What is your most memorable wedding?
They're all memorable but the most stick-out one would have to be the wedding I conducted from the Royal Albert Hall, live on ITV's 'This Morning', complete with the Kingdom Choir singing and my teen crush Phillip Schofield sitting just a few feet away! That was a nerve-racking one to say the least! But it was enormous fun and the the couple, Sarah and Shane, were just gorgeous people. You can see the whole thing in my videos section.
Describe your style in 5 adjectives.
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. Then I went and won both regional and national awards for the new 'Celebrant of the Year' category the following year!
What about your business are you most proud of?
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.
What is your No. 1 wedding planning tip for couples?
Personal, relaxed, quirky, friendly, warm, rule-breaking.
What is your favourite personal touch you have seen 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.
Describe your typical process with a couple.
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 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. Oh, and there was the one where three couples were having their wedding ceremony together...!
How do you ensure a stress-free wedding?
It all starts off with 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 do you love most about your job?
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.