A Uniquely Traditional Wedding

Why would someone who wants a traditional wedding choose to have a celebrant – led wedding? And did it feel like a “real” wedding to everyone there? Read on:

“At the end of July I was celebrant for a gorgeous wedding in Haverfordwest, at Scolton Manor to be precise.

I first met Claire at a wedding fair. She wanted a marquee wedding but couldn’t find a venue which had a licensed marquee in her area, Haverfordwest. She had settled for a small legal ceremony in a hotel, family and close friends only, to be followed by a reception for over 100 in the marquee some 20 miles away. It wasn’t until we met at the wedding fair that Claire discovered how a celebrant wedding works, and was delighted to discover that she could have her wedding celebration ceremony where she wanted it after all. There were misgivings from her and her parents about whether this would feel like a “real” wedding, but we discussed what is at the core of a wedding ceremony…the making of vows as witnessed by friends and family. This is, of course what they would be doing, with the added joy of creating their own vows, making their ceremony truly unique.

I met with Claire and her fiancé Richard at Scolton Manor some months before the wedding. We discussed what they wanted on the day and I introduced them to some symbolic activities to enhance the ceremony. Many more decisions were made before the day by email and phone, and a number of versions of the ceremony were exchanged before all were happy! Claire and Richard wanted a representation of their relatives who had passed away and candles were lit in their memory. Richard’s children were also brought into the ceremony through sand pouring, which symbolizes the individuals coming together as a whole, inseparable family.

It was important to Claire to have a relaxed day which all would enjoy, so we decided to have the seating set as for the reception. This meant that all could see and hear as they could shuffle their chairs around if necessary without disturbing anyone. It also saved moving furniture around between the ceremony and reception.

The theme for the wedding was the seaside, with tables named after Pembrokeshire beaches and paraphernalia reminiscent of the sea scattered over the tables. There was even a Pembrokeshire coastal rowing boat on the grass beside the entrance! Also on the tables were bottles of wine ready for the reception. The couple decided that their guests could wait until after the ceremony to have a drink, although I noticed bottles of Budweiser circulating widely immediately before the event! (I declined!)

Claire entered the marquee, as radiant as any bride I’ve seen, on her father’s arm. Her bridesmaids and the grooms men sat on one side of the top table where we conducted the ceremony, and Claire and Richard sat on the other once Claire had been greeted by her fiancé. They didn’t stay seated for long however as they were busy lighting candles, pouring sand and exchanging vows and rings. As the ceremony progressed, we could all see the love shining between these two, as well as feel the warmth towards them emanating from all of those present.

The ceremony finished with the traditional kiss, and a certificate commemorating the day was signed by bridesmaids and best men.

As everyone went outside for photos, the mothers came to me and expressed their pleasure with how the ceremony had gone. One comment which made me happy was made by friends of the couple who said that I “obviously really believe in love”. Guess what? I really do, and the more of these ceremonies I perform the happier I’ll be; it’s such a privilege to be so deeply involved in the most important day of a couples’ life together.”

Claire has emailed her feedback on the event, which I’ll share here as well:

“We chose Treasured Ceremonies because we wanted to involve all our wedding guests into the ceremony but the place we originally wanted to get married wouldn’t cater for over 100 people. Thats when we met Helen and she made the process of the ceremony easy from start to finish. Every single detail was covered and every single little thing we requested Helen accommodated us.

The ceremony was beautiful and all of the little touches such as lighting candles for those no longer with us to pouring sand to show that we had become a family was perfect. We were very grateful and out of this world delighted with the service. We couldn’t have asked for anything or anyone better for our special day.

When Helen first said you can get married anywhere i didn’t believe her but with Helen and Treasured Ceremonies anywhere does actually mean anywhere.

Thank you very much Helen

Kind Regards

Mr and Mrs Lewis”