Valentine’s Day Lamentations

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old woman I’ve never been that keen on Valentine’s Day.  I fear it is turning into yet another commercial consumer racket.   Some people really feel the pressure for something extravagant to happen on 14th February and are weighed down by disappointment if doesn’t.  Furthermore, whether you are a teenager or adult looking for love and you don’t have a partner on Valentine’s Day, it can reinforce the very fact that Yes, you are on your own and there’s something wrong with that.

Whilst I was at 6th Form college studying (technically) for my A’ Levels, though if the truth be known I wasn’t doing much work …… I digress …… I was living with my bestie who just happened to be a boy magnet.  Both the years we shared digs  she received at least two bunches of flowers and the postman was weighed down with cards.  What did I get? A supposedly anonymous card from my dear father, kind but somehow it hit home even harder that I was somewhat lacking in the mysterious admirer or boyfriend department.

Valentine's Day, giving flowers, love, proposalsNick and I have just celebrated 25 years together and haven’t once given each other a card to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We’ve never really felt the need.   Having said that, some years quite unexpectedly he has gone out to the garden and hunted for a flower of some sort (quite a feat in February)  and then presented it to me as if it is the biggest bunch of roses you have ever seen.  It makes me laugh every time.  Having said that he is just as likely to do that on any other day of the year; in other words just because he feels like it.

My point is, don’t despair if you are on your own or there are no cards, chocolates, flowers or champagne. One day in February isn’t special but YOU are.

And if you are one of the lucky ones who gets proposed to on Valentine’s Day (or any day for that matter), many many congratulations and lots of love to you both.

What is a Wedding Celebrant?

VikkiJohnAssassynation-RocknRollBride

Fresh home from The Decidedly Different Vintage Wedding Fair at Exeter Castle I have been reflecting on the lovely couples I have met and the questions I was asked. Some of course were marrying in church but there were many who were going down the civil ceremony path and had booked their registrar but had no idea of the alternative I.E. a Celebrant Ceremony.

There are many excellent registrars who provide a great service but they are restricted by the law which results in a scripted ceremony and minimal choice. This is of course the huge advantage of going down the Celebrant path with no restrictions at all.

Our ceremonies accurately depict the couple and their love for each other and provide the opportunity for all their friends and family to celebrate their partnership and formalise it through marriage. People want ceremonies of meaning and substance where they walk away feeling happy and uplifted, and know they have truly celebrated the love and friendship of a couple they hold close.

We currently still need the Registrar to legalise the marriage but goodness Celebrants can offer so much more. The only limitation is your imagination.

 

Image source: Rock n Roll Bride

Exeter Castle

The Decidedly Different Vintage Wedding Fair

Come and join us at the Decidedly Different Vintage Wedding Fair this month.

We are thrilled to be exhibiting with some of the best wedding designers and suppliers in the county, at this fantastic show which takes place across the weekend of the 14th and 15th January, at Exeter Castle.

You can find us in Terrace Room 1. We can’t wait to meet you and chat through your individual, personal ideas for your wedding ceremony. Remember, where, when and how is completely up to you with a wedding celebrant.

Exeter Castle

Lamb

Music Speaks Volumes – Song Lyrics For Wedding Vows & Readings

I think song lyrics make the most wonderful readings, inclusion in your vows or simply beautiful, personal wedding music.  Some may need a little adapting and personalising, but here are two of my favourite to inspire you…

Miley Cyrus

I Adore you by Miley Cyrus

Are you listening?
Wondering, where you’ve been, all my life
I just started living
Are you listening?

When you say you love me
Know I love you more
When you say you need me
Know I need you more
Boy I adore you,
I adore you

Can you hear me?
When I’m crying out, for you,
I’m scared oh, so scared,
When you’re near me
I feel like I’m standing with an army
Of men armed with weapons.

I love lying next to you
I could do this for eternity,
You and me, were meant to be in holy matrimony
God knew exactly what he was doing
When he lead me to you

When you say you love me
Know I love you more
When you say you need me
Know I need you more
Boy I adore you,
I adore you

Lamb

Gorecki by Lamb

If I should die this very moment,
I wouldn’t fear,
For I’ve never known completeness,
Like being here,

Wrapped in the warmth of you,
Loving every breath of you,
Still my heart this moment – or it might burst.
Could we stay right here,

Till the end of time
Till the earth stops turning
I want to love you till the seas run dry,
I’ve found the one I’ve waited for

All this time I’ve loved you
And never known your face,
All this time I’ve missed you
And searched this human race

Here is true peace,
Here my heart knows calm,
Safe in your soul – bathed in your sighs
Could we stay right here

Till the end of time
Till the earth stops turning
I will love you till the seas run dry,
I’ve found the one I’ve waited for …

All I’ve known
All I’ve done
All I’ve felt
Was leading to this.

Keep reading our blogs for more wedding and vow renewal inspiration, to come.

Throw away the wedding rule book

Throw Away The Wedding ‘Rule’ Book – Part 1

A celebrant wedding can be a truly liberating experience. No matter what you have been told, or your parents or grandparents did in the past, YOU can literally do what YOU want to do. Buck the trend, call it what you like. Don’t be influenced by what has been done before or worry if it’s OK to do it this way or that; if you want to do it differently go ahead. Here are my suggestions of some alternatives to the more traditional wedding element.

Throw away the wedding rule bookSource: LeftRight

When your family is big or you have lots of friends, choosing who is part of your bridal party, can be a difficult task and normally ends up with someone feeling left out or upset. Well guess what? There is absolutely no need for you to have a bridal party. If it’s just too hard to choose who should stand with you, consider viewing ALL your guests as your bridal party. Alternatively, maybe you want the only people to be at the front and centre during this important moment to be the two of you and your celebrant. Feel happy and proud to stand up there together, just the two of you.

You don’t have to make a grand entrance. You may find that way too nerve-wracking. If you just want to enter together supporting each other. Do it. There is no rule that says the groom has to be the one nervously waiting for the bride to turn up, and no rule that says anyone has to walk down an aisle. Indeed, if you’re having a more relaxed, casual wedding, you both may want to be in attendance to greet your guests as they arrive, and just get the ceremony started when it feels right.

Throw away the wedding rule bookSource: LeftRight

The layout of the ceremony does not have to be the traditional format of the couple in the middle with their guests sitting in rows, like in a theatre. Why not seat your guests in a giant circle of love around you both.

Here’s a thought – why is it only the bride who gets the big entrance? How about the groom making one too, with or without his best man, accompanied by some pretty cool music?

With a celebrant ceremony there are no rules; just what matters to you both. It’s your day and we can create something truly memorable and special. More ideas to come in Part 2 of this blog post…

pets at weddings, pet ring bearers, dogs, wedding ceremonies

Have You Got The Rings?

child ring bearersTraditionally, the Best Man was given the responsibility of keeping the rings safe and indeed the honour of presenting them to the bride and groom.  This responsibility is weighty.  Who can forget Joey’s nightmare in ‘Friends’ and there are countless other examples of best men finding it a nerve-wracking experience.

A celebrant ceremony is designed to be completely personal and the ring presentation is yet another element of the ceremony which can be adapted to include others rather than the traditional best man.  It is a perfect time to include the father of the groom for instance, a child, a grandparent or anyone who the couple would like to honour or validate as a special and precious part of their life.

Take the father of the groom. The father of the bride has such an important role to play as he is most likely to have walked his daughter down the aisle and ‘given her away’.  What a wonderful moment of validation to ask the groom’s father to look after those precious rings.  It brings an element of balance to the involvement of each family and a truly proud and special memory to cherish for him.

Small children presenting the rings will always bring heart melting moments and doubtless will delight by doing something unpredictable and sweet.  Older children will take the role very seriously and feel honoured and special to have this responsibility.  It can work perfectly as a bonding experience especially if there is a blending of families.

pets at weddings, pet ring bearers, dogs, wedding ceremoniesAnimals are a fun idea and using favourite pets to present the rings is popular if not a little risky.  Be it a dog or horse they will definitely steal the limelight momentarily but be prepared for it all to go hopelessly wrong.   There is a lot of truth in WC Fields’ comment ‘never work with children or animals’.

Finally whether or not you are a Harry Potter fan, you cannot fail to be impressed with a barn owl delivering your rings.  The soft silent flight of a trained owl will make the delivery of them a truly unique and special moment.

You're engaged, celebrant weddings, Devon Weddings, marriage

You’re Engaged

Huge congratulations to you! You’re engaged!

Whether you were hoping for ages that it would happen or it was a complete surprise, once you have recovered from the euphoria of the proposal of marriage and a date has been set. you need to start to preparing for the big day.

You may have been dreaming forever of your fairy-tale, traditional wedding day, or you may be the type who wants to take off and be married on a beach somewhere tropical. Whichever way you lean, the heart of the matter is the union between you and your partner.  The wedding day itself is the most wonderful excuse for a party and, if you are organised, there is no need for it to be stressful, but a truly joyful and exciting journey.

handmade-wedding-signs-from-etsy-personalized-wedding-ideas-we-doGet the ‘housekeeping’ stuff out of the way.  Set the budget, open a wedding account and start saving towards the day.  Assuming you are not flying off to the Caribbean and are marrying in a church or licensed venue, check availability for your preferred date.   Venues, because they are licensed to perform ceremonies, will recommend you contact the Registrar as soon as possible, as they often get very booked up. Please remember you also have the option of a Celebrant who although cannot marry you legally at the venue, can perform a bespoke, personalised ceremony to include your children, family members, pets, your favourite song, words from poems you love; the possibilities are endless.

The beauty of using a wedding celebrant like me, is that once you have done the legal bits, you can have your perfectly personal, loving ceremony at your chosen venue.  This is the heart of the day, the reason why you are both here and indeed why you want all your family and friends around you.

Notice given, venue and celebrant booked.  Now the fun begins on the organising front.  Food, gown, photographer, florist, stationery, transport, invitations.

During all the excitement stick to your budget and your guns; plan it the way you want to. Listen to advice, take some of it or all of it but always remember how excited you were when you were proposed to and don’t let that moment go.  That is the essence of what this day is all about.  Of course, you want everything to be perfect from the food to the music.   It’s your marriage you are celebrating and that unique precious moment in the day when you exchange vows and the promises you make to each other, is the part that matters.

Second marriages, getting married with children, celebrant weddings, Devon weddings

Love & Marriage, Second Time Around

Second marriages, getting married with children, celebrant weddings, Devon weddings(LR)

Love can be lovelier the second time around. Whether after loss or divorce finding someone special is thrilling and sometimes unexpected and very worthy of a proper celebration. And, let’s face it, finding someone who can handle the emotional baggage that comes from being a divorcee, widow or widower, as well as possibly an instant parent, is not easy.

However, thanks to celebrant ceremonies, the way that we can now get married or re-married allows for these celebrations and all for the better, I say! Weddings nowadays can be so much more about the union of two individuals. They can also be, and for many are, about the creation of new families. For many women their wedding day is about becoming a step-mother, as well as a wife. For many men it’s about becoming a stepfather, as well as a husband and more and more children are gaining new brothers and sisters and new adults in their lives to love and respect.

Second marriages, getting married with children, celebrant weddings, Devon weddings(LR)

So here are a few suggestions of superb ways to honour your partner’s children or vice versa and make them feel that extra bit special on your wedding day…

  • Give them a role for the day. Little girls can carry baskets of flower petals and both boys and girls make excellent ring bearers.
  • If old enough invite them to do a reading, if more than one child is involved pair them up so that they can take it in turns. Excellent for moral support and bonding.
  • If you are looking for inspiration, AA Milne always gets it bang on with Winnie the Pooh. I’d be cautious about asking children to choose the reading themselves especially if they are of mischievous persuasion. I heard a classic extract of a poem written by a child the other day ‘Mummy looks like a dragon in the morning and David’s head looks like a bum, but when they get showered and changed they look like the perfect couple.’ How brilliant is that!

There are many wonderful symbolic rituals out there that are just perfect for including children.  Here are some other ideas:

  • Unity Candle Ceremony – Instead of lighting the individual candles yourselves, an older child can light the candles and pass them on to you both to light the central candle. The symbolism of this would be pretty powerful too. It would be their way of saying they’re happy for your union and that they’re giving you their blessing by lighting the candle
  • Handfasting Ceremony. The children can help in tying the knot and have their own cords or ribbons with their chosen colours included in the ceremony.
  • If you are including a memory box (or time capsule) in your ceremony, the children can be asked to contribute something for the box, maybe a letter to the two of you, a poem, a photo or special painting of you both.
  • A sand ceremony is another wonderful way of including your step children and symbolises the uniting of the whole family. Have jars with the names of the children on them with their chosen colour of sand and one large jar into which the sand is poured. The grains of sand merge creating a union that can never be separated.

First of foremost keep it fun, make it inclusive and don’t forget to buy them a beautiful present as a keepsake of such an important day.

Second marriages, getting married with children, celebrant weddings, Devon weddings

(Source)

Twelve Alternatives to Confetti

Have you ever wondered why we throw confetti at a wedding?  Historically, this is an Italian tradition where couples were showered with grains and rice to bestow prosperity and fertility. The tradition carried to other countries and many still throw rice or coloured paper.

alternatives to throwing confettiSource: Lavender, Love, Snow, Bubbles, Sparklers, Flowers, Lavender, Glow Sticks

Some venues would prefer that the wedding party do not use confetti, or more specifically rice, but there are a lot of alternatives that are bang on trend at the moment…

  • Rose petals – my personal favourite. They are natural, smell and look heavenly and wonderful in photographs.
  • Lavender – another very popular option and of course beautifully scented eco friendly to boot.
  • Bird seed – a good alternative to rice as its meant to be harmful for birds, eco friendly and possibly may suit you.
  • Paper planes – great for the children and hours of entertainment making them before the big day.
  • Glow sticks – look awesome when leaving at night and photograph well too
  • Pom poms – cheap to purchase and colourful and won’t hurt when they are being hurled at you
  • Balloons – all your guests release them as you pass by and provide a brilliant blast of colour
  • For good luck, paper horseshoes or 4 leaf clovers
  • Fake snow – for a winter wedding wonderfully effective in photos
  • Bubbles – perfect for a venue that won’t let you throw anything. They create no mess and are a fun way of involving all your guests.
  • Beach balls – of course for a beach wedding
  • Sparklers – a little complicated in the execution but another awesome way of leaving your ceremony at night.

alternatives to throwing confettiSource: Beach Balls, Bird Seed, Airplanes, Horseshoes, Bucket, Cones, Rose Petals

If you are going down the more traditional confetti route, a wonderful way to present it whether petals, lavender, dried flowers, is paper cones. Make them from doilies (or off cuts of vintage paper), shaped into a cone and pinned with a piece of ribbon or tied with raffia.  You can create petal cones from any style of paper, music sheets, transparent paper, pages from favourite books. Hand them to your guests as they leave the ceremony or hang them from each chair, with ribbons.

I’d love to share your confetti shots on my social media pages. Please feel free to visit my Facebook and Twitter and let me see you under your confetti shower!

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