Lets face it, life is short and unless you live it and celebrate it, it will pass you by unaware. For our Couple Jackie and Malcolm, celebrating their Ruby wedding anniversary, it certainly was their motto throughout their married life and they are an example to us all!
The inspiration for their renewal of vows ceremony wasn’t about, the bells and whistles, Gucci and Prada handbags and fancy canopies, it is rooted in the couple themselves, their friendships and of course their four generations of family.
Jackie and Malcolm hadn’t really heard of Renewal of Vows Ceremonies before. They were planning a celebration at the Old Glen House on Baildon Moors in Yorkshire but more on the lines of large party with around 200 guests, real ales and ‘real good’ food, when a friend of Jackie’s that suggested they contact us to find out more about our celebration ceremonies.
Having a renewal of vows actually became a very important part of their day. It was an opportunity to reflect on their life together and plan ahead. When they got married in the 1970’s, it was more of a means to an end and in those days if you didn’t get married in a Church then the only other option was the Register Office, so it was quite a low key affair.
Jackie wore a lovely boho number from an Indian dress shop in London (40 years later it’s back on trend!!) and Malcolm in flares and a red jacket made for him in Cairo by friends they met in Amsterdam!!
Spending time with them, hearing their many stories about friends & family, their travels and their thoughts on what has been their strength through the course of their marriage to date was truly inspiring and humbling.
Receiving your first draft of your script can be a bit like trying on THE dress for the first time, it can be and emotional experience. When Jackie received the first draft of her script her email reply to us was this:
“What a great job you have done! I felt very emotional when reading this and actually shed tears, especially the ending words. We both feel it reflects us and our relationship very well.”
We try hard to capture who and what are couples are about and what’s important to them and the fact that every couple is different makes it even more interesting! Needless to say it was an absolute joy to write and conduct their personal ceremony.
As guests arrived for a pre-ceremony drink the string quartet created a wonderful and civilised atmosphere.
The ceremony started with a beautiful song chosen by Malcolm and Jackie
‘The Wings”, a beautiful piece of music by Gustavo Santellaolla, the lyrics written by Shane August sum up the essence of the their marriage over the last 40 years.
I think my favourite part of the ceremony was the bit about their shared interest in the love of ‘fine food’ Katherine Whitehorn style, from her book or “bible” to “Cooking in a bedsit”. For anyone who hasn’t come across this little gem in 1960/70’s it was a basic survival guide, a crash course for those living in a bedsit with just one cooking ring. It’s a slice of cultural history that shaped Jackie and Malcolm’s culinary experiences and friendships and has some very funny stories to go with it! It’s worth a read now, even just for comedy value!
We created a lovely ruby water ceremony bowl, the red flowers frozen in the bowl symbolising six things which were repeated as red water was poured over the couple’s joined hands by their family and grandchild children.
Their 40 years of marriage, their strength, their courage, their good health, their prosperity and their longevity.
Jackie and Malcolm then made promises to each other, the last one being specifically directed to Malcolm- To buy Jackie flowers more often!!
It was a proud moment for Jackie’s elderly mum as she watched as them repeat their promises to each other, this time, just how they wanted it, in front of their many friends and family who had all played a special part in their lives throughout their marriage.
Young and old were all brought together to celebrate their special anniversary.
Jackie said a few words about the importance of her close-knit family and Malcolm took us on journey of their travels to lands far and wide.
There was a great atmosphere, the room was filled with admiration and respect for a couple who continue to be dedicated to helping others and fairness in society.
Their two witnesses Jackie’s sister and Malcolm’s brother and their oldest son, were all able to be at their “real ceremony” 40 years on and it was lovely to hear their take on Jackie and Malcom’s relationship during their contribution to the ceremony.
The ceremony ended with a song they used to listen to when they were living in their bedsits, Nina Simone “feeling Good”.
Then as initially planned party began, real ales on tap, barbecue and a lovely buffet. Jackie and Malcolm had brought photo albums for friends and family to reminisce favourite times, places and people.
However, their 40th wedding anniversary celebrations didn’t end there; a few days later they flew to Amsterdam for the honeymoon they never had- perfect ending!! Before they left they emailed us to say “We have had so many messages from friends and family to say how much they liked this and what a lovely event it was”
It was lovely to receive an unexpected delivery of a bouquet of beautiful flowers and this lovely note.
So if you’re feeling inspired and fancy letting us help you make your special anniversary extra special with our celebration ceremonies, drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org