SIGNS OF THE TIMES
(or signs for your wedding!) 4 types of signs you might find useful at your wedding.
I love seeing the different signs which couples have up at their weddings and, in sorting through photos of weddings I have been Celebrant at over the past few years, I came to the conclusion that they come in 4 main areas. So what are they?
- Ceremony information. Under this heading you can see signs such as the ones that say you can sit anywhere, ones that ask for the ceremony to be “unplugged” with only the official photographer taking photos or ones which ask for people not to post photos on social media until the following day so that evening guests get to see the happy couple in real life first and the couple get the opportunity to be the first to post. Ceremonies often provide the opportunity for children such as page boys or flower girls to hold signs saying things like “Daddy, here comes Mummy” and these can be really cute (although sometimes little tots have wandered off and lost the sign before the moment it is needed – so they do benefit from a bit of supervision!).
- Directions. Particularly if you are using quite a large area for your wedding, having signs telling guests where to find things can be really helpful. From the loos to the photo booth or the bar, it can be useful for them to know where they are going.
- Requests. These signs tend to ask people to leave cards or gifts in particular places or to sign a guest book or complete something else as a keepsake. If you really want someone to sign your guestbook, for example, it can also be good to ask an usher or bridesmaid or a reliable family member to circulate with the book.
- In memory. Couples will often have a table with flowers or a candle, possibly with photographs, of people who have passed away and so can’t be with them and a sign to let everyone know what it is about.
If you haven’t already, do think about what signs might make life easier of more fun at your wedding. You can either buy the signs in or make them yourself and there are lots of kits in the market place to help you. Let everyone know what is going on and what you want them to do. Then have an absolutely fabulous time!
TEN TIPS FOR PLANNING AN OUTDOORS WEDDING
I know – it’s November! So it may seem a bit odd to be thinking about outdoor wedding ceremonies. But I just love outdoors weddings and many engaged couples will be planning now for next summer (or the summer after). It’s also a great excuse for day dreaming about long summer days when the sun is shining. I love outdoors weddings but know that some people are wary of them. So here are a few tips if you are planning – and a few photos from outdoors weddings I have been part of.
1 Where and when
There are so many choices for outdoors weddings. I have known couples choose their own garden, by the sea, in a forest glade, in farmland, at stables, and in the grounds of a country house hotel. You may want the scenery of Britain or the ambience of somewhere further afield. However, if you are choosing to marry in Britain outdoors wedding tend to be seasonal with the months of April to October being favourites. Time of day is important too for photographs so do think carefully about where and when.
2 Contingency plans
Unless you have chosen a climate where the weather can be guaranteed you need to have a contingency plan. If you are in the grounds of a building then you will probably be able to use the building for your back up. However, if you are going to hold your wedding celebrations in an out of the way place you will need to think about back ups such as a marquee of or yurt or tipi.
3 Permissions and legal requirements
In England and Wales the legal parts of ceremonies cannot be conducted outside unless there is a structure with a fixed roof. (So a marquee doesn’t count). A Registrar is therefore limited when planning an outdoors ceremony. However, if you want an outdoors ceremony it is a good opportunity to separate the legal (paperwork) part of the wedding at the Registrar’s office from the ceremonial part, maybe by a day or two, so that you really can have the ceremony exactly as you want it, in a place and at a time to suit you. You can arrange this with a Celebrant who will ensure your ceremony fits you and your surroundings.
Your chosen site may have other things which you need permission for such as erecting a marquee and/or hours and sound levels of music so make sure you find out in advance.
Having spent hours deciding what music you want to play as you walk down the aisle and for the first dance you need to be sure you can hear the music. Some venues will have the facilities for sound to be played outside but at others you may need to provide the equipment yourselves (to say nothing of a generator if you are really out of the way
5 Food and Drink
This is another major consideration if you are going to be a long way from an electricity supply. You may want to get a supplier who brings their own outdoor kitchen. You may find that it is easier to bring drinks rather than have a paid bar for an outdoors ceremony so do think about the cost and how you will transport the drink and how you will arrange to clear up bottles, cups etc. afterwards.
A beautiful outdoors setting doesn’t need too much in the way of styling as it brings its own décor. However, do have a look around to see how you could add little items which will draw the views into your theme. You may also find that signs are useful so that people know where things are such as food, drink and toilets.
That brings us on to thinking about basic amenities for your day. You may need a generator for power and you may to arrange for portable toilets. All of these things can add to the cost so don’t fool yourself into thinking that choosing a spot in a field is a totally cheap option.
If it is only your ceremony that is to be outdoors you may be able to get away without any special furniture. However you do need to consider whether all of your guests will be able to stand throughout and whether people will be able to see. Borrowing or hiring chairs can be really helpful or covered hay bales. If the rest of your wedding is also outside you may need to hire tables and chairs. The chairs for the reception can be moved by guests from the ceremony area to the reception area if required.
9 Clothing and cover ups
The weather in Britain can change quite quickly so it is important to ensure that guests come prepared with wraps and/or jumpers for later in the day. Also if most of the day will be spent on grass rather than concrete slabs then it will be helpful for them to know in advance. I can recommend “Clean heels” heel stoppers for stilettos on grass. But if you are having a festival themed wedding day in a field do let people know so that they have the opportunity to bring their wellies!
Parents will need to know what facilities there will be for children – from nappy changing facilities to dangerous ponds which they will need to warn their children away from. Try to let them know in advance of anything which might cause concern. This will include telling them if there is no mobile broadband signal or wifi as many youngsters come with their tablets to keep them company.
Outdoor weddings can be romantic and beautiful but many couples do go for the easier option of outdoors spaces alongside indoors venues. It’s up to you but I hope these tips are helpful as you choose.
DREAM WEDDING CEREMONY
Not dreary, not dull, not boring or bleak – choose a Celebrant for your Dream Wedding Ceremony – unique, personal, meaningful and fun!
So you have got engaged! Congratulations. Now you are looking to plan the wedding of your dreams. There is so much to think about – venue, food, photographer, transport, theme, colours and so much more. It’s great to have an excuse for a fabulous party, whether that is an intimate dinner for a few close friends or a magnificent extravaganza for hundreds of guests. However, one of the most important parts of the wedding is when you make your vows to each other in front of those you want to share in your special day- the Ceremony. Usually the first part of the festivities it should set the scene for what is to come. It sets out the reason why you are there at all and it should reflect your relationship and what is important to you.
Legal requirements for marriage
The law in England and Wales states that you can only legally marry within a licenced premises (such as a church, chapel, Register Office or an approved venues which holds a civil marriage licence). If you marry in church you will usually find that there is a set ceremony and it will depend on the officiant how much you can put your own stamp on it. For same sex couples there is the added difficulty that many churches are not registered for same sex weddings. Registrars have limitations put on them by the law and their local arrangements. They can’t include any religious references in readings or in music (my sister couldn’t have Robbie Williams’ “Angels” at hers). They tend to be booked up well in advance and can’t always offer the time that you want. And of course they can only perform marriages in licensed premises.
Alternative wedding ceremonies just for you
So what if you want to have your wedding in a venue or with content that doesn’t fit in with these requirements. Fortunately there is another way. By separating the legal registration requirements from the ceremony (as you would for instance with registering births or deaths separate from christening/naming ceremonies or funeral/memorial ceremonies) you can have your dream ceremony, at the venue of your choice, at the time of your choice, with the content of your choice. Your Wedding, Your Way!
You arrange to register your marriage completing all the legalities at your local Register Office, usually a day or two in advance with two witnesses (most registration services offer a short registration for around £50-£60). Most couples dress quite casually and don’t exchange rings on this occasion, saving that for the wedding ceremony they have chosen.
Your ceremony can then be the ceremony of your dreams fitting in with your ideas whether they be traditional or alternative or a mixture. You can have faith elements or not. You can have the music and readings of your choice with family and friends contributing in whatever way you wish. You can be married at sunrise – or sunset – or midnight, the choices are yours. Maybe you want to be married outdoors, on a beach, at home, in a favourite restaurant or art gallery. You can make those choices and have ceremony and reception in one place, even if the venue is not licensed. In addition you can write your own meaningful vows and include other rituals that fit what you are looking for.
Choose a Celebrant with care
Of course you need to have a good Celebrant who can work with you to design this perfect ceremony and then prepare and perform it for you! Make sure you meet with your proposed Celebrant either face to face or electronically, such as by Skype, before committing to having them lead your ceremony. It is important to feel comfortable with your Celebrant who will listen to what you want and help you achieve it. Celebrants can be much more flexible than registrars as they are not limited by law or office rules. They can ensure your ceremony is fabulous – and have more fun! Celebrants are able to spend more time with you in planning and often include a rehearsal and momentos of the occasion.
Wherever and however you have your ceremony do make sure that you are not limited by other people’s restrictions or vision and have the ceremony of your dreams.