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

Two Beautiful Boho Brides, One Name and One Magical Venue

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, outdoor wedding, celebrant wedding

The Wild Weather Breaks for a Beautiful Wedding on the Edge of Dartmoor

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

My Darling Buds of May – Becky & Ranald

The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding.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.

The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding.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 wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding. The wedding of Becky & Ran. Images by Daniel Weeks Photography. Celebrant wedding. Devon wedding. Outdoor wedding.The beautiful images were captured by DHW Photography.

Helen and Troy, Celebrant wedding at Rockbeare Manor, with images by Nova Wedding Photography

The Rockbeare Manor wedding of Helen & Troy

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.

Barons Hill Barn wedding

A Love Story

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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The Wonderful Wedding of Bex & Gavin

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.

Throw Away The Wedding ‘Rule’ Book – Part 2

When I’m approached by couples at wedding fairs, my first question to them is usually, ‘Are you getting married in church?’  If they are not, then my next question is to determine their next step, which is usually to book a registrar.  Many couples have not heard of, or considered the services of a wedding celebrant and therefore are unaware of just how flexible and personal their wedding ceremony can be, without the constraints of a standard registrar service.

Below I reveal yet more reasons why a celebrant ceremony is so liberating and provide you with some alternatives to the ‘standard’ wedding rule book.

Throw away the rule book part 2. wedding celebrant, celebrant ceremony, personalised wedding, walking down the aisleMost brides will probably want to be escorted down the aisle (for support and to ease the nerves if nothing else).  Traditionally, of course, it’s Dad that has the honour, however there are many circumstances where perhaps he is not the chosen one or is not involved at all.   What I’m saying is that anyone can be the escort – your best friend, your mum, sibling, grandparent or even your child.  And if you want to go it alone – take centre stage and go it alone!

Furthermore, there is no need to be “given away” at all, if that doesn’t suit you.  An alternative might be to give the close family and/or friends of both the bride and groom  the opportunity to affirm their love of the couple and to promise to continue to provide love, guidance and support in their marriage. They can do this as a group, or individually. Standing, sitting, walking with you, gathered around you in a circle. Whatever is in your head and your heart, can be recreated on your wedding day. Just talk to me about your ideas.

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