How to Plan a Wedding: Personalised Ceremony and Vow Ideas

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Undeniably, one of the most (if not the most!) important parts of any wedding is the ceremony. But with wedding blogs, books and magazines mostly focusing on the pretty stuff (flowers! cakes! dresses!!) it is often the bit that leaves couples the most confused. So today I thought I would briefly cover a few of your options and help you to with some vow ideas if you plan to write your own. I’ve concentrated on English marriage laws in this post so be sure to check your own country’s requirements as they may vary.

Unfortunately, English marriage laws are some of the strictest in the world. Here, you can only be legally married in an approved location and the ceremony must be performed by an authorised celebrant (usually, but not always, a minister of religion) or by an authorised registrar. So your dreams of a beautiful beach or backyard ceremony being performed by your best friend who bought his marriage license on the internet would not be legally binding. Sad face.

But, you can still do it! You’ll just have to make sure you do the legal bit as well by popping to your local registry office to sign the papers. Most couples do this on the same day, but you could do it the day before or after and have another mini-celebration! Also, if you’re having a destination wedding make sure you check where you stand legally. Ceremonies that take place in another country are not always legally binding back home! 

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If you’re planning to write your own wedding ceremony, you’ll need to check with your local government to see if there are any legal requirements that must be included. Other than that what else happens is completely up to you, especially if you’re having a non-religious ceremony. If you are getting married in a religious setting the rules about what you can and can’t do are often a bit stricter. Just make sure you speak to your officiant if you want to do anything non-traditional.

When you chat to your celebrant before the day, they will most likely go through what you can expect from the ceremony. They’ll also describe the various aspects and explain their significance to you. They may also suggest that you do a rehearsal the day before so you’re all prepped and there are no unexpected surprises!

Whatever kind of ceremony you’re having it’s nice if it follows a basic structure. This way it will be easier for your guests to follow along. A wedding ceremony usually goes as follows:

Processional (the bit where you walk in)
Welcome
A note about love/ marriage (often referred to as the “definition of marriage”)
Readings
The declaration of intent (the “I Do!” bit!)
Vows
Ring exchange
Pronouncement (aka the kiss!)
The signing of the register
Recessional

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Big Sur Bohemian Elopement: Ulysses & Cyntia

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As far as simple and breathtaking weddings go, I think this family focused elopement in Big Sur, California wins everything. It was just Ulysses, Cyntia and their two gorgeous children, Phoenix and Galaxy in attendance. Their officiant, Colette Cucchia, was there to marry them overlooking the water and their wedding photographer captured the whole thing beautifully.

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“We both really like the small and simple weddings”, Ulysses began. “Our children also inspire us, they were very central to our wedding. A unique part of our wedding was the Greenbrier. We really love that van and thought it would be nice to have it featured in our wedding pictures. Different to the norm? We are a non religious family and our wedding reflected that.”

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Gritty Wedding Shoot in an Abandoned Warehouse

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These beautifully gritty wedding images were shot at an abandoned warehouse in Badajoz, Spain. Wedding photographer Jesus Caballero explains, “I had an idea to shoot an urban wedding shoot. I wanted lots of black and a simple table arrangement. Imagined this wedding to be very informal.”

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“We found a very urban couple with nothing conservative about them and they were happy take part in the session. Mary is a dancer and Alvaro is passionate about bikes so we used both these things in the shoot.”

“It was very easy to create the real atmosphere of the meeting, around the true style of the couple. The décor was perfect for their personalities and it was not necessary to make anything up to make it ‘cooler’.”

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30 Things To Do Before I’m 30 (in 30 Days!)

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In thirty days I will be thirty years old. If I’m honest I haven’t been particularly thrilled about hitting the big 3-0. People have been telling me how much I’ll love it, how your thirties are so much better than your twenties etc etc, but I dunno, the latter part of this last decade has been pretty fucking fabulous.

While many people may have had these for years, with just a month left of my twenties I thought I’d compile a 30 things to do before I’m 30 list. With not much time left these are mostly all pretty small, but that’s OK, small goals can be just as beneficial!

1. Go on a random adventure
2. Re-watch at least one season of 24
3. Unpack my suitcase
4. Vacuum the whole house
5. Cook a proper 3-course dinner
6. Read a full book
7. Purge my saved documents on my computer
8. Delete all those tv recordings that I’m never going to get round to watching
9. Throw out all my unwanted dvds and books

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10. Buy that new sideboard we’ve been planning on for (literally) years
11. Clean out my wardrobe
12. Throw away all those unused toiletries
13. Buy something ridiculously overpriced and fabulous
14. Get my accounts in order
15. Print out and display more photographs
16. Learn to walk in heels
17. Go on a spa day
18. Go swimming
19. Make cocktails

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DIY Tutorial: Low Twisted Bun

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Today’s DIY hair tutorial is actually quite a classic bridal hairstyle. But funk it up with your most fabulous accessories and it can be anything but! This is the third tutorial from my collaboration with Your Cloud Parade and 10.11 Make Up (you can see last week’s hidden braid and the previous week’s faux hawk here!)

Supplies Needed

♥ Hairspray (we used Kenra Volume Spray)
♥ Bobby and hair pins
♥ Curling iron (we used Hot Tools - barrel size may vary based on length of hair, just for adding texture)
♥ Texture spray (we used Kevin Murphy Resort Spray) or spray wax (we love KMS Hair Play spray wax)
♥ Backcomber (we used Tool Structure Tortoise Backcomber)

Method

Step one: Add some texture to the hair by adding some curl. Spray with some texturizing spray or spray wax.

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Step two: Section out the hair around the crown of your head, leaving out the front and sides- you will want enough hair on each side for braids, as well as any hair you want framing your face.

Backcomb/ tease the hair you have gathered at the back of the crown. Gather the hair around the crown and pin from each side creating an “x”. You can slightly push the hair up to create lift and volume prior to pinning.

Take one side of the hair you left down, leaving out any hair you want framing your face, and braid.

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Mid-Winter Goth Shoot

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January can be a slower month for those of us that work in the wedding industry. Less people get married in winter and so for many industry professionals this is the time when they can stretch their legs and do some experimenting. This is exactly what my friend Lisa Devlin wanted to do when she started to plan this gothic wedding shoot.

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“I feel that as a photographer it is important to step back from your busy working photography life and just shoot for fun every now and then”, she wrote. “It did take me the best part of a year to make time for this but in the meantime, I had started a Pinterest board called ‘Shits and Giggles’ of images that I found inspiration but not necessarily wedding related.”

“I have collaborated with Laura Kate O’Rourke before in her role as a stylist but she is also a musician and I find her look fascinating. So we agreed to just pull together a few outfits, head to a location and see what we came up with.”

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