Posts

The rock n roll wedding of Rachael and Jeremy, with hand fasting and jumping the broom. Images by Jamie Denny. Venue Streamcombe Farm

Stranger Things – Who Will Conduct Your Ceremony?

I think it’s fair to say that your wedding day is high up on the momentous life events list. It therefore completely baffles me that most couples, who choose a civil ceremony, are happy for this huge occasion to be officiated by a total stranger.

All Talk No Action – Script Only Services

Are you thinking of getting married in a faraway exotic location but don’t want to use the venue’s prescriptive script?    Or perhaps you have a friend or family member you would love to present your wedding ceremony here at home but don’t want to give them the added pressure of writing the script?  In either of these situations you may be interested to hear that I offer a script only service.

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

Creating Vows from Inspirational Music

Over the years I have collected quite a selection of inspirational music. Some well-known ones but also some slightly more obscure pieces. Being a music fan, I particularly like lyrics to songs and find incorporating them into your wedding ceremony, either as part of your vows or as a reading or musical interlude, the perfect way to say something beautiful if you are struggling to find the words yourself.

The wedding of Helen and Troy. As photographed by Nova Wedding Photography. At Rockbeare Manor

The Father of the Bride Moment

Creating a Celebrant Ceremony – The Process

I thought it might be helpful for those who are considering whether to use my services to write a bit on how the process works from the first point of contact until the actual ceremony. So here goes…

  • 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.

Fan xx

 

The Poldark Effect

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.

 

Landscape image sources: Top left, Top middle, Top right, Bottom left, Bottom middle, Bottom right

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.

Fan signature

10 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Celebrant For Your Wedding

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.

Barons Hill Barn weddingChoose a wedding celebrant if…

  1. Your perfect venue does not have a civil marriage licence. This could be your own garden, woodlands, a beach or an unlicensed wedding venue
  2. You don’t want to be restricted by the limitations of a licensed ceremony
  3. You don’t want to be married by a complete stranger
  4. You want to be married somewhere where all your friends and family can stay together i.e self catering accommodation
  5. You want to include a religious element within your ceremony but don’t want to get married in a church
  6. You want to be married outdoors without a permanent structure
  7. 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
  8. You want a ceremony that has no template or standard script, no tick boxes or restrictions.
  9. You want to add a hand fasting, sand ceremony, religious or cultural element, to give your ceremony added personality
  10. 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.

Fan signature

Winter Weddings vs Summer Celebrations

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.

winter wedding inspiration winter wedding inspirationThe 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…

winter wedding, 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 Great Barn | Higher Eggbeer | Haldon Belvedere | Huntsham Court | The Corn Barn | Hayne Devon

 

Image source: lights, cocoa, bride, sparklers, mulled wine, blankets