47 Articles

Clocks go forward

Clocks go forward at the end of the month but already we are experiencing lighter nights and warmer days, well were I live anyway.   I love the fact that I don’t realise what time it is because it is still light outside and also that we can be outside longer.  Plus the mornings are a lot lighter too, another bonus when you have to get up at an unearthly hour to attend a breakfast club.  It was far worse when driving in the dark but now with the light it at least feels as though you should still be awake!

With the warmer days we already have frog spawn in our pond and you can see the small tadpoles growing day by day.   I am hoping there is no fierce frost that will freeze the pond and maybe kill the spawn.    I am also enjoying all the spring flowers growing in the garden too.  I do love spring not just for the new life growing all around us and everything coming back to life but because it is also the gateway to the lovely hazy summer months.   I am a real summer person.

I am also looking forward to all the ceremonies that are being held during the spring and summer months.   I have a last minute booking for a Handfasting at the end of next month, so yes I still do have days left that I am not booked but I am getting more coming in so please don’t delay if you don’t want to be disappointed, plus I hate having to turn anyone away.   I do have a colleague who is  a brilliant Celebrant, and we do work together for couples by passing on any couples that contact us too late for their preferred date.   We know that we both believe in giving our couples the very best ceremony and everything and more that they wish for in their ceremony and with this in mind we have no hesitation in recommending each other.

Having said all that I still have a few Wedding Fair that I shall be attending hoping to spread the word of Celebrant led ceremonies and how magical they can be.   I have already started to get bookings for 2017 and enquiries for 2018 which is great but don’t be put off as I have said there are still days left in this year’s dairy to be filled so come along and talk to me at the next and following Wedding Fairs.   I shall be advertisPort Lympne 20 March 2016ing them as and when they are coming up so keep an eye on this Blog.   So my next fair is at Port Lympne Mansion, which is a gorgeous building with gorgeous grounds and where I shall have the privilige to conduct a ceremony in July, so looking forward to it too.  Do come and look at the building and rooms if for nothing else!

Anniversaries and Birthdays

Anniversaries and Birthdays where the subject of two ceremonies that I conducted at this time last year.   They were held on the Saturday and Sunday but due to the leap year their Anniversaries were this Monday and today Tuesday.

The first ceremony wasHugh and Jill 2500 x 2000 for Hugh and Jill, who wanted not only to celebrate their Wedding Anniversary with a Vow Renewal but also have a party for Hugh’s final retirement.   We did managed to incorporate the retirement into the ceremony as well as their Anniversary.   The ceremony also included all their children and grandchildren.  Two of the grandchildren read out a poem to their grandparents.  At the end the whole family were involved in a Sand Ceremony.   It was a lovely and touching family ceremony with tears and laughter.


The second ceremony of the weekend was so very different.  It was a Baby Naming for Alfie.   Like Hugh and Jill’s ceremo20150308_230ny there was also another celebration, this time it was Alfie’s first birthday!

Alfie’s parents wanted a very relaxed and casual ceremony so that is what we created.  The ceremony was full of fun and laughter with all their friends and relatives.   Alfie had a lot of guardians who all wrote their own vows which they read out to Alfie .  They too were very moving and amusing.   After the ceremony it was time for Alfie to enjoy his birthday party.   In spite of being early March I remember that it was a gorgious sunny and warm day, I was glad that I had worn a short sleeved dress!

So Happy Anniversary to Hugh, Jill and Alfie, I hope you all enjoyed celebrating another year.

If you are looking to celebrate your Anniversary and want to know more about Vow Renewals or want to know more about Baby Naming please do contact me.

Old Wedding Dresses

Old Wedding Dresses and what stories they could tell us? While scrolling through Facebook, as you do, I came across this old wedding dress for saleOld Weddding Dress and although I really am not on the look out for old wedding dresses it did throw me back in time. Old Wedding dresses are something that I really love, they have stories to tell and sometimes you never realise until they have aged and maybe passed down to the next generation of the family. Some are sold as soon as they have served their purpose and been taken up by a new bride or even bought to be cut up and made into something else. Other things that are done with Old wedding dresses are given to the little girls for dressing up or made into a christening gown for the first child and then used by succesive children and maybe grandchildren.

But in thinking about old wedding dresses takes me back to the year 1986 when the Duke and Duchess of York were married, at the time I was the President of our village WI (a very small village and I was a very young President). Long before the engagement and marriage was announced of Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson the WI needed to raise funds and even then I had a fasination with old wedding dresses so I suggested we have a display of old wedding dress, and in particular those of the people who lived in the village. The whole exhibition was a nightmare to organise mainly because I more or less had to do the whole on my own and only at the last minute, which was staging the whole, did I have my fellow WI members come and help me. At the end of my search, cajolling and reminding everyone we had 8 or 9 old wedding dresses, which included mine.

The old wedding dresses dated from the 1800s to Prince Diana wedding era. I arranged them in date order so those coming to see the exhibition walk through time and  into the present. Each dress had their own story, which was lovely, and what was more amazing was the timing of the said engagement and subseqent wedding of Andrew and Sarah, which highlighted our little display so much so that we were asked if our local radio could come along to the opening of our exhibition and interview me and some of the brides. Under instructions I did manage to rally some of the owners and brides of the old wedding dresses, most were very reluctant to talk with the radio people and froze when asked questions so I had to step in and tell the dresses story for them. Here are some of those stories, I am just sorry that I have no photos to show those dresses to you.

The first in line was the dress from the 1800s and unlike most wedding dresses was not white, but green. Back in the early 1800s you bought a very best dress for your wedding and didn’t think about the colour. There was no money for special ‘one day only’ occasion dresses so the wedding dress becomes the Sunday best dress for the girl/woman. This particular dress had been well looked after, as you realise being so old it had to have been to survive. But also this dress had in those years been loaned out each year for the Walkington Hayride possession. Hopefully the dress is still going and still being used, that first bride should be proud of their dress, how many other brides could say that their dress was still in use over a hundred years after that first purchase.

The second dress was very much a twenties dress. it was bought and worn by a lady in the village who bought it as a long white dress but knew that it would and could also be worn for dances, again being a multi purpose dress after the wedding. The dress we displayed was Red! The lady had cut the hem to shorten the dress and then dyed it red so she could go dances with her new husband in it. It was a lovely silk dress and dying and cutting the hem did no injustice at all.

Our third dress again had been bought and worn by a lovely lady in the village who had married later in her life, and I suppose would not be late in life nowadays. The lady also knew one of the dressmakers that worked for Norman Hartnell and she made her dress for her. The dress was not white, if I remember correctly it was pink and embrodaired. The front of the dress was very plain but elegant but it was the back of the dress that had all the detail, and quite rightly so because in the traditional wedding it is mostly the back of the dress that the guest see throughout the ceremony. This particular dress had a very large bow! Which again was a great co-incidence because if you remember Sarah Ferguson’s dress also had a very large bow on the back too.Sarah furguson wedding dress

the next dress that I can remember was a sixties stlye dress very straight but again very elegant with a pillow box head dress with a veil very sixties

Then there was my wedding dress, early seventies and unique in the fact that in amongst all the lovely long elegant wedding dresses mine was actually a mini dress! We were getting married in a registrar office so I was going to wear a very uptothe minute lilac trouser suit but there were so many comments about me not wearing white that my mother was a bit upset so I decided to make my own dress which is what I did with the help of my sister we hand sewed it all apart from the front zip, which we took home and did using my mother’s sewing machine. I have to say that I never regreted making or wearing it, it fitted the wedding and I still have it hanging in my wardrobe, although it is now more yellow than white, and I occasionally bring it out to show todays youngsters not just how slim I use to be but also how short our skirts use to be, they are always shocked on both accounts and wonder how I dared wear such a short dress. Sadly I don’t have any wedding photos but I have photoed the dress but it does not do it justice on a hanger.DSC00054

After my dress there was an eighties wedding dress again very elegant and I have to admit that the only thing that I can remember is that the lady who owned it apologised because the dress had had red wine spilt on it at her wedding and she had never bothered to have it cleaned, so the red stain was now a brown stain but it added to the life of her wedding dress.

There were other dresses that I have to admit I cannot remember most but the last one belonged to my neighbour, a young girl who had been married the year before and had a typical Princess Di wedding dress, all puffy sleeves and belling skirts. We were honoured to be invited to their wedding. They moved into the cottage next door to us and we became good friends immediately so were given the invitation to the wedding. A few years afterwards her middle sister got married and wore the same dress and she wore the same bridesmaid dress that her sister had worn for her wedding!

So there is my story of Old wedding dresses and I have to thank the Duke and Duchess of York for getting engaged and married that same year and gave me a rare opportunity to be on local radio, one of my claims to fame, along with being in the audience of one of Terry Wogan’s show where we were televised and knowing Keith Baron’s sister……………I know I hear you all saying ‘Who is Keith Baron!?” Well here he is…………Keith Baron

Discovery Park Sandwich

Discovery Park Sandwich is were we where today.   This was a new venue for a wedding fair so we thought we would give it go.   It is a little awkward to find if you are unsure of your directions.  The fair organiser did say that next year he would be putting large posters indicating which way you have to go at the roundabouts.   But in spiteof  people getting lost and ringing up for directions there was a very steady flow through the fair.


The Discovery Park, Sandwich


Discovery Park Sandwich, a steady flow of couples

For us in particular we found it was one of our best fairs so far.  A lot of couples leaving their details for us to contact them with a reminder of who we are and our offer at the fair.   Lots of couple were really delighted to find us there because they really didn’t wish for a Church/Religious or Registrar wedding, which is good for us because we can offer them the best alternative.   Other couples had already booked their wedding with a Registrar not knowing there was any alternative for them and then being disappointed.

Another interesting person I spoke to was an ex Registrar Celebrant who said that she wondered if there was an alternative and now she knows that there is.   Apparently she decided to leave the Council’s employment when she knew that they made a profit on all the weddings that they conducted but had told all their celebrants that they were reducing their pay!   I am not sure if she was delighted to find us because she didn’t want a Registrar Wedding or because she was actually looking for an alternative in which to be employed!   Maybe we will have more competition in the future, who knows but the best thing of the day that couples realised they had more choices then they previously knew about and that has to be good.



Broome Park Wedding Fair

Broome Park Wedding Fair near Canterbury was a great fair with lots of couples popping in and having a chat. Surprisingly a lot of them were aware of Celebrant led wedding ceremonies and very open to having one of their own. We do have a special offer for all the Wedding Fairs that we are doing this year and if couples wish to take up our offer they wrote their details on our form, this ensures that we actually contact those couples really interested in what we are offering. The organisers do send us a database of all those who registered to attend the fairs and we do send out generic emails to those without venues to see if they are interested but it does not really sit easy with me because they probably get lots of emails from all the suppliers and most will go straight into their junk boxes, and who blames them for that!

So if you are attending any Wedding Fair that we are attending and wish to know more or are interested in what we offer and our offer for the year we can assure you that you get a personal email from us that confirms what we have spoken to you about at the fair and nothing more. Of course we are there to gain business but it is a lovely way to connect to couples looking for the usual or unique wedding ceremony and believe me we met quite a few this weekend and we hope we will meet others over the coming couple of months.

We do have more Wedding Fairs booked for the next couple of months and then there is a break until September when the Fairs are in full swing again.

Next Sunday 28th February we will be attending the Wedding Fair at The Discovery Park, Sandwich. If you are going please come and talk to us and find out what we can offer you.

Sandwich 28 Feb 16
Now there was one couple at Broome Park Wedding Fair that had asked me about a Baby Naming Ceremony, unfortunately they didn’t leave their names and emails and all I know is that they live in London and wanted to know about venues for the baby naming. If you are reading this, please do contact me so we can discuss what type of venue you would be looking for and where abouts you would like. I do have venues in mind but it is what you would prefer.

The Healing Weekend 8th – 10th July 2016

by Sheila Ellis 0 Comments

The Healing Weekend is a brilliant weekend held in Somerset on 8th -10th July 2016.  This will be the second year we have attended, last year we took over an outside pitch at the last minute from a friend who has a year on year booking but could not make it so offered the pitch.   We had never even heard of the weekend before this but thought we would give it ago.   The organisers could not have been more helpful and the whole weekend was brilliant, such a lot going on and to keep people occupied.  We were befriended by lots of other stall holders and also the lady who was running the Cafe, so much so that we felt like one of the ‘family’ very quickly.     The weather threw everything at us but it was still enjoyable and lovely meeting all the people passing by.   We were offering Handfastings, and as an Energy Healer, Healing too plus we had taken some of our friends wooden gifts to sell for them.   We enjoyed it all so much that we decided before we left that we would book our own pitch for this year!    We talked to Ron, who organises pitches, and he has given us a great pitch in the large back field, we will have enough room for our large caravan and awning and we  will also be able to put up a lovely arch for Handfastings near by.    I will also be offering Healing again and this will be set up in the Awning,  David is looking to give a talk on Reflecting Death and Dying and also maybe hold a Death Cafe in our Awning.  But our main objective will be giving heartfelt Handfastings for couples.    Elaine, organiser, has already posted our poster onto The Healing Weekend facebook page so I thought I would add it here for you all to see.  Poster for 2016 Please do get in touch if you are interested in having a Handfasting.    Oh yes and another plus is that we can take our two little tibetan terriers with us.

Meet Russ and Pepper!Pepper and Russ

Handfasting News

by Sheila Ellis 0 Comments

Handfasting News, I have been booked for a very private Handfasting Ceremony that will be performed in the couples garden somewhere in Leicestershire, yes I do know where but the couple want privacy. To me this is what a ceremony is all about, the commitment to each other.

Even though this Handfasting with be a very private affair for the couple and their close family is will be a full handfasting, with the quarters called, calling on Father sky and Mother earth and offering of food and drink to Mother earth as well as the all important part of the actual tying of the knot. It will all be so spiritual and special for them that I fear I may have tears when vows are exchanged.

Last year we, David and I, were privileged to write and conduct a Handfasting for a lovely couple but this time it included all their family and friends and they asked if the children could be included too. They too had the ceremony in their garden, amongst the apple and pear trees, the area was perfect for a circle and also they already had a tree stump with a top on for drinks which we used for the Anscestors Candle to be included in the circle. It all worked perfectly. They had ‘Gatekeepers’ to the circle and all the guests where smudge before allowed to stand in the circle. David told the guests what to expect while I waited at the house with the Bride and her maids and some of the children. Our signal to proceed to the circle was David drumming and I would drum us to the waiting circle. However, one of the children was very curious about my drum so I gave it to him to lead us drumming into the circle. He was of course thrilled and it was perfect.


Setting up the Altar

Setting up the Altar

Drumming the Circle with the Ancestral Candle in the foreground

Drumming the Circle with the Ancestral Candle in the foreground

During the ceremony the couple lite the anscestral candle, lite their unity candle, exchanged rings that had been blessed by all forming the circle, exchanged their vows, had their hands tied and we also had a very special part which included mums and children. It was a very special ceremony that had a lot of input from everyone and was therefore enjoyed by all. There was a big party in the garden afterwards which we were invited to attend but unfortunately we had another ceremony the next day and wanted to keep ourselves fresh for that couple. We have had some super feedback from the couple since and I know they so enjoyed it they wanted to have another one lol. Maybe a Vow Renewal in a few years time. Who knows. And yes the Vow Renewal ceremony the next day was equally as specially and the couple had asked for a hand tying to be included as well as all their children to have a part too. A total different but equally as special ceremony but that is what we are all about. Beautiful and special ceremonies for all our couples.

Valentine Weekend, hope you have a lovely time

I am a little early I know, but I hope you all have a really special Valentine Weekend and day.  For those of you planning that special little surprise for your partners, you have time to get over your celebrations before coming along to this wedding fair and having a talk about what a Celebrant led Ceremony can offer you, you would be in for more surprises.   Looking forward to meeting you and talking about your cerebrations.Broome Park 21 Feb 2016

Whitstable Wedding Fair February 2016

by Sheila Ellis 0 Comments

I wasn’t sure how today would pann out, a) I am getting over cold and am at the coughing stage, which is not the best when you are expecting to talk to several couples.  b) the weather was forecast not to be good.

The morning didn’t actually start out good when we were late setting off, we got to the Marine hotel with about ten minutes to spare to opening.   Then David realised he has left my banner on the driveway!  So he had to come back home to collect it, which was just as well because we had quite a lot of rain here in our absence.   Given those two things, one lady came upto me and complimented me on the set out of the stall and how quickly I had managed it, saying that I must be used to setting up at wedding fairs.   I suppose I am really and it must have looked to good to everyone else who were set up and waiting to see this person blow in at the last minute and have everything looking good by the time it was opened, wish it was supposed to have been that way!  The lady was with her daughter and it was their first wedding fair so that had arrived as early as possible, and as it was opened to exihibitors at 8am  that could have been very early!

To begin with the fair was slow but towards lunch time it started to pick up with lots more couples and families passing through,  I think I managed to talk to most and although some had already booked their wedding and venue there were those that were still not sure what they wanted and they were interested in a Celebrant led ceremony and the options and choices that it gave them.  There was at least one couple who had booked with the registry office but once I spoke to them were regreting it but having paid deposits it was too late for them to change their mind.    One lady who hadn’t booked a venue was quite open about the fact that she would probably go for a church weddng but took a leaflet ‘just in case’.   It good that couples now have a variety of choices and that is what we are all about.  I have no problems with couples going with the Church or Registry Office so long as they have been informed about all choices.

The Marine Hotel does have three Registry Office licenced rooms but they are still opened to helping a couple who wished to have a Celebrant wedding and took some of my leaflets so they could hand them out to those interested.

So what started as a bad start to the day ended up being a good day and it was and always is a pleasure talking to everyone.  Oh yes and the coughing was kept to a minimum and I managed to hold off whilst talking to anyone.

Not sure what I am doing here but it was at the start

Not sure what I am doing here but it was at the start

Some of my co-exhibitors

Some of my co-exhibitors

More exhibitors around the corner

More exhibitors around the corner

All systems are now go!

More good news,  we have now had confirmation that our chosen venue is willing to allow us to hold our show onn Relections on Death and Dying.  So now all systems are go, we have quite a few people waiting to hear from us on this confirmation.   The date is already set, it will be the Saturday 23rd April 2016 and will be held at the Zion Baptist Church Hall, Tenterden.   It is a fabulous venue with a large front room, usually the Church area, a smaller room at the rear with a kitchen and a room upstairs where  we are hoping to hold talks, and although it is upstairs the venue does have a disabled lift, which is perfect!  More news on who will be at the venue will be given later.   We have a meeting with our friends and the people who run the venue on Friday morning.   They are all very keen to make it a success and we have some good feedback from the leaders of the Church, who I know wish to work with us on this project.  It is so exciting!

Staying on theme, we are also holding a ‘Death Cafe’ on the 24th February 2016, at the Cosy Kettle, Hamstreet at 7.30pm, please do come along and have coffee and cake (not free unfortunately but the venue is) and  to chat about any concerns you have to do with Death, Dying or Funerals.   This is our second ‘Death Cafe’ and the first one was so relaxed and in its way fun to chat and air concerns and tell our stories tragic and funny, so come along and join us.