We met the lovely Holly Smith whilst photographing Abby & Guy’s outdoor wedding in 2019 and we were struck by the breath-taking ceremony she held under the Apple Trees in Guys family garden. She was softly spoken and passionate about sharing their love story and we were all in tears as the ceremony reached a beautifully emotional part. This experience made it very clear that we’d love something so personal for our wedding!
Now lets hear from Holly – Cambridge Celebrant Wedding
Where are you based and what made you fall in love with becoming a celebrant?
I’m based in Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire but my weddings take me all around the county, across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, and London too! Being a celebrant combines my three favorite things; writing, meeting new people, and public speaking, so it really is the perfect job for me. It’s an incredible honor to get to know my couples and tell their stories in a way that feels personal to them.
What did you love most about your training?
I meet so many people from different walks of life, all coming together to help people celebrate their love for each other. My training also helped me prepare for every eventuality and has given me a community of celebrants who I’ve continued to learn from.
What do you feel you can bring to your couple’s wedding which is unique to you?
I know from experience as a guest that the ceremony can sometimes feel like the boring bit that you have to get through before the party begins, but with me, the party starts straight away! I love to write ceremonies that are fun, uplifting, include lots of personal details, and leave everyone with sore faces from smiling so much. I also help my couples incorporate special elements that make their day really memorable, and different from what their guests might have seen at other weddings.
What has been your fondest memory of your career so far?
Oh way too many to mention! The one up a mountain in the Alps, the one with the dog ringbearer, all the ceremonies in family gardens. The one where they asked me to announce they were pregnant at the end of the ceremony was really special, I’ll never forget the gasp and then cheers from their guests, there were a lot of happy tears (from me too!)
What do you think is the best thing about getting married in a place you feel at home?
There is something really magical about getting married in a place that already holds so many memories for you, and I often find you can be more relaxed about the planning and set-up because you don’t have limited access.
Would a ceremony wedding be legal and if not, why not!
A celebrant-led wedding is a chance to have a ceremony in any location, free from the restrictions you might have with a registrar. Unfortunately, UK law only recognizes licensed venues, and this does mean you need to complete the legal paperwork separately. Many of my couples choose to do this the week before at their local registry office with just a few close family members. I think it’s a wonderful way to extend the celebrations rather than packing it all into one day. Or sometimes my couples just can’t wait to get legally married, so they have a small ceremony, and then a big wedding with a second ceremony with me for their first anniversary. With a celebrant, there is a lot of flexibility!
As you know, I get the chance to photograph a lot of outdoor celebrant weddings and so wondered if couples should ensure that they have an indoor wedding ceremony alternative in case of bad weather? Have you had this issue in the past?
Most outdoor weddings also have a marquee, a barn, or an alternative space where the dinner, drinks, and dancing will continue into the evening. We will usually use this as a backup in case rain prevents the ceremony from going ahead outside, but so far it has never been an issue for me. Some couples provide umbrellas in their colour scheme in case of showers, which can make for really unique photos. It’s important to remember the opposite weather too. If it’s very sunny, make sure you provide sun cream and plenty of water for your guests!
What is your biggest piece of advice for couples considering an outdoor ceremony?
The world is your oyster so really go for what suits your style and your personality. With an outdoor ceremony, we can be creative with how you use the space, where the guests will sit, and what kind of extra bonus features you might include in the ceremony. Helping you design the perfect ceremony is one of the best bits of my job!
What is your proudest bit of feedback from couples after they’ve had an outdoor celebrant wedding with you?
I’m proud to say I often hear “That was the best wedding I’ve ever been to!” It’s always amazing to hear how much my couples & families and friends enjoyed the ceremony.
What are you most looking forward to about getting to host weddings again?
It is going to be amazing to see so many couples finally getting to celebrate with their friends and family again. I can’t wait to see smiling faces and people hugging and making up for lost time. I think there will be a lot of happy tears from us all!
You can find out more about Holly and her ceremonies at http://celebrantlondon.com/
Sometimes a wedding ceremony can feel like the boring bit you have to sit through before the party begins, but with my ceremonies, the party starts right away.Holly Smith – Cambridge Celebrant Wedding
For more inspiration on Celebrant Weddings, check out our blog all about hand tying ceremonies!