The day of Becky and Mel’s civil partnership ceremony dawned in North Wales in brilliant sunshine with clear blue skies and not a cloud in sight. And what a journey it has been for all of us. Theirs is such a beautiful love story, taking them both by surprise and beginning at a time when they were both in a good place and ready to take the next steps into a wonderful and joyous relationship.

Working together to create something beautiful

Symbolic Ceremonies | Same Sex Weddings | Celebrant Manchester |Unity Ceremonies I first met Becky and Mel at a wedding fayre in Manchester. Both girls were very definite about what they wanted, which was a personalised Civil Partnership, a ceremony that blended bits of traditional service with their own unique style. We arranged to meet to go through their wedding planner and so began nine months of meetings, phone calls; emails and text messages to make sure the Women had everything that they wanted from their ceremony.During our meetings I began to get to know both women as we discussed their relationship, history and their feelings for one another.

They wanted to write their own vows but were unsure about where to start so I drafted some sample vows based on what they had said during our talks. That was all that they needed to set them off thinking about what they wanted to say to each other. They didn’t need any help in deciding on readings and poems, and they chose well, nominating their family and close friends to read at key points during the ceremony. Close to their ceremony date we met at the venue, the stunning Bodysgallen Hall in North Wales for their rehearsal which gave us the opportunity to walk it through and make any last minute changes. They were to marry in the drawing room, a beautiful, stylish space which was perfect for an intimate family ceremony.

A Family Affair

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Mel waited nervously and the ceremony began with the beautiful Canon by Pachabel, played on the harp by Dylan Cernyw. Becky walked in with her father, and was stunning in a purple Grecian style dress, and he was beaming with pride when he gave her away.  Both are close to their families and were keen to ensure that everyone including the cat was in on it! His photo was on the table along with others and at this point the couple’s loved ones took part in a small, private ritual to honour those who could not be with the women on their wedding day, honouring and remembering, their special memories creating a beautiful and poignant part of their ceremony. Their guests loved the part where I told of their personal journey as none of them had attended a Celebrant led wedding before so were pleasantly surprised and very touched by it. Mel’s friend Margaret then read The Velveteen Rabbit, a lovely representation of love and it’s way of changing us.

Vows and Rings

Most often people sign the register quickly the day before then have me do their more personal and meaningful ceremony at their chosen venue. Mel and Becky opted to have the Registrar come out to their venue on the day. We worked together to ensure the happy couple had a seamless ceremony incorporating everything they wanted. They signed the register with Dylan playing Calon Lan and I will always love you in the background. Bill, Mel’s step father was their ring bearer, they exchanged rings and said their vows beautifully.

The Handfasting

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Becky’s Nan, Nina read a poem entitled Life which lead nicely into their Handfasting, which is a symbolic ceremony and a marriage rite that began in the Middle Ages, which is where the saying ‘tying the knot’ came from. Becky made their Handfasting cord herself which meant it held extra special meaning as she wove into it the love and dreams that she holds for both of them, during their ceremony and in their future together.

The Unity Candles

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Following the Handfasting the women lit the centre pillar of their unity candle from the tapers which had been lit earlier, joining their families and sets of friends to become one and creating the final flame, bringing them together as a couple, never to be parted.

Their Civil Partnership Ceremony ended with Mel’s Sister reading a poem entitled Two Families. Both women looked gorgeous and you could feel their love for each other as their ceremony ended with Dylan playing Everything has changed by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran amid applause, cheers and hugs and kisses all round.

Kind Words


Vows are the most important parts of a ceremony but boy are they hard to write!  Once again Liz came to our rescue.  Based on the individual conversations she’d had with us, she produced a first draft to get us started and they were almost perfect; it just took some small slight amendments to finalise them.

It was a beautiful ceremony and an amazing day, I always feel privileged to be asked to share such personal and intimate moments and I pride myself on ensuring couples have the ceremony of their dreams and it’s always good to hear that I have done a good job when receiving such wonderful feedback. And an added bonus? My partner was at the wedding fayre and they got on famously, heralding the beginning of a new and lovely friendship culminating with an invite to their wedding and a fabulous day was had by all.


You only get one chance to have your ceremony and as ours is not yet a regulated profession anyone can call themselves a Celebrant. Any professionally trained Celebrant will be more than happy for you to check that they are qualified.  I trained with The Fellowship of Professional Celebrants, see my About Liz page for more information.

About The Author

Liz Thompson is a Civil Celebrant based in Manchester in the UK and working across the North West of England, Liz creates unique and personal ceremonies and services for life events such as Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Baby naming, Vow Renewal and many more. Follow Liz on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram
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