Ceremonies

Ceremonies

There are a number of different ceremonies that an independent celebrant can provide for you

Weddings

children 1This is the most important day of your life.

 

Many couples today are now choosing an Independent Celebrant to conduct their wedding ceremony following their legal marriage in a church or registration office.

Those couples who select an Independent Celebrant are then able to create a bespoke and personal ceremony befitting their faith or social back ground.

A wedding ceremony conducted by an Independent Celebrant enables you to create an event that is uniquely yours. I will give the utmost respect to the beliefs and values you cherish and help you ensure that they are reflected in the words, readings, rituals and music you choose together for your wedding ceremony.

It may be a traditional English ceremony or include modern extras. The ceremonies I create can be formal or informal;  religious or non-religious; but should reflect your wishes and dreams. My services are considerably more personal and memorable than those permitted by the church or registration office.

Multi Faith Weddings

With the diversity of living and the many different  faiths practiced within the UK  couples are falling in love with men and women outside of their own faith. These couples are placed in the compromising position and face the dilemma of which type of ceremony to have. Whether the couple are Catholics, Hindus, Sikh or Muslim they may not be permitted to marry in their own religious premises.

As an independent celebrant I am not bound by rules of faith. I would be delighted to create a bespoke ceremony that interweaves and mixes the main elements from each faith into a truly meaningful and satisfying ceremony for both the couples and their respective families.

Mixed Culture

Again diversity of living in this country and travel abroad means couples are meeting and falling in love with men and women of different nationalities and from overseas! This creates a challenge as to where a ceremony will take place, often resulting in an overseas marriage followed by a renewal of vows in this country on return.

Also some couples wish to incorporate elements of the traditions associated with the ‘others’ country into their ceremony here in England. I would be delighted to create a bespoke ceremony that interweaves and mixes the main elements from each culture into a truly meaningful and satisfying ceremony for both the couples and their respective families.

 

Getting Married in your Hearts

Some couples resent the control of the law in matters of the heart and shun legal marriage. These couples prefer to have a Handfasting, which whilst very significant and meaningful to them has no legal status.

However a marriage is made in the hearts of two people and takes a lifetime to fulfil! Nobody can marry a couple except themselves and the promises and vows they make to each other should be made in their hearts. Only a couple can seal the promise of a marriage to each other and only a couple can bind it. No power vested in the clergy or a registrar can truly bind a couple’s hearts. This is why so many couples are now choosing to be married in private ceremonies or to be Handfasted.

 

Renewal of Vows

Celebrating your love hours, days, weeks, months or years after your legal marriage.

Renewal of vows take place for a number of reasons not least to celebrate your marriage with a wedding celebration any where in any style and at any place of your choosing, free from the restrictions of the legal options.

Couples often choose a renewal of vows following a difficult transition in their marriage maybe due to infidelity or illness. A couple may have  elopement or married overseas   and thus now want  include family and friends who were unable to attend or were not invited to the legal ceremony!

Renewal of vows Wedding ceremony can also take place following a simple Registration Office marriage at a convenient time close to your legal marriage . Once legally married the couple may then choose to celebrate their wedding with a Renewal of Vows at almost any location they like!

The ceremony offers the opportunity for the couple to create a unique and beautiful bespoke event in the manner of their choice. They can be held in their own home, garden or special place of significance.

renewal vows 1Anniversary Renewal of Vows

There is no better way to mark a Silver, Ruby, Golden, or Diamond wedding anniversary than to celebrate with a renewal of vows ceremony  to celebrate their special anniversary by restating their commitment and love for each other.and to present the couple with a commemorative marriage certificate.

Planning such a celebration as a relative or a good friend of the couple will ensure they have a memorable day and something they will treasure and want to keep.

 

Marrying overseas and celebrating at a later date

Arranging a renewal of vows  following your legal marriage abroad may be an option that allows you to fulfil your dreams  of marring abroad ,with just the two of you. You may later decide to  celebrate with family and friends who had no chance of sharing your happy day at the time. A renewal of vows will allow you to recreate a ceremony and make it a focal part of a celebration party in England.

These ceremonies have no legal status.

Naming Ceremony

 

To welcome a new arrival into the family-The possibilities are endless

For those parents with little or no faith this is a very lovely modern way of welcoming and naming a child and becomes a personal and meaningful way of celebrating the birth of a new baby with family and friends.

A new child in the family is worthy of a happy and meaningful celebration, Through the promises you make, you share your love, dedication, hope and dreams for your child. Parents can welcome their child into the world with a ceremony that respects the family’s spiritual, religious or cultural background while also including other elements. A naming is not a legal ceremony.

 Guiding adults are chosen who make pledges along with the child’s parents, grandparents and great grandparents in a joint celebration. The words are very meaningful and parents have a number of selected vows to make, supporting the child as they grow and mature.

Special ‘naming gifts’ can be presented and a personalized candle lit to commemorate the occasion. You can choose the music, poems and other rituals and have a book for your guests to sign. At the end of the ceremony. if you are in a hotel or at home you could include the cutting of a ceremonial cake, and make a toast to the named child. You may choose to  plant a commemorative rose bush or tree in your garden. Other children can become involved with a balloon or dove release,

Whilst you may not seek a traditional church Christening for your child you are perfectly free to include prayers or hymns or any religious or spiritual elements you wish. Some parents do chose one Godparent to offer religious guidance.

Many parents wait until their child’s first birthday to hold this celebration and present gifts. A joint 1st birthday and naming is a joyful occasion and will naturally involve newly made friends and acquaintances who may well become significant friend during your child’s life.

Cloud 9 Ceremonies can help you create a celebration with a real sense of occasion

A naming ceremony can welcome adopted and step children.

 Naming ceremonies can be held in the intimacy of your own home or garden

baby hand 1

“We will offer our friendship, support and guidance without condition or judgement.”

We promise to give you roots to keep you grounded, and wings to give you  freedom”

 

ORDER of CEREMONY

                         ~

Introduction & Welcome

Explanation of Name

Reading or Poem

Promises for Parents

Promises for Guardians

Promises for Grandparents

Reading or Poem

Words & Thanks

Signing of a Ceremonial Certificate

 

 NAMING DAY READINGS on Google

Baby's 1st Birthday

1st birthday boy

Many parents wait till their child’s first birthday to celebrate with family and new friends. It is an ideal opportunity to select guiding adults and to name your child in a joint celebration.

A special naming gift can be presented and a personalized candle lit to commemorate the occasion.

Handfasting

handfasting 1During Handfasting a couple are symbolically bound together to demonstrate their commitment to one another. Handfasting traditionally takes place at the engagement celebration or wedding ceremony but can be performed at any time for any couple, married or not.

The couple make poignant and meaningful pledges or vows to one another, following ancient traditions. It is neither pagan nor Christian but has its roots in Celtic history.

Prince William and his bride Kate were Handfasted together in St. Pauls Cathedral.

CALLING THE ELEMENTS

The idea of four elements is derived from ancient Greek philosophy and they are Earth, Fire, Air and Water. Each is represented on an ‘altar’or table as salt, candle light, a bell and water and in this ceremony, each in turn is called upon to cast blessings upon the couple.

The ritual is designed to enable us to connect with the life force within ourselves, to sense the interconnection of all life, and to access the energies of the living earth.

According to Celtic Spirituality, God is found in all things, not only the human heart, but also in all of God’s creations

Check out my hand fasting page for lots more detail.

Beach Ceremony

beach ceremony 1

Coastal beach weddings held in the great outdoors are an increasingly popular choice of wedding location for many couples.

Cloud9ceremonies specialises in Beach Ceremonies and can help turn your sandy dream wedding vision into a reality…

take a look at the Beach Weddings page

Commitment / Engagement

These ceremonies are not historically common in this country, but increasingly couples are celebrating their engagement to each other by having a simple short ceremony at their official engagement party.

A ceremony of this sort is an ideal way to include family and friends in the announcement.

Nowadays a Handfasting is increasingly becoming part of an engagement ceremony.

If a couple choose an engagement celebration with Handfasting they could, at a later date, when married, renew their pledges and maybe perform other bonding rituals such as the Loving Cup, Jump the Broom or a full ceremony with Elemental Blessings.

love rings

Civil Partnerships

Civil partnerships are a legal recognition of the relationship between two people of the same sex.

This partnership gives same sex couples similar rights to those of married heterosexual couples.

There is NO legal requirement for the couple to have a ceremony. They merely have to read a legal declaration and sign the schedule in the presence of the civil partnership registrar and two credible witnesses.

Many couples however choose to celebrate their union with each other along the lines of a traditional wedding ceremony.

Working with you both I would be delighted to create a bespoke ceremony for you complete with any vows and pledges you desire and this can involve your family and friends with poetry, singing and live music etc.

In this way your civil partnership can be celebrated in any form you wish, traditional or contemporary.

Divorce Ceremony

For as long as love shall last

The purpose of this ceremony is to create freedom from sadness, hurt and loss of self worth, having been stuck in a union of misery. This  poignant ceremony is created with you both to undo the vows made in marriage, which often still hold a couple together and prevent them from moving on.

The desired effects of the ceremony and planning is to have a mutual respect and acceptance of the situation and to acknowledge that you are released from your past lives. Together, you acknowledge your freedom from the anger and pain to live in harmony, and consideration of your children.

A ceremony can be created to include any children.

All agree to be fair and kind to one another and they symbolically break the wedding vows made on their wedding day thus releasing them to start upon a new life path.

Your divorce ceremony can  include poems and readings and be a celabration of your civil parting. You could create a joint symbol for your divided togetherness with your children for a truly a psychologically healing ceremony for all the family.

red divorce“I honour our role as parents to our beautiful children, and declare my willingness to co-parent them responsibly and lovingly.  I will honour the importance of this role that we share. I wish you well on your path that is now to be separate from mine. May you know peace and happiness.”

You were (7) years a-courting
Then marriage took it’s course
It didn’t work, so here’s wishing you
A long and happy divorce

Jon Bratton © 2005

There are many divorce poems on Google

mini ceremonies...

To make your day even more special why not add some additional symbolic elements to your ceremony, to make it even more memorable. The following are examples of such ‘extras’ that you might like to include.

mini ceremonies...

…jumping the broom

mini ceremonies...

…cake and ale

mini ceremonies...

…sand ceremony

Children involved in the ceremony

Children in ceremonies

If either the bride or the bridegroom has children from a previous marriage, or if they already have children together, it’s important to include them in the wedding to show their importance to the couple’s future.

Children can be included in many different ways. A perfect way to show them that they are an important part of their parents’ lives is to give them a role on your big day. I would be very happy to discuss with you how this can be done.

Loving Cup & Eating Cake

The Celebrant invites the couple to drink from a Loving Cup.

Each drinks separately and then  holds the cup so that the other may drink. They then each eat ‘cake’ .

cake and ale 1

This symbolically seals their vows, symbolizing the need for a balance between apartness and togetherness in their future life together.

Traditionally Cake is eaten and Ale is drunk but couples have chosen an assortment of beverages ranging from water, lager and champagne to a cup of tea!

Others come with cake, shortbread, biscuits…. the choice is yours!

Jumping the Broom

jumping broom 2The couple may choose to Jump the Broom!

This symbolizes the effort required to make a committed relationship work.

The broom jumping is a bit of light heartedness at the end of the main ceremony and is a practical reminder that married life is not all romance but also requires the sharing of chores and housework!

The bridegroom may carry his new wife over the broom or they can jump it together as a couple, signifying a new beginning.

Unity Candle

Many couples are now choosing to light candles symbolising their union in marriage and the merging and joining of their two families.

Candles can be lit at any suitable time during the ceremony, depending on who is going to participate. If mothers are involved it can be done prior to the bride’s arrival or if children are involved it can be lit following the exchange of rings.

Traditionally, three candles are used-a large central one and two side candles.

The couple’s mother’s may each light one of the side candles. The bride and bridegroom then each take one of the side candles and together light the central candle. They may then blow out their individual side candles to symbolize the extinguishing of their two single lives.

However it is rather lovely if the candles burn throughout the ceremony to indicate that their individuality is not extinguished, even though they are united in marriage.

The lighting of the candle can be accompanied by music or singing and many variations of this ritual can be adopted.

The candles can be specially decorated with the date of the wedding and names of the participants.

Words can be exchanged and the celebrant can include words of explanation as the lighting occurs.

Children may also be included :

Each child could light their own candle with their name on, if they wish, and join in lighting the central candle.

Sand Ceremony

sand ceremony 1If your wedding ceremony is being performed on the beach, you could partake of a Sand Ceremony.

This involves each of you scooping up a little sand from the beach using a shell and then together pouring the sand into another container where it will symbolise your union by merging together.

The combined sand makes a wonderful wedding keepsake for the bride and bridegroom and a constant reminder of their promises on their wedding day.

“The life that each of you have experienced until now, individually, will hereafter be inseparably united, for the two shall become one. Just as these grains of sand from this beach can never be separated again, your lives are now intertwined” 

To include children:

Each child can have their own shell and can pour some sand into the couple’s shared vessel.
or  children can scoop sand and pass it to their parents.

Exchange Rings

Significance of the rings

Rings often have a significant history, such as the creation of new rings from old gold jewellery or the inheriting of the rings from relatives. Some couples have actually attended classes and made the rings themselves. A story of any such significance could be told prior to their exchange.

Some couples do not have the actual ring. A substitute is used, and again an explanation is required as to why the bride is receiving (for example) a plastic Mickey Mouse ring or the bridegroom a ‘washer’ ring!

Whether the ring is made of precious metals or is plastic it will be worthy of a word to the assembled guests!

ring shell 1

The ancient and traditional way of sealing a wedding contract is by the giving and receiving of rings and most couples choose to mark their Wedding or Handfasting in this way.

The rings are symbols of lasting commitment and enduring love. Before the couple actually exchange the rings they may like to pass them around amongst their guests.

This is an opportunity for family members and guests to not only admire the rings but also to add their own personal blessing and wishes.

As the rings pass they may like to use this time for quiet reflection and prayer.

To include Children:

-The children could pass the rings around the room and shepherd the ring cushion.

Lock of Hair

hair lock 1

Whilst it does not appeal to everyone some couples cut off a lock of each other’s hair and place in a silver box or vial to be worn around the neck.

This symbolizes their future relationship, one as intimate as the mixing of their hair.