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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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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.

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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

NewRobin Photography, wedding of James and Michelle, wedding celebrant, Devon wedding

Michelle & James Marry in the Garden

Every single wedding ceremony that I’m lucky to be part of, is completely different to the last one. From the style of the bride, to the way the couple enter and leave their celebrations. From the personal readings, poems, songs and music to how family and friends react to seeing the bride and groom marry in front of them.

Michelle and James chose a low-key wedding in the garden, with lots of DIY touches, on the Rousden Estate, near Lyme Regis. Michelle dressed in a beautiful soft cream, beaded gown and was accompanied up the aisle by her very proud father and her children; Isla as a flower girl and Toby, her page boy.  Her four best friends took on the roles of bridesmaid.  An emotional James and his Best Men looked handsome in grey checked jackets and matching waistcoats.  I love the subtle touches of colour from the bouquet and buttonholes.

The couple were very keen to keep everything modest and understated. A simple ceremony, with personal vows and then onto doing what matters most, celebrating the union with all their loved ones.

NewRobin Photography, wedding of James and Michelle, wedding celebrant, Devon wedding NewRobin Photography, wedding of James and Michelle, wedding celebrant, Devon wedding NewRobin Photography, wedding of James and Michelle, wedding celebrant, Devon wedding NewRobin Photography, wedding of James and Michelle, wedding celebrant, Devon wedding NewRobin Photography, wedding of James and Michelle, wedding celebrant, Devon wedding

 

NewRobin Photography

 

Remembering Absent Loved Ones At Your Wedding

A wedding is a time for joy and laughter and the bringing together of your loved ones and closest friends, in celebration. But what about those dearest family members who are no longer with you, or the friends living thousands of miles away, who can’t make it to your wedding day? How do you include them or commemorate them? Will drawing attention to their absence create too much sadness for what should be the happiest day of your life?

I’ve put together a few suggestions as to how you can remember a missing loved one on your special day.  And I can help you with making sure that your loved ones, dearly departed or just absent from your day, are remembered in the most personal, subtle, intimate or full on celebratory way you can imagine. Just give me a call to chat through your ideas.

family tree for weddingsSource

  • Put images of family and friends in frames and display them on a table, a tree or even a stepladder, so that guests can remember them in their own way, at their own time.
  • Save a chair for a missing family member, by adding a personal item or a photograph. Or set one chair aside, perhaps in a different colour or style, that is symbolic and for every missing person.
  • If you want to do something completely unforgettable, then release balloons or even white doves in memory of those absent.
  • For something a little more subtle, add a personal trinket, small locket or photo in cuff links to your wedding gown, suit, bouquet or even shoes (your loved ones will literally be walking down the aisle with you, even if they aren’t there).
  • For those that are perhaps living abroad and unable to attend, make them feel included by sitting your laptop on a chair and Skyping them throughout the ceremony.
  • Your speech or wedding vows are the perfect platform to remember a missing relative or pal. Or why not add a paragraph or so into your order of service; a keepsake for all.

Absent loved ones Absent loved ones Absent loved onesSource: Bouquet, Reading, Chair, Jacket, Front Row, Balloons, Chalkboard, Doves, Skype, Cuff Link

 

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.

Why Did I Become A Celebrant?

Why did I become a Celebrant?

The simple answer is, because I am dealing with love and meeting people at the most loved-up time in their life.  It is impossible not to make it sound anything other than corny, but it truly is a beautiful thing.

I hear a couple’s story and I can help them tell it however they like. Love is beautiful – actually, that doesn’t even come close to describing it.   And I make no apologies for getting caught up in experiencing a moment that is amazing.  I’m not, and I will never be – a ‘robotic’ celebrant.  I can’t imagine being a part of a wedding – where two people are expressing their enduring love for each other – and not being affected by it.   I’ve learned to take my own advice –  I tell my couples, when it becomes a bit overwhelming – take a deep breath – and soak in all the love that is around you.  There’s a lot of truth in Wet Wet Wet’s song ‘Love is all around us’

I feel it in my fingers
I feel it in my toes
The love that’s all around me
And so the feeling grows.

I won’t go on but you get the gist.  Don’t be ashamed if there are tears.  They are tears of genuine joy, emotion and happiness and everyone will be touched.   A moment’s pause may feel like a lifetime, however it reinforces that these special moments will last forever.  In the words of Dr Seuss “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”

Love quoteI’ve never considered myself as being overly romantic but I do think everything involved in the planning of a wedding is infectious, joyous and exciting.    For me, I feel hugely privileged to be involved and trusted with a story.  My couples share with me their most personal feelings and tell me about the most important people in their lives.  It is a huge responsibility that I welcome and respect.

There is a powerful, infectious feeling of love, anticipation, excitement and I take the responsibility of my position very seriously and it’s not uncommon when a couple first contacts me – for them to ask for examples of previous ceremonies I have performed.  I’m more than happy to do so… but it comes with a very specific direction: “Don’t focus on the words, focus on the intention.”

Why?  Because when I write a ceremony, it’s a personalised ceremony… and it is completely and utterly customised to the couple who it is written for.

When the ceremony is over and ‘my’ couple immerse themselves amongst their nearest and dearest, I go home with warmth in my heart and a huge smile on my face.  A job well done.

 

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When April Comes

A topic that comes up in conversation on a regular basis, at Fanfare HQ and one that brings forth much debate, is which is the best month of the year to marry in? I am opening the discussion with April. A little inappropriate perhaps, as it’s currently March, but hey I like April.

April weddings, wedding celebrant, Devon wedding, AprilIf you believe in such things, what month you are born in can say a lot about your future together as a couple. April covers the signs of both Aries and Taurus and according to The Astro Twins, authors of Love Zodiac. “Aries is a very adventurous, bold, and independent sign. If you tie the knot during this time you’ll thrive as individuals and not risk losing sight of yourselves in the relationship. Your marriage will be filled with lots of spontaneity, too. Think last minute getaways, exciting dinner dates, and unexpected romantic surprises. But be careful not to get too competitive with each other, as Aries couples tend to do.”

“Taurus is an extremely sensual, decadent sign. You and your hubby enjoy the finer things in life, and you’re definitely not afraid to indulge your taste for luxury. Good news: You’re destined to have a very grounded marriage. Because both of you can get stuck and set in your ways though, it’s important to mix things up more and try new stuff — in the bedroom and out of it.”

April kicks off with Fool’s day and therefore paves the way for a month of fun and frivolity. It’s a mischievous month. It doesn’t just rain. It tries to catch you out with bursts of sunshine and then when you least expect it, it soaks you. Perhaps in human terms it could be described as optimistic but temperamental.

Happy words like love, hope and growth are associated with it and likewise happy colours like yellow and pastels. Although 1st March is technically the beginning of Spring, I think April is when it truly shows itself.

I like April. I was married during it. There was a spring chill in the air and a hint of a breeze but it didn’t rain on us. Perhaps we were lucky and that’s a good omen for anyone’s marriage.

What’s your favourite month? Will it impact on your decision to when you get married? Or is it just down to when your chosen venue is available? I’d love to hear why you love the month you love.

What is a Wedding Celebrant?

VikkiJohnAssassynation-RocknRollBride

Fresh home from The Decidedly Different Vintage Wedding Fair at Exeter Castle I have been reflecting on the lovely couples I have met and the questions I was asked. Some of course were marrying in church but there were many who were going down the civil ceremony path and had booked their registrar but had no idea of the alternative I.E. a Celebrant Ceremony.

There are many excellent registrars who provide a great service but they are restricted by the law which results in a scripted ceremony and minimal choice. This is of course the huge advantage of going down the Celebrant path with no restrictions at all.

Our ceremonies accurately depict the couple and their love for each other and provide the opportunity for all their friends and family to celebrate their partnership and formalise it through marriage. People want ceremonies of meaning and substance where they walk away feeling happy and uplifted, and know they have truly celebrated the love and friendship of a couple they hold close.

We currently still need the Registrar to legalise the marriage but goodness Celebrants can offer so much more. The only limitation is your imagination.

 

Image source: Rock n Roll Bride

pets at weddings, pet ring bearers, dogs, wedding ceremonies

Have You Got The Rings?

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.