you go to work and your colleagues ask you what you got up to on the weekend it was very difficult for Chandra and I to reply with a casual “nothing much!” Another colleague from work who dropped off the cake got a bit suspicious and actually asked if this was the wedding. Chandra just carried on as normal and no one was any the wiser and the questions eventually stopped about when she was going to get married.
Personally I was terrified to cross Nicholson Street with the bride and groom in full regalia in case someone from work saw us! They enjoyed a lovely lunch at the nearby hotel after the ceremony.
As you have probably gathered by now today is John and Chandra’s first wedding anniversary! I was lucky enough to be the celebrant and now to round off my brief John and Chandra want to make their commitment public by having another ceremony in front of their cherished friends and family. So exactly one year ago to the day John and Chandra were married in the Carlton Exhibition Gardens on a hot summer afternoon just like today. The only people who knew were their parents……
Everyone was under the impression that the celebration was a family get together. John and I hid behind a tree until Chandra and her father came walking down the path in the beautiful gardens. I had also hidden the marriage documents and signing table. At the last moment as Chandra appeared in her wedding dress holding her father’s arm it became clear to the family what was really going to happen. The children were very excited.
John and Chandra are very happy to have their treasured friends and family here today to help them celebrate this wonderful event in their lives. They feel that now you are all here to help them celebrate, the ceremony is now complete and they are properly married.