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: D
inspiration for your wedding, civil partnership or vow renewal
3 Ideas – 3 Venues – 3 Suppliers
Destination weddings take place away from the area the couple reside in. It’s not always somewhere abroad; it may be a county or two away. There are specialist wedding travel companies and wedding planners who are experts in helping you plan your destination wedding, and check you’ve thought of practical issues, such as vaccinations, whether there are requirements debarring your preferred destination, such as lack of marriage equality or residency requirements (although some may only require you to be there a few days beforehand), the time left on your passports, necessary paperwork (birth or adoption certificates, deed poll etc), and obtaining a CNI (Certificate of No Impediment) if required. Places that are easier to marry in include: New York, Italy, Gibraltar, Cyprus and the Caribbean.
If you’re thinking of marrying abroad, check here first: https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad
It’s a popular way to enjoy a holiday feel celebration with your guests, and it may work out cheaper to marry abroad than in the U.K. If it’s an intimate wedding, you may be paying for your guests to join you. If you are having a U.K. celebrant go with you, as well as their fee, you’d pay their travel costs and basic accommodation. Do check if the ceremony will be ceremonial only or be legally binding. There are helpful guides at: https://www.thecelebrantdirectory.com/tag/destination-wedding/
A diamond ring worth three months of the proposer’s salary is the expectation for an engagement ring, but why? Let’s look at the giving of a ring, and then where diamonds come in. Historically, weddings were less about love matches and more about an exchange contract: joining families, political allegiance, and ownership. Engagement rings of iron, and later gold, were worn in Ancient Rome as a sign of mutual obedience and a wedding promise.
In the 1940s, de Beers, the British company mining South African diamonds, advertised with the strapline ‘a diamond is forever’ popularising the diamond as the gem of choice. There is a notion that diamonds are rare – when in fact they are (now) a relatively common precious stone. Emeralds, rubies and sapphires are rarer, as is gold. However, good, clear diamonds are scarcer, pushing up the price. They are prized for their brilliance and durability – with a maximum 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Increasingly there is awareness of ethical diamond mining, with fairer wages and conditions.
There are plenty of diamond alternatives, and to the casual eye, few will know the difference, without a test (E.g., the breath fogging, or reading newsprint under the diamond) but unless they’re a jeweller with a loupe to hand, that’s probably a bit rude!
If a diamond ring is not for you (or indeed, no ring, or rings for you both – why not?); that’s fine – remember, it’s only carbon under pressure!
About 80% of brides will wear a white bridal gown, or white with an undertone of colour – ivory, champagne, eggshell. It is seen as the ‘traditional’ colour, but this is relative to time and culture.
White as a marker of ‘purity’ is at odds with contemporary mores, and may be a concept that is retrofitted. Blue is the colour associated with the Virgin Mary, and in Spain, the Catholic tradition is a black dress with lace mantilla representing a bride’s pledge to her spouse ‘until death do us part’- it was a common colour in Germany too. Queen Victoria wore white to wed Albert, and when he died, adopted black as mourning wear. Sunday black fell out of favour, and white rose in popularity.
White may have become the norm, not as a symbol of virginity, but of social status and wealth – being impractical and hard to keep clean. White is a ‘western’ colour; in India it is associated with funerals, so brides are more likely to wear red, as in China, where red brings good luck and prosperity.
Increasingly, brides, whether first time or not, opt for colour and practicality, and may swap a dress for a trouser suit or jumpsuit. Eco-minded brides may hire or buy preloved, and consider the ‘what next’ – converting their dress, or donating it to make angel gowns.
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.
Dower House Hotel, Woodhall Spa
Doddington Hall, Lincoln
Dunedin Country House, Hull
Danny Inwood Photography
Debbie Roe Photography (Family & Newborn)
Welcome to the blog - enjoy! Contact me if there's anything you'd like me to cover about celebrant-led ceremonies.