My Wonderful Week of Celebrancy

Marketing experts advise you that your blog posts should be SEO friendly. They should solve problems for people and educate people about the big world of celebrancy, and that’ll make it easy for Dr Google to find them. I’m happy to follow that advice most of the time, but sometimes I just need to let rip and share the joy of my job.

This is just such a week. I did have a sensible blog post planned, and I’ll bring that to you next week, but this week, I want to celebrate. It’s been a wonderful week in my life as an independent celebrant, the biggest week since I qualified. And it’s not over yet.

In these strange times, it’s hard to find the balance between carrying on with your business and being sensitive to the stress people are under. But I wanted to share my success with you, to show that even in these times, there is still cause for celebration. It’s okay to be happy. And it’s okay to dream of better times to come.

So, here’s a rundown of my big, wonderful celebrant week.

Monday – Flagging Celebrant Directory Blog

I put up a boast on social media about the fact that I’m to be a guest blogger on The Celebrant Directory on Friday. I thought I’d generate a bit of excitement about the blog post first, and I got lots of lovely comments on social media. I started to feel like an influencer!

Tuesday – Got Local Media Coverage

I was featured in an article in one of my local papers, the Waterford News and Star. I was interviewed by the lovely Dymphna Nugent (the_english_teacher_ on Instagram) for a column called Well Said, where local people reflect on life and what makes them tick. As someone who grew up in a large family, I welcome any chance to talk about myself without interruption! And I was delighted to have the chance to share my passion for all things celebrant.

Wednesday – Booked A Wedding

I confirmed a booking for a wedding! This has been bubbling for a little while. Through this fine website, I was contacted by a couple living in America who are already legally married. They’re planning a wedding in October in a rather lovely hotel called Barnabrow House in East Cork, near the groom’s home town. I’ll be sharing all the details with you as they evolve. We’re being optimistic that everything will happen as planned – we’re daring to dream.

This is a picture of Barnabrow House in Midleton, East Cork, where I’m planning to deliver an autumn wedding ceremony.
Photo Credit: Barnabrow House

Thursday – Virtual Vow Renewal

Amazing how all your ships come in at once. I made an arrangement to do a virtual vow renewal in early June. I’ll be at my home near the sea in Tramore, Co. Waterford, and this couple will be in a forest clearing in West Cork with their children, many miles away. But my ceremonial words will reach them through the magic of Zoom.

Friday – Guest Blog Post Day

Friday 1 May is the schedule date for my blog post on The Celebrant Directory. I’ll have access to zillions of eyeballs on this site, which is an international directory of celebrants. It also offers marketing tips and inspiration to celebrants. I’m hoping that my post, a shinier version of the post I wrote for this blog about legal wedding ceremonies in Ireland, will add to that vibe of inspiration. I’ll stick up a link to it on this blog tomorrow so you won’t miss it.

If you are missing a chance to celebrate big occasions with your family, I’d love to help you find ways around it. These special moments deserve to be marked, and planning a celebration will give you something to look forward to. You can email me on info@celebrantderv.ie or call 087 6959799.

How to Fill Your Secular Ceremony With Meaning

Last week, I talked about how to add spirituality to your ceremony. But spirituality isn’t for everyone. So, this week, I’ve decided to concentrate on secular ceremonies, which I’m also delighted to offer as an independent celebrant.

I believe a secular ceremony is just as meaningful. It gives you the freedom to be true to who you are and to share the values are important to you, whether that’s friends and family, nature or creativity. And above all, you get to show people how much you love each other.

In this week’s blog post, I’m going to share some rituals, readings and music that I hope will inspire you to plan the perfect secular ceremony.

Ideas for Readings

There’s a wealth of beautiful literature that you can dip into for ceremony readings, poems that eloquently express your deepest feelings. You can go for a classic poem from Shakespeare, Dickinson or Yeats, or try a fresh, modern voice like Raymond Carver or ee cummings.

This is a quote from a poem by ee cummings, which is popular at weddings and vow renewals.
A quirky poem by ee cummings, which expresses love in an offbeat way. Suitable for any ceremony, but particularly weddings.

Plenty of people write poems specifically for ceremonies, like ‘A Message to My Child by Jessica Weslock’, which is popular for baby namings. I’m also dying to show people poems written by writer friends of mine. If they choose those poems, that can be sure that those poems will be completely new to the people who attend your ceremony.

Meaningful Rituals

We all need rituals in our lives, no matter what your beliefs are. Rituals are as old as time, and they’re powerful symbols of love, unity and family. You can choose a ritual for your ceremony that fits with who you are. Wedding rituals like sand ceremonies and unity candle ceremonies are a powerful reminder that you are now united.

Rituals for baby namings like creating a memory box or planting a tree help you make memories. You can then share those memories with your child as they grow up. And at a funeral, you can find comfort in rituals like offering gifts and lighting candles, which show that your loved one’s light will never go out.

If you want to find out what rituals you can avail of, hop onto my ceremonies page. Then pick the ceremony you’re most interested in finding out about.

Musical Moments

Music adds joy to a wedding or baby naming ceremony and can bring great comfort to mourners at a funeral. For a secular ceremony, your choice is wide open. You can be guided by your own musical tastes, whether you like a heartfelt guitar ballad, a dramatic song from the musicals or even some heavy metal!

For traditionalists, the sweet strains of classical music can add a touch of class to your ceremony. At the end of a baby naming I officiated, we all sang ‘The Bare Necessities.’ What a glorious way to end the ceremony!

I would be only too happy to chat to you about your secular ceremony. Being an independent celebrant gives me a brilliant excuse to chat about poetry, music and candles.

Drop me an email on info@celebrantderv.ie

How To Add Spirituality To Your Non-Religious Ceremony

The thing I love about being an independent celebrant is that I have the flexibility to cater for all faiths and none. If you’re religious, a church ceremony will be really fulfilling for you. If you’re a non-believer, a humanist celebrant or state registrar will deliver a ceremony free of any mention of God, the spirit or belief.

But what if you fall somewhere in between? That’s where an independent celebrant like me comes in. We put no restrictions on what you want to include in your ceremony. You can use any wordings you like and pick the music that makes your soul sing. You’re in the driving seat. You get to decide how spiritual you want your ceremony to be. Your ceremony may not be happening in a church, but it can be full of spiritual meaning just the same.  

So, how can you add spiritual touches to your non-religious ceremony? In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the different sections of the ceremony where you can add a splash of spirituality.

Spiritual Readings

Readings are at the heart of any ceremony and they can capture the depth of our love in just a few words. The Bible is a rich source of readings that convey the sacredness of love. You may have heard quotes like ‘For everything there is a season’ or ‘Love is patient and kind.’ These come from the Bible.

This is a famous quote from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, a hugely popular reading at wedding ceremonies.

But you can draw inspiration from any spiritual background. The Celtic blessing, ‘May the Road Rise to Meet You’ fits well with any ceremony. The poetry of Kahlil Gibran is full of spiritual depth. ‘Your children are not your children’ and ‘Let there be spaces in our togetherness’ are popular choices for ceremonies.

Vows and Promises

Making solemn vows and promises is often a highlight of a religious ceremony, but you can also make these solemn promises in your non-religious ceremony with an independent celebrant like me.

You can be creative and make those vows your own, for example: I promise not get mad if my child spills paint on my favourite jacket. But you’re also free to choose more traditional wordings like ‘for better, for worse.’ You can trust those time-honoured words to reveal the true depth of your love.

Prayers and Blessings

Some people don’t want much spiritual input into their ceremony at all, but they may have religious relatives that they want to include. Asking them to say a prayer or give a blessing is a lovely way to involve them in the ceremony.

Letting your relative say a Hail Mary or give a traditional blessing shows that you value their contribution and you respect their beliefs. And they’ll feel honoured that you’ve made them part of your special day.  

Hymns and Songs

Music is a vital part of any ceremony. It lifts people’s hearts and it expresses emotions that go beyond words. There is a wide choice of spiritual music that you can include in your ceremony, from ancient sacred music to modern-day folk songs. If you have a favourite hymn or spiritual song, then feel free to include it in your ceremony running order.

You may love classic hymns like The Lord’s My Shepherd or Panis Angelicus. But did you know that Elvis sang lots of hymns like In My Father’s House Are Many Mansions. Why not add one of his for a rock and roll wedding with a spiritual touch.

I hope now you’ll see that your ceremony doesn’t have to happen in a church to be full of sacred moments. If you’d like some inspiration add spiritual touches to your non-religious ceremony, give me a call on 087 6959799.

Want to Know Where To Get Married In Ireland?

By Derbhile Graham

I feel lucky to live in a country as beautiful as Ireland. It’s a place of rugged coastline and mountains, often right next to each other. And that’s exactly what makes it a brilliant spot for a wedding. Some of these wedding locations are very well known, like the Cliffs of Moher and the Hill of Tara.

But what if you want a ceremony with a difference? What if you want to go off the beaten track?

In this blog post, I’m going to share some brilliant wedding locations with you that I’ve come across on my travels. They’re places that are a little off the beaten track, and perfect wedding locations for free thinking couples who like to do their own thing.

The Copper Coast, Co. Waterford

I’m going to start with a place that’s right in my own backyard. The Copper Coast is a stunning stretch of coastline that takes you from Tramore, where I live, to Dungarvan. Along the way, you’ll enjoy epic views of cliffs plunging down into hidden coves, with caves tucked into the cliff face. It’s called the Copper Coast because there was once a thriving copper mining industry in the area.

The Copper Coast’s history has been captured at the Copper Coast Geopark Visitor’s Centre, which makes a wonderfully intimate spot for a wedding if the weather isn’t kind to you. Or you can go wild and have your wedding or vow renewal ceremony on one of the little coves, just the two of you, with the rolling waves providing the soundtrack.

St Patrick’s Well, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

Now we’ll travel a little further inland to our next wedding location. St Patrick’s Well is another spot that’s dear to my heart, as I grew up a stone’s throw away. It’s been a sacred site for thousands of years, since Celtic times, but it’s also the site of a holy well and church dedicated to St Patrick.

The sacred site of St Patrick’s Well. Pic taken by me.

As soon as you go through the gate and head down the steps towards the well, you’ll be filled with a sense of peace. The air is still and the modern world falls away. You will be able to celebrate your love in a place steeped with history, and the ancient trees surrounding it make a beautiful backdrop for your photos.

Slieve League, Co. Donegal

We all know the Cliffs of Moher are stunning, but you’ll find equally stunning views on the Donegal coast, at the Slieve League cliffs. You’ll also be away from the crowds. Known as Sliabh Liag in Irish, these are the highest and most impressive cliffs in Europe. If you’re feeling really brave, you can stand at the very top of the cliffs, which plunge down to the wild Atlantic Ocean 600 metres below. Like St Patrick’s Well, Slieve League has been a sacred site for Celts and Christians for thousands of years.

Lough Gur, Co. Limerick

If you are drawn to pagan and Celtic spirituality, Lough Gur is the perfect wedding location for you. Lough Gur is home to one of Ireland’s largest stone circles, which were used for pagan worship. The lake and the gentle, rolling hills around it give you a mellow backdrop for your wedding ceremony. Your younger guests can enjoy the fairy trails around the lake. It’s a more peaceful alternative to the Hill of Tara, with the added advantage that you can have your ceremony by the water.

Want some ideas for Celtic wedding rituals? Check out my Weddings page.

Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

You’ll know the Guinness Storehouse as a tourist attraction – in fact it’s Dublin’s number-one tourist attraction. But did you know you can also get married there? You can have your wedding ceremony in the Gravity Bar which is right at the top of the building, giving you panoramic views of the city. Then afterwards, you can enjoy a complimentary pint of Guinness and toast your future happiness. If you’re an urban creature who’s more into city breaks than weekends in the wild, the Guinness Storehouse will be a cool choice for your ceremony.

I hope these ideas will inspire you, whether you’re living in Ireland or planning a destination from abroad. If you’re coming from abroad, don’t forget to sort out the legal arrangements before you come to Ireland for your dream destination wedding. If you’re looking for ideas for your dream wedding location, give me (Derbhile) a call on 087 6959799.

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