Throw away the wedding rule book

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

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

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

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)

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

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

Image from Boho Weddings.

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

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

 

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.

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.