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Celebrancy and Cooking: what do they have in common?

 

As an Aussie-born child, I had the delicious delight of being raised by German parents. Christmas was an absolute joy and wonder year after year. It was never a commercialised event based on how much money could be spent or buying presents to make up for presence; and it is still a ceremony that I hold as sacred (not in a religious sense, but as a time of family devotion, love and dedicated rituals).

 

Amongst the beautiful memories of singing carols in German and English by the gorgeously scented Christmas tree (grown on our land) with candlelight all around, are the tastes of Christmas. Mother would bake stollen (German fruit bread with marzipan). Our home would be awoken by the scent of spices mingling, brandy, almonds and honey as the yeast-based dough rose willingly in a warm bowl. As I sat nibbling on some shop-bought stollen today (with the student I have here for 5-day celebrant training), I confessed to feeling a bit like a fraud eating the stollen I’d bought when I’m perfectly capable of making one (and have done, over the years while my daughters were growing up).

 

 

While my student, Lorna, is writing a naming ceremony, soup is simmering on the stove top. Despite the grey, glum day outside, we’re warm and cosy. Not long now till I’ll serve up the home-made minestrone for lunch. How good does food taste when made with love and care and cooked from raw ingredients? So many of my warmest childhood memories are tied up around delicious food always cooked from scratch: the best mushroom soup ever made from the wild mushrooms we’d collect after much-needed rain. Saturday night was always pancake night (crepe-like with lemon juice and brown sugar): mum’s secret ingredient was custard powder. Whether it was delicious sweet treats like stollen or lebkuchen or the healthy salads we’d eat at night, they were always prepared with care.

 

After reading through some of the ceremonies I shared with Lorna as part of her training, she made the comparison between celebrants who use templated scripts for their ceremonies (the ‘cut and paste’ celebrants), and those who write (cook) from scratch. The difference is… LOVE.

 

The pot of minestrone I made for my daughter a few days after she’d given birth to my granddaughter.

 

Similarly, registrars use one of three or four scripts (in the UK) and everybody gets one of those for their wedding ‘ceremony’. It’s like having cup-a-soup from a packet. They all taste the same. One size fits all. Yeah, it’ll do, but really, where’s the magic? Where’s the love? Where’s the care? Where’s the personalisation?

 

 

 

When I make a pot of minestrone, there’ll always be similar things: the tomatoey base, some gluten-free spaghetti and some beans. Everything else is ‘what do I have? What will make this delicious?’ It could be, as in today, sweet potato, red pepper, spinach leaves, pinto beans, smoked paprika, black pepper, Italian herbs. Another time, it might have green beans, broccoli, carrots, potato. It’s still minestrone but it’s personalised.

 

 

When I order soup in a café (and I rarely do, as I’d rather have my own soup at home), I can immediately taste if it’s from a can or a packet. Immediately! When you’re a heart-led celebrant, you can immediately recognise a scripted ceremony when you hear/read it.

 

 

As celebrants, we surely come to this role as guardian of the liminal spaces that people must pass through on their rites of passage to give them the best ceremony (and celebrant) they deserve? Now, it’s fair to say that in a ‘hungry’ world where people are generally deprived of meaning, it could be said that any ceremony will fulfil that need. If you have the choice to feed someone soup from a packet or one you’ve made yourself, presumably the first is only an option if you’ve no other food in the house? As a celebrant, though, we ALWAYS have food in the house of our creativity. If we’re too lazy to draw on those ingredients, perhaps the job should be left to someone who has the time, care and energy to make a worthwhile offering?

 

 

Veronika Robinson is a Heart-led Celebrant who has been officiating ceremonies since 1995, and is a Celebrant Trainer in Cumbria where she offers private tuition in all aspects of celebrancy. She’s also the editor of The Celebrant magazine. Veronika is currently President of the Association of Independent Celebrants.

 

The Celebrant magazine

 

The Celebrant magazine is here!

 

This invaluable and gorgeous full-fat resource for celebrants-in-training and working celebrants is edited and published by Cumbrian-based celebrant Veronika Robinson. A whopping 88 pages, each colourful issue is brimming with lively, intelligent, interesting and inspiring articles relevant to all aspects of ceremony and celebrancy.

 

Consider it your 24/7 CPD. This handy A5 publication is easy to read in the bathtub, while waiting for a train, in bed, or any other place where you’ve got some spare time and when you wish to be re-energised in your celebrant role.

 

 

The Celebrant is a subscription-only print publication available worldwide.

 

 

 

The Celebrant: international journal of celebrants and ceremonies

 

ISSN 2632 – 9557

Subscribe here:  Celebrant Magazine

 

Publisher and editor: Veronika Robinson/Starflower Press

 

 

 

U.K. publication dates

 

September: Autumn Equinox

 

December: Winter Solstice

 

March: Spring Equinox

 

June: Summer Solstice

 

 

 

The Celebrant magazine warmly welcomes submissions from celebrants around the globe. Contact us for submission guidelines.

 

Bespoke or bespoke? Celebrant or Registrar?

With the rise of celebrant-led wedding ceremonies in England, and registrars now offering ‘bespoke’ ceremonies, it’s important for couples to understand the difference between when a celebrant creates a bespoke ceremony and when a registrar offers a bespoke ceremony. Let me say at the outset, they are nothing alike, though you may think for the £850 or so that a registrar may charge you’ll be getting something special.

Penelope and Freddie’s Askham Hall Wedding Ceremony. Photography by Hannah Hall.

As a celebrant, I spend an average of 20 hours per wedding couple. This includes getting to know them (face to face or by Skype, depending on if they’re in the country or not), truly understanding their beliefs about life and love and marriage, learning their love story as well as their hopes and dreams for married life, writing their ceremony script, meeting them at the venue before the wedding day, the day of the ceremony, spending hours rehearsing their ceremony so that it flows freely and is ‘off the page’ during the officiating, and travel time. The 20 to 30 minute ceremony I officiate on the day, rests on the foundation of a lot of unseen work.

Fiona and Paul’s Dutch-themed wedding ceremony at the beautiful Askham Hall, near Penrith, Cumbria.

Bespoke, to me, means that not only do I get to know the couple and build a meaningful relationship with them, but I write a script that is just for them. I am hugely invested in their wedding day, and this shows by the amount of time I spend per couple. In my work, the heart of their ceremony features their love story. Any rituals created are meaningful to them and their beliefs; they’re not simply space fillers or ‘off the shelf’. And just as importantly, I match my energy to theirs.

The gorgeous moment when the bride walks down the aisle.

A registrar doesn’t write a bespoke ceremony for the couple. End of. They use a templated script which was written by a colleague in the office (someone who won’t even meet the couple), and although it allows for the addition of a handfasting, possibly a quaich or sand-blending ceremony (even though registrars aren’t given professional training about handfastings or other rituals), the ritual scripts are templates. The couple must provide their own cord, cup or sand. To be clear, a registrar is not a specialist in rituals.

The bride’s Scottish grandmother offered her silver quaich (Scottish loving cup) for their ceremony at Askham Hall. Photo: Veronika Robinson

With a government ‘bespoke’ template, the couple may write their own vows, and choose readings and music. However, these MUST be approved by the registrar (how bespoke is that?) and must not contain any religious or spiritual elements. Interesting, really, that a handfasting would even be allowed (ditto humanists offering it) given that it has ancient pagan roots and is deeply spiritual.

Inconsistencies abound.

Today is the one-year anniversary of when I officiated Rene and Chantal’s ceremony in Outback Australia.

As an independent celebrant, bespoke to me means the ceremony I create is unique to the couple. If one of them is Catholic and the other Jewish, or maybe one is Pagan and one is atheist, then the ceremony will reflect their beliefs (not mine or that of a government employee). When two people come together, as one, their ceremony needs to accurately reflect this.

Rene and Chantal’s handfasting. Photo by Ben Broady.

A celebrant-led bespoke ceremony is not restricted by government guidelines. A registrar’s ‘bespoke’ ceremony is simply another template with space to pop in some vows written by the couple. There’s no crafting, beauty, care or true personalisation allowed. And there most certainly isn’t recognition or reflection that each human being has beliefs that are unique to them.

Michael and Victoria’s bohemian wedding

To be 100% clear, the registrar taking your ‘bespoke’ ceremony will not have written you a unique script. The words they say aren’t even ones they’ve written themselves. They are, essentially, ‘rent a gob’, to put it crudely. When a skilled celebrant crafts a script, it is done with awareness of pace, pitch and pause; not to mention beauty, flair and creativity. Their script will also accurately reflect their natural vocabulary and the words will flow easily.

Loz and Kate

My lovely couple, Loz and Katie, tied the knot by a waterfall in rural Yorkshire.

The registrar will not have spent hours and hours getting to know you. And they certainly won’t be available to wait around if there’s a delay to your ceremony start e.g. rain or bride held up or some other reason why things haven’t gone to plan. As a matter of course, I don’t book more than one wedding per day. My couples know, with complete certainty, that if there’s any hiccup that might cause a delay, that I am theirs for the day. A registrar, in most cases, has another ceremony to go to and won’t wait for long.

The use of the word ‘bespoke’ by the registration service is, at best, misleading, and at worst, demeaning. It shows a complete misunderstanding of what bespoke means, and short changes a couple of what could be a truly personalised ceremony.

Mike and Sara

Michael and Sara live in Australia. They chose Cumbria for their wedding ceremony. Such a special day!

What is a death café?

 

The words death and café conjure such different images, don’t they? The idea of placing them alongside each other evokes confusion or curiosity, but rarely is the response neutral.

 

Grief, pain, torment, shock, loss, heartbreak, endings, finality.

Cappuccino, cake, tea, scones, taste sensation, pleasure, companionship, joviality.

 

How on earth do you link them together? And perhaps, more importantly, WHY would you put them as companions in written or spoken word?

 

When I tell people I facilitate a Death Café, the response is invariably one of horror or of intrigue. Generally, those who find it distasteful don’t want to engage in any further discussion. Those of a curious nature learn a heck of a lot in a short space of time.

There are approximately 8, 472 Death Cafés around the world in 65 countries. Some are offered regularly, and others occasionally. What they all have in common is a desire to raise awareness and help remove taboos around death and dying through friendly discussion. There is no set agenda.

My passion for setting up a monthly Death Café in Penrith was initially prompted because I wanted to bring choice and change to my local community. Few people consider death until it slaps them in the face (and if you’ve experienced grief, you know full well that ‘slap’ is an understatement). When suddenly faced with having to arrange a funeral, the chief mourner has anywhere between 80 and 300 decisions to make. That’s a hell of a lot of computing for the neo-cortex to deal with at a time when the body needs to be expressing raw grief.

 

Having seen behind the scenes of the funeral industry, as a funeral celebrant, I wanted people to start having conversations about death. In short, I was determined to disrupt the cultural script (in my neck of the woods, anyway) that death is a dirty word.

 

January 11th 2017 is a date that will stay in my mind for many reasons. Once I had decided to set up a Death Café, I chose my first date: January 11th. I would host meetings on the second Wednesday of each month for as long as there was interest. As per usual in my life, the Universe likes to amplify things a bit. I had no idea in the world (how could I have?), that on Christmas Day just previous, my best friend of eighteen years would hang herself. My whole being turned inside out as I grappled with the trauma and shock. As Fate would have it, her funeral date was January 11th just an hour or so after my first Death Café. I was to be the celebrant. Needless to say I was staring death in the face without any full-force protection that day!

 

Through conversations around cake and coffee, tea and scones, and amidst the gorgeous setting of Greenwheat Florist and Fika, a beautiful café and flower shop on Brunswick Road, Penrith (and thanks to the kindness and generosity of owners Laura and Lee for creating space for us there) we have started writing a new story. It’s one of choice, change, consciousness, creativity and care. Some of our guests have been there since that first session back in January 2017. Their thoughts on death, dying and indeed, living, have had quite a metamorphosis in that time.

 

No subject around death or dying is taboo. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve explored, we’ve asked questions, we’ve shared books. Opinions are sometimes diametrically opposed, and that’s okay too. After all, it is a discussion group. We’ve covered topics ranging from eco-burials, ashes into jewellery, life after death, the ethics of the funeral-director industry, coffins and shrouds, cultural death practices around the world, pet deaths, grief, mourning, caring for a body at home, the politics of death, burial v. cremation, how to choose a funeral director, what makes a meaningful life.

 

Who comes to a Death Café? Anyone at all. We’ve had mourners, celebrants and a funeral director, hospice care workers, those who are simply curious, and friends who’ve been dragged along and rather enjoyed it. I can’t speak for other Death Cafés around the world, but I know that I look forward to our friendly little group in Penrith. Sometimes it’s been incredibly busy, with sixteen or so people gathered in a little café, and other times it’s just two or three of us. For my part, I’m there regardless ready and willing to have a conversation about death, dying, love, living, and more. Most importantly, to show others that death is not a dirty word.

 

About Me:

Hello, my name is Veronika Robinson, an independent funeral celebrant in rural Cumbria.

Determining the nature and feel of a ceremony isn’t as simple as: religious or not religious. Most people have their own hybrid philosophy of life, death, love and living, and as your celebrant I seamlessly weave your beliefs into a ceremony that is enriching, healing and affirming of the relationship you shared with your beloved. I am able to do this because I listen clearly and carefully. At all times, my job is to craft a ceremony which belongs to you.

I’ve been an independent celebrant since 1995, and have officiated all manner of ceremonies internationally. My intention is to create, write and officiate deeply meaningful, personalised and beautiful ceremonies for every person I am honoured to serve.

Being a funeral celebrant, for me, is a vocation which is founded upon high-level care, compassion, empathy, responsibility and awareness.

Ceremonies, when crafted with skill and love, have the ability to be deeply healing.

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Celebrant Training: Essential questions to ask when choosing a training organisation

As the rise of celebrant-led ceremonies grows in the UK, more people are coming across a celebrant at work, and if the celebrant is good at what they do, then the observer may be inspired to pursue that career path.

 

 

Fortunately, there are many training organisations available. However, it is important that you choose one that matches your ethos, and don’t make a decision purely based on price or location. There are many, many factors to take into account with your training, and that also includes after-course support. An expensive course does not necessarily mean an excellent training programme. Too many would-be celebrants are left flailing and seeking out a second training course because their ‘expensive’ one was inadequate, and didn’t do what it said on the tin. It’s easy to be lured by words like ‘government diploma’, ‘professional’, ‘institute’, etc. It could be that you’re paying for modules on how to write an email or use a Word document, or writing essays on the history of funerals. A good course should teach you to BE A CELEBRANT. It should inspire your creativity, empathy, imagination, and excellence in forging client relationships.

 

 

Also, consider why so many organisations offer separate courses for wedding/naming celebrancy and funeral celebrancy. My view, as a celebrant of 23 years, is that they don’t need to be offered separately, and that it is merely a way for organisations to ‘earn more money’.

 

 

When looking at different training courses, ask questions. Lots of questions!

 

 

For example:

. how many face-to-face contact hours are there? (minus the time for meals/refreshments)

 

. what is the experience of the tutors? (do they pride themselves on quality services over quantity?)

 

 

. is there voice training by a qualified voice coach? What does that involve? Is there ongoing voice training as part of your fee?

 

. how is your work assessed to see if you are suitable to be a celebrant?

 

 

. does the course give certificates to anyone who attends, or only to those whose written and practical work is outstanding?

 

. what practical experience does the course offer you?

 

. will you have the opportunity to write ceremonies?

 

. what experience does the tutor have in creative writing?

 

 

. does the course teach you how to create and choreograph rituals?

 

. what experience do you have on the course of officiating a ceremony?

 

 

 

. does the training take a holistic approach?

 

. does the tutor have experience in a wide variety of settings?

 

. what written material is available as part of your training?

 

. what post-course support is available?

 

 

These are important questions to ask. Don’t throw your money away on the first course you see. Research your options well.

 

 

If you’re looking for a mind, body, soul approach to celebrancy, I invite you to consider my training course. Ask me any questions you like. My course isn’t for everyone, but for those who intuitively feel that celebrancy is a heart-led vocation rather than an administrative job. ~ Veronika x

 

 

 

 

Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training

Recommended by the Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC)

 

Comprehensive and in-depth practical training course in creative, heart-led, authentic celebrancy.

 

Learn to create, write and officiate all types of ceremonies with confidence, care, commitment and grace.

 

Founder and Facilitator: Veronika Sophia Robinson

Veronika Robinson is an experienced, working celebrant. She trained in New Zealand in 1995, where she was registered to officiate legal wedding ceremonies, and has been officiating ever since. Veronika has had the privilege of officiating in New Zealand, Australia and England where she has written and led all manner of ceremonies, including weddings, handfastings, blessingways, namings, divorce healing, miscarriage memorial, conscious conception, funerals, memorials, wise crone, menarche, and house warmings.

She’s also an author (fiction and non-fiction), journalist, public speaker, workshop leader, and metaphysician.

 

Veronika is delighted to be a celebrant for Gift of a Wedding, a charity which provides weddings for couples where one of them is terminally ill.

 

She is also President of The Association of Independent Celebrants, and is the founder and facilitator of Penrith’s first Death Café which seeks to open up honest discussion around death and dying.

 

Training Options:

Certificate in Celebrancy

Certificate in Advanced Celebrancy & Ritual

Post-course support is ongoing, and there are opportunities to shadow experienced celebrants.

 

Include the study and practical experience of:

 

♥Understanding ceremony structure. If you know how to create one type of ceremony you can create any ceremony (hence the reason this course encompasses funerals, namings, weddings, and other rites of passage).

 

♥Recognising the skills and qualities necessary for personalised and professional, heart-led, celebrancy.

 

♥Funerals and Memorials (Understanding grief, family disputes, working with funeral directors, creating meaningful farewells, cremations, burials, eco-burials). In the five-day training, you may be able to include a visit to the crematorium or a funeral director. Both private training options may also include shadowing Veronika at a funeral or family visit.

 

♥Weddings, Handfastings and Vow Renewals

 

♥Naming Ceremonies (for babies, children, adults, and transgender people who wish to have their new identity formally honoured)

 

♥Other rites of passage, such as menarche, blessingways, sagesse (wise crone), new business, divorce healing, and more.

 

♥Understanding the legalities around death, funerals and marriage (e.g. the difference between a registrar and a celebrant)

♥The difference between a heart-led celebrant and other types of celebrants

 

♥Indoor and Outdoor Ceremonies

♥Creating Sacred Space

♥Setting Intention

♥Creative Writing

♥Script Writing

♥Word Medicine

♥Storytelling

♥Performance

♥Archetypes in Storytelling

♥Symbols, Rituals and Altars

♥Ceremonial Herbs

♥Working with the Four Elements

 

♥Body Awareness

♥Celebrant Well-being

♥Understanding the role of the Community Celebrant

 

♥Voice development and coaching by Paul Robinson (this is required as an ongoing commitment by students via Skype after the initial training)

http://www.paulrobinsonproductions.co.uk

 

♥Being of Service

♥The responsibility of being a Celebrant

♥Developing a higher-vibrational heart frequency

♥Enhancing Intuition

♥Sacred Connections with Clients

 

♥Mainstream and Metaphysical Marketing

♥Being Self-Employed

♥Establishing Your Celebrant Business

♥The Four Sacred Archetypes of Building Your Celebrancy Brand

 

Applicants

Applications are invited from people who are committed to developing awareness of self and others, willing to train to an excellent level, are creative, independent, inspirational, authentic and courageous, and wish to consciously create beautiful ceremonies in their community.

 

Unlike any other training course in England, this focuses on the importance of ongoing personal development, and takes a mind, body and soul approach to celebrancy and ceremonies, as well as recognising the importance of ongoing skill building.

 

The foundation of this celebrant training is based on integrity and self-awareness.

 

 

Please email for a booking form: veronikarobinson AT hotmail DOT com

 

An Askham Hall Wedding: I Came Here for Love

“So many people have commented on how lovely it was, and how amazing you are. It was everything we hoped it would be and more.” ~ Fiona and Paul

 

When Paul and Fiona first made contact with me, we chatted about all the options available to them with a celebrant-led wedding. As Paul is Dutch (and so is Fiona’s mother), it was clear that their ceremony simply had to have their ancestry strongly entwined in their day.

 

Personally, I love heading off to Askham Hall to officiate a ceremony. It’s a delightful venue both in terms of the history of the buildings but also the gorgeous gardens.

 

It was my honour to create a ceremony that Paul and Fiona would cherish.

 

Have a look at this video preview of their day.

 

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

 

 

Bohemian Wedding

This week I had the pleasure of officiating a ceremony for Michael and Victoria. They chose a bohemian-themed, personalised, celebrant-led wedding at Watermillock, Cumbria. Their ceremony included a communal ring blessing and a Celtic handfasting.

 

Thank you for choosing me as your celebrant, Michael and Victoria!

 

Here are a few images from this special day. xx

 

 

 

 

www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant

 

 

Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training in Cumbria

Are you looking for something that’s more than a job? Perhaps in your heart you know you’re looking for a vocation.

 

Training to be a heart-led celebrant may be the course that will change your life.

 

As a celebrant, I always look forward to going to work whether it’s to officiate a joyous wedding ceremony, holding the space for a family and their friends while they grieve a loved one, celebrating the giving of a name (to a child or adult), or officiating other rites of passage such as a blessingway, menarche, and so on.

 

My ‘office’ is varied. One day I may officiate in a chapel, and another day it’s in a wildflower meadow. Some ceremonies are conducted in ancient stone circles, while others are held in barns. No two ceremonies are the same in location, wording or style.

 

If you’d like to learn more about training to be a celebrant, and obtaining a Certificate in Celebrancy, visit www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant-training

 

Feel free to get in touch for an obligation-free chat.  ~ Veronika Robinson xx

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YES

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the smallest words, like ‘yes’ and ‘love’, have the biggest, most life-changing meanings.

 

Yes is an open door. It says “I’m going through”, unlike no which says “Go no further. No exit. Stop. No entry. THE END.”

 

Such different energies. Such different life paths.

 

 

Every day our lives are based on yes and no. Every single day.

 

Are you aware of how many times you’ve said yes today? How about no? Do you even hear yourself saying them? Every single time we say them, we are moving in one direction or another.

 

As a wedding celebrant, I meet couples because someone has said “yes!” Someone has said “I want to walk through that door with you.”

Weddings are joyous occasions, and are such a delight to be part of. And for me, always an honour.

 

When my couples and I agree to work together, one of the things that happens is that I take the time to get to know them so that I can tell their love story. After all, I want their ceremony to be unique to them.

 

This working relationship begins by asking them a series of questions. They have plenty of time (usually) to answer these, but I ask that they send me their answers independently without sharing them with their partner (though obviously they’ll see what their beloved has written when I send the script back).

 

It is quite a process. I’m not, by any means, a marriage counsellor. I’m a celebrant. However, I do take my role seriously. Some of my clients really revel in answering the questions and truly ‘get’ the process. Others get quite stuck. Why? Because one of the first questions I ask is “Why are you getting married?”

 

You’d be amazed how difficult that question is for some people to answer.

 

The question and answer process makes couples think. And, from my perspective, I learn a huge amount by how much thought and care goes into the answers.

 

I’ve been officiating weddings since 1995. One of my first weddings was for a young couple with a baby daughter. When I asked my question/s, his reply was that he was marrying her because “she had great legs!” Maybe I’m just a bit too serious for my own good, but even then (in my mid twenties), I’d have hoped for a more solid answer. To my incredible sadness, not long after their wedding, he committed suicide. The relationship wasn’t as he had hoped. It still haunts me.

 

My job isn’t, at any level, to say whether a couple should or shouldn’t get married. My job is to celebrate their love, their love story, and wish them all the best for a wonderful future. To honour their YES.

 

 

I hope, when couples go through the process of answering my questions, that they truly understand what the journey of marriage is about (you know, other than asking each other what you want for dinner every day for years on end!).

Marriage is a dance. What happens if we have two left feet? What happens if each person hears a different tune? What if one person loves to dance, and the other is a wallflower? Could it be that you love bellydancing and he loves rock ‘n’ roll?

What if one person has a free spirit and the other needs routine? Can an introvert and extrovert co-exist? So many questions!

Marriage is a constant course in personal growth. We are invited, daily, to learn more about ourselves. It is about give and take. It is about we and us. Me and you. Indeed, it is a balancing act that no one can ever tutor you in. Looking into the mirror of relationship means we are always receiving feedback about who we are, and what we expect. What do we project onto our partner? How much do we expect them to fill certain needs?

 

Sometimes people start out on the same page (like my parents), and then as the years roll on, one of them changes. And they keep changing until eventually there is too much distance to keep them under the same roof.

 

But this is a ‘yes’, too. When we say ‘no’ to another, we are saying ‘yes’ to ourselves. The door to self awareness is the first door we should walk through.

 

Yes. It’s a beautiful word. Life affirming. Encouraging. It’s an invitation to something better. Maybe it’s someone holding your hand inviting you to somewhere you’ve never been before.

 

Perhaps, when crafting vows for couples to answer, we, as celebrants, would serve them best if we asked questions in such a way as to see if the answer is ‘yes’ rather than “I will” or “I do”.

 

Yes, for as long as love shall last.

Yes, for better or worse.

Yes, in sickness and health.

Yes, because in that moment, when we’re wrapped in the power of love, we truly believe we can step through the door into a future together.

 

Yes.

 

Yes.

 

Yes!

 

Three simple letters.

One word.

One syllable.

It says “I want to walk through the door…”

 

More importantly, it speaks of hope. And in this life, hope is something we all need.

 

Wedding by the Waterfall

 

From the moment I opened my front door to them, I immediately warmed to Loz and Katie, and within minutes of our conversation I knew that I would absolutely love getting to know them more, and then being an intimate part of their wedding day.

 

A celebrant is often the last thing a couple will think of (if they even choose one at all) when planning their wedding, and yet isn’t the ceremony the most important part of the day?

 

Loz and Katie were clear about wanting their special, heart-felt, earth-based ceremony to be at a place they loved: a waterfall in the Swaledale Valley, Yorkshire.

 

As a celebrant who absolutely loves outdoor weddings, we were definitely a good match!

 

 

Planning their ceremony involved not only going to visit the site with them, and talking about how it would work (especially if the river was flooded like it was the first time I went!), but also getting to know their love story. This is my favourite part of being a wedding celebrant: “Where did you meet? When did you ‘know’?” I then take their stories and, as a storyteller, share this with their friends and family. It’s such a joy to hear and see people laughing, smiling, nodding, crying, and acknowledging the love they see before them. A celebrant-led wedding (with me, at least) means that each ceremony is bespoke, and there is no doubt for the guests just whose ceremony they’re attending.

 

Everything about Loz and Katie’s ceremony was simply lovely: them, as a couple, their friends and family, the music chosen, the readings, the handfasting, their vows, the special story behind Loz’s wedding ring, Katie’s AMAZING rainbow dress, that it was completely DIY from start to finish, the gorgeous location; and then, afterwards, my husband and I were invited to stay for the reception. It was a gorgeous day, and Loz’s dad and Katie’s son also provided entertainment. This is a ceremony which has embedded deeply into my heart for many, many reasons.

 

 

Thank you Loz and Katie for choosing me as your celebrant.

 

 

**A special thank you, too, to the hosts at Swaledale Yurts as the food was FANTASTIC!