Symbolic Ceremonies // A Guide to Popular Wedding Rituals

Many couples are now opting to include a symbolic ceremony as part of their wedding ceremony or renewal of vows. This is not essential and it may not be for you, but if you do wish to consider including a symbolic ceremony, then the following information may help you to identify which option suits you best…

alternative wedding ceremony ideas

What is a Symbolic Ceremony?
Symbolic Ceremonies are an additional element sometimes added to a service as a way to represent your unity through the use of rituals and objects. Symbolic Ceremonies offer a ‘visual’ element to the day, and often include keepsakes which you can treasure at home for long after your day. They can be used not just to symbolise the union of your love, but to also symbolise your union as a family as you may consider including children or other guests in the ceremony as well.

Many symbolic ceremonies hold their origins in spiritual religion, but whatever your beliefs a symbolic ceremony can be tailored to suit your own personal way of life, and can make for a unique and memorable addition to your day.

alternative wedding ceremony

Here are some of the most common examples of Symbolic Ceremonies that may appeal to you:

Hand Fasting
One of the more recognised additions to a wedding ceremony; Hand Fasting (or ‘Tying the Knot’) originally stemmed from Pagan ritual, but is often used in modern ceremonies to
represent the coming together of two people and their lives by the tying of their hands with a chord or a ribbon.

There are many ways to tailor this ceremony to suit the purpose of why you have chosen to include it, but generally the couple will place their palms together, and with each spoken promise or given virtue the chord is wrapped around the hands. The ceremony is then made complete with the tying of a knot to form an eternal loop in the material, before the hands are released and the the loop is taken home to be kept as a visual reminder of their bond.

Couples can opt to use one single chord, or else involve multiple coloured chords plaited together to represent a combination of different promises and virtues. You can even symbolise the union of different people being brought together by the marriage, by using the coloured ribbons to represent each person within the family unit.

You could even ask friends or family members to come forward and assist in adding their own cords to the finished piece…

Pagan hand fasting ceremony

Unity Candles
This ceremony involves the lighting of two single candles; each representing the two people as individuals and the energy and light that comes from their own being.

The couple then bring their individual flames together to light a central pillar candle or  ‘unity candle’ on the altar. This demonstrates the stronger energy that is formed in the flame, when they marry their own energies together, and the larger lit unity candle symbolises that they now light a clearer path for each other as one.

If you have children you can involve them too, by then lighting their own candles from the flame of your unity candle. This shows how together you have created a new energy and brought a new light into your life, through the blessing of your child or children.

symbolic ceremony at wedding

Sand Ceremony
The pouring of two different coloured sands into one shared vessel is a contemporary symbolic ceremony which is often used to represent the coming together of two people in a very visual and permanent  way.

The coloured sands celebrate you both as individuals made up of millions of tiny pieces that form the complex creations that we are as humans. By mixing these sands together into one container, we demonstrate how through marriage we still exist as individuals with our own ‘colour’ to be appreciated, but by combining our colours we create something which is more beautiful than was once separated. To separate these grains of sand later would not be impossible, but it would certainly be a challenge!

The container of combined sand also makes for a decorative keepsake which can be kept as a commemorative item in the home afterwards. Some couples even use an hour glass, and turn the sands each year on their anniversary.

sand blending

Crystals
Crystals are believed to carry unique healing properties which can be used in a wedding ceremony to bring good virtues to the couple’s marriage, by transferring the energy from the crystals into the ceremony area and even the wedding rings themselves.

You may wish to hang special chosen crystals around the ceremony area, or else place them on a table near to where the couple will stand.  Some couples will even place their wedding rings on a crystal grid before the service, or else anoint the rings with energised water taken from a bowl of fluid with the crystals placed inside.

symbolic ceremony with crystals

Ring Warming
This is a lovely ceremony to use if you wish to involve the whole congregation in your ceremony. It needn’t be spiritual as such, more a celebration of the love shared with the people who joined you on your wedding day.

The couple place their wedding rings into a small pouch or jewellery box. This pouch or box is then passed from person to person amongst the guests, allowing an opportunity for each guest to take a turn in holding the rings whilst making a wish for the couple, or bestowing a blessing upon them.

Once the pouch has been passed around everyone, the couple can continue with placing the rings on to each others fingers in the knowledge that the rings have been ‘warmed’ with the kind wishes and the love of those friends and family they have chosen to join them.

A piece of music could even be played to accompany the moment as the rings are being passed from person to person. Or you could save time on your day by asking a trusted person to stand at the ceremony entrance and  ask your guests to take a moment to hold the rings and impart their good wishes before they take their seats in the service.

symbolic wedding ceremony with rings

Trees and Plants
Finally…. you may wish to plant seeds or a sapling at the site of your ceremony, or in a small pot to take home with you, as a way to represent your new life together and the continued growth of your relationship here after.

pagan tradition

There are so many options and different ways to tailor each of the above suggestions to make your ceremony most personal to you… or you could even begin a new tradition of your own! 

alternative wedding ceremony If you’d like to talk a little bit more about how you can bring an element of symbolism into your wedding day, contact Samantha today:

Phone: 07783 141 202
Email: enquiries@ukcelebrant.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/UKCelebrant
Twitter: @SamanthaKelsie
Instagram: @SamanthaKelsie
Follow the hashtag #OwnYourWedding

Please note: All images used in this article are of real couples who included a symbolic ceremony as part of their celebrant wedding ceremony officiated by Samantha Kelsie. And how gorgeous they all were too! 

 

 

 

 

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel

Rosie and Ross’s Wedding at Sheffield General Cemetery

Rosie and Ross celebrated their blessing of marriage on Saturday 12th August 2017 in The Samuel Worth Chapel at Sheffield General Cemetery.

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel

Now before I get started on the venue (and yes, it is one very cool venue indeed) can we please just take a brief moment here to first of all consider the groom…

…oh my, what an awesome groom. 

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth ChapelGroom at wedding Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel

On my arrival at the chapel I found Mr Mackay busy inside placing jars of pretty flowers, and laying out the stationery on seats in the sweetest of ways.

It’s hard to describe what it was that was so endearing about this scenario exactly, but this fella was going to stop at nothing to make his day perfect – exactly as he’d been instructed, but with all the genuine want to get it right for his bride, Rosie – and these pictures capture that moment so perfectly.

Too. Cute. 

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel

OK, back to the venue…

The Samuel Worth Chapel at Sheffield General Cemetery is a Grade II listed building that dates back to 1836, and has recently undergone a whole world of restoration. It has played host to ooooh hundreds of funerals and services in it’s almost 200 year old history; but up until 12th August 2017, it had never seen a wedding inside it’s walls.

band for wedding in sheffield

What a remarkable thing! Rosie and Ross were about to become the first couple in the history of their beloved home town, Sheffield, to celebrate their marriage inside the infamous walls of this historic central city monument.

It was such an honour for me too, to be involved in this special day, and even more so to be joined by members of the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust who had turned up to bear witness to this notable occasion.

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel nervous bride to be Sheffield General Cemetery

Now, for the next moment of consideration: the entrance of the bride. I love this bit!

The arrival of the bride and her walk down the aisle is always one of my favourite moments in any wedding ceremony, and Rosie’s entrance was no exception. Ross had asked to face the wall until the very last moment. I was to give him the nod and let him know when his gorgeous fiance was finally upon him…

…Ahhh, the joy and emotion when he turns around and their eyes finally lock! 

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel bridal entrance Bride walks up the aisle in Sheffield

The ceremony began with the tale of Rosie’s and Ross’s first meeting, and how they have come to be united even stronger now today. It was a story of shared love for their historic home town only outweighed by a greater love for one another… but with a fair few laughs and adventures along the way to make us all giggle with the notion of their incredible friendship.

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Rosie and Ross invited their friends and family to join in too on the day. Rosie’s sister, Ellie, gave a reading she had penned herself, before good friend Paul stood up to share ‘The Lovely Dinosaur’ with a Sheffield twist.

After this Rosie’s Dad, Tony, gave an informative talk on ‘Transportation Issues’ with the assistance of our in-house oompah band Grumpah, who gave a sound track of Love and Marriage to accompany the theme. It was as much a surprise to the couple as it was to everyone else in the congregation too!

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Rosie and Ross had opted to write their own marriage vows and had kept them a secret from each other until the day itself. It was a really beautiful moment to hear them be read as both bride and groom had created something so meaningful, personal and poetic to share with the other.

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel wedding ceremony wedding vows Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel write your own wedding vows

Earlier in the day guests had been greeted at the chapel by a close friend called Chris, who offered friends and family an opportunity to ‘warm’ the wedding rings with their kind thoughts and good wishes for the happy couple before entering the service.

Guests each took a moment to hold the wedding rings in their hands and impart a wish or blessing upon them. During the ceremony, we asked Chris to bring forward the wedding rings in the knowledge that they were now saturated with the love and positive energy of everyone in the room who would witness Rosie and Ross place them onto each other’s fingers.

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel wedding ceremony exchanging of rings Ring Warming symbolic wedding ceremony

…and of course, then came the finish.

The announcement of husband and wife, perfectly sealed with a kiss…

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel you may now kiss the bride you may now kiss the bride

… and a funky little dance for good measure!

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“When we started planning our wedding [in the restored chapel at Sheffield General Cemetery], we knew that it was never
going to be straightforward. A friend suggested we use a celebrant for the ceremony, after she said it was the best money she ever spent on her wedding day!

 

When we saw your website and met you, there was never any doubt that we had made the best decision in having you to be our celebrant… We met you for half an hour (in a service station on the M25) and it was like you already knew us! When you sent the draft of the script, I didn’t even remember saying those things to you but what you’d created was so personal and so VERY us!

 

The ceremony ran totally smooth – even when an uninvited dog crashed the service! As we walked out of the chapel, all our friends commented on how different the ceremony had been to others, and more importantly, how much it was totally us.

 

Our day was filled with laughter and dancing; everything we’d dreamed of. Thank you so much for being such a crucial part of it. I would and will recommend you to anyone that will listen…”

Rosie and Ross

Celebrant for wedding in Sheffield General Cemetery Samuel Worth Chapel

A big congratulations to Rosie and Ross and a huge thank you to them both for sharing their story, and for adding to the ongoing legacy of the Samuel Worth Chapel in Sheffield. You go guys! *High five, fist pump* etc. 

All photographs are by CJRodgers Photography

 

Kristine and Liam’s Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe Park

Kristine and Liam celebrated their marriage at Aynhoe Park House near Banbury,
on Monday 31st July 2017.

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

Although having lived together in London for the last year and a half, Canadian Liam and  Norwegian Kristine had spent much of their relationship working, living and studying abroad in Canada, Norway, the UK and Australia, and so guests had travelled from all around the world to witness a ceremony which incorporated a medley of traditions and symbolic nods towards their two cultures.

It was such a joy for them both to be able to unite their friends and family from around the globe at last, in one glistening orangery in the Oxfordshire countryside, where together we could share Liam and Kristine’s story, and learn about the significance of the places they now hold in their hearts.

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael PhotographyCelebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - quirky wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

… and what a cool place to do just that!

Aynhoe Park House was certainly on my bucket list of venues to work with, so I was delighted when Kristine first told me news of their chosen location for where our ceremony would be held!

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

The interior boasts a glorious mix of old and new, with quirky and contemporary  touches throughout. Its eclectic collection of pimped-up Victorian taxidermy, Modern Art and bizarre decorative features are certainly not to everyone’s taste, but there is no denying that wherever you turnin Aynhoe House, you’ll take in something spectacular for the eye to glare at…

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

“It’s not often I get to start a ceremony welcoming ‘Ladies and gentlemen’ whilst making eye contact with a levitating giraffe….”

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael PhotographyCelebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael PhotographyCelebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael PhotographyCelebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael PhotographyCelebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

If romance is your thing, then Kristine and Liam’s wedding would simply melt your heart. Not only did they have a wonderful love story to share, but they also included a traditional Norwegian song which everyone was invited to join in with singing – or to hum along at least! 

The song was called ‘Mitt Hjerte Er Ditt’ which translates ever so sweetly into the words: My Heart is Yours…

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

Later in the ceremony, we also included the hymn Morning Has Broken and bridesmaid, Nadine, gave a reading of Corinthians 13 vs 1-13, in honour of Liam and Kristine’s Christian upbringings.

Love is patient and kind…
… Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

Kristine and Liam chose to enter into their union by sharing a joint wedding vow, which they had written together and asked me to share with everyone on the day. Both the bride and groom had felt nervous about speaking out loud, so this was a gentle compromise, meaning they could keep their words to a minimum whilst still demonstrating their love and commitment to each other in the true spoken words of their hearts and their souls.

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - quirky wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

After the vow was read out, together they said shared a simple declaration, and then we moved onto the traditional exchange of wedding rings.

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael PhotographyCelebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael PhotographyCelebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

Could this ceremony be any more cute, you ask? Well, yes. Yes it could…. because we concluded the wedding ring exchange with one of my favourite readings:

An adaptation of The Blessing of the Hands

“These are the hands of your best friend, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever….”

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael PhotographyCelebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House - unique venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

Finally, when all was said and done (and the romance could not get any sweeter!) it was time to reach my favourite part in any wedding; the announcement of the newly married couple.

I absolutely adore this moment in every ceremony, but Kristine and Liam’s announcement was a real treat and something to behold! I asked their guests to be upstanding, put down any handbags and orders of service onto the chairs behind them, to free their hands up ready to give the greatest round of applause that they possibly could for our happy couple…

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

Oh my, didn’t they do well!

Kristine and Liam were announced to the room with great grandeur, but the cheer that followed nearly knocked me off my feet, and the applause that erupted even shocked our gorgeous photographer – so much so she commented on it in her own blog! 

“I was blown away again by their celebrant Samantha Kelsie who performed the best wedding ceremony EVER. It was so refreshing seeing a ceremony just about the couple & making it so personal…. also it was probably the biggest cheer I have ever heard for the first kiss, but I think that’s obviously down to the guests! LOVED IT.”

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

Kristine and Liam really were such a joy to work with. Their confidence in being able to bring together two cultures and a whole world of wedding guests, and still create something so unique, personal and perfectly intimate in such a grand and spectacular setting, is a credit to them both.

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

I was so honoured to have been asked to be their celebrant, and utterly delighted to have received such a wonderful messages (plural!) of thanks from them both in the days and weeks since their wedding.

It’s a pleasure to know that they are still as overjoyed with their wedding ceremony now, as I was as privileged to be a part of it…

Congratulations Kristine and Liam 

Celebrant for Wedding Ceremony at Aynhoe House -unique wedding venue - Jessica Raphael Photography

With thanks to photographer Jessica Raphael for not only sharing these beautiful images,  but for also sharing her equally glorious write up of Kristine and Liam’s wedding on her website too:
www.jessicaraphaelphotography.com/

Venue: The Orangery at Anyhoe Park – aynhoepark.co.uk/

 

Rebecca and Jon’s Glamping Wedding at Camp Katur

Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire

Rebecca and Jon celebrated their blessing of marriage on Monday 17th July 2017 at Camp Katur.

Camp Katur is a glamping venue set ‘off grid’ on a few acres of farm land near to Bedale in North Yorkshire. It provides the most charming setting for a fairy tale wedding in the woodland clearing, and guests are welcome to ‘glamp’ out in the meadow with a choice of stay in Safari Tents, Tipis, Bell Tents, Hobbit Pods, Geodomes and Unidomes… the options, it seems, are endless!

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

Now if there’s anything I love more than working with a super-awesome-cool couple already, it’s working with a super-awesome-cool couple who know exactly how to OWN their wedding too, and who are actively set out to create and craft a perfectly personal ceremony.

Rebecca and Jon did not disappoint. Just look at the array of personal items and portraits from home that they brought with them to decorated the space amongst the tree stumps!

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

Rebecca and Jon decided to include a ‘first look’ before their ceremony. This is a phenomenon  already very popular with couples in America, and it’s recently become a growing trend in British weddings too. It’s the perfect way to start the proceedings when a bride and groom choose to enter the ceremony together. This is the moment where the groom sees the bride for the first time, away from the eyes of their guests, and allowing them a moment to celebrate their union before the start of their service.

I think this example of Reecca and Jon’s first look may be one of my favourite photo sequences of all the time. The anticipation and excitement captured here as Rebecca runs towards her groom makes my heart skip a beat!

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

After the first look was complete, Rebecca and Jon made their way to the ceremony. Guests waited anxiously for the arrival of the couple… as did I! Where were they?!

It turned out, Rebecca and Jon couldn’t hear their music and didn’t know it was time to enter… I guess these are the risks of holding an outdoor wedding surrounded by woodlands! But not to worry, they soon realised it was time, and made their way towards the smiling crowd! They certainly made a very glamorous late entrance.

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

At last, they arrived!! And how utterly gorgeous did they both look, too? Jon paid tribute to his Celtic heritage and family clan in green tartan. They complimented each other perfectly, and Rebecca’s dress was simply exquisite; a pale shade of gold and emblazoned with bright flowers.

This fierce queen wore her crown with total style for the whole of the wedding. She owned it!

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire

We began the service by sharing the story of how Rebecca and Jon had met in Derby, and the sickening sweet tale of when Jon asked Rebecca to be his wife. It was here at Camp Katur on this very same spot, at the side of a camp fire, that he had made his proposal and Rebecca said yes.

Admittedly, it was rather spontaneous, and they fashioned a makeshift ring out of tin foil for the occasion. But they more than made up for it now, by returning to the same spot to say the words ‘I do’ with friends and family here to share the moment.

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire

Rebecca and Jon asked their friends to be involved in their day as well. One friend gave a reading of a poem she had written for the couple especially. The ceremony was given extra detail with a song – At Last by Etta James – sung by a very talented and willing friend.

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London BuckinghamshireWedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

Then came the formal part! As much as Rebecca and Jon’s wedding day had broken many existing wedding traditions, they still asked to exchange their wedding rings and read their own vows. This made it just as much their day as any other. It was a very sincere and sweet moment, as they had both had their rings designed and made especially to compliment their style.

Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in YorkshireWedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in YorkshireWedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

We included a symbolic ceremony too – a sand blending. Reecca and Jon chose orange and blue as their individual colours. Bright and bold, just like their wedding.

The sands were poured and blended together in an hour glass. Rebecca and Jon made a promise to turn this glass once every year on the anniversary of their wedding day. It would serve as a reminder of the vows that they had made, and the colourful bond that their union has created.

Even though the pattern of the sands will change as time continues to turn them, they will remain always beautiful and increasingly difficult to part.

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Sand Ceremony Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Sand Ceremony

At the end of the ceremony, everyone became involved in the celebration as the flower girl began handing out confetti by the fistful to the waiting guests. Rebecca and Jon had decided to go for a live end of ceremony confetti shot (rather than an arranged confetti throw after the service) so I got everyone onto their feet and group together to form an aisle for our couple to walk down.

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

A final announcement was made for every one to cheer our new married couple and away they went… but not until after one heck of a smooch! Always the best bit, don’t you think?

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Woodland wedding and out door celebrant ceremony at Glamping Venue Camp Katur in Yorkshire Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

Rebecca and Jon’s day was simply beautiful, and I was very honoured to be invited to join them for afternoon tea following the ceremony. They even proposed a toast to me in the speeches – I was very touched by extra little thank you! It was certainly a very memorable moment for me as their celebrant.

As the guests headed over to the barn for tea and toasting following the ceremony, I stayed back with the couple and their photographer to take some pictures. We suddenly realised they had no transport to get them back quick across the field… luckily though, I had been allowed to park up by the ceremony. So, to finish the day this celebrant turned chauffeur transported the happy couple back to their wedding… and we even managed a cheeky in car selfie too.

Well, why ever not? Congratulations Rebecca and Jon xx

Wedding Celebrant at Camp Katur marriage blessing celebrant for London Buckinghamshire

Photography credit to: Gary Phillip of One Love Photography
(except for the selfie… that one is my own!)
Venue: Camp Katur
Celebrant: Samantha Kelsie | UK Celebrant 

Gemma and Tom’s White Feather Wedding with Unity Candles

Gemma and Tom celebrated their wedding on Friday 7th October, 2016, at The Plough, Bolnhurst, in Bedfordshire.
wedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photography
It was beautifully crisp autumnal day, with the faint smell of bonfire in the air drifting across the surrounding fields of the Bedfordshire countryside, only to be accented by the warming fire pit, which guests huddled near to before they entered the ceremony.
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The teepee provided the perfect shelter to an intimate gathering of close family and friends, who took their seats on wooden benches covered in warming sheepskins and thick blankets, underneath a glittering disco ball which was decked with blousy green foliage and flowers.

Large L – O – V – E letters lit up the back wall behind us, the perfect mix of modern and rustic. It was certainly cosy, to say the least!
wedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photographywedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photographywedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photographywedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photography
I had met with Gemma and Tom only a few weeks earlier, and we had talked for a couple of hours about their plans for their day, and the meaning that the day held for them.

White Feathers took pride of place as a delicate feature to the ceremony. They were sprinkled by the flower girl as she walked down the aisle before the bride entered to a the piece of music known as the ‘The Feather Theme’ from Forrest Gump, which was played on the piano by Gemma’s aunt.

Feathers are very symbolic in Gemma and Tom’s relationship – they symbolise fate, destiny, and the briefest hint of the angels we knew who were amongst us that day. It was incredibly touching.
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The story of their love’s history and development, and the involvement of family members and friends who gave readings, moved us all to tears. Even I struggled to keep it all together – it was a truly heartwarming ceremony for us all!

Gemma and Tom’s vows were read out loud, line by line by them both together. They had decided that Tom would begin a sentence, only for Gemma to finish it. This was an honest representation of the strength that they give to one another by uniting as one; as they always do in life, especially when confronting challenge, or else welcoming success.
wedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photography
Following the exchange of their wedding rings, Gemma and Tom also included a unity candle ceremony in their service, to symbolise the coming together of two separate energies, to marry and form one.

We used a gorgeous Jo Malone candle as the central pillar. It was scented in Peony and Blush Suede – a scent which was sprinkled around their wedding to further aid their memory of this day. I wore the perfume as well – by coincidence, it is one of my favourites!

In the ceremony itself, I surprised Gemma and Tom by informing them and their guests that in many cultures, peonies also represent romance and prosperity, and are believed to be an omen of good marriage and a happy future. How apt that they had chosen this for their wedding!
wedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photographywedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photographywedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photographywedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photography

“Samantha, carefully guided us when it came to planning our ceremony. She gave us lots of choice and advice and to our surprise even helped us write our personalised vows.

 

Samantha spent a lovely afternoon with us discussing our relationship, goals in life, family, friends and everything in between. We were utterly blown away when she came back to us a few days later with the completed ceremony.

 

Our personal vows had all of our guests crying and our wedding planner (Katrina Otter Weddings) had to hand out a second round of tissues as a result!”

It was a gorgeous ceremony; sweet and symbolic, but emotional and unassuming all at the same time. I felt so honoured to have been a part of it, knowing just how special it had been for them all.
wedding celebrant for Teepee wedding ceremony. Hannah Duffy Photography
The wedding was perfectly planned and styled by Katrina Otter, and with wonderful photography by Hannah Duffy and videographer Sam Henton there to capture every moment. We are all very proud that Gemma and Tom’s wedding also featured on Rock My Wedding in August 2017. Follow the link to see more photos and read the full story from their day!

Gemma & Tom – Highlights from Samuel Henton on Vimeo.

Bron & Martin’s Wedding at Wrest Park

I’m so thrilled to have received this wonderful testimonial and letter of thanks from Bron and Martin this week, following their recent wedding ceremony at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire.

We had a lot of fun planning a ceremony which encapsulated their story from the last five years together, which included tales of children, travel, house renovations, and family meetings from all around the world – although not all neccesarily ‘in the right order!’ 

Bron and Martin undertook their legal ceremony in a simple statutory service at their local register office a few days before the ceremony, meaning that they were then free to celebrate their commitment on their wedding day in a which, although quite traditional in format, also allowed them the freedom to truly express their own story and sentiments to everyone who had travelled from so far to share in their day.

“Thank you so much for conducting our wedding ceremony last weekend – it was perfect and hit all the right notes for us.

 

We had a beautiful day and feel that the ceremony really set the right tone and conveyed messages that were most important to us, and it was good to get a few laughs in too!

 

Now we have done it we feel completely vindicated in taking the two step approach i.e. getting paperwork/legal element completed and following it with our meaningful ceremony.

 

We would happily recommend this approach and you personally to anyone considering it.”

Martin and Bron wedding testimonial celebrant ceremony at Wrest Park

For more information about how you can celebrate your commitment to your partner with the freedom of choice offered to you by a celebrant on your wedding day… just follow this link to the relevant pages! 

Thank you to all the staff at English Heritage property Wrest Park in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, for their help in providing the perfect venue for the most pleasant of days!

samantha kelsie uk wedding celebrant

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. 

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!