Vows & Venues.  Not only a great magazine, but as a wedding Celebrant, these are two of my favourite topics, so how do you say ‘I Do’ in the perfect venue for you?
Did you know that you can separate the legal aspect of registering your marriage and have your actual ceremony including your personal vows wherever you want, at a completely different time and place, whether at a licensed venue or not?

Currently, under English law, a Celebrant does not have the legal power to marry people (but we’re working on that!)  The simple facts are that by attending the Registry office, making your legal declaration (which is literally two questions) and signing the register in front of the Registrar makes you legally married!  This takes 10 minutes and you don’t need to exchange rings – you can leave this for your ceremony.   Some people find this hard to grasp at first, but when I explain that it is the same as registering the birth of a baby and then having a Christening or a Naming Ceremony on a different day – the penny drops. You don’t take 80 people along to sign the birth certificate do you?

 Using this approach and in search of the perfect venue, you then have the freedom to find a location that reflects your style and personalities.  Stately home and black tie? Beach wedding with sandy toes & salty kisses, or festival boho chic?  I’ve conducted ceremonies on the beach, on a canal side, in private gardens, on an air field (yes the bride arrived in a small plane!), and on a small island with guests looking across the water.  Your options are endless!

Jumping The Broom
Photograph: Ian Butler http://www.ianbutlerphotography.co.uk
You’ve Found the Venue – Now Those Vows!
This can be quite a daunting task.  For many people the thought of speaking in public brings on a cold sweat, but remember that ultimately the vows are just for you and your partner. What do you want to say to them?  Here’s a few tips:

  • Decide if you are going to write them together or keep them as a surprise.  If you choose to write them separately, consider a similar structure; if one set of vows is whacky and the other is loved up – one of you might end up upset!
  • Agree a similar word count.
  • Brainstorm!  What did you think when you first met? Include a story about when you knew they were ‘The One.’ Did they rescue you from a spider or care for you when sick? How has your life got better? What do you love about them? How have they made you a better person? Sum up your feelings.
  • What do you promise?  Don’t be afraid to include some humour, or put a twist on traditional vows, e.g. “I promise to love, cherish and honour you. I promise to make the bed and always kiss you when you are mad,” or “I promise to love you even during football season.”
  • End with the same line, e.g. “This is my vow,” or “I Love You”

My final bit of advice? Try not to worry too much about what other people want and concentrate on the vows and venues that create memories of a lifetime for you

Congratulations to Vows and Venues Midlands Magazine on their launch.  You can download this issue and all other issues of Vows & Venues Magazine here: http://vowsandvenues.org.uk/issues/
Contact details Justine Wykerd Celebrant Just Celebrations
Vows & Venues Midlands Magazine - Justine Wykerd of Just Celebrations in the press