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!

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

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!

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!


19th May Love songs to make you feel the love


If you looking for love songs to walk down the aisle to then STOP right here. READ on….

So many novelists, song writers, poets and musicians have tried to describe what love is. Given there are so many novels, poems and songs about love it goes to show just how difficult it is to define.

Love is like this extract from AA Milne’s ‘Winnie the Pooh’

“How do you spell ‘love’?” Piglet

“you don’t spell it…you feel it”

So today’s song demonstrates the power of opera and it’s ability make you feel what love is.

Our featured month of wedding songs could not be without one of the greatest Italian opera composers Giacomo Puccini. From one of his later works in 19818 ‘O mio babbino caro’ comes from ‘Gianni Schicchi, the third part of  Il trittico.  True love songs speak for themselves and need no introduction.

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Opera is a bit like Marmite. I always remember the first time I heard Madame Butterfly, also by Puccini, at the Prague National Opera Theatre over 20 yeas ago, I was so moved despite not knowing a word.

The opera scene in one of my favourite romantic films ‘Pretty Woman with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts always reminds me of how I felt; Edward’s explanation and Vivian’s reaction really sums it up:

Edward: “Peoples reations to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic. They either love it or hate it . If they love it they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it- but it will never become part of their soul”

Vivan’s reaction when asked whether she enjoyed the opera was:

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More recently, after hearing opera singers Carla and Barbara sing “The Flower Song’ from Bizet’s Carmen on ‘The Voice’ last week even Will i am said:

” Have you ever heard of love at first sight. I was like love at first note”

Anyway, when you walk down the aisle perhaps Puccini’s ‘O mio babbino caro’ will make your guests feel the love between you, but if you think not , come back tomorrow and we’ll have another song for you!

If you missed yesterday’s Weddings songs for intimate weddings take five and have a listen.

We try to make your ceremony personal from the words, the vows, readings, poems, music and styling so that you and your guests feel and enjoy this special moment. If you would like to discuss your plans drop Jan a line:  ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk




10 ceremony traditions to embrace, break or give a new take (No.2)


Over the next few weeks we’ll be blogging about different Ceremony traditions that you might want to embrace, break or give a fresh take. We’re onto our second tradition but if you’re a trend-setting bride you might want to catch up with our first one the white wedding dress – you may find that you have more in common with Queen Victoria than you ever thought! Anyway, here we go, tradition number 2:

Walking down the aisle- the procession

We have been unusually fortunate to have experienced three very different ceremonies all in one year; The Olympics opening ceremony, conceived and created by the amazingly creative Danny Boyle and led by the Greeks; the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee ceremonial procession; the Royal marriage of the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge; all steeped in tradition, etiquette and british heritage.

The opening ceremony of the Olympics

        Soon it will be your turn!

But what traditional elements of the procession will you embrace, break or give a new take on?

Marriage in the legal or religious sense was not initially designed to be an expression of love as it is today, it was about the exchange of property from one man to another. A bride’s head of the family ‘gave’ their daughter away to another man and his family in exchange for a dowry ‘ a brides ‘bottom drawer’. Whilst it still exists in some cultures today generally the tradition is more about the sentiment, marrying for love’s sake rather than passing on ‘ownership’ or social politics.

Some brides find satisfaction and take comfort in following traditions and etiquette viewing the walking down the aisle to be ‘a rites of passage’. Others are not so comfortable incorporating a symbol of a patriarchal system.

Whatever your views, the procession indicates the start of the ceremony. Time stops for a moment as the audience awaits your entrance.

Your big day is here after so much planning and preparation, so take moment to imagine this moment.

You arrive at your venue a small private affair at your family home, a breathtaking private country estate, a spring flower garden or woodland, or a hidden gem of a venue; it’s the special place you have chosen to say your wedding vows to each other. This is the point where two individuals and two separate lives become one.

All your family, friends and guests await your entrance with baited breath. It’s one of the top moments in your life that you will look back on and remember for the rest of your life.

 This is big! (deep breath!)

But  how will YOU choose do it?

Will you walk down the aisle?

Who will walk you down the aisle?

 What will the aisle look like?

 How do you want this moment to feel?

Just imagine yourself stood there about to enter, will you embrace tradition, break tradition or give a new take on it?



The procession varies by religion and culture but generally speaking it follows a similar format:

The procession traditionally starts from the the brides home- but as this could be quite a walk, it has been shortened somewhat to an aisle walk.

Families and guests of the bride or groom are usually seated on the respective sides of the bride and groom at either side of the aisle.

The groom stands to the right of the alter so that he can ‘protect’ his betrothed bride from harm with his sword. He is ‘supported’ by his ‘best’ man for the job of making sure her family doesn’t try and take her back! They and the rest of the groomsmen all enter from the side or they can escort the bridesmaids down the aisle.

Bridesmaids enter alone or are escorted by the groomsmen- bridesmaids on the left.

Then we see the entrance of the maid of honour alone or she can be escorted by the best man.

Next comes the ring bearer followed by the flower girl(s) just before the bride.

Then it’s what everyone has been waiting for, the bride, who traditionally walks on her father’s left arm. Some however, prefer to walk on the right so that when she reaches the alter there is nothing between her and the groom.

Sound like your cup of tea? Or perhaps you want a more modern wedding ceremony entrance…..


If the idea of being handed from one man to another doesn’t sit too comfortably with you you might like to follow in the footsteps of Swedish or Romanian couples and walk down the aisle together as a more equal partnership.Your mother and father could announce the bride & groom’s arrival? Or make it more of a family affair where both sets of parents enter down aisle first and greet guests.

Or you could both walk down the aisle individually, the groom and then the bride?

The bond between mother and child is one of the strongest of relationships and one of the biggest influences in a daughter and son’s life. Mother’s traditionally were the ‘wedding planners and co-ordinators’  but as brides have become more independent they have taken on this role themselves or want more ‘objective‘ hired help.  Consequently mothers seem to have been given a more ‘silent role’. So why not give them a more active and public role  have you mother or both your parents walk you down the aisle?


Perhaps you would rather do it alone and not be ‘given away’ by anyone- this would have great impact?

What if you didn’t want an aisle, perhaps you don’t like the attention or want to do something more creative? You could both walk in from the side, or around the outside of where your guests are seated , arrange your seating differently or choreograph your entrance?

You may want to go the whole hog and have a walking wedding procession at your favourite beauty spot, special place or outdoor wedding location. You both lead your guests to where your ceremony will take place.

If you’re looking to break the tradition of a formal aisle and want some alternative inspiration check our page on pinterest

Sound more like you? Or maybe you’d rather  find a happy medium and …..

Give a fresh take?

Like most things in marriage it’s about give and take and compromise, so If you want have a more contemporary twist on tradition you could always meet half way?

Perhaps there isn’t a defined aisle if you are having an outdoor ceremony in a country estate but if there are two tiers of steps that meet in the middle, you could walk down from different sides then meet on the level and walk together the last steps holding hands?

We all know times have changed and relationships and families have changed; children don’t always come second, in fact cohabiting couples now amount to 5.9 million – increasing two-fold between 1996 and 2012. They are the fastest growing family type in the UK, with 39% of those cohabiting couples having children.  http://bit.ly/ZRpYnK

So if you’ve already got children, are getting married second time around or having a renewal of vows ceremony you may want to give a different twist where your boy(s) could walk down the aisle with their dad and the girl(s) could walk with their mum? Or your son could ‘give you away’?

The choice is yours!

A wedding is one of the biggest celebrations in life so whatever you decide your vision is, make sure  you make it your own. Do it your way!

With our Celebration Ceremonies there are no rules or etiquette, unless you want to of course! When planning your ceremony your qualified celebrant will start with a blank sheet of paper and help guide you through the options or incorporate new ideas so that you find what feels right for you.

We hope we have opened your eyes to just a few of the possibilities. If you would like us to help you do it ‘your way’ then drop Jan a line: ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk we love to be part of your special day.