Etta and Claude
The culmination of Etta and Claude’s anniversary party is a well kept surprise: a Words and Wisdom well-wishing, organised, inspired by and performed by three of their dearest friends.
It’s already been such a memorable night, full of laughter, music and dancing. They are a much loved couple and before long it’s Sol, Ivor and Pauline’s happy job to remind them of that for a moment.
Behind the scenes, we’ve been working together gathering contributions from all the people who Claude and Etta are truly close to. Their friends mean a lot to them and they’ve always invested so much in those relationships. They’re about to hear just how much the feeling is mutual.
There’s wit, there’s truth and there’s wisdom in every word of the text the trio deliver and Etta and Claude have tears in their eyes as they embrace them at the end. The applause is deafening.
Lucinda + Max
It’s been an unforgettable day already but there’s still a treat in store that Lucinda and Max can’t wait to share with their wedding guests.
Inspired by her best friend’s Your Three Days ceremony last year, Lucinda knew she wanted beautiful bespoke writing to be part of their day too. It was Max’s idea to add a Words and Wisdom well-wishing to their Reception, so they have something touching and fun for their guests to enjoy before the party begins in earnest.
They know who’s contributed already because they selected specific family and friends themselves, but they’ve yet to hear the final version (their best man signed off on their behalf). They’ll hear it ‘live’ when everyone else does, as soon as they open it to read.
They’re suddenly nervous as they stand together but that’s all part of the fun: 3 sections…a captivated audience from the outset…the perfect way to kick-start the evening.
Toasts and speeches
Stella and Xavier
Stella and Xavier’s generation aren’t afraid to pick and choose from the established wedding traditions. They still want Reception speeches, for example, but they’re wary of them being overly long or losing their audience with jokes only half understand. They decide to do something a little different – ‘mirror image’ toasts – a delightful mix of collaboration and surprise.
First they take important time out from all the heady distractions and instead reflect for a while on what it’s actually all about: their relationship. Together, we agree a structure, areas to focus on and a way forward. Then it’s time for them to work independently for a while, generating the words I’ll use to write for them.
On the day, instead of one of them feeling all the pressure, they find themselves looking forward to the big reveal. It’s their way of starting their marriage as they mean to go on.
Proud dad to daughter Mica and soon father-in-law to fiancé Adam, Wesley couldn’t be more pleased to have been asked to make a speech at their wedding. He wants to do the very best job he can for them, naturally, but he is also conscious that he is the only parent to have been asked.
Between them, Mica and Adam have 6 parents, since each family experienced divorce some years ago and new partners have come into the fold. They think of both their parents and their step-parents as their family, without distinction.
Wesley decides this is an opportunity not just to share his own happiness, but to involve the whole parental group. With Mica and Adam’s blessing, we all work together, taking their words and his, creating one remarkable speech in the process.
The opening lines? How we can define our own families and be stronger as a result.
After years of dealing with his recurring cancer, Reggie and Olivia are now trying to come to terms with a terminal diagnosis. They’ve faced some challenges in their time together, but this is the most painful.
The one thing that helps is taking whatever control they can and Reggie decides he’d like me to help them plan his funeral. There turns out to be far more laughter involved than anyone anticipated as they grapple with the enormity of it all, but that’s no bad thing.
At the centre of it all they would like 3 group eulogies to be read, nominating not only the contributors they’d like me to gather information from directly and helping shape the questions they’d like me to ask, but selecting the readers as well. As the most poignant of tributes flood in, there is thankfully still time for Olivia to read them to her love.
The matriarch of her family, Lillian’s loss will be felt by every generation she nurtured in her 95 years: children, grand-children and, her latest delight, her great-grand children. Her death has left her loved ones reeling.
With everyone wanting to contribute to her funeral at the crematorium but nobody with the energy or experience to co-ordinate that effort, the family ask me if I’ll help. First, we establish a structure for the ceremony and once we’ve allocated roles and sections, I then work directly with different members of the family, either supporting them in creating their own text or writing for them once they’ve gathered their thoughts.
Professional, experienced and sensitive assistance at a critical time means this loving family is able to give Lillian a send off she would have been so proud to see: the family she adored, united, and able to give voice to all she meant.