- You make the brilliant decision that you don’t want a ceremony that reads the same as everyone else’s and contact me. The next important decision is to make sure I am the right person for you. You must like me; like the sound of my voice and indeed my style of ceremony.
- If we all decide that we ‘get’ one another, ideally the next step would be for us all to meet face-to-face however if, for whatever reason, this isn’t possible Facetime is a good alternative. This meeting is not long but it is just to confirm that your instincts were right and that I am the right person for you and for you to ask any questions you may have. All being well you will then pay a deposit to save the date and I will send a contract for you both to sign.
- The next time we meet will be about two to three months before the big day. I like you to allow at least two hours for this. It doesn’t have to be at the venue but if the ceremony is to be held at your home then that would be ideal. If it’s at a venue, I’ll meet you locally here in Devon. However, many of my clients are based in London and if this is the case, I will happily meet you there.
- Prior to this meeting I will send you some homework in the form of some questions. Ideally, I like it returned before we meet but this is not essential. Many of my clients find this a very reflective exercise and rather fun. The questions cover everything from the details of your bridal parties to telling me all about your relationship, your characters, your families and of course the proposal. In short, the story of you and your partner. This is the essence of your ceremony script and what makes it entirely bespoke. For me this is my favourite part of my job. I introduced the questionnaire a year ago. I’d rather spend this precious time with you both, getting to know you, rather than having to concentrate on getting the chronology and detail correct. That way the script will be truly reflective of you.
- We will kiss goodbye and I always hear myself saying ‘Most likely the next time we meet will be on your big day’. I always feel like I’ve made some new friends and hope that you will feel the same.
- I go home and write the script and then send you the first draft with everything crossed my end that you will love it and that I’m along the right track. You will tweak, amend as necessary and I will do the same and the script will go back and forth until we are all absolutely happy.
- In the meantime, I will also, if applicable, liaise with the venue and make sure that the event manager and I are entirely happy with the production on the day.
- A week or so before your wedding I will email to confirm the finer details on the production of the ceremony, confirming that we all know who is doing what, where everyone is seated and so on.
- Then it’s the big day! I always arrive an hour beforehand which gives me plenty of time to introduce myself to members of the families and of course the rest of the bridal party. I’m always equipped with plenty of water for nervous dry throats, tissues for the regularly teary groom, and Vaseline for the ring fingers in case of sweaty hands. I always bring laminated copies of the readings for the readers just in case.
- My second favourite part of my job is standing with the groom (or bride) awaiting his bride (or groom!). When the music starts and she’s on her way my heart skips a beat, often my eyes fill with tears and I must give myself a metaphorical kick to pull myself together! That’s how involved I feel.
- And so, I read our script and I mean ours. We created it together – the three of us. I issue the immortal words, “You may kiss your beautiful bride (or groom!)” and for me ………. It’s nearly over. But for you it’s the beginning of bigger and better things.
- Before I leave, I love to get a picture of the three of us. These pictures are the most special of all.
So, there you have it. I hope I have answered any questions you might have had before reading this post. If not, just give me a shout and I’ll be only too happy to chat with you.
December has always been a month of madness as we all tie ourselves to the Christmas bandwagon and hold on tight. But it’s also a month of reflection and what a year it has been for the Fanfare family.
It kicked off back in April with the postponed wedding (due to the snow in March) of Jan and Richard at Powderham Castle and my last ceremony was for Emily and Andy at the Deer Park Country House in November – A venue which has now closed its doors to hotel guests and now concentrates entirely on weddings and events. I was lucky enough to be asked to conduct two ceremonies there this year. Both were wonderfully happy and memorable. Bizarrely for Kirstie and Dan in September the weather threw the book at them. Heavy rain and gales. Whereas at the beginning of November for Emily and Andy the sun shone down on them. I’m always saying that couples should consider winter weddings, although I’m saying that as we are entering yet another week of wet and windy weather.
This is my third year of being a celebrant and I’ve been to some new venues such as the quirky and charming Streamcombe Farm and returned to some old friends like The Barn at Barons Hill Farm. But my favourites are without doubt those that are at home. Both Becky and Ran’s and Charlotte and Chris’ weddings were the stand outs for me. Purely for that reason. Both their homes are in the most magical of settings and although again the blummin’ weather threw a spanner in the works for Charlotte and Chris it didn’t take away from the fact that Charlotte had her wedding and exchanged vows and rings with the person she loved, in the place she loved… at home. For me there is nothing better.
The year culminated with a last-minute decision to enter the Wedding Industry Awards and unexpectedly being made a regional finalist. I lost out to the very talented Cornish Celebrants – a charming duo of lady Celebrants based, yes you’ve guessed it, in Cornwall. It certainly was an experience and I cannot thank all the couples who voted for me enough especially as I really had not given them much warning! It wasn’t to be this year but who knows I might try again next year!
One more thing I’m delighted to report, is that Bex and Gavin and Amy and Dave, whose ceremonies I conducted last year at Huntsham Court and The Barn at Barons Hill respectively, are expecting their first babies. I feel like a prospective Granny!
And so I would like to finish by wishing all members of the ‘Fanfare’ family, both old and new (and coming soon!) a brilliantly Happy New Year. I’m excited about all the ceremonies I already have booked for next year and look forward to meeting new couples looking to have a celebrant wedding soon.
MICRO WEDDING is the latest buzz word in ‘wedding world.’ In a nutshell it is an alternative to a full-blown elopement. The definition of elopement is the act or instance of running off secretly. A micro wedding is not that but more an occasion which allows the focus to be on the ceremony attended by your very closest family and friends.
Elopement suits some. Running away in secret to get hitched privately is romantic but it can potentially hurt, disappoint and can cause misunderstandings which is of course is not the intention. However, if you want to keep your wedding small, simple or short and you don’t want to spend a small fortune a micro wedding might be the answer. It is a whole easier to keep sight of your budget when are only 20 versus 150 guests.
A ‘micro’ is simpler in format, relaxed in atmosphere, less stress to organise than a traditional wedding and much easier on the pocket. The whole occasion can no more than 2 hours allowing sufficient time for a meaningful ceremony, photographs to remember the occasion and some celebratory drinks afterwards. By limiting your guest list, the emphasis is on the ceremony and those precious people who are key in your lives whom you want to witness this significant and important event. Not only will you feel more connected with your family and friends but they, in turn, feel hugely honoured and valued.
The whole concept of a micro wedding ‘marries’ (excuse the pun) perfectly with a celebrant ceremony. Bespoke, unique, intimate and inclusive. Here’s a thing, you could rent a beautiful house in your most favourite place and invite only your closest friends and family and get married in the garden or even in the kitchen if that suits you better. You could even keep it a huge surprise for everyone.
Having said that many licensed venues are now offering elopement packages which are, in essence, micro weddings. Our favourite is Bridwell Park.
I’d love to hear your stories of intimate weddings you’ve been part of, or you are planning yourself.
When it comes to deciding where to get married, there is an array of choices available to you. All of which have their advantages and disadvantages – whether that be down to availability, size, venue restrictions or religious beliefs.
Deciding on who should marry you, however, is still something that falls way down to the bottom of most couples’ wedding preparation priorities. I hope to change that by giving you 10 reasons to choose a celebrant for your special day, rather than a registrar.
Choose a wedding celebrant if…
- Your perfect venue does not have a civil marriage licence. This could be your own garden, woodlands, a beach or an unlicensed wedding venue
- You don’t want to be restricted by the limitations of a licensed ceremony
- You don’t want to be married by a complete stranger
- You want to be married somewhere where all your friends and family can stay together i.e self catering accommodation
- You want to include a religious element within your ceremony but don’t want to get married in a church
- You want to be married outdoors without a permanent structure
- You want to be confident in the knowledge that your celebrant will have one booking that day and therefore there is no need to rush or fit in with a schedule
- You want a ceremony that has no template or standard script, no tick boxes or restrictions.
- You want to add a hand fasting, sand ceremony, religious or cultural element, to give your ceremony added personality
- You want your ceremony to be completely personal and unique to you.
So, now you know. Your wedding need not follow the same template or wording. Your ceremony will not feel rushed or conveyor-beltish. Your special day will be completely and utterly unique. If you have any other questions please, please do contact me via the website. I’m always happy to chat and help in any way I can.
When you think about ‘wedding season’, the height of it all tends to be around the summer months. But as the weather becomes more and more unpredictable in the UK and we hear stories of weddings being completely washed out, more and more couples are choosing the winter months to get married.
And why not? Tying the knot in winter alleviates the pressure of the ‘British’ summer. In winter, good weather is a bonus and therefore not always a deciding factor when choosing a venue or a date. The venues are also cheaper during the winter, sometimes as much as half the price of dates through June to September. And if you are looking for a last minute date, chances are they are more available during the latter quarter of the year.
The scenery, whilst not bursting with floral abundance, is crisp and clear and minimal and fresh. The nights draw in giving the perfect backdrop for fireworks displays and festoon lighting. Tables can be dotted with candles and tealights and anything sparkly. Couples should remember that natural daylight is best for photographs, so bear that in mind when timing your day.
Brides can keep warm under faux fur wraps and velvet capes. Guests can snuggle up under blankets and congregate around open firepits with hot chocolates and marshmallows. Or warm their cockles on mulled wine or vodka ice sculptures.
And for couples looking to winter for inspiration in their wedding vows…
And if you are planning on lots of DIY touches, head over to our sister company Fanfare Celebration Supplies for all your winter wonderland wedding paraphernalia. Everything from paper snowflakes to napkins and crystals.
And here are just a few of our favourite venues that are simply stunning in winter. Some of them still have availability for 2018 winter weddings, so head on over and take your pick.
The wedding procession – sounds rather formal doesn’t it, but it has to be one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of a wedding. Not only for the person making the entrance, but also for the one waiting at the other end and all the attendants watching. It’s also a chance for me, as a celebrant, to catch a glimpse of each person’s emotions as they see each other for the first time. A treasured moment.
Like all things wedding there is of course a traditional tried and tested formula. There are two popular formats. The bride to lead or be led. The British tend to do it one way and the Americans the other.
Traditionally Brits take the view that the Bride leads her attendants. Cast your mind back to the vision of Catherine Middleton and indeed all the royal weddings. She was the star of the day. The bride at this moment SHOULD be the star. Majestic, composed, radiant, happy and beautiful. Quite right that all eyes should be on her from the outset.
There is also a completely logical and practical reason for the bride to lead. Most traditional wedding dresses have a train. The attendants i.e. the bridesmaids, are there to hold the train and make sure that all is well. They need to be behind the bride to do this.
Those across the pond go for the build-up of excitement and anticipation of the first glimpse of the bride whereby the attendants lead the bride down the aisle. Sometimes this can turn into a huge procession of friends and family. To get the full impact one really needs a big venue otherwise the party enters in drips and drabs and the whole affect is slightly lost.
I do believe a procession is an important element of any wedding ceremony. For that special moment in time, those who are processing are transported from the humdrum of everyday life to the spotlight of a grand entrance with carefully selected music. It is a fabulous way to honour your special friends and family too.
Of course, if yours is a same sex union or you are looking at something away from the norm, this can throw up a plethora of opportunities. Walk in together. This symbolises total unity with specific family members following behind. One partner walks first escorted by one or both parents, the other follows with his or her family. Perhaps have more than one aisle and approach together. And how about this for an idea? A pre-recorded short narrative by yourselves of your journey to marriage. Lastly you both could be at the front when your guests arrive and borrow from Jewish tradition whereby both sets of parents walk down the aisle and present you.
Which way are you going to process, British, American or something completely different? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Traditionally, 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.
Animals 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.
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.
Get 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.