English speaking europe destination wedding celebrant ceremony blessing abroad

Laura and Nicky’s Wedding Film by Capture Pi

Nicky and Laura celebrated their destination wedding in Croatia on the gorgeous island of Brac, on Wednesday 14th June 2017.

Fourteen of their closest family members and friends joined together with them and me in a truly breathtaking ceremony which took place infront of a backdrop that could make your jaw drop! There were tears and laughter, and high emotions right the way through.

The party then journied on foot through the streets of Pučišća to make their way towards the boat that was waiting to take them onwards to enjoy the rest of their day.

Wedding in Croatia Capture Pi videographer brac wedding film

The day before the wedding, Laura and Nicky visited the highest point in the Croatian Islands to watch the sunset over the sea. Their videographer, Karlo Cargonja from Capture Pi has captured this moment just perfectly, and the story of their ceremony and onwards journey, which I’m so delighted to be bringing to you in this short wedding clip below.

Thank you so much to Capture Pi for sharing this moment, and to Laura and Nicky for involving me as their celebrant on this most brilliant of days. The voiceover adaption of ‘The Lovely Dinosaur’ is being read by their fabulous bridesmaid, Stephanie. Stay posted to my blog for the full story and photos of Laura and Nicky’s Wedding in Croatia to follow soon…

laura & nicky // wedding shorts from CapturePi on Vimeo.

Lara and Ben’s Testimonial

I would like to express a huge, heartfelt thank you to Lara and Ben for their kind words following their Gatsby-themed, outdoor wedding blessing at Hunstsham Court in Devon.

It really was such a joy to be a part of, and I couldn’t be more grateful of their sentiments below. To read the full story their wedding ceremony, just follow this link! 

Lara and Ben gatsby wedding blessing huntsham court devon celebrant

“We are so glad we found Samantha to be our celebrant – the day just would not have been the same without her!

 

She did such an incredible job writing our ceremony and helping us write our vows, and also making us feel calm and relaxed on the day.

 

Samantha kept everything on track, so we didn’t have to worry, and delivered the ceremony so beautifully.

 

She managed to put in to words so many things we hadn’t even thought of, and we were so grateful for her enthusiasm and patience when it came to our unusual crystal ring blessing!

 

The whole ceremony was relaxed, heartfelt, funny and memorable, and better than we could have hoped.

 

So many of our guests commented on how unique they thought it was and how much they loved it.

 

We absolutely can’t wait for the video to relive it all over again.

It is really is tough to put into words just how brilliant you are Samantha!

 

Thank you so, so much for being such a big a part of our day and for making it so special – and for staying to celebrate with us!”

Lara and Ben testimonial wedding celebrant samantha kelsie huntsham court weddingThank you to all staff at Huntsham Court in Devon for their hospitality, and to Bears Collective photography for the images.

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

Lara and Ben’s Great Gatsby Wedding at Huntsham Court

Lara and Ben celebrated their blessing of marriage at Huntsham Court, near Tiverton in Devon, on Saturday 29th April 2017.

Lara and Ben outdoor garden symbolic crystal wedding ceremony at Huntsham Court. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Bears Collective Photography.

The wedding was carefully styled with nostaligic art deco flare and majestic 1920s touches, to recreate the feel of a Great Gatsby-esque house party in the Devonshire countryside.

With it’s delicious oak pannelling, bookshelves stuffed with old books, and a grand entrance hall, exquisitely able to play host to a champagne tower – Huntsham Court certainly provided the perfect backdrop to echo this era of glamour and grandiose and the party elite.

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben outdoor garden symbolic crystal wedding ceremony at Huntsham Court. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

Lara and Ben had opted for an outdoor wedding blessing, braving a slight chill in the air to celebrate outdoors in the pagoda area of the sweeping grounds that Huntsham Court has to offer.

In the nearby fields, cows gently murmured their soundtrack of approval, and wedding bells rang out from the village church as guests took their seats and snapped selfies.

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

Lara and Ben had decided to enter the ceremony together, and so they had a moment alone indoors to greet one another, and to compliment eachother’s outfits and smiles, thus giving reassurance to each another before they began – how sweet!

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

The ‘first look’ of the bride and groom was captured so beautifully by their photographer Karolina of Bears Collective. It was a really a very heart-warming moment to see Ben smile so broadly as his bride-to-be Lara descended the grand staircase, giggling her way down every step!

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

The final few bars of Somewhere Over the Rainbow were played, followed by Dance Me to the End of Love as the clock struck 1pm and we approached the moment to begin.

Guests were asked to be upstanding, as Lara and Ben entered the garden to the soft sounds of Coming Home by Leon Bridges.

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography. Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears Collective

We began the ceremony with some all important thank yous, as guests had travelled from as far as Cyprus, Dubai, South Africa, Canada, America and even Australia to be here at Huntsham Court. A few guests had even made it out of London, journeying into the depths of the Devonshire countryside on a Saturday afternoon in Spring time – quite the achievement!

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears Collective

We shared some stories of how Lara and Ben had first met and come to be together, including a tale about Tinder, and the moment when they “fell in love at first shawarma!”

Guests laughed over Lara’s own admittance that her ‘swooning’ in Ben’s presence really came down to clumsiness, and Ben gave away the secret that buying their first home together had made him feel far more grown up than he cared to admit!

Samantha Kelsie is a UK Independent Celebrant offering bespoke wedding family and funeral cermeonies to couples in the UK, Europe and International.Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears CollectiveLara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

We included three readings in the ceremony. Ben’s brother, Daniel, began with – Shine – a prose of scientific pondering over love, inspired by the works of Carl Sagan.

“…It is wonderful to think that the reason for our existence could be love: a mechanism used by the universe to reunite the stars, so that we can once again shine together…”

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

This was followed by What Goes With What … an extract taken from Appetite by Nigel Slater, read by Lara’s work friend Cordelia. Finally, Simon Armitage’s contemporary poem Let Me Put It This Way, was read by Lara’s God sister, Heidi, who had travelled in from South Africa.

“Let me put it this way:
if you came to lay your sleeping head against my arm or sleeve,

and if my arm went dead,
or if I had to take my leave at midnight,

I should rather cleave it from the joint or seam than make a scene
or bring you round.

There, how does that sound?”

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

Then came the all important part: the declaration of promises in marriage. Ben and Lara were asked the questions to which their response was simply… “I do.”

Luckily, they got the answers right!

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears CollectiveLara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

Lara and Ben had written their own vows, personally penned from the heart to embody their truest thoughts and sentiments for one another.

It was a beautiful moment. Tears were shed, interspersed with giggles and laughter. I love it when a couple can deliver such a mixture of emotions with just a few short sentences!

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears CollectiveLara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Samantha Kelsie is a professional wedding celebrant UK and distination ceremoniesLara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

In addition to exchanging their wedding rings, Lara and Ben had also opted to include a crystal healing ceremony as part of their celebration.

Lara’s sister, Taryn, had earlier prepared the ceremony area with crystals to help bring good energy and protection to the marriage service. She was then asked to come forward and assist in cleansing Lara and Ben’s auras with sandalwood incense, before offering them the wedding rings which she had placed on a pyramid of carnelian, in the centre of a crystal grid, prior to the ceremony.

Taryn believed that by placing Lara and Ben’s wedding rings together in the centre of this sacred formation, this would harness and focus the energy of the crystals into the physical material of the wedding bands themselves.

Through transference, this energy and the qualities of the crystals would live on in the body, mind and spirit of both Lara and Ben as they wore their wedding bands, forever after.

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears Collective crystal ceremonyLara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

Lara and Ben took turns to make one final declaration to forever honour the commitment that they were making, as they placed the wedding rings onto one another’s third finger.

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears CollectiveSamantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears Collective

Finally, with all the formalities said and done, it was time to introduce them to their guests as husband and wife. Ben didn’t miss the opportunity to steal the moment with the most grand of kisses!

Cheers and applause erupted around the garden as Lara and Ben made the most of the final moment of the ceremony. The couple were then showered with confetti canons as they walked together down the aisle once more, this time to the sound of Dean Martin’s Volare.

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears CollectiveSamantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears CollectiveLara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears CollectiveSamantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears CollectiveLara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

There was only one thing left to do after that – crack open the bottles and pour out the champagne! Which they did, in true Gatsby style, of course!

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant Wedding Ceremony outdoor wedding blessing Huntsham Court Bears Collective

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the staff at Huntsham Court for their welcome and support on the day, and to Bears Collective and Mrs Mash Up for all being such a pleasure to work with.

“Well played, old sports!”

More importantly though, a big, big thank you to my gorgeous couple, Lara and Ben, who were not only so wonderful to work with, but who also invited me to join them as their guest for the remainder of the day… and I was positively charmed to do just that! x

Lara and Ben Gatsby inspired garden wedding with symbolic crystal healing. Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant. Huntsham Court. Bears Collective Photography.

 

All images by Bears Collective and kindly donated to this blog post by Lara and Ben. 

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

Kate and Mark’s Boho Wedding Blessing

Now I know I shouldn’t be biased… but I think Kate and Mark’s Boho Wedding was possibly one of my most favourite weddings of 2016.

I know… I shouldn’t say it…. but it’s true.

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

Kate and Mark truly charmed the socks off me last September. They really were just the most gorgeous pair of people to get to know…

The ceremony took place in Silverstone, Northamptonshire, on a glorious Saturday afternoon at the end of summer. Kate arrived with Father of the Bride, Andy, on the back of a truck and wearing the most fabulous 70s-inspired lace wedding dress, with a big blousy bouquet and the most glorious flower crown to match. She looked a bohomemian bridal dream!

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

A lot of happy tears were wiped from under people’s eyes as Kate and her bridesmaids entered to A Whiter Shade of Pale… it was impossible not to be moved in that moment, espcially as the two hugest smiles erupted from the bride and groom when they met at the end!

Once everyone was settled, we got going talking a little about Kate and Mark’s relationship to date, and giggled over the story behind their first meeting. Then, we shared with everyone the true telling of their mutual love for a good life, with good music… and great food.

After introductions were made, everyone was asked to stand once again. It was time to sing the hymn…

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

Except it wasn’t any ordinary hymn… It was a McFly song instead! And it was appropriately accompanied by the strumming sounds of an acoustic guitar being played perfectly by one of Mark’s good friends. Everybody got stuck in singing-a-long to the lyrics!

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

“It’s all about you,
It’s all about you, baby…
It’s all about you,
It’s all about you…
Yesterday you asked me something I thought you knew
So I told you with a smile its all about you
Then you whispered in my ear and you told me too
Said you made my life worthwhile its all about you
And I would answer all your wishes
If you asked me to
But if you deny me one of your kisses
Don’t know what I’d do
So hold me close and say three words like you used to do
Dancing on the kitchen tiles
It’s all about you…”

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday PhotographyBoho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

After our hymn, we moved on to the more formal part of the proceedings. Kate and Mark had chosen to include a traditional, though personally written, set of matching wedding vows, which they repeated line by line after me. This was followed by a further declaration of their promises to one another in marriage, and they exchanged their wedding rings before holding hands for a short blessing.

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday PhotographyBoho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday PhotographyBoho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

After the ceremony, everybody clapped and cheered and we all headed outside to brave what had come to be quite a breezy day to throw armfuls and armfuls of confetti and petals over the happy couple. It really was very beautiful, despite the breeze, and there was lots of laughter too…

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

I was so honoured to play such a special part in this gorgeous couple’s day. I’ll never forget Kate’s big smile – it carried on beaming throughout every second of the service, even despite the tears and emotion – and it continued to beam bright long after the ceremony as well!

Boho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday PhotographyBoho Wedding Ceremony Bohemian celebrant blessing Silverstone Race Course UK Samantha Kelsie Tom Halliday Photography

Thank you Kate and Mark for being so blooming boho-beautiful! It really was ‘all about you’ right the way to the end! x

(Images by Tom Halliday Photography)

Georgie's baby blessing naming ceremony Samantha Kelsie Celebrant Essex

Georgie’s Naming Ceremony

Georgie Alexander Oliver celebrated his naming ceremony at Ye Olde Plough House, near Bulphan in Essex, on Sunday 4th June 2017.

It was a fabulous sunny day, filled with lots of love and laughter. Georgie and his mummies, Laurie and Alison, were joined by a whole host of family and friends all gathered to celebrate his formal introduction into the family, following his legal adoption.

Georgie's baby blessing naming ceremony Samantha Kelsie Celebrant Essex

Georgie was adopted into his new Forever Family earlier this year, and so this day was about introducing him as the newest member of the family. Laurie and Alison hoped to share with everyone just how happy, lively and bright he is…. and my word, wasn’t he just!

Georgie was full of beans from the start! He held the room with his smile and charm, insisting that everyone gather to say cheeeeese for a big group photo before we even began! For a boy of only 3 and a half, his character is already brimming with confidence!

Georgie's baby blessing naming ceremony Samantha Kelsie Celebrant Essex

Georgie and his mummies sat very proudly on their silver chairs throughout the service, which included music by John Lennon and Savage Garden, and readings of poems and wishes. One poem had even been especially written by Georgie’s Mummy Laurie!

Eternal promises were made by his new parents, his legal guardians, and his chosen guide parents to love, look after and give guidance to Georgie on his journey into not just becoming a young boy, but a grown man one day too.

Georgie's baby blessing naming ceremony Samantha Kelsie Celebrant Essex

Georgie’s cousins were invited to join in and make their promises to him as well, pledging to share their toys with him when he asks nicely! Georgie gave them both a big hug for that afterwards.

Georgie's baby blessing naming ceremony Samantha Kelsie Celebrant Essex

The highlight of the ceremony, without a doubt, was just as Mum and Mummy were about to make their formal promise to always look after their little boy… Georgie leapt up in front of the whole room and declared that they “wouldn’t need to anyway!” because Georgie’s light sabre would do the job of protecting them all at home!

“…well they don’t need to anyway, because I’ve got a light sabre at home and I can save everybody!”

It was a very funny moment for everyone to enjoy, and it was even captured on camera. Everyone will be laughing for years to come, I’m sure!

After the service, we all headed outside for canapes, Pimms… and a good old bounce on the bouncy castle! Guests went home with Star Wars cupcakes and big smiles from what was really, truly, a very special, very memorable day for everyone…

Georgie's baby blessing naming ceremony Samantha Kelsie Celebrant Essex

Simon and Justin’s Intimate Wedding at Home 

Could their be anywhere in the world more personal to hold your wedding ceremony, than to hold your wedding ceremony in the comfort of your own home? I doubt it.

I’ve held many a beautiful wedding ceremony at home for my couples and it really is just such a lovely way to spend the day in a way which feels so very intimate, relaxed, and special to the people who are with you.

a celebrant wedding ceremony at home

Simon and Justin’s wedding at their home in the Aylesbury Vale was exactly that – intimate, relaxed and special. It was moving, emotional, sincere, and simply divine.

Only their very nearest and dearest attended. It was a day which was designed exclusively for them, and the couple were so very literally ‘at home’ saying their sincerest sentiments of love and commitment to each other in a way which was so endearing.

Together, we shared the story of their relationship – a story which spans over 20 years together – and expressed their reasons for tying the knot in such a simple way now…

a celebrant wedding ceremony at home

We lit unity candles, using the help of both grooms and their mothers, and the guests took part in a ring warming ceremony, where Simon and Justin’s own wedding bands were passed from person to person, allowing each guest a moment to share their sentiments for the happy couple out loud.

After the service, we all toasted the happy couple with champagne before I left the party to enjoy a beautiful home cooked meal in the comfort of their oh so stylish barn lounge interior.

a celebrant wedding ceremony at home

It was truly an honour to join them, just 8 of us together in total, plus two eager dogs in bow ties watching through the glass door!

Congratulations Simon and Justin! x

 

Claire and Dave's Intimate Garden Surprise Wedding Ceremony in Beaconsfield Samantha Kelsie Celebrant

Claire and Dave’s Secret Garden Wedding

I first Skyped with Claire and Dave back in January this year. I was visiting Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, at the time, and they were at home in Boston, USA. We discussed their plans for an intimate and informal surprise wedding ceremony, to be held in Beaconsfield, England.

A few months later, we Skyped again. This time, I was back home in London, finishing my lunch, and they were perched ready with dressing gowns on and large coffees in hand, up early before the working day began over in America.

Several Skype meetings and a heap of emails sent at all times of day and night later, we had a plan… and we had a ceremony! Claire and Dave were ready to travel for the US and get married in England. But nobody else knew about it…

Claire and Dave's Intimate Garden Surprise Wedding Ceremony in Beaconsfield Samantha Kelsie Celebrant
So, yesterday afternoon, on one sunny May Sunday, Claire & Dave and I finally met face to face at the beautiful Brook house in Beaconsfield, along with all their closest friends and family.

The couple had flown in to the UK only 2 days earlier, with the promise of bringing their dearest relatives together for a weekend BBQ at a beautiful country house they had hired for the Bank Holiday. But – there came with them a surprise. On Friday evening, Claire and Dave announced to the guests the true intentions behind their gathering…. they were also here to say ‘I do!’

Claire and Dave's Intimate Garden Surprise Wedding Ceremony in Beaconsfield Samantha Kelsie Celebrant
One thing which truly unites this couple is their mutual love of family – and not just their own family, but each other’s as well. They wanted a small, simple wedding, with no fuss, and no anxiety for anyone involved. But rather than run far away and get married alone together somewhere else in the world, they came home instead, to celebrate their day with their most treasured family and a select few friends.

The ceremony was sweet, sentimental, and so emotionally charged, it was difficult not to be moved by the love between them. They demonstrate a love which was so perfectly reflected in their style of day – true, honest, touching, endearing…. a modest wedding, for a modest pair, who share a bond so unassuming and so pure.

Claire and Dave's Intimate Garden Surprise Wedding Ceremony in Beaconsfield Samantha Kelsie Celebrant
I was so thrilled to be such a special part of Claire and Dave’s wedding day, but more so, I was truly honoured to have been their secret keeper for the last 5 months as well! What a priviledge, indeed.

Here’s wishing you both all the best… wherever in the world you may end up next! x

Natalie and Gethyn’s Wedding Film

I’m so delighted to share with you all this wonderful little video from Natalie and Gethyn’s wedding ceremony back in August 2016, featuring snippets from our gorgeous little wedding ceremony and Natalie and Gethyn’s own personal vows. Just beautiful!

The wedding day was captured by top wedding videographer Ben Walton Films. Thank you Ben for sharing with us!

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding marriage family commitment funeral celebrant UK International

Gloria and Peter’s Wedding at Hedsor House

Gloria and Peter were married on 13th August 2016 in a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony blessing at Hedsor House, Buckinghamshire.

I’m absolutely delighted to share with you their full wedding ceremony story, courtesy of professional photographer Liam Collard (LiamCollard.com) who captured each moment as it happened…

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography
Everything is ready to begin under the pretty floral arch over looking the Chiltern Valley in the distance.

I stand with Peter and his guests, excitedly waiting for the bride to arrive. We’re given the thumbs up that she’s ready, so now I ask everyone to be upstanding as the harpist plays the entrance music….

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography
Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography
Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography
Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography

The bride has arrived on her father’s arm ready to be given away. Peter and Gloria wished to incorporate this Western tradition into their ceremony in honour of her father.

This is a lovely moment, when I formally ask her father “who gives this woman to be married to this man…?”

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography

 

The service begins, and after a warm welcome to everyone (some guests have flown in from Singpore, Hong Kong, The USA and Beijing!) we start by sharing Gloria and Peter’s love story. 

The tale of how they met is a very sweet one and full of giggles! We share this story with their guests, and also tell everyone about Peter’s romantic marriage proposal.

 

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography ` Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography

Gloria and Peter’s relationship has spanned oceans in the past, with thousands of miles separating them for periods lasting several months. 

We decided to incorporate the symbolic ceremony of the ‘Fisherman’s Knot’ into their service, to symbolise that their love only ever grows stronger, even in the face of a challenge…

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography

 

It didn’t go quite right first time… or even the second time… but with a little bit of patience the knot was finally tied, third time lucky! 

It provided a lot of laughs getting there though! 

 

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography fisherman's knot Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography

Gloria and Peter had written their own wedding vows, which brought out a few tears when spoken out loud to one another…

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography

We also included a Wedding Band Blessing or ‘Ring Warming’ ceremony.

The wedding rings were passed around the whole congregation whilst the harpist played some music, and every guests was invited to impart their personal blessings or good wishes onto the wedding bands before they reached the couple’s hands.

How lovely to be able to involve your wedding guests in your ceremony with this beautiful gesture! 

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography

 

Samantha Kelsie UK Celebrant wedding ceremony Hedsor house Buckinghamshire symbolic Liam Collard photography …and that was that! When all the ‘I dos’ were said and done, the guests erupted into a round of cheering and applause. Peter and Gloria sealed their marriage with a kiss and headed back down the aisle to begin celebrating with champagne!

Thank you to Liam Collard for sharing these photos. Also a big well done to wedding planner Rebecca Buckingham of Heart Shaped Weddings for her planning and coordination of a gorgeous day.

Congratulations Gloria and Peter! x

To discuss the plans for your own celebrant wedding ceremony, email Samantha today! enquiries@ukcelebrant.co.uk

 

Life. Death. Whatever at National Trust Sutton House

Life. Death. Whatever at National Trust Sutton House Hackney

Last night, I attended the official launch party of the Good Funeral Guild, in an evening gathering held amongst a month long exhibition titled Life. Death. Whatever. taking place at National Trust property Sutton House in Hackney throughout October.

Life. Death. Whatever. labels itself as a month long reflection on life, death and every thing inbetween, and plays host to a varying and insightful programme of informative talks and fun-filled workshops set inside an historic National Trust surrounding.

Life. Death. Whatever at National Trust Sutton House Hackney

The exhibition itself is not only worth visit for the sneak peek you have inside an incredible venue, Sutton House in London’s Hackney area, but visitors are also welcome to admire and study a selection of emotionally provocative, sometimes challenging, yet arguably beautiful artist installations which invite and inspire you to think about the stages of life we sometimes turn a blind eye to, whilst confronting these matters with the absolute respect that’s demanded from them too.

The exhibition is simply incredible. From the perspective of an art lover and an industry member, I thoroughly enjoyed embracing every emotion that was offered to me so openly on my walk around the house. These artists share an understanding of something we all often struggle to give name to, yet are able to feel and experience in our own personal way too.

Life. Death. Whatever at National Trust Sutton House Hackney

But what moves me most about this whole event is the concious effort which has been made to place the subject of death on the lips of the innocent passer-by. Death is a subject which needs to be discussed, and right now it too often isn’t. This needs to change, and events like these encourage that.

Death is as natural as life, and it is a life passage which we are all garanteed to encounter and experience. So, why wouldn’t we talk about it? Why wouldn’t we plan our own exit from the world with as much excitement and gusto as that of a milestone birthday party?

We can plan and plan and plan, but the truth is we might not ever hit 30, 40, 50, 60…..

…but we will all die in the end, right?

Life. Death. Whatever at National Trust Sutton House Hackney

Life. Death. Whatever. allows it’s visitors the opportunity to talk about the subjects that often instil fear and intrigue into our minds in equal measure; grief, death, birth, saying hello, saying goodbye.

For me, I found that last night’s launch was a pleasant opportunity to talk aloud with other people in the ‘#deathbiz’ who truly understand the importance of doing just that. Talking aloud. I’m really looking forward to attending some of the talks and workshops to follow in the next few weeks not just as a celebrant, but also as a human with an interest in inspiring people to speak up about the subject that sometimes scares us.

Life. Death. Whatever at National Trust Sutton House Hackney

Death is beautiful. Death is normal. Death is whatever you want it to be if you allow it, and Life. Death. Whatever in conjunction with the Good Funeral Guild reminds us that we all have the right to choose how we wish to go in the end. There are many examples around the exhibition of alternative and natural ways to leave this world – pink hearses, cardboard coffins, natural burials etc… these are options which are accesible to all of us in planning a funeral, but often we don’t know the options are there for us to choose. Well now we do.

And, if indeed it all gets a little bit too overwhelming – go grab yourself an absinthe-prosecco cocktail and chill out in the coffin ball-pool playroom. Just like I did….

Life. Death. Whatever at National Trust Sutton House Hackney

More details of all the events can be found at: http://www.lifedeathwhatever.com/
Images in this article are a few of my own personal photos taken from around the exhibition.