We are whisking you away to the backdrop of sunshine, palm trees and aquamarine seas today, where we chat with one of southern Spain’s most highly sought after wedding celebrants. Fran (who speaks fluent Spanish, English, German and Italian!) shares his unique way of working with bridal couples to help put them at ease, as well as his insights into some of the marriages he has been lucky enough to officiate in and around the delights of Andalusia and the Costa del Sol.
I was born in Madrid where I undertook all my studies. Because of my job I’ve travelled to tourist locations such as the Balearic and Canary Islands, but when I was looking for a place to build my life, there wasn’t a single doubt that it should be in Costa del Sol; a place where you can find anything you need, and also be close to Madrid.
I’m a multilingual celebrant. I speak Spanish, English, Italian and German. I think the key to making that work for the benefit of wedding guests who perhaps don’t understand the language of the ceremony, is to deliver small pieces of text at any one time. It’s so important that guests are as tuned in to the ceremony as the bridal couple; that they don’t disconnect from the occasion. I make a point of letting the congregation know this at the beginning of the ceremony so that nobody gets lost, and we take it step by step!
My first wedding was 29 July 2009 in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. It was a great surprise since the wedding was actually featured in the Spanish magazine, HOLA one week later. I even appeared in some of the pictures! Since then I have officiated around 20-25 weddings every year. So 12 years and two hundred weddings! Oh, and I was also privileged enough to officiate for another wedding that made it into HOLA – this time on the Costa del Sol.
We are so lucky to live on the Costa del Sol and there are so many special places to celebrate weddings here. I particularly love the venues which are close to the beach, as well as beautiful hotels and some of the typical Andalusian cortijos.
I explain to bridal couples that they can choose to use traditional vows or their own vows. In the case of the latter, I recommend that they write their owns vows so all their guests will hear something special for their wedding which will make this very important moment of the ceremony much more romantic, original, and emotional… I’m open to working with both possibilities but I have to admit, I prefer the personally-curated vows so much more!
As a celebrant I’m very proud to have conducted a few same sex ceremonies too.
Typically, once I have had a pre-wedding meeting with a couple, I summarise by reminding them that the most important thing about the ceremony is to focus on themselves, on their family, and on their friends; to enjoy the moment as much as possible. I never want them to worry about what they have to do during the ceremony: that’s my job and I will help them with it all, step by step. The couple won’t even need to learn any text. I will provide everything they need. The ceremony will take around 25-40 minutes, so their focus should be to enjoy it as much as possible because it will feel like 5 minutes in reality!
I like to recommend a general rehearsal 1-2 days before the ceremony to help the couple know in advance what is going to happen, and to give them confidence for the big day.
I adapt to each couple I work with, but I think a 30-40 minute ceremony is plenty of time to include everything that should be in a ceremony – readings, vows, the rings ceremony, wedding assessment, the act of signing registers. It’s also important that I am flexible in my approach to the ceremony time and the weather forecast.
I’m usually booked around 8-10 months before the wedding day so I have enough time to prepare all of the wedding details with a couple.
I think a celebrant’s job is to create weddings that include happy, romantic, emotional, funny moments. At every point of the ceremony, the couple and their guests should experience so many different kinds of feelings. And at the end of the ceremony, the couple and their guests should feel as if they have travelled through smiles, tears of joy, happiness, and hope.
I have lived on the Costa del Sol since 2008 so I’m definitely used to the heat. I always make sure I arrive at the venue one hour before the ceremony starts. This gives me plenty enough time to prepare.
Thank you so much, Fran. This has been fascinating! Sunshine Weddings Spain looks forward to working with you on lots of beautiful future weddings.