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. 

The ties that bindDSC_0831

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

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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.

Footnote:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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A beautiful autumn wedding

Chloe and Paul’s wedding took place on a beautiful day at the beginning of October. I became involved when I was contacted by Patricia Harrison from Gift of a Wedding to tell me that Chloe had been told that her illness had progressed, Chloe’s Dad suggested that they get married which is when Gift of a Wedding stepped in to help. Gift of a wedding are a charity who gift wedding services to people who have a terminal or life-shortening illness. They do this by bringing together wedding professionals who are willing donate their services for free.

Chloe and Paul wanted an outdoor wedding and as many couples do they decided to do the legal bit in a quick signing at the Registry Office and have a celebrant for a personalised, more meaningful ceremony.

When Patricia asked me I was more than happy to offer my services for free because I support Gift of a Wedding and what they stand for but also because I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have the wedding ceremony of their dreams, a ceremony that is personal and meaningful, whatever their circumstances.

“It was an honour and a pleasure to plan Chloe and Paul’s wedding. We’re delighted that we were able to fulfill their wedding dream and create some wonderful memories for their family and friends”

Patricia Harrison – Gift of a Wedding

Creating their ceremony

Celebrant Manchester| Personalised Weddings| Handfastings Manchester |Unity Ceremonies When I met with Chloe and Paul and their dogs Henry & Buddy for the first time in their lovely home, Chloe told me that she had always wanted a vintage/rustic wedding, we talked through their thoughts and wishes for their special day, I explained about symbolic ceremonies and the couple decided that they would like to have a candle lit at the beginning of their ceremony to honour and symbolise the presence of Chloe’s Mum Jan who had passed away in 2006.

Paul liked the sound of the handfasting ceremony. In the hand-fasting ritual, the couple’s hands are bound, to symbolise their lives being joined together. It is an old Celtic tradition and is where the saying tying the knot came from. The handfasting cord itself was symbolic I made it for them and sourced the Buchanan Tartan in homage to Paul’s Scottish heritage, and also wove in the pastel colours that Chloe wanted in her ceremony, pink for unconditional love and nurturing, and green for balance and harmony, I also wove through it a golden thread to symbolise the quality of their love for everyone who was sharing their day with them.

Celebrant Manchester| Gift of a Wedding|Outdoor Weddings |Unity Ceremonies

Lottie Elizabeth Photography and Claire Basiuk Photography

A wonderful wedding under nature’s canopy

So the day dawned and I set out on the drive to Wales, it couldn’t have been more perfect, blue skies and such a beautiful setting, Broncoed Uchaf in the Flintshire countryside is stunning and the perfect setting for Chloe and Paul’s wedding ceremony, all of the suppliers worked so hard to make every detail of their day perfect for them.

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Lottie Elizabeth Photography and Claire Basiuk Photography

You could almost feel the crackle of excitement as the guests waited under a beautiful copper Beech Tree, Paul was very handsome (and a little nervous) standing shoulder to shoulder with his best man Chris as they waited for Chloe to arrive, and she made a stunning bride walking down the aisle of autumn leaves to the music ‘One Day like this’ with her Dad, following her gorgeous bridesmaids and Buddy and Henry too! Paul was so proud to be standing there with Chloe by his side.

the candle was lit, it’s warm glow a reminder of her Mother’s love, her dad gave her away and Chloe’s brother Richard opened the ceremony by reading a poem for them,


These I Can Promise

by Mark Twain

I cannot promise you a life of sunshine; 
I cannot promise you riches, wealth or gold; 
I cannot promise you an easy pathway 
That leads away from change or growing old. 


But I can promise all my heart’s devotion; 
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow. 
A love that’s true and ever growing; 
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.


The couple and their guests were touched and amused to hear their personal story after which, completely lost in each other they spoke their vows to one another and exchanged rings, time for another poem and then finally with their eyes locked, and hands linked, I bound their hands in a beautiful binding of love and total commitment.

Celebrant Manchester| Gift of a Wedding| Outdoor Weddings |Unity Ceremonies

Lottie Elizabeth Photography and Claire Basiuk Photography

Congratulations!

Celebrant Manchester|Gift of a Wedding|Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies |Unity Ceremonies

Lottie Elizabeth Photography and Claire Basiuk Photography

The guests cheered their congratulations as they walked back down the aisle as Mr & Mrs Tibbott, surrounded by the love of their family and friends, a truly lovely couple who will always hold a special place in my heart


I carry your heart with me (I carry it in)

by e.e. cummings

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)

I am never without it

(anywhere I go you go my dear; and whatever is done by only me  is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)

I want no world (for beautiful, you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing, is you…

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky

of a tree called life;

which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)


Check out this video of their big day – by Barry Davies at creative Videos

Kind Words

Thank you so much again for everything, it was so beautiful and lots of people have said to me how much they enjoyed the actual ceremony, Chloe and Paul


The rest of the team who gave their time, skills, services & creativity

to make Chloe & Paul’s perfect wedding day are…

Gift of a Wedding

Lottie Elizabeth Photography

Claire Basiuk Photography

Broncoed Uchaf

Creative Video’s

The Jolly Good Vintage Company,

Cambridge Event Bars,

All Undercover Marquee Ltd,

Fodder in the Field,

Di Shackson Flowers,

Cheshire Cat Cake Company,

The Flower Room Monton,

Ultimate Hair ltd,

Lovelies Delights,

Lottie Elizabeth Photography,

Wirral Tool Hire Mold.

The Owain Glyndwr Inn

Music was by a group of musicians brought together by Amy Chalmers


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

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 to do the job.  I trained with The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, see my About Liz page for more information.


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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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