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: B
A Couples' Cornucopia: Ideas for Your Wedding
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.
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.
Barn weddings surged in popularity about a dozen years ago, and no wonder. Airy, rustic surroundings with a warm and laid-back vibe, and plenty of room for guests. Barns are perfect for more relaxed ceremonies, and ideal for couples that wish to dispense with formality, and express a bit of personality.
If you’ve not attended a barn wedding, it may conjure up images of guests seated in a circle on hay bales, chewing on straw, holding a pitchfork. That’s not usually the way it is, but there’s nothing to stop you having that if you’d like a farm-themed ceremony! Think exposed wooden beams, warm terracotta brickwork, draped greenery or bunting, romantic fairy lights – how gorgeous!
People feel at ease in a charming barn, each with its unique character; whether hundreds of years old or built for purpose. The size of many barns means you may hold the ceremony and reception in the same room, and have more control over the decoration too. Some barn wedding venues are ‘blank slate’ and so you can create your own ambience – a perfect backdrop whether rolling with the romantic rustic theme, boho bride, cottage core, or chic contemporary with a casual feel.
Couples sometimes contact me asking ‘It’s our anniversary soon. Do you offer something like a blessing?’ Yes, I do. An anniversary is the perfect occasion to reflect on your relationship – all those times you’ve been through together, the highs and lows, the adventures and the challenges, how you’ve grown and changed as individuals, and where you see yourselves heading now.
Traditionally, a blessing is an invitation to ask for divine protection and favour. So, what is a celebrant-led blessing? It’s not legally binding, and not (usually) like a religious blessing, although you may have readings that reflect and honour your beliefs and traditions if you wish.
It's an affirmation of your relationship, and any symbols that represent your commitment to one another. You may have a re-dedication over your wedding rings - perhaps because you have new rings if one was lost or no longer fits, or simply wish to make your promises once more.
A ‘ring warming’ is a lovely way for your guests to bless your rings. You don’t have to be married to have a blessing ceremony; it’s a lovely way to mark any couples’ or family ceremony, or a life transition, especially when family & friends are present to also ‘give their blessing’ to you.
The first thing to be booked by a couple for their celebration is usually the venue, a year or two ahead. The earlier the better if you are using a place approved for civil marriage. With an unlicensed venue, you’ve more leeway, but it’s still recommended to put down a deposit as soon as you can.
Having your ceremony at home or outdoors? Even more flexibility. Wait? You can have your ceremony anywhere? Yep. You can’t (at present - changes soon hopefully) REGISTER a MARRIAGE other than at a place of worship or a place licensed for registrar services. You can have your WEDDING CELEBRATION anywhere, subject to the owner’s permission.
Unlicensed premises are often cheaper than licensed venues, and you’ll not pay hundreds of pounds extra for the registrars to attend. I’ve had couples swap venues, and change to a celebrant-led ceremony because it was more them. This is the beauty of celebrant-led weddings, civil partnerships and blessings or renewal of vows.
Choose the place you *really* want for your ceremony, and have it led by your celebrant, your way. Ideally, book your celebrant around the same time as you book your venue. You might be disappointed if you leave it too late, so for venues and celebrants, book ASAP.
Remember – a celebrant-led ceremony of any type can take place at any venue; it doesn’t have to be licensed for civil weddings/partnerships. Here are some venues for a Lincolnshire or Yorkshire wedding.
Blue Dragonfly Tearoom
Bridal Reloved Caistor
Brush and Pen
As the A-Z omits numbers, instead of the second letter, here's a two:
Welcome to the blog - enjoy! Contact me if there's anything you'd like me to cover about celebrant-led ceremonies.