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Jane Blackman Weddings - Wedding Wisdom

Celebrant-led Ceremonies

If you’re considering a celebrant-led wedding, I hope this blog helps you to understand the endless choices and possibilities that there are - helping you to create a memorable, wonderful wedding ceremony, just perfect for the two of you . . .
Feel free to get in touch for an initial chat - give me a call on 07814 208087 or drop me a text or an email to: I'll be very happy to answer any questions you might have.

My 5 Top Tips For Wet Weather Weddings

Wedding Ceremonies Posted on Tue, August 27, 2019 07:57:13

Rain on your wedding day needn’t be a disaster, as long as there’s a plan B in place! Take the stress away with a wet weather expectation and embrace the precipitation!

Rainy Wedding With Umbrellas
One very happy couple during their wet weather wedding ceremony!

Here are my 5 top tips for making wet weddings wonderful . . .

1. If it’s an outdoor wedding, and you aren’t providing a covered area for the ceremony (with a Celebrant, your wedding can take place ANYWHERE – no need for a licensed venue), ask your guests to BE PREPARED from the outset (ask them to bring brollies, macs and wellies if rain is looking likely!). This avoids any last minute panic, phoning around for umbrellas. After all, posh frocks and suits with wellies can be a great look!

2. Rent a tent – or several! A marquee or similar large undercover space really is absolutely essential if you’re having a big gathering and you’ll be in the great outdoors all day – ensuring there’s somewhere dry and comfortable for your guests to enjoy the celebrations all together.

3. Be realistic and practical with wedding wear – if you’re a bride (or groom!) who’s just GOT to wear heels, no matter what the weather, go for wedges instead of stilettos (why not have heeled wellies on standby?!)

4. Get creative with your photos – any photographer worth their fee will know just how to use the rain to create some fabulous effects.

Rainy wedding photo
Make the most of wet weather photo opportunities!

5. DON’T BE DISAPPOINTED – it’s normal of course, to hope for wall to wall sunshine on your big day, but if it’s not to be, it’s completely out of your control – a gloomy mood won’t help and will rub off on your guests, so try to embrace the dampness. Stay positive and upbeat. Take advantage of opportunities for romantic photos and enjoy the intimate feel the rain can generate – everyone all together keeping calm and carrying on. You’ll be surprised how MEMORABLE and fabulous a rainy wedding day can be.

So get set with your plan and don’t let our changeable British summers spoil your celebrations. As the age old saying goes . . . every cloud has a silver lining . . . especially if you opt for a personalised, bespoke and beautiful, celebrant-led ceremony, that is sure to be at the heart of your wedding day!

5 Reasons To Have A Wedding Rehearsal

Wedding Ceremonies Posted on Sun, September 23, 2018 18:39:36

As a Wedding, Naming and Funeral Celebrant, I’ve been entrusted with hundreds of beautiful and memorable occasions for clients, ensuring they are memorable, for all the RIGHT reasons – and a rehearsal is key to this – particularly with weddings!

Whether the wedding is a complex and grand affair in a country house, a relaxed wedfest on a farm, overseen by a planner or co-ordinator in dedicated wedding venue, or a simple laid-back celebration in a private back garden or village halls, I’ve come to realise just how crucial a wedding rehearsal really is. It really helps to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible on the BIG day. So when a couple asks, ‘Is a rehearsal REALLY necessary?’, my answer is always the same . . . ‘Yes it ABSOLUTELY is – and you won’t regret it – you’ll be pleased you did!’ and here are just some of the reasons why . . .


It’s a great opportunity to touch base again, with your officiant or celebrant – an opportunity to get together in person once more, before the actual day and in the very place where you’ll be on your wedding day. You may have met them once or twice before (twice is most often the case for my clients), during the lead up to your wedding, but it may have been a few months prior, and perhaps, you’re beginning to forget what s/he looks like! Also, you may be involving some close friends or family members in your ceremony, who may have only met each other briefly before, or perhaps a long time ago (or maybe never!) – it’s the perfect opportunity then, to reacquaint people or introduce them for the first time – and get them chatting and connecting before the big day arrives. Sometimes people get together for a drink or a meal after the rehearsal – a lovely way of extending the celebrations overall!

The most significant benefit of a rehearsal, I think, is to allay any fears and calm any pre-wedding nerves or worries, that are inevitably associated with the most important day of your life! With your celebrant there in person, you’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have, discuss any last minute changes and/or work out any little problems that may have cropped up. Your celebrant will be there to metaphorically ‘hold your hand’, to advise and guide you through the ceremony, offering suggestions and solutions. Then the night before your wedding day, you will go to bed knowing exactly what to expect – where you’ll stand, how you’ll move around, when you’ll be invited to sit, face one another, hold hands, what you’ll need to say, etc. Other than the overall feeling of excitement and anticipation that might keep you awake on your wedding eve, there shouldn’t be any worries about the ceremony itself!

During your rehearsal you’ll be given the chance to go over things as many times as you wish (within reason!). A key part of the ceremony which often concerns people is, the entrance, understandably. No one relishes the thought of tripping up steps, treading on the feet of the person who might be accompanying them, or perhaps getting a dress caught on furniture as they walk up the aisle! So the entrance is always practised, ideally with the music that has been chosen for this part of the ceremony. I always check timing with my couples – the point at which the first person will set off and how people will arrive in the ceremony space; what they will do, where they will go next and the order and positioning of all who will be processing at the start. Other logistics are often rehearsed, such as the movement and position of the people tasked with sharing readings, etc. The layout of furniture and seating is also checked and decided, to make sure there is sufficient space for everyone to move around freely.

The rehearsal provides the couple with the chance to say out loud, the words that they will speak, when they make their promises and vows to each other and when they exchange their rings. I always ask for a private moment with the couple, to run through this part of the ceremony, just the three of us (keeping these special words to ourselves until the wedding day) at the rehearsal. You’d be surprised just how many couples come to their rehearsal, having never said their vows out loud (not even on their own, let alone to each other). Quite often, the rehearsal is the very first occasion during which these words have ever been uttered and this can bring about some (often unexpected) emotion. I’ve been witness to so many couples feeling quite overcome, becoming tearful during the rehearsal, and this regularly takes people by surprise. Having said the vow and ring words out loud prior to the big day, can help with emotions on the wedding day itself – or at least it can provide a taste of how they might feel when the words are said for real! Having begun to consider how emotional you might (or might not!) be, during the rehearsal, you can be a little better prepared for how you might react on the day. My opinion is that emotions should be set free; a wedding day is of course, an emotionally charged occasion, so just embrace how you feel. If there’s crying, they’ll be happy tears – let them flow – just remember to have a tissue handy!

A rehearsal is all about making things feel as realistic as we can – a genuine taster of how things will be on the big day. If at all possible I advise couples to have their rehearsal on the day before their wedding day. Sometimes this isn’t possible of course, particularly if they’ve booked a designated wedding venue and there are ceremonies booked in, during the day preceding. If the day before, is not available, then sometime during the week leading up to the wedding also works fine. Better to do that, than have no rehearsal at all. The great thing about having it as close as possible to your wedding day, is that it provides a much better chance of having everything set up as it will be for real – the furniture, seating, lighting, music facilities, etc. Creating the scene, so that it feels realistic, is really helpful in preparing a couple well. And if those playing a part in the ceremony can’t make the run through, then a rehearsal with just those who can, is absolutely fine (even if it’s just the couple themselves and me – again, that is far better than not having one at all). I’ve done plenty of rehearsals where it’s been just the three of us and then I’ve arrived at the venue early, on the ceremony day, to run through everything with those who were missing from the rehearsal.

I honestly haven’t done a rehearsal yet, where the couple haven’t said to me afterwards, “We’re so pleased we had a rehearsal!” It really does REASSURE everyone, and not just the couple – guests who are involved as well, and additionally, it gives a couple a very valid excuse to extend their celebrations and the time spent with their nearest and dearest! A rehearsal is always lots of fun too – there’s laughter and that lovely feeling of giddy excitement. I always enjoy the rehearsal, often almost as much as the ceremony itself.


Photos courtesy of Firefly Photographic

Why Invest In A Wedding Celebrant?

Wedding Ceremonies Posted on Sun, September 23, 2018 18:28:20

This is a question that an increasing number of engaged couples ask themselves, as they begin to consider and make plans for their dream day.

Well the answer is really quite straightforward . . . a celebrant-led wedding ceremony offers far greater CHOICE for all couples, simply because the wedding . . .

1. can take place ANYWHERE (no restrictions whatsoever on location – indoors or outside – and no need to book a venue with a wedding licence);
2. can include and say ANYTHING you wish (no limitation on content);
3. can take place at ANY TIME (if a candlelit evening ceremony is for you – then that is what you can arrange);

4. can be ANY LENGTH – as long or as brief as you wish;
5. can take place on ANY DAY;
6. enables you to include personalised, vows and promises, ANY WAY you wish to say them. Some couples like to write their own vows, keeping these a secret in the lead up to their big day, whilst others prefer to make the same promises, ‘saying after’ their celebrant. Whatever a couple’s preference, I’m always happy to guide and advise as much or as little as is needed, providing example wording to get things started, if that is wanted; and helping to balance the wording, if couples want to exchange vows that are different from each other;

7. can include ANYBODY, as celebrant-led weddings give couples the opportunity to involve friends and family members in the ceremony – perhaps sharing readings, acting as witnesses to a certificate signing or candle lighting – or other symbolic moments you might choose to include;
8. having a celebrant take control of all the detail in your ceremony, alleviates any worries or stress a couple might feel as they ask themselves, is there ANYONE IN CHARGE? A good celebrant will offer a rehearsal (something I always encourage all of my couples to take advantage of); they will guide and support you, ‘holding your hands’ metaphorically speaking, throughout; ensuring everything runs smoothly prior to and during the ceremony . . .

. . . and very often the financial investment of a celebrant alongside a legal registration, is no more or little more, than if a couple were to book a legally binding ceremony in a register office or church – or arrange for a registrar to attend a licensed venue. If a couple wishes to be legally married prior to their celebrant-led ceremony (most often the case for couples with whom I work), then the legal formalities can be arranged and dealt with easily, for a minimal fee, prior to the wedding day. See my guide to ‘Making It Legal’ on my website

Photos courtesy of Firefly Photographic