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Are you a cookie-cutter couple, the same as all the rest? Thought not! So you won't want your wedding to be either. Let Claire create you a unique ceremony that people will be talking about for years.
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- So many couples put their hearts and souls into almost every aspect of their wedding day but don’t think about touching the ceremony itself because they just don't realise that they have a choice. And yet the ceremony is the very reason you've gathered all your loved ones together in the first place - to celebrate the fact you’re so bonkers for one another that you’re vowing to stay together forever! A one-size-fits-all service seems like a disappointing way to mark your love story so far and anticipate the future together, however lovely your registrar or vicar may be. Despair not! There is another way. Hiring Claire Bradford of Creating Ceremony as your independent celebrant opens up a world of choice for your wedding ceremony. For around the same price as booking a registrar to come to your venue, you can do the basic legal marriage in your local registry office with a couple of witnesses and then have the ceremony of your dreams wherever and whenever you'd like. No longer restricted to licensed venues, you can marry in a moonlit forest, on the beach at sunrise or surrounded by your friends and family in your back garden if you want. I will get to know you and craft a beautiful script to fit your personalities, interests and beliefs. I can also help you to write your own vows, if you’d like me to. I’ll be on hand throughout the whole planning process, just a phone call or an email away if you have any questions, ideas or thoughts about your ceremony. You are free to have as much – or as little – religion or spirituality in your ceremony as feels right for you, or you might want me to weave together two different cultural or religious backgrounds into the day. Having been a life coach for 14 years, I’m also very good at calming nerves and reminding you about what’s important to YOU when you’re worrying about Uncle Burt’s cheese allergy or your new sister-in-law’s opinion about the dress you’ve chosen… So… Shall we chat? Give me a call – I’m very friendly!
ExperienceYear Business Was Established2015# Of Weddings HostedBetween 10 and 30Public Liability InsuranceYes
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What is your most memorable wedding?
They're all memorable for so many reasons! There was the outside one in the downpour, the handfasting in a field, the one under the enormous, 700 year old oak tree, the one where the bride stopped the wedding and asked her groom for a puppy... But the ones that stick in my head the most are the ones where there has been a lot of laughter - in planning the ceremony as well as on the day itself. Is that a cop-out answer? Probably...
Describe your style in 5 adjectives.
Personal, relaxed, quirky, friendly, warm, rule-breaking.
What about your business are you most proud of?
That I was nominated and shortlisted for two categories in The Wedding Industry Awards in my first year of business - and when I received the feedback that my couples had given me for it, I cried with happiness.
What is your #1 wedding planning tip for couples?
Don't forget this is YOUR day - a day to celebrate your love, not to cater for the whims and opinions of the millions of people whose whims and opinions seem to get aired when anyone is arranging a wedding. So do what YOU want and don't compromise to keep Aunty Sue quiet - you'll always regret it if you do.
What is your favourite personal touch you have seen at a wedding?
The couple's family dogs being present. One of them saw fit to take a swim in the lake just behind where the ceremony was taking place - and then shake himself over their guests' lovely clothes! But it was such a relaxed and friendly day that everyone saw the funny side and the dogs were welcomed as part of the family.
Describe your typical process with a couple.
It all starts off with a consultation at your home or preferred place to meet. The word 'consultation' sounds terribly formal, but it's a friendly chat over a cuppa about the ideas you've had so far about your wedding, the 'feel' you want the ceremony to have, whether you have a theme, your hopes and dreams about the day, as well as your worries and fears. You'll get the chance to ask me any questions you might have, as well as to get a feel for whether you'd like to work with me. I'll be throwing in some ideas and questions too, and I'll be asking you questions that get to the heart of what's really important for you about this wedding. If you decide to go ahead (and there's no obligation from that first meeting), then I will give you a questionnaire to fill in together and you will be free to call, email or text me as often as you like in the run up to your big day. I encourage you to use me as a 'human Pinterest board' and send me your thoughts, ideas or inspirations as you go along. About 2-3 months before your wedding day, we'll have another meeting and I usually have the first draft of your wedding script to read to you. I always know it's hit the spot if I have at least one of you in tears! You are free to make any changes you like to the script and we can keep tweaking it as many times as necessary until it's absolutely perfect for you. I can also help you to write your vows and we can discuss the various ways we could go about your vows and find the way that suits you both best. Then, on the day, I rock up about an hour before your ceremony, make sure everything's in place and everyone's happy, then conduct the ceremony we've agreed on. Your friends and family laugh and cry and everyone gets mushy before going on to party.
What is the most unusual thing you’ve been asked to plan?
I suppose it was the pagan-inspired handfasting in a field. The couple weren't pagan and didn't want their friends and family to feel alienated by a traditional pagan ceremony, but they liked the spirit and the feel of it, so we worked to incorporate that into a fully inclusive wedding that didn't feel like a watered-down compromise but that fitted them perfectly.
How do you ensure a stress-free wedding?
I'm not entirely sure that there is such a thing as a totally stress-free wedding, but I do think there's a lot less stress when people stay true to what's important to them as a couple and don't try to please everyone (and end up pleasing no-one). In terms of what I can do to help keep stress levels down, I always remind couples that I'm there at the end of the phone when it's all getting a bit much. I'm very happy to remind them of what they identified as being their big 'why' at the beginning of the process when they've lost sight of it themselves.
What do you love most about your job?
That I'm part of such an important and meaningful day for a couple - that they've trusted me to play that role, they've shared their love story with me and I've become part of their story too, by turning it into a ceremony they'll never forget. It's an incredible privilege.
What is your favourite moment at a wedding?
The vows. Especially when the couple have written their own vows and kept them a secret from each other until the day (I can help them to do this, as well as advising on whether the vows 'match' in terms of tone and length, but without giving away the contents!) I love how they look into each other's eyes and everyone else is shut out for a moment, even though we're all still there. It gets my goosebumps going every time.