Celebrant Wedding Season is is off to a great start!!

The start of the year is always a busy one, with lots of Wedding related activities!  There are wedding venues to meet and speak to about how a Celebrant can offer them a broader service for their brides and couples – a Celebrant Wedding is unique in that it is totally tailored for the couple and offers a huge amount of flexibility in terms of location, style, content and format.

There arsilvermere-image-table-set-upe  Wedding Fairs to attend too – it is so great to meet new couples and talk to them about their own plans and ideas.  I love it when they say to me “oh I didn’t know we could do that!” when I explain just how different, flexible and personal a Celebrant-designed Wedding Ceremony really is!  It really is a lot of fun working with couples to design their own unique ceremony where we include lots of different ideas, styles and even guests!

Wedding Fairs offer the chance for me to speak to couples face to face, and to ask questions about what it is they are looking for – I really enjoy the love that’s in the room and I know other suppliers do too!

At this time of the Year too there are the Wedding Awards – where suppliers in different categories are voted by members of the public and get shortlisted!  This is my first year where I have been nominated and it’s just such a great exciting feeling to know that someone has taken a look or even experienced one of my ceremonies and given me a thumbs up!  I have been informed recently that Bridebook.co.uk have placed me on their shortlist!!  Fingers crossed but I don’t mind what happens…… as the Celebs say at the Oscars….”it’s not about winning….. it’s about taking part! ”


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Christmas! What a wonderful time for a Marriage Proposal!!

christmas-romantic-benchChristmas is a truly romantic time for couples in love wanting to take the next step in to marriage. It’s a really popular time for proposals and it got me thinking about different traditions there are for engagements, and also what kind of ceremonies we can hold for these lovely romantic events!

I love hearing about the couple’s marriage proposal story as part of my preparation when, as their Celebrant, I begin to write their wedding ceremony.  It gives me a real insight into how they want their own ceremony to be -whether it’s traditional, quirky, romantic, fun, or just simple and sweet.  Every story, like every ceremony, is unique.

It’s fun to look at a few of the traditions and how these are changing.

Asking Permission:

Although it is seen as perhaps a little old fashioned and even maybe a bit misogynistic, asking for the parent’s permission to marry is can still be a really lovely gesture and will certainly mean a great deal to the family, who will be part of the intimate planning for the proposal itself!   It shows that the proposer is really sincere about the next stage in the relationship and wants to make that commitment. Marriage also means deeper ties within both families, and the “request to marry” provides a really loving foundation as two families blend and grow together over the course of the engagement and into the marriage itself.

The Proposal:

Whilst a proposal can be held anywhere and often has an element of surprise around it – traditional proposals require the proposer to consider some fairly intense questions – the planning is very important and the execution must be nigh on perfect! There is usually quite a lot of behind the scenes work to do, and every couple I have worked with have shared their lovely proposals with me, which I weave into their wedding ceremony.

Some are of course traditional;  planned for a special anniversary perhaps, private and cosy at home after a lovely meal and just sitting by the fireside together….. others can be more elaborate, such as one couple shared with me recently where her partner created a paper trail to motivate her to go on a training run with him on a very cold and rainy morning, with clues along the way…finishing with the last 4 trees each displaying one word, which together read “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” and tied to a branch was his grandmother’s engagement ring!  She was stunned!  But of course, she said YES!



The Engagement Ring:


A Betrothal or Engagement was historically seen as a promise to marry, and during the celebrations the couple would exchange rings as a seal of their unity. A ring made of precious metal was something not everyone could afford, in fact the diamond engagement ring is a fairly modern concept, with it’s roots less in history and romance and more in a famous gemstone company’s clever marketing ploy!

Nevertheless, rings have ancient and modern symbolism, not only in their precious metals but also the jewels used to adorn them.   A ring is also a continuous circle, without beginning or ending, and symbolises qualities such as fidelity, unity, partnership, commitment and unending love.

Diamonds – the most frequently chosen jewel for an Engagement ring –  have long been associated with durability,  strength and consistency because it takes thousands of years to create this wonderful jewel.

A symbol of strength, the world’s hardest and most durable stone was used to embellish the armor, shields and swords of European kings and knights from England to France to Hungary.  Ancient romantic legends from Indian Hindus, Greeks, Romans, Hebrews and medieval Italians also told of the diamond’s ability to reflect the eternal flame of true love.

The cut of the diamond emphasises it’s purity and brilliance, and although there are many different styles and cuts to choose from,  the Princess Cut is still a firm favourite for modern couples, with 78 facets that create that gleaming shimmer and sparkle!

Wishing everyone a very happy and loving Christmas, and looking forward to talking to newly engaged couples in 2017 and helping them to plan the wedding ceremony of their dreams!  Contact me on 07800 543 426 to chat about weddings, vow renewals or other ceremonies to mark life’s major milestones!

with my warmest wishes






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Sharing some of my wonderful weddings in 2016!


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Top 5 Important points to check before hiring your Wedding Celebrant


hensman wedding 1Weddings are probably at the top of the list amongst our happiest memories.  They are a part of the journey we take in life, whether for ourselves, or with others. They are one of the major milestones in our lives, and to do them justice, I believe we all want to mark those days forever in our minds and hearts with a beautiful and joyous ceremony.

What most couples want is to hold a ceremony that realises their most cherished desires and dreams, and today more couples choose a non-religious ceremony, sometimes as a compromise if they have different faiths, but more frequently because they are not regular church-goers.

In the past, their only other option was to have a short civil ceremony at the Town Hall, or in one of the 4000 venues which are licensed for marriages. As couples are making a legal contract, they must abide by several rules relating to content, music, readings, timing and so on.   The Registry must also be of solid construction with four walls and a ceiling, therefore an outdoor ceremony is mostly out of the question.

The Registrar will want to vet your vows and music and any readings beforehand, as no religious or spiritual content is allowed.  The cost of two officers of the council coming to the venue is usually in addition to the venue hire cost and can be in the region of £500 to £600 depending on the day and time of the marriage, as opposed to around £60 – £70 at their local Registry Office.

So what options do couples have if they want a Ceremony full of their own style and ideas, performed say at sunrise, or dusk, outside, in a beautiful romantic setting such as a country house with a beautiful garden, a favourite spot in a magical wood, or even on the beach?

Mitch and James Wedding 1 May 2015

Hiring a Celebrant is the answer as they alone can provide the freedom, flexibility and innovation that couples want, when celebrating this major occasion with their closest family and friends.  A Celebrant can provide a totally unique ceremony – be that along traditional lines or perhaps your Star Wars/Disney/Harry Potter/Game of Thrones theme, and include ancient rituals such as a Hand Fasting or Jumping the Broom element!

Every Celebrant led ceremony is unique.  Internal ceremonies such as Rose, Sand or Unity Candle Lighting Ceremonies are delightful and novel and allow couples to express themselves exactly how they wish – and frequently children can be included in this type of Ceremony too.

The paperwork can be done quietly and without fuss on a day earlier in the week, with just two witnesses at the Registry Office to say the 32 “contracting words” that form the legal marriage contract.  The cost of this is a fraction of the fees charged to attend a licensed venue.  By completing the licence beforehand, couples can then relax and look forward to their Celebrant-led ceremony.

Choosing a Celebrant is then a major part of the planning process, and here are a few tips on what to consider when making that choice

  1. Decide if you want a Humanist Celebrant or an Independent/Civil Celebrant.  Humanists do not believe in religion or spirituality and therefore their ceremonies will not allow “blessings” or any religious or spiritual content in vows, readings or music.  https://humanism.org.uk/ .  If you choose a Civil Celebrant, then they will be able to match all your wishes for religious or spiritual content, conferring blessings on the couple, on their rings and will happily advise on spiritual and religious content for vows, blessings, and readings.
  2. Check the credentials of your Celebrant ! There are a number of institutions and organisations that train and accredit Celebrants, and offer ongoing support and guidance and training so that their Celebrants remain up to date, and totally professional.  Ensure your Celebrant has up to date insurance – Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance is key.  They should also be able to show you their Terms and Conditions so that for example should they not be able to attend on your day, there is a plan in place for a substitute Celebrant from the same institution to take charge.
  3. Meet your Celebrant! Some people only meet their Celebrant on the day of their wedding.  I would advise meeting in person and talking through your ideas and style and ensure you are making a connection with the Celebrant.  An initial meeting by Skype or face to face can really help a couple to decide they are choosing the right person to work with and with whom they will be creating this important, personal ceremony.
  4. Ask your Celebrant for testimonials and reviews from other couples – established Celebrants will of course have many clients and ceremonies which they can discuss and from whom they will have received feedback.
  5. Allow your Celebrant to advise on creative ideas, themes, ritual and choreography – most celebrants are very experienced and can offer some great suggestions. In particular they will be able to advise on a number of different internal ceremonies such as Hand Fasting, Ring Warming, Wine or Beer Ceremonies, to name but a few.  Vows and Promises are key to the ceremony and a Celebrant will be able to assist with ideas and suggestions so that the couple feel they really are having their day, their way, and true to their love story and beliefs.

I hope these  top 5 tips have helped to answer some of the questions you may have had about hiring a Celebrant for your Wedding Ceremony, but should you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me for an informal chat.  As a member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants myself and my colleagues would be delighted to have the opportunity to create and conduct your wedding.

Holly and James Feedback!

Much appreciated feedback from a beautiful wedding Ceremony for Holly and James at The Montague on The Gardens, Bloomsbury, London 



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Welcoming your Baby with a Special Ceremony!

infant holding mothers hand

Welcoming a first or new child into your family is one of life’s major milestones and a wonderful emotional and uplifting time, full of hope,  joy and meaning.  Children always bring new experiences into our worlds, but in themselves they are travellers in time, and have within them the seeds of the past, as well as the ability to shape their future.

Historically the arrival of a new child was celebrated by not only the family but the wider community, usually with feasting and partying and also giving the child the name it would carry through life.  Many cultures take naming very seriously, and may choose names that link to the family history, such as giving a number of names, including family or ancestral names. Some cultures make offerings of precious gifts at the same time, and wish the child a long and successful life, placing sacred objects around their cradle, and also might present gifts of jewelry to symbolise good luck and beauty.

We have all probably attended a religious naming ceremony where the child is baptised and offerings and prayers are made.  However, increasing families who are not particularly religious will ask a Celebrant to create a personal Naming Ceremony, during which we will welcome everyone, appoint Guide Parents who will support the child and Parents.  All will promise to support this new child and in particular the Parents, Grandparents and Guide Parents will make their own individual promises to love, listen, support and guide the child throughout his or her life.

The Naming Ceremony can include poems, readings, songs and music and also include siblings who might give the new baby a toy, or a gift.  One of my sweetest Naming Days was when the baby’s little 5 year old brother said he wanted to make a speech, which he did off the cuff and told everyone how much he loved his new sister who he said was beautiful!  For a moment or two my ceremony script seemed to be a little blurred…..!

Guests can also get involved and be included in several ways.  One lovely way is when we have a Pebble Ceremony –  guests are asked to write a word onto a pebble that will be kept in a large bowl in the nursery and which baby can be told about in due course!  The words I often see written are “love”, “health”, “happiness”, “laughter” or qualities such as “persistence”, “humour”, “compassion”, “selflessness”.

A Naming Ceremony can include blessings and religious or cultural rituals and I have often created a blended ceremony for families who themselves might have different religious faiths and backgrounds.

It is a Ceremony based on unity, family, community and most of all created to express the love, joy and gratitude we feel for this new little person in our lives.

For more information about an exclusive Naming Ceremony call me on 07800 543 426 or email ivvey@hotmail.com





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Celebrating Same Sex Weddings and Marriage

Mitch and James Wedding 2

Two of my favourite quotes about love are :

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” —Maya Angelou

“Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.” —Leo Buscaglia

Becoming a Celebrant was for me an easy decision, – I wanted to help couples express their feelings about their relationship and their hopes and wishes for their future in a totally personalised, celebratory ceremony of marriage, incorporating their ideas and style and their hopes for the future;   without restrictions in terms of  time, format,  content or location.

Love is love, and it finds you, sometimes when you least expect it.  When I meet couples who are in love and prepare their ceremony, listening to their unique stories, I am in awe at Love’s strength and its ability to overcome obstacles and bring happiness and a sense of true fulfilment.

It was my great pleasure to create a ceremony for Mitch and James last year, and to share their wonderful day.  Their wonderful romantic love story was featured in GWedding Directory’s Real Life Weddings,  and looking back I still remember the feelings of utter joy, fun, love and laughter we all shared on that special day.  You can read about it here:

James and Mitch Richmond May 2015

James and Mitch Richmond May 2015


Let’s celebrate Love, in all the ways it comes to us and works through us!

If you are looking for a Celebrant to create a wonderful ceremony, contact me by calling 07800 543 426 or email ivvey@hotmail.com and it will be my pleasure to work with you to create a unique exclusive celebratory ceremony.

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