I came very close to bailing out of my first televised vow renewal ceremony, not from any kind of stage fright but from pure frustration at the whole process causing me to let people down and stretch supplier trust to the limit. This is my behind-the-scenes story.
When the television company comes calling
Now I am the first in line when it comes to marketing and promoting my celebrant business in southern Spain. Having recently won The Celebrant Directory Best European Celebrant Award through my promise to raise the profile of Spain as a destination wedding location I was beyond thrilled to be asked by our local commercial owners association to take part in a televised wedding ceremony and fulfil my commitment to my Spanish supplier colleagues.
Pride was my first mistake.
Personal pride was my first mistake
I assumed that the television company would follow me on the build-up and officiating on the day of a real ceremony, so supplied them with a list of actual wedding ceremonies. But they of course had their own agenda and their own timetable for filming and none of my real weddings were a good fit.
Trying to keep things as authentic as possible I stamped my little celebrant foot and refused to officiate a fake wedding but offered the TV company a real vow renewal ceremony instead.
It turned out that it wasn’t a television programme just about weddings in Spain at all, it was a programme to promote the small coastal town of La Herradura where I live incorporating as many local businesses as possible. I was to be one of many featured in the programme.
Naivety was my second mistake.
Don’t believe the TV wedding hype
A TV journalist arranged to meet me at a beach bar to find out some background research…. and to see if I could speak Spanish.
She was incredibly flattering, said how my idea for a Spanish vow renewal ceremony for a sweet young couple still totally besotted with each other would make a wonderful TV wedding.
We agreed a Friday morning filming schedule for a beach ceremony in the Costa Tropical sunshine, kissed each other on both cheeks as you do here and I left the meeting buoyant.
Letting people down was to be my third mistake.
Be prepared to be let down
I lost no time in contacting my proposed vow renewal couple, we started a WhatsApp group discussing whether the bride would wear her original wedding dress, how many guests would be permitted and how excited they were to be on the television.
I have some great contacts with wedding suppliers locally and confirmed an established florist in the same commercial owners association who was immediately on board. We had a site meeting and planned the beach bower and bouquet along the lines of a boho ceremony that the florist had worked on the week before. Great!
Then came the call from the journalist.
· They didn’t want a Spanish couple. They wanted an English speaking couple.
· And they were changing the filming to a Sunday at 8pm in the evening.
Thinking I had any kind of artistic control at all was my ultimate rooky error.
Artistic control is a rooky assumption
Letting down the Spanish couple was utterly horrible, their disappointment was palpable. And the florist was no longer available, she was already booked.
With just one week until filming I was back to square one.
I reached out to some friends who had once told me they would love a vow renewal one day. That day was to come sooner than they thought!
Now the beaches of the Costa Tropical are fairly quiet in the week, but this glorious horseshoe shaped Mediterranean bay is extremely popular with exuberant Andalucian holiday makers at the weekends. A Sunday evening beach ceremony was likely to be photo bombed by scantily clad sunbathers, jet skis and noisy Spanish families with a different concept of personal space and tranquillity.
A new florist in the town confirmed availability and we had a second site visit identifying the cocktail terrace of the beach bar as a perfect way of avoiding the worst of the disturbance.
I chickened out of phoning the journalist and texted our change of location instead – telephone calls with irate, fast speaking Spanish are to be avoided at all costs.
Hahahahaha! Seconds later I was on the receiving end of a tirade – it was to be a beach ceremony, end of discussion.
The day of the TV wedding
I had organised a couple of local guitarists to play for the bride’s entrance and exit. But on the morning of the filming I was informed that we would be joined by a batucada band – a kind of hypnotic African salsa percussion and drums combo.
Another let-down; the guitarists were not going to be making their TV wedding debut either.
Ana Mena the florist was having none of your boring boho, she created two towers of bright happy tropical flowers to contrast with the Mediterranean sea behind and the biggest, most vibrant bridal bouquet, hairpiece and groom’s buttonhole you could imagine.
The vow renewal couple absolutely rocked the brights, they looked amazing!
Michal Carbol the photographer I hired to capture images of the whole experience was surreptitiously everywhere at once. Taking photos of me getting miked up; the TV presenter interviewing me in Spanish pre-ceremony; the fabulous ceremony itself (which was the one thing I had TOTAL CONTROL over) with its ring warming, vow renewal and red thread of destiny ritual; a second Spanish post-ceremony interview and of course the overwhelming instant fiesta-making rhythms of the batucada band.
With the ceremony over, the cava corks were popped and the couple and their guests were soon dancing on the beach with the wedding suppliers and interviewer to the pulsing percussive beats.
So a perfect end to a less-than-perfect experience – but will there be a next time? Watch this space!!!
Venue: Chamabo de Vicente
Photos: Michal Carbol
Floral Art: Ana Mena
Presenter: Rafa Rodrigo
Band: Quilombeira Batucada
Visit: La Herradura
With huge thanks to my couple Maxine Room CBE and Grant Wilcock – wishing you a lifetime of happiness together.
Author bio: Debbie Skyrme is an award winning celebrant in Spain, helping destination wedding couples’ dreams come true by officiating elopements, weddings and vow renewal ceremonies in the Spanish sunshine.
Author credit: (c) Debbie Skyrme 2021 This content was authored by Debbie Skyrme and originally published on https://weddingindustryjournal.com/ Unauthorised publishing of the text or image content in part or in full is strictly forbidden