My Darling Buds of May – Becky & Ranald

The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding.On 26th May this year I was lucky enough to conduct the ceremony for Ranald and Becky at her parent’s farm in Wilmington, East Devon.  Everything about this wedding was unique, personal and truly bespoke.

Family is hugely important to both Becky and Ranald and their wedding certainly celebrated, not only their marriage, but also the love and the closeness or their two families.

Becky’s parents had been working tirelessly to get their beautiful home prepared for this glorious celebration.  The ceremony was held high on a hill above the farm beneath a beautiful wedding arbor that Becky’s father had made with seating on straw bales.  It was a hot steamy day and the storm clouds were gathering but fortunately came to nothing.  Many of the guests, despite the sweltering conditions, puffed up the steep hill whilst others took advantage of the vehicles laid on to ferry those less energetic.  The view from the top was breathtaking.

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This wedding typified everything that a celebrant ceremony is all about.  Becky wanted to be married from her wonderful home.  They wanted it to be personal, relaxed and intimate.  It was all that and more.  It was unpretentious.  It was charming.  It was rustic.

They are a lovely couple who take joy from their family, their children,  nature and each other’s company.   They really were the Darling Buds of May just as HE Bates described.  I loved it.

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Naming ceremony, Devon celebrant, Starcross Yacht club

A Double Celebration For Ula

On 14th April this year, I headed to Starcross Yacht Club and presented a Naming Ceremony for Tim and Shiona’s beautiful daughter Ula.  This was a double celebration as it was also Ula’s first birthday the following day.

Both Shiona and Tim have a massive affinity with the sea and many happy days have been spent by them at the yacht club. It was therefore a perfect venue for Ula’s Naming Ceremony and goodness what a setting it was.

Naming ceremony, Devon celebrant, Starcross Yacht clubI think the shipping forecast would have used words along the lines of a south-westerly 3 or 4 rising – good for sailing but rather brisk conditions for a naming ceremony right on the edge of the estuary (I’ll know not to wear a wraparound dress another time on a blustery day in such an exposed location– thank heavens for the safety pins in the yacht club’s first aid box!).

Naming ceremony, Devon celebrant, Starcross Yacht clubIt was a real family affair with all hands-on deck (spot the sailing pun) with a bit of a retro feel (I very happily joining in the fun – I haven’t stuck cheese and pineapple on a cocktail stick for a long time) to get everything ready for the feast that was to follow the ceremony.

Naming ceremony, Devon celebrant, Starcross Yacht clubUla, which in Celtic means ‘jewel of sea’, surrounded by her parents, guide parents, family and friends was as good as gold.  The ceremony included two wonderful readings ‘Before you came’ by Beverley Butcher, read by her uncle and ‘You are my I love you’ by Maryann Cusimano Love, read by her Great Aunt.  We celebrated her actual naming, Ula Petrea Julia, by a rapturous three cheers followed by some energetic bubble blowing.

All in all, the happiest of days and my one and only Naming of the year.  I hope I am asked to do another soon.

Helen and Troy, Celebrant wedding at Rockbeare Manor, with images by Nova Wedding Photography

The Rockbeare Manor wedding of Helen & Troy

I had a wonderful surprise back in late March this year.  I received a phone call from Helen, the Event Manager at the wonderful venue that is Rockbeare Manor, to ask me if I would meet her to discuss the possibility of my writing and presenting the wedding ceremony for her and her partner Troy (one of the chefs at Rockbeare).

There was no time to lose as the wedding was just a month away and so I arranged a visit immediately and met Helen and Troy …….. no I’m not joking!  They had met through their work at Priston Mill near Bath (a sister venue of Rockbeare) and I loved hearing their story from the early days up until when Troy proposed which I would then replicate as a part of their ceremony script.  A busy 10 days followed with Jan and Richard’s postponed wedding on 7th and a Naming Ceremony on 14th (blog to follow).

Their wedding was such a happy day and their ceremony an emotional one but also filled with humour.  Me being me of course couldn’t resist squeezing in a reference to Helen and Troy which they must have heard a thousand times but allowed it!  Troy a Maori had some special friends and relatives who had made the huge effort of flying all the way from New Zealand.  One of the highlights for me was the fabulous music they had chosen to leave the ceremony, Poi E the iconic celebratory song and unofficial NZ national anthem.  It’s a brilliant party starter.

Helen and Troy, Celebrant wedding at Rockbeare Manor, with images by Nova Wedding Photography Thank you for Nova Photography for these images.  Pity about my bad hair day!  I suppose everyone has one!  I’m already looking forward to the two weddings I have booked at Rockbeare in March 2019.

Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography

Jan & Richard – It Was So Worth The Wait

Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker PhotographyFor those who follow me on Instagram  or Facebook you will have seen that I have been busy presenting ceremonies all over the place this year.

Today though I’m concentrating on my first wedding at Powderham Castle for Jan and Richard.   Their big day had to be postponed because of the snow, meaning so few of their guests were able to get to Devon.  This was such a difficult decision for them and hard to believe now with this current heatwave.    Fortunately every single supplier was able to change the date.   All of us desperate to accommodate if we possibly could.

And WOW what a venue Powderham is and what a day it was!   It was a pleasure working alongside Sarah the Weddings Manager there and indeed Nick of Nick Walker Photography who came all the way from Cornwall to take these absolutely stunning photographs of this awesome couple.  How did he manage it without any of us really being aware he was there?

Jan, Richard and I worked on the ceremony together.  It reflected their characters and relationship, but also the importance of their friends and family.  And not forgetting their humour.  And there was a lot of that.   Beautiful music was provided by the uber talented Rosewood String Quartet which included a specially arranged version of The Reckoner by Radiohead; a favourite of the couples.  Jan had her best friends as bridesmaids and her mother gave her away.

Beautiful bride.  Blissfully happy couple.  Awesome venue.  Enjoy!

Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker PhotographyImage Source: Nick Walker Photography | Instagram | Facebook

Barons Hill Barn wedding

A Love Story

Every time I’m asked why couples should choose a celebrant ceremony, my first response is always because it is completely unique.  And the reason it is unique is that the main part of the ceremony apart from, of course, your vows is your love story.  In my ceremonies a large section of the ceremony is just that.

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but your specific thoughts about how you felt when you first met your fiancé, what made you fall in love and why you want to spend the rest of your life with him or her can be conveyed in your ceremony. These feelings can only be communicated in words and your celebrant ceremony provides the opportunity to do just that.

8867bbb899d4f7a00f4eabe887a9c90bMy second meeting with my couples is when I get down to the nitty gritty and discuss their love story.   After which I will produce the first draft of their ceremony.   I take notes of what happened during their relationship to the present date and how they felt in those moments.  It is a lovely meeting.  Not only do I get to know the couple incredibly well by the end, but I also get to understand their love and their relationship.  I think, if possible, it may even deepen your connection because you both get a chance to re-live some of the most special times of your lives together.

Sharing the words of your love story is a simple, yet power way to add personal meaning and intimacy to your wedding day.  Your flowers, wedding décor and food will say something about you as a couple, but those things can never tell the complete story about how you came together and fell in love.  Surely that’s what your wedding day and more particularly your ceremony is all about.

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Romance Is Alive & Kicking

ROMANCE IS NOT DEAD. Thank goodness for that!

I posted on our Facebook page recently, a lovely romantic tale about a rickshaw driver in London on New Year’s Eve and how his kind act brought two strangers together.

With Valentines Day fast approaching love is everywhere and romance is thankfully very much alive and kicking.   It was certainly in the air before Christmas with Prince Harry’s announcement of his engagement.  That look of adoration and love for Meghan as he introduced her  to the world surely must have warmed the hearts of even the most cynical.

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I honestly believe that we all have the capacity for romance.   Often people get squeamish over romantic gestures but they don’t have to be cheesy, complicated or extravagant.   Real romance isn’t manufactured.  It’s very individual but once you’ve experienced it you won’t forget it. It’s a powerful force that makes you feel connected to someone in a deeper way.  It’s the gestures, both big and small, that make you feel especially touched and cherished by your partner.  Romance is what takes your relationship past friendship.

It’s showing the person you love that you’re thinking about them.  It shouldn’t feel forced.  There are no limits.  It can be shown by a handwritten note, by going for a walk, or even by making someone a sandwich.  Romance is simple, sweet and innocent that reminds your partner why they fell in love with you in the first place.

Romance is so not dead.   We just have to remember to be romantic.

Good Things Come in Small Wedding Packages

MICRO WEDDING is the latest buzz word in ‘wedding world.’  In a nutshell it is an alternative to a full-blown elopement.  The definition of elopement is the act or instance of running off secretly.  A micro wedding is not that but more an occasion which allows the focus to be on the ceremony attended by your very closest family and friends.

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Elopement suits some.  Running away in secret to get hitched privately is romantic but it can potentially hurt, disappoint and can cause misunderstandings which is of course is not the intention.  However, if you want to keep your wedding small, simple or short and you don’t want to spend a small fortune a micro wedding might be the answer.  It is a whole easier to keep sight of your budget when are only 20 versus 150 guests.

A ‘micro’ is simpler in format, relaxed in atmosphere, less stress to organise than a traditional wedding and much easier on the pocket.  The whole occasion can no more than 2 hours allowing sufficient time for a meaningful ceremony, photographs to remember the occasion and some celebratory drinks afterwards.  By limiting your guest list, the emphasis is on the ceremony and those precious people who are key in your lives whom you want to witness this significant and important event.  Not only will you feel more connected with your family and friends but they, in turn, feel hugely honoured and valued.

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The whole concept of a micro wedding ‘marries’ (excuse the pun) perfectly with a celebrant ceremony.  Bespoke, unique, intimate and inclusive.  Here’s a thing, you could rent a beautiful house in your most favourite place and invite only your closest friends and family and get married in the garden or even in the kitchen if that suits you better.  You could even keep it a huge surprise for everyone.

Having said that many licensed venues are now offering elopement packages which are, in essence, micro weddings.  Our favourite is Bridwell Park.

I’d love to hear your stories of intimate weddings you’ve been part of, or you are planning yourself.

10 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Celebrant For Your Wedding

When it comes to deciding where to get married, there is an array of choices available to you.  All of which have their advantages and disadvantages – whether that be down to availability, size, venue restrictions or religious beliefs.

Deciding on who should marry you, however, is still something that falls way down to the bottom of most couples’ wedding preparation priorities.  I hope to change that by giving you 10 reasons to choose a celebrant for your special day, rather than a registrar.

Barons Hill Barn weddingChoose a wedding celebrant if…

  1. Your perfect venue does not have a civil marriage licence. This could be your own garden, woodlands, a beach or an unlicensed wedding venue
  2. You don’t want to be restricted by the limitations of a licensed ceremony
  3. You don’t want to be married by a complete stranger
  4. You want to be married somewhere where all your friends and family can stay together i.e self catering accommodation
  5. You want to include a religious element within your ceremony but don’t want to get married in a church
  6. You want to be married outdoors without a permanent structure
  7. You want to be confident in the knowledge that your celebrant will have one booking that day and therefore there is no need to rush or fit in with a schedule
  8. You want a ceremony that has no template or standard script, no tick boxes or restrictions.
  9. You want to add a hand fasting, sand ceremony, religious or cultural element, to give your ceremony added personality
  10. You want your ceremony to be completely personal and unique to you.

So, now you know. Your wedding need not follow the same template or wording. Your ceremony will not feel rushed or conveyor-beltish. Your special day will be completely and utterly unique. If you have any other questions please, please do contact me via the website. I’m always happy to chat and help in any way I can.

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Barons Hill Barn wedding

Amy & Dave Marry at Barons Hill Barn

Amy and Dave were married at The Barn at Barons Hill Barn in South Devon. Guests sat on straw bales with the sound of the stream trickling by in the background. Amy entered to Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran and was met by a very emotional groom, Dave, who was resplendent in his Royal Artillery uniform.

This was a happy, relaxed wedding ceremony on a beautiful, sunny day. Images by Zoe Griffin Photography.

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Winter Weddings vs Summer Celebrations

When you think about ‘wedding season’, the height of it all tends to be around the summer months. But as the weather becomes more and more unpredictable in the UK and we hear stories of weddings being completely washed out, more and more couples are choosing the winter months to get married.

And why not? Tying the knot in winter alleviates the pressure of the ‘British’ summer.  In winter, good weather is a bonus and therefore not always a deciding factor when choosing a venue or a date.  The venues are also cheaper during the winter, sometimes as much as half the price of dates through June to September. And if you are looking for a last minute date, chances are they are more available during the latter quarter of the year.

winter wedding inspiration winter wedding inspirationThe scenery, whilst not bursting with floral abundance, is crisp and clear and minimal and fresh. The nights draw in giving the perfect backdrop for fireworks displays and festoon lighting. Tables can be dotted with candles and tealights and anything sparkly.  Couples should remember that natural daylight is best for photographs, so bear that in mind when timing your day.

Brides can keep warm under faux fur wraps and velvet capes. Guests can snuggle up under blankets and congregate around open firepits with hot chocolates and marshmallows.  Or warm their cockles on mulled wine or vodka ice sculptures.

And for couples looking to winter for inspiration in their wedding vows…

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And if you are planning on lots of DIY touches, head over to our sister company Fanfare Celebration Supplies for all your winter wonderland wedding paraphernalia. Everything from paper snowflakes to napkins and crystals.

And here are just a few of our favourite venues that are simply stunning in winter. Some of them still have availability for 2018 winter weddings, so head on over and take your pick.

The Great Barn | Higher Eggbeer | Haldon Belvedere | Huntsham Court | The Corn Barn | Hayne Devon

 

Image source: lights, cocoa, bride, sparklers, mulled wine, blankets