Real Weddings Part 4 | By Liz Thompson

Ric and Aislinn’s wedding ceremony was always going to be a stylish affair. Their amazing venue, 11 Didsbury Park was the perfect setting for their English Garden Wedding. They married under a rose arbour surrounded by their friends and family, some of whom had travelled from far and wide to be there.

Manchester to Miami by Skype

Aislinn and Ric wanted to marry surrounded by their family and friends, simple… Even when the couple live in Miami, and their families live in Grenada and The UK. When the couple contacted me with their enquiry I sent them the information that they needed and answered their questions, they decided they would like me to be their Celebrant and we arranged to meet on Skype and take it from there.  We talked through the wedding ceremony planner in the same way that I would if I were to meet with them at their home.   And so the planning began…

Distance is no object

Wedding Celebrant Manchester| Unity Civil Celebrancy | Symbolic Ceremonies|Unity Ceremonies I love creating ceremonies that are a little bit different and am always open to new ways of working to ensure every couple has the ceremony of their dreams. Talking with Aislinn and Ric was no problem at all, the distance between us seemed negligible really as we Skyped and emailed back and forth their ceremony began to take shape, we co-wrote the vows and I created a ceremony plan for the day and shared it with their vendors, The Bridgewater Quartet and Jonny Draper Photography to ensure that we all knew what was expected to happen on the day.

A typical Manchester summer!

The wedding day dawned and typically for Manchester the skies were grey and gloomy, looking ominously like it was going to rain but as the day drew on the skies cleared and they had their wonderful June wedding day. There was an air of anticipation as Ric waited nervously with his brother at his side for his bride to appear and as the music began in walked Aislinn’s Niece carrying a ‘Here comes the Bride’ sign, followed by Aislinn looking radiant in an ivory silk sheath dress, she was accompanied down the aisle by her Mother Esther who gave her away, both women looked stunning. Ric was his usual laid back self but you could tell by his huge grin that he was bowled over by his beautiful bride.

Memories old and new

Creating ceremonies that are really meaningful begins with listening to what the couple would like to convey to the world about their relationship, often their family history and the roots that bind them to their loved ones are important to them and they like to take the opportunity to weave in elements that remember lost loved ones and/or create new traditions and wonderful memories. Aislinn’s brother Damian opened the ceremony by reading an extract from a poem by Kahlil Gibran. It was important to Aislinn that her father was remembered on her special day so she and her mother lit a candle which burned throughout the ceremony, symbolic of his presence on her big day. Following that Ric’s Mother Susan read a beautiful piece that spoke of everyone’s collective wished for the couple.

Vows, promises and pouring sand…

Unity Sand Ceremony | Unity Civil Celebrancy | Liz Thompson |Unity Ceremonies They also decided that they would like to have a Unity Sand Ceremony so when they had made their vows and exchange rings with beautiful words and promises to each other they began to take turns in pouring the sand to the sound Bach’s Air on a G string. They had brought with them beautiful bottles for this purpose, Aislinn brought sand from her home island of Grenada, representing her Fathers heritage and where she and Ric met and also from the beaches of Ireland, representing her Mothers heritage. Richard joined her with sand from Miami Beach Florida where the two now reside and from the natural sandstone that forms the Peak District, his birth home.

In pouring the sand they created layers combining the sand that was symbolic of their lives and although it was combined into a single container the layers of colour showed that Ric and Aislinn have retained their unique identities and personalities. Yet, looking closer, it was virtually impossible to define the exact point where one layer ended and the next began — the grains of sand can never be separated, a strong and beautiful representation of their union and continued journey together.

Esther then read a Wedding Prayer and as they were pronounced Man and wife and Ric kissed his bride their guests stood to congratulate and applause the happy couple, showering them with fresh lavender for grace, refinement and elegance and rosemary for remembrance, the scent was beautiful and they looked so happy together. They really are made for each other….Wedding Celebrant Manchester | Unity Civil Celebrancy | Liz Thompson|Unity Ceremonies

At the end of our day, when we thought back, or day was truly superb. A lovely touch was the beautiful card that accompanied a copy of our vows and ceremony which found placed in our room that evening.


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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