Having a Celebrant led wedding is all about choice and all about you! There are no rules, anything and everything goes, with the ultimate goal of creating something completely unique that is all about you, your love story and, fundamentally, about making the ceremony at the very heart of your day to create lasting memories.
In the same way, working with a Celebrant means that you don’t have to settle for ‘off the shelf’. When I work with couples, I take time to get to know them and have designed a series or questionnaires which are fun to complete and ensure that I get them talking about all those funny stories. I want to know the foibles, quirks and everything about what makes them unique as a couple. I want to know if they have a favourite song, favourite genre of music, favourite film. All these things allow me to weave touches into the ceremony that will truly make them stand out.
Writing vows is also another incredible way to personalise your ceremony. My method is to ask couples to describe their relationship, what they bring to the relationship, the annoying bits and write a set of personal promises some of which are traditional and others funny and quirky to reflect their individuality and personalities. This week, personal promises include:
‘I promise to continue to do the Heimlich manoeuvre when you don’t chew your steak properly’ and ‘I promise not to keep score, even though I’m winning’!
This process and the conversations we have, helps me get to know you as a couple and matching you to a ritual becomes so much easier.
So far this year, I have created several bespoke rituals based on my couple’s particular passions, here are some of them to give you some inspiration!
Anna & John’s proposal took place in South Africa, a place which holds a special place in their story. On researching further, I discovered that the 12 Symbols of Life ritual is a popular part of the South African wedding ceremony and that, together with this couples particular love of fine wine, helped me put together something completely unique. In the South African ceremony, 12 items are used to relate to a relationship, and for this quirky pair, was a fabulous and natural lead into a toast with wine.
The 12 symbols of life include a holy book, a spoon, a spare, salt, pepper, honey, bitter herbs, a broom, wine, a cooking pot, a spar and a shield. Using special glasses which the couple had chosen together with a special wine, again, of their choosing, the ritual is completed with a toast to their past, present and future together as husband and wife. The ceremony will take place in Fuengirola in May.
Camilla & Gabe came to Spain having been living in a tree house in Australia. Their story was deeply embedded in their life path and magic numbers as well as a shared star sign: Pisces All of these elements were used throughout the ceremony in readings, blessings and symbolism.
For this spiritual pair, their connection was truly symbolised by the ocean and together we devised a crystal throwing ritual. Each crystal was particularly chosen to represent a specific aspect of their relationship.
They chose Amethyst for Pisces and its calming and intuitive properties. Sodalite as it is the Pisces gemstone and to support rational thought as well as truth and intuition. Next was rose quartz for love and peace. Desert rose was chosen for its relation to everything being possible. Black onyx for protection against negative energy. Green aventurine for emotional tranquillity and its power to balance male and female energies. Finally the stone of the sea, aquamarine, for good luck, fearlessness and protection.
Sinead & Michael share a passion for mojitos and their proposal was over these summery cocktails. By deconstructing the ingredients, I will refer each to an element of their relationship, adding each ingredient to a cocktail shaker before serving them so they can toast their future. Such a fun and unique ritual which is so very personal to them! Their ceremony will take place in Nerja in August.
The Spanish tradition of bride and groom exchanging 13 coins is said to date back to biblical times but is used today to symbolise the couples commitment to each other. It is a great way to integrate a Spanish taste into your ceremony. This year, a number of couples have decided this is the ritual for them and I have well-travelled couples bringing coins from their travel destinations, countries of origin etc. Each and every ritual with an added individual touch.
Dieu & Tom have Vietnamese and Hong Kong Chinese roots respectively, although their upbringings in Germany & the UK bring another dimension. With so many languages in play, and after discussing many options, they decided on a tea ceremony, popular in both cultures, serving their parents, after which the parents add a few auspicious words about their future together. Each ingredient of the tea is chosen for good luck and wishes for the bride and groom. Dieu & Tom’s ceremony will take place in Ronda in June.
As you can see, the world is quite literally your oyster, with every element of your ceremony specifically written and chosen for you. Your ceremony shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be at the very heart of your day as it sets the scene for the whole day. Make sure your Celebrant fills it with sentiment, laughter, ritual and ceremony – it really is yours!
Nikki Kulin is a Wedding Celebrant and member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants and The Celebrant Directory. She is based both in the Costa del Sol, Spain and West Sussex and travels internationally. Nikki has built a reputation on providing truly unique ceremonies.See Nikki's profile here
22nd May 2020
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