Wednesday, 24 February 2016


 How to propose...A Celebrant in France with some more ideas.

Nearly there...the 29th is looming ever nearer for those who have decided to make a Leap Year proposal to their beloved...( who should have proposed on Valentine's Day!!)

So here is a round up of some more of my favourite proposals...

I loved the groom who told me that he had planned the proposal so carefully - it was to be on a small Greek island, silvery sand, the sound of gentle waves lapping the shore - champagne, ready to be popped, in the picnic basket - and then the stunning sunset and the proposal.

It was all going to plan - a lovely warm, cloudless evening and just them on the beach. Just them on the beach? At sunset...? Unusual he wondered...It was then he realised that they were on the wrong side of the island to see the sun setting...

But he went ahead, it was still perfect and yes, she said yes...





See original imageOne of my brides told me that her groom surprised her with his proposal: she had arrived home from a winter's evening run - she was exhausted, hot, sweaty, covered in mud and unattractively 'rosy'. As she opened the door she saw a trail of candles leading upstairs ...she thought there had been a power cut - but then she saw the trail of rose petals too ...they led to the bedroom where her beloved was on one knee, champagne poured and ready...(she and I sensed a girlfriend's hand in the romance of that one...)

Of course she said yes....




See original imageAnd finally, for this Leap Year, I liked the proposal on the bridge in Amsterdam. It was Christmas Eve and very busy on the bridge when the groom hurled himself to one knee proffering the ring - and, of course, himself...cyclists stopped, car horns hooted and as the bride said yes and he stood, a firework went off ...

The bride was thrilled at his planning - he winked at me as she told it...the firework was pure serendipity. 

It's nearly Spring - have a good year whether you propose or not...




Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Memorable proposals - the sharks were not planned...

We expect a relationship to hit a rough patch occasionally - but a shark infested sea as part of the proposal...?

I promised some inspirational tips from my favourite proposals before Valentine's Day - or February 29th if you have thoughts of a Leap Year proposal. Already the 9th - so here is the second...

Sunset over the sea at Cap Feret

So, this lovely couple, he a marine biologist and she a keen surfer were on their way to Australia, where he had been offered a job and they had planned to spend six weeks in Indonesia en route – and he had decided that would be when he would propose… but the time had never been quite right…

After they had been in Australia for a year, he made a plan! He would take her to an amazing place for Christmas and that would be where he would propose and so it was that a trip to Fiji was organised. 

That Christmas Day dawned and they had an awesome morning surfing and then diving.

It was certainly memorable they told me – the boat, which had taken them out, broke down and they ended up having to paddle a long, and with sharks known to be in the area, scary two kilometres back to shore.

Romantic? Not really...

However, later that evening, groom-to-be, not to be put off this time, made an excuse to leave the table while they were having dinner and quickly laid out flowers and candles in a semi-circle near their little hut.   


After dinner, he told her he wanted to show her something – she remembered that after that day she was not really up to ‘seeing a marine species of something or other’ but went somewhat dutifully along – and, to her shock and delight saw the candles, the flowers – and then him down on one knee! 

She says her reaction to the shock was, to his horror, laughter – followed by a ‘yes’…

The experience did not put them off the ocean - and they got married in France, at the beautiful Villa la Tosca, down on the beach, near Cap Feret.


view-at-house-from-sea-and-beach-7030

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


How to propose...Celebrant in France shares her favourite wedding proposals...




See original image




Nearly February - and I've been thinking more and more of those potential brides out there, who are hoping for a Valentine's Day proposal.

If it doesn't happen, then, as I pointed out in my last blog, Carpe Diem, you should perhaps take matters into your own hands - it's a leap year!

To inspire both partners I thought that throughout February I'd share some of my favourite proposals of 2015 and 2016 so far...

Now all of these, so far, are proposals from the lovely men I have married - you may know from an earlier blog,...a toast to all my lovely bridegrooms how much I admire my grooms but I think all of these can be adapted...

This is the first - inspiration for all chocolate lovers - but doesn't have to be chocolate - or Easter - for this to work.


It was Easter last year, and Easter has always been a
special time for this couple because it was one of the
holidays that they could regularly spend time together during a long distance relationship.

It had become tradition that Gorgeous Groom would set up an Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning, and, even well into her twenties, on Easter Sunday Beautiful Bride would be happily scouting round the house, or wherever they happened to be, for chocolate eggs.

Last year, because they’d been living in Paris, they decided to go to Belgium – the chocolate capital of the world! - for Easter weekend. They rented a studio in Brussels.

That Sunday morning BB was thrilled to discover that at age twenty-eight, the tradition was still going strong… and so she hunted around the flat exploring every nook and cranny to find her chocolate hoard.

Except this year there was a difference – she didn’t just find chocolate eggs, but also chocolate letters...

After collecting everything in a bowl, she emptied it all on the table in the studio. GG then made her close her eyes and turn around… when he said she could turn back, he’d rearranged all the chocolate letters to spell “will you marry me” and was down on one knee with a beautiful ring!


I can't imagine them having an Easter egg hunt to top that one..
.

I love the chocolatey idea of that one, but particularly
love the thought and imagination that went into it. Well done that GG.

Next one is amusing, but still romantic...and you'll have to wait until next blog...



Friday, 15 January 2016

A Celebrant in France says Carpe Diem | It's a leap year!





A Celebrant in France suggests that we should Carpe Diem

 - or seize the day - seize our lives - seize our loves...

Can there be anything more likely to make us consider life, love - and the whole damn thing - than sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for surgery and looking about surreptitiously at our fellow victims? 

Having done just that, this week, I think not...

We take so much for granted - that we will be healthy, that if anything goes wrong, we can be fixed and doctors should be able to fix us, that we deserve to live to a ripe old age - we feel entitled to it...

But in a week when I did that sitting and surreptitious looking, and when the sitting gave me time to consider how the lives of family members and friends have been blighted and cut short by health problems - and in a week when David Bowie and Alan Rickman were only two people who died relatively young - and when the world is looking an increasingly dangerous place - I end that week saying Carpe Diem! Seize the day! If you have life - live it!

So, that relatively gloomy start leads me to a much happier thought! 

This year is a leap year. That means that if you are a woman, you can do the proposing...you haven't got to wait for himself to get things together - you can just up and do it! ( Although, personally, I don't know why women don't anyway...but that's another blog...) 


See original image


According to an old Irish legend, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – every four years. She felt Irish men might be a little shy... When St Patrick agreed the folk tale tells us that Brigid then dropped to a knee and proposed to him that instant, but he refused, kissing her on the cheek and offering a silk gown to soften the blow.
See original image


 The Irish tradition therefore dictates that any man refusing a woman's leap-day proposal must give her a silk gown.

So, if you feel you've been hanging around long enough, think about doing the proposing on February 29th this year - what have you got to lose - you might at least get a new dress out of it...or, indeed, twelve pairs of gloves!
                                   
J by Jasper Conran - Black leather faux fur cuff gloves        


Jacques Vert - Long Satin Evening GlovesRJR.John Rocha - Black leather applique flower glovesIn some places, Leap Day has been known as 'Bachelors’ Day.' In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman's proposal on February 29 has to buy her twelve pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. 

...a somewhat frivolous blog, I know, but with a serious centre - think about what is important to you this year and go and grab it...and enjoy it!

Here's to a happy and healthy 2016!


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A Celebrant in France toasts the bridegrooms...

A toast to all my lovely bridegrooms...

Well, not mine of course...I've only had one...but to the bridegrooms of my 2015 weddings.

What has provoked this expression of affection, you may ask...

A while ago I read a report in a newspaper about an elaborate prank the groom played on the bride -


"A ruined wedding cake - it's the stuff wedding nightmares are made of, and for this bride, it seemingly became a reality.
Footage has emerged of the moment a horrified newlywed, Laura Cox, 26, from Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, witnessed two bickering waiters drop her opulent four-tier wedding cake bang smack on the floor before her.
After storming off to confront staff at the Crathorne Hall venue in North Yorkshire, the bride is relieved to discover that the debacle was in fact an elaborate prank organised by her husband Joe, 27, a self-employed roofer."(You can read more here - if you want to...)

One of the guests commented that the bride looked 'really shocked and upset' - well she would, wouldn't she?!  

And you'll have to excuse me for being a bit shouty here but if I had been that bride looking at my groom's face laughing at me being shocked and upset, I'd have been wondering if I'd made the teensiest mistake in my choice that day...

The 'prank' lingered with me, I think, because all the grooms I met this year were just lovely. For a start, they looked great!

Bridegroom and groomsmen at Chateau de Lartigolle
Look at these lovely cool guys...

They were nice to their brides - some giving me a little lump in my throat when they sent a bridesmaid or groomsman along to the bride's room, with a carefully chosen little gift or message for her as she got ready for the ceremony.

They all waited patiently for the bride who was always late.
They waited, good humouredly, for my 'permission' to turn and see their gorgeous bride as she walked down the aisle towards them - and usually shed a 'manly' tear... though a tear's a tear I say...

There was one occasion when one of my grooms wasn't quite as patient...in fact he was, actually getting a bit cross
Groom waits nervously for bride - Chateau de Clerbise
Even the celebrant looks a little nervous...

Photos by Marsac Photography
with his slightly late bride - it was a very hot day and he was worrying about the melting guests, as we all became increasingly damp and shiny under a blue, blue French sun...but the before, while he waited, and the after pictures are so lovely, I hope he won't mind me sharing them...his face just says it all...


Celebrant in France Wedding at Chateau de Clerbise
...not just relief, but genuine happiness. 

I've loved the grooms - and their groomsmen when they've been unafraid to show that emotion. 

One of my favourite weddings was a great Irish meets Aussie wedding - when there was what I can only describe as a sort of watery domino effect, which started as the bride walked down the aisle, and built when the father of the groom stood to give a reading, welled up unexpectedly - and cried. 

It developed as his son, one of the groomsmen's shoulders started shaking - and the groom, noticing, had to stifle his sobs. The bride sobbed, the groom's mother went, followed by the bride's mother - followed by the sound of some teary tittering amongst the guests, as they tried to keep it together - it was just great, we all said afterwards - and we all loved it!

So, 'my' grooms have not played horrible pranks on their unsuspecting brides. They have, to a man, been lovely, courteous, gallant even - and if they are representative of a generation of young men, then we, who sometimes worry, have little to worry about

Here then is a toast to my 2015 grooms - I have loved you all!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Celebrant Weddings | Can they be religious?

Cleanliness? Godliness? Don't ask me...!




So, someone asked me last week, if I would write and officiate at a religious ceremony...and I thought about it for a few days.

The thinking brought to mind a conversation I'd had with a small friend, Oliver, three and a half years old, who I had asked, what I thought was a simple-ish question:
"Have you seen any good films recently?"

He looked at me, somewhat sternly I thought, and answered,
"I think you know I have..."

I really didn't know, and wasn't being patronising - it turned out it was Ice Age - and I was given clues to help me get the right answer...( took a while...)

This blog is a bit shaggy dog story (in many ways...) but bear with me...

In my last blog I alluded to an 'interesting' summer. It actually involved, as well as the birth of my gorgeous grandson, the much sadder gradual picking off, one by one, of my lovely hens by a fox (hen harrier, pole-cat, person!?) until, left with only our amazingly handsome cockerel, Sammy, with his true love, Doris, we hurried them to the haven of a great new home with the the amazing Naked Vigneron here
where they could wander as freely as they did here...



'Well,' said kind friends, ' at least no more hen poo on the terrace...' ( or, they might have added, in the kitchen, under the table, on the lounger - for they were VERY free-ranging...)






And then we had to have our very much loved and special dog, Duffy, put down - she was 14 and had crammed at least three lives into those years. The first one as a friend to a guy who had gigged in the area for some years, singing in bars, with Duffy making friends with the audience while he sang in his Joe Cocker voice - Duffy loved a bit of blues thereafter... 

When he died, Duffy joined our farmer-neighbour's beagle pack and ranged with them for hours and miles, escaping naughtily through hedges and over his fences to roam the countryside. She'd come to us to be towelled clean before she went home in case she was hosed down with cold water - in fact she retained a horror of hoses until the end...

And when he died, she came to us to have a more gentle life and  just be part of a big family and was loved by everyone including our cats - she was very special...




Duffs moulted A LOT - and when I cleaned, the hair and dust I hoovered up from the corners of rooms could have made a whole other dog...

Well then - no more hen poo - BUT no more busy hens pottering about on their daily walks, no hens joining us under tables outside, hoping for a  tasty dropped morsel and no more sun glinting through Sammy the cockerel's rainbow and ridiculously flamboyant tail feathers (no more singing, tunelessly for me 'shake a tailfeather baby'...!) - and no more Duffy dust - BUT no more Duffy...

And you know what? I think cleanliness, much like that other 'ness' which is supposed to be  next to it in some sort of virtuous line-up - godliness - is really very much over-rated...

So that question, asked at the beginning of this blog (well done those who had faith that it was leading somewhere...!) - would I do a religious ceremony?

Well, in Oliver's stern words, I think you know!



Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Celebrant in France reflects | Weddings| Namings | Vow renewals

A Celebrant in France wanders and reflects...


So, here we are - with the swallows practising their lining-up-on-the-telephone-wire skills, summer is at a wistful end and the 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' is here. 

The last flowers are budding and flowering but I agree with the poet, Keats - that's fine - I love the early morning mists and the way the world rises out of it:   glimpses of church towers, the tops of hills, the tallest trees - as if the sky is in your garden. 


I am very happy, too, with 'mellow fruitfulness' - here our figs are falling from the trees they are so ripe and sweet - jam as they hit the ground. 

Brambles, heavy with berries, are rambling where they shouldn't be rambling and tripping me up as I hang out washing. Sloes are slowly ripening to their own peculiar bitter end, ready to be picked, pricked and added to gin for delicious Christmas tipples.

Butternuts, ready to be buttered and roasted, are harvested and drying, and quinces queue on the branches - but, I query, ready to be - what?
 I never know what to do with them - they look so lovely but need so much work to make them palatable  (- and I apologise for the 'quinces queueing' an irresistible - and failed- attempt at alliteration...!)

Enough ramblings and ripenings! The beginning of autumn does seem a good idea to look back and reflect on a busy and lovely summer, both here in France and in Cambridge.

Ceremonies this year have taken me to amazing places - beautiful chateaux, romantic hideaways and always through stunning countryside. 



Weddings with lovely couples and their guests, naming ceremonies with the cutest babes - and I can't help reflecting on the one that got away - a Vow Renewal in the hills above Perpignan- in a small town I love...


...but that one, I had to let go, due to the best possible fruitfulness of the year - the birth of my beloved grandson!

The world is a better place with him in it...