So my season has now come to a close for the year, and I have been busy looking back over all of my lovely ceremonies and putting together some fab stats and stories for you all. I love to share these details as it shows just how we are growing and learning each year, and embracing lots of new and exciting things!
Once again it has been great to look back over all of the amazing ceremonies that we have been a part of, remembering all of the wonderful couples, families and friends. It's been a privilege to get to know them all and to tell so many unique and heart-warming stories. Through these celebrations, we've also met new suppliers and lots of great venues too.
Thanks to everyone that we have met along the way, we appreciate you all!
Here we go . . .
Venues and Counties
80% of our venues this year were licensed! This shows once again that people are booking us because they want the personal and meaningful ceremony, and not just for unlicensed settings. This figure is up 30% on last year!
Last year we worked in 7 counties, this year we have been conducting ceremonies in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Sussex, Buckinghamshire, London, and over in the Isle of Wight!
We've seen 13 new venues requesting our services, including Rivervale Barn (Hampshire) which is an especially meaningful venue as it was where I got married back in 2010!
To be able to help couples and guide and support them through the ceremony process is a wonderful thing. I get tingles every time I step into this amazing venue.
We've got a few special achievements under our belts too, including becoming the first person (celebrant or otherwise) to conduct a ceremony at the amazing new outdoor setting at Rivervale Barn called "The Spinney".
Check out the fab pics from this wedding here
(images supplied by Chris Kemp https://www.chriskemp.co.uk/)
In and Out
Over previous years I have notched up a large percentage of my annual bookings at outdoor weddings and celebrations, but this year it was pretty much a 50/50 split in terms of planned ceremony settings being outside and those inside. I think we only moved one indoors due to bad weather, but the rest were held in their intended locations.
During this summer, we were invited to a secret location in Sussex and had our very first ceremony in an orchard!
I love secret and highly exclusive venues, as you know that very few people will ever experience a wedding of that type!
I love the varied nature of my ceremonies, and although each one is completely different, I also get to experience some wonderful ceremonial elements (or 'rituals') too.
This year I have included the following within my ceremonies:
- Hymns (and I've also involved religious leaders too!)
- Jumping the broom
- Single cord and multi-cord handfastings
- Surprises for family members
- Ring lottery
- Chinese bowing ritual (or "Kowtow")
- Sand ceremonies
- Vietnamese lantern lighting
- Rice wine toast
I experience all kinds of things happening behind the scenes at a wedding. Mostly they are lovely, funny things but sometimes (and in my case this year) there were some pretty surprising situations!
Last year I was trapped at a venue by cows (read last year's review here) and this year I performed a ceremony with a spider on me, and a found a field mouse in my bag!
This is clearly not the actual mouse (I was way too busy trying not to squeal as I shooed it away) but it is a reality when working in the countryside and on working farms and barns.
The spider was nipping in and out of a red brick floor at a fab barn venue and found it's way onto my shoe, and started to climb up my ankle DURING a ceremony!!! It was like my very own live bushtucker trial! Needless to say, I carried on and managed a quick and subtle flick of my foot to release it (shiver!).
I began my journey as a celebrant back in 2014 and didn't have a brand identity, but with the help of my lovely friends at https://eclipse-creative.co.uk/ we went from this circular image to this fab new logo!!
The unsung hero here is my ever supportive husband, my tech hero and who single-handedly created my shiny new website! www.knightceremonies.co.uk
With my design input and lots of cups of tea, we created a lovely online base for Knight Ceremonies, and the website now has lots of handy information and is awash with images from my actual ceremonies.
I don't have anyone managing my social media and this is partly because I want my postings to represent who I am. I am me, and I am my business. My posts are real, and my wedding images are of those that I have actually conducted. My feed is my own and it contains fab pics, relevant information and handy hints too!
Have a peek! (www.instagram.com/knightceremonies_celebrant)
I tried something slightly different in November and we had our first ever "Black and White" month, whereby I showcased lots of amazing candid shots of my real weddings, the images that would not normally be posted (as I have always used the vibrant and warm images that are sent to me).
It was wonderful to be able to share these with my followers and to credit the amazing photographers that I have the pleasure of working with!
This is the image that sparked off the idea! I loved working with these two and the photographer Nigel Chapman (https://nigelchapmanphotography.co.uk) captured this post-ceremony moment perfectly!
Each year I am lucky enough to work with couples and families looking for a personal and unique wedding, vow renewal or baby naming, and this year we had a few surprises too!
There was a surprise renewal of vows for a couple celebrating 25 years, and a surprise baby naming which was included in a wedding ceremony! This year we worked with two couples that incorporated a naming into their big day, and one of these was partially conducted in Spanish!
We also met and worked with a religious couple and their vicar (who came up to bless their rings). We had hymns and religious references within their personal ceremony and it was great to be able to give them the celebration that meant so much to them.
Each and every one of our ceremonies is fabulous, but a few of the highlights from this year include:
- Hearing a truly incredible engagement story involving Nelson's Column and getting to write about it then tell is as part of their ceremony
- Being given the honour during the ceremony of announcing that the groom would be adopting the bride's daughter - such a special wedding and an inspiring family
- Managing lots of international relationships with couples from all over the globe
- Witnessing the longest conga with 200 guests all in line and following a brass band from ceremony to reception
- plus bringing lots of wonderful people together to share in such auspicious occasions
We pride ourselves on being open to working with couples from all walks of life and from all over the globe, and this year we welcomed guests in Hungarian, Finnish, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, Italian, and of course English!
We worked with 8 destination couples that were living and working abroad but who came back to the UK for their wedding celebration, and we saw guests joining them from Denmark, Italy, Finland, Hungary, China, America, and Australia!
A big audience!!
Last year 3300 people saw me perform ceremonies, but this year, a staggering 5600 came along to one of my weddings, vow renewals or baby naming celebrations! I seem to have had lots of large weddings this season and it's been great to spread the love and demonstrate the difference a celebrant makes to all of these people.
Our Busiest month!
This year it was. . . .(drum roll!) . . .JUNE!!! This was closely followed by July and August, then September. We started our season in February and ended in early December. Next year we start in mid January at yet another new venue!
20% of our bookings this year have been for baby namings, and 5% were for vow renewal celebrations (including our very own ceremony!).
We chose to celebrate all that we have achieved as a family by renewing our vows and including our amazing twin girls.
I highly recommend this to anyone - it was a very special day for us and is one of the things we will look back on this year with big smiles!
Three of my gorgeous couples welcomed babies into the fold this year and we are excited for them and this new chapter in their lives.
Congrats to Jenny and Dan, Holly & Ben, and Claire and Phil x
Making a difference
We have spent a lot of time growing and strengthening this little business, and this year were in a position where we could help a few charities.
We regularly donate to Age concern, we also donated money to a children's cancer charity (www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk), attended a charity ball and helped to raise over £3,000 on the night.
We also contributed a sum of money to Great Ormond Street Hospital too.
Aside from helping these worthy charities, we have also been looking at the wider picture within the wedding industry, to see how we might help spread the word about what celebrants do.
We are becoming more and more mainstream, and my stats alone show a huge surge in demand for more personal and unique ceremonies, but a lot of couples were missing out as venues didn't quite have enough information to be able to present us as an option on show rounds.
Working alongside the amazing Kelly Chandler (https://www.kellychandlerconsulting.co.uk/) I became part of her new training course for venue managers around the Country, presenting to them about the changing market, the benefits to their venue and indeed to couples.
I have just been asked back again for a new session in February so the message is reaching more and more people.
We also have a presentation on her online training course too! Thank you so much Kelly for this, and for the opportunity to represent celebrants everywhere!
Who we are
I mentioned just now about strengthening my business, and we did this by growing the team to include Tracey and Lorna! (Read my blog post here for more details about my lovely ladies.)
We now have a strong representation in Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire and we have some exciting new plans for next year so watch this space!
It's been another incredible year, with a season packed full of amazing couples, families, venues and fellow suppliers, but also lots of fantastic opportunities too.
What we do is all about making a difference to people, and we feel that we have absolutely achieved this in all sorts of ways. From lots of beautiful and memorable ceremonies to charity donations to increasing awareness within the wedding business.
Because of this, we end the year feeling accomplished and very, very happy.
Thanks to all that we have worked with, and we look forward to all that next year brings.
Happy Christmas, and see you in 2019!
Jenny, Lorna and Tracey
Thanks to our super photographers for supplying the images of our lovely ceremonies:
S J Jones Photography (IOW) https://www.sjjonesphotography.co.uk/
Benjamin Stuart Photography - http://benjaminstuart.co.uk/
Chris Kemp Photography - https://www.chriskemp.co.uk/
Nigel Chapman Photography - https://nigelchapmanphotography.co.uk/
Maddie Waters Photography - http://maddiewaters.co.uk/
Hole in a Box - http://www.holeinabox.com/
Charlie Campey Photography - https://www.charliecampeyphotography.co.uk/
Richard Galloway - https://www.gallowayphotography.uk.com/
Sam & Yaz - http://samandyaz.com/
Paul Mockford - http://mockford.co.uk/
The Springles - https://thespringles.com/
Moth Photography - https://mothphotography.co.uk/
See more about Berkshire Ceremonies