Liz Thompson - Celebrant Manchester
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Real Weddings Part 4 | By Liz Thompson

Ric and Aislinn’s wedding ceremony was always going to be a stylish affair. Their amazing venue, 11 Didsbury Park was the perfect setting for their English Garden Wedding. They married under a rose arbour surrounded by their friends and family, some of whom had travelled from far and wide to be there.

Manchester to Miami by Skype

Aislinn and Ric wanted to marry surrounded by their family and friends, simple… Even when the couple live in Miami, and their families live in Grenada and The UK. When the couple contacted me with their enquiry I sent them the information that they needed and answered their questions, they decided they would like me to be their Celebrant and we arranged to meet on Skype and take it from there.  We talked through the wedding ceremony planner in the same way that I would if I were to meet with them at their home.   And so the planning began…

Distance is no object

Wedding Celebrant Manchester| Unity Civil Celebrancy | Symbolic Ceremonies|Unity Ceremonies I love creating ceremonies that are a little bit different and am always open to new ways of working to ensure every couple has the ceremony of their dreams. Talking with Aislinn and Ric was no problem at all, the distance between us seemed negligible really as we Skyped and emailed back and forth their ceremony began to take shape, we co-wrote the vows and I created a ceremony plan for the day and shared it with their vendors, The Bridgewater Quartet and Jonny Draper Photography to ensure that we all knew what was expected to happen on the day.

A typical Manchester summer!

The wedding day dawned and typically for Manchester the skies were grey and gloomy, looking ominously like it was going to rain but as the day drew on the skies cleared and they had their wonderful June wedding day. There was an air of anticipation as Ric waited nervously with his brother at his side for his bride to appear and as the music began in walked Aislinn’s Niece carrying a ‘Here comes the Bride’ sign, followed by Aislinn looking radiant in an ivory silk sheath dress, she was accompanied down the aisle by her Mother Esther who gave her away, both women looked stunning. Ric was his usual laid back self but you could tell by his huge grin that he was bowled over by his beautiful bride.

Memories old and new

Creating ceremonies that are really meaningful begins with listening to what the couple would like to convey to the world about their relationship, often their family history and the roots that bind them to their loved ones are important to them and they like to take the opportunity to weave in elements that remember lost loved ones and/or create new traditions and wonderful memories. Aislinn’s brother Damian opened the ceremony by reading an extract from a poem by Kahlil Gibran. It was important to Aislinn that her father was remembered on her special day so she and her mother lit a candle which burned throughout the ceremony, symbolic of his presence on her big day. Following that Ric’s Mother Susan read a beautiful piece that spoke of everyone’s collective wished for the couple.

Vows, promises and pouring sand…

Unity Sand Ceremony | Unity Civil Celebrancy | Liz Thompson |Unity Ceremonies They also decided that they would like to have a Unity Sand Ceremony so when they had made their vows and exchange rings with beautiful words and promises to each other they began to take turns in pouring the sand to the sound Bach’s Air on a G string. They had brought with them beautiful bottles for this purpose, Aislinn brought sand from her home island of Grenada, representing her Fathers heritage and where she and Ric met and also from the beaches of Ireland, representing her Mothers heritage. Richard joined her with sand from Miami Beach Florida where the two now reside and from the natural sandstone that forms the Peak District, his birth home.

In pouring the sand they created layers combining the sand that was symbolic of their lives and although it was combined into a single container the layers of colour showed that Ric and Aislinn have retained their unique identities and personalities. Yet, looking closer, it was virtually impossible to define the exact point where one layer ended and the next began — the grains of sand can never be separated, a strong and beautiful representation of their union and continued journey together.

Esther then read a Wedding Prayer and as they were pronounced Man and wife and Ric kissed his bride their guests stood to congratulate and applause the happy couple, showering them with fresh lavender for grace, refinement and elegance and rosemary for remembrance, the scent was beautiful and they looked so happy together. They really are made for each other….Wedding Celebrant Manchester | Unity Civil Celebrancy | Liz Thompson|Unity Ceremonies

At the end of our day, when we thought back, or day was truly superb. A lovely touch was the beautiful card that accompanied a copy of our vows and ceremony which found placed in our room that evening.

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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With this ring…

Ring Warming | Unity Civil Celebrancy | Symbolic Ceremonies | Celebrant Manchester|Unity Ceremonies

A ring warming is a beautiful part of the Wedding Ceremony and a great way for the couple to include guests in their wedding ceremony. It is one of my favourite symbolic ceremonies, it is very spiritual and it gives your guests the opportunity to impart their love and good wishes to the happy couple through warming their wedding rings in their hands and silently… making a wish, a prayer or blessing. Which is great if you have an eclectic guest list as everyone will have the opportunity to impart their good wishes in their own way so no one gets left out.

Ringing the changes

In a traditional twist it is always good to give someone the role of ring bearer in a very different way than the usual tradition of walking the rings up the aisle (if you have one) on a cushion, that way the ring bearer can take charge of your rings to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to hold them and to make sure everything runs smoothly and they don’t get lost! Ring warming is still relatively new in the UK and as Celebrant I would explain to guests, what it is and how it works so that they know something about this beautiful part of the ceremony is and what is expected of them.

Symbolic Ceremonies | Celebrant Manchester | Alternative Weddings |Unity Ceremonies There are many different ways that you can incorporate a ring warming into your ceremony. You can have the ring bearer begin to pass the rings from the back and by the time they reach you at the front they will be thoroughly drenched in the love and best wishes of your guests and ready for you to hold and impart your own wishes into them before you place them on each other’s finger. I can write some beautiful words for you to say that speak of the ring warming and the meaning and intention behind it or you could write your own words to say to each other.

A circle of love…

Have you thought about a different kind of seating arrangement? This is a great one for smaller outside ceremonies but is equally effective when used inside. Set your seats in a large spiral, so that when you walk in, you walk between your guests and end up in the middle, your guests will then surround you and will be able to see you from all angles and really lovely for the ring warming.

If you have a lot of guests you might want to have everyone warm your rings as they arrive and before they take their seat, this can be managed by having a sign up with an explanation of what it is about and giving the ring bearer the responsibility of greeting the guests and handing them the rings for the warming, attaching the rings to a cushion or placing them in an organza bag would ensure that they don’t fall and save your ring bearer the trouble of crawling on the floor to find them! Beach Wedding | Celebrant Manchester | Alternative Weddings |Unity Ceremonies

You could have an Owl swoop down with your rings to be received by a trusted member of the wedding party and the process can begin from there. You could run a string or ribbon down the rows of seats which will be secured after passing it through the rings and they can be safely passed along your rows of guests without fear of losing them. Or place tied together them in a pretty bowl, perhaps someone could make one for you with two holes to thread the ribbon through to securely tie them to it? For a beach wedding you could use a beautiful shell to hold the rings. The possibilities are endless…

A sign of the times

Alternative Weddings | Celebrant Manchester | Symbolic Ceremonies |Unity Ceremonies An example of a sign for your guests to read before they take their seats could be… “Before you take your seat, please take a moment to join together in the warming of our rings. Hold the rings in your hand for a moment and warm them with your love, make a silent wish, say a prayer or give us your blessings. Then we will always carry with us your love and good wishes throughout our married lives”.

If you like the idea of a ring warming ceremony, whichever way you decide to do it, i’m sure it will be perfect for you. If you would like any more information about this or other ceremonies, please feel free to contact ,e using the comments box below and I will be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.


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 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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It is our close human relationships which give the most meaning to our lives, we often want to share our joy by celebrating the coming of a new child or children into our personal worlds, into a loving family, a strong network of friends and into our community. In this blog I will be talking about ways that you can name or welcome children into your family and the many exciting and beautiful ways you can blend naming and welcoming ceremonies with other celebrations or rites of passage.

There is no such thing as a typical person or family

So why have a typical naming or welcoming ceremony? I conduct ceremonies for many different people and families; married and unmarried parents, lesbian and gay parents, singleBaby Naming Ceremonies | Welcoming Ceremonies | Unity |Unity Ceremonies parents, adoptive parents, step parents, people who may be transitioning or changing their name for their own reasons, and many different religions and cultures, the most important thing is that you have the ceremony that is right for you.

A beautiful alternative

Having a new baby or child in your family is an exciting and joyous occasion and congratulations if you have become a new parent. Naming your child or welcoming new children into your family brings many opportunities to celebrate and to welcome them into your circle of family and friends, weaving in your hopes and dreams for their future growth and contribution to the world. Naming your child is not a legal requirement, neither is a traditional religious ceremony. Name giving became a tradition or rite of passage that used to happen in people’s own homes and in faith ceremonies.

Baby Naming Ceremonies | Welcoming Ceremonies | Baby Naming Celebrant Manchester|Unity Ceremonies Some people lean towards more creative and less traditional ways to celebrate children, a Secular Ceremony is a beautiful and meaningful way of celebrating your child, moving away from the traditional to create something completely unique and original whilst still retaining your family traditions, the ties that bind you, with a nod to the past whilst looking to the future, ‘Tradition with a Twist’, creating words that speak of your wishes for your child to take their place in the world, becoming strong and confident individuals. You can hold name givings and welcoming ceremonies in any venue or place that holds special meaning to you.

Naming your baby

Baby Naming Ceremonies | Welcoming Ceremonies | Baby Naming Ceremonies Manchester|Unity Ceremonies What makes you who you are? Your uniqueness can be woven into your baby naming ceremony in many ways. Those of you who have never attended a Celebrant led naming ceremony are often blown away by how beautifully different and personal they are. Spending time getting to know you and your child/ren means that I can write a ceremony that is tailored to your family. You may want to include vows or promises to your child/ren, readings, poems, symbolic elements, etc. I can advise, help you, and include these in your ceremony, making it beautiful, unique and memorable for years to come. Follow the link to read what others say about my services.

Including others

Perhaps when you had your first child you were not aware that you could have a non religious ceremony? You may wish to include other children by having a joint naming or welcoming. I can weave in your thanks to Grandparents etc and they can be given a role too, perhaps a reading or a poem. Sometime Grandparents write a letter to their grandchild about what it means to have them in their lives and their wishes for the future, either reading it themselves or ask me to on their behalf. Other children, older siblings or cousins for example can read a poem or say something to the child. The possibilities are endless. You may want your guests to write their messages for your child/ren, something for them to keep for always, hang them on a wishing tree, write them in an album or scrap book or put them in a box or a case for safe keeping.

Baby Naming Celebrant Manchester| Welcoming Ceremonies | Unity Ceremonies There may be people that you love who are no longer with you. Many people choose to light a candle at the beginning of the ceremony to honour and remember them. It’s flame flickering throughout the ceremony and symbolic of their presence with you on your family’s special day. The main thing to remember is that it’s your child’s ceremony and you can be as creative as you like.

Guide parents

Often parents like to retain the tradition of appointing adults and it is comforting to know that there are other people outside of your immediate family circle who take a very special interest in your child’s welfare and upbringing. Positive role models, providing advice, guidance, support and commitment to you and your child/ren. During the ceremony they usually speak a wish for the future and a commitment to be there for the life of the child.

But what are you going to call them? Supporting Adults have also been known as Soul Parents, Guide Parents, Guardians, Earth Parents or any other name that you might wish to choose, maybe that’s something that you could discuss with the people that chosen? Andrew and Steph called their supporting adults ‘Odd Parents’ because, well… they were just odd! (But lovely with it) Thus proving you can call them whatever you like.

Welcoming children and blending families

Symbolic Ceremonies | Unity Ceremonies | Celebrant Manchester When people adopt they are often keen to mark the occasion by celebrating their children and welcoming them into their community of family and friends. Or perhaps you are marrying and one or both of you have children from a previous relationship? A beautiful and touching way of telling your children how special and important they are to you, could be to introduce them in their own celebration or as part of your wedding ceremony.  You could make promises to them or say family vows that speak of your hopes and dreams for the future.

Some unique ways to do this might be to include symbolic elements such as Unity candles, Unity sand ceremonies, tree planting or anything at all that holds special meaning to you.

Making memories

Baby Naming Ceremonies | Welcoming Ceremonies | Celebrant Manchester|Unity Ceremonies

Making it unique doesn’t stop with the writing and your involvement. I will give you a copy of the ceremony that has been customised to your theme or colour scheme so that you can look back on your special day. Something to keep for your child/ren for when they are older and perhaps share with their children in years to come. You can also opt to have a personalised certificate signed by you and your chosen supporting adults if you have them.

 

Thank you Liz for all your hard work writing a beautiful naming ceremony for my baby boy! Everyone was touched by the wording and choice of poems! Thanks too for you help with the planning and on the day! Would highly recommend!

Charlotte Collins xx

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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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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Creating your perfect wedding ceremony

It is always a lovely compliment to be chosen by couples to write and officiate their wedding ceremony, it is after all one of the most important rites of passage in our lives and to be trusted with people’s personal information, life stories and deep and sensitive emotions is indeed an honour. By choosing to work with a Celebrant, you are choosing a bespoke ceremony that really is about you, something different, beautiful and memorable. As a couple you are unique, with your own history and story about how your journey brought you to your wedding day.

And you’d be amazed at how creative people can be with their ceremonies when they realise that they don’t have to stick to the standard format. This is when their personalities really shine out. I always know that people who choose a celebrant are going to be a little bit different anyway. I often use the term ‘tradition with a twist’, which is a short way of saying that anything goes. Couples choose to include elements of tradition or none at all, they might include a religious prayer or reading, symbolic elements for example hand fasting, sand ceremonies, unity candles, etc. Or something else that says this is us, this is who we are. Guests are often pleasantly surprised when they witness something so completely unique that it blows them away and that for me makes my work so worthwhile.

Over time I will be blogging about the real ceremonies that I have done and you will get to see how very different they all are, I suppose the one thing they do have in common is that they are all very different indeed!

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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Pre-wedding planning

When I first met Di and Gavin to talk through their ceremony planner, the first thing that struck me about them was their warm personalities, they both had a mischievous twinkle that at first meeting said more about their relationship than anything else. Spending time with them, keeping in regular contact and finding out what made them tick helped me to write a ceremony that was personal and unique. I loved every minute of writing it with them and when I sent the draft of the personal part of their ceremony for them to check, very few changes needed to be made.

Their relationship is full of fun and laughter and it was immediately obvious that their wedding ceremony was going to be a little bit quirky. Both of them are jokers and as a Civil Celebrant, listening to them was music to my ears because creating their perfect wedding ceremony meant that I could ‘flex my imaginative pen’ as it were, weaving in their personalities with some wedding traditions that I call ‘tradition with a twist’.

Weaving in their magic

It was important to them that their family and friends be included and the key people in their lives were given a role. Diane’s processional music was From This Moment by Shania Twain and she looked stunning as she walked in accompanied by her friend Diane who gave her away, her beautiful bridesmaids wore red satin and flower girls wore white. The guys were handsome in silver grey suits and red ties. Gavin has always been a prankster and had teased his sister before her wedding by telling her that he was going to stand up and object, well… Di asked me to include words similar to the part of a traditional ceremony that asks the guests if they have any objections. She had already primed them and upon my asking, all 170 people stood to object, Gavin’s face was a picture!

Celebrant Manchester | Alternative Weddings | Quirky Weddings |Unity Ceremonies

They both love gaming and social media too, their cake topper was the bride dragging her groom away from the games console, cans around his feet and call of duty on the screen. One my colleagues from The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants sourced a spoof letter which I adapted to suit Diane, it was to an Agony Aunt that spoke of her worries about upgrading from boyfriend 2000 to husband XP which had the guests laughing and gave Gavin a bit of a scare…

Celebrant Manchester | Alternative Weddings | Quirky Weddings |Unity Ceremonies They wrote their own vows, Gavin’s were romantic and spoke of his love for his ‘shortcake’ and his promises for their future together and Di’s were a blend of funny and heartfelt sentiments that spoke of her love and commitment to her man and their family. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and the look of love on their faces for each other was beautiful to see. Everyone loved their personal story which was an unexpected part of the ceremony for them as most people there had never been to a Celebrant led wedding before.

“Mr and Mrs Davies, thank you so much for inviting me to share in your very special day; it was a sensationally joyous ceremony, in your own inimitable style! Lots of fun, humour, and also incredibly moving. It was totes fabulous! A ravishingly beautiful bride; a joyous, touching, poignant, different, heartwarming, at times hilarious and completely joyful occasion. A fun and very touching ceremony…” Amanda Jannings

 Celebrant Manchester | Alternative Weddings | Quirky Weddings|Unity Ceremonies When it came to the part where the couple usually sign their certificate, you guessed it, they wanted to do things differently in their own style, and instead of signing they had an open lap-top and changed their Facebook status from single to married. I love it when people realise that they can have the ceremony of their dreams. One that includes everything that they want, with no pressure on time or inflexibility on what can be said or done. It’s a bit of a light bulb moment for some and you can see their creativity begin to surface and their delight in being able to create a ceremony that really is about them.

Celebrant Manchester | Alternative Weddings | Quirky Weddings|Unity Ceremonies Their recessional Music was Wagner’s Bridal march which the DJ quickly changed to Happy by Pharrell Williams and they danced their way back down the aisle to thunderous applause and cheering from their guests.  They really are made for each other, so well suited and what a happy home for their family to grow in. It was an amazing day that I felt privileged to be asked to share, we remain in contact and I love reading about their exploits on Facebook. One last joke? The guests flash-danced their first dance with YMCA, which Gavin took great delight in, he knew the routine by heart…

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Kind Words

Liz you were amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of planning the ceremony with you,  nothing was too much trouble and it was unique and personal to us.  Your words reflected our personalities perfectly and we will remember it fondly for the rest of our lives”.

Thank you

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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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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