15th May Gay Weddings – songs and wedding ‘belles’



When it comes to weddings people say gay couples ‘do it best’. Whether this is true or not , gay weddings definitely have spirit and style. They have a desire to do things differently, make a statement, show off their personalities and have fun. This is just what we are about; being open-minded and thinking a bit more creatively. There’s been a lot of political discussion and debate about gay marriage and at last progress has been made so today’s wedding song celebrates this ‘gay spirit’, something all brides and grooms can tap into. We love ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ by The  Marvelous Wonderettes set to a video by ‘Eddie Going’ and ‘Nick’, it so captures the fun side to getting married.

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Here’s a clip from a gay wedding ceremony where the couple chose to do things differently for their entrance song and shows that a ceremony, whilst an important commitment doesn’t have to be a formal ‘solemn’ occasion! Deciding where to hold your wedding or civil partnership ceremony is key, a qualified celebrant can spot a creative opportunity to make the venue or location work for you and add some unique elements to your ceremony. We love how this couple have made it a real personal experience by including their wedding party in their processional song.

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Perhaps”Wedding Bell Blues” is not for you? Pop back tomorrow and for another wedding song, it may just be THE one. If you missed yesterday’s double whammy wedding songs for your civil partnership have a listen, two beautiful songs to walk down the aisle to.

Whether you’re planning a gay wedding or civil partnership or not you may still want to give your ceremony an injection of ‘gay spirit’,  personality and ‘va va voom’, if so drop  Jan a line on ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk

13th & 14th May wedding songs for your civil partnership



Today we’ve jammed yesterday’s and today’s wedding songs into one as we wanted to give you a DOUBLE whammy to inspire your choice of ceremony music for your civil partnership. That said they are not exclusively ‘gay’ songs just beautiful and moving, after all the beauty of music is that it has no boundaries, it’s universal whatever your sexual preference! But it was important that we featured songs specifically with a civil partnership in mind that celebrated relationships without gender boundaries.

Both songs come from the multi Academy award winning film ‘Brokeback Mountain’ by Ang Lee and it’s significance has been attributed to the portrayal of a same-sex relationship that doesn’t get caught up in the politics of gay rights and gay marriage. It is pure to it’s core and beautifully expresses the love between two people irrespective of gender. Love in that sense is very like music. If you haven’t seen the film, do. It is one of my own personal favourites. So here they are:

Our first choice for your civil partnership (or wedding) ‘A love that will never grow old’ by the amazing song writer Emmylou Harris

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Go to sleep, may your sweet dreams come true
Just lay back in my arms for one more night
I’ve this crazy old notion that calls me sometimes
Saying this one’s the love of our lives.

Cause I know a love that will never grow old
And I know a love that will never grow old.

When you wake up the world may have changed
But trust in me, I’ll never falter or fail
Just the smile in your eyes, it can light up the night,
And your laughter’s like wind in my sails.

Cause I know a love that will never grow old
And I know a love that will never grow old.

Lean on me, let our hearts beat in time,
Feel strength from the hands that have held you so long.
Who cares where we go on this rutted old road
In a world that may say that we’re wrong.


And our  second double whammy song for your civil partnership is ‘The Wings’ by Gustavo Santaollla

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You give me the wings to fly
You are the clear blue sky
I’m floating so free, so high
Falling with grace, for you, and I
You give me the wings to fly ooo yeah

You give me the wings to fly
You are the clear blue sky
I’m floating so free, so high
Falling with grace, for you, and I
You give me the wings to fly


The music is just part of how we can help make your civil partnership celebration ceremony personal and meaningful. We help you find the words, poems and readings and vows that say ‘I love you’, we can help you find a unique or off-the-beaten-track venue or location, set the style and tone and create a unique event that puts your ceremony and commitment to each other at the heart of your day.

We’d  love to hear more about your ideas and plans so drop Jan a line if you’d like to discuss your requirements ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk.

Gay marriage is a civil right not a religious consideration



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Much has been debated about the right for gay marriage and even though the bill was passed in parliament earlier this month, the debate still continues. To mark this historic moment I wanted to give a bit of a round up of some of the arguments and discussions on the subject, and of course share my own ramblings!


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As it stands today, Civil Partnerships have allowed same-sex couples to form a legal partnership in the UK since 2004.  One camp that opposed the Bill argued that Civil Partnerships are ‘the same’ or ‘similar’ to marriages and therefore didn’t see the need to bring them under the same ‘umbrella’ as marriages. They were ‘separate but equal’.

However, in reality Civil Partners do not have the same financial benefits as married couples and there remains inequalities in the acceptance of the term Civil Partnership and it’s legal status. “The seven ways civil partnership isn’t the same as marriage’ GayStarNews http://bit.ly/Za2DRZ

However it seems there is objection to the term ‘marriage’ being applied to any union between two people. Is the definition and very nature of marriage as an institution in question here?

Early marriage was a social institution and was a practical matter, there to preserve family power and wealth and had no romantic significance. Most were arranged marriages where women had inferior status and could be punished or sold as her husband saw fit.

The institution of marriage has, fortunately, changed over the last few thousand years on numerous occasions to reflect changes in values, economic conditions and changes in ideas about romance and led the way for greater equality for women: http://bit.ly/VATGdL

  • Legalization of divorce
  • Criminalization of marital rape (and recognition that the concept even exists)
  • Legalization of contraception
  • Legalization of interracial marriage
  • Recognition of women’s right to own property in a marriage
  • Elimination of dowries
  • Elimination of parents’ right to choose or reject their children’s mates
  • Elimination of childhood marriages and betrothals
  • Elimination of polygamy
  • Existence of large numbers of unmarried people
  • Women not taking the last names of their husbands
  • Changing emphasis from money and property to love and personal fulfillment


The argument opposing gay marriages seems to based upon religious grounds where marriage is sanctimonious and is the unification between a man and a woman. God made Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve was rolled out endlessly in a recent debate.  Religious views believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and that there should be the possibility for the procreation of children.

The very early Christian church was in fact quite hostile to marriage, believing that marriage and family were distractions from the path to salvation. To remain single and celibate was the ideal! It was not until the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th Century that the Catholic church extended its influence, elevating marriage from a ‘civil’ contract to a religious ‘union’ which subsequently formed the basis of marriage laws in most Western countries.

But with two thirds of couples in the UK choosing not get married in church perhaps the time has come to reverse it back to a civil contract rather than a religious union. http://bit.ly/YpC8DL

If marriage is based on the procreation of children then why was it important to Prince Charles and Camilla, or indeed anybody over childbearing age. Marriage is an expression of love and commitment.  Religion doesn’t own the institution of marriage – it’s is a civil right.



There are currently 11 countries that have legalized gay marriage with England & Wales and France soon to follow suit.

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However for those facing alienation and rejection from the church, the choice to move away from church and towards celebration ceremonies will grow.

Unlike Humanists, Celebrants can currently include religious or spiritual content in their ceremonies.  Australia has already taken this concept one step further being the first nation whose Government approved and appointed the use of celebrants to perform legal marriage ceremonies. Couples, in addition to the legal requirements, are free to choose the content of there ceremony whether that be secular, spiritual or religious.

The whole debate on Gay Marriage opens up another debate on whether England & Wales needs to re-address the wider issue of marriage law and who can conduct legal civil ceremonies. Britain is following a similar pattern to Australia in the 1960’s with falling church attendance, a similar level of Civil Marriages, questioning established institutions and profound social change.

Following the Australian model is definitely the way forward, whether this happens in two years or five years, as a Government qualified and approved Celebrant I hope to be one of the first Celebrants to be able to conduct legal ceremonies in the future.

Here’s hoping!


Are men traditionalists or contemporary when it comes to proposing?


With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and florists set for their busiest day in the year how are men going to propose to the love of their life?

Marry me

Although there is no historical origin to proposing down on one knee, this ultimate gesture is commonplace among those who fall in the category of the ‘traditionalists’.

Latest research by Men’s Health and The Knot.com, found that men are by-and-large a bunch of traditionalists, with the majority believing they should ask permission from his intended’s parents before proposing. More than three-quarters of those asked said they should get down on one knee.

It seems most women agree and want their partner to propose the traditional way and that includes proposing with a ring. 32% of women thought the biggest proposal mistake is not having a ring.

Getting down on one knee resembles other ceremonial traditions such as prayer where kneeling is seen to be a sign of respect; being awarded honors by Royalty and bowing in surrender before an enemy. The act of proposing on one knee represents these same core themes of respect, honor and surrender.

The ring is the most important part of the proposal

Every proposal consists of three essentials- the ring, the question and the setting but timing and content can also be just as important- 83% of women remember what was said during the proposal. So wherever you choose to pop the question, whether it is a personal affair at home or somewhere more exotic make sure it is personal and meaningful. If you’re planning on proposing here’s some inspiration http://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/unique-wedding-proposals

These essential elements also ring true for the ceremony. Whatever traditions or symbolic gestures you choose to include in your ceremony, making it personal and unique is sure to make it more memorable for you, your family and guests.

So whilst the proposal may still be a predominantly male domain and quite traditional in terms of following etiquette and gestures, when it come to the planning the wedding day itself they seem to take more of a back seat. It is the brides who move into the driving seat and are looking for a more contemporary and personal take on their ceremony.


Brides are looking for a new way to get married that unique to them

Recent trends suggest that they are no longer looking for a generic conveyor-belt ceremony; they want to create a unique event that is special to them and at the heart of their wedding day. http://www.thememoryboxceremonies.co.uk/portfolio-item/our-ceremonies-weddings-partnerships-commitments/

At Celebrations Weddings we believe no two couples are the same and therefore no two ceremonies should be the same either. The ceremony should be the centre piece of your day and the cornerstone of your commitment to each other in your future lives together. We bring together all the essential elements, the words, vows, symbolic gestures, the readings and music, the style and location in away that’s unique and personal to you.

And unlike inflexible Registrar-led civil ceremonies we can include religious or spiritual content or, if preferred, keep it totally secular, it’s entirely up-to-you.

We’d love to hear from anyone who gets proposed to on Valentine’s day. Exciting!

Or anyone who has had a unique proposal- tell us your proposal stories and we’ll choose our favourite to feature on our blog.

Here a reminder of some great film proposals. Enjoy!


If you have just got engaged and don’t know where to start you may be interested in another of our blogs or drop us a line, we’ll open you’re eyes to a new way of doing things- your way!


Just imagine the perfect day



From the moment you decide that you would like to say: “I do” Celebration Weddings will set the wheels in motion, helping to take away the confusion and the worry that can often be present when you want to make sure everything goes just the way you want it.


You arrive at the perfect location; a special place you have dreamt about for years but never thought it could actually become a reality. The sun shining through the bluebell woodlands, the gentle sea breeze flowing through your hair on the cliffs at Flamborough, the deer turn their heads to greet you as you make your entrance up the driveway of an exclusive castle, or the bridal music filling the yurt with romance.


Your wedding outfit fits perfectly; as do your shoes and those little accessories you picked to help create just the right look. You look and feel fabulous, if a little nervous!

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Your guests await with bated breath as you walk down a beautiful feather – lined aisle to meet the love of your life or perhaps it’s a more contemporary choreographed entrance to ‘Florence and the Machine’ as your guests welcome you with a standing ovation.

The room is filled with cheer and smiles as you stand by his or her side, ready to start your next chapter together.

The words you chose to speak flow perfectly and the vows, full of sentiment, get all your guests’ attention, even force a tear from the eyes of your soon to be in-laws. It’s your personal and meaningful way to say ‘I Do’ a celebration of your relationship and commitment and the joining of your families.



Fresh rose petal confetti fill the air and you are at last partners for life.

You are led to reception where the flowers and table decorations are just as you envisaged. The sun is still shining, projecting warm beams of light that help to cast romantic shadows across the whole venue or location as you soak up the atmosphere. The night is young and the celebrations continue, food and drink, music and dancing, love and laughter make it a day to remember until the candles burn low.

The perfect end to a perfect day.

 Sounds perfect doesn’t. And that’s how it should be – perfect!

Nowadays, you don’t have to have a traditional church or registrar-led ceremony, unless you want too. More and more people are looking past the traditional wedding options, opting for something that is truly personal and unique to them.

At Celebrations Weddings we have a saying: “It’s your day so celebrate it your way.”


We can help guide you through the ceremony, writing your vows, helping to locate the venue and because we have relationships with wedding suppliers, such as photographers and venue managers and owners, we can help you from the very beginning, right through to the moment when you say “I do.”

We will also very soon be posting a blog focusing on handy hints and tips on the options that are available to you and what you should be looking out for when picking a celebrant to preform your ceremony. So please email or tweet in your questions to make sure we cover the topics you are interested.

Why not join us on http://twitter.com/CelebrationW and http://pinterest.com/celebrationw/






What should be the first thing on your wedding or civil partnership ‘to do list’ to make sure you avoid the wedding trap?



Back in time from the earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia to the Middle Ages, marriage had little to do with romance or the couple for that matter, it was in fact a practical, economic affair. The early Christian church was quite hostile to marriage, believing that marriage and family were distractions from the path to salvation. Single and celibate was the ideal!



It was only in the 18th Century when the Age of Enlightenment, shaped by intellectuals who put greater value on human logic and reason than on faith and church doctrine, that people began to think that marriage should be for love.

Today,68% of all couples getting married choose to have a civil ceremony. This is evidence that they are looking for more than just a contract.

But where should you start when planning your wedding? The excitement of getting engaged can lead to a frenzied rush for ideas, searching online or at wedding fairs, although this is a great start, what should be the first thing you actually arrange – the venue, the dress or the photographer?

None of these. A lot of brides fall into the trap of forgetting what is the most important part of their day – the bit where you say ‘I DO’- the ceremony bit. Surely it doesn’t deserve to be an after-thought.


Your ceremony deserves to be more than an after-thought


It should be the centrepiece that sets the style and tone for the whole day; it should be the personal bit that’s says this is us, this is what we’re about and what is important to us. No two couples are the same so why should your ceremony be?

A wedding is so much more than co-ordinating the flowers and table decorations, it’s about making your day a unique and personal event that will stand out from the crowd. There’s an underlying theme mentioned by so many guests we’ve talked to: ‘take away the bride and groom and the wedding could be anyone’s’.

So how do you make your wedding your own? The newest trend is to put your ceremony back where it belongs – at the heart of your day; that way your personalities will shine through and there will be no doubt who’s wedding it is.



There are no rules, no etiquette to follow and no compromises. Whether you want a traditional walk down the aisle or to choreograph your entrance, it’s a blank piece of paper for us to help you to re-write how ceremonies are done ‘your’ way.

By making your ceremony unique and not settling for a standard conveyor-belt Registrar-led ceremony, you also open up a whole new range of venue and location options that you wouldn’t have even considered. With our Celebration Ceremonies your wedding doesn’t have to be held at a licensed venue, it can be any time, any place and in any style. Whether that is indoor or outdoor, contemporary or vintage, home or away, formal or chilled, either way it is completely bespoke to you.

No rules, no compromises, just your way.



So, before you book a venue, a dress or photographer, remember to do it your way and make your ceremony the first thing on your to-do list.


Church Service or Civil Ceremony?



Church Service or Civil Ceremony?
Civil ceremonies accounted for 68 per cent of all marriages that took place in 2010, an increase from 64 per cent in 2000.
The number of civil ceremonies in 2010 was over 164,000, accounting for over two-thirds of all marriages.ONS

For the sixth consecutive year, there were fewer religious ceremonies than civil ceremonies in approved premises.
The Citizenship Survey (Department for Communities and Local Government (2009/10) found the number of people who declared themselves as Christians had fallen from 77 per cent in 2005 to 70 per cent in 2009-10. Over the same period, the numbers that say they have no religion rose from 15 per cent to 21 per cent.
Because of this the trend for a more contemporary and personal alternative is on the increase. Which is not surprising. After all, everyone is different, so it’s of no surprise that everyone thinks differently when it comes to his or her wedding. But what are the options available?
Nowadays you can get married in a lot of different places, and in a lot of different ways. This is where Celebration Weddings comes in – to help you get married your way.
Whether you are planning a wedding, a civil partnership or renewing your vows, we put your personality and style into your ceremony, we listen to you stories and put what you want to say to each other into words to make it the centre piece of your day – an experience that is unique and special for you, your family and guests.
Imagine holding your renewal of vows celebration in an English country garden – or even your own garden? Or how about saying “I do” in a romantic woodland or at a Secret Millionaire’s Carr Hall Castle in celebrity style? It’s your day, we’ll help you find the perfect place wherever it may be, so celebrate it your way!
More and more people are looking for a ceremony and experience that is unique and reflects who they are as a couple, something that really makes a lasting impression.
Not everyone wants to get married in a church. Likewise, you might not fancy being part of a production line at the Register Office or licensed venues. The wonderful thing about Celebration Weddings is that we can make sure you have the day you really want.
Recent trends have indicated that there are huge shifts in the way people think when it comes to their wedding day and civil partnership. More and more couples want a contemporary ceremony that is flexible in it’s content, actions and style and can be held anytime, any place.
Nowadays, church and Registrar led ceremonies are just two options available to you. – but not just the only ones! Contact us to find out how Celebration Weddings can help you celebrate your special day your way.