January 06th, 2023
Inspiration for your wedding, civil partnership or vow renewal
3 Ideas – 3 Venues – 3 Suppliers
Eloping became is synonymous with Gretna when the 1754 Marriage Act prevented couples from England & Wales marrying under 21 unless they had parental permission, so many young lovers dashed to this first village over the Scottish border to be hitched without restriction.
Elopement is still popular, but for different reasons. Some couples like the secret rush of ‘running away’ to be wed; others see their union as something deeply personal and for them alone. Just as smaller weddings have become popular, some couples take the next step and dispense with the big do, and the fuss and expense of organising it, and keep things simple.
There can be more to it than popping to the local register office for 10 minutes. For couples who want a small but special event, there may still be planning to do – such as finding a wedding planner or travel counsellor specialising in elopement in your chosen county or country.
Some couples opt for a celebrant ceremony after the legalities, in a place meaningful to them or breathtakingly beautiful – atop a wild moorland, a dappled woodland, in an ice cave, or barefoot on a beach. Not forgetting the right photographer to accompany them too and record their magical elopement.
Weddings can be long events, and many couples give thought to how to keep their guests entertained (other than at the bar). Here are a few.
For the reception, there are lots of table activity options – from custom jigsaw puzzles, ‘Guess Who’ with guest pictures and ‘Find Your Partner’ clues on the reverse of the place setting. Many are paper based – such as best man speech bingo, betting cards or finish the sentence (also called mad libs), date night ideas/best advice slips to go in a wishing jar, trivia quiz on the couple, and I Spy or scavenger hunt challenges (such as taking photos of a kiss, a group selfie, chinking glasses etc) with a hashtag to share them with online.
For hired entertainment, how about a magician, fire eater, stilt walker, poi performer, arcade game or photo booth? Not forgetting the music of course – your musician, band or DJ to get the party started.
Of course, the newlyweds or couple are the star, and either your best man/woman or the celebrant (if you’ve hired them to stay) can orchestrate their games. A popular choice is the Shoe Game – a Mr and Mrs (or Mr/Mr, Mrs/Mrs) type quiz with each partner holding one of their own shoes and one of their partner’s to raise to answer the questions with.
The archetypal image of the start of a British wedding that we’re used to is of a groom waiting at the head of the aisle anticipating turning round for his first glance of his bride as she processes down the aisle to meet him.
There are no rules though; you can mix it up according to what suits you best, plus, the bridal-party style entry may not work for those wanting a more equal ceremony, same- or other-gendered couples, or those celebrating a commitment ceremony, civil partnership, or vow renewal who don’t want a traditional ‘weddingy’ feel.
Other ideas include:
Elsham Hall, N Lincs
Elderflower Events, Rural Lincolnshire
Elm Tree, Hundleby
Elizabeth Kate Bridal, Crowle
Enchanted Garden, Grimsby
Essence Flowers, Scunthorpe
A-Z of Weddings: A
3 Ideas – 3 Venues – 3 Suppliers
Each week the A-Z taster presents ideas for your wedding, civil partnership or vow renewal. Mini blogs of just 200 words introduce you to each idea.
Click ‘Contact’ if you want to know more.
Up to 3 Venues and 3 Suppliers are featured each blog.
As far as possible, these are local Lincolnshire businesses.
A mix of established and new, large and small, traditional and alternative. To be fair, each is presented without comment (unless an explanation is needed), and with a link to social media or the website so you can find out more.
Walking down the aisle towards the one you love. Aww, whose heart doesn’t skip a beat?
Traditionally, with bride and groom, the groom stands at the top of the aisle, waiting for the moment he can turn and catch the first glimpse of his beloved as she makes her entrance.
If you want to break with tradition, especially for equal marriages and civil partnerships, you might mix it up. Both of you could come in together, hand-in-hand, or walk from different doors or corners of the room and come together at the top of the aisle. I say walk. Dance if you like! Enter on a motorbike, Space Hopper, or be carried in Cleopatra style and unrolled from a rug! It’s your big entrance – do it your way! Have an escort if you’d like – a parent or even a pet.
Whether you’re marrying inside in a function suite, in a barn or tipi, or outdoors in woodland or on the beach, there are many ways to reflect your style in the aisle (that rhymes!).
Red or white carpet, a custom printed runner, rugs or skins, or barefoot on sand – what’s your preference? Lined with candles, vases of flowers, leaves or grasses, scattered petals, trees or rustic logs, shells, rocks or stones, perhaps with an archway under which you can pause to relish the moment.
Alternative ceremonies are for couples who break the mould – and they remove any traditional elements that aren’t ‘you’, such as being ‘given away’ or wearing a white dress, because that’s expected. Wear a black dress or a trouser suit if that’s what makes you feel great. It’s not only about style though. It’s a celebration of who you are and is a reflection of your personality, and beliefs (if any).
Alt ceremony weddings are sometimes called an un-wedding, non-wedding or anti wedding to distinguish them from convention. They are often described as quirky, unconventional or bold. They may be designed around your heritage, style or lifestyle – pagan, steampunk, gothic, boho, vintage, rock ‘n’ roll; or themed by your interests and inspiration – rainbows, dinosaurs, film noir, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid etc.
Alternative venues and locations are popular – mystical woodlands, majestic coastlines, atmospheric caves, the giraffe house at a safari park, a brewery, a hot air balloon, or sky dive if you’re brave! It’s about understanding what is authentic and true to you, and what will make your day truly your own. Then going for it! Don’t want a big fuss? Elope! Do it your way.
Love animals? How about including them in your day, actually or symbolically? If you love horses, you could arrive by horse-drawn carriage or on horseback. Some companies provide llamas, alpacas or goats for your special day.
How about your pet? Check first with your venue or location, and consider their personality, to see if your pet could attend too. Dogs are popular, and look amazing dressed in bow ties and little suits. Your pet pooch could take on a traditional role - ring bearer, best dog, dog of honour or flower girl. If you have a pet sitter for the day, they might bring the pet along for a short while so they can be part of the day. Your celebrant ceremony certificate could have space for a witness paw print (scanned in digitally if it’s not practical on the day).
Your animal theme may be reflected in the wedding stationery or cake design. How about a 3-tiered cake with layers of leopard skin, snake print and zebra stripes?
You could include your pets in your vows too, promising to take care of them together, or to love your partner *almost* as much as them!
Venues - A
Remember – a celebrant-led ceremony can take place at any venue; it doesn’t have to be licensed for civil weddings or partnerships. Here are some venues for a Lincolnshire wedding.
Abbey Farm Weddings
Suppliers - A
A Booth and Beyond
Amy Lauren Weddings
Anna Belle Designs
Welcome to the blog - enjoy! Contact me if there's anything you'd like me to cover about celebrant-led ceremonies.