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Rip up the Rule Book! Have a Festival Wedding

When Lisa and Kayleigh first contacted me about their wedding ceremony, I could barely contain my excitement!

No. 1, this was my first same sex wedding. No. 2, it was going to be outdoors (weather permitting) and festival themed.

First things first

In our initial phone call, Kayleigh and Lisa told me that they’d fallen in love with the venue – Deepdale Farm in the North Yorkshire Moors, and wanted a really personal ceremony in front of family and friends that would include Lisa’s son from a previous relationship. They were doing the legal aspect of the marriage at a Register Office the day before the outdoor ceremony as the venue wasn’t licensed at the time of booking their wedding.

Although they hadn’t heard of humanist weddings before, someone who'd just been to one had mentioned it to them, and so they looked into humanist ceremonies on Humanists UK Find a Celebrant site. They loved the sound of a humanist celebrant led ceremony and chose me because of my jacket, apparently!

I explained what to expect from a humanist ceremony in terms of total personalization and a relaxed vibe, and after they’d booked me to write and conduct their ceremony, we arranged to meet at the venue, and go for a coffee at a local coffee shop, so I could scribble down copious amounts of notes, get to know them and go through some ideas of how we could make it special and unforgettable.

"Do you accept Kayleigh into your family, and promise to share your mum? I do...."

What we included

During that meeting, we chatted through their story, their plans and their thoughts on love and marriage. They were so lovely. We hit it off straight away. We discussed loads of options for including guests, Lisa’s son, Toby and all the options for vows and symbolic acts. We were all so excited about what we COULD include in the ceremony, that we agreed to include a sand blending ceremony, a ring exchange, some group singing, certificate signing, words on love, marriage and commitment, their love story, a beautiful reading from Kayleigh’s sister, words of wisdom from Lisa’s brother that would be kept secret from them until the day, bespoke vows and commitments, a handfasting ritual with meaningful words, and an actual tying of the knot as the final “ta-da” moment. I went away and wrote the script over a couple of days. I loved it. And so did they!

Bespoke vows and commitments are always heartfelt and meaningful


There were around 140 guests, so we used my outdoor PA system (battery operated) with two mics (one for me, one for the readers) and we also had the ability to play music. Kayleigh and Lisa bought their own sand ceremony kit, and their own handfasting cord, which, along with the presentation copy of their script, will be lovely keepsakes for them in future years.

A ceremonial entrance

Both brides were walked down the aisle by their dads, all the guests were sat on hay bales, the sun was shining, the photographer, Ray Sawyer, was hardworking and a lot of fun, and the ceremony was emotional, meaningful, inclusive, fun and memorable. You only have to look at the smiles on Kayleigh's and Lisa's and in fact everyone’s faces to see how much they engaged and enjoyed it!

"Everyone join in, ONE, TWO, THREE! Congratulations! You've just tied the knot!"

Surprises all round

Sometimes, we get to do weddings that totally take people by surprise as they’ve not seen humanist weddings before, and the amount of guests who came up to me after the ceremony and said how lovely, warm and personal it was, was so uplifting. I even got a hug from one of the brides’ grandmas! It was such a privilege to meet Kayleigh and Lisa and conduct a truly bespoke ceremony for them that was filled with love and represented them as a couple.

What an absolutely gorgeous couple who are totally made for each other and what an amazing wedding! Love is love, and I really loved everything about that one!! In fact I loved it so much that I stuck around for the fabulous speeches (straight after the ceremony), chatted to some guests and even joined in with a drink and a burrito from the street food vans!

Pride? I should say so!


Here are Kayleigh’s and Lisa’s thoughts:

Where to begin, this amazing lady managed to turn our visions into reality, neither of us were great at articulating what we wanted, we were disorganised and teeny bit stressed! We met with Rachael and everything changed, she put us at ease instantly, and managed to get in to our heads to find out what we wanted seemingly effortlessly. She offered lots of advice and ideas and we left the pre-meet buzzing with excitement. Within a few days, she had written the most beautiful script and picked up on so many things that we forgot we'd discussed, she really listens and takes everything in.

What she'd written captured us and our personalities perfectly, all of our guests commented on how personal and beautiful everything was.

It was delivered in such a natural way, everyone was really engaged in this unique ceremony, it'll be remembered for years to come and not just by us.

By choosing Rachael as your celebrant, you can throw out the rule book and make a truly personal ceremony.

Rachael, thank you so much for everything you've done for us and for making our day so special, you are incredible!! Much love, Kayleigh and Lisa x

Over the moon and in love

And here is what the fabulous photographer, Ray Sawyer, from SAS Photography said:

Rachael was the celebrant at a recent wedding I photographed in the North Yorkshire moors. She spoke so well, touches of humour, really emphasised the love between Lisa and Kayleigh the brides. I would go as far to say it’s been my favourite ceremony to date.

Rachael has left the wedding not after the ceremony but a bit later on as she soaked up the festival vibes. Once she had gone I heard lots of positive comments and remarks from guest about Rachael which showcases she left a real lasting impression on everyone.

Love to work with you again Rachael and I’m sure our paths will cross x Ray.

The most stylish of wedding shoes! The most breathtaking views at Deepdale Farm.

"We did it!"

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