Wedding Ceremonies

These enhancements in each package below are added to a normal wedding script which can be totally non-religious, semi religious or totally different if you like, that’s no problem at all. In terms of content there are really no limits, you can include whatever you like in your ceremony and vows, fun, romance, lyrics, a movie quote or theme, it really is a blank canvas which makes it so special.

I have a limited special offer for money back deposits dependent on date of booking in relation to actual wedding date contact me for details.

This is how it works:

  • We get to know each other, you tell me the sort of things you want in your ceremony and then we choreograph it together. I like to meet you in person as part of the process as and when is mutually convenient.
  • I write the ceremony (and vows if you wish) and you can approve it or ask me to change it until it is 100% as you want it, it has to be perfect for you. I have lots of resources and ideas but the most important input is yours, if you know exactly what you want that’s great but if not I have resources and ideas to share. The ceremony we create will be personalised and therefore totally unique, trust me nothing comes close.
  • Also with a ceIebrant ceremony there is no limit on location, it can be indoors or outdoors, in your garden, somewhere special to you or a set venue, but wherever you choose I will also liaise with your venue and make sure everything in terms of your ceremony are how you want them and I will arrange a rehearsal there if you want it preferably on the day of your wedding.
  • We talk through every aspect from your entrance into the venue to when you leave after your wedding, this can include walking down the aisle, seating of family members involved in your ceremony and so on and so forth.
  • On the day I generally arrive at least 30 mins before the ceremony just to check in to make sure you and your partner are ok and everything is prepared just as you want it. I am there for as long as you want me, I don’t ever plan 2 ceremonies in one day, as I want to be totally focused on the couple that day.

Please see the packages and prices below (for certain Essex venues these prices may differ – contact me for further details).

The Bronze Package £500

  • Initial face to face planning meeting to discuss ideas, this will enable us to get into the detail of your ceremony, and also to get to know each other.*
  • Written drafts of a ceremony based on your values, beliefs and ideas, there is no limit here, and the most important aspect is that it is just how you want it.
  • On-going contact by phone and email for any queries, advice, ideas, inspiration and support. A talk through rehearsal for both of you prior to the day.
  • Arrival 30 minutes before the ceremony for your assistance.
  • Officiating your ceremony
  • A commemorative wedding certificate.*

A choice of one of the following special enhancements:

Rose Ceremony

First Kiss story

Breaking glass

Ring Warming

Mother’s Rose Ceremony.

The Mother’s Rose Ceremony is a great way of honouring the Bride & Groom’s mothers or other family members during a wedding ceremony. This signifies the bride and groom showing gratitude for the love bestowed upon them, this is done by asking their Mothers to come forward so the couple can thank them and give their respective mothers a rose.

 

First Kiss Last Kiss.

If the couple both have good relationships’ with their mothers and their future mother in laws it’s nice to include them in the ceremony, a moment they will cherish forever. During the ceremony the couple would be asked if they or their guests remember the couple’s first kiss. There is more to this ceremony but very few people offer it so I give more details at our first meeting if you so require.

Breaking glass –  based on the Jewish Tradition of Breaking the Glass but can be adapted.

Symbolically, the breaking of the glass at the end of the ceremony reminds us of the fragile nature of life, the shattering of the old and the beginning of the new.  It ensures the uniqueness of the moment, a letting go of the past and looking toward the future.  It can symbolise the breaking down of the barriers between people and help create a world based on love, unity, peace, and understanding. The breaking of the glass is irrevocable and permanent; so, too, marriage should last an infinity of time–as long as it would take to reassemble the broken pieces of this glass, and the noise of the breaking of the glass scares away evil spirits wishing harm to the newly married couple.

I might include something like this – “The breaking of the glass at the end of a wedding ceremony serves to remind of two very important aspects of a marriage. The bride and groom – and everyone – should consider these marriage vows as an irrevocable act – just as permanent and final as the breaking of this glass is unchangeable. But the breaking of the glass also is a warning of the frailty of a marriage. That sometimes a single thoughtless act, breach of trust, or infidelity can damage a marriage in ways that are very difficult to undo – just as it would be so difficult to undo the breaking of this glass.

Knowing that this marriage is permanent, the bride and groom should strive to show each other the love and respect befitting their spouse and love of their life.”

(The bottle is usually a light bulb wrapped in a white towel. The best man will place the bottle before the groom. However, it is not broken at this point. Instead, the Celebrant continues to declare the bride and groom to be “husband and wife”. With “congratulations, you may kiss your bride!,” the groom then smashes the bottle with his foot and kisses the bride. Applauding and shouts of “Mazel Tov!” are appropriate in Jewish ceremonies with the breaking of the bottle.

Ring Warming.

Before the vows are said and the rings exchanged, the wedding officiant will ask everyone, including the wedding party to participate in a ring warming. This is an opportunity to send the bride and groom good luck and love through a silent wish to the rings when passed to them. Sometimes the couple may select only some members of the wedding party to participate.  The participants are advised as follows “As you hold them in your hands, pause for a moment, and make your wishes for the couple and for their future before you pass them on to the next person. These rings will not only be a gift from one to another but will be given with the love, support and wisdom of their family and friends.”

The Silver Package £750

  • Initial face to face planning meeting and at least 1 further meeting either face to face or on Skype to discuss ideas; this will enable us to get into the detail of your ceremony, and also to get to know each other.*
  • Written drafts of a ceremony based on your values, beliefs and ideas, there is no limit here, and the most important aspect is that it is just how you want it.
  • On-going contact by phone and email for any queries, advice, ideas, inspiration and support
  • A walk and talk through rehearsal for both of you prior to the day.
  • Arrival an hour before the ceremony, and liaison with your planner/photographer/and key members of your party such as best man or matron of honour/bridesmaids.
  • Officiating your ceremony
  • A commemorative wedding certificate and a keepsake copy of your ceremony.*

A choice of any of the special enhancements from the bronze package or any one of the following:

Hand Blessing ceremony

Unity Candle ceremony

Sand Ceremony

Loving Cup

Oathing Stone.

Hand Blessing.

One of the most beautiful unity ceremonies, usually this is in a wedding ceremony right after the couple exchanges rings. It flows so beautifully from the vows, to the ring exchange, to saying “while you are holding hands, take a moment to appreciate the gift you are to each other…” Some wedding officiants will do the hand ceremony before the exchanging of rings.

The Hand Ceremony is a part of your wedding ceremony where the two of you hold hands and appreciate how you will change, grow and mature over the life of your marriage through the actions you take with your hands. It can be seen as a ritual to draw you closer to one another.

Examples from the ceremony include:

Celebrant: [Bride], please hold [Groom’s] hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to love you and cherish you through the years for a lifetime of happiness.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

Several other sayings follow and then after these vows the groom does the same with the bride’s hand.  Then there can be a brief blessing before exchanging rings.

Unity Candle Ceremony.

Lighting a Unity Candle during a wedding ceremony is a special way to symbolise two lives joining together as one. Children can be involved, ceremonial candles and stands are available and can be kept as a memento.

“Bride and Groom, the two separate candles symbolise your separate lives, separate families and separate sets of friends, in other words, your lives before today. Lighting the centre candle represents that your two lives are now being joined together as one.” 

While there are different times to light the candles, different amounts of candles to be lit and different persons lighting the candle, it all comes down to making this ceremony unique to both of you.

Most commonly for this tradition, the bride and groom’s mothers light the taper candles and those two flames are used together to light the unity candle. This symbolises the coming together of two families in joint love for the new couple. The taper candles are then left burning representing the two original families. The taper candles can also be used to symbolise two individuals coming together as one. Then you blow out your individual candles, symbolising your lives as separates no more. Two lives become one; two families, join together. Usually you would light the candles after exchanging vows but here are a few ways to mix it up:

Invite your dad’s to light the candles too, or instead of Mums. If either of you have children, include them in the ceremony, they can have their own mini-candle.

It has become custom for some to celebrate the lighting of the unity candle by relighting them each year on their anniversary. If you choose to adorn your unity candle with scripture, vows, or a photo from your wedding, it can also be a beautiful keepsake year-round.

Sand Ceremony.

A Sand Ceremony or Blending of the Sand is a unique way to symbolise two lives becoming one. This is also a great way to incorporate children or family into the wedding.  A sand ceremony is simple yet meaningful, easily customised, and the couple are left with a unique keepsake of the day. The symbolic pouring of coloured sands into a beautiful vase or a shadow box with layers of coloured sand added by other members of the family is a touching reminder of the vows made on the wedding day.

It is an unexpectedly lovely moment for your guests to witness – remember, they will most likely be expecting just the usual vows, ring exchange and a kiss. It makes the ceremony unique for the couple. It is a visual symbolisation of the bride and groom joining together in marriage and if other family members are involved, it is a beautiful representation of two families coming together.

The sand-filled vase becomes a beautiful and meaningful keepsake.

The Loving cup or Quaich Ceremony.

A Quaich ceremony (pronounced Quake), is a Scottish tradition, the cup is often a beautiful silver or pewter 2 handled traditional cup, it’s often referred to as the love cup as the bride and groom each take a handle to take a drink. Sometimes the groom’s father can be asked to fill up the cup or another important member of the bridal party. The Quaich contains within it a whisky that is sweet – symbolic of happiness, joy, hope, peace, love and delight. This same whisky also has some bitter properties that are symbolic of life’s trials and tribulations.

Together the sweet and the bitter represent “Love’s Journey” and all of the experiences that are a natural part of it. The Quaich can be treasure as a keepsake and in some cases engraved.

Wine Ceremony – This is very similar to the ceremony above. The bride and groom drink from a single glass of wine. This symbolizes drinking from the cup of life and sharing all of its experiences together, both bitter and sweet.

The Oathing Stone.

This is an old Scottish tradition where the couple place their hands upon a stone while saying their wedding vows. Taken from the ancient Celtic custom of “setting an oath in stone”, inclusion of the oathing stone ceremony in the vows can be deeply moving.

During the declaration of wedding vows or civil partnership promises, the couple hold the Oathing Stone, together in their hands. It is believed that holding the stone during the vows in turn casts or sets them in stone.

Any stone can be used. One collected by the couple from a favourite place i.e. beach, local beauty spot etc. would be appropriate. The stone should then be washed and scrubbed and treated with some sort of oil like almond oil then wiped dry in order to give it a satin sheen (if desired). It can also be engraved with a Celtic knot etching, the date of the ceremony and your initials if you wish, although it isn’t necessary.

If you like the whole congregation can be involved so on arrival each person is given a stone  which they hold during the ceremony and after a special reading the celebrant would say something like

“As you hold the blessing stone tightly in your hand, please reflect for a moment your wishes for this couple for love, happiness, prosperity, and unity as they exchange their wedding vows.

Following the ceremony, _____ and _____ invite you to place the stones with your personal blessing for them as a newly married couple into the special container on the gift table as you. “

The wedding vows follow, then a traditional blessing followed by the exchange of rings.

The Gold Package £1500

Within the Gold package there are exclusive free extras. These are as follows:

A post wedding photography session with a top photographer. This could be a post honeymoon shoot or a family or one year anniversary shoot. Prints and a framed photo of your choice are included. Also you can choose to have a a few lines of your ceremony or vows written by a calligrapher and framed. Both of these options are included as complimentary VIP benefits of the Gold Package.

  • Initial face to face planning meeting and at least 1 further meeting either face to face or on Skype to discuss ideas; this will enable us to get into the detail of your ceremony, and also to get to know each other.*
  • Written drafts of a ceremony based on your values, beliefs and ideas, there is no limit here, and the most important aspect is that it is just how you want it.
  • On-going contact by phone and email for any queries, advice, ideas, inspiration and support
  • A walk and talk through rehearsal for both of you prior to the day and if the venue allows a rehearsal at the venue for all involved.
  • Arrival an hour before the ceremony, and liaison with your planner/photographer/and key members of your party such as best man or matron of honour/bridesmaids.
  • Officiating your ceremony
  • A commemorative wedding certificate and a keepsake copy of your ceremony.*

This encompasses all of the details of the silver package but offers a choice of a more elaborate special enhancement from the following options:

Hand fasting (your choice of special ribbons for the ceremony to be treasured as a keepsake)

Jumping the broom (the ceremonial broom is kept by you as a memento)

Anam Cara and gem stone wedding (you chose the gem stone from a selection to be treasured forever)

Or a combination of any 2 of the special enhancements from all of the packages for example a hand blessing combined with a Unity candle ceremony, or a hand fasting and a ring warming ceremony.

Handfasting

This ceremony has its roots in ancient Celtic tradition; it symbolises the binding together of two people hence the phrase “tying the knot!” This is a nature-related, spiritual tradition first recorded 4,000 years’ ago and it represents a deal or a vow, it is not a legally binding wedding ceremony. During the ceremony, the celebrant would begin by explaining the ritual and its meaning to the couple; this often includes the idea of the couple binding their lives together and the union of their hopes and desires. The celebrant then invites the couple to join hands, which symbolises their free will to enter into the marriage. Then the celebrant reads a series of vows as cords are wrapped around the couple’s hands, they may make an additional statement about the completion of the binding and the commitment it symbolises. They can also choose to move directly to a ring exchange.

Ribbons, cords, lace or other material can be used. Once the knots have been tied and the couple bound, their hands are freed and the hand fasting binding are kept as a reminder of their union and commitments to each other. Children, families and friends can be included in the ceremony and each wrap a different coloured ribbon around the arms of the couple. Braided long length cords, or coloured ribbons are available, and cords can be blessed or energised.

Jumping the Broom.

This custom is where the couple literally jumps over a broom. The tradition of Jumping the Broom symbolises sweeping away the old and welcoming the new–a symbol of a new beginning. The Bride and Groom are sweeping together in a circle to signify the sweeping away of their former single lives, their past problems and their previous cares. The broom represents a threshold between past and present, and jumping the broom symbolizes the crossing of this threshold into a new relationship as husband and wife.

Anam Cara & Gem Stone Wedding Ceremony

As the guests arrive, they are each given a small gem to hold during the Celtic Wedding Ceremony. On this wedding day we celebrate the Celtic spirit of Anam Cara. Anam Cara is translated from the Gaelic as “soul friend.” By solidifying your partnership with your anam cara, you are joined in an ancient and eternal way.

To the ancients, the four elements to be respected and celebrated were earth, (your chosen gemstone or stone represents the earth), water, (water is drunk) wind, and fire. (a candle is lit). There are special readings for each and an Irish blessing.

Other quirky ideas can be included, here are a few suggestions.

Canvas Painting Ceremony.

A fun alternative to the traditional unity candle ceremony or sand ceremony, the Unity Canvas Painting Ceremony lets the couple celebrate their unity ceremony in an artistic way that truly represents them. Every marriage starts out as a blank canvas and every day is a splash of colour. This blank canvas represents the day of the wedding, and a new beginning. The couple then add their colours to the canvas and this creates a magical and sometimes humorous moment as well as providing a lovely keepsake of the day.

Love Letter and Wine Box Ceremony.

This serves as a lasting reminder of the commitments made by the couple to each other. Heartfelt letters, encapsulating thoughts and feelings are locked away in a wine box to be revealed several years into the marriage. This box contains a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a love letter from each to the other. The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and they do not see what the other has written. The idea behind this is that should the Bride and Groom ever find their marriage facing hardships, they will open the box, sit and drink the wine together, then read the letters they wrote to one another to be reminded of the reasons why they are together. The hope is, however, that they will never have a reason to open the box. And if this is the case, they are to open it to share and enjoy on their 5th year wedding anniversary, replenish and open on their 10th anniversary, and so on.

Ribbons, Doves, Butterflies and Bubbles.

Ribbons, Doves, Butterflies and Bubbles are a fun way of ending the wedding ceremony. This takes place just before the bride and groom recess down the aisle as husband and wife.

Doves are beautiful, devoted creatures; they symbolise unity, loyalty, love, beauty, devotion and peace. Watching them soar together in flight can be an inspiration and a joy to watch.

Butterflies are both beautiful and fragile. They symbolise transformation and all that is perfect in the world. As a couple join together in marriage, their commitment to love releases into the world a new wonder, a new beauty, a new perfection.

Bubble Blessing – All of the gathering are given bottles of bubbles and are asked to momentarily believe in magic and wish all of their blessings on to the couple. They should then be asked to take a deep breath and blow their bubbles out into the Universe and ask that the marriage be blessed and sacred for eternity, whilst sending their wishes, blessings and prayers to the couple.

There are many other ways to give a ceremony the wow factor, some couples now have owls or birds of prey to deliver the rings during the ceremony, others include their dogs or pets within the ceremony, and often the couple themselves have special ideas some of which may involve family rituals.

*Please note the ceremonies I offer are not legally binding so couples wanting a legal wedding service must ensure they have this performed by a Registrar either before or after my ceremony. This does not necessarily have to be on the same day.

Accreditation

NOCN Level 3 Certification in Civil Celebrancy, Member of the Fellowship of Independent Celebrants.