In the spirit of Pride Month we’re going to #DragYouUpTheAisle with Celebrant Martin Fox-Roberts of Proud Fox Ceremonies where we’ll be finding out just what it means to be a Celebrant; and meeting Martins’ alter-ego the fabulous Maria Hurtz!
What does it mean to you, to be a Celebrant?
Ultimately being a Celebrant means that I can give couples choice and a chance for them to have the Wedding Ceremony of their dreams! Meeting couples and working with them to create their ceremonies, a space for them to express and celebrate; then see their reactions and the responses from their guests, gives me such a buzz!!
How did you get started in Drag? What’s the T!?
In my early years I started out as an Actor in theatre and TV, but my favourite job was doing Pantos, performing as the Dame! Many years later I was organising my Husband, Neil’s 50th birthday party, for which I hired Leicester Square Studio Theatre and booked an all male burlesque show called Boylexe! They asked me to be part of the show to give our Neil a surprise – we’ll I wasn’t madly keen on taking my clothes off in-front of family and friends, but they did have a Drag Queen Pianist and Singer, so I thought I’d do an act as a Drag Queen! After I’d done it, friends encouraged me to enter into competitions. So I did, but before I did, I enlisted on a Drag Course by Michael Twaites, which gave me a great foundation.
Tell us about the fabulous Maria Hurtz?
I have been performing as Maria Hurtz for the last six years, mostly in London at renowned venues including Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Soho Theatre, The Aeronaut and regularly perform at an East End pub, The Northcote in E11. I was a Drag Idol Semi-Finalist and QX Magazine Awards Nominee for Best Drag Act and Best Comedy Act. I love being the host of a cabaret night called, Can Can Cabaret, Un Cabaret De Cirque and for the last few years, a charity show for Lupus called ‘Reach Out And Touch’, with Wilmot Mulley. I can’t claim to be the first Drag Queen Celebrant, more likely that I’m the only accredited Drag Queen Celebrant currently operating and creating weddings in the UK.
What made you decide to combine the option of having either ‘Martin’ or ‘Maria’ as wedding Celebrant?
I decided to combine the two because I felt it would be really unique and wildly funny – Again offering couples a choice! But the ceremony is the start of the celebrations; it shouldn’t be the boring bit before the celebrations, so what better way then to start it all off with a big old camp Drag Queen!
For all of the happy couples out there planning their future nuptials, what makes having a Drag Themed Wedding standout?
The style of the ceremony is very much down to the couple. We can keep it traditional or we can go wild! Ideally with #DragYouUpTheAisle we create a show where the couple are the stars of their very own show; stood centre stage, surrounded by family and friends! We can have dance routines, a sing-along, a lip-sync – The sky is the limit and remember we can do this anywhere, even at your favourite club or bar.
Although she is very careful not to steal the limelight away from the couple! Maria Hurtz is perfect for a Drag themed or Cabaret Themed Wedding – or if you just want to surprise your guests with something totally off the wall! She might also be available for after the ceremony to entertain the guests with a set.
What does your fee include?
I’m a little bit different because I’ve combined all my other skills and put them in to packages for couples to choose!
So you can simply have me as (male) me #TheFoxyCelebrant – and as I’m a fully qualified & registered BSL Interpreter, I can officiate Wedding Ceremonies in British Sign Language, so Deaf couples and BSL users can have their Wedding in their first Language, without having to rely on an Interpreter #BSLWedding . Also I’m an ITEC3 Holistic Massage Therapist, so I offer a Couples Massage session for when those Wedding plans start to feel stressful and finally I can offer you a Drag style Wedding with #DragYouUpTheAisle I’m a strong believer in being multi-skilled. Armouring yourself for whatever life throws at you and with my skills and experience, I believe I can offer couples a lot to make their ceremonies utterly unique and totally memorable.
I have three delicious packages to choose from:
The Proud Package – a standard personalised ceremony.
The Foxy Package – a personalised ceremony, which includes a symbolic Unity Ritual.
The Loud, Proud & Foxy Package – all of the above, plus a holistic therapeutic couples massage.
Also included is a couple of consultants, the Ceremony Certificate, a copy of your vows. If couples are having a Unity Ritual, they get to keep whatever they’ve used, such as the rope from which they have Tied-The-Knot etc. I will offer expert advice along the way and we’ll be in contact with each other via a WhatsApp group, so we can throw ideas back and forth or to simply be there whenever couples need that little bit of extra help. I also include travel if it’s within the M25 radius.
How many meetings are needed before the wedding?
When I first receive an enquiry, I like to meet the couple face to face, either in person or remotely, which we are all used to now and chat about the ideas for their ceremony and to get a feel for each other. Once I receive a booking form from the couple and responses to a questionnaire I send out, I arrange our first consultation when we discuss the couples plans and I start putting together the ceremony and the couples ‘Love Story’! Then as we get closer to the Wedding day we’ll have another consultation when I go over the ceremony script together.
Can Proud Fox Ceremonies assist the happy couple in writing their vows?
I do encourage couples to write their own vows. Although this doesn’t come easy for everyone, in which case I can help by offering ideas about how to structure them, what to include and how to make them really personal.
When do you arrive on the day?
I like to get there really early, at the latest an hour early. When I arrive I will meet up with the venue coordinator, the Toast Master, the Photographer and Videographer, the DJ or Musicians, whom I will have already had contact with, to ensure we’re all working as a team. I will check in on the couple, check that we’re all set up and then get ready to meet the guests and set the vibe or atmosphere.
Is there any mandatory paperwork that is required?
Apart from my paperwork, which is completing a Booking Form & Agreement and filling out my Questionnaire, the only other formality is registering your Marriage with the Registry Office to make your marriage legal. It takes 15 mins and can be done before or after your Wedding Ceremony. If you really wanted to, you could have it part of the Wedding Ceremony. The Registry Office will offer you a ceremony too, but remember you don’t have to, that’s what your Wedding Ceremony is for and with a Wedding Celebrant your ceremony can be wherever you want it to be, (it doesn’t have to be in a licensed venue)! Include whatever you want to include and be as long as you want it to be!
Creating Foxy Ceremonies for Foxy Couples!
Giving Couples Choice!