“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 all 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. We are not all the same, and love is unique to each of us. Why, who and how we love is our own story and is part of the journey we take. If we can meet a person with whom we can share our hopes and dreams, who is to tell us whether our choice is right or wrong? My heart is full of optimism and joy, but I also know that the journey to self affirmation, self discovery, acceptance and feeling strong and valued, can be a very difficult, even dangerous, one. Where I help all my couples is that I listen with an open heart and a closed mouth! I am not here to judge, but to help them bear witness to one of life’s major emotional milestones, connections and meaning. A commitment to share the life we have with another – how humbled we are when we are loved, and how fulfilled we are too. 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 at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond, 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 and the excitement we all shared on that special day. You can read about it here:
Since their Ceremony in 2015 I have been fortunate to create beautiful loving and fun ceremonies for couples and it has been an honour and a privilege to be a part of their wonderful day.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be my pleasure to work with you to create a unique exclusive celebratory ceremony.
So you’re planning your Wedding! Congratulations! There is so much to consider, and I am sure you will feel the list is endless, and it can be overwhelming. At some point though you will be happy with your planning, having set your budget, thought through the venue, the style and theme of your wedding and your “DRESS” !! Even though there are hundreds of other big and little things to do, don’t forget one really important element is your CEREMONY! This is the day you make your vows and promises and share your love and joy.
So, it should be just as unique and special as you are!
As a Celebrant, we can create exciting, memorable ceremonies for every couple, adding lots of personal, quirky or traditional touches – some of which I will explain here:
The Ring Warming Ceremony
This is where we pass the rings between each of your guests, asking everyone to hold the rings and warm them with their wishes or prayers for your future, for health and happiness and all that is good in life. It is a lovely touching ceremony that allows you to include all of your guests before you actually exchange the rings and wear them, warmed with the love and support of your family and friends.
The Hand Fasting Ceremony
This is traditionally what was meant by “tying the knot” – cords or ribbons or even sashes would be tied around the couple’s joined hands, as you can see from the photo, our own lovely royal couple did this in Church on their wedding day. A modern hand-fasting can have cords created in the colours of your wedding theme, the tartans of your clans, and can have charms attached that signify fertility, fidelity and commitment. The cord colours also have their own special meaning which is also something to consider. Many couples will choose to use fabric that has a significant meaning – such as a piece of lace from their mother or grandmothers gown, or a piece of tartan. The ceremony is specially written and can include many cords or ribbons bound by family members and even guests and might last around 20 minutes.
Jumping the Broom
This tradition is rooted in different cultures and depending on which it is, does hold different meaning. In England it is used as a symbol of sweeping away the old and preparing for the new. It is also said that the fastest over the broom will “wear the trousers ” in the Marriage! 😊. It is jumped together and hand in hand and is often chosen after a Handfasting by couples! The brooms can be decorated in the colours of your wedding theme and kept as a souvenir afterwards!
The Sand Ceremony
The Sand Ceremony is very popular as it has a lovely symbolic context – once the grains of sand from each vial pour in to the central vessel, those grains cannot be separated! The Sand Ceremony also works well with coloured sands that match your wedding theme, and also allow more than two colours – so if you wish to include your children or family members in the Ceremony, that can be incorporated too! A lovely way to blend two families!
The Rose Ceremony
This is a lovely Ceremony and very simple – it involves the Couple giving a single Red Rose to each other as the first gift in their marriage. However like many ceremonies it can also be adapted and I love the idea of a Surprise Rose Giving which means before the ceremony starts but after the introductions and welcome, the couple give a single Rose, to their mothers, or new mothers in law! How sweet is that! Or of course, the the guests can each hold a rose and subject of course to the number of guests, the roses can be given or taken by the bride and become her bouquet as she reaches her partner! Romantic? You bet!!! 🌹
The Unity Candle Ceremony
This is a beautiful and poignant ceremony for the couple as they each light a taper and then together light their candle. Again, the ceremony symbolises two becoming one, two hearts, two families, two people.
The candles can be large or small, engraved with vows or just with the name of the couple and their wedding date. There are a wide variety of candle holders and some beautifully embellished candles that will look stunning during the ceremony.
Unity Candle Lighting Ceremony – flame of love protects and warms
Hand or Foot Washing
This is a fairly new custom and seems to be gaining popularity as the symbolism is very tender and nurturing. The Washing of each other’s hands or feet is about the clearing and cleaning away the past, past choices, past mistakes and creating a new present from which to go forward together.
It’s also about care and vulnerability and accepting the role of carer in the relationship. It can also be seen to be about forgiveness, and how important it is too, to love with an open heart. So all in all a beautiful tender and romantic custom.
Wine Blending /Bridal cup
I love the idea of a ritual that blends two distinct or different elements. In a wine blending there’s the chance to demonstrate how the two wines made from the same fruit have their taste and qualities. Like marriage they may be sweet and sometimes a little bitter. The blended wine creates a new taste to reflect on and enjoy.
The Silver Bridal Cup is unique in that it allows two people to sip from it at the same time. My couple had beer and wine in a Bridal Cup and it was so cool watching them sip from their own and then each other’s beverage. Again every symbolic moment is written by me to reflect their relationship and personality. No two ceremonies are ever the same.
I have also come across several more : the 13 coins, the Signature Cocktail, and the Canvas Painting! Many have their origins in different cultures, but with respect and sensitivity can also be adapted and customised.
If you have found any more customs do let me know!
Hello again – I have had a very busy year and summer full of lovely ceremonies, and one of the questions I will still be asked by guests afterwards is, ” so what does a Celebrant actually do?” I thought it would be a good idea to refresh a blog piece I wrote a little while ago and include some lovely photos too of ceremonies in a variety of locations, which may help you to understand a little more about what I do 🙂
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your services?
I have a background in HR and Training, and loved helping people move into the next stages of their lives. Becoming a Celebrant was a great fit for my experience and personality and my plan eventually to work in a role that allowed me to write creatively. In 2003, I was invited to attend a friend’s wedding in Australia, which was simply wonderful – held in a beautiful Vineyard on a mountain top overlooking the ocean, at sunset. Truly magical!
Their Celebrant delivered a beautiful ceremony, full of meaning and storytelling as well as allowing the couple to express themselves exactly how they wanted to. This really excited me, and when the time came for a change in career direction, I discovered the UK College of Celebrancy and in 2011 I became a Marriage and Family Celebrant.
I just love creating unique ceremonies for all of life’s milestones.
How is a Celebrant different from a Registrar? What are some of the advantages to hiring a Celebrant?
A Registrar is interestingly a Building, and not a person. The Civil Marriage Act determines the wording and the format of a Civil Marriage, and does not allow any religious or spiritual content, extending to vetting vows, music and poems or readings. The 32 Declaratory and Contracting words are delivered the same way, whether in the local Registry Office or at a licenced Venue.
Many couples are now looking for something that is more meaningful and personal, and therefore choose a Celebrant style wedding ceremony. They will go along and sign their marriage licence at a local register office with two witnesses, a day or two before their Celebrant Ceremony, which they see as their real Wedding Day.
Choosing a Celebrant offers the couple the freedom to express themselves without any restrictions in terms of format, content, time of day, or location. The ceremony can be held almost anywhere, from elegant Manor House to the summery simplicity of your own garden and of course can be created around a “theme”. Popular themes in the past year have been Harry Potter, Disney, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars .
We can include traditional or modern wording and styling, religious content, spiritual content and do not vet the content of the ceremony in any way. I have written ceremonies that include Blessings from the couple’s ministers, working with the clergy to create a ceremony that is exactly what the couple are looking for.
The Wedding Ceremony is celebratory and ceremonial – it can include personally written vows and promises, involve children and other guests in the ceremony itself, giving meaning and memories, and of course telling the couple’s unique love story, what marriage means to them, what inspires them about each other, and what they are looking forward to in the future.
What do you love most about being a Wedding Celebrant?
The totally unique and personal story telling is always beautiful and emotional. Each couple’s love story is wonderful , and sharing it with their family and friends is always a lovely moment, during the writing and when I deliver the ceremony itself.
I also love how a Celebrant can offer this completely flexible service at any time or place and allows the couple to really express themselves completely. After all, the wedding ceremony is why their guests are there!
What are some of the different internal ceremonies you have experienced? Do you have a favourite? If so why?
I have created many internal ceremonies, including the Rose, Beer, Wine, Sand, Candle, Canvas and Hand-fasting Ceremonies. My favourite is the Unity Candle as it signifies the flames of passion, the warmth of love and family and the undying love between the couple.
I also love the Ring Warming Ceremony as when each guest holds and gives their warm loving wishes to the couple, every time they look at their rings, they can remember the love and support each person gave them that day.
Can you explain the process for a couple who book with you?
I like to meet them in person or on Skype first, then if they are happy to choose me as their Celebrant, I send a booking form and questionnaire so I can find out more about them. After that, it is really a case of working together to create the magic.
I am happy to chat on the phone, offer unlimited editing of the ceremony and also offer a rehearsal if the couple wish to hold one. On the day I am there an hour before, helping with any ushering, introducing myself to the wedding coordinator or planner if they have one, and say hello, meet and give any cues to family members who might be taking part in the ceremony.
At the end of the Ceremony itself I present the couple with a commemorative Certificate along with their Ceremony Script in a Presentation format and folder, as a keepsake.
Beautiful romantic setting for an indoor/outdoor wedding!
How do you work with the couple to create their vision for their ceremony?
I take on board their ideas and style, the venue and size of ceremony, and we work together to create something that expresses their plans, ideas, values and beliefs, and gives them full control over this element of their wedding.
Their story is unique, and even if it is traditional, it will always be “personal” for them. With my experience of over 6 years as a Celebrant I can advise on format and content, including helping couples choose readings, music, and help with the creation of their own vows and promises, or offer examples for them to choose and adapt.
Yvonne Beck is a Member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants and can be contacted for free consultations about your Wedding, Vow Renewal or Baby Naming Ceremony:
By email at email@example.com
By phone at +44(0)7800543426
Via her website www.celebrantinlondon.co.uk