Last week, I started my video blog series of ceremony readings with a powerful wedding reading. Today, it’s the turn of baby naming readings, and I’m sharing another profound reading from the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran.
You may have heard The Prophet (Let there be spaces in our togetherness) at weddings. On Children is also hugely popular, and it’s a favourite at baby naming ceremonies. Gibran’s big theme is freedom, the idea that if we love someone, we’ll set them free.
That’s a powerful message, especially today, when we’re bombarded on all sides with voices telling us to wrap our children in cotton wool. By choosing this reading for your baby naming, you’re giving your child a gift, the freedom to be who they are.
Here I am reading the first verse of On Children. Have a listen and let yourself be enriched by the words of Kahlil Gibran.
A hugely popular baby naming reading.
I’ve got lots of ideas to make your baby naming creative, authentic and unique. Take a look at my baby namings page to find out what you can expect.
For the next four weeks, I’m going to be doing a video blog series where I’ll be sharing some beautiful readings you can choose for your ceremonies. There’s such a range of readings available, it can send your head into a spin when you’re trying to choose. I’m hoping these video blogs will make it easier for you to choose a reading that fits your ceremony.
I’m going to feature one reading for each of the four main ceremonies I offer. This week, it’s wedding reading, from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. This reading is a favourite at weddings and includes the well-known line, ‘Love is patient and kind.’
But there’s another section of that reading which I think goes even deeper in expressing love. It’s unapologetic in declaring that without love, we are nothing. ‘If I give away all my possessions and hand over my body, but do not have love, I gain nothing,’ it states. If you’re going to be declaring your undying love on your wedding day, you may as well go hard or go home.
I’ve also chosen this biblical reading because I want you to know that even though your wedding isn’t happening in a church, your ceremony can still be spiritual in tone. As an independent celebrant, I have the flexibility to deliver a ceremony that fits your beliefs. You can choose entirely spiritual readings or a mix of spiritual and secular readings – it’s up to you.
If you want to find out what else I can offer you at your wedding ceremony, check out my Weddings page.
So, here’s me reading the extract from St Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians. Hope you find it as moving as I do.
This video shows me reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.
If you’d like me to help you choose beautiful readings for your special day, give me a call on 087 6959799. And if you want to find out more about my wedding ceremonies, here’s my Weddings page.
In the next few months, I’m going to be delivering virtual wedding ceremonies to couples via Zoom. I never imagined when I qualified that I would be officiating virtual ceremonies. And I’m sure many couples never imagined they’d be celebrating their special days on a screen either. But when it’s a straight choice between spending the day dwelling on what might have been and marking the day with joy, most people will choose joy.
If you’re choosing joy and choosing a Zoom wedding, it’s important to get one thing out of the way. It’s not going to be the same as your wedding day. That day will come, if you have a new date fixed. This ceremony is just a way to keep the dream of your wedding alive, and to remind yourselves that in these strange times, your love remains strong.
Your Zoom wedding will still be meaningful.
You can dress up in your wedding clothes. Your loved ones will be there to celebrate – from a distance. Zoom allows you to invite up to 100 people to a meeting, so you’ll have an audience. And your Zoom wedding will include all the ingredients that make a wedding ceremony special. They’ll just be modified for the virtual world.
Preparing for Your Ceremony
I know you’re probably worried about the technology and whether it will let you down. That’s why we’ll have a rehearsal before your virtual ceremony, to iron out any kinks. We’ll check your connection, your sound and your lighting. Lighting can be really tricky. You want daylight but you don’t want too much glare. A lot of problems can be solved by drawing the curtains or pegging a sheet to a window. As long as you can be seen in all your glory, that’s what matters.
Next comes the question: to record or not to record. When we’re planning your Zoom wedding, I’ll ask you if you want it recorded. If you say yes, then just before the ceremony starts, I’ll tell all your guests that the ceremony is being recorded for posterity. If they don’t want to be part of the recording, I can turn off their screens so they won’t be seen.
Virtual ceremonies are just as much about the look as about the words. Why not decorate the room where you’ll be for the ceremony just as you would dress the ceremony room in a hotel? You can also ask your guests to dress up according to a theme. One celebrant on a celebrant forum I’m part of shared her experience of officiating an Easter wedding where all the guests were asked to wear yellow.
Now, let’s talk about the day of your Zoom wedding. What will happen?
In the real world, you’d make a grand entrance, either together or alone, with your partner waiting. For your Zoom wedding, you’ll be the first ones invited to the Zoom room, and you’ll wait for your guests to join you.
All your guests will be put on mute, to cut down any background noise that might spoil the atmosphere. Only your screen will be left unmuted, because you are the heroes of the house. I’ll let your guests know that they’ll be on mute.
Readings will come across well on Zoom. You can involve one of your guests by asking them to deliver the reading. I’ll send you a selection of readings the way I would for a real-world ceremony, and then you pick one and choose someone you know will be comfortable with reading it.
You can carry out rituals online the way you would in the real world. You can light candles for a unity candle ceremony or you can do a handfasting if you have someone else in the house to tie the ribbons for you. If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, you can gather sand for a sand ceremony.
A couple of fun, low maintenance rituals you can do include blowing bubbles to make a wish and giving each other a rose as a symbol of eternal love. And everyone will see you doing the rituals. You’ll be in Gallery View on Zoom, which means all eyes will be on you.
As we’ve probably all experienced, music can be tricky on Zoom. It’s probably easier not to have music at your Zoom wedding, for copyright reasons as well as reasons of sound.
But if your professional musician is willing, you could ask them to play you a song at the start and the end of the ceremony. Or you could ask a musical member of your family to play or sing for you.
The End of The Ceremony
I’ll pronounce you married in whatever way you wish, just as I would in a real-world ceremony. Then a lovely way to round off a Zoom wedding is to ask everyone to raise a glass for you, to toast your future happiness. It’ll finish your ceremony on a festive note. I’ll then leave the meeting and let you all get on with chatting to each other, so you can keep the party going a little while longer.
If you want to find out more about how to organise a Zoom wedding, you can call me on 00 353 87 6959799 or email email@example.com.
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 Ceremony 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org