Liz Thompson - Celebrant Manchester
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The day of Becky and Mel’s civil partnership ceremony dawned in North Wales in brilliant sunshine with clear blue skies and not a cloud in sight. And what a journey it has been for all of us. Theirs is such a beautiful love story, taking them both by surprise and beginning at a time when they were both in a good place and ready to take the next steps into a wonderful and joyous relationship.

Working together to create something beautiful

Symbolic Ceremonies | Same Sex Weddings | Celebrant Manchester |Unity Ceremonies I first met Becky and Mel at a wedding fayre in Manchester. Both girls were very definite about what they wanted, which was a personalised Civil Partnership, a ceremony that blended bits of traditional service with their own unique style. We arranged to meet to go through their wedding planner and so began nine months of meetings, phone calls; emails and text messages to make sure the Women had everything that they wanted from their ceremony.During our meetings I began to get to know both women as we discussed their relationship, history and their feelings for one another.

They wanted to write their own vows but were unsure about where to start so I drafted some sample vows based on what they had said during our talks. That was all that they needed to set them off thinking about what they wanted to say to each other. They didn’t need any help in deciding on readings and poems, and they chose well, nominating their family and close friends to read at key points during the ceremony. Close to their ceremony date we met at the venue, the stunning Bodysgallen Hall in North Wales for their rehearsal which gave us the opportunity to walk it through and make any last minute changes. They were to marry in the drawing room, a beautiful, stylish space which was perfect for an intimate family ceremony.

A Family Affair

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Mel waited nervously and the ceremony began with the beautiful Canon by Pachabel, played on the harp by Dylan Cernyw. Becky walked in with her father, and was stunning in a purple Grecian style dress, and he was beaming with pride when he gave her away.  Both are close to their families and were keen to ensure that everyone including the cat was in on it! His photo was on the table along with others and at this point the couple’s loved ones took part in a small, private ritual to honour those who could not be with the women on their wedding day, honouring and remembering, their special memories creating a beautiful and poignant part of their ceremony. Their guests loved the part where I told of their personal journey as none of them had attended a Celebrant led wedding before so were pleasantly surprised and very touched by it. Mel’s friend Margaret then read The Velveteen Rabbit, a lovely representation of love and it’s way of changing us.

Vows and Rings

Most often people sign the register quickly the day before then have me do their more personal and meaningful ceremony at their chosen venue. Mel and Becky opted to have the Registrar come out to their venue on the day. We worked together to ensure the happy couple had a seamless ceremony incorporating everything they wanted. They signed the register with Dylan playing Calon Lan and I will always love you in the background. Bill, Mel’s step father was their ring bearer, they exchanged rings and said their vows beautifully.

The Handfasting

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Becky’s Nan, Nina read a poem entitled Life which lead nicely into their Handfasting, which is a symbolic ceremony and a marriage rite that began in the Middle Ages, which is where the saying ‘tying the knot’ came from. Becky made their Handfasting cord herself which meant it held extra special meaning as she wove into it the love and dreams that she holds for both of them, during their ceremony and in their future together.

The Unity Candles

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Following the Handfasting the women lit the centre pillar of their unity candle from the tapers which had been lit earlier, joining their families and sets of friends to become one and creating the final flame, bringing them together as a couple, never to be parted.

Their Civil Partnership Ceremony ended with Mel’s Sister reading a poem entitled Two Families. Both women looked gorgeous and you could feel their love for each other as their ceremony ended with Dylan playing Everything has changed by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran amid applause, cheers and hugs and kisses all round.

Kind Words

 

Vows are the most important parts of a ceremony but boy are they hard to write!  Once again Liz came to our rescue.  Based on the individual conversations she’d had with us, she produced a first draft to get us started and they were almost perfect; it just took some small slight amendments to finalise them.

It was a beautiful ceremony and an amazing day, I always feel privileged to be asked to share such personal and intimate moments and I pride myself on ensuring couples have the ceremony of their dreams and it’s always good to hear that I have done a good job when receiving such wonderful feedback. And an added bonus? My partner was at the wedding fayre and they got on famously, heralding the beginning of a new and lovely friendship culminating with an invite to their wedding and a fabulous day was had by all.

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. Follow Liz on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram

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Celebrant Manchester | Alternative Weddings | Quirky Weddings|Unity Ceremonies A Handfasting is a beautiful old Pagan custom dating back to the time of the ancient Celts and where the saying ‘Tying the Knot’ came from. In the traditions of Celtic Handfasting the couple’s wrists are bound together using ribbons of different colours. With each colour having it’s own special meaning. A Handfasting was originally more like an engagement period, where two people would declare a binding union between themselves for a year and a day. The original Handfasting ritual was a trial marriage and seen as a rite of passage. It gave the couple the chance to see if they could survive marriage to each other. After a year the couple could either split as if they had never been married or could decide to enter permanently into marriage. It was also used as tangible proof of the marriage because in ancient times they didn’t have licenses, pictures, or videotapes, but they could keep a cord as proof and a reminder of their love and commitment. 

A Handfasting can be woven into your wedding ceremony, blessing, vow renewal or commitment ceremony and can be tailor made to suit you. Becky and Mel’s Handfasting cord was made by Becky and holds extra special meaning as she wove in the love and dreams that she holds for them during their ceremony and in the future, they married at the beautiful Bodsgallen Hall in North Wales and the handfasting ceremony is particularly relevant to Becky’s Celtic Welsh heritage.

There are many variations of the traditional Handfasting. The hands of the couple are clasped and fastened together with a cord or cords before, after, or during their vows are made to one another. The wrapping of the cord forms an infinity symbol and the Handfasting knot that is tied is a symbolic representation of oneness between the couple. It is love which binds them together and love that brings them to their wedding day. |unity-ceremonies|Handfasting|Celebrant Manchester|Confirming their unity, they become bound to each other, the cord creating a circle of their never ending love.

The cord can be made of many different kinds of materials and can have emblems and charms etc sewn into them using colours that hold special meaning to the couple. In Pagan ceremonies they are made and prayed over by a pagan Priest or Priestess. Alison and Brad’s Handfasting was created with rainbow ribbons on which were written the thoughts, hopes, well wishes, and blessings of friends and family as they began their union as husband and wife. Something for Brad and Alison to keep as their eternal circle of love, to remember the day that they married and the good wishes of everyone that shared their wedding day that took place in the open air in at the beautiful Peak District Farm Weddings under a canopy of trees and surrounded by their circle of family and friends.

Handfasting Colours

Couples today are adopting this ancient custom as they lean towards much more personalised ceremonies that borrow from other traditions, blending tradition with something of their own personalities ‘Tradition with a Twist’, crafting their ceremonies with their Celebrant to match their distinctive personalities. Because the cord is specially made for the couple, using colours that reflect traits of their personalities, unique qualities and values, you can see that they capture perfectly the originality and meaning behind creating personalised ceremonies.

Red: passion, strength, lust, fertility

Orange: encouragement, attraction, kindness, plenty

Yellow: charm, confidence, joy, balance

Green: finances, fertility, charity, prosperity, health

Blue: tranquillity, patience, devotion, sincerity

Purple: Power, piety, sanctity, sentimentality

Black: strength, wisdom, vision, success

White: purity, concentration, meditation, peace

Grey: neutrality, cancelling, balance

Pink: unity, honour, truth, romance, happiness

Brown: earth, grounding, talent, telepathy, home

Silver: treasure, values, creativity, inspiration

Gold: energy, wealth, intelligence, longevity

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

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. Connect with Liz on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram

 


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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

|unity-ceremonies|Celebrant-Manchester|Quirky-Weddings|Humanist-Weddings|Non-religious-weddings|

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

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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