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.



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.






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!


30th May wedding songs- great wedding ceremony ideas can start with a song


If you’re looking for wedding ceremony ideas then welcome to our last couple of days of  May wedding songs to walk down the aisle to! Today we’re featuring an alternative song style- dark piano ballards with a love theme at the core of the lyrics- for which Nick Cave is so well known. In his song “Into My Arms” he tells a story that is ‘melancholic’ but yet uplifting, cloaked in spiritual and religious language & imagery. If you haven’t heard it before,  you may be forgiven for thinking that’s it doesn’t sound the best choice of song to walk down the aisle to, but hear it out, it does have  a beautiful quality about it! And there is a ‘happy’ ending as love does conquer all in the end!

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There are so many  great songs to choose from spanning many decades and genres which makes finding THE song to walk down the aisle to even harder! Some great wedding ceremony ideas can start with a song so rather than leave this to the end of your wedding planning, when things start to get a bit hectic and more stressful, our advice would be to decide this at the beginning of the wedding planning process when designing the ceremony.

We like to work with our couples from the beginning, starting with a blank piece of paper. We consider each of the different elements of a ceremony, the location, the content and the overall look & feel that you want to convey together as a whole ‘concept’. That way we help you make a real personal statement that says”This is us”. If you would like us to help you come up with some wedding ceremony ideas to create a ceremony that is unique and personal then just drop us a line ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk

Anyway, we hope you were inspired by today’s featured song. We have one more song tomorrow to conclude our month of May wedding songs to celebrate the start of Summer and wedding fever so have a look back at all our featured songs and don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us your favourites.

Happy Summer! Happy Days!

28th May Wedding songs & the celebrant- finding a higher love


As the celebrant at a wedding helping find the right music is just one part of what we do to help make a wedding ceremony personal. Everyone is different and that it half the fun! For today’s featured song I was fortunate to have grown up with it in the 1980s and it remains in my top ten, still giving me goose pimples when I hear it. There have been other versions but the original Frankie Goes to Hollywood is my personal favourite as it contains that raw emotion you feel when you are touched by love.

It’s beautiful, powerful and dramatic, the lyrics are mysterious and intriguing and can’t help but draw you into the song.  ‘The Power of Love’ has been described as “one of those magical points in music where the sacred and the secular entwine. Where once a gospel choir might have sung of how God wields an almighty power from on high- a power that is transformational, at times terrifying, but always purifying, redemptive- secular artists attribute these same qualities to romantic love”*

Holly Johnson once said “There  is a biblical aspect to its spirituality and passion; the fact that love  is the only thing that matters in the end.”

This is so true and demonstrates that love has no boundaries. “The Power of Love’ is a song that makes you feel something whatever that higher love may be. Have a listen.

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We too don’t set boundaries. As the celebrant we are dedicated to making your ceremony be about your love, so if you want your wedding ceremony or civil partnership to be without restrictions on the venue or location, the ceremony words, the music or the style then we can help. Our ceremonies put you in control, we can be as hands ‘on’ or ‘off ‘ as you like to help you make it your own.

Another version of ‘The Power of Love” you may have heard more recently is by singer song writer Gabrielle Aplin  it’s a beautiful interpretation and maybe the one you choose to walk down the aisle to! But if not drop by tomorrow and we’ll have another one. or check out all out other processional songs featured in May.

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Happy Summer!


*Laura Barton, The guardian


26th & 27th May wedding ceremony songs- a double bill from1980’s Scottish folk rockers


As it’s a bank holiday tomorrow (yeh!) we’ve got a double whammy of wedding ceremony songs for you. We’re taking you back to the 1980’s to hear  ‘The Waterboys’ with “Whole of the Moon” a wonderful song with lyrics that keep building up as it goes along, just like poetry, then blows you away.  Their music is a mix of celtic folk with rock and roll that often contains literary references and frequently about spirituality; whilst this song is not a ‘typical’ wedding ceremony song to walk down the aisle to it does have a certain ‘something’ magical about it and is full of hope. We just love the addition of trumpets, they give it a classical element and take it to a higher level. Have a listen to the lyrics:

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I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
You were there in the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth
You cut through lies
I saw the rain dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
… but you swooned!
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
With a torch in your pocket
And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels
To get too high
Too far too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon!
Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and piers
Trumpets towers and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags rags ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars
You climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like comet
Blazing your trail
Too high too far too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
Our second song is also by  The Waterboys,  ‘How long will I love you’ but this time a cover by Kristina Train, beautifully sung and once again, beautiful lyrics.
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How long will I love you
As long as there are stars above you
And longer if I can

How long will I need you
As long as the seasons need to
Follow their plan

How long will I be with you
AS long as the sea is bound to
wash upon the sand

How long will I want you
As long as you want me to
And longer by far

How long will I hold you
As long as your father told you
As long as you are

How long will I give to you
As long as I live through you
However long you say

How long will I love you
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I may

We’re into our final week of May and featured wedding ceremony songs to walk down the aisle to so don’t forget to pop back to hear our final selections. If you missed yesterday’s treat check it our here.

If lyrics, words and music are an important part of your life bring them out in your wedding ceremony, it’s doesn’t always have to be ‘spoken’ it can become part of your aisle or decoration. Whatever your style, whether it’s an indoor or outdoor wedding it can really make it personal to you. We don’t just write and conduct ceremonies, if you want us to help you come up with ideas for personalising and styling your ceremony just drop us a line: ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk


Happy summer!




25th May Processional wedding songs- a chemical attraction


It’s bank holiday weekend, the sun is shining, happy days! So for all you lovebirds looking for processional wedding songs that captures the emotion of physical and chemical attraction – “Falling Slowly”  by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova is it!  Such beautiful voices.

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“Falling Slowly” is an Academy award winning soundtrack to 2006 oscar winning Independent Irish film ‘Once’ where the characters express their emotion through the medium of song.

The day you get married is a special moment in time when you feel that same physical and chemical attraction you had when you first met. We listen to your own stories of how you met, the places, the people and the experiences that brought you closer together and try to capture this special time in a personal wedding ceremony. We can help you find that special location or if you have been dreaming of having your ceremony in a place that’s meaningful to you then we’ll help make it a reality. All our ceremonies are totally bespoke, there are no rules or etiquette that you have to follow we just help you make it your own and put into words the things you want to say to each other.

We hope you liked today’s song but if it doesn’t make you feel ‘this is us’ then you can always have a look at our other featured processional wedding songs in May or pop back tomorrow.

Happy Summer!




23rd May Wedding songs- a celebration of love


Wedding songs are about a celebration of love. Today’s wedding song is about just that, celebrating a love so great that it shines brightly.  ‘Diamonds’ by Rihanna is a dreamy laid back kind of song that make you feel the double edged emotions of  the beauty and the pain of loving someone so deeply. It’s new-ish song, only released in September last year, but worthy of being on our feature list. So kick off your heels at #wineoclock and enjoy.

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The video uses symbolic references that represent the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. Together they are  key to making the spirit of life. Water to sustain life, earth to grow, air to breathe life  and  fire to destroy and create again.

Just as Rihanna has chosen to include symbolic references in her celebration of love video concept, with our Celebration Wedding Ceremonies you have the choice to include symbolic gestures in your wedding ceremony in addition to the exchange of rings.  These can take many forms, from water ceremonies, sand ceremonies, candle lighting, dove/butterfly release, warming of the rings or handfasting. There are no hard and fast rules, what’s important is that it means something to you both.

Crossed hands lilac and silver We hope you liked today’s wedding song to walk down the aisle to but if it’s not ‘you’ then pop back tomorrow we’ll have another celebration of love for you! Oh, and don’t forget that there are 22 other songs featured on our blog so far this month, so you have lots of inspiration. We’d love to hear which are your favourites and any of your own.

If you would like us to help you create a unique personal ceremony and wedding experience drop Jan a line: ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk

22nd May Songs for your wedding ceremony


It’s your wedding ceremony so choose a song that says ‘this is us’. Is this it?

This song has a certain “magic” that’s up-beat, fun and whimsical. It’s “oh it is love” an acoustic ballard from the Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! album by Hellogoodbye- bit of an obscure album title when all the songs on the album read like a love song but hey ho!

We love that it’s mainly played on the banjo which is a refreshing change and gives it a lovely quirky feel. The lyrics themselves are about a guy declaring his love for his girlfriend perfect for a contemporary wedding ceremony.

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Music is such a personal thing but choosing songs for your wedding ceremony can be a bit of a daunting task as there are so many good songs that’ll you have heard and collected over the years. Whether it’s the words, vows, poems, readings,  music, style or location we want our couples to say ‘this is us’ and this is our story.

What’s important is that you are true to yourselves, create a memorable experience and know that you don’t just have to follow the crowd, there is another way, YOUR way! For most couples the wedding ceremony is often a bit of an afterthought and left in the hands of the registrar to be discussed near the time of the wedding. We turn this on it’s head, we start your planning process with your wedding ceremony as this, after all, is the most important bit!

Everything else falls out the back of it in terms of location, style and tone. We help you decide was is ‘you’, we listen to your personal stories and experiences then write , conduct and style your ceremony to create a unique centrepiece for your day. Drop Jan a line if you’d like to find our more ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk

If this song ‘isn’t you’ then have a look back through our May blogs, there are 21 different songs to inspire you or pop back tomorrow and we’ll have another one!

Happy Summer!