Welcome to Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings

Hello and welcome!

Thanks for popping by, we hope that you find some inspiration and new ideas for your celebrations, and don’t forget our blog is a good source of information.

The inspiration behind Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings comes from my own personal experience of getting married MY way and creating my own naming ceremony for my two children.

Some brides have their dream wedding all mapped out from an early age, the big white princess wedding, the church etc etc but this wasn’t me. All I knew was that, for me, I wanted it to be a personal affair, that was meaningful, about us and the people around us.

When I looked into the marriage ceremony itself  it was very formal (“a solemn occasion” as the Registrar said to us), restrictive, inflexible and very impersonal. Yes, the ‘legal wording’ was fixed but the rest of the words around it just sounded like everyone else’s ceremony and I didn’t want conveyor-belt. In the olden days marriage was a legal contract and an exchange of ‘property’ and a commitment to God and it was frustrating that the act of  marriage and the ceremony hadn’t caught up with the times. I realised that I needed another way, remember this was nearly ten years ago and it was practically unheard of then, so I decided that I would just have to do it ‘my way’.

We completed ‘the legal bits’ at the Register Office with just our two witnesses first thing on the morning of our wedding day in our jeans, then we were free to have our own ceremony in the location of our choice. We decided that having our wedding at home in our garden would make it a really relaxed, personal affair and most family and friends wouldn’t have to spend unnecessarily on accommodation. This was my first wedding ceremony, we each wrote our own wedding vows and promises and my husband wrote a poem. I walked down the flower-lined aisle to a classical version of ‘love song’ by  The Damned! – quite beautiful actually! We included friends and family in the ceremony and had a candle lighting by our mums to symbolise the joining of two people and two families. The reception was held in a marquee on the bottom lawn with food created & served by the wonderful caterers “Berties” in Elland. We had our own free bar, a duke box outside and about 120 people danced rather merrily until the early hours of the morning. It was a fabulous relaxed, outdoor wedding experience and our perfect day.

When we had children a couple of  years later, we wanted to welcome them to the family but again, despite a naming ceremony not being a legal requirement, we faced similar issues at the Register Office. So we decided to hold it at home. The obvious answer really! My little girl called it her ‘wedding ceremony’ and loved being made to feel special.

Life has a habit of going in circles and after 14 years as a Client Services Director for an advertising agency and two children later, I nationally qualified as an Independent Celebrant  (one of the first five in the UK) and here I am writing, conducting and organising other people’s ceremonies and  weddings and I love it!  I want to offer other couples and families a similar personal experience and to show them that there is another way- YOUR WAY.

I hope you feel inspired by my own personal story and want to find out more about how Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings can help you make your dream wedding day a much more personal experience. We very much look forward to helping to make your ceremony personal and unique.


Jan Shillito

Owner, Celebration Ceremonies & Weddings

BAHons, Postgrad Dip, Dip Cel


PS Please note that in England our wedding and partnership ceremonies are not legally binding; only ceremonies conducted in a Register Office or a Church are legal. Our clients usually visit the Register Office earlier on in the day or the day before with just their witnesses to perform the ‘legal bits’, then continue in their preparations for their ceremony as normal



Leave a Reply