'You may bite the bride'
Stephanie Moore's clients are more into swords, goblets, blood oaths, and hobbits than white dresses and bouquets. Reporter Emma Whittaker sat down with her to find out about being an alternative wedding celebrant.
Stephanie Moore's advice to people planning their big day is simple.
"Take the elements of a wedding that mean something to you and throw the rest away. The only things you must have for a wedding are two people who love each other, a celebrant and a licence.
"It should be fun. You can have whatever you want and people really do go with that."
She's officiated at a Lord of the Rings themed wedding at Hobbiton, gothic ceremonies, a medieval picnic wedding, married couples dressed as vampires and Alice in Wonderland characters.
The Blockhouse Bay resident describes herself as belonging to the "metal" community.
Her pathway to becoming a celebrant started with her own alternative wedding in 2008.
She and husband James were the first couple to tie the knot at Spookers haunted theme park.
The guests toured the haunted house before the ceremony and their banquet hall was decked out with blood red decorations.
Mrs Moore started a blog on planning gothic and alternative weddings when she was organising the day.
"I kept coming across all of this stuff that I wouldn't use, but thought other people might want to."
Her book Till Death Do us Part is due to be released in 2015 and gives advice on planning alternative and gothic weddings.
Mrs Moore is also visually impaired.
She became a celebrant to help out musician friends in 2011.
"They had a celebrant, but it wasn't working out so I said I'd look into what it would take to get a licence.
"They had their wedding at the Kings Arms Tavern because they wanted to get married on the stage where they performed most of their shows.
"It's kind of just spiralled from there."
New Zealand's comparatively relaxed laws around marriage ceremonies mean couples can shape their celebration however they like.
"All celebrants are wonderful but I think people from alternative communities want every part of the wedding to be really personal.
"They like the idea of a celebrant who will wear a vampire cape or a Gandalf outfit. They love the idea that I'm into it as much as them."
Alternative weddings seem to be less stressful, she says.
"In every single wedding I've done the groom has had a huge input.
"It's more of a team effort than with traditional weddings where the groom often just throws up his hands.
"And there isn't that family pressure.
"I think if your kid has grown up as a goth and then goes on to get married, you kind of know it is never going to be a normal wedding."
Next up is a Buddhist wedding later in the year and Mrs Moore would like to perform a same sex wedding.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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