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Most requested Ceremony dates

The most requested ceremony dates are not always the same date each year.   2018 appears to be a date in  August.  However, this year is was a date in June and last year a date in July and in 2015 it was an August date again.   There is no reason that we, Celebrants, can see for each date that appears popular for that particular year.20161023_69

Let me assure all the couples out there that are wanting the popular date of that particular year, we celebrants do have a network of colleagues that we can call upon or recommend if we get an enquiry for the popular date and we are already booked.  Before recommending them we always ask if they are available, and if so contact the next on the list and so forth,  But  if you wish to book us in particular. then you may have to be a little flexible on your time of the day so that we may accommodate both ceremonies without rushing.    Or maybe consider another date or the next day.   We do hate to disappoint couple who particularly wish us to conduct their ceremony and do everything possible to help.

At this moment in time I do have enquiries for this popular date, one of which was last year but no amount of correspondence has brought forth a deposit, which secures the date and time in my diary.   I know sometimes couples find it hard to pay everyone’s deposit so I do have a payment system, and the Bride to be assures me that she considers me booked!   I have written to her several times kindly telling her that I am not officially booked without her deposit or the start of the payment plan.   I have already turned down one other enquiry for the same date and now I have another enquiry so unfortunately I have to take the decision to look favourably on this new enquiry and if all goes well, and no reason why it should not, their deposit will be paid and it will be secured in my diary and no further ceremonies will be considered for that date and time.    It will be disappointing to have to tell the original enquirer that I can no longer perform her ceremony and I shall not look forward to doing so but without her deposit the date has not been secured.

I am only writing this to explain to others that they must make sure that the services of their preferred supplier is secured by paying their deposit.  No one likes to let people down but when it is a favoured date and with so many enquiries for that date you must secure us!

Unfortunately no one can predict which date will be the favourite for 2019 but enquiries are already coming in so make sure by paying that deposit.

Church Wedding and Handfasting

Every thought that you would have both a Church Wedding and Handfasting too?   Well that is just what a couple did last year.   I remember the first visit when they told me that the Handfasting, that they had engage me for, was to be held at the reception venue after the Church Wedding, AND they had invited the Vicar to attend too!  No pressure then!     I did ask why, and they said that they had recently discovered their spirituality but had already booked their wedding in the Church and they were friends of the Vicar so decided to go ahead with both.    At the first meeting I was blown away with what the couple wish for in their Handfasting ceremony. 20161023_68  They had already order the butterflies for a release but they had also booked Dove releasing too.20161023_50

Everything I suggested as options they decided they wish to have included making a very special ceremony indeed.    A full circle of the guest was at first what they wished for and this was to be outside the marquee on the lawn of their venue.   However, when discussing how it would all work it was decided that wet grass and ladies in high heels would20161023_60 not really mix so plan B was put into operation and a wooden gazebo at the venue was hired to house the two tables and for the ceremony.

On the day of the ceremony we arrived our usual one hour before the time of the ceremony, everyone was still in the Church across the road.   We set up the altar with the elements represented, we were given the beautiful cage of butterflies and met up with the people with the Doves and discuss the best place for their release so everyone could see it and, more importantly, the doves could fly in a circle over the heads of the guests.  Fortunately we had met the people before so we knew how they worked and what to expect, all of which was written into the script.

With everything ready and the Wedding singer warming up the guests started to arrive.  I soon realised that my couple had not told their guests that there was to be another ceremony and I gave up trying to stop everyone wandering into the sacred and cleanse ceremony area.   By the time the couple arrived all 200 guests had champagne in hand and suddenly realising that something else was going to happen!20161023_45

The only hitches that occurred were firstly the butterflies didn’t wish to fly out of their cage because the sun had started to go down and they were cold.  But actually it was a blessing in the end because those that did eventually fly out flew onto the couple and guests which thrilled everyone.   The other hitch was the fact that the couple had never tasted mead before, so when we did the bread and mead ceremony they loved it so much they drank it all down and the groom’s glass was empty when the photographer wanted to them to raise their glasses.  I had to quickly fill it up again.20161023_63

All the guests said how lovely and special the whole ceremony was and I think so much so because it was unexpected.

I am not sure if I will ever conduct another Handfasting straight after a Church Wedding again, but I have lovely memories of this one if I don’t.   Oh yes, the Vicar declined the invite!

Handfasting Venues

I am always looking around for lovely Handfasting Venues that couples will fall in love with and have everything that a spiritual ceremony needs.   As you may be aware Handfasting are, in general, held out in the nature, surrounded by nature.  So venues have to be in lovely setting and if beautiful too, even better.

On the top of a windy hill

On the top of a windy hill


I have already conducted Handfasting in the middle of Stonehenge, which was awesome and moving at sunrise. No one other than those invited. No visitors touring around the outside. Just us, the stones and the sunrise!

I have also conducted Handfastings on windy hilltops with the guests tents making their own little village.   In woods full of wonderful bluebell, which smell divine.  In parkland gardens with cobbled stonewalls.

Handfasting in a field

Handfasting in a field

In the middle a grass field which had a track and a circle mowed especially for the ceremony.   One in the lovely private garden, under a beautiful willow tree next to a stream which had a cute brick build bridge over for the party to cross to the ceremony area.


But apart from the fields and gardens there are other stone circles across the country and of course there is the Tor and Chalice Wells Gardens, where I will have the honour of conducting a Vow Renewal Handfasting Ceremony next year (2018) and also looking at one in the Avebury Circle too.

As I have already said I also conduct Handfastings in the fields of the Healing Weekend and will be there again next year.   So you see I go far and wide helping couples with their ideal Handfasting in their ideal part of their world and it is a real pleasure for me.

Also a pleasure for me is being able to announce that I have been talking to an established venue, which again is in the middle of nowhere, called The Lost Village of Dode.   This venue has a decommissioned church that they now use for weddings and which also doubles up for ceremony banquets.  Not only this they have made their own beautiful stone circle and called it Holly Henge.    This stone circle is down a slope away from the church and the whole overlooks more fields and nature, no other buildings in sight, it is truly amazing.   What is more amazing is that I am now a recommended Celebrant for this beautiful place and am now offering Handfastings in the middle of these stones.   I already have a couple very interested in having their ceremony there next year.   If you too would like to know more about Handfastings and also the venue of the lost village please do contact me.   Also if you know of any venue that would be lovely for Handfastings, or if you own such a venue, please do contact me so we can talk through how we can promote your venue and Handfastings together.

2018 Healing Weekend


On The Healing Weekend field

Ceremony Arch

The Healing Weekends in Somerset are an annual trip for us.  One that is so enjoyable for the Handfastings that we officiate and also because I, Sheila, also get to give Healing too.   Not many know but I am also a trained Healer with the Kent International Healing Association.   It is something that I have done for many years but generally only for family and friends.  Only in the recent years have I expanded to those that contact me through the KIHA website. On the Healing Weekend field we split our space so we have a lovely healing area, which also doubles as a space to chat about Handfastings with couples.  The rest is set up with leaflets and information about our work and  further on the field we have the ceremony area with flowered arch.



Although we were booked for this year’s (2017)Healing Weekend as usual, we had a very close relative’s Wedding to attend on that same weekend in Scotland.   After much searching and requests to our fellow FOIC trained celebrants, two very kind ladies offer to help us out.   The lovely Tanya and Wendy were both new to Celebrant work so it was an ideal opportunity for them to gain experience with Handfastings at a festival.   We of course gave them as much help as we possibly could and loaned much of our equipment too.  We really appreciated that they were continuing to offer Handfastings to the visitors of The Healing Weekend.  They also understood and were happy that we would take it up again in 2018.

So we are!  We have already been booked for next year’s Healing Weekend

and are so looking forward to being back on the field  doing what we love.  We are already receiving enquiries for the Handfastings, which is lovely!   So if you wish to book in for your Handfasting in 2018 please do get in touch quickly.

Hopefully we will see you on the field xxx

Port Lympne Wedding Fair, See you there!

We are going to be at the Port Lympne Wedding fair on Sunday 5th March 2017.

Port Lympne 5th March 2017

This is an amazing venue, not only

Steps in the garden at Port Lympne Hotel

Steps in the garden at Port Lympne Hotel

because it is a Safari Park with the option of your guest going on the safari as part of your day but it has amazing gardens, lovely water features that you could have your ceremony at the side of or the steps where all your guests would be able to see you at all times.


Do come along to the fair and us and other recommended suppliers of this beautiful venue.   We will be on hand to answer all or any question that you may have about holding a Celebrant lead ceremony here.    Looking forward to meeting you all

Calling all Couples

Calling all couples! At the end of December it will be the end of all our Wedding Fair offer that we have promoted during the year.   All those Couples who signed up with us and have not yet booked your ceremony, you must do so before the end of December in order to gain the £50 off our fees.   Unfortunately we will not be using this promotion again,  so even if you are thinking of a date in 2018 and book us before the end of 2017 you will still receive the £50 off.

With the rising costs we will be increasing our fees in line with other Celebrants in the area.  So it makes even more sense to book before the offer ends.

So if you wish for a Ceremony that can be performed at any venue and anywhere in a venue, inside or out, plus having a Wedding that is unique to you only and can be themed to whatever you wish and include whoever or whatever you wish now is the time to book.

We will be attending Wedding Fair in the Kent area in the Spring so look out for us.  We are looking at other offers for the next year.20160228_4

It has been some time……….

I haven’t blogged for a while, as I wrote in my last blog it has been a very busy few weeks.  Although attending my Aunt’s funeral in Lancashire it was lovely catching up with family that I haven’t seen……..   emmm …. probably since the last family funeral,  here are always sad times but also good too.

The rehearsal and Wedding for Sophia and Neil went really well in spite of the cold wind on the top of the hill! 20160917_156 At the beginning the Ceremony was to be held in the woods at Fern and Fields but it was decided that 20160917_302the woods would be too dark so it was transferred to the top of the hill.   The whole ceremony was filled with fun and laughter all the way through right to the last when I had to surprise all their 100 guest by getting them to jump the broom and then form a circle to sing the Hokey Cokey!   You can see by the pictures that they loved jumping the broom and some did it twice.   Everyone joined in with the Hokey Cokey once they realised what I was singing!20160917_322

The wedding fair at Port Lympne was really good, we met lots off couples and some left their emails for us to contact them with more information, I shall be doing so within the next week.

Our holidays in Scotland was very wet, windy and cold but so good again catching up with family, it is such a beautiful scenery and we will be back again next year for a Wedding celebration!

It is amazing that it was only a week ago that we return home having stopped off on the way in Leicester to conduct a family Handfasting.  I did feel for the couple when we had such lovely weather on the Friday and Sunday but Saturday, the day of the ceremony the weather was dier but we still went ahead and held it outside under their willow tree and by their stream.   In spite all of getting very wet the ceremony was lovely and I hope the photographer managed to get some lovely photos.

Since being home I went to see Andy and Lea about their wedding for next May, another very different ceremony.  On Wednesday we went to meet up with Sue and Wyatt again and go through their requirements for their Handfasting after their Church wedding.  This is for later this month   so hoping that the Sun sticks around!

Yesterday saw us at the Discovery Park at Sandwich for our second wedding fair this Autumn.  It was fun meeting up with new suppliers and especially meeting Pete for the very first time.20161009_26320161009_260

Our next wedding fair is next Saturday at the Kent County Cricket Grounds.  If you are going too please do come and introduce yourselves and find out what we could offer you in a ceremony.

A very busy week

It has been a really busy week this week.  We had Jon and Katy’s wedding on the 3rd September, this ceremony had been book for some time and our meetings were very early so even though we had kept in touch through emails it was lovely to meet up with them again and also meet their lovely children.   20160903_346

The wedding ceremony was not to take place at a Grand place but in the grounds of their friends pub with teepees for the party area.  It may not have everything a Grand place could offer but you could feel the love all around.   The children were so well behaved and polite, such a credit to Katy and Jon.   They all had duties and carried them out brilliantly.20160903_501

We had a rare Sunday off but then there was the general household duties and also some gardening.  Monday and Tuesday I was catching up and writing a script for a last minute wedding on the Friday.  The couple had cancelled their previous ceremony due to the Bride’s father falling ill but they decided to go ahead with the arranged Party.  However, the Groom’s mother contacted me to ask if I was free to conduct their ceremony.  Once she knew I was free she talked to the couple who were all for it too.

But before the Friday it has been a busy week with organising a CPR training session for the villages, a Healing session book in,  on Thursday we had to be up early to catch the train to London to attend The Good Funeral Awards luncheon.  David decided to wear a new waistcoat that I made for him,  I will add that he had chosen the material.   I believe due to this he caught the eye of The Independent photographer and the photo was included in an article in the Newspaper.   The actual luncheon was delayed due to late comers so we only just had time to eat our dessert before having to rush to catch the train home, throw some food at our dogs and then rush out to the new Team Vicars inaugural

Friday found us out in the morning to a meeting of friends to discuss several projects for our Reflections of death and dying side.  We came home and I was busy altering the script for the afternoon with last minute changes.

The ceremony was for 4pm so I was at the venue the Boys Hall in Ashford, for just gone 3pm and chattered with the Bride , Groom and Sue, my first contact.  The venue is a licenced Registered premises but, because they could, the couple rejected the usual Gazebo for a lovely corner of the beautiful gardens.   Again it was a small affair but that did not take away the intimacy of the ceremony and the feeling of love and support the family gave the couple.20160909_582

So back to the present, a weekend off to recover?  well that is how to view it, but it is, again, a catch up time on those household chores, making lists of things that need to be done in the next couple of days, doing them, and then Monday packing my suit case for my travels to see family and attend the funeral of a loved Aunt and then returning on Thursday to finished everything for the rehearsal on Friday and the ceremony on the Saturday.  Then the first Wedding fair of the season on Sunday a   t the lovely venue of Port Lympne Manor.  After which we will be packing up for our much needed Holiday.  But that is not the end, on the way back  from holidays we will be stopping at Leicester to conduct a hand fasting.

The Great Higham Wedding

by Sheila Ellis 0 Comments

The Great Higham Wedding was held last Saturday

Ceremony area

Ceremony area

and although very windy was warm weather, so good for an outdoor ceremony.


The Bride and Groom didn’t want a long ceremony but, both being musicians, they had a Choir singing which was truly lovely.    They walked down the aisle together followed by their four little flower girls all holding a bunch of lovely dried flowers.  The Choir sang Mo Ghile Mear on their entrance and we waited for it to finish before commencing the ceremony.

While the Bride and Groom where struggling to light their Unity Candle in the wind, the Choir started to sing The Blue Bird by Stanford, which was beautiful.  We did sit and listen to the end of the song and it was so moving.

At the end of the Ceremony the Choir then sang Brindis Chours from La Traviata by Verdi, and although the Bride and Groom walked back down the aisle they halted at the end to listen up to the end of the song, of which the Choir got a rousing applause from the Bride and Groom and all their guests!

After that the guests where served with wine and the party began.

I know I have said it before but each ceremony is so different from any other and it is so wonderful to be part of each one and know that you had helped create that unique ceremony for each special couple, it is a most rewarding job.

On other notes, as most of my ceremonies appear to be outdoors nowadays,  I have now invested in a microphone system that can be used outdoors and in woods and fields and in high winds!   The system is run off internal batteries and has a portable mic for me and hand held ones for those that are elected to speak or read at the ceremonies.   Often I have been given a portable mic but the family or friends could not use it so they were not being heard by all the guests.  I am hoping that it will solve this problem.  It will also play pre recorded music if needed but I may have to make a charge for someone to operate it for me.  My next ceremony is in a field and a week after I have one in the middle of woods and them up into a field (testing out the portability of the speaker!) so it will be put to good use straight away.

A Wedding at Port Lymne Manor


A Wedding at Port Lymne Manor was always going to be special, not because it is a beautiful venue full of lovely places to explore and that is just the house, the gardens are breath taking with glorious views out to the English Channel and then of course there is the offer of further adventures into the Wildlife park,

But I get ahead of myself, firstly after our time away at The Healing Weekend, I had to prepare everything for Louise and Callum’s special ceremony.   20160712_249

Louise and Callum's Party Ceremony

Louise and Callum’s Party Ceremony

This was a secret ceremony one that their guests knew nothing about.   The guests had been invited to a party and once everyone had arrived the DJ asked everyone to sit down because there was a special surprise and I then led Louise and Callum onto the dance floor.  20160712_291 Both were extremely nervous and I think they were glad when it was finished, they didn’t really like being the centre of attention. Once over they were crowded around by their guests congratulating them so I believe they thought it had been worth the embarrassment.   Both thanked me for helping them through it.  I do hope they partied well afterwards they certainly deserve it for being so brave.



Back to Port Lymne, David and Christine’s wedding was organised to perfection as is their way.   I was very honoured to be part of that perfect organisation, and I believe that Christine appreciated that I too liked to be super organised and that she could leave the ceremony arrangement to me and know that it would be perfect.   They wrote their own vows to say not only to each other but to each other’s boys too. Five boys between them and they were all fully included in the ceremony.20160715_439

When it was time to say those vows everyone was in tears, they were so heartfelt and delivered so emotionally, even I, who knew what they were going to say had to hide behind one of the concrete pillars to wipe my eyes and blew my nose!

Afterwards, Christine and David insisted on having a photograph with me and then we said goodbye and Christine gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear ‘Thank you’ over and over again, so many times that I was in tears again. David told me that their guests had said that it was THE best ceremony they had ever witnessed. I am so please that they got their perfect ceremony dream. Job done!20160715_561