It’s an absolute pleasure today to introduce you to Jeff, one of the Costa del Sol’s most sought-after and experienced wedding celebrants. Jeff specialises in Humanist wedding ceremonies and has years of experience marrying bridal couples all over Andalucia, from all over the world. Without further ado, let’s find out more about his expert skill set and happy wedding stories:
Southern Spain has to be one of the most beautiful locations in the world. What first drew you to live and work here?
As an actor I have travelled the world for many years. I met my wife in Tenerife and then when she was offered work in Marbella we made the decision to move. We both love the sunshine, the healthy lifestyle that is possible and all that Andalucia has to offer. It also allows us to travel to neighbouring countries for short trips.
How would you define a Humanist ceremony? What makes it unique?
A Humanist ceremony is guided by the bride and groom and their own particular philosophy of life and is not structured by religious beliefs. It allows the couple to get married where they want, when they want, and how they want. There is no set script and the ceremony is totally unique to each couple, giving them the freedom to choose how they want to celebrate their union with family and friends.
How many wedding ceremonies have you conducted on the Costa del Sol, and how long have you been marrying couples?
I have been a Humanist celebrant for many years, and have the pleasure to say I have easily conducted over 500 ceremonies. It is a great privilege to be asked by the bride and groom to be part of every ceremony, and no two ceremonies have ever been the same. I enjoy every moment of each and every one.
Every wedding and every location for a ceremony is special. But which of those moments in time has lived on long in your memory on a personal level?
Every ceremony is special, because of the people you are officiating for, and I have been fortunate to have worked in many different places. Just being in the sun on such a happy day is special enough, it would be hard to choose just one specific place or ceremony. I have great memories about so many.
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 do not work with a standard set of vows. I like to chat to the couple first and discover what is important to them and what format they would like their ceremony to take. Once I have established what the couple would like I send over a bespoke ceremony which I feel is appropriate to them. The couple then review what I have written and add their personal touch or ask me to adapt the ceremony to accommodate some special wording or vows.
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 Humanist minister?
It is with great pleasure that I conduct all same sex weddings, it is refreshing to see that times have changed for the better. Over the years I have watched my own friends struggle to find the correct forum for a joining ceremony of same sex. It has been a struggle for too many for too long. Finally after a long and arduous battle acceptance is no longer the barrier it once was.
How would you help a bridal couple to calm any pre-wedding nerves in the run-up to… and on the big day?
Before each ceremony I have usually had several telephone conversations with the couple as well as at least one meeting. So I can judge pretty well their stress levels. I always call the couple the day before, and in some cases offer a rehearsal so the couple feel completely relaxed. The assistance and support Sunshine Weddings Spain offer helps alleviate most of the stress, making us all a great team.
Do you prefer large weddings, or small and intimate ceremonies?
I have no preference, all weddings are equally as important and it truly is about the couple and their friends or family they have asked to be with them on the day to witness their celebration.
How early do you tend to get booked up for peak season weddings?
In recent times due to the restrictions Covid had brought us, I have been receiving bookings as far ahead as three years for peak season, but normally approx two years is the earliest.
On a personal level, how would you describe your ceremony style?
I would describe my style as relaxed with a hint of humour but never forgetting the seriousness of the commitment each couple are making.
July and August weddings can be very hot in this part of Spain, how do you prepare yourself for a ceremony in the extreme heat?
I would like to say I exercise every day and stick to a regimented diet… well that’s what my wife would like me to be doing! However, in all seriousness I always keep hydrated, I bring a change of clothes and arrive early to prepare and set up allowing me time to be totally relaxed and in control no matter how hot it gets.
A huge GRACIAS, Jeff. This has been a brilliant insight into your wonderful world, and we look forward to sharing more magical weddings with you in the new season.