Hello friends and a very Happy New Year to you all!  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and if you were amongst those who got engaged over the festive period, many congratulations to you!!!

Joanne and Colin were married at Canonteign Falls in September. Their backdrop was the falls itself and they stood and exchanged vows under a pagoda overlooking Lily Lake.

Colin’s brother Graeme was his Best Man and Joanne was given away by Jonny, the son she never had. They adopted one another as mother and son before the ceremony. Joanne was also keen to make a special mention to her mother during the ceremony, whom had been a constant in her life and role model.

The wedding was light-hearted but sprinkled with great sincerity and perfectly reflected Colin’s sense of humour and the couples’ long-time friendship. I particularly love the accents of burgundy throughout the wedding party and proof that chivalry is not dead – Colin gave his jacket to Joanne during the ceremony to shelter her from the breeze coming across the lake.

Images are courtesy of Tess Photography.  If you like the sound of getting married at your favourite nature spot, head over to our availability page and save the date.

Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography

It was all about the Jess’ on the 7th July 2018.  It was only when I sat down and started writing the script that it occurred to me, when I began telling their story, that the shared name issue was potentially going to be quite challenging.  I don’t normally have to use second names when I’m sharing weddings on this blog, but for ‘their story’ and for clarification purposes we adopted two of their nicknames.  I wonder if I shall ever come across this situation again?

Their chosen venue was the magical Streamcombe Farm near Dulverton.  It’s completely off the beaten track with a wonderful Boho vibe and when the Jess’ fell upon it they knew it was exactly what they were after.

The ceremony took place under a beautiful canopy created by an enormous beech tree which provides a majestic natural cathedral.

Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens PhotographyEscorted by her father Kevin, Jess C emerged first from the woodland path, looking sensational.   She was supported by her bridesmaid and two flower girls who were the daughters of mutual friends.    It was actually the first time I had met her.  This is extremely unusual as normally I meet my couples at least twice.   Unfortunately, when we had planned to meet, she had been struck down by a horrid tummy bug just.   I met with Jess B who was able to provide me with all the information that I needed to write the script and gave me the lowdown on their story and Jess’ personality and I was very pleased with the result.  I hasten to add the script wasn’t at all one sided.  I sent the first draft with a few gaps about Jess B which Jess C very ably filled in.

It was sweet watching Jess C awaiting the arrival of her bride with her father, Robert.  There was a palpable hue of anticipation.  And Jess B didn’t disappoint.  She looked equally stunning and was accompanied by her sister as Maid of Honour and nieces as bridesmaids.

The plan had been for Coco their dog to be their ringbearer but sadly due to the sweltering heat it was decided that poor Coco might have melted.

Jess and Jess are a couple who are renown amongst their friends and family for their generous hospitality and warmth.  With most of their guests camping at Streamcombe for the weekend there was a real sense of celebration and good cheer which had started the night before the ceremony and I am sure continued long afterwards.  Another very happy day.

Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography Jess and Jess. Outdoor wedding at Streamcombe Farm. Celebrant wedding photographed by Vaughan-Stephens Photography

These incredible photographs are courtesy of Vaughan-Stephens Photography.

The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding,

The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant weddingCast your mind back to June this year– we’d had a spell of the most beautiful weather and we were all feeling a little complacent and were beginning to assume that all would be well for a BBQ or indeed ….. a wedding.  I could hardly bear it as I left home to present Andy and Sarah’s ceremony at Wonward Barton.  It was pouring and I mean properly pouring with rain.

Wonward Barton is a cosy, rustic wedding venue with fantastic views towards Cornwall.  In prime position taking full advantage of the said view, was a beautiful ceremonial arch made especially for the day by Andy’s uncle. Indeed he wasn’t the only family member who had been hard at work preparing for the day.  This really was a family affair.  Everyone had helped to make this special day the very best for this incredibly kind, fun and busy couple.  The beautiful marquee was festooned with literally miles of bunting made by Andy’s Mum.   The garden was full of outside games.  How dare the weather turn on my nurse and paramedic?

The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant wedding The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant wedding The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant wedding The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant wedding The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant weddingBut there is a God up there after all and the rain did stop and although still very unsettled I was delighted when Andy decided five minutes before the ceremony was due to start that Yes, we were going to have it outside.  All of us set to and within minutes the chairs were in place and we were ready to go.

Their’s was a lovely story to tell and their love and friendship are worthy of great celebration.  Having met with them, got to know them and laughed with them, we collaborated and created a script that reflected their relationship and love.  This ceremony was truly personal.  Everyone who attended knew them well, loved them a lot and recognised them in the story we told.

The rain was never going to dim the light at this wedding.  Simply because it was shining bright in Andy and Sarah’s eyes and I was lucky enough to be a part of it.

The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant wedding The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant wedding The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant wedding The wedding of Andy & Sarah. Emma Oakes Photography. Cornwall wedding, dartmoor wedding, outdoor wedding, celebrant weddingImages by Emma Oakes Photography

Naming ceremony, Devon celebrant, Starcross Yacht club

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

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. 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

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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Barons Hill Barn wedding

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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NewRobin Photography, wedding of James and Michelle, wedding celebrant, Devon wedding

Every single wedding ceremony that I’m lucky to be part of, is completely different to the last one. From the style of the bride, to the way the couple enter and leave their celebrations. From the personal readings, poems, songs and music to how family and friends react to seeing the bride and groom marry in front of them.

Michelle and James chose a low-key wedding in the garden, with lots of DIY touches, on the Rousden Estate, near Lyme Regis. Michelle dressed in a beautiful soft cream, beaded gown and was accompanied up the aisle by her very proud father and her children; Isla as a flower girl and Toby, her page boy.  Her four best friends took on the roles of bridesmaid.  An emotional James and his Best Men looked handsome in grey checked jackets and matching waistcoats.  I love the subtle touches of colour from the bouquet and buttonholes.

The couple were very keen to keep everything modest and understated. A simple ceremony, with personal vows and then onto doing what matters most, celebrating the union with all their loved ones.

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NewRobin Photography

 

real wedding inspiration romantic devon wedding

When I decided to become a celebrant, whilst I knew that I would be fully involved in creating a lifelong memory for couples and families, I hadn’t really allowed for how it would make me feel personally. For weddings, I presumed that I would meet a couple, they would book my services, we would convene regularly to put in place a truly intimate and personal service that they would share in front of their nearest and dearest, and afterwards, we would part company with a smile and warm handshake and I would move on to the next.

Well, what an emotional kick up the pants I was in for when I met Bex and Gavin. To become so close to a couple, so quickly and to be so involved in something so personal and precious, was truly a mind-blowing moment for me and really cemented why I truly love what I do.

www.lunaweddings.co.uk www.lunaweddings.co.uk www.lunaweddings.co.uk www.lunaweddings.co.uk www.lunaweddings.co.ukWe met at Huntsham Court, the venue for the wedding,  in November, for the first time. I’m listed as a recommended celebrant on the Huntsham website. I liked them immediately which, as you know, I think is as important as them liking me! Bex is an incredibly warm and fun person and Gavin is just the most charming laid back fellow. They were clearly very much in love and Bex in particular very excited about the whole thing. Not that he wasn’t but she just is an excitable incredibly enthusiastic type! He just sat smiling, letting her do all the talking with her ENORMOUS notebook. I took lots of notes about how they met, how he proposed, their families etc etc. and what they wanted out of the ceremony.

That was that until January when I sent them the first draft. It toed and froed for about a month. Then I met them again in London at a wine bar to go through the draft and who was going to do what, where everyone was going to stand, who was walking in with who etc etc. We had a very jolly evening. I felt very fond of them both.

Family and friends were particularly important to them. They absolutely loved Huntsham because it meant their nearest and dearest could stay with them and they could make a weekend of it. They wanted their ceremony to reflect their love of their parents and friends and also to have their story told with humour but sincerity.

By then we were good to go except for the vows. They were keen to write their own vows and read them themselves. Bex’s vows were prepared well in advance. Gavin appeared not to have really thought about them and I left him to it until about 3 weeks before the wedding and then put some pressure on him and when they were arrived I knew that Bex would never be able to hold back the tears. They were keen that they would not see other’s vows so on the day it would be a surprise.

On the Thursday before the wedding I met them at Huntsham to have a quick chat and a mini run through although the hall was not set up with all the chairs so we had to use our imagination somewhat.

Bex had asked me to arrive in good time on the day so I arrived an hour or so early. I went up to see her and then introduced myself to all the ‘key players’. It was good toput faces to all the names I had heard about over the past months.

The ceremony ran completely smoothly apart from an agonising rendition of All you need is love when I heard myself singing it at one stage almost entirely on my own as nobody was really joining in!! I left quietly. As I drove away my lovely couple were heading outside into the rain, full of love and happiness for their confetti shower.