Many thanks to Louisa at Starr Gazing Ceremonies for this insight into her work. here she explains how she came to be an Independent Celebrant and shares one of the ceremonies she performed last year.

I became a professional celebrant in 2015 after receiving training from the Fellowship of Independent Celebrant UK.

Although my husband and I had a celebrant perform our wedding ceremony, my initial motive to become a celebrant myself, came after two dear friends asked me to perform their wedding ceremony for them in a barn in a field!

I discovered that I loved writing, creating and performing unique, personalised, inventive and creative ceremonies and so I decided to become a celebrant based in York where I live with my husband and son.

I have been fortunate to have travelled the globe as well as working at various performing arts festivals and venues over the years.

When I first met Lou and Pete in a pub in York, it felt as if we had known each other for a long time.

After a couple of drinks and a substantial amount of time chatting, I was honoured to be asked to perform their wedding ceremony in the beautiful garden of the wonderful Wold Top Brewery based in the Driffield area of East Yorkshire.

On the day of their wedding in April last year, it was indeed windy but luckily the sky was blue and the sun was shining and so many guests had their shades on as they sat on rustic wooden benches waiting for the ceremony to start.

As Lou walked down the aisle to the very jolly song of ‘All I want is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar, the smiles on everybody’s faces were a wonderful sight!

As Pete’s family were of Irish origin, I welcomed those from the Emerald Isle with my best Gaelic and in memory of the special people that were unable to be present, a beautiful moment of lighting a Remembrance Candle was performed by Pete despite the wind was not being very helpful at this point!

Lou and Pete had enjoyed time travelling the world together and so to recognise, acknowledge and celebrate their love of travelling, a tailor-made travel-themed activity was created and performed with various ‘travel orientated’ props that blended in with stories of Lou and Pete’s life and adventures together so far.

This part of the ceremony was incredibly personal and poignant to Lou and Pete and so with the help of an inflatable globe, a torch, a backpack, Nutella, a hip-flask and various other relevant souvenirs connected with their story, we literally travelled the ‘Wold’!

Originally when we were planning the ceremony, Lou was very keen for a sing-a-long song yet Pete was not as enthusiastic!

However, after deciding that everybody would love this part of the day, Pete agreed and the song, ‘I’m a believer’ by The Monkees was chosen!

Every single guest stood up and sang their hearts out which created such a great buzz as well as many happy faces – including Pete’s!!

After everybody had settled from jumping up and down during the sing-a-long, Lou and Pete shared an elegant binding and blessing of the hands ritual followed by vows to each other that they had written themselves.

The ring bearer was Pete’s 3 year old nephew, Conor, who did a brilliant job!!

Lou and Pete’s ceremony was incredibly varied which kept the attention of everybody.

Not only were the guests involved in various ways but the combination of stories, themes, symbolism, rituals, singing and tradition made it a truly memorable part of the day.

The bride and groom were of course incredibly happy when Pete was handed a bottle of Bulmer’s and Lou grabbed her G&T!

It was an honour to be part of Lou and Pete’s wedding day and they have continued with their lust for travelling which I have kept up with via their posts on social media.

I just wish I had been able to go with them! Louisa

‘Louisa was fab from the moment we first met her; friendly, easy-going and open to pretty much any suggestion we had! We never felt like any request was too small; any whim or idea too weird. And Louisa did a brilliant job on the day, pulling everything together to perfection and leading the singing beautifully too! We received so many comments about how lovely and personal the service was. A couple of choice ones are here… “Hands down, best ceremony ever!” “Yours was the most fun, meaningful and obviously different wedding I have ever attended” Our ceremony was exactly how we wanted it to be: reflective of us, our lives together and our hopes for our marriage. That is thanks to Louisa – and we would recommend her, without hesitation, to anyone looking for a celebrant; not just for a wedding, but for any ceremony.’ Lou and Pete

Venue: Wold Top Brewery http://www.woldtopbrewery.co.uk/

Wedding Organiser: Muddy Souls Events http://www.muddysoulsevents.co.uk/

Wedding Photographer: Neil Thomas Photography www.neilthomasdouglas.com/

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