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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.

Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography

Jan & Richard – It Was So Worth The Wait

Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker PhotographyFor those who follow me on Instagram  or Facebook you will have seen that I have been busy presenting ceremonies all over the place this year.

Today though I’m concentrating on my first wedding at Powderham Castle for Jan and Richard.   Their big day had to be postponed because of the snow, meaning so few of their guests were able to get to Devon.  This was such a difficult decision for them and hard to believe now with this current heatwave.    Fortunately every single supplier was able to change the date.   All of us desperate to accommodate if we possibly could.

And WOW what a venue Powderham is and what a day it was!   It was a pleasure working alongside Sarah the Weddings Manager there and indeed Nick of Nick Walker Photography who came all the way from Cornwall to take these absolutely stunning photographs of this awesome couple.  How did he manage it without any of us really being aware he was there?

Jan, Richard and I worked on the ceremony together.  It reflected their characters and relationship, but also the importance of their friends and family.  And not forgetting their humour.  And there was a lot of that.   Beautiful music was provided by the uber talented Rosewood String Quartet which included a specially arranged version of The Reckoner by Radiohead; a favourite of the couples.  Jan had her best friends as bridesmaids and her mother gave her away.

Beautiful bride.  Blissfully happy couple.  Awesome venue.  Enjoy!

Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker Photography Jan & Richard. Powderham Castle. Nick Walker PhotographyImage Source: Nick Walker Photography | Instagram | Facebook

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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Barons Hill Barn wedding

Amy & Dave Marry at Barons Hill Barn

Amy and Dave were married at The Barn at Barons Hill Barn in South Devon. Guests sat on straw bales with the sound of the stream trickling by in the background. Amy entered to Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran and was met by a very emotional groom, Dave, who was resplendent in his Royal Artillery uniform.

This was a happy, relaxed wedding ceremony on a beautiful, sunny day. Images by Zoe Griffin Photography.

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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

 

Throw Away The Wedding ‘Rule’ Book – Part 3

I met a couple last week to discuss their wedding for next year and when asked does it matter that I don’t want etc etc, ………….., I heard myself say again, “Absolutely NO, it doesn’t matter!”  This is all about doing your wedding your way.   The beauty of a celebrant ceremony is, there are no rules or regulations.  Be inspired by other’s clever, individualistic ideas, tweak them to suit you.  Do it your way.

alternative wedding bouquets

I’ve heard of couples going to the most amazing lengths to be different.   Take your bouquet, for example. Fresh floral bouquets are, without question, beautiful but what if you don’t want to do it the ‘normal’ way?  A fabric bouquet, or one made of buttons and brooches, won’t wilt, fade or die.  It lasts forever and can be made to your specific colour palette.    And you can even have a special heirloom brooch sewn into it to remember someone special on your big day.  Or perhaps you’d prefer not to carry anything at all.  What an opportunity to be creative and design either a bouquet that’s completely your own or carry something completely non-bouquet and unique.

alternative wedding bouquets

Furthermore, your bridesmaids could carry something other than flowers too.  How about a beautiful clutch bag or something similar which can they can then keep as a very useful memento of the day.  Lanterns are also a wonderful alternative especially for an evening winter wedding with the added benefit that they offer additional lighting too!

I suppose actually there IS one rule.  If it doesn’t mean something to you both; don’t do it! Pop over to our Pinterest boards for more alternative bouquet inspiration.

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Image sources (left to right, top to bottom)
windmill, paper, starfish, white
lantern, lantern, parasol, cuff
lollipops, sweets, paper, heart
charm, single flowers, felt, jewels
fern, hoop, feathers, butterflies

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.

 

Header image source

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.