Childhood memories “Enchanted Woodlands-Teddy and Me!”

Childhood memories “Enchanted Woodlands-Teddy and Me!”

Reminiscing is  wonderful thing. A few months ago I was looking back on some photos of myself when I was just “a wee bairn” living in Scotland which got me thinking about childhood memories.

I remember enchanted woodlands, fields, farms and animals and spending time just being a child, exploring nature.

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Some things stand out like they were only yesterday, like playing out in the neighbourhood, the fabulous halloween’s up there, my guinea pigs, the squirrels that used to come right up to the backdoor from the forrest; but what really sticks in my mind was exploring the great outdoors just me and my faithful teddy, we were inseparable, best friends . Something that all mums and dads will be able to relate to!

Strangely I can’t remember having a specific name for him but he has now been passed down to my daughter who has appropriately named him “one-ear” due to the obvious missing body part that must have occurred after this photo was taken!

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Many years later, seeing my own children find a special bond with their own teddies “Harry” the hare and “Didi Saa Saa” the elephant made me realise how important having memories of this loyal friend are. 

Everything we do is about creating memories and celebrating  the important things in life that matter. So I got together with professional Photographer Cecilia Costello, who specialises in natural portraits of children and Kerry Roy at the amazing outdoor location Camp Katur in Bedale to create a styled mini-shoot for children and families in the woodlands this Easter weekend. When I took Cecilia there for a reccie she loved the enchantment of the woodlands and felt it was the perfect spot and so was born “The Enchanted Woods Portraits days”.

If you would like to create some wonderful natural memories of your children having a little outdoor adventure with their beloved teddy in an enchanted woodland and styled setting then get in touch to book your session.

There are only ten sessions available over the two days-Easter Sunday 20th April and Monday 21st April so don’t leave it too late!

Layout 1 Look forward to meeting the lucky 10 families!

Quirky valentine proposals

 

To celebrate valentines day, this weekend we will being doing an engagement photoshoot for one of our couples who have a very lovely story to tell. We were so blown away with this create fiancée’s proposal that we wanted to share it with you. So watch this space, it’ll be coming to the blog soon.

In the meantime, we thought we’d a few sweet and quirky valentine proposals:

Have a fabulous valentines day whether you are celebrating with husbands, lovers, friends, (or your kids??) celebrate love in your own little way. And remember, as the song goes “give a little love” and  it all comes back to you!

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Yorkshire’s alternative wedding venue- Skipbridge

Yorkshire’s alternative wedding venue- Skipbridge

When we’re not writing, styling and conducting wedding, renewal of vows and naming ceremonies, we’re out on the road seeking new and interesting off the beaten track, alternative wedding venues and outdoor locations to hold our ceremonies.

Our stomping ground is Yorkshire and it’s surrounding counties so if you’re newly engaged and looking for somewhere truly unique to have your personal ceremony, we might just have come across the one that make you feel “this is us”! Whether you are looking for a blank canvas to create a festival style event, a magical woodland, an english country garden, lavender fields, a rustic barn, a country house,  private estates or a new site to have a Papkata or tepee we can help so.

Given that Lonely Planet recently placed Yorkshire third in the top ten of ‘must visit’ places in the world in 2014 I thought over the next few weeks I’d share with you some of Yorkshire’s hidden gems that I’ve discovered along my travels this year.

Next up is  Skipbridge a wonderful country outdoor location and new for 2014; it’s relaxed, quirky and it’s easy to see why it’s quickly getting booked up. A delightful green field venue suitable for a marquee,  Papkata , TotallyTipiBoutipi or Yorkshire Yurt situated on on a small holding that houses creatures great and small.

Photograph by Peter Boyd

Photograph by Peter Boyd

You can find more insider info on our new “new venue section” on our website but here’s our at a glance summary to give you a feel for what it’s about:

It’s for you if:

  • you want a more relaxed chilled affair
  • you’re looking for something a bit quirky and fun
  • quite a lot of your wedding guests are children
  • you want the flexibility of a blank canvas outdoor location but with reliable support available if you need it
  • you want on site electric and proper showers and loos and a portable bar!
  • if you want the option of on site B&B accommodation or camping
  • you love the outdoors, animals and lovely people

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What kind weddings & ceremonies can you have there?

Informal, personal outdoor ones! Our ceremonies are written, styled and conducted for and about you. You have the freedom and flexibility to say what you want to say and promise to each other, choose the music, poems, lyrics or traditions that are meaningful to you or give them a new take. We are nationally qualified Independent Celebrants which means you can include religious, spiritual content or keep it totally secular, it’s entirely up to you.

But most importantly we tell your own story and  create a ceremony that’s unique and personal to you, whatever your style or choice of location.

Why have we chosen to work with Skipbridge Country Weddings?

  • the friendly relaxed atmosphere
  • the flexibility and freedom it offers
  • their dedication to making your day a personal experience
  • the quirky features

If you’re interested in wedding ceremony at Skipbridge Country Weddings then give Jan a call on 07745 385 981 or drop Jan an email ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk and don’t forget to leave a contact number too!

Yorkshire’s alternative wedding venues: Camp Katur

Yorkshire’s alternative wedding venues: Camp Katur

When we’re not writing, styling and conducting wedding, renewal of vows and naming ceremonies, we’re out on the road seeking new and interesting off the beaten track, alternative wedding venues and outdoor locations to hold our ceremonies.

Our stomping ground is Yorkshire and it’s surrounding counties so if you’re newly engaged and looking for somewhere truly unique to have your personal ceremony, we might just have come across the one that make you feel “this is us”! Whether you are looking for a blank canvas to create a festival style event, a magical woodland, an english country garden, lavender fields, a rustic barn, a country house,  private estates or a new site to have a Papkata or tepee we can help so.

Given that Lonely Planet recently placed Yorkshire third in the top ten of ‘must visit’ places in the world in 2014 I thought over the next few weeks I’d share with you some of Yorkshire’s hidden gems that I’ve discovered along my travels this year.

First up is Camp Katur:

Photo credit: Annemarie King: Flowers by Lucy MacNicoll

Photo credit: Annemarie King: Flowers by Lucy MacNicoll

Set in the grounds of the wonderful Camp Hill Estate in Bedale, North Yorkshire,  Camp Katur is a whole new kettle of fish when it comes to alternative wedding venues. It’s a breath of fresh air, quite literally, and as a wedding venue just keeps on giving and giving!  I first met the lovely Kerry Roy , owner of Camp Katur, there in the autumn of 2012. Within five minutes I knew that we would get on like a house on fire; we had similar dreams and ambitions and our new businesses were the perfect match. Her “venue” was the yin to our yang.

Photo credit: Annemarie King,  Flowers by Lucy MacNicoll

Photo credit: Annemarie King, Flowers by Lucy MacNicoll

Here’s a quick summary to give you an idea whether it’s right for you but you can find out more insider info on Camp Katur on our ‘Venues’ page.

It’s for you if you:

  •  love the great outdoors
  • want a blank canvas to create a personal statement
  • would like flexibility on the where to have your ceremony or reception should you be worried about the weather
  • want a place that allows you to get more creative
  • love music as much as each other
  • want a more relaxed ceremony and wedding style
  • want on site accomodation and glamping facilities for you and your guests

What kind of wedding & ceremonies can you have there?

Why have we chosen to work with Camp Katur?

  • they are lovely, helpful people
  • they select only the very best in wedding suppliers in the north to work with
  • it’s unique and flexible
  • they always inventing new experiences
 For more insider information on each of our featured venues over the next few weeks check our our “new venue section” on the website.

 

 

 

 

Living North Weddings -Location, location, location

 

If you’re looking for “a bright idea” for your wedding then check out today’s Living North Weddings magazine page 11 no 3.

We’re full of bright ideas for your personal wedding ceremony but we can also help you find a place to have it that’s also unique and personal.  As Kirsty and Phil say, it is all about location, location, location. When we’re not writing, styling or conducting our ceremonies we’re searching out some of Yorkshire’s newest hidden gems.

So please do get in touch if you need a little insider info on suitable locations in Yorkshire and the surrounding areas that fit with your  own personal style. ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk.

Keep your eye on the blog and on our “new venue section” on our website, over the next few weeks we’ll be telling you about some of our favourites. If you want to find our more about the venue featured below take a look at our first featured alternative wedding location.

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A new wave of brides seek Yorkshire’s alternative wedding venues

A new wave of brides seek Yorkshire’s alternative wedding venues

When we’re not writing, styling and conducting wedding, renewal of vows and naming ceremonies, we’re out on the road seeking new and interesting off the beaten track, alternative wedding venues and outdoor locations to hold our ceremonies.

Our stomping ground is Yorkshire and it’s surrounding counties so if you’re newly engaged and looking for somewhere truly unique to have your personal ceremony, we might just have come across the one that make you feel “this is us”! Whether you are looking for a blank canvas to create a festival style event, a magical woodland, an english country garden, lavender fields, a rustic barn, a country house,  private estates or a new site to have a Papkata or tepee we can help so.

Yorls lonely planet mirror image

Given that Lonely Planet recently placed Yorkshire third in the top ten of ‘must visit’ places in the world in 2014 I thought over the next few weeks I’d share with you some of Yorkshire’s hidden gems that I’ve discovered along my travels this year.

We have definitely noticed that for 2014 there is a new wave of brides & grooms choosing Yorkshire as their wedding destination and who are prepared to travel to have a more personal wedding ceremony experience. In fact, we saw 50% of our business in our first year come from couples living in other parts of the UK. So, if you live outside Yorkshire and need insider information on the some of the newest alternative wedding venues and hidden gems for your wedding ceremony drop us a line: ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk  They’re sure to wow your guests.

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The places we seek out are all unique in their own way and a breath of fresh air to “traditional” licensed venues. I’ve been very fortunate to come across a whole array of amazing venues and locations that open up the options to couples getting married today.

It’s great to see that couples are getting more confident in choosing where and how they get married so  here so watch this space for our personal favourites in alternative wedding venues that, like us, have heart soul and personality.

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Wedding planning. Where to start?

 

As we’re heading towards the season of Christmas engagements, we’ve pulled together a few tips and advice on where to start with your wedding planning before you dive head first into the big world of weddings!

It’s so important that you consider all the options and get the day that you both want. Whether you have always dreamt about a garden wedding at home in marquee or tepee, a ceremony in lavender fields or woodlands, a unique country house or private estate our wedding ceremonies can help you make it happen.

Photography Opal Desires

 

Tip 1- Remember it’s YOUR day

When the reality has sunk in, you realise that you are actually getting married, you’ve stopped jumping up and down, you’ve rung your mum and best friend and changed your facebook status STOP right there. It’s time to think and get off on the right foot with some simple wedding planning tips that could make all the difference to the kind of wedding and experience you have.

  • Grab a wine, beer, coffee or tea, sit down together and think about how you want your day to feel, what you want it to say about you as a couple and what you want your guests to say about your day.
  • Then have a look on Pinterest and each set up a board of how you envisage your wedding, no peeping at each others until you’ve both finished!!
  • Then compare! Whether they are the similar of different it gives you a starting point and opens up the discussion on the when, where, how and who and how many.

 

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Join us on Pinterest CelebrationW

 

Tip 2- Agree on a few date options

Most weddings are booked a year in advance due to venue availability. But it doesn’t have to be. As you are not restricted to licensed venues with our ceremonies, you have more flexibility and choice, so you don’t have to settle for sharing your  special day with another 3 brides!

  • Think about season- if you’re looking for an outdoor wedding in the UK they are usually between April and September (however if you were having a Papkata or tepee you wouldn’t know what the weather was doing outside and make lovely cosy winter venues).
  • Think about the day- Saturdays & Bank holidays in peak season are obviously the most popular but a lot of our couples make more of a weekend of it and have it on a Friday or Sunday.
  • Most couples have a set budget, how you allocate it it up to you, think about what is important to you and what will it your celebration unique and meaningful to you. If budget’s tight avoid high season and Saturdays and try to be selective on guest numbers.
  • Check availability with us Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings who can help guide you though the process and answer any questions you may have.

Photography By John Steel

 

Tip 3- Start thinking about “where”

Firstly you need to decide what you want from a venue within the boundaries of budget; but remember outdoor weddings do not necessarily mean cheap! At this stage in your wedding planning allow yourself to dream a little, write down what you both see in your head when you walk down the aisle it will help filter your options:

  • Keep, break or give a new take on tradition?
  • large or intimate affair?
  • street food, relaxed or formal dining?
  • does the venue fit with your style and “look and feel”
  • at home, indoor or outdoor?
  • gardens, open spaces, or boutique eco sites?
  • rural or urban?
  • local venue or wider search area?
  • blank canvas or support facilities?
  • bricks and mortar or marquee, tepee or Papkata?
  • guest accommodation or glamping village?

Then let you fingers and feet do the searching or ask us about our venue search.

 

Tip 4 Consider the following for an outdoor wedding or wedding at home:

Planning a blank canvas outdoor wedding or wedding at home is a bit more of a challenge and requires more planning and organisation. Think about how hands on or off you want to be or you want your friends and family to be, especially on the day.

  • think about having someone who knows the pitfalls and can help you find reliable and trustworthy suppliers who have the skills and experience to achieve your vision
  • on-the-day co-ordination is worth every penny to remove the stress from you and make sure everything runs tickety boo.
  • before booking an outdoor location make sure your marquee, tepee or Papkata company has visited the site
  • think about some of the practicalities of access, parking, health and safety, lighting and toilet facilities and electricity supplies
  • If you’re an outdoorsy kind of couple then a bit of rain won’t bother you in the slightest but you should always have a plan B, just in case.
  • make wedding wellies and umbrellas a design feature of your day should you need them
  • check availability of your photographer but remember to choose someone that that fits your style and embraces the weather come rain or shower to get the best memories of your day.

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Tip 5 Book the important bits:

1. Secure your ceremony writer & designer & conductor

2.Your Legal “ceremony” at your local register office it can be first thing on the day, the day before or any point before you wedding day- whether you choose to tell family & guests is entirely up to you

3.Your venue or site (and catering)

4. Your Marquee, Tepee or Papkata

5. Your on the day co-ordinator

6. Your Photographer

 

Step 6- Find THE dress!!!!

We’ll leave this up to you. Try lots on and have fun!

 

If you’re interested in our wedding ceremonies and would like a few more tips, drop Jan a line ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk she’d love to hear about your plans and will send you our full guide.

Here at Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings specialise in writing, conducting and styling personal wedding ceremonies in gardens at home, at private in Estates, off the beaten track venues and outdoor locations across the UK. We are qualified and approved by Government training body Ofqual, Jan was one of the first five in the UK to qualify. For a full list of the services we offer and additional design services check out www.thememorybox.com/ceremonies 

A cause for celebration- as featured in House Beautiful

 

 

HB FC 2  We were thrilled to be asked by House Beautiful to feature in their popular August 2013 issue. They loved our style and our dedication to creating, recording, sharing and celebrating memories.

Our own personal style is very much an eclectic mix of old and new, mixing contemporary modern pieces with other statement pieces that have special meaning to us whether that be family items, things collected on our travels, things designed by ourselves or my brother Matthew Lyndon Harrison an international ceramic designer or just beautiful objects.

Our first celebration and memory at the house, now also our HQ, was when my husband and I married there nine years ago.  Getting married at home, and outdoors was pretty unheard of  back then but we were adamant that we didn’t want a production line registrar led ceremony. I remember quite distinctly when we went to the Register office to complete the legal paperwork before our ceremony, dressed in jeans, the Registrar saying to us ” this is a solemn occasion”, I couldn’t help but think we had gone into the wrong room by mistake!

We wanted personal and unique. And it was. I wrote and styled our ceremony and marquee and added lots of little personal touches. We had a fabulous meal by Berties, a free bar and duke boxes. We didn’t even go for a first dance together, it wasn’t us, so instead I did a Greek dance while everyone clapped in circle- we would have smashed a few plates but European health & safety regulations have put an end to that! A few years later following the pitter patter of tiny feet we also held naming ceremonies for both our children again at home with family and friends to mark and celebrate their arrival.

This was my inspiration for helping others to have a personal ceremony and experience.

Our ceremonies & wedding business is soon to be complemented by our new social media platform www.thememorybox.com- go and have a peep of what’s to come very soon, it is our newest passion(and labour of love!).

Behind the scenes on the day of the photoshoot was such fun, I was joined by my friend and ex-colleague, make up artist  Shelly Dawson who kept me and the team entertained most of the day! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little insight into where and how Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings and thememorybox.com came about.

If you’d like us to make your day extra special, drop me a line. Would love to help.

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Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings gets all Tipi at Green Directions

 

 

Pop in to our "pop up" event. Book your table today to experience the wow factor THIS WEEKEND ONLY. Make's a unique venue to Pop the question! We'll be there on Sunday for the wedding showcase.

Pop in to our “pop up” event. Book your table today to experience the wow factor THIS WEEKEND ONLY. Make’s a unique venue to Pop the question!
We’ll be there on Sunday for the wedding showcase.

 

This Sunday 30th June we are heading over to the fabulous Green Directions in Sheffield, an inspiring “green” boutique venue that we think is just perfect for a memorable wedding whatever the  season. It’s a ten acre farm with spectacular views of the peak district with top facilities powered by green technologies. They have teamed up with Totally Tipi and their wow factor teepees to creates a contemporary “pop up” wedding venue that is sure to make an impact on your guests. By nature this kind of wedding is for those couples who are looking for a stylish but less formal, more comfortable feel to it which makes it a perfect fit with our personal ceremonies.

For us it’s about each couple feeling that “this is us”, we start with a blank sheet and create the words, feelings and music that reflect who you are, what you’re about and what matters to you. We then turn this into your personal style and tone that can then be applied to the rest of your day. We know no two couples are the same so none of our ceremonies are either.

We were delighted to be invited to join in the fun and create a wedding ceremony style for you to see on the day. Our Summertime Memories inspiration above will give you a feel for what we have in store for you on Sunday. So excitied!

 

BarbecueCome and have a very civilised day,  enjoy the barbecue and meet our other fabulous wedding partners to discuss your plans. Sounds like a perfect Sunday outing!

If you want to experience what it feels like to dine in one these amazing Teepees or even “pop the question” in a unique place then you can book a table at the “Pop up” Restaurant on Friday 28th June evening, Saturday lunchtime, Saturday evening, Sunday lunch or Sunday evening barbecue. Menu’s and  food created by Barretts one of the top ten restaurants in Sheffield. Call 07456 555 240 or email enq.barrettsgotipi@mail.com

Look forward to meeting you.

 

 

 

 

Summertime images credit & thanks to :

Choose Cake

Wedding dresses on pinterest

Little Dreamer on Etsy

Beach huts on pinterest

Umbrella on Etsy

31st May- love songs for weddings- last but not least, celebrating a universal love

 

Well, we hope you have enjoyed our month of love songs for weddings through out May as a celebration of Summer and wedding fever. Each day we picked a gem of a love song to take you on a musical journey above and beyond the traditional ‘Bridal March’. Whilst there are some fabulous classic love songs for weddings to choose from, it may be that you are looking for something a bit different and want to give a contemporary twist to your ceremony, so this was for you.

Our final song is a pretty little love song.

It has ‘bottled’ that feeling you get when you’ve met someone and fallen head over heals in love. Your head is in the clouds, your heart skips a beat, everything is new and exciting and every day is sunny and warm. It feels like the first day of your life.

When you take your vows and make promises to each other on your wedding day, no matter how long you have been together, it too feels like the first day of your life.

So we think this is worthy of being one of our featured love songs for weddings that you could walk down the aisle to. It’s is a pretty song celebrating that people all over the word fall in love, a love that is universal and tells a different story each time.

So, here you go- ‘First day of my life’ by Bright Eyes

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We’d love to hear your own love stories. No two love stories are the same so we make sure that is reflected in your ceremony by making it personal and unique.

Oh, and if any of you lovely brides out there do chose one of our featured songs for your wedding we’d love to hear about it.

Happy Summer. Happy wedding fever!