Here is a selection of Q&As from An Essex Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Tying the knot
Q. We were hoping to have our special day in our garden, but we've found out that we can't legally marry outside. What are our options?
A. Nichola Collinson says: A celebrant-led ceremony would be the perfect option for you. You can book an inexpensive statutory ceremony at the registry office to complete the legal paperwork, and then you're free to have a celebrant conduct your wedding in your garden.
As a celebrant, I'd meet you ahead of the day to find out what you want included in your ceremony. You may not know what that is, but I'm here to help and guide you through the process. You can have a ring exchange, say vows and sign a certificate if you'd like – there are no restrictions on what you can include.
By getting to know you, I will get a feel for your personalities to ensure your story is told through your ceremony script. You and your loved ones will enjoy a memorable, engaging ceremony, which is filled with love and laughter.
Nichola Collinson,Bespoke Celebrant Ceremonies
Tying the knot
Q. We don't know where to start with our celebrant-led company. Do you have any suggestions for what we could include?
A. Shelley Bell says: It's great you've chosen a celebrant to lead your wedding, as it opens up your choices and enables you to be creative with the structure of your ceremony. However, this can be overwhelming when it comes to making decisions. A trained professional will be able to guide you through some ideas of what to include, and you can still incorporate traditional aspects such as exchanging vows and rings, the announcement of marriage and sealing the deal with a kiss, which always makes a great photo! You might choose to include talented family members or friends. Someone could sing you into the ceremony, you may want fire jugglers to lead you out or a friend could read a poem. You could even ask a loved one to pay tribute to what they admire about your relationship. Celebrant ceremonies can involve the whole congregation. How about a ring-warming? This is where the wedding bands are passed around your guests for them to imbue them with good wishes. You could also have a giant handfasting - a demonstration of unity and community. My advice would be to start with your celebrant. Research the training and experiences of professionals in your area, then meet or Skype them for an informal chat to discuss ideas. If you feel your personalities suit and they understand what you're trying to achieve, then you can get to work on building the ceremony of your dreams.
The great outdoors
Q. We wanted to get married in our garden but we've found out it won't be legally recognised. What are our options?
A. Shelley Bell says: Currently in England and Wales, legal marriages can only be held in licensed venues. While some of these are outdoors, there still needs to be a permanent structure with a roof to hold the ceremony underneath. However, there are still options. First, you'll need to head to the government website to find out how to get legally married in a register office or sanctioned building.
Once you've done this, the only limit is your imagination. We can create your ideal ceremony without worrying about the legal aspect. I've conducted weddings in vineyards, bluebell woods, and national parks. Start by discussing with your partner what you'd like your day to look and feel like. You might have an apple orchard at the bottom of your garden where you can stand under the boughs of a tree, or you may prefer to have a boho-style tipi or circus-themed marquee. Perhaps you'd prefer to just keep it simple by surrounding yourself with loved ones on picnic blankets at your home.
Once you have an idea in mind, contact me to arrange a meeting and we'll discuss how to make your dream of a personal and meaningful ceremony a reality.
I do, I do, I do
Q. My wife-to-be and I are looking for a bespoke ceremony that reflects us but we're not sure what options are available. What would you recommend?
A. Shelley Bell says: Being engaged is an exciting time, but it can also be really daunting. Like you, lots of my couples are looking to get away from what's become the norm.
American poet, Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is something I hold at the core of everything I do.
I love my job as a celebrant and I'm lucky that I get to work with some really fantastic venues and suppliers, all of whom want you to have the wedding day you've always imagined.
I like to spend time getting to know couples over a cup of coffee or two, so we work out what is important to you for your ceremony. Together, we can build a plan and I can even direct you to professionals who have looked after my previous clients with everything from tables and chairs to gin bars and tight rope walkers.
If you want to get married dressed as hedgehogs or have your ceremony on the Hogwarts Express, I say, bring it on! If you're looking to have your ceremony with just the two of you on a secluded beach with your dogs as ring bearers, that's ok too. For me, it's all about making your big day into your best day and I'm always honoured to be able to help any couple achieve that.
If you want to involve friends and family members, pets, hymns, prayers or excerpts from your favourite songs, it can be made a reality – if it's really important to you that aunty Marjorie is there to play a violin solo during the evening, then let's work together with the venue on a twilight ceremony. The options really are endless.