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


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!

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.



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.


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.

 Ash tree 2

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 

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

29th May- Wedding songs- children at weddings



Having children at weddings or issuing a ‘no kids policy’ can be a contentious subject for some couples. For ‘bonded broods’-those who already have a family-, having children at weddings is simply non negotiable for their own wedding ceremony; in fact it’s compulsory! These couples are looking for a more contemporary and personal way to get married that is not just ‘child friendly’ but child inclusive. Often children fulfil wedding roles in traditional ways with ring bearers, bridesmaids and page boys, but there are many more interactive and symbolic actions that they can be involved in. Having children at weddings can actually enhance the overall experience and make it a very personal occasion for you, your family and guests. Outdoor, beach, glamping, festival or woodland weddings really lend themselves to a more relaxed atmosphere and are perfect for kids.

In terms of wedding music, today’s song is a cute and catchy love song seen through the eyes of a child and is one that will have all the children singing along to as you walk down the aisle. It a wedding song that you can have a little bit of fun with- “All I want is you” by Barry Louis Polstar, a author and singer-songwriter who writes children’s music. Just great!


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We’re coming to the end of our month of  May featured wedding songs, only  two more to go. So if you don’t do children at weddings pop back tomorrow for a different one or have a look at our other 28 songs.

We’ll be talking about ways you can include children at weddings in more detail in an up and coming blog so if you’re a ‘bonded brood’ keep an eye out or contact jan: ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk

Happy Summer!

24th May Garden Weddings- Justin Bieber goes 1940’s Vintage swing


Today’s wedding song is just perfect for garden weddings. New York based Post Modern Juke Box recently took the music scene by storm when their first youtube video went viral. They take a modern pop song and ‘mash it’ to create a new quirky, 1940’s jazzy rendition that, in my humble opinion, is better than the original and takes the concept of a cover version to a whole new level! So today, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj go vintage with ‘Beauty and a Beat’ – if you love the outdoors, garden weddings, 1940’s, vintage and Swing then you’ll love these guys, we do!

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We were at Howarth’s 1940’s weekend weekend last Sunday, it had such a great atmosphere; residents, businesses and visitors, children, car enthusiasts – even dogs participated in the 1940’s community spirit. It’s a great period for inspiration for your own wedding whether you want to create a true vintage themed wedding ceremony or a have post modern twist on vintage yourself!

If you’d like your ceremony to have more ‘personality’ and vintage style in an outdoor location or  like garden weddings then we can help. We write, conduct and style your ceremony so that it reflects your personalities and what’s important to you. Drop Jan an email to discuss your thoughts.





Don’t worry if this is not your style come back tomorrow we’ll have a different wedding song to inspire you, and if you missed yesterday’s featured song then here’s a reminder!

Oh and by-the-way if you like mashing things up a bit, why not embrace a bit of  ‘name meshing’when you get married?!

Happy Summer. Happy Bank Holiday weekend! Chinchin! Pimms anyone?





20th May Music for a wedding- where do you start?


If you’re looking for music for a wedding then you’ve come to the right place! Each day throughout May we are celebrating the start of summer and wedding fever by featuring a wedding song to walk down the aisle to that’s not your traditional wedding march. Searching through you own collection for music for a wedding is a good start but  we wanted to surprise you with a few songs you may not have heard of or long forgotten. We hope that along the way we’ll give some inspiration and ideas for your own wedding ceremony whatever your style, whether it’s an indoor or outdoor wedding.

So here we go ‘Baby I love you’ by the Ramones. Enjoy! It’s a really sweet song.

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We love the idea of cue cards and hand drawn illustrations, no matter how crude (!), you could really have fun with your ceremony and involve your wedding party and/or guests by letting them tell your story and be part of your commitment to each other.

If you’re a modern bride instead of just the celebrant pronouncing you man and wife you could even have your guests tweet it which could then be shown on a big screen for all the guests to see:

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 13.36.58

We try and help you find a personal and creative way to say ‘I love you’ that fits with your style, personality and values. We write, conduct and style your wedding ceremony. If you want to do things differently then drop Jan a line- ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk

If this song isn’t right for you then don’t worry there will be some more music for weddings tomorrow, 11 more to go until the end of the month! In case you missed yesterday’s wedding song we had a bit of Puccini -nice!

Oh, and please do let us know if we’ve helped you find THE wedding song to walk down the aisle 🙂

Happy Summer!

18th May Weddings songs and intimate weddings


Not everyone wants to invite long, long lost cousins and everyman and his best friend to their wedding. For some brides it’s not about the big show and the extravagance. Not everyone wants to be centre of attention walking down an aisle to an audience. Some couples just want to be themselves and have a very chilled intimate affair in the company of a few special people. We love intimate weddings that are up close and personal. Our wedding song today sums up the idea of intimate weddings.

This performance of ‘Made up love song no#43’ by the Guillemots from the back of a VW camper van makes this song even more special and intimate.

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Imagine driving to your favourite beauty spot in a fleet of VW camper vans, one for the bridal party Buttercup Bus, one for the groom & co one for the guests and one for the band. The sun is shining, your guests are seated on deck chairs surrounding the band van who play this song as you stand before them ready to make your vows to each other. Intimate weddings are just so beautiful because they are so personal.

The reception is simplicity itself, nothing more than deli-style picnic with fine wines, olives and cheeses, scones, speciality tea breads and cakes -a foodie’s heaven! You may even want your own VW cocktail bar Beetle Juice or VW ice-cream parlour Polly’s Parlour

What’s important is that you get married your way. You choose when, where and how and we’ll be there to help guide you every step of the way so that your ceremony and the rest of the day is your own.

We put your ceremony at the heart of your day, we help open your eyes to new options in off-the-beaten-track venues and outdoor wedding locations and set the style and tone for the rest of your wedding. Whether it’s intimate weddings or grand weddings we’ll make it personal.

We’d love to make your day an intimate one to remember. Drop Jan a line ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk to discuss your ideas.

If this wedding song is doesn’t make you feel the love, pop by again tomorrow and we’ll have another one. If you missed yesterday’s wedding song why have  a listen.



11th May wedding ceremony songs to feed your soul


Wedding ceremony songs should move you in some way or bring back memories of special moments. Today’s wedding song is comforting like homemade chicken soup; it’s food for the soul. It’s a lovely, happy chilled song to walk down the aisle to that friends and family could sing along and sway to. It’s definitely a feel-good song perfect for a wedding!

So here you go ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz. Happy days!!

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It could either go one of  two ways:

1. A chilled out ceremony in the great outdoors- glamping style wedding with ukuleles, guitars and drums that’ll definitely reach you and your guests inner and outer souls! Held in a somewhere like Camp Katur one of our fabulous locations in North Yorkshire set within the natural beauty of a 250 acre Country Estate amidst woodland, greenland and meadowland. Its such a fabulous ‘blank canvas’ location where you can let you imagination flow and your dreams come true!



2. An uplifting and inspirational performance by a gospel choir like the One Voice Community Choir  who produce stunning sound and versatile choral emsemble- you can hear a choir joining in towards the end of the song which really makes you feel the love and warmth of the people around you. If you have musical family and friends they might even want to join in!

Looking for wedding ceremony songs can take take time because it has to be right. Just like our ceremonies it’s has to sum up who you are and be personal and meaningful. Whether you want to walk down the aisle to live music or vocals or not we can point you in the right direction.

But if this song doesn’t light your fire come back tomorrow and we have another one, you never know it might just be ‘THE ONE’! We’ve now featured 11 wedding ceremony songs but if you missed yesterday’s 10th May Summer wedding songs- Victoriana then have a listen.

If you would like to discuss you requirements please drop Jan an email: ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk we love to be part of your special day wherever you are.


8th May Woodland wedding songs from theme tunes


Today we want you to take you to a woodland wedding location so take five, relax, shut your eyes and think blossom, bluebells, wild garlic flowers, a hundred different shades of green, trickling streams and rivers, glittering sunshine and dancing shadows. Just magical. And you don’t have to be an old hippy in flairs to appreciate why Woodland wedding are becoming more and more popular, just a romantic! What could be  more beautiful than mother nature herself especially at this time of year.

So for today’s wedding song to walk down the aisle to we have  been inspired by a song from the film Twilight is a 2008 romantic fantasy based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

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Yes it’s a vampire movie, but hang in there, the soundtrack “River Flows In You” is beautiful and some of the woodland shots are fabulous. It just goes to show that woodland can be so romantic and magical places perfect for a woodland wedding ceremony. We picked this version of if it by Lindsey Stirling a violin and harp combo which fits perfectly with a woodland setting- have  a listen the video is so inspiring and warm.

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Over the bank holiday we did a beautiful woodland photoshoot with a beautiful little girl so we thought we’d also give you a sneak preview to see how fabulous our woodlands are and what unique wedding venues and wonderful locations they are for engagement or wedding shoots


As one of  five qualified in UK, currently the only one in the North, we put your ceremony at the heart of your wedding day, help you set the style and tone and help bring your ideas to life. Not only do we write and conduct your personal ceremony we can also style your woodland ceremony, source unique props and arrange some fabulous photoshoots.  To discuss your requirements and find out more about how we can help you drop Jan a line: ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk

We celebrate that we’re all different- that’s what makes our jobs so interesting- variety is the spice of life and all that! But if this particular wedding song make your heart sing, come back tomorrow to hear a different one! If you’ve missed our  7th May The great outdoors-festival wedding songs have a listen, you never know it might be the one for you!

Happy Summer everyone!