Anne Marie Case-Miller is no stranger to standing in front of crowds; from her years spent working for Central TV, to being a media spokesperson and MC – she is comfortable addressing a room full of people.

However her latest journey as a marriage celebrant is one she is getting huge enjoyment from, being part of a day revolving around two people and their families, sharing their love. She shares her thoughts with INSPO Fitness Journal.

“I absolutely love being a marriage celebrant! Working with a couple to plan their unique and personal ceremony, then officiating on their wedding day is a privilege, and it is wonderful to play a small part in their journey.

With 20 years of radio announcing and television presenting experience, and having been an MC for hundreds of different events over the years, public speaking comes very naturally to me. I enjoy it, and becoming a marriage and funeral celebrant felt like a very natural progression for me.

The skills I’ve gained over the years have definitely helped when it comes to helping couples plan their ceremony and also on the day to keep everything on time, cool and calm – no matter what may crop up.

My role as a marriage celebrant is to work with the couple through the whole marriage process. Pre-marriage meetings are scheduled, where I chat with the couple over coffee, and get to know them a little better – enabling me to personalise their ceremony. A wedding is a very special life event, and a wonderful excuse to celebrate love. My role is also to ensure all the legal requirements are met, with specific paperwork completed and posted.

Every wedding is memorable in its own way. I have been very lucky to marry couples in beautiful ceremonies all over New Zealand, each one leaving me with special memories of a happy couple.

There are some incredibly beautiful wedding venues in Waikato; marrying a couple on the Waikato River Explorer was very cool – floating in the middle of the Waikato River, the couple said their vows while Tui sang from the trees that line the river – it was magical.

I’ve also been honoured to marry couples who are also long-time friends of mine. These weddings are always very special – seeing your friends so happy and joyful and in love and being able to officiate and join them together in a life-long commitment makes for a very memorable occasion.

And of course there’s always the importance of having a Plan B; just in case the weather or other elements don’t go to plan. One of these I was involved in was a wedding was on a family farm in the winterless North, with the ceremony to be held under the trees, with the reception following the same outdoor theme.

Mother Nature had other ideas though. In the week leading up to the wedding, heavy thunderstorms and strong winds swept across New Zealand, with Northland bearing the brunt of the downpours.

The idyllic country wedding setting was water-logged.

I arrived at the farm on the Friday night before the wedding, and could sense that a decision needed to be made that night about where to hold the wedding. The forecast was ambiguous, but the dark clouds were ominous. The bride and groom made the decision to move the whole ceremony and reception indoors to a refurbished shed.

I could see the bride was disappointed that the original Plan A wasn’t going ahead – I quietly said to her “embrace Plan B like it was Plan A – people will take their cue from how you react”. She understood and nodded, and from that moment on, she didn’t stop smiling.

Plan B turned out to be incredible; some late night work and creative use of fairy lights turned the shed into a magical haven, with Persian rugs on the ground and candles adding to the romantic atmosphere. When the heavens opened during the ceremony, we were all very glad we were under cover!

The smallest wedding I have officiated at only had five people present; the bride and groom, and their two witnesses (the bride’s nana and the groom’s grandad) – and me. It was beautiful and simple.

Marriage is a commitment and takes effort from both partners to ensure a successful relationship – a marriage is not just a day, it’s not something that begins and ends with a ceremony. It’s a journey taken together with love and commitment from both people over a life-time. A marriage is a partnership, a unit, a team – where each partner supports the other in their hopes, dreams, careers and through the ups and downs of life.

It is very rewarding to help people celebrate their love, and in doing so, celebrate life.

Tips for the day

• Don’t sweat if things don’t go to plan. Your guests won’t be any wiser!
• After the ceremony, find somewhere private to spend five minutes away from the hustle and bustle, away from the videographer and photographer, where you and
your partner can just be together and soak in the day. The day goes so quickly, five minutes to be present with just the one you love helps you to remember the reason for the day.
• Relax and enjoy the day

Anne-marie case-miller is a marriage celebrant and MC who has decades of experience in public speaking role.