On a dreary January day there is nothing better to lift the spirits than casting my mind back to a wonderful warm (boiling in fact) summer day last July. I was back at Barons Hill Farm to conduct a ceremony, this time for the delightful Kirsty and Tom.
Hello friends and a very Happy New Year to you all! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and if you were amongst those who got engaged over the festive period, many congratulations to you!!!
Joanne and Colin were married at Canonteign Falls in September. Their backdrop was the falls itself and they stood and exchanged vows under a pagoda overlooking Lily Lake.
Colin’s brother Graeme was his Best Man and Joanne was given away by Jonny, the son she never had. They adopted one another as mother and son before the ceremony. Joanne was also keen to make a special mention to her mother during the ceremony, whom had been a constant in her life and role model.
The wedding was light-hearted but sprinkled with great sincerity and perfectly reflected Colin’s sense of humour and the couples’ long-time friendship. I particularly love the accents of burgundy throughout the wedding party and proof that chivalry is not dead – Colin gave his jacket to Joanne during the ceremony to shelter her from the breeze coming across the lake.
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.
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.
Escorted 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.
These incredible photographs are courtesy of Vaughan-Stephens Photography.
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.
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.
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!
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.
My 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.
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.
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.
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.