Love My Dress, Sansom Photography

Wedding Venues – Questions To Ask Before Booking

Love My Dress, Sansom PhotographySource: Love My Dress, images by Sansom Photography

The beauty of a celebrant ceremony is that it can conducted anywhere.

There so many hidden gems, stunning private estates, beautiful outdoor locations, unlicensed and alternative venues out there to suit every style and taste.  And if you or your family have a large garden, then your perfect wedding venue may be closer to home than you think-you don’t get more personal than that!

One fabulous thing about what I do, is that I get to work at incredible venues that host all types of celebrations. And , in my opinion, some of the best weddings have been at places that aren’t “traditional” wedding venues.

Deciding on the best wedding venue for you can be an overwhelming and challenging task.  Think outside the box but make sure the venue you choose ticks all (or most) of your requirements. Here are the questions that you should perhaps ask yourself to ensure your venue is meeting your needs:

  • Do we want an indoor or outdoor ceremony and/or reception?
  • Do we want a city or country feel?
  • Are we fixed on a date, or are we flexible with our wedding date?
  • Do we want our ceremony and reception to be in the same place?
  • Is there a plan B in case of bad weather and does the venue have shaded areas?
  • How many guests do we expect, and can this venue cater for that amount of bodies?
  • Is the venue too big for the number of guests we are having?  (This can impact on atmosphere)
  • Where are we going to get our photos taken?  Onsite, or close by?
  • Is there accommodation available locally for the guests who have come from afar? Or does the venue have space for camping?
  • Is the venue easy to find and get to, by those wishing to arrive by taxi or other forms of public transport?
  • Does the venue reflect us as a couple?
  • Is the venue willing to let us decorate it in the style we want?
  • Are there any restrictions? Some venues will require heel protectors due to the type of flooring; some may have noise restrictions due to the proximity of local residents; some may not allow fireworks due to neighbouring farmland.
  • What does the venue include in its fees?  Bar service, PA system, electricity hook ups for outdoor caterers, cake table etc.
  • What type of atmosphere are we trying to create?  Relaxed, upmarket, black tie, rustic, traditional, vintage?
  • Does the venue have an event planner? Or do we want to organise it all ourselves?
  • What type of food do we want at our reception?  Sit down, share platters, canapés, buffet?
  • Do we have to use the venues suppliers, or can we select our own to provide services?  Caterer, Celebrants, Photographers, DJs?

If you are getting married in Devon, then here are a selection of venues that you might want to take a look at. They are ran by very lovely, accommodating people, all with a passion for weddings and all ready to meet you and chat through your wedding ideas.

Devon wedding venues, alternative wedding venues, Devon weddings, wedding celebrantsSource: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

hand print and balloon release

Naming Ceremonies And How To Include A Sibling

The arrival of a new baby is incredibly exciting for all the family including the siblings.

It is important that a naming ceremony reflects the essence of what the occasion is all about but also that there are elements within it that include the siblings and encourage them to be actively involved. It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the importance and unique closeness of the family unit.

Here are some ideas for sibling participation at a Naming Ceremony…

sand ceremonySource: Left, Right

A sand ceremony involves pouring layers of coloured sands into a vase for keeping. Parents and the children can make promises as each layer is added. Colours have different meanings. A deeply meaningful ceremony, with a lasting keepsake and the closest members of the family participating.

tree planting and wishing trees wishing treesSource: Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

Planting a tree or shrub. All children like to get their hands dirty, hand them a spade and they would love to be involved. Plants represent new life. Nurturing and growth and of course a lasting legacy of love and commitment to a child.

Wishing Tree. Make a silhouette of a leafless tree. The details of the ceremony are printed beneath. Everyone presses a finger on colour box with ink pads the colours of the rainbow, makes a wish for the child and puts their print on the end of each branch creating finger print leaves

blowing bubblesSource: Left, Middle, Right

Blowing bubbles whilst wishes and promises are being made. Fun meaningful and spectacular. Make sure someone is not blowing bubbles but is armed with a camera!

Make sure that there are photographs of the child with its siblings on their own. Not only will it make the brother or sister feel proud and responsible but it will be a wonderful record for everyone in years to come.

A hand print collage. This is messy but a lovely idea whereby everyone makes a handprint on canvas. Yes, it can be a bit chaotic but with good organisation and preparation it’s very definitely do-able and worth it with something to keep as a memento afterwards.

End the ceremony with a balloon release.

hand print and balloon releaseSource: Left, Right

Have a look at our Pinterest page for more ideas on how to include all your children in a naming ceremony.

Ann Kathrin Koch as featured on Rock My Wedding

Let’s Do It All Again – When & Why You Should Renew Your Wedding Vows

Ann Kathrin Koch as featured on Rock My WeddingImage via Rock My Wedding, by Ann Kathrin Koch

To some, renewing one’s vows might appear a bit showy, indulgent or even soppy, but actually it makes a lot of sense.  A love that withstands the test of time; the ups and downs that life can throw at you and come out the other side the same or even stronger, is a union that is truly worth celebrating.

The exciting ‘puppy love’ at the outset of a marriage develops into a more profound alliance with time.  The closest thing to that much-used expression ‘unconditional love’ is still sharing that love after years of living and being together, seeing and accepting every mannerism, habit and idiosyncrasy; however maddening.

This rollercoaster life not only shares special memories and joyful experiences but also endures the stresses and strains of everyday life, financial worries, ill health and more.  Then, for many, the introduction of children is thrown into the mix, with the inevitable changes in the dynamic that this causes.   A vow renewal ceremony provides an opportunity to reaffirm and celebrate an ongoing commitment as well as a pledge of continued love.

So when do you renew your vows? There are, of course, no hard and fast rules for this but for me 10 years is perfect if the circumstances are right.  The notorious 7-year itch has been survived and it is a significant landmark in any relationship.

wedding vow renewalImage source: Family, Story, Red Shoes, Stationery, Cake Topper, Desert

A renewal of vows ceremony celebrates the longevity, commitment, dedication and cohesiveness of love.  You could use the same vows you took on your wedding day or add new ones to reflect your personal journey and the joys and tribulations you have shared.  Many couples will include their children in the vow renewal too, uniting the family even more.  You may wish to wear a more simple gown or this could be the chance to wear the dress you always wanted to and never did. You and your partner may yearn for peace and privacy and seek a very intimate renewal in your favourite holiday spot or this could be the excuse for that big reunion party you have been meaning to plan.

Whichever way you choose to celebrate your love for each other, the ceremony will be filled with warmth, feeling and fun and is surely one of the sweetest things a married couple could ever do.

 

Image from Boho Weddings.

Ten Awesome Wedding Venue Ideas

The beauty of using a celebrant, like me, for your wedding, is that you can get married absolutely anywhere! And your choice of wedding venue can say a lot about you.

Once you have sorted all the legal side of things at your local registry office, unless you want to get married there of course, you are then free to choose a wedding setting that truly reflects you and your partner’s character, or a place that has sentimental meaning, or even your family home.

Here are 10 alternative wedding settings to give you inspiration for your big day. I’d love to hear your ideas for the perfect celebration setting for you!

THE OTHER COUNTRY

Weddings abroad, weddings in other countries, elopmentsSource: Mountain, Palm Trees, Floral Arch, Church, Crowd

THE BARN

barn weddingsSource: A&K, K&N, Reception

 THE BEACH

weddings on the beach, beachside weddings, Source: Boys, Message, Bride & Groom

THE CINEMA, MUSIC HALL, THEATRE

weddings in cinema, music hall, theatreSource: Cinema front, Centre stage, Down the aisle, Balcony, Front and centre

 THE GARDEN

garden weddings, weddings outdoors, al fresco weddingsSource: Paper lanterns, Canoe, Couple, Metal chairs, Striped aisle

THE PUB

pub weddingsSource: Left, Middle, Right

THE POOL

swimming pool weddings, weddings by the poolSource: Green stripes, Bride & groom, Lanterns, Girls poolside, Wedding vows

THE VILLAGE HALL

Village hall weddingsSource: Syrup, Dance, Reception

THE WAREHOUSE

weddings in warehouses Source: Stained glass, Fairy lights, BAR, Red chair, Bride & groom

THE WOODLAND

weddings in the woodsSource: Teepee, Mutual weirdness, Hand fasting, Wedding table, Bridal party

How to Wow with your Vows

8867bbb899d4f7a00f4eabe887a9c90bWhat would a wedding be, or mean, without the wedding vows?

The words you share with your partner; the love and commitment you express in the presence of your family and friends, are, after all, the whole reason the day is happening. And so often they are hidden behind the dress, the entourage, the inevitable hiccups, and the need for the ‘perfect’ wedding day – first look, first dance, bouquet toss, horse and carriage arrival; the list is endless.

For some though, putting feelings into words can be difficult and then becomes an additional worry and stress in the build up to the big day. For others, it might be that they don’t know how to be succinct whilst avoiding too much ‘cheese’.

What’s vital for vows is that you tell that person in front of you, why you love them; why you are promising to spend the rest of your life with them. It’s your wedding day, your love, your story and your feelings and all that should be expressed in the best possible way – in your words.

wedding vows, wedding celebrant, outdoor wedding, personal wedding vowsSource: Left, Top, Bottom

This is something we think you should put some time, energy and thought into, so you can say something truly meaningful to the person you love. But if you are finding it hard to start, or you are feeling self-conscious, here are a few simple tips to help you create the perfect vows and have your guests reaching for their tissues!

  • Keep them short and sweet.  It’s terribly easy to get carried away once you’ve got started and end up pouring your heart out.  No more than a couple of paragraphs is honestly all that is required or it will verge on overkill or cheese.  Your guests don’t need to know every detail and you don’t want your guests zoning out.  If your creative juices do flow freely save some of the content and put it in a letter to him/her for them to read privately after the ceremony.  Alternatively, include it in the reception speech.
  • Say the things you would like your partner to say to you.  Write honestly, truthfully and authentically and, most importantly, how you would normally speak.
  • It’s not really the time to crack jokes.  By all means throw in a line or two reflecting your natural humour that your partner and guests will DEFINITELY find funny but it’s more important to focus on making it meaningful and genuine.  A chuckle rather than side splitting laughter.  Trying to be funny can unintentionally sound insincere very quickly which is the last thing your vows should be.
  • Keep your private lives private.  You and your partner may have the most fantastic and exciting times behind closed doors and that’s where it stays.  Definitely a case of too much information.  No one else needs, or wants to know and it’s not the moment for Grandma to have a turn and need to lie down with heart palpitations!
  • Remember the solemnness of the occasion.  This is not the moment for grand promises that you cannot keep.  If you hate football don’t promise him that you will go to watch his favourite team (not that he realistically would want you to anyway) or take up an interest of his that truthfully you have no real intention of doing so.  Inevitably one of you will let the other down.
  • Be real and avoid clichés at all costs.

wedding vows, wedding ceremony, outdoor ceremony, wedding celebrant, personal vowsSource: Left, Top, Bottom

Starting is often the most difficult part.  Once you get going normally it will flow.  But if you really have hit a wall try and find a format you and your partner both agree on so that you have a bit of a template to work from.  Sometimes it helps if you know what your partner has written so that you are both on the same page.  It can help if you decide on things you both want to say such as

  • “I am standing here today because ……………………….. “
  • “I love you because ……………………………..”
  • “One of my best memories with you so far is ……………………….. “
  • “Since I have been with you I feel ………………………….”
  • “Because of you I feel …………………………………………….”
  • “I look forward to ……………………………..”

And finish with something along the lines of “thank you for loving me”

Alternatively, why not keep your vows secret from each other the impact of this can be awesome.  As your Celebrant I keep your vows to myself until your ceremony and then when the time comes it can induce goose bumps, tears, delight but always a totally memorable experience for all.

Your wedding ceremony should be a reflection of you, so don’t be afraid to ask your Celebrant questions about how to do that.

Encourage and support each other so give writing your vows a go!  You won’t regret it!  I hope this helps.  Now go make a start!!

Fan  xx

 

Naming Ceremonies – balancing sincerity with fun

The arrival of a new baby or child has always been a cause of great celebration and equally the coming together of two families or the adoption of a child. It is important for children to feel loved and supported by their family, extended family and friends.

Winnie the Pooh

Finding the time or the correct words can be hard especially when there is so much else going on. By asking someone else to conduct the ceremony and indeed to help capture your feelings, hopes and aspirations for your child, it will allow you to focus more on your family and friends and enjoy what will inevitably become a special and very memorable occasion.

A naming ceremony can take place wherever you like and whenever you like. It is entirely unique and personal to you. You can involve all the family, grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters and friends. Life guardians, mentors or godparents can be chosen and they can make promises to support and play a part in the child’s life. Similar to a wedding you can include ceremonies within the main naming ceremony which make the whole occasion loads of fun and inclusive for all ages.

Here are some examples…

HANDFASTING
This can be a little complicated in the case of a baby but still very much possible and often the cause of much amusement as everyone gets in a bit of a knot literally when trying to bind a baby its life guardians.

PLANTING A TREE
This is really only possible when you are in your own garden but there is something very special and symbolic about having a tree planted in memory of such a unique day.

WISHING TREE
The silhouette of a tree with no leaves is printed on a large piece of card. All the details of the ceremony are printed underneath. The card is placed on an easel and everyone presses a finger onto a coloured ink pad and puts their finger print at the end of each branch and makes a wish

HandprintsSource: LeftTop, Bottom

CANVAS BLOCK OF HANDPRINTS
A similar idea to the Wishing Tree but has the potential to become chaotic but fun for those who participate is a Canvas Block of Handprints. A canvas block is placed on the easel. The canvas is blank except for a circle in the middle with the hand prints and even foot prints of the child. Already prepared are shallow dishes of pre-mixed water soluble paints in different colours. Each person puts a hand print on the canvas.

UNITY CANDLE
Naming day candles can be personalised and decorated with little flowers or left completely plain. The significance is no less. Parents, life guardians, grand parents can all be included by lighting their individual candles which represent specific hopes or aspirations before everyone lights the larger unity candle. There are many variations.

SAND CEREMONY
This is excellent as all children love playing with coloured sand and a wonderful way to include brothers and sisters as well as the parents. The blending of the sand represents the unity of the family. Once the sands are in the unity container they can never be separated and are forever entwined.

ROSE PETAL CEREMONY
This normally includes the closest family members or life guardians showering the baby in different rose petals similar to confetti at a wedding. Each colour can represent different qualities and aspirations such as friendships to come, love, compassion etc. A reading or poem can be read with words representing the meanings.

Balloon releaseSource: Left, Middle, Right

BALLOON RELEASE
A lovely way to finish a naming ceremony. Everyone can release one or just the parents. Balloons are a reminder of the joy and fun of childhood and can symbolise hopes and wishes for the child. Special notes can be placed on them. It’s a very jolly way to end the day when letting them all together with a big fat cheer.

MEMORY BOX
At the end of the ceremony once the balloons have flown away everyone can write their special wishes to the child and place them in a memory box which has been provided. Alternatively, special items can be placed in the box representative of the times in which the naming took place. There are no rules. It could be something precious, something symbolic, something idiotic, photographs, a letter or note. This box is kept sealed and then opened on an anniversary of their choosing perhaps an 18th or 21st and will doubtless cause much amusement in some cases but always a wonderful keepsake.

How did you celebrate the naming of your child? Did you do something unique to create a lifelong memory? We would love to hear your stories.

Celebrant or Civil? Choosing the Right Ceremony for You

If you’re not particularly religious or just want something a little less traditional than a church wedding, then we are here to share the other choices of ceremony and celebration available to you…

To put it as simply as possible, a celebrant wedding is completely personal to you.  Your words, your thoughts, your feelings, delivered by someone who you have chosen because they will be able to replicate it all in a way that represents you both as a couple.  Moreover the ceremony can take place anywhere, yes anywhere even on the moon if you could get there. So if you and your partner have always wanted to get married amidst the bluebell woods where you first met, or on the edge of the sea in your first holiday spot, then with a celebrant wedding, you can!

Civil or Celebrant weddings - outdoor weddings beach weddings same sex weddingsSource: Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

A civil ceremony has to take place in a venue that is licensed to perform weddings.  These venues can be the most wonderful, unusual places or in your local Registry Office but, in either situation the ceremony is scripted.   A celebrant ceremony doesn’t have to stick to a set script; your wedding really will be personal in every way.

Currently a celebrant wedding is not legally binding, so you will need to visit your local Registry Office before your ceremony to make it all official.  There’s also a few other legal bits you need to do before you marry, but this can all be explained to you either by your wedding celebrant or the Registrar.

Civil ceremony or celebrant wedding. pets at weddings, outdoor weddingsSource: Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

Once that’s all done, you are free to challenge all the stereotypes of a wedding. Throw caution to the wind.  Follow your soul.  If your thing is the beach – have your ceremony on the beach, if it’s your home, have it at home.  To all intents and purposes you are getting married where you want to and how you want to.  Surrounded by all your loved ones, your favourite people, your animals, involving them in your very personal day with as much interaction as you like, in a place that it is deeply personal to you, listening to music which has meaningful association with experiences and moments.

So, which kind of ceremony are you thinking of having for your wedding? Are you already married; tell us how you tied the knot! And if you have some ideas that you want to chat through, please get in touch.

Music at Weddings is the Food of Love

Here at Fanfare Ceremonies we are passionate about music and dancing and are always looking for entertaining ways to include both into our ceremonies, wedding, baby naming or vow renewal.  This video cannot help but put a smile on your face.  It’s a wonderful example of how to make your wedding inclusive, happy and just darn good fun.

It epitomises the ethos of Fanfare Ceremonies.

Watch this space for some more ideas and help spread some love and happiness around Devon.