On a dreary January day there is nothing better to lift the spirits than casting my mind back to a wonderful warm (boiling in fact) summer day last July. I was back at Barons Hill Farm to conduct a ceremony, this time for the delightful Kirsty and Tom.
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.
The rivalry between Devon and Cornwall is friendly but notorious. Whether it’s the discussion over the order in which you apply cream and jam on a scone or who first came up with the pasty (although I fear Devon is clutching at straws in that battle – the clue’s in the name after all!).
Whilst I live in, and love everything about, Devon, I am also a huge fan of the Corns and everything Cornish! I love the people, the pubs, the cider, the rivers, the beaches, the cliffs, the coves, the villages, the ruggedness, the wildness, the moors and, of course, Poldark (well, Aiden to be precise!).
I was recently talking to my colleagues from the Cornish Celebrants, who said that the programme Poldark has had a massive impact on their business. More and more couples are wanting to be married in places with dramatic backdrops, be it a rugged moorland landscape or a clifftop overlooking a mesmerising seascape. The Poldark effect also sees many couples drawing on the Celtic influences (handfasting in particular) of the period and because no license is required for a celebrant ceremony, it is entirely possible to have your wedding in all these magical places incorporating as much of the inspiration behind the TV drama as you wish.
However, when you are considering a wedding like this, Devon has those cliffs, coves and moors too and they’re every bit as good as those of our neighbours. Devon has magical, mystical places. It has Jurassic coastlines and secluded woodlands and remote sheep covered hills. So don’t just default to Cornwall…… consider Devon and all its gloriousness. And while you’re at it, stick your cream on first and then add your jam!
I’ve put together a Poldark inspiration board over on our Pinterest page. There’s some glorious landscapes and loads of ideas for an 18th century, wild and rugged wedding.
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.
Escorted 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.
These incredible photographs are courtesy of Vaughan-Stephens Photography.
Cast 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?
But 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.
Images by Emma Oakes Photography
On 26th May this year I was lucky enough to conduct the ceremony for Ranald and Becky at her parent’s farm in Wilmington, East Devon. Everything about this wedding was unique, personal and truly bespoke.
Family is hugely important to both Becky and Ranald and their wedding certainly celebrated, not only their marriage, but also the love and the closeness or their two families.
Becky’s parents had been working tirelessly to get their beautiful home prepared for this glorious celebration. The ceremony was held high on a hill above the farm beneath a beautiful wedding arbor that Becky’s father had made with seating on straw bales. It was a hot steamy day and the storm clouds were gathering but fortunately came to nothing. Many of the guests, despite the sweltering conditions, puffed up the steep hill whilst others took advantage of the vehicles laid on to ferry those less energetic. The view from the top was breathtaking.
They wrote their own vows. Becky’s godmother had written a poem which she read describing their relationship and characters to a tee.
This wedding typified everything that a celebrant ceremony is all about. Becky wanted to be married from her wonderful home. They wanted it to be personal, relaxed and intimate. It was all that and more. It was unpretentious. It was charming. It was rustic.
They are a lovely couple who take joy from their family, their children, nature and each other’s company. They really were the Darling Buds of May just as HE Bates described. I loved it.
The beautiful images were captured by DHW 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.
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.
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.
My 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.