Introducing Yvonne Beck – Celebrant. Yvonne has been a Celebrant since 2011 and has designed and conducted many wonderful wedding ceremonies for couples who are looking for something romantic, warm and meaningful.
With your style and ideas, she will deliver a wonderful, unique and personalised ceremony which can include religious and non-religious elements and offer additional internal rituals such as a Unity Candle, Unity Canvas, Wine, Rose, Sand or Hand Fasting Ceremony, or just a Ring Warming Ceremony that includes all guests! Yvonne ensures every couple has a truly unique ceremony that will give them memories to treasure, without restrictions on time, place or content. Her couples complete their legal paperwork at the local Registry Office with just two witnesses usually a day or so before their Celebrant Ceremony, leaving them free to enjoy their day, their way!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your services?
I am a Civil Celebrant, which is a career I chose after spending many years involved in supporting adults and young people into training or employment. I have a background in HR and Personnel Management and Training, and loved helping people move into the next stages of their lives. Becoming a Celebrant was a great fit for my experience and personality – I attended a Celebrant led wedding in Australia, which was simply wonderful – the location was a Vineyard on a mountain top overlooking the ocean, at sunset. Truly magical! And the Celebrant delivered a beautiful ceremony, full of meaning and storytelling as well as allowing the couple to express themselves exactly how they wanted to. It was then just a question of waiting for Celebrancy to start up in England, and when I found the UK College of Celebrancy were offering courses in Family and Marriage Celebrancy, I signed up. In 2011 I became a Celebrant and love creating unique ceremonies for all of life’s milestones.
How is a celebrant different to a registrar? What are some of the advantages to hiring a celebrant?
A Celebrant offers a couple the freedom to express themselves without any restrictions in terms of format, content, time or place. We can include religious content, spiritual content and do not vet or curtail the content of the ceremony in any way. Our ceremony is celebratory and confirms the marriage and wedding so it can include personally written vows and promises, the inclusion of children and other guests, and the couple’s unique story.
What do you love most about being a wedding celebrant?
The storytelling – the way in which a Celebrant is able to offer this completely flexible service at any time or place and allows the couple to really express themselves completely. Their wedding ceremony is why their guests are there!
What are some of the different internal ceremonies you have experience with? Do you have a favourite? If so why?
I have created many internal ceremonies, including the Rose, Beer, Wine, Sand, Candle, Canvas and Handfasting Ceremonies. My favourite is the Unity Candle as it signifies the flames of passion, the warmth of love and family and the undying love between the couple. I also love the Ring Warming Ceremony as when each guest holds and gives their warm loving wishes to the couple, every time they look at their rings, they can remember the love and support each person gave them that day.
Can you explain the process for a couple who book with you?
I like to meet them in person or on skype first, then if they are happy to choose me as their Celebrant, I send a booking form and questionnaire so I can find out more about them. After that, it is really a case of working together to create the magic. I am happy to chat on the phone, offer unlimited editing of the ceremony and also offer a rehearsal, if the couple wish to hold one. On the day I am there an hour before, helping with any ushering, introducing myself to the wedding coordinator and family members who might be taking part in the ceremony.
How do you work with the couple to create their vision for their ceremony?
I take on board their ideas and style and we work together. I offer advice on music, vows, promises and tailor my style of ceremony to suit their wishes.
Do you have standard ‘packages’ or are they bespoke? Please provide details and pricing where applicable.
My prices for Weddings, Vow Renewals and Baby Naming Ceremonies are as follows:
Wedding – £450 (includes one internal ritual such as a Ring Warming, Sand, Candle, Rose or another ceremony)
Wedding with Hand Fasting – £500 (also includes one internal ritual free of charge)
Vow Renewal – £350 (includes one internal symbolic ritual, e.g. Ring Warming, Wine, Beer, Canvas etc, free of charge)
Vow Renewal with Hand Fasting – £400 (also includes one internal symbolic ritual free of charge)
Baby Naming £250 (includes all Certificates and Promises, and one internal ritual, e.g. Candle / Sand Ceremony )
Included in my ceremonies are a lovely certificate, which include vows and promises for Weddings and Vow Renewal ceremonies, and promises from parents, siblings, guide parents, grandparents and other adult supporters for Naming Ceremonies. All Ceremonies are also provided in a bound folder as a souvenir gift and keepsake.
Prices are fixed for any ceremonies in London and within the counties of Herts, Bucks, Berkshire, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, and Essex. For ceremonies further afield, I may have to charge a small travel fee, based on the first 60 miles being free of charge, after which I charge 25p per mile.
Creating a Double Wedding Ceremony or Blending a Wedding with a Naming Ceremony and creating a Family Ceremony can be provided with pleasure – prices are then on application.
What has been your favourite celebrations to date and why?
One of my favourite celebrations was creating a ceremony for Jenny and Mark, who work in animal welfare and who were very keen to have a ceremony that reflected their passion and love for animals, as well as include animals in their ceremony. They chose to hold a beautiful ceremony at an Animal Sanctuary in Sussex. I was invited the weekend beforehand to meet all the animals and get to see them, learn about their individual stories and see how happy, calm and loved they were. The ceremony was held in a field of cows and bulls, who looked on curiously as I began and then snuck up closer to see what was going on in ‘their’ field! I have some very cute photos of a couple of cows licking the back of my dress as I was speaking!
Marriage is not just about two people looking outwards into the world together, it is about sharing life, love and care for others, and in Mark and Jenny’s case, this also meant showing their love for animals too. With their ideas and my experience we were able to create a ceremony that was both personal and meaningful, creative yet compassionate and memorable – who would not remember a sunny afternoon sharing lovely moments with a gorgeous couple and then feeding cows and bulls lots of Ginger Nut Biscuits – their favourite treats!?
What advice would you give to brides who are currently considering hiring a wedding celebrant?
Find a Celebrant that you feel you can really work with and who understands you, your story and what you are looking for in a ceremony. Someone who will support, encourage and advise you if you need it, but also someone who not only shares your vision but can also bring it to life! This is a person who will be spending quite a lot of time with you and with whom you will be sharing really personal stories.
Most celebrants in my association only conduct one wedding on any particular date so they can focus all their attention on the couple and don’t have to rush off anywhere else! This is great, but also means that popular days and months are booked up quite quickly and one to two years ahead, so when you are booking your venue, also book your Celebrant! I have found that couples are booking the date with me first and then confirming with the venue!
Make sure they also have the professional training and insurance cover needed (public and professional liability are the two insurances I hold) and also that they are clear on their terms and conditions and you have support even if the worst happens (i.e. what if your Celebrant is unable to attend on the date?) A professional Celebrant will always have a plan in place for contingencies.
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