Why use a wedding celebrant?

Why use a wedding celebrant for your big day?

As I’m a wedding photographer and my wife Michelle is a wedding celebrant, I think it’s best if I leave her to explain.

She recently conducted a wedding at Jimmy’s Farm on a day when I was free, so rather than cover the day telling the story of the Bride and Groom, I thought I would tell the story of the celebrant’s day.

The photo’s and their subtitles are mine, but the words are all Michelle’s.

I present to you, a day in the life of the #funkycelebrant.


Why use a celebrant? What exactly are we getting for our money?

Yay! You’ve booked me to conduct a ceremony for you; I am SO excited to be working with you as we create your perfect ceremony…

So what can you expect when you work with me?

As many meetings as you want prior to your big day.

We can meet at a mutually convenient time or location. I am really flexible and am happy, where time allows to meet day or evening and at the weekends. I will work around your time and family constraints.

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm.
Michelle holds a planning meeting with the couple and the wedding planner at Jimmy’s Farm.

Once your ceremony is written and edited to your satisfaction we will arrange for a practice at your venue. On very rare occasions we wont be able to get access to the venue, but don’t panic we can still walk through the big entrance and choreography of the ceremony. Chat through who is doing what and where and practice the all important symbolic elements

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle gets everyone together to start the rehearsal.
Wedding photography at Jimmy's Farm
With so many choices available for a celebrant led wedding, it’s important everyone gets to rehearse “their bit”.
Wedding photography at Jimmy's Farm
Michelle always tries to get “all the key players” to the rehearsal.

After the practice I WILL always take my couple to one side for a pep talk. Relax, breathe, the planning is complete. Rest, eat and take a moment to look around at every point of day to lock in the memories…

It REALLY does work! I can still remember all the elements from my wedding day 11 years ago.

And then the day has dawned…Dress ironed, petticoat and DM’s chosen (you so know I will be wearing DM’s don’t you??) and then I will be ensuring the car is packed with my ceremony day kit (basically everything and the kitchen sink) and I’m off. I’ll always aim to be at your venue at least and hour before ceremony is due to start.

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle prepares the table where the “signing” will take place.

Set up my bits; place the certificate in the folder, with pen ready for the signing and then its time to speak to the other suppliers

The string quartet – making sure they have a copy of the script to follow too!

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle makes sure that all the other “suppliers” are fully briefed as well, to make sure everything goes to plan.
Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle often finds it’s the first time some suppliers have been to a “Celebrant led wedding”, so they need briefing too.
Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle exerts a calming influence on a very nervous Groom.

Brief the groom and other members of his party…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle makes sure some water is available for the happy couple.
Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle makes sure the guests’ needs are taken care of as well.

And hand out the tissues…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle goes to meet the Bridal Party when they arrive.

The bride and her party have arrived…and so has a chance for my first look at her outfit …wow she looks radiant and everyone is sooooo excited…including me!

Mums escorted to their seats, I make my entrance and wax lyrical about the fact I have just seen the bride and the groom is in for a treat …he then tells me he’s close to tears already …Has he got a tissue himself? Nope…quick, dive into the box and shove some in his hand…music accompanies the bride on her final walk as a single woman, She’s chatting with her dad, but as soon as she sees her groom their eyes are locked together.

And then. …she’s here!

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Michelle announces the arrival of the Bridal Party.

THAT LOOK!

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
The Bride arrives
Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
The Groom is a little overwhelmed, so Michelle helps out with a tissue.

It says it all….

A whispered ‘You look amazing’… a squeeze of the hand, a shy smile at the guests and the biggest grin to her spouse…

And we’re off…I’ve a ceremony to deliver…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
The ceremony gets underway.

Laughter, tears, moments to savour.

Wedding Photography for Jimmy's Farm

Pauses, looks and touches.

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm

Camera clicks and videographers running around trying to capture every angle.

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm

Handfasting with mums as vows are exchanged and then rings replacing the cords…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
A “hand fasting” with Mums placing the cord over the couple’s hands. The source of the phrase “tying the knot”.

A pause for a photo op as the certificate is signed and then we’re back to the front for that all important first kiss and pronouncement…and then a twist…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
The “First Kiss”.

A gender reveal…I’ve no idea! They’ve kept me in the dark too!

Lining up parents, Maid of Honour and Best Man up…I get the honour of having a confetti cannon shoved into my hands too…We’re about to find out!

AND

IT’S

A….

BOY!!!!!

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Blue confetti, for a boy of course!

YES …I guessed it right!

More tears and we cheered and clapped the happy couple away and retreated to the marquee for a celebratory drink or two…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
Time for little “circulating” after the ceremony.

Happy people, chatting and extolling the virtues of a celebrant led wedding. ‘Never seen a ceremony like it’…’that was so much fun’, ‘so personal’, ‘how long have you known them?’ ‘You captured them perfectly’….’We love your outfit’…’can we get a photo’…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm

Wow what a day…

Sad to pack my things away, but pack away I must, before a last minute photo op with the happy couple and the obligatory selfie …then its time to wend my way home…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm
A photo with some more satisfied customers.

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm

A grin on my face, another memory locked into my memory bank…

Wedding photography for Jimmy's Farm

Knowing I’ve played a small part in someone’s big day is humbling and gratifying, knowing a little bit of me will live on in the script I have created inspires me to create something special every time I sit down at my laptop…Could the next ceremony be for you?

Drop me a line, lets have a chat…

Thank you to Scott & Chelsey Killen for allowing my hubby to gatecrash your practice your big day…

Thanks too to Kev …my talented hubster at www.headoverheelsphotography.co.uk

And thanks to all of the other awesome suppliers who gave me permission to take photos and use them in this blog!

A Celebrant Led Wedding – or a day in the life of a wedding celebrant.

 

I give full credit for this Blog to my wife. I want to share it because I think it shows just how much we both care about what we do for our couples, and how much fun we have along the way. It was a fabulous garden wedding for two truly lovely people and being able to spend time with couples like these guys is the reason why we love what we do.

Wedding Photographer for Colchester Essex.
Anna & Kenny are showered with confetti as they walk back down the aisle.

A day in the life of a Wedding Celebrant by Michelle Taylor

It’s not all about just turning up on a wedding day, standing at the front and speaking, there is so much more to it and this is what this short blog is all about.

I met with Anna and Kenny on a not so warm day at her mum’s house just outside of Colchester in May 2016. They were living in London but had a vision, to celebrate their love in front of family and friends at a fantastic laid back ceremony in the grounds of the bride’s family home. Neither were religious so a church ceremony was not on the agenda, but they also knew they wanted something much more personal than a routine registry office ceremony.

We discussed all sorts over tea and biscuits at the kitchen table, and what became instantly clear was this was to be a ceremony and a wedding day full of love and laughter and a whole lot of FUN!

A silent disco was booked to follow a Scottish Ceilidh (pronounced Kay-Lee) for the after dinner celebrations and they had already started to stockpile the wine and beers for the party.

Wedding Photographer for Colchester Essex
Michelle and Kenny enjoy a spot of Ceilidh dancing.

By the end of that first meeting, I KNEW we were meant to work together, and I was delighted that they felt the same too. We parted ways that day agreeing that their ceremony would include a Handfasting and Quaich (Scottish Loving Cup) ceremony to celebrate their shared Celtic ancestry. They had fun selecting just the right drop of Scotch with which to fill the Quaich over the intervening months.

Wedding Photographer for Colchester Essex
The Bride and Groom enjoy a wee dram from the Quaich, which had been filled by Kenny’s Dad.

A fabulous Scottish Handfasting poem was chosen to be read by the Groom’s dad in his wonderful lilting accent as they tied the knot and their personal vows to each other were to be crafted before the big day.

I was given permission to gently take the proverbial out of the fact that all 3 of us were huge rugby fans, and between us represented 3 of the 4 home nations…As an ardent England fan (the dominant side in recent years) they just knew I was going to mention this fact, once or twice and were totally at ease with my sense of humour and knew I would be bringing the added fun to their celebration.

Booking fee paid and questionnaire provided, we agreed to meet regularly, whenever they returned to Essex, so we could discuss the evolving ceremony and keep tabs on the changing seasons in the garden.

The icing on the cake was being able to recommend my husband as their Wedding photographer, and being able to work with him, and share an amazing day.

Anna and Kenny were just so easy to work with; they readily shared their love story with me and allowed me to put my twist on the telling of it. Together we created something that we knew would bring giggles and tears in equal measure as their family and friends went on the journey with us.

They had met at a party friends had held to welcome Kenny back from a tour of Afghanistan and bonded over Apple Crumble vodka shots. They fell in love quite quickly and knew they had each found their own soul mate, someone they could dance around the kitchen with, argue with, laugh with and love with. It all came so easily to them both. Kenny had even thoughtfully made Anna an engagement ring in his man cave over the course of a few nights before presenting it to her on St David’s day in a kitchen festooned with inflatable leeks, daffodils and a red toy dragon!

Ceremony written, we worked out on interim visits and at the practice the day before, just how long the ceremony would take, how long the processional music needed to be, where we would stand and where their guests would be seated. I was able to reassure a stressed out bride that all would be well, and gave them both my usual pre ceremony pep talk, including the need for a decent nights sleep and plenty of hydration on the big day.
It dawned, bright and beautiful, the hottest day of the summer (we thought at the time…so far…it was after all only June …But it in fact turned out to be the hottest day of the summer full stop!)

Wedding Photographer for Colchester Essex
The hottest day of the year!

We had a hoot! Yes it was a very warm day, and at one point the groom was making full use of my fan to cool himself down,

Wedding Photographer for Colchester Essex
Michelle does her best to cool things down a bit.

but the guests were treated to more giggles than you could shake a stick at and my husband and I were able to enjoy one of the best weddings of the year, working in partnership and helping a fabulous couple celebrate their big day. We even got roped into the dancing and didn’t actually manage to get away until nearly 11 o’clock that night ourselves…long after even his clocking off time! It was a quintessentially English balmy summers night as we packed up to leave, with the biggest grins on our faces.

The feedback has been amazing from Anna and Kenny and their guests, I even booked another couple for their wedding celebration who came running up to me straight after the ceremony and told me to drop everything I WAS required to attend their big day, they had never laughed so much at a wedding ceremony and didn’t know they could have something so personal written just for them.

Wedding Photographer for Colchester Essex

So as you can see, it’s about putting your heart and soul into each client, it is about discussing individual requirements, being open and accommodating. It’s about meetings, for me, as many as each client requires. I don’t set limits, never have, never will. You’ll always get me at the end of a phone or by texts/ email.
It’s about the writing, the practicing and ultimately the final delivery of your carefully crafted script. AND it’s about the love, the love that brought them to this point and that love which will sustain them from that day forward.
This is why you chose a celebrant, and why it’s important to choose the right one for you.