This is a post very close to my heart and I’m so glad Christabel got in touch to tell us more about her ceremonies. You may remember I posted about Humanist Wedding Ceremonies back in September.

The options for a wedding ceremony in the UK are: Church service; civil ceremony with a registrar; or a Humanist ceremony.

But for couples who are not religious or Humanist but want something more heartfelt than a civil ceremony, an independent Celebrant is the ideal alternative.

With an independent Celebrant, you can have the ceremony of your dreams with words and sentiment that truly reflect you as individuals. A unique and personal ceremony that explores your past, present and future. Your very own love story.

There are no restrictions on content – a religious prayer, Buddhist chant or even a pagan ritual can be requested. Unlike a civil ceremony, there is no approval needed for your choice of readings and music, and no limited readings to two minutes (currently in civil ceremonies).

The ceremony is the heart of your wedding. It’s the moment when family and friends truly celebrate the life you have created together, and witness your hopes and dreams for the future. Personally written vows really capture the essence of you as a couple. They can be funny, moving, romantic or all three. Either way, with vows written from the heart there’s rarely a dry eye in the house!

Christabel shares some of the ceremonies she has taken below – get the tissues ready!!

The Vows…

Kelly and James have 3 children and they wanted their ceremony to be a celebration of their family, as well as their personal love for each other. They wrote their vows in secret so that on the big day they were a complete surprise to everyone, including each other! Needless to say it was a very beautiful, moving and in parts (thanks to James) funny moment.

James:  “Kelly, I promise to be there for you.

I promise to be there for our children, to give them a good life, to teach them and show them the meaning of values and morals.

I promise to try to make you laugh – not all the time – I know I can get annoying.

I promise to motivate you – to get what you want out of life. Obviously not until after 8am!

I promise to make plans with you for the future.

To give our family the best of any opportunities that may arise.

I promise to love you.”

Kelly: “James I love you.

I love you for the support and encouragement that you give to me and for being an amazing Dad to our three beautiful children.

I feel very lucky to have you by my side to face all of life’s experiences and share one another’s dreams and goals.

Here today I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.

I will love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard.

I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, today and all the days of our life.”

Another couple, Vashti and Stuart, wanted to write something together that summed up exactly how they felt. It was simple but completely genuine and heartfelt:

“…..I take you as my partner on life’s journey. I promise to love you forever.”

I’ve also had a couple who were extremely shy and nervous about standing in front of their family and friends so they wrote their vows together and then asked me to read them. I asked them in turn if they promised to keep their vows and they replied “I do” once I’d read them out. This was a perfect solution for them so they were really pleased and it meant they enjoyed the ceremony without feeling any pressure.

Unique and Unforgettable

The most fantastic thing is that no two ceremonies are ever the same. There is always a good mix of humour and emotion and usually the ceremony becomes a major talking point throughout the rest of the day.

Because I’ve met the couple usually months before and kept in regular contact throughout the process, there is a rapport between us that adds to the sincerity of the occasion.

Location, location, location!

Like a Humanist ceremony, a Celebrant cannot legally marry you (something we are trying to get changed!), this does mean however that a couple is not restricted as to where and when they hold hands and say “I do.”

So if your dream ceremony is in a bluebell wood at sunrise, or by a log fire in a cosy rustic country pub, with a Celebrant-led ceremony you’ll be saying “I do” in your perfect location.

Prior to the wedding, you will need to visit the local registry office to legally become husband and wife. This is a short and straightforward process. You simply make your declaratory vows and sign the register. That’s it.

The exchanging of vows and rings is purely ceremonial and not a legal requirement. Some couples like to keep their actual wedding day as the big one to celebrate, so quietly pop to the registry office with a couple of witnesses and keep it as brief and unromantic as possible.

Others take a few close friends and family members and then go for a meal afterwards. The couples I’ve worked for found this did not detract from the poignancy of the actual wedding day ceremony. In fact they loved having two really special occasions to share with their loved ones.

Cheaper alternative

Couples are inundated with large and luxurious places to hold their big day. But a licensed venue can come with a hefty price tag.

If you’re looking for something unique but don’t want to break the bank, then holding the ceremony and reception at an unlicensed venue could save you money.

Wonderful options include: Yurts and tipis, a meadow with a marquee or a large rental property on the coast or in the countryside.

Get in touch with Christabel:

Twitter @BellaOneLife

Facebook – One Life Weddings


Wedding beauty on its way!

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