Interview With Humanist Minister Jeff Gruner…
Have you always wanted to be a minister?
My life has taken me to numerous countries and followed many different career paths. Prior to becoming a humanist minister I was an actor in film, stage, radio and voice-overs, although it was from the latter that the rent got paid!
What made you want to do this job in Spain?
I was asked by a friend if I would officiate at his son’s wedding, which resulted in me being asked to do others and it has snowballed since then. I have never had to advertise.
What’s your favourite part of any ceremony?
That would have to be the initial meeting with couples and discovering their wishes, with regard to the style and content of the ceremony.
Do you have a prefered venue type, ie: beach, villa, rustic?
I can’t say I do, simply because all of them have something magical to offer. Some couples opt for panoramic sea views, others a more intimate rustic affair, others a cosy and elegant Hotel venue, but all are simply stunning places to get married.
One of the things that make a humanist ceremony unique is that it gives couples the freedom to get married where they want, when they want, and how they want.
What should couples think about when writing their vows?
Vows are so personal and everyone is different. For some it is the most important part of the ceremony I would not presume to offer advice other than to speak from the heart.
Are there any vows that have been said during a wedding you have conducted that have stayed with you?
I’ve had the pleasure to listen to bridal couples saying many beautiful vows to each other over the many years I’ve been a humanist minister.
There is no set script and I aim to make each ceremony unique to each couple. Funnily enough, despite the freedom and possibility to play with the vows, most vows tend to be very similar.
That said, there was once a special moment at a wedding where the groom included his step-son into his wedding vows saying: “I vow to protect you, care for you and love you forever. Marriage made you my family, love made you my son.”
Where is the most original place you have conducted a wedding ceremony?
Perhaps the most original place was on board a yacht, unfortunately the sea got a bit turbulent as soon as I began the wedding ceremony, so much so, that by the time I was half way through the ceremony, several of the wedding guests had turned a frightful green and by the end of the ceremony two or three had actually been sick over the side of the boat.
Luckily I have good sea legs and so did the bride and groom!
If you could have married any famous couple from history, whose wedding would it have been?
It would have to be Mark Anthony and Cleopatra simply for the passion and party afterwards.
Find out in next week’s interview the multiple languages Jeff speaks, making your humanist wedding ceremony as international you wish it to be.