My top 5 unique wedding ceremony readings

When you want a reading for your ceremony that you and your guests haven’t heard a million times, look no further than my curated top 5 Out with the Old, In with the New wedding reading for modern ceremonies.

I wanna be yours - John Cooper Clarke

John Cooper Clarke is an English performance poet who first became famous during the punk rock era of the late 1970’s when he became known as a punk poet. I love his fun and ironic take on a classic love poem for me it’s the definition of modern romance. You may also recognise it from the Arctic Monkeys album AM where Alex Turner turned it into a song.

I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust
If you like your coffee hot
Let me be your coffee pot
You call the shots
I wanna be yours

I wanna be your raincoat
For those frequent rainy days
I wanna be your dreamboat
When you want to sail away
Let me be your teddy bear
Take me with you anywhere
I don’t care
I wanna be yours

I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out
I wanna be the electric heater
You’ll get cold without
I wanna be your setting lotion
Hold your hair in deep devotion
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
That’s how deep is my devotion

Wild Awake - Hilary T. Smith

In her debut novel Hilary explores the themes of loss, love, and what it means to be alive. We choose an extract from the novel as a reading in our ceremony. It’s short but powerful and full of meaning.

An Excerpt from Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn't know were there, even the ones they wouldn't have thought to call beautiful themselves.

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The Book of Love - The Magnetic Fields

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing

But I, I love it when you read to me
And you, you can read me anything

The book of love has music in it
In fact that's where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb

But I, I love it when you sing to me
And you, you can sing me anything

The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we're all too young to know

But I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings
I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings

In that still and settled place - Edward Monkton

I’ve loved Giles Andreae British artist, poet and greeting card writer since I was a teenager when he created Purple Ronnie under his pseudonym of Edward Monkton. If you ever need a boost of joy in your day visit his website for a Random Thought of the Day www.edwardmonkton.com

In that still and settled place
There’s nobody but you
You’re where I breathe my oxygen
You’re where I see my view
And when the world feels full of noise
My heart knows what to do
It finds that still and settled place
And dances there with you.

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The Bridge Across Forever - Richard Bach

American writer Richard Bach created the most beautiful line in this extract from The Bridge Across Forever “Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life”.

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.

Vows, the modern love letter.

I often think of writing personal vows is like the modern love letter. In our busy lives it’s a beautiful time to pause and reflect on what it is you love about your partner. You may lack the confidence to put pen to paper or wonder where to start, so here’s my advice on writing personal vows.   

Remember this isn’t about wowing your guests it’s about your connection and speaking your truth to each other. Your guests will be in awe anyway of what you say to each other because it will be personal and from the heart.   

Before you write anything down decide if you’re going to write your vows together, alone or as a surprise to each other. Whatever you choose to do find yourself a space without interruption, pour a drink and put on a song that reminds you of your love.  

These few questions will help you get your creativity flowing, there’s no wrong or right answer. 

·         What did you think when you first met, how did they make you feel?  

·         When you look back at your relationship what stands out, why?  

·         Write 5 things you love about them and think of examples.  

Is it their generosity? How do they show they have a generous soul? 

Do they inspire you? How do they do that?  

What have you learnt from them?  

What drives you crazy?  

Do you have any in jokes or quirks?  

·         What does this marriage mean to you?  

·         How would you describe your love?  

·         What do you hope for your future?  

·         How do you want your loved one to feel, when they hear their vows?  

Words that you can use to help you link your vows  

I promise to … 

Because of you I … 

I vow to fiercely … 

Thank you for …  

I’m grateful … 

Without you …  

I will always …  

Inspiration can come from anywhere a favourite song, movie or a book. Here’s some of my favourites;   

All I’ve ever wanted, all I’ve ever needed, is here in my arms  - Depeche Mode

I love you for all that you are, all that you have been, and all you’re yet to be  - Ernest Hemmingway

I don’t know where we will go from here but I promise it won’t be boring   - David Bowie

I'm not your average celebrant

I recently won The Best Wedding Celebrant in Yorkshire and North East at the prestigious The 2019 Wedding Industry Awards.

It’s such an honour to win this award which is decided by real client feedback. It marks the end of an incredible first year for me as an independent celebrant. I’m so pleased to hear my couples have loved my ceremonies as much as I have loved working with them.

For me, the exciting benefit of working with a celebrant is the opportunity to rip up the rule book. It’s perfect for couples who want a truly bespoke ceremony that reflects your vibe and personality.

I pride myself on bringing integrity to your ceremony, I will spend time getting to know my clients so I can make the perfect suggestions from content and music to sharing ideas for symbolic rituals. 

Adding rituals and traditions to your ceremony is one meaningful way to include your values and beliefs on your wedding day.  One of the most simple and beautiful ways is to use a candle. Light is one of the most universal and fundamental symbols. It can represent the spiritual, the divine and intelligence. In illumination, light is seen as a source of goodness and reality. Adding light to a ceremony can demonstrate unity, a new beginning and act as a source of comfort in dark times.

Celebrant ceremonies offer couples an unlimited choice on where and when you can have your wedding celebration and there is no restriction on content or style. It’s a great choice for couples who want something alternative, that’s going to wow your guests. It can also be a budget friendly way to have the wedding of your dreams.

I’ve always been inspired by the truth of love, how it uplifts and can heal us. There is no greater feeling than at the start of a ceremony when you can feel how much love surrounds the couple. I really enjoy encouraging my couples to think outside the box, together we’ll craft a masterpiece that will evoke feelings that will last a lifetime.

What you can expect from me after you've made an enquiry

“What happens next?” is a common question a lot of couples ask me. You're in the driving seat but I'll be here to make sure it's a smooth ride and we have fun along the way.

It can be overwhelming having unlimited choices, where do you start? I like to get to know my couples as soon as possible. I'll give you a call or FaceTime to say hello. It's important that I'm the right fit for your day. I'll spend some time on the call getting to know what you'd like from the ceremony. You may not know the details yet but we can start to think about style and how you want to feel on the day.

Closer to the day we'll meet in person over a glass of wine or cake. We will create the format for your day and plan readings and symbolism.

After this I'll be working away in the background listening to the songs you love and a bit of Leonard Cohen for inspiration.

Next steps are sending you the draft copy. I hope you like it! At this stage you can edit, add bits in, take things out until it's right. I, like you want this ceremony to be one that's remembered for a lifetime.

Where to start, when planning a wedding.

The internet is flooded with resources on how to plan your perfect day covering everything from managing a budget to recommending the latest trends in wedding decorations.

It can easily become overwhelming planning a wedding, from not knowing where to start to trying to keep everyone happy. 

I recently met with my newly engaged friend who’s planning her wedding and it got me thinking about where do you start. My recommendation would always be to agree your budget, add on a little contingency and stick to it. Agree together what’s most important to you as a couple, is it spending most of your budget on the venue or outfits or would you prefer to splurge on the catering or honeymoon. Once you know what’s important for you to have you can prioritise your spending in those areas.

Now the budget is set I’d say the next thing to consider is your venue. Here in the North East of England we have some of the best venues in the world. From historical castles to urban creative spaces, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the right venue for you.

My last piece of advice is to ask for help. If you’re pushed for time or need someone to organise your ideas call on the support of those closet to you they will be honoured to hear you’d like them to help. Delegating tasks to those you trust will make the planning more enjoyable and allow you to use your time for other things. If you don’t have that support available consider hiring a professional wedding planner they aren’t as expensive as you might think especially given the discounts they will be able to negotiate for you from their various contacts.

How a celebrant can give you the ceremony you want.

Congratulations, you’re engaged!  Wondering if – and how – you can style your own wedding?

Planning a wedding is one of the most incredible experiences, a total roller coaster of emotions.  You’ll love it one moment and loathe it the next. With so many choices and ideas out there, you have an abundance of options when it comes to celebrating your day. But let me tell you about the best kept wedding secret for personalising your day – it’s celebrants. We’re here to give you a truly bespoke, creative wedding ceremony, that you can co-design with a wedding celebrant of your choice.

I work with contemporary couples to create and deliver their wedding ceremony; giving couples an original and authentic way to mark life’s most important events, in a way that reflects your style and will wow your guests (if you choose to have any).  My ceremonies are perfect for couples with rebellious souls, that want to stand out from the crowd with a ceremony that speaks of your love.

Celebrants are like a secret society of creative problem solvers, empowering you to have an unbelievable wedding.

There really is a celebrant out there for everyone; whatever your style or vision for your wedding day, we’re here to make sure your ceremony exceeds your expectations. It’s so much more than just a script.  Together you’ll create memorable moments, something beautifully genuine that’s love filled and unique to you.

There are all types of love in this world, but never the same love twice”.  F Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve always been inspired by the truth of love, how it uplifts and can heal us.   I believe my role is to help you celebrate that individual love.  Who wants to be the same as everyone else anyway? One of my favourite things about being a celebrant is bringing meaning and personality to ceremonies.  I love encouraging couples to think outside the box, explore their wildest dreams and wishes. It’s a privilege to be part of the creation and hear real, brave and bold love stories.

 Your story can be a great place to start.

Understanding what is special to you and what matters most is the focus for creating your ceremony. There are no restrictions on the type of ceremony you can have; it can include all the traditions, modern twists, religious content, humour or something completely alternative. Your ceremony can take place day or night, indoor or outdoor and doesn’t have to be in a licensed venue. If you’ve dreamt of a wedding celebration on a beach, at your family home or at the place you first met, you can have it.  Imagine it. Total freedom.

When I married my husband in 2015, we became increasingly frustrated by the package approach and desperately wanted to have more freedom with where and when we could have the ceremony. To be honest, we had no idea at the time that there was an alternative to a faith-based or registrar ceremony.  We stumbled across it when I was talking to a friend who’s a funeral celebrant. I was telling her how I loved the eulogy and storytelling element you see in modern funeral ceremonies and would love to bring that uniqueness into our ceremony.  Who knew! We could!  We legally married a couple of days before the wedding celebration at our local registry office, taking our Mams along as witness, then celebrating with shots of limoncello and pizza. (I’ve never drunk limoncello since) 

Our wedding ceremony took place that weekend in a local art gallery.  It was everything and more than we wished for.  Our celebrant empowered us to have the ceremony we wanted, rather than what we thought we should have to please everyone there.  And our guests loved it because it was so us!  It set the tone for the rest of the day.  We worked together on the style of content; nothing cheesy or overly sentimental; that isn’t us.  We agreed we wanted a mix of traditional elements and some modern twists; nothing bland and boring with guests waiting for it to hurry along so we can all get to the bar. I asked my cousin who set up our first date, to talk about her hopes for our future.  She was the very reason we met; involving her the in ceremony was so important to us.

The Vows

One of the most beautiful parts of the ceremony was our vows. We wrote our own vows as a surprise to each other. I will cherish that moment forever.  If you’re thinking about writing your own do it.  It’s your moment to be true to you, raw and real.  Don’t worry about anyone else there; just focus on what you want to say to each other. 

The Ceremony

I understand that it can something feel overwhelming planning something as special as a wedding, and you might feel apprehensive about planning the ceremony too.  Don’t beyour celebrant has your back.  From the first meeting to understand your vibe, to when you burst with pride walking up the aisle together (other exits are available), you’re guided through the process with your ceremony extraordinaire celebrant. 

You’re fully involved in the process of creating your ceremony; it’s a collaboration of sharing ideas to create something authentic and meaningful to you.  I describe it as  you’re in the driving seat.  I’m there to make sure it’s a smooth ride and suggest you go off the beaten track to explore, as the view is often more beautiful.  There is no greater feeling for me than helping to solve problems for clients.  If you’d like to have an outdoor ceremony, you can have it.  If you want to have your ceremony at midnight, you can have it.  If you want to celebrate or blend your faiths into the ceremony, you can.  

Make it Personal

There are many creative ways you can add a personal moment to your ceremony too.  For thousands of years we’ve added rituals and symbolism to ceremonies to add more meaning, from the simplicity of lighting a candle to represent the start of a new beginning, to using sand blending to celebrate a new family unity.

So now you’re in on the secret of celebrants: you can rip up the wedding rule book

Be bold.

Don’t settle for anything that makes you feel ordinary.