Almost every wedding ceremony includes gestures, words, or a ritual, to signify the unity of the couple; often they also choose to celebrate the merging of the two families and friendship circles.
Some couples choose to use two candles to ignite a larger candle, some have their hands wrapped together with a cord or cloth, or have a lazo draped across their shoulders, others blend different coloured sands, some receive blessings from their guests in the form of ribbons that are tied together.
These are just a few of the ways; there are many more, some are ancient and have religious or cultural roots, while others are a fusion or are adapted, or invented, by the couple and/or their Celebrant...
One of the best things about being a Celebrant is hearing the love stories that my couples tell me and finding out what interests they have (and share) and what they love (also the things that make them different!) so that I can design and deliver a ceremony that is completely personal to them.
When I met Karl and Leah, it was clear that they loved dogs and dinosaurs, (their wedding had a Jurassic Park theme - Leah came down the aisle to the title music from the film) and they also quite liked a tipple (we met in a pub on a Sunday afternoon, they brought Monty and we talked about our dogs and our favourite dinosaurs)
There is an ancient Celtic tradition of drinking alcohol from a two-handled drinking cup, which is called a Quaich.
You may be familiar with the song ‘Auld Lang Syne’? It is often sung at New Year, to celebrate new beginnings. There is a line ‘we’ll take a cup of kindness’ – well that’s a Quaich.
Drinking from the same vessel, with two hands, signifies trust and togetherness. The reasoning is, if you both drink from the same vessel, the other can’t have poisoned it. And, if you use both hands, you can’t draw a weapon on the other either.
Well, Leah and Karl decided that they quite liked the idea of including alcohol in their wedding ceremony, but they aren’t ancient Celts, and besides, the Quaich that I had is a little small, so they decided to symbolise their unity by make a wedding cocktail instead!
They chose ingredients that represented them as individuals which would combine together to make a stronger (and, hopefully, delicious) concoction.
Dark rum: Karl chose this – it’s his favourite spirit. Dark rum improves with age, and he chose it to represent becoming bolder, and more confident, as the years go by - as individuals, and as a couple.
Gin: this was chosen by Leah, it’s her favourite cocktail base, and it represents the strength in her and Karl, and the incredibly strong bond that already exists between them, which will become stronger still – which it will, even though that may be impossible to imagine!
A dash of Lime: this was added because life gives us sharp moments, but within a strong marriage they are easily absorbed and, as long as there isn’t too much, the piquancy can bring out the other elements and life can seem even sweeter because of it.
Pineapple: this is for the sweetness in life, and in Leah and Karl’s marriage, it represents some of the personal qualities that they possess and share: warmth, kindness, compassion, friendship, loyalty and integrity.
Grenadine: this is made from pomegranates and represents the passion that flows, and will grow, throughout their marriage, just like the tiny seeds that can grow into luscious fruit.
The liquids were poured over ice, and shaken, not stirred.
Of course, once they were mixed together the components, of the cocktail, still existed, as entities in their own right, just like Leah and Karl, but they blended together, to make something rather interesting, distinctive, and very strong.
They then poured the cocktail into a rather large glass and each took a sip (and then I tried it too – it was amazing!)
They pledged to mix, shake, and share their unique drink on their anniversary each year.
In a wedding day first, I then had the privilege of announcing the name of their special cocktail: Dilophosaurus Venom!
Not wanting anyone to miss out (except maybe Monty - who, by the way, was our fabulous ring bearer and Best Dog), Leah and Karl had premixed a large batch of Dilophosaurus Venom the day before and it was served to their guests, on the rocks, with canapés, after the ceremony.
What would you include in your cocktail? (Of course, you could make it completely non-alcoholic if you preferred). What would you call it, and why? I’d love to know…
Hi, I am Lorraine Hull, an award-winning Independent Celebrant, based in Liverpool.
I am most usually asked to conduct ceremonies in North-West England and North Wales but I am happy to travel anywhere within the U.K. or abroad.
At the risk of shouting (and sounding extremely cheesy) "I LOVE MY JOB".
I love to create and conduct personal and personalised Wedding, Partnership, Commitment, Naming, and Celebration of Life ceremonies; anyone, and everyone, is welcome to ask me to work with, and for, them.
I believe that all people (and animals) should all be treated kindly, fairly and with respect.
We are all unique and we all matter. I advocate kindness, fairness, respect and equality for all through everything that I say and do: Love is Love, Family is Family, Life is Life.
You may also like to know that I hold Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance, I adhere to a strict code of conduct and I am committed to developing and sharing best practice with my Celebrant colleagues, so that we can all be the best Celebrants that we can possibly be.
To contact me please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 0744 932 3988