My Big Fat Beautiful Wedding Ceremony

The marketing gurus are telling us to make use of this time by writing blog posts telling everyone how fabulous we are and how we can help. I certainly want to help, but at the moment, I want to cheer myself up, so I’m going to share the memory of my first-ever wedding ceremony as a qualified celebrant.

Picture the scene. It was New Year’s Eve. The sky outside was clear. There were art-deco decorations everywhere, to fit the wedding’s 1920s theme. The guests filed into a Regency style conservatory with a circular shape that made it a wonderfully intimate venue for a wedding.  Exotic plants rested against the window panes and every so often, you’d hear the screech of a parakeet. What a perfect place for my first wedding ceremony.

The bride floated up the aisle towards her husband to be and I’m waiting for them, mic and book in hand, in front of a table garlanded with candles and flowers.

After opening words were spoken, it was time for me to begin telling the couple’s love story. The love story is the independent celebrant’s calling card. It’s a unique gift that we give to each couple, as a way of celebrating their relationship.

I told a story that charted the relationship of this young couple, who have grown together over many years. They were a couple full of humour and banter, which made their story easy to write – they gave me the best lines. People laughed in the right places, and when I reached the proposal, everyone cheered.

Lighting of Candles

After that, I toned the mood down a bit, to pay tribute to the loved ones the couples had lost and to allow them to be present in some way on the day. The pictures of those loved ones were on the table, to mark their presence, with a candle in front of them. I lit the candle to honour their memory. After the ceremony, people told me they were moved by the ritual.

Later on in the ceremony, more candles were lit for the unity candle ceremony. The mothers of the bride and groom lit the outside candles in the beautiful floral arrangement created by Fethard Flowers. Later on, the couples took the light from the outside candles and used them to light the centre candle, to show that they were now one.

The couple lit candles to show that they were now one. Photo Credit: Lopez Photography.

Handfasting Ceremony

The true highlight of the ceremony for me was the handfasting. I bound the couple’s hands with cord in the GAA colours of their counties: the green and white of Limerick, the blue and gold of Tipperary. There was lots of good-natured banter from the couple and the audience about that ancient hurling rivalry.

After I tied their hands, I placed my own hands over theirs and recited a poem called Hands. For me, it was a profound, moving moment. The work I spoke were reminding the couple that they would be together, always supporting each other, for the rest of their lives.

A moving handfasting ritual. Photo Credit: Lopez Photography

This was what all the fuss and rushing around had been for. I don’t know what the couple were thinking, but judging by the expression on their faces, they were even more moved than I was.

After the ceremony, I was floating. What a privilege it was to play a small part in this wondrous event and to be present at such an amazing moment in the life of this couple. The room vibrated with love and joy, and I thought, I cannot wait to do more of this.

Congrats again to the stunning bride, @valeriedromey and her husband Michael.

I would be delighted to play my part in your joyous wedding day. I know times are difficult, but better days will come, and if you feel I can be of help in planning yours, email info@celebrantderv.ie

Big up to the suppliers who made this wedding possible, and wishing them well during this strange time.

Fethard Flowers By Mandy

Treble and Bass

Beauty Atelier @beautyatelier.irl

Lopez Photography, @lopezphotography.ie

Sonic Big Band @sonicbigband

And most of all… Kilshane House, @kilshanehouse

Ceremonies and the Coronavirus

The escalation of the Coronavirus outbreak and the measures being taken to curb it have blown away my plans for this week’s blog post. I want to say instead that my heart goes out to all those affected by the Coronavirus outbreak and their families. And my heart goes out to all the people who have had to cancel baby naming, wedding and vow renewal ceremonies.

But this too shall pass, and when it does, celebrants like me can help you plan your rescheduled ceremonies. In the meantime, I want to say that I’m here to help couples who planned a wedding ceremony abroad and have now been grounded. I can put together a ceremony for you at very short notice and deliver it to you in any venue in South-East Ireland. Once your gathering is small, I’ll be only too delighted to help you make your dreams come true.

And to my fellow celebrants, let’s sit tight and help our clients and each other in any way we can. If you find you can’t deliver a ceremony because you have an underlying condition and don’t want to be exposed, I can step in for you. Or if you want advice on how to write a ceremony at short notice, I’ll be happy to draw on my writing background to give you tips.

In the meantime, I’m coming up with creative ways to spread the word about my celebrancy online. Who knows – they may lead to a big boom in virtual ceremonies!

If you’ve got any questions at all about organising ceremonies in these testing times, contact me, Derbhile, on 00 353 87 6959799.

Why I Really Love Being A Celebrant

You could describe being a celebrant as a journey. Many people do. But to me, a journey involves a car, a train or a plane. I prefer to think of celebrancy as a quest. On a quest, you set out to find something that’s very valuable, and you discover important things about yourself along the way. I’ve discovered the things that I love about being a celebrant and the benefits it brings to me and to the people I work with. And it’s been very exciting.

Here are just a few of the things I love about being a celebrant.

I can create moments of wonder

As a celebrant, I’m privileged to witness the most amazing moments in people’s lives. And my ceremonies are designed to help people experience the wonder of those moments. You can see light dawn on their faces as they realise what this ceremony actually means. They are committing to this person for the rest of their lives. They have brought a new person into the world, a person with a brilliant future ahead of them. They are vowing to deepen their commitment to each other. That’s what all the fuss is all about.

My words can make a difference

I love words and I love telling stories. Being a celebrant gives me the chance to tell brilliant stories, stories of love, faith, hope and courage. I love writing words that make each ceremony unique and that help people to express their true feelings for each other. And I love saying those words on the day of the ceremony. With my words, I can bring joy and comfort to people at the most important times in their lives. It’s amazing to know that my words can have a real impact on people’s lives.

Here I am, getting ready for another celebrant adventure (Photo Credit: Dermot Byrne Photography)

It broadens my outlook as a person

As a celebrant, I’m working with people from a wide range of backgrounds, who have different values from me. People who choose a celebrant for their marriage often embrace alternative lifestyles. They have different ideas about what makes up a family. They make ethical life choices, like the choice to be vegan or completely green. I’m very curious about the different ways that people live their lives. And I value the opportunity to see the world from a different point of view.

I get to have adventures

A good quest always has an element of adventure to it, and celebrancy is full of adventures. They’re adventures of the mind, the heart and the spirit, which are my favourite kind. I work from home, so I’m delighted that my celebrancy work gets me out beyond the four walls. I meet extraordinary people and get a glimpse into their world. And I have the chance to travel beautiful, scenic places. I always leaving a ceremony exhilarated by the richness of the experience.

I’m hoping to keep on adventuring and carrying on with my celebrant quest. If you’d like to be part of that quest, drop me a line on info@celebrantderv.ie.

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