Choosing your celebrant can seem like a daunting task when you are organising your wedding day. This will probably be the first time you’re getting married and you want to get it right. I’ve created a simple guide to help you do just that!
Tips for Choosing Your Celebrant
The five tips focus on your wish to find a celebrant who can deliver your ideal ceremony and is someone you both get on with. You then develop a strong and positive relationship together, which will culminate in the creation of your wonderful wedding ceremony!
Your ideal celebrant is someone to whom you can relate. Someone who you have confidence in to do an awesome job. To be YOUR celebrant! This is why initially chatting via Zoom, WhatsApp or face-to-face is so important. Maybe the celebrant has been recommended by a wedding planner or venue owner. Maybe you have found them in a Wedding Directory and then you chat, and you find that you like the same type of music, experiences, or places. I met a couple very recently who will be having their ceremony in a village where I used to work. You find that ‘spark’ and soon you are laughing together like old friends.
You need to find a celebrant who is experienced in the key skills which make them an awesome celebrant. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been a celebrant for years and years, but they need to able to develop a good relationship with you, to be willing and able to collaborate with you. To create a beautifully written bespoke ceremony which they can then present, as an accomplished speaker, to your family and guests. They also need to be a listener as well as a storyteller: to take time to listen to your ‘Love Story’ and then be able to weave your back story, personalities and love for each other into the words of ceremony script.
This is all about being able to personalise your ceremony to make it yours so that your guests say after the ceremony that that was ‘so you!’ This comes through your celebrant getting to know you, through reading and listening to your thoughts, ideas, and your love for one another, as well as sometimes, what you don’t love! The best way to do this is face-to-face so that the celebrant can spend time with you both and sense the synergy of your relationship; pick up your pet names for each other and your personal sayings and stories that will make your ceremony so super personal and resonate to you and to your guests.
Then there is the body of the ceremony, the music, the poems, the readings, the vows or the promises , the ring exchange and the rituals or mini ceremonies: all the elements that make your ceremony, so you! Of course, you may need little support in choosing any of these elements, this might be something you’ve already decided upon years ago! However, your celebrant, as a member of their own celebrant organisation, is there to listen and give advice on all aspects of the ceremony and will have suggestions galore.
Creativity threads it way through the whole of your celebrant’s role. I can say without any exaggeration that a new mini ceremony is being invented or reinvented and shared every day of the week across the celebrant world and there will be at least one that will suit each and every couple – it’s as simple as that!
The ceremony is very much a performance and your celebrant is the choreographer as well as the producer. This is an important part of their role. I believe that a rehearsal is important and always suggest one before the Big Day. Then you can confirm where all the key players will be walking and/or standing , where the chairs or bales can or need to be, where the items for the Sand ceremony or the ribbons for the Handfasting will be placed and so on. Also, where you, the couple will stand plus your celebrant would certainly be chatting beforehand with the photographer and the videographer to ensure that they get the best pictures/film of you, the couple, as the ceremony unfolds.
Your celebrant will be an enthusiastic and super keen person who wants to do their best for you, who will be there over the months to lend an ear and to give you support when needed. She will be there to deliver your perfect bespoke ceremony and at the same time make you feel relaxed and super happy.
Already being married at the Register Office some months before, My husband Chris and I decided that we wanted to celebrate our marriage and my 60th Birthday with fifty family and friends and have one big party this summer. We wanted to keep to a reasonable budget as we were planning a much-needed extension to our house and also wanted to make it as sustainable as possible. So we decided to have an outdoor wedding!
We held the Wedding Party, as it became known, in my mum’s garden which had been the venue for many happy family occasions over the years!
The venue: the garden and the ‘Bar’
So, with my mum’s blessing , we already had the venue which saved us a major expense. We did have some minor jobs to do to bring the garden up to speck but the main job was to turn the run-down garage into a Bar! This was furnished with a lot of the leftover wooden boards and planks by the super recycler, who is my husband, then painted and decorated with some of the old items left there which had family memories. I also trawled local antique shops in Leicester and Market Harborough for other key ‘Outlander’ and Bar items, some of which I ended up hiring .
Choosing the photographer and other suppliers
One of the first decisions we made was to have the same photographer that we had had for our Register office ceremony. So Sammy got the job! She had been awesome on that day and had got to know us both well! Sammy, like the majority of our chosen wedding suppliers are members of the Leicester Wedding Network which means they are locally-based professionals. As I am also in the Network in my role as celebrant I felt sure that I had chosen the right people for the job!
I went to Bridal Reloved Leicester for my wedding dress. I knew that Mel always has a lot of wonderful dresses to choose from and she is so knowledgeable and professional. I went there with my mum and decided on a beautiful new dress that reminded me straightaway in style to the dresses worn by Claire the character in ‘Outlander’ and with Chris being a Stuart – the ‘Outlander’ theme was born! The very talented Roisin added a bodice to the dress and I also bought a pretty lace-trimmed veil which matched the dress so well. My shoes were from Irregular Choice in Leicester. I was so pleased with them as they are pink and they had just the right heel shape I wanted to match the 18th century theme! I also still had my lovely blue garter from Extra Special Touches to wear!
The Kilt and the Bridesmaids
The kilt with all it’s accoutrements had been bought on holiday from a charity shop in Edinburgh as well the super highland dress which my sister-in-law had had made for herself there. The kilt was a purple, blue and black tartan. I bought a similar tartan ribbon called ‘Pride of Scotland’ for the bouquets and to decorate the garden. I’d been away on a Hen Party to Cardiff with bridesmaids or as I called them ‘Dishonourable Matrons! So, they’d all got to know each other. They were dressed in their own favourite dress to match the overall colour theme of pink, lilac, purple and dark blue.
The Flowers and the Confetti
The flower bouquets and the confetti were absolutely gorgeous! My hand tied bouquet was in a rustic style with pale pink peonies, mauve clematis, cream rosebuds, white thistle, white stocks and foliage. The bridesmaids bouquets mirrored mine and the button holes had cream rosebud, white thistle, purple clematis and foliage. The piece de resistance ; my mum’s thank-you bouquet was just amazing!
Chris and I were able to delegate on a grand scale! We were very lucky to have a lot of support and help from family and friends in the weeks and days before the event and afterwards as well to help tidy up! I planned everything: the colours, themes and items for the different outdoor ‘Rooms’ and shared this with close family, bridesmaids and the key suppliers on a private Pinterest board. We also had a private Facebook Guest Page where we organised the finer details of the Day and asked for help decorating the garden and laying out tables and benches the day before and managing the Bar, the tea making, and requested ‘Photo Booth’ accessories for the day!
Chris and I had decided that we wanted to experience a celebrant-led ceremony ourselves. I chose Evelyn Silver as we had met , both being celebrants, on a number of occasions, so I knew what an enthusiastic and creative person she was and that we would be in safe hands. We talked through our Reasons for Marrying with her and decided to include a Handfasting using the tartan colours with my daughter and Chris’s two other sisters also taking part. As well as a Key ceremony based on an old Viking tradition of marking the joining of two ‘Families’ on the lines of ‘Game of Thrones’ , together; using a giant key.
Dog Ringbearer Splendida!
Chris and I personalised and read our vows. Chris wrote his own and I chose the poem to read ; ‘Why Marriage?’ by Dena Acolatse which I felt matched me to a T! We also wanted to include our dog Storm in the occasion. She was the star of the show! Afterwards, she enjoyed a few sandwiches, in between getting her strength back for the rest of the day! We also enjoyed our daughter -in-law’s super reading of the poem ‘How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog’ by Taylor Mali.
The Afternoon Tea was organised by myself and my son, who also prepared it all except for the cakes which were made by talented local cakemakers, Debbie and Tracey . Tracey baked the delicious cupcakes and Debbie created the awesome wedding cake! The scones came from Occasion’s Teashop as well as a surprise cake from the neighbour next door. We were so lucky to be able to put together a cracking afternoon tea which everyone enjoyed. We had gradually bought a stock of alcohol and mixers in the months beforehand for the bar: mainly Pimm’s, prosecco, gin, cider, beer and juice. We followed the ceremony with a Pimm’s and then had a prosecco toast for the cake cutting.
The Bar was one of the favourite places for all the guests, not just because of the alcohol! There was lots of chatting as well as catching up on old family photos and stories!
Cutting the cake and the speeches
The wedding cake did well in the heat and there was plenty to go round. There was a lemon buttercream one and the other tier was vanilla. We had a special rendition of ‘My Brother’ from Chris’s sisters and then we had the bouquet throwing We didn’t have any speeches as such which suited the day very well.
Presents and Favours
I had lots of fun giving out thank-you presents and then
when the guests started to leave, they all had a super cute succulent plant to
take home with them.
There was plenty for the guests to do. It was great for everyone making friends and catching with each other and having photos taken at the Flower Wall – the basket of hats went down really well! There were lots of places to have a chat or relax around the garden and in the Bar. Then there was the Silent Disco with three different tracks to choose from. Adults and kids thought this was great and had a lot of fun dancing and singing together!
It was a real success!
It was a truly amazing day! Chris and I were both ecstatic!
The Day had taken a lot of preparation and organisation and it went off with hardly
a hitch. We did lose my hair comb but thankfully another was fetched!! All the
guests said that the day went really well and that they were so pleased to have
met up with family and friends that they hadn’t seen for years.
All the guests said that the wedding ceremony and party were
very different from anything they’d experienced before. It was very relaxed and
laid-back, and they really liked it! The Day was a real success!
A massive thank you to all the suppliers and shops!