An Interview with popular Costa del Sol minister, Andrew…
Once your breathtaking Spanish destination wedding venue is booked, it is time for thoughts to turn to all of the other important aspects of your big day, the celebrant officiating the marriage being high up on that last! It’s a real pleasure for us to introduce you to Andrew who is a well-established and brilliant wedding minister and celebrant based here in southern Spain. Andrew’s unique style is not only wonderful but versatile, and we cannot recommend him enough for our bridal couples.
The Costa del Sol has to be one of the most beautiful locations in the world. What first drew you to live and work here? Yes, the Costa del Sol is truly one of the most beautiful locations in the world. For us though, what drew us to live here in 2001 was not just its beauty but the way of life, the beauty of the people and the amazing climate. The love and acceptance for children was also a great factor as at the time we had our first 2 children, ages 2 and 3, and their growing up here was spectacular – the best thing we could ever have done.
You offer a fun and lighthearted approach to officiating, incorporating religious elements depending on the bridal couple. Can you tell us more about this unique approach and how you would typically plan the ceremony with each couple? I love the planning/meeting up part of the ceremony. The most important aspect is the initial meeting up with the couple, though sometimes due to circumstances, it has had to be done by phone. I ask the couple two questions to start with: Firstly, how religious would they like their ceremony to be? This is put in easy terms as high, medium or low. Secondly, I ask them how fun or lighthearted would they like it? Depending on their response, I will adjust the whole of the ceremony.
Why do I put emphasis on these questions?
I believe this is such a special day for the bridal couple and they want it to be memorable. I also believe that to make this happen, it means engaging with and involving them in as much as possible – as well as their family and friends during the ceremony, most of whom have travelled a long way. I make it lighthearted and fun by asking them all a few humorous questions, telling them a light, general joke about the couple (pre-rehearsed with the couple, of course), involving the best man and parents wherever possible. All this happens at the beginning of the service to break the ice and settle everyone so they can actually enjoy the service and feel a part of it. This is vital. Also, the whole of the service is virtually all ‘visible’ to keep it interesting and ‘interactive’ with the 2 candle section, the 3 cords ceremony, the sand ceremony and the 1 candle ceremony, along with encouraging the couple (discussed at the meeting beforehand) to ask people to do readings or personal messages, or for the couple to write something to one another which can be read out. There is also, of course, the signing of a certificate I have, the ring ceremony, and exchange of vows (with all of these parts, I am totally flexible to their desires) and the final “I present to you, Mr & Mrs/Mrs & Mrs/Mr & Mr”. All fantastic fun and memorable whilst fulfilling requirements that any bridal couple would expect at a wedding blessing.
How many wedding ceremonies have you conducted in southern Spain, and how long have you been marrying couples?
I’m not sure how many in total but this would have been the 4th year of marrying couples in Spain.
Every wedding and every location for a ceremony are special. But which of those places, and moments in time, have lived on long in your memory on a personal level?There have been many special moments but I suppose the most memorable for me was when the bridegroom himself just cried with happiness and joy throughout the whole of the ceremony. In fact, I think we all did at some point. Pure joy!
Do you tend to work with a standard set of wedding vows, or are you happy to accommodate tailor-made wedding vows, which a couple have written themselves? I have a standard template for the vows and all areas of the ceremony but each wedding is different, and every single one I have adjusted to the needs and desires of the couple. If a couple have their own tailor-made vows, or indeed wish to make any part of the ceremony bespoke, then I would actually love it – indeed I would go far as to say that I would encourage it.
We find it incredibly heartwarming to have experienced an increase in same sex wedding bookings. How have you seen equality and acceptance change when you look back at your career as a celebrant and minister? I have seen equality and acceptance increase in all areas of life, whether it be weddings, church, or life in general.
How would you help a bridal couple to calm any pre-wedding nerves in the run-up to, and on the big day?
As a pastor of the largest ex-pat church on the coast, I deal with people on a daily basis who have anxiety, stress, worries or nerves. As always, coming alongside them, talking to them, listening to them – and from the very beginning building a trusting relationship with them – is the best way I have found in my experience. As we exchange WhatsApp numbers at the initial meeting, they know I am there for them right up to the big day also.
Do you prefer large weddings, or small and intimate ceremonies? I love, literally, all ceremonies.
Thank you so much, Andrew! It’s been great to talk to you and learn more about your way of officiating. The Sunshine Weddings Spain team is really excited to work with you on many more magical weddings.