Written by Kerrie Alexander
It takes a very special kind of person to capture the beauty of a wedding or eloquently lead an emotion-fueled funeral service to celebrate a life.
Each of these life altering events reflects the couples or the persons totally unique style, character and life achievements.
It’s a job that Fraser Coast wedding celebrant Christine Smith just relishes in.
The 69-year-old has tried her hand at many careers over the years such as hairdressing, make-up artist, fashion design using exotic fabrics and embroidery, selling real estate and being a teacher’s aide for 25 years, but Christine said, owning her business of 13 years – Perfectly Gorgeous Weddings – is absolutely her life’s calling.
“Each and every time that I’m invited to be part of someone’s wedding day, or funeral, it’s an honour and a privilege for me,” Christine said.
“It’s provided me with amazing memories and unforgettable experiences.
“My personal life revolves around my celebrancy life, and I don’t resent that for a minute. I just wish I had done it sooner. It’s not really a job, it’s a love of what you do.”
The path to becoming a celebrant was guided by her spiritual connection to angels and the belief in life after death; a hope that helped her through some dark days while battling a rare cancer 15 years ago.
It’s not a subject that she talks about often, especially with her clients, but Christine believes having a spiritual side gives her the strength to lead extra tough services like funerals for babies, murder victims and those who have taken their own life. It also gives her the courage to stand in front of hundreds of people and guide couples while they vow and declare their love for each other.
“When I became ill and was recovering from major surgery 15 years ago, I decided that I wanted to do something very special in the way of the work I did, and I couldn’t think of anything I’d enjoy more that becoming a marriage celebrant,” she said.
“It was through the experiences I had throughout my life and while I was ill, that drew the spirituality together.
“Until now, I haven’t really shared this side of myself publicly, but it has a really big influence on the work I do.”
Weddings, for most, and funerals, are two of life’s events that only ever happen once in a lifetime.
They are events that Christine gives her whole-hearted attention to by getting to know the people and using her creativity, passion and energy to create a beautiful ceremony that is genuine, joyful, life-affirming and meaningful.
“I take great pride in what I do, so it is important to make every ceremony authentic, real and to honour the family’s wishes – especially for a celebration of life.
“Weddings need to be about the couple and have their story woven throughout the ceremony making it unique to that couple and fun and enjoyable for their guests.
“You always need to be researching and looking for inspiration to be creative in that way and offer new ideas.”
Christine loves the beauty and elegance of seeing the bridal parties looking radiant and witnessing the pure joy of the day.
She also loves dressing up and looking elegant for the task ahead and often dons an outfit to match the wedding’s theme.
“I love being able to get dressed in a lovely outfit, apply the make-up and to look nice – out of respect for my couples and their guests.
“You have to put on a well-groomed look when you go out if you want to keep your reputation. It’s a reason to keep fit and healthy as well.”
Christine takes great pleasure in the surroundings of a wedding.
“The decorations and the décor are just part of the whole production. It’s a personal thing and it’s the most special day in that couple’s life and you realise how important it is to them and to help make it all happen according to plan.
“I have an overall appreciation for that.”
Christine is a member of the Australian Bridal Industry Academy and has won many awards including being recognized for her consistent ability to make a bride’s day perfect.
So, what is Christine’s advice on bringing a perfect day to fruition?
“My best tip is to keep it simple and don’t sweat the small stuff and prioritize what’s important to you.”
To find out more visit perfectlygorgeous.com.au