Second Time Around Couples – Make it just as special as the first time

Just because you might be more mature, with a family around you, doesn’t mean your next wedding can’t be special.

There are many ways you can make your wedding ceremony so unique and memorable for all the right reasons.

Hiring a celebrant can give you total flexibility to create the perfect event that celebrates you as a couple and the love you share.

We can help you to:

Hold your wedding in any place you choose, you don’t need to hold the ceremony at a licenced venue, we can conduct ceremonies anywhere, at your home, in the garden at your favourite bistro, in the park, in a marquee, the choice is yours.

Craft and create a totally unique bespoke ceremony that expresses and highlights all the things that make you who you are.

Create a themed wedding – Want something different? Then we can help.
Have a retro wedding maybe highlighting the decade you grew up in or why not have a ceremony that expresses your hobbies and interests.

Write your own vows, you can say all those important things to one another as you seal your love with words of unity

involved others, enable your family and friends to be a part of the ceremony, by reading, singing, lighting candles, tie your Handfasting ribbons, whatever you want to share with them. There is so much they can do other than be bridesmaids, flower girls or ushers.

I have created a special 10 top tips specifically for second-time arounders, to ensure they get the most from their wedding day. If you would like a copy let me know.

Coping with the 4 stages of bereavement

Coping with bereavement – planning your loved ones funeral ceremony

There are stages of emotional upheaval during the bereavement process, you will have to deal with them each in turn. Know that you are not alone, others have experienced the trauma bereavement brings. They want to support you during this difficult time. Coping with bereavement can be a mammoth task and planning your loved ones funeral ceremony can feel daunting, that is where I help my clients.

As a funeral celebrant I want to make the arrangements for your loved one’s funeral ceremony as easy for you as possible. I will be there for you, offering an empathetic ear, ensuring we reprent the true person in the eulogy we craft together. IF you are stuggling to cope with bereavement – planning your loved ones funeral ceremony is not the easiest task, but I am there to help you.

To continue to support you, here are some pointers on how the grief may unfold over the coming weeks, months and even years. My promise although it may not be simple it will ease in time.

4 stages of bereavement

When we experience the loss of someone dear in our lives it will dramatically affect our day to day life. Sometime these shifts are forever.

Loss that leads to bereavement

Along with loss comes bereavement – a range of feelings over time that arise from that loss. Its our ability to deal with these stages that impact us.

If you are facing a significant loss yourself, or are seeking to support someone who is going through a major loss, you may notice a pattern of bereavement that is common for many people.

The four stages of bereavement

There are four common stages of bereavement:

  • Shock & Numbness
  • Unable to accept
  • Depression
  • Renewal

Grief is individual, and the way and order in which we grieve will vary.

Stage 1: Immediate reaction of shock

As soon as the death occurs, and over the following hours and days, you may be in a state of shocked disbelief.

Alternatively, instead of immediate shock, you may be rather calm and detached.

Either reaction is natural and understandable.

This phase immediately follows a loss to death. The grieving person feels numb, which is a self-defense mechanism that allows him or her to survive emotionally in the immediate aftermath of loss.

Stage 2: Yearning and Searching – Unable to accept

At this stage, you may think that the person you have lost is still physically with you.

You are unable to accept the loss, and at some level are denying that the death has occurred.

Also referred to as pining, this stage is characterised by the grieving person longing or yearning for the deceased to return to fill the void created by his or her death. Many emotions are experienced and expressed during this time, such as weeping, anger, anxiety, preoccupation, and confusion

You may make mistakes that may confuse or frighten you. Examples include:

  • waking up and expecting them to be lying next to you.
  • going downstairs in the morning and expecting them to be in the kitchen as usual, lovingly preparing breakfast for you.
  • laying a place for them at the dinner table.
  • calling the family down for dinner and calling their name out too.

This might freak you out a bit, but it is all normal. Daily habits are so deeply ingrained that they will continue to be part of your day.

Stage 3: Dispair – Depressed and Lonliness

No matter how many people are around you, or how much support you receive, you will have small moments or even long periods of time when you feel lost, alone and confused.

This could span across many many months.

The grieving person often desires to withdraw and disengage from others and the activities he or she regularly enjoyed during this phase. Having accepted the reality of the loss, the bereaved’s feelings of searching and yearning become less intense while feelings of apathy, anger, despair hopelessness and questioning increase.

  • You may :
  • Question your own faith, your faith in God, faith in other people, and even faith in yourself.
  • Lose interest in everything and may want to shut yourself off from the world.
  • Ask yourself whether even your own life is worth living.

This may be a very heavy and lonely time.  Even this phase passes.

Stage 4: Renewed strength and focus Recovery

Eventually, as the pain eases, you find yourself being able to think about the person you have lost, without feeling sad.

This is a chance to recommence life with a renewed sense of strength and focus.

n the final phase, the grieving person begins to return to a new state of “normal.” Weight loss experienced during intense grieving might reverse, energy levels increase, and an interest in returning to former or new enjoyable activities returns. Grief never ends but thoughts of sadness and despair diminish while positive memories of the deceased take over.

Because everyone grieves in his or her own way and own pace, there is no specific or “usual” amount of time in which people experience/complete these phases. In some cases, receiving bereavement counseling and/or joining a bereavement support group can help a grieving individual move through the phases more fluidly.

You could continue with old interests, or you could take up new pursuits.

Do you feel disloyal to the person who has died?

Remember that they are always a part of you, and you can allow yourself to enjoy the present.

There was a man whose wife had died. They had been married over 25 years. 18 months after she died, he took up salsa classes and started dating. He had discovered how to have fun again and his spirit was renewed.

From shock to strength: it does get better

From the moment the death occurs, you may feel grief and sadness, but you may also experience feelings of anger, fear, self-pity or even panic.

You don’t need to hide them – they are a part of your bereavement.

Share these feelings with a sympathetic listener – it does help.

Some of your friends may avoid you – this happens. its likely your friends feel embarrassed because they don’t feel sure and don’t know what to say. Be understanding. Take the first step and let them know you need their support.

Grief is a very isolating process – we feel as if no-one could possibly experience what we are going through. But millions of people around the world have been through it, and they are doing fine now.

Whatever stage of bereavement you are at, remember that the pain will pass and life will again be full of strength, focus and joy.

Pet Ceremonies

Pet Ceremony celebrant in Leicestershire

Pet ceremony celebrant in LeicestershireFor many people, the attachments they form to their pets are just as important as those they have to people.

These bonds can grow very deep as years of loving companionship between human and animal go by.

As a pet lover and pet ceremony celebrant myself based in Leicestershire, I understand totally.


Every Fur Baby is Special

Non-animal lovers sometimes do not understand the “fur baby connection”. So when they see an attached owner in real grief after the death of a beloved pet, they may not fully understand or be very supportive.

If you are a true animal lover, you will recognise that your relationships with your pets indeed are important enough to honour them with a special ceremony.

A pet ceremony can either be helpful when a new pet joins the household, or when a beloved pet has died.

I am available to discuss with you whatever ceremony you might be interested in having. Perhaps you would like to talk with me about ideas; or perhaps I could write a ceremony that you will conduct yourself; or perhaps, you want me to write and conduct the ceremony  at your home. All of these options are possible.

New Pet Ceremonies:

Adopting a new pet, and falling in love with them, are both joyful experiences. A small gathering of family members and close friends to name and welcome the new pet can be very meaningful. The choosing of a name for the new pet can have great significance. Maybe its because the name itself is very special, or the process the family went through to allow the children to participate in the meaning.

If children are a part of the family, highlighting their new responsibilities toward the new addition can add significance to the promises they might have made to their parents. Children can step forward and state publicly what they are committing to contribute to the care of the animal.


Pet Funerals and Memorials:

Pet Ceremonies with Your Special Ceremony LeicestershireThe loss of a beloved pet triggers real grief. And real grief needs to be recognised, expressed, and supported. This is what a pet funeral or memorial can provide for the grieving owner. Honouring the importance of that animal to the owner and/or family, sharing stories about good times with the pet, and participating in the saying “good-bye” with the support of family and friends can be very helpful.

Helping your children understand Pet Bereavement

You can help your children learn important lessons about how to handle loss and sadness without any “lectures”. Planning and participating in the ceremony honours their feelings. It also teaches your children the important points about how to cope with future losses. Holding a ceremony can be powerful and helpful in incorporating loss into ongoing life and celebrating what the pet contributed to the life of the owner.

Same Sex Ceremonies

Same Sex Wedding Ceremonies

 same sex wedding ceremonies
Your wedding is as unique and special as you are.  At Your Special Ceremony we offer same sex wedding ceremonies
so you can create that perfect occassion to celebrate your happy day. Everything about the day should reflect your own
personality and individuality, paying particular attention to the actual Ceremony itself. This fantastic day is when you both
have the opportunity to publicly express your love and devotion for each other, making personal vows and creating
special long lasting memories that you will cherish and remember forever.

Working directly with your celebrant, you can create that perfectly personalised event that will bring lasting memories forever.

Ceremony Facts

From the 5th December 2005, gay and lesbian couples began to register at registrars offices across the country their intention to carry out
a civil partnership ceremony. Within the first two months approximately 4,900 have either registered or carried out their ceremony,
with an estimated 10,000 couples intending to marry in the first year alone. In England and Wales couples have been able to legally
marry since March 2014. All couples must adhere to the following requirements:

  • As a same sex couple neither of you must already be married or be a civil partner to anyone else
  • Parental consent is needed if between the ages of 16 and 18
  • You need to give 15 days prior notice of your proposed civil partnerships to the Registration Authority
  • You will need to sign a document in the presence of a registrar and two witnesses

Civil Partnership Act

same sex marriage The Civil Partnership Act applies to all residents within the UK and Northern Ireland. Registering under this
Act will offer gay and lesbian couples similar legal benefits as heterosexual married couples.
For further details on registering, contact your local council or registry office, or visit:
Once you have legally registered your partnership, you will be known as “Civil Partners”. There is no stipulation
that you automatically take your partner’s surname, so if you would like to change your last name you will need
to make changes by deed poll. For further information, please visit

Although there is no requirement to hold a ceremony as such, simply making an appointment to go into
your local registry office and sign the register fulfils the legal requirements.

Making your marriage really special not just official!

Here at Your Special Ceremony we believe it is a golden opportunity to really push the boat out and have the wedding you
have always wanted which until now has only been a dream. Some important elements of the ceremony to consider are:

  • Readings message of love or reflective poems
  • Special Music
  • Vows personal sentiments and commitments
  • Flowers chosen by season or meanings
  • Theme settings venue choice, mood lighting, colours, fabrics etc.

Combined, these key elements of your wedding will reflect the atmosphere and feelings of the day. Whatever type of
ceremony you choose remember just relax and enjoy it.

Naming Ceremonies – Alternative to Christenings

 What is a Naming Ceremony?

Naming cnaming ceremony leicestershireeremonies are an alterative to traditional religious ceremomies in the UK . They are becoming  popular as an alternative to Christenings.  For many parents having their baby Christened was how they traditionally acknowledged and welcomed the arrival of their new baby into the world. Many parents however might not feel comfortable with the religious  aspects of such an occasion.  Or you could have parents who come from two culturally diverse backgrounds. This is where a Naming Ceremony offers a very special alternative. A Naming Ceremony is designed specifically for you and your child and so is a very  personalised occasion.  You can create the ceremony however you would like to personalise it. If appropriate, you can include personal belief systems.

A Ceremony for all your children

A Naming ceremony does not have to be confined to just your babies. In ancient beliefs they recognise the important life transitions such as that from child to adolescence, and this is often a fruitful time to conduct a ceremony for an older child, encouraging their full participation in the proceedings.

With the greater occurrence of step-families nowadays it is also often appropriate to symbolically recognise the uniting of children from the two families of each partner into the  new family unit.

Where can I hold a Naming Ceremony for my Child?

naming ceremony leicestershireOne of the main advantages of a Naming Ceremony is that you can hold it at pretty much any venue or location of your choice.  You can hold your ceremony at the childs home, perhaps in the garden, with a buffet tea to follow.  You an also hold thm at more formal venues such as a  local hotel or community hall.  Some of the nicest ceremonies take place in outside locations. These can have special meaning to the parents such as a local beauty spot.

Getting Permission to hold your ceremony elsewhere

If you are considering an outside  location  it is important to gain permission beforehand. You may need to contact the landowner for example the National Trust or the local council.  Most landowners are very obliging.  For outside locations it is also important to consider  the time of year and the accessibility of the venue for your guests, for example elderly relatives may have difficulty in reaching the location.  Location is an aspect of  your child Naming Ceremony  you might like to discuss with your Celebrant before making your decisions.

What will the ceremony consist of?

You can choose specific content for your child Naming Ceremony, it completely down to you.  The ceremony can accommodate secular beliefs or take on a more spiritual or Pagan emphasis.  You can choose your own poetry or readings, music and contributors to the ceremony. Your Celebrant will make an initial visit to discuss your wishes and structure the ceremony around these.  Your Celebrant will work with you in creating a service especially to match your requirements.

Ceremonies can also include a traditional Baptism if parents wish

Does a Naming Ceremony have any legal status?

It is important to remember  that, like Christenings, Naming Ceremonies have no legal status.  You must register the birth of your baby at your local register office.

Working with a Funeral Celebrant

Benefits of Using a UK Funeral Celebrant

Your Special Ceremony, a fitting tribute at the funeral of your loved oneThe dread that many people face organising a funeral can be substantially reduced if you find the right people to arrange things with. There are many benefits working with a UK based Funeral Celebrant. They can help you to create a fitting tribute to your deceased loved one.

Celebrants offer another fitting choice 

Funeral ceremonies were once almost the exclusive preserve of a church or other religious organisation, now you can choose a funeral celebrant.

In the UK we have become more secular, or non-religious, in many of our practices. Fewer of us attend church now so religion is not an option for us. So when it comes to funerals, we increasingly require ceremonies that express the individual nature of our relationship with the deceased.

The Benefits of Hiring a Celebrant 

Tailored to your needs, not taken from a textbook

Not everyone wants a textbook funeral that may not reflect the life, personality or wishes of the person who has died. Instead families and friends can now choose a celebrant to help them create a special personalised ceremony. A good celebrant can help to really capture and commemorate the essence of the person who has departed. You can work with your celebrant to create a totally customised personal ceremony.

Skilled in handling family sensitivities
Some also look to an expert who can deal with tragic or difficult circumstances. These could include sudden or accidental deaths, deaths of young children and adolescents, suicides, or lives that seem to have little to celebrate.

Spending the time needed

A further benefit of using a funeral celebrant is that a good one is prepared to spend time with family members, friends or colleagues. They will listen and interpret your wishes for the ceremony. And a great funeral professional knows reconciling the emotions at this difficult time with practical issues needs a subtle blend of sympathy, empathy and tact.

Growing trust, lowering distress

Gaining the trust of the family members, or the person of friend charged with organising the funeral service, is really important. Good celebrants can put you at your ease during this difficult time. They know how to avoid causing distress, or how to alleviate it should tension arise.

Celebrating with creativity

Perhaps most importantly great celebrants not only interpret your needs, and the lives and histories of the deceased. They do it creatively. They can put together a service which, whilst emotional, can also be calming, uplifting, spiritual.  You can include relevant and meaningful music, readings, family stories that you believe to be fitting for the occassion. The celebrant can also involve you or other family and friends in the ceremony if you would like. That way its becomes a very personal and inclusive event.



Recognising the right moments for humour

Great celebrants even know how to capture and represent humorous elements of the deceased’s life in ways that can make their absence seem less painful.

Including these anecdotes can lighten the atmosphere. They can  even allow the funeral party to remember fond memories of the person they have lost. A combination of tears and smiles at a funeral says much about the celebrant. Its important to capture the right balance of mourning, solemnity and celebration for a life well lived.

These special moments can really enhance the whole experience and have a lasting positive effect on the people attending the funeral.


Who handles what?

Where a natural death has occurred (a death that doesn’t require the involvement of a coroner and where a death certificate has been issued), most people contact or appoint a funeral director.

Even when a loved one’s death is anticipated there are very few family members or friends are ever prepared. Bereavement can still be a big shock and a hard thing for family to deal with. Often, the hospital or home where the person dies will suggest a funeral director.

The choice is yours

Know that you are free to select who you believe will do the best job for your family. You should not feel pressured into conducting the funeral as soon as possible because its important for you to be prepared too.

If you want to arrange a celebrant, your funeral director should be able to suggest local celebrants to help. During the ceremony, your celebrant should convey a real sense of your deceased loved one. They should create a fitting ceremony conveying the right message that pays tribute, mourns and celebrates your loved one’s life.

Benefits of Working with A Celebrant for your Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Celebrants in the UK – Celebrant hosted wedding, offers you more choice and customisation of your ceremony

If you are planning your wedding, its good to know that a modern wedding now doesn’t have to be the strictly traditional affair it used to be, things are changing. Couples now have a better choice of saying “I do” at  a wider range of places and not just licensed venues. You can hold your ceremony at any time and on any day of the week with the help of a wedding celebrant. Wedding celebrants in the UK can help you to plan out your ceremony content and conduct the fully personalised ceremony. 

Legal requirements for marriage in the UK

 To be legally married in the UK you need to obtain a licence from your local council registry office. You will also need two witnesses to see the document signing too. To have an authorised person to carry out your marriage means couples must choose between: an approved religious ceremony, a registry office, or a civil ceremony at a licensed venue. But you can do it slightly differently now by working with a wedding celebrant, which will also let you save £££s in the process. 

A Celebrant lead ceremony overcomes the current restrictions on the ceremony content

The ceremony is the most important part of the wedding day. Couples can now make both the ceremony and the reception as individual as they please. Some couples are perfectly happy to have that sense of occasion that comes with following the traditional vows and order of the ceremony set by someone else. The reality is that traditional ceremonies are likely to be very quick, and with restrictions on readings, music, vows and sometimes even photographs. If you opt for a civil ceremony you won’t be allowed to include any content that’s related to religion, such as hymns (even as quotes), Bible references, or even songs that indirectly refer to religion. In some cases, churches will not allow photos to be taken during the ceremony, or they restrict the photographer’s access. Working with a wedding celebrant can help you change all that.

Personalise your ceremony, your way

Now there is a way to have exactly the ceremony you want – by hiring a Wedding Celebrant. Many brides don’t know about wedding celebrants in the UK, but they have been around for over 40 years. In England, Scotland and Wales you must be legally married first at the registry office (this costs around £50 to obtain your marriage licence) You are then free to work with your celebrant to design the wedding ceremony of your dreams.

Using a Wedding Celebrant allows you all the flexibility you require. You will be able to have your wedding wherever you choose. It’s entirely up to you how the whole occasion reflects your personal beliefs and lifestyle. You will choose your own vows, readings, poems, music, decor and anything else you fancy, without restriction.

How to choose a wedding celebrant

Jacqui Tillyard Wedding Celebrant

  • Find a celebrant who really resonates with you – it’s wonderful to have someone you really like performing your ceremony.
  • Arrange an initial face-to-face meeting with the celebrant. This is a good chance to see the celebrant’s demeanour, speaking style, and whether they’re friendly yet professional. Ask all the questions you want. They should be able to advise on things you are unsure of, and make appropriate suggestions.
  • The Fellowship of Independent Celebrants who provide a network of qualified celebrants throughout the UK and beyond. Their website lists all their trained professional celebrant members, all of whom carry £5million Public Liability Insurance. Expect to pay upwards of £450.00 with possible travel expenses on top.

How to arrange a celebrant wedding

  • Arrange for an official registration of your marriage at an applicable registry office. Here you will legally become a married couple. It costs a fraction of the price to just obtain your marriage licence. You can save a fortune by not having to hire a registrant to attend a licensed venue, or hiring a ceremony room at the registry office. There will be a basic fee for filing the marriage application, then another small fee for a basic ceremony on a scheduled date with two witnesses. You should check with your local authorities for applicable requirements.
  • Meet with celebrant to set the date for your ceremony, define the overall structure and programme, how you want to enter the venue, the vows, other readings, speeches, music, flow and timings. You can even discuss releasing balloons, or a rose or sand ceremony, or involving your pets! Your celebrant will draft your vows for you and review and finalise the ‘order of service’.
  • Schedule and hold a rehearsal with your celebrant.
  • Get ready to say your ‘I do’s”!

Handfasting at your wedding ceremony

Handfasting Wedding Ceremony Leicestershire

What is Handfasting?

Handfasting is an ancient Celtic marriage ritual and it involves tying a piece of material (can be tartan, cord or ribbon if you prefer) around your joined hands, as a symbolic way of representing your union as a married couple. It’s where the expression ‘tying the knot’ came from!

You can choose to have your handfasting ties draped across your hand or they can be tied in a form of knot. The know becomes your keepsake symbol of your vows to one another.

History of Hand Fasting

The exact origins of the handfasting ceremony are mostly lost to time. We can be certain that the ancient British custom has been around for many thousands of years. History shows that early handfasting ceremonies and weddings coincided with types of pagan worship. In particular these ceremonies tool place amongst Celts that migrated to Britain for Europe around 7000 B.C. They often revolved around the worship of a matriarchic goddess figure.
The 1995 film, ‘Braveheart‘ shows William Wallace (Mel Gibson of course) and the love of his life, Murron, having a hand fasting ceremony. The original idea of hand fasting was a kind of engagement. It showed that the couple were betrothed for a year and a day before they then married.
Handfastings that took place alongside a Druid ceremony were important in Celtic Britain. These grand ceremonies were often reserved for the richer elite members of societies. Most people opted to express their love with a smaller handfasting celebration that they could afford. May Day and Beltane are still important days in Pagan and Celtic traditions. These days were often seen as a traditional day to get engaged. Scottish and Irish viewpoints also indicate that a handfasting signified betrothal between a couple rather than marriage itself.  Back in history a wedding ceremony that took place in front of witnesses – often friends and family – was not required for a couple to claim they were married.  Holding a more public handfasting in front of the local community ensured their status as a couple was recognised. Unlike a modern marriage, which is designed to last forever, a handfasting was often only valid for a year and a day.

 A New Modern Tradition

In recent years there has been an increase in demand for couples to have a hand fasting ceremony at their marriage, even Prince William and Kate Middleton had one at their wedding in 2011.

If you decide to have a hand fasting, I always make a point of saying that although that was the tradition, your hand fast will be for life! There are a few different ways for a hand fasting to be done and your Celebrant will be able to give you ideas.

Handfasting has changed since its original inception, however  you can still use some traditional parts of the practice in your ceremony. For example, renewing vows several times without a permanent marriage. Accepting that a bond will only last as long as love does. The specific method of tying the ribbon or cord during the handfasting, right to right hand and left to left. You can incorporate a legal practice in the handfasting, where you can also exchange rings during your ceremony.

Hand fasting is a lovely gesture and one that seems to be becoming more popular. The tied knot is a nice keepsake of your big day. Your knot becomes a symbol of your promise to be bound to one another, in love.