Celebrate your wedding
WEDDINGS AND CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS
One of Life’s Great Days, when the hours spent preparing for it all culminate in one of the most memorable thirty or forty minutes of a couple’s life. It’s all about getting it right, making it special and including exactly what you want – whether plain and simple or incorporating features such as Handfasting, Broom-Jumping and Sand Ceremonies. Just ask and it’s yours!
After the initial contact and telephone chat I will give you enough information to get you started on thinking about the main components of your wedding ceremony. I’ll give you a range of suggestions so that when we first meet we’ll be able to create an outline of your ceremony including the people involved, readings, poems msic and any additional symbolic ceremonies (more about these below).
I will then write a bespoke ceremony just the way I think you want it and we may then have another meeting when we can polish it up into its final form.
The final visit will be on the day of the rehearsal – ideally at the chosen venue. Since this is not either a church or a Registrar’s service, you are not restricted to licensed places, you can choose any venue you like – though I should warn you I’m a bit iffy about parachutes, bungee jumping and deep-sea venues.
The success of a ceremony is, as with so many things, a result of good preparation. It will (almost) always include an exchange of vows and rings in front of a gathering of friends and relatives who will collectively witness the event. There are several different ways of doing this and, as with the rest of the event, the choice is yours alone.
I don’t really consider it my place to ‘pronounce’ the couple as now being married, though I’m happy to do it if requested. My personal preference is to lead the gathering in a collective declaration – that way everyone becomes a very real part of your special day.
Optional symbolic ceremonies, CD sound recordings, presentation-bound copies of the ceremony can all be included. And for those who want a minimalist, more private service then that too can be arranged – it’s not compulsory to break the bank and cover the county with flowers when you get married. Once again: I’m here to give you what you want.
There are many other symbolic ceremonies involving flowers, wine, fire and other less common components (feathers, obsidian and incense) – I haven't performed all of them but am always happy to explore their use in your ceremony if you want to give them a go! Whatever you choose, no matter how unusual, I will do my best to make it work for you.
SYMBOLIC CEREMONIES ANCIENT AND MODERN
Handfasting, a ceremony in which the couple are ‘tied’ together with ribbons (themselves often invested with meaning by incorporating family heirlooms, artefacts and creations) dates back so far that we can’t actually say what it dates back to! Similarly Jumping the Broomstick has roots as varied as African–American, Romany and Welsh – the latter probably dates back at least as far as the time of the Romans in Britain. All such ceremonies would typically be re-created for you, in the sense of being inspired by their historical antecedents in a way that works for you, rather than being a Hollywood-style mimicry of a ‘pseudo-ceremony’.
The sand ceremony is – as far as I can tell – a much more modern invention. Jars (elegant jars, of course!) of coloured sand are poured in turn by the couple and often by their families into a single glass container where the layers and mixings symbolise the permanent intermingling of the two families. The jar is stoppered and sealed and is typically engraved with the couple’s initials and the date of the event. An extension of this is to use a deep-fronted photo frame into which mementoes of the day can be added with a suitable picture as a background.
UNITED KINGDOM LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
UK law requires that marriages be registered (largely to please the taxman!) in either a church or a register office. It is necessary to give notice (or have banns read out if in a church), to declare that you are eligible to marry (or that breath-holding moment in a church when the officiant asks ‘if anyone knows of any reason why...’), then declare your willingness to marry each other before signing the Register of Marriages in front of witnesses.
This process can, if you want to minimise it, be over and done with in about a quarter of an hour at a Register Office at a fixed cost.
Full details are available on a government website, details and a link is shown on the final ‘who, what, why, where?’ page of this website.
I am more than happy to guide you through the registration process if you want me to.