Liz Thompson - Celebrant Manchester
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On a cold January evening a group of family and friends gathered to witness the affirmation of a very special bond. From the moment people began to arrive it was clear that there was a lot of love in the room for Jackie and Mike who had contacted me a couple of months previously to discuss a ceremony to bless their relationship. This was no ordinary couple, both a little bit crazy and crazy in love.

Love and life

|Unity Ceremonies| Celebrant manchester| Handfasting| Humanist Weddings| They are not the archetypal lovey dovey kind of couple, theirs is a light hearted jokey kind of relationship but don’t let that mislead you, this is a love story of the most profound kind, they have been together for a long time, enjoying life and each other’s company but life has a habit of throwing us a curveball at times and they found themselves thrown into a nightmare when Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer which led to them wanting a ceremony to celebrate their love and commitment to each other witnessed by their nearest and dearest. 

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She is the level headed one in the relationship, he has in Jackie’s words ‘a warped sense of humour, she’s right there!  His humour is sometimes a front for the love that he feels and even though he tries not to be ‘soppy’ his love just shines through. When we met we talked through their ideas and it became apparent that a traditional ceremony wasn’t for them. Their mutual love of nature, countryside and animals led to a conversation about old customs and rituals, they soon decided that a handfasting ceremony was perfect for them. We talked about their relationship, what it means to them and what the handfasting would bring to them. They wanted the ceremony to be fun and lighthearted, perfect for them and their positive outlook.

Feathers and Bells

|Unity Ceremonies| Celebrant manchester| Handfasting|Humanist Weddings| Royal blue because it fits with them both. Aquamarine because Aquamarine has spiritual energy, and encourages communication to be more loving, and heart based. I used gold thread, which is symbolic of the golden thread of love and devotion that Jackie and Mike have given to each other throughout their time together.

I sewed in charms, bells in remembrance of Mike’s beard when he first met Jackie  (a fu manchu with bells on) a branch for their love of nature,  a butterfly for Mike’s tattoo and also because the symbolism of a butterfly is about acceptance and change in our lives.  A cat, cos they love em! A love sign and some hearts for obvious reasons. Some aqua gemstones for love and fire opals for soothing, clearing and protection and finally some purple gemstones because it’s Jackie’s favourite colour and I finished it off with cobalt feathers, we won’t mention Owls! 😉

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As their ceremony came to an end we joined together in saying vows to the couple, vows of love and support and the strength to hold them through the good times and the bad, finishing with the obligatory wind up from Mike, it was too good an opportunity to miss… Their handfast is framed with the copy of the ceremony and will remain in an unbroken circle for as long as love will last, then it was time to celebrate and have fun, something that they are both really good at!

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They are a great couple, Jackie is doing well, she is an amazing lady with so much determination, we are still in touch and I’m so happy that they will be going on a holiday of a lifetime and a much deserved break.

Thanks Liz the ceremony was so beautiful the laughter really lifted Jackies spirits and I know made me cry thank you so much everyone said how much they loved it, so glad you helped us celebrate our special day, Mike – Hi Liz. It was a really good night. Every one enjoyed themselves, Mike and I were the last to leave and we got home about 11.45. Thank you again for a brilliant ceremony, Jackie xxx


Liz Thompson is a Civil Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more



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Symbolic Ceremonies | Alternative Weddings | Celebrant Manchester |Unity Ceremonies

Loving Cup or Quaiche

Using symbolism in all types of ceremonies is becoming increasingly popular as couples begin to create their own family customs or resurrect old traditions. Different ways of thinking mean that more and more of you are not afraid to let your own unique style shine through.  Many of you are choosing Celebrant led ceremonies that blend something of your own character with tradition, celebrating those special moments in your own style by including symbolic elements that make your ceremony personal and memorable.

Symbolism can be used to express your uniqueness, bringing something new and exciting to the ceremony or to pay homage to age old traditions.

What types of ceremony can include symbolic elements?

The easy answer to this is any ceremony or service at all! the choice is entirely yours. Perhaps you are holding a ceremony to name or welcome a new born child or children that you have adopted into your circle of family and friends?  Are you getting married? Renewing your vows? Blessing your union? Remembering lost loved ones? The list is endless. Whatever your reasons, including special elements that make your ceremony or service unique brings another dimension and richness to the celebration or service.

You may have heard about the more popular symbolic ceremonies such as hand fasting, unity candles and sand ceremonies? In all honesty anything at all can be symbolic of your


The Truce Bell

values, beliefs and traditions which opens up a whole world of opportunities to create a ceremony that is not only personal but is completely different to any other because it will be crafted around your unique personality or the personality of your child or lost loved one.

Want to know more?

I will be blogging regularly on many different types of ceremony so be sure to come back and have a look. You can also leave a comment or ask a question below and I will be more than happy to blog your requests.


You only get one chance to have your ceremony and as ours is not yet a regulated profession anyone can call themselves a Celebrant. Any professionally trained Celebrant will be more than happy for you to check that they are qualified.  I trained with The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, see my About Liz page for more information.

About the Author

Liz Thompson is a Civil Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more

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When you know what you want…

What can I say about this bonkers pair? The first time I spoke to Clare she told me what she and Chris didn’t want… a ceremony that had been written for the masses which is why they chose to book me as their Celebrant to write and carry out their ceremony. They wanted a wedding ceremony that was a little bit traditional, a little bit quirky and with a lot of their personalities woven in, in short, a ceremony that was as unique and individual as the two of them, and that is what they got…

When we met it was clear that they were no ordinary couple. Both of them are a little bit crazy… and when their kind of crazy meets it’s best to fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride!  After all, who turns up on a date carrying a big bunch of flowers… in a vase! or has their photo taken naked in a wheelbarrow?! They may not be the most outwardly romantic couple, in fact they are a bit ‘Jack and Vera’ loads of banter and both having to have the last word, but they know each other inside out and would never be without each other, they are each other’s greatest challenge and each other’s inspiration.

Celebrant Manchester|Quirky Weddings|Unique Weddings|Unity Ceremonies

Image by DSB Creative

Before we talk about the ceremony let me tell you about the wedding party, everyone looked stunning I don’t know what I loved more, the horse drawn carriage, the stunning bridesmaids or Chris and Clare’s daughters who were the cutest flower girls ever, in this image Clare has just arrived with her dad.

Chris looked amazing and completely pulled off the ‘tall dark and handsome’ look but of course Clare outshone them all, she’s beautiful anyway and was totally stunning, Clare’s wedding dress and the bridesmaids dresses (don’t you just love that colour, so dramatic) were designed by Mark Lesley and came from Dream Dress Bridal in Bredbury. Clare’s bouquet and flowers were from Red Floral Architecture, more about that later…

Building on words

When we were crafting their ceremony we communicated regularly, phone calls, text messages and emails swapping ideas, sending them words for sections of the ceremony and talking through what would work for them and finally we had a ceremony that suited them down to the ground.

“His proposal was so romantic, there was Chris on the doorstep on one knee, the street lights, lighting up the softly falling snow behind him”

Chris and Clare wrote their own vows which were heartfelt, touching and funny, just as you might expect, and perfect for them. I can still feel the crackle of excitement as their guests waited for Clare to arrive and the hush that fell as the music began and they realised this was the moment.

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Image by DSB Creative

Her Dad was so proud as they walked in together and Clare’s beaming smile just said it all. Chris was almost holding his breath as he waited, turning to see her looking radiant as she stood by his side.

Celebrant Manchester |Quirky Weddings| Symbolic Ceremonies|

Image by DSB Creative

A candle, a bell and a box

When I told them about symbolic ceremonies they liked the idea so much that they decided that they would like to light a candle at the beginning to honour and remember their lost loved ones, whose flame burned throughout and symbolic of their presence during the ceremony.

Celebrant Manchester| Symbolic Ceremonies| Quirky Weddings|

Image by DSB Creative

They had done the legal bit at the Registry office so decided not to exchange rings during their big day, instead they had a truce bell ceremony, they called it a time out bell ‘for those Jack and Vera moments’.

Celebrant Manchester|Truce Bell Ceremony|Symbolic Ceremony |

Image by DSB Creative

Like a good champagne or a great whisky a great love will deepen and mature with age. Chris and Clare had captured their thoughts leading up to their wedding day in personal notes to each other. And they created their very own time capsule which contained a small bottle of Southern Comfort and a small Bottle of Champagne as well as their love letters which were sealed in individual envelopes. They have not seen what the other had written, and they will be opened on a date of their choosing. A lovely way to celebrate their relationship and to remember the feelings that they had whilst writing their notes. They can also reminisce about all of the wonderful memories they will have made over the years and of all of those yet to come.

Celebrant Manchester|Unique Wedding Vows| Quirky Weddings

Image by DSB Creative

Compliments and contributions

When I was writing their ceremony I contacted some of their friends and family who gave me the low down on them, some great stories… but what shone out more than anything is that they are well loved, in their own right and as a couple, everyone agreed that they are the best thing that has ever happened to each other. Their friends also contributed by reading poems, a romantic one and a funny one, no surprise there!

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Ladies and Gentlemen please stand to applause the happy couple as they walk down the aisle together to begin their married life, it gives me great pleasure to present to you, MR & Mrs Brown… and they didn’t walk, they boogied… 

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Image by DSB Creative

As I was leaving Clare had spotted a vintage bus outside the venue and in true Clare and Chris style worked the opportunity for some off -the-cuff pictures.

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Suppliers on the day.

The Devonshire Dome is such a gorgeous venue, though I wouldn’t have expected anything less as Clare is a very well known Make Up Artist (Harry Jon MUA) and knows the best in the business, what really stood out were the huge floral displays that had been created by Red Floral Architecture, so striking, and the scent that they gave off was fabulous. And the images of course were from the lovely Damion of DSB Creative.

Celebrant Manchester|Quirky Weddings|Stylish Weddings

Image by DSB Creative

Matt and his team had really pulled out all of the stops to create a beautiful display that was just breathtaking. The Videographer was Tom at Silk Wedding Videos and The photographer was the lovely Damian from DBS Creative who has kindly agreed to share his photo’s with you on this blog.

Kind Words

We just wanted to say a huge thank you to Liz, we met up and waffled our way through our life in a nutshell, sharing stories and quirks with Liz like we’d known her for years. Liz asked questions and we sat quiet, awkwardly answering and came away thinking ‘do we sound like we don’t know each other!?!’ Well, Liz must be a seriously good listener and our waffle paid off. Chris and I sat, both of us crying as we read the first draft of our story – in fact Chris couldn’t speak. It was fantastic for us. It had romance, comedy and the odd tear jerker in there, Perfect. She even gave us the courage to write our own vows and I’m so glad we did. There is no stress with Liz, she’s professional and effortless, taking everything in her stride, truly amazing at her job. Absolutely worth every penny, and the perfect Celebrant to share our day. 

Clare & Chris xxx

Celebrant Manchester|Quirky Weddings|Personalised Weddings

Image by DSB Creative

Click on ~ Clare and Chris’s Video ~ for a little snapshot of the Ceremony from Silk Wedding Videos


About the Author

Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson is a Civil Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more. Follow Liz on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram

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Think you don’t need a wedding planner? Read about Michelle before you make your mind up. You might be surprised about the many different ways that she can help.

A little bit about Michelle

My name is Michelle, (that’s me above at one of my Christmas Eve weddings where the bride and groom hired reindeer for the children to pet and feed, it was an amazing surprise) I am 35, I live in Manchester with my husband of almost 10 years and our two children. I was born in Canada and moved to the UK when I was 4. My passion for weddings began when I was 11 and a bridesmaid for the first time for my cousin, I loved everything about the day and I loved being a part of it. My next experience with a wedding was 13 years later when I began to plan my own, I did everything from making the invites to checking the room was set out how it should be and how I wanted it. I wish I’d have thought of becoming a wedding planner back then. I have now been in the wedding industry for 10 years as I started out making wedding invitations and doing wedding makeup. But I found that I was spending more and more time helping people plan their day and realised that this is what I was good at, so I took the plunge and set up Ladybelle Weddings in 2013. It was the best thing I did and I absolutely love my job.

How do couples benefit from your service?

Couples benefit from my services in a few different ways, depending on the level of help they require from me. I canCelebrant Manchester Blog | Unity Civil Celebrancy help them from the beginning of their plans right the way through to the wedding day. If they are half way through their plans I can take over them and help right the way through to the wedding day or I can help them on the day. One thing that is consistent is that no matter how much help they require they will all receive a professional and friendly service.

I keep in regular contact with the couple and they have the final say on everything to do with their wedding day, I don’t take over and I am not pushy. I am there to help and advise them. Think of me as your middle person, the person who you can scream and shout it if it all gets too much.

What do you love most about your work?

Ooooooh that’s a hard question. It’s one I am asked a lot and if I am totally honest there isn’t one specific thing I like I love it all. I love the planning, the preparation and the wedding day. I love sitting and chatting my couples and finding out bits about them and how they met.

I suppose If I have to choose I would say I love the day the most when I see all the hard work and preparation come together, the family and friends of the couple enjoying everything they have planned for their big day. I love that moment when the couples see’s each other for the first time, it’s so special and you can see the love for each other, I’m very privileged to witness that moment.

What will couples get for their money?

When you hire Ladybelle Weddings, you are hiring a first class service without the first class price tag. I will help and guide you with your wedding plans. I will be as involved as you want me to be. I have a long list of reputable companies who I have worked with and can trust to make your day special. I will negotiate all quotes for you ensuring you get the best price. When it comes to the wedding day I am there as your eyes and ears making sure everything is as you want it to be and that you have the most wonderful day that you deserve. I am contactable every day and with unlimited contact you are safe in the knowledge that I am looking after your day as if it were my own.

How creative can couples be with their wedding?

I encourage my couples to be creative when it comes to their wedding day. They can be asCelebrant Manchester Blog | Unity Civil Celebrancy creative and as innovative as they like, the possibilities really are endless. For example, I have had a couple who had a wedding in their parent’s field with old bath tubs filled with bottles of beer and bales of hay. As you can see in the image at the top of the page, one couple wanted Reindeer after the ceremony with Elves and Father Christmas. I believe your wedding day should be reflective of what you like as a couple and as individuals in some way. The couple that you can see on the right, Olah and Bola had a Civil Wedding then had a religious blessing and changed into their traditional African wedding attire.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a couple, what would it be?

Hire a Wedding planner!! It will give you that freedom to carry on with your day-to-day life without the worry of rushing home to get hold of the venue, or photographer before they close. I will take care of all that.

Be organised too, if you don’t have a wedding planner then sign up for my tips on my website its FREE and will help you along the way.


Liz Thompson is a Civil Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more. Follow Liz on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest

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Quirky Weddings | Unity Civil Celebrancy Jo and I met at a networking event and realised we had a lot in common, a love of all things creative, getting to know people and having the odd pint to name but a few! We have become friends and I for one can’t wait for the opportunity to work on the same ceremony or event. We had a right good chat over a couple of drinks.

Something about you and why you became a videographer?

Ok Liz well I’m Jo and I run Jo Gendle Films, I create wedding films that are Colorful, Quirky and contemporary you won’t have seen wedding videos with my touch of originality before. I have been making films for 15 years so rest assured you’re in good creative hands when you work with me. After graduating from Staffordshire University in 2004 with an honors degree in Media Production I went on to have films and documentaries featured in many film festivals across the UK. I also won the BBC Guerilla Prize award for my camera work on a foreign documentary, which I am immensely proud of. I decided in 2013 to set up my own videography business creating wedding videos with my own unique take on it. I’d seen a lot of wedding videos that were very dated and a bit boring to be honest! I thought it’s about time someone injected some personality and modernism into them.

Couples will find that I give a really personal approach

Well Liz when you work with me you’re getting a Film Maker to capture your wedding and not a bog standard videographer who only films weddings. Celebrant Manchester | Unity Civil Celebrancy Having worked in the media industry for sometime I have a unique take on how to capture and edit stories into a film that’s very different to most Wedding films out there. Couples will find that I give a really personal approach, I take the time to get to know you and hence best represent you on film. Everything in your film is designed to be about you both from the music the styling effects and titles, these all tell the story of your day.

Every time I send a DVD off I can’t wait to hear the feedback

I love nothing more than telling a story and creating a piece of work that will bring absolute joy to its recipient. Every time I send a DVD off I can’t wait to hear the feedback, and so far it’s been amazing! I know when I watch films back and they bring a tear to my eye I have done a good job! Also I love that every week I get to meet so many different people and experience lots of different Wedding Days

All the laughter, tears and memories rolled into one film

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You would get the most important day of your life captured in a way that reflects you best. You’d get all the laughter, tears and memories rolled into one film to cherish forever! You can never put a price on memories, however I do not charge the earth because to me my Job is a pleasure.

Every location brings a different feel and creative vision

Generally I ask a couple which video they were most drawn to on my Show Reel, Every film I create is as different as every couple I meet. I am open to any suggestions a couple may have! I love it when we can bounce creative ideas off each other.  Essentially it all depends on what they want and where their getting married? It could be the cool urban vibe of the city or an Art gallery? Perhaps a swimming pool or even a traditional church, every location brings a different feel and creative vision in my eyes. I can make a film look like it’s from the 1940’s with a very vintage theme. I can also make a film look like a Hollywood dream, with flashing lights, animated colours and explosive titles the choice is yours?

I listen to what they want and make suggestions of how it might look and what I would need from them on the day.I have recently branched out into “Marrioke” where you can create your own original music video on the day with your guests miming too your favourite track!

Who inspires you the most and why?

Baz Lurman has definitley had an influence on my film making because his films are full of Romance, Colour, Quirkiness and surprises! You only have to watch Romeo and Juliet or Moulin Rouge to see this.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a new engaged couple,

what would it be?

Have the things that matter the most to you on your day! If you don’t like something don’t have it, remember the day is all about you so have what you want, enjoy it and never forget it.

Here is a sneaky peek at one of Jo’s creations – enjoy

Liz Thompson is a Civil Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more

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In my work I am extremely fortunate to be able to work with many like minded people whose passion and creativity combine to bring you a professional, seamless service. In our lives there are many rites of passage that mark life changing events from birth to baby naming to coming of age, partnership ceremonies such as weddings, blessings and vow renewals right through to house blessings, endings, funeral services and beyond. We naturally want to celebrate and mark those occasions by  creating some sort of ceremony or service.

Tradition with a Twist

When I meet people to discuss their ideas and needs they are often pleasantly surprised and sometimes a little bit nervous about the idea and possibility that they can do things differently. Breaking away from tradition or mixing tradition with something different to create something so beautifully personal and unique can be quite scary but also quite liberating and empowering. The knowledge that you can and do have choice and control over your ceremony is exciting. Bringing inspiration and unlocking that creative energy is our job.

Mixing it up

In this part of my blog I will be introducing you to some of my favourite people to work with, not only in providing services to celebrate or say goodbye but also to the people that often work in the background providing help and support to bring you some fantastic events, creating spaces and support to us as providers or by raising awareness of social issues in the community.

Liz is the proud owner & founder of Unity Civil Celebrancy and enjoys working with all kinds of people, creating beautiful and memorable ceremonies that celebrate their important life events in their own unique style. Connect with Liz on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram

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A Family Affair

Kate and Ryan’s wedding was a beautiful celebration of young love with family and friends not only being there for them but also taking some key roles too.  Ryan nervously waited with his four best men, all of his brothers! In first came the flower girls, Ryan and Kate’s daughters and their Niece who looked beyond cute followed by Kate’s sister Emily who was Maid of Honour.  And Kate looked stunning as she entered with her Dad, wearing a beautiful flowing Grecian dress and carrying her bouquet of dusty pink roses that suited her complexion really well.

Tradition with a TwistWedding Candle|Celebrant Manchester|Unity Ceremonies

Kate and Ryan decided on a traditional style ceremony with a few an added twists, Emily opened the ceremony by reading out the poem ‘On your wedding day’ and then Kate’s brother John lit a beautiful handmade candle hand made by Jo at Love Herbal to honour and remember Kate’s Granddad . It was very emotional for Kate and her family and lovely to be honour his memory by symbolically including him in their special day.

Kate and Ryan’s Story

The part of the ceremony that always really touches people is the couple’s story of how they came to be together and the journey that brings them to their wedding day. There are usually a few tears and some laughter thrown in for good measure.

Symbolic Ceremonies | Wedding Celebrant Manchester |Unity Ceremonies

Ryan’s Brother read a poem called ‘I’ll be there’ about the more amusing side of married life and then it was time to make their vows. There are so many ways and combinations of vows and neither like public speaking so Kate and Ryan chose to have their vows mainly as questions from me for them to respond to. Their last two vows were beautiful and spoken to each other. Then it was time to exchange rings and sign the bespoke certificate which I had designed for them, it matched their copy of the ceremony which I bound in colours to match their theme.  Symbolic Ceremonies | Wedding Celebrant Manchester |Unity Ceremonies It was a lovely day and they made such a beautiful couple who loved their bespoke ceremony.

Everybody commented on how different and personal the ceremony was and it was very emotional.

It was nice to have her there on the day, rather than a registrar, because she knew us, our likes and dislikes and we knew her. I am so happy we had Liz perform our ceremony and we feel so lucky that we met her that day.


You only get one chance to have your ceremony and as ours is not yet a regulated profession anyone can call themselves a Celebrant. Any professionally trained Celebrant will be more than happy for you to check that they are qualified.  I trained with The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, see my About Liz page for more information.

Liz Thompson is a Civil Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more. Follow Liz on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram
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