Friday, 5 October 2018

Four weddings No Funeral and 20th Anniversary for Me and Mr C

Summer is my favourite season of the year. This June was really busy as historically it is the most popular month to say “I do”.

Looking back on ceremonies I have performed this June brings a smile to my face at the memories of the day and how they have all been so different.

June started with R and M having an evening wedding, their shared children were included in the hand fasting ceremony by having their very own bracelets to keep. As part of the ceremony the bridesmaids read a poem about friendship and the two step-dads each gave their words of wisdom and thoughts about the strengths of the couple and the journey they had already travelled together.

A 30th wedding anniversary vow renewal for K and T was like stepping back in time to the 18th Century. The setting was West Stow Saxon village and everyone was dressed in either dresses like Jayne Eyre or in the smart uniform of the 95th Rifles. K gave his wife a fresh water pearl as they exchanged promises to one another. This was followed by a dove release and the 95th Rifles showed their support by firing a round. Thankfully no doves were injured in the production of the ceremony!

Then there were V and J’s celebrations at a farm in Suffolk. V and J are living in Costa Rica together, so wedding planning was completed through Skype and email proving distance doesn’t matter. They wanted to have a family wedding for V’s family in Suffolk. It was a relaxed happy occasion, in fact I don’t think I have ever met such a laid-back bride as she only slipped her dress on 30 minutes before the ceremony. The couple said their vows in Spanish, it was a beautiful moment and I do hope my pronunciations were practised enough!
K and A’s journey started when they met at 6th form. After 10 years of dating they decided to tie the knot in a family member’s back garden. The marquee had the most beautiful backdrop which was a colour explosion of handmade paper flowers all crafted by the bride, After the ceremony the guests were taken to the village hall by a vintage double decker bus.  

June finished with Two Doctors making their promises to one another in the parent’s picturesque garden that happened to be set in the middle of a golf course. The bride wore the most amazing tight-fitting dress that really showed off her figure.

A big thank you to my husband who celebrated 20 years of marriage with me on the 13th June. Thanks for doing what you do and being an amazing husband and father. 

This is just a sample of how your ceremony can be anything you want it to be 
Your Day Your Way

Friday, 18 August 2017

Texas Couple - British Location

I am honoured to say that I have conducted weddings for international guests which have included brides/grooms from Turkey, South Korea and most recently Texas.

I am passionate at designing and performing a wedding ceremony that is everything the couple want it to be. The distance has not been a problem as we have completed all wedding planning by Skype and email. I love to suggest ideas that can be built into the ceremony to give a unique wedding that also reflects their cultures and beliefs.

Last month I had the pleasure of welcoming 35 guests from Texas, USA for a location setting wedding at Butley Priory, Suffolk. It was quite surreal to be the only person from England at the wedding apart from venue staff!

This is a testimonial from Joyce O'Donnell who was mother-of-the-bride.

As mother of the bride, I cannot thank you enough for a perfect wedding ceremony.  As I told you when we met, my Claire, the bride, said that she felt totally confident that you had everything completely under control and that she and her groom, Jonathan, felt that you knew exactly what they wanted.   As we are all from Texas, your guidance as to what makes a British wedding special made Claire's wedding so beautifully unique - beautifully British with a Texas flair.  

All of our guests remarked at how moving and deeply personal the ceremony was to them.  All of them know Claire and Jonathan in different ways that you were able to bring to life so well.  It made everyone feel very included in this most happy time.

When I look at the photos from the ceremony,I see pure joy in my daughter's and new son-in-law's faces.  Thank you again for making the start of this day so unforgettable.
Joyce O'Donnell

Monday, 13 March 2017

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

As I strode out in the morning air with Monty (my border collie), I could feel the warmer breeze of Spring on my face.  Thank goodness, we are getting less cold windy weather now!

As I walked along the path next to the green I spotted a clump of crocuses.  A splendid burst of purple, white and yellow.  Just the sight of the spring flowers made my spirits lift and it got me wondering what traditions happen around the world to mark the arrival of Spring.

In a celebration of the triumph of good over bad, the colourful Holi tradition takes place in late February or early March. The festival originated as Hindu tradition, but is now a cultural experience that has radiated to other parts of the world. This year in Ipswich the festival is on Sunday 2nd April 2017.

Last year I went to the Holi Festival in Ipswich. What a fun assault on your senses; delicious smells were coming from the tents serving traditional Indian foods as loud music was played for the dancers. As coloured powder was thrown around, I ended up looking like a paint shade chart.

To usher in the Spring season, people participate in bonfires and parties the night before Holi. The next day, the masses gather on the streets for a giant colour fight, throwing dyed powder onto each other. The carefree revelry offers a chance to connect with other human beings and let go of any past hardships.

Hundreds of miles away in Bosnia, thousands congregate for the "Festival of Scrambled Eggs" every March as Spring begins. The focus is on the egg, a symbol of new life, as the new season starts. Mass amounts of scrambled eggs are cooked in huge pots and then handed out fo

The tradition dates back a few hundred years and attracts visitors from around the country.

I don’t know about you but I fancy an egg for my breakfast now!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Elements Explained – The Extra Touch

Ring Warming – rings are placed in a bag and handed around the guests. Each guest holds the bag for a few seconds and makes a silent wish for the couples future, before passing it on to the next guest.

Love Box – box containing the couple’s favourite drink. Each partner writes a letter saying why they fell in love with the other person, nobody else sees it, the letter has previously been put in an envelope and sealed. The two letters are put in the box and not opened until an agreed anniversary unless the couple fall on hard times and need to remind themselves why they fell in love with their partner.

First Kiss Last Kiss – this one is for the Mothers! Both Mothers come to the front and kiss their child, this symbolises the first kiss from when you are a baby to now the last kiss as a single adult.

Jumping the Broom – an ancient tradition. The bride and groom stand together, the groom holds the broom and sweeps behind him to get rid of any negativity in the past and then he sweeps in front to clear the path of obstacles for the couple. The best men/bridesmaids then hold the broom on the ground and everyone counts 1, 2, 3 then the bride and groom jump over the broom into their new life together.  

Handfasting  “Tying the Knot” – in ancient times couples were tied together for a year and a day to see if they were a good match, thank goodness we don’t practice that now! The couple put their arms together so that the pulse on the wrist is touching the other person’s pulse. Beautiful coloured ribbons symbolising different elements life health, fertility and prospertiy are laid on the couple’s arms before the final cord binds them together. The promises will be bound whilst love lasts.

Unity Candle a member from each family comes to the front. They light a small candle then join the lit candle  onto a large one in the middle. This is to symbolise 2 individuals become 1 family.

Unity Sands – good way to involve all the guests. Coloured sands that symbolise different elements are poured into a container. Not only does this provide a beautiful keepsake, it means that individual grains are together as one never to be parted.

Breaking the Glass – completed at the end of the ceremony, a wine glass is wrapped in a napkin, put on the ground and then smashed. This is to interpret that life is as fragile as glass and should be lived to the full every day.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
This guide should answer some of the most popular questions that I get asked.  However, if you need more information I am only a phone call or email away.
What does a celebrant do?
Family celebrants are professionally trained to design, write and perform your ceremony. I will work together with you to find out what you want to include and what you don’t want. From this I will write a ceremony for you that is tailored to your needs. My role is to ensure that your ceremony is exactly what you want; there are no restrictions.
Qualified? I am accredited to provide weddings, vow renewals and baby naming ceremonies by the UK Society of Celebrants.
Where can I have my ceremony? You can have your ceremony wherever you want, it doesn’t have to be a registered venue. Village hall, woods, beach, favourite hotel the list is endless…….
Is my marriage legal? To make your marriage legal you will need to make an appointment at your local registrar office. Ask for a marriage licence, this usually costs about £46, you will need identification papers and two witnesses. You can book this service up to to 12 months before your ceremony. Do not be pushed into larger more costly ceremonies – YOU DON’T NEED IT! My clients usually get the “legal” part done quietly, quickly and in casual dress in the week before your ceremony. 
What happens?  Once you are happy with your choice of celebrant a booking form is completed and £50 no-refundable deposit is asked for to hold the date. The ceremony will then be designed using all the information and choices that you have given. A draft ceremony will be given to you to make sure you are happy.  After details are finalised it is usual to have a rehearsal to make sure that everyone feels relaxed on the day (please note the final balance must be paid for before the rehearsal). I will liaise with venue staff and perform your wedding; afterwards I will give you a presentation copy. Then it’s time to celebrate with your family and friends!
You are based in Suffolk but will you travel? I live in Suffolk but am willing to travel. Travel costs are arranged at the time of booking.
Can I have what I want? Yes, my motto is “anytime, anyplace, anywhere”. Religious ceremonies and registrars tend to have strict views about what is allowed to be included. The beauty of having a civil celebrant means that you can truly have what you want.
Is it ok for my dog to have a role in the ceremony?   Yes, I want you to have the day you have dreamed of so if you want to have your pet as a ring bearer that is fine with me (rather not I nclude snakes though!)
Can I have prayers included?. You may like to have a cultural custom observed or include other practices as part of your ceremony. The choice is yours. 
How much does it cost? My professional fee for weddings is £350, £275 for Vow Renewals and £125 for a baby naming (non-religious alternative to a christening). Ceremony elements are additional and prices will be quoted to you before purchase. If you would like a themed wedding
Do you have insurance? Yes I have £5m public liability insurance and I am happy to provide a copy of the certificate to your venue if required.
How do I make a booking? – Please contact me directly by phone 07926 071065 or email We can arrange to meet to talk further about your ceremony.



Monday, 22 June 2015

Wanted – Couple to say I do in the Woods!

One of the best parts about being a celebrant is discovering new venues that are unique and quirky. Recently, I was invited to see a brand new wedding venue set in the idyllic Suffolk Countryside; Up Thorpe Wood is probably one of Suffolk’s best kept secrets.

Up Thorpe Wood close to Ixworth is now open for viewings Sarah and her team are so welcoming, their love of the place is infectious. The wisteria archway leads to a pathway through the wood to the romantic alter; it is here that vows and promises can be made. If you would like to have smaller guests at your special day, Up Thorpe Wood is the perfect place for them to play as there is a children’s tipi and safe areas.

I was once told that people don’t know what they want until they see it, so I would like to give you a few ideas about how your day could be most memorable for you and your guests.  

Woodland weddings – or Festival weddings as they are more widely known are possibly the most laid-back relaxed affairs. You don’t have to be into fairies or middle earth to appreciate the natural beauty of the wood (of course if you are that’s fine too). Mother Nature provides a spectacular background with all the different shades of green.  Bunting, fairy lights or different coloured lanterns can enhance the natural beauty of the wood. If you want to have a relaxed and fun loving vibe you might think about having the local fish and chip van pay you a visit. Or have an afternoon tea with vintage china, BBQ’s, bring your own picnic or maybe even a pizza delivery!

The best bit! After saying “I do” , when your bellies are full from eating and drinking and your feet hurt from dancing the night away, you and your guests don’t have to be ferried home in cabs you can a sleepover, or if it’s me, it has to be glamping!

Suffolk Celebrant seeking loving couple who want to say I do in the woods – get in touch.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Wedding Traditions from Around the Globe

Around the World in 80 minutes

My husband Jerry and I have been married for 16 years; I have been researching wedding traditions from around the globe. So come with me on a light-hearted journey of discovery and read about how my marriage would compare with different traditions and cultures from around the world.

Let us start our journey in China because I have to admit Chinese food is never far from my mind. Traditional Chinese grooms will call to collect their bride from her parent’s house on the morning of the wedding. Before the couple are allowed to go the groom has to ask if there are any jobs that need doing. Now this made me chuckle because my Mum would have a list of DIY “just jobs” for Jerry to do! The good news is that my favourite colour red is considered lucky and is used for decorations and invitations. The bad news is the happy couple have to keep their shoes on from the moment they slip them on in the morning till the very end of the evening reception.
A well-known Jewish tradition is the breaking of the glass. For those of you that know me well you will remember that I can be accident prone and have smashed quite a few glasses in my time!  I have even karate chopped a glass off a table in the middle of a business meeting. The Jewish meanings of breaking the glass have many meanings, such as the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem or simply a reminder of the fragility of life and marriage. I think the Hora sounds the most fun; being hoisted on a chair above guests heads whilst they dance below you.

Moving on to traditional Hindu weddings, again  the colour red plays a special part as it is consider the colour of luck. After the ceremony the newly-weds feed each other five bites of a sweet food (sounds good to me).

The Spanish groom gives the father a watch after she accepts his proposal, no looky-looky man watches here Jerry! The groom then gives the bride 13 gold coins, (this is getting better). The groom often wears an embroidered shirt handmade by his future wife. I am not great at needlework so this could be a problem. Paella is the traditional food followed by cocktails and dancing.

Next time I will be visiting Italy, Africa and Japan. If you have enjoyed reading this and would like to see more drop me a line…. Thanks Alex