Not a cake but a tiered wedding ceremony!

It always makes me smile when I see a map like this of Europe. It’s not quite accurate but do you have any idea what’s wrong with it?


Well you might be surprised to know that despite what you see, France and Spain are actually geographically over twice as big as the UK. The UK is about 209 km2, Spain is about 505 km2  and France is almost 552 km2 ! Maps like this distort our ideas and so it’s hardly surprising that people often underestimate distances in France.

I conduct weddings all over the south west and central France, and beyond if asked! This means that sometimes travel can be a large part of my fee. In the past I’ve driven for four hours to get to a wedding, conducted the wedding and driven the four hours home. Now don’t get me wrong I love to drive, I really do, but that particular day was a twelve hour grueller. By the time I got home I was fit for nothing but my bed. Lesson learnt. That’s why if your venue is more than a three hour drive I ask you for the cost of an overnight stay.

My three hour driving circle.


This year I’ve had several enquiries from couples whose wedding venues are over four hours away. We chatted and they’ve been really keen to book me but with the travel and overnight stay costs, I was out of their budget. So…. it got me thinking how I could accommodate them but still be able to pay my bills.

Years ago as a young teenager my comprehensive school was a bit rough to say the least but there was a teacher who was super intelligent, an author and a musician.  I asked him why he taught in our school when he could work in a private school and earn so much more, his reply was ‘why should you get a lesser education just because of your parents’ earnings?’ As you can see this comment has stayed with me and every job I’ve had over the years has been about helping and empowering others. So the question that began to worm away in my mind was – why should these couples lose the opportunity to have me as their celebrant just because of money?


Celebrancy is my full time job and I have to earn a living. So how can I reduce my costs and then be able to pass that saving onto you? Well, one of the most important assets in modern times is time itself. So logically if I reduced the time I spent on a wedding then I could offer it at a reduced price. So I sat down with a cuppa (the only way to think) and assessed the elements of a wedding; I always have to travel and I always have to conduct the ceremony. So it stands to reason that the way to reduce my fee would be to reduce the time I spend writing the ceremony script.

I sit at my outside table with my trusty laptop and write                most of my scripts. It’s not a bad office.

For the past seven years all of my ceremonies have been bespoke and they take a lot of thought and a lot of time. So I decided to tier the ceremonies and I introduced a tailored and a standard ceremony. It’s not in my nature to not do my very best and so every ceremony will still be beautiful and still have that all-important sprinkling of humour but the level of detail for each is different as are the things you can choose and change.

  • For the standard ceremony I use a template, which is lovely and includes the basic rituals of exchanging vows and rings and signing your certificate, and to that I add-in some personal details of your love story: how you met; when you realised your partner was “the one”; what the proposal was like; and your dreams for the future.
  • For the tailored ceremony I use the same template but as well as the above, I add in more of the details of your love story and I contact your Chief Bridesmaid/Maid of Honour and Best Man to get their stories or thoughts on you as a couple. You can add in readings, choose other rituals e.g. lighting candles, pouring sand etc., you can alter the vows I have written.
  • For the bespoke ceremony – no template is used, everything is written just for you. You can change all aspects of the ceremony and you have all the above choices as well as being able to write your own vows, with or without my help, and have family and friends take part in the ceremony if you want e.g. it’s lovely when someone does a reading, sings or plays an instrument etc. I work with you both planning every last detail until the script is perfect.

Thanks Nat and Matt for sharing this photo taken by the                                       wonderful Amy O’Boyle.

For each ceremony I send a questionnaire to both of you and there’s one question that I ask you not to share the answer with your partner. That’s the ‘what I love about you’ question. You only hear that on your wedding day. But if you nip over to my website here you can see a video clip of that part of Nat and Matt’s wedding! (Thanks to Fabrice Lau Productions)  This part of the ceremony is an absolute must so it’s included in all three types of ceremony.

My hope is that by offering a range of ceremonies, money won’t get in the way of your dream wedding ceremony. So if you’re getting married in France and would like me to be your celebrant, now you have options and I’d love to help you celebrate. As soon as you have a venue get in touch to see if your date is available and arrange a chat. (I love a good chat and a laugh of course.)