SUFFOLK WEDDING CELEBRANT
In the past, I have been in the fortunate position to have worked with some of the most amazing wedding suppliers in Suffolk and across the UK, with many of which becoming great friends. I know that many of my prospective and current clients check out my blog from time to time to see what I’ve been up to, which got me thinking. What better way to introduce some of my trusted vendor friends to my clients than to give them the spotlight for 5 minutes here on my blog where they could tell us about their business, their inspirations and what makes them tick. So here you have it, a new series of interviews has been born, I hope you enjoy them.
Today I had the chance to sit down with Bridget Garrett, a fantastic wedding celebrant, who is based in Suffolk, UK. I had the pleasure of working alongside Bridget last year at a gorgeous woodland wedding and had so much fun that I had to share Bridget's work with you all.
For those readers who may not have come across your work before, please can you tell us a little about your background and how you got into being a wedding celebrant?
Bridget: Good question, and by a very convoluted route! My main job before I had my children was as a public relations manager, so I was involved in press relations, exhibitions, corporate events and producing publications. It was a very varied job which I liked. I was at home for a number of years with the children and when it was time to get back into employment I didn’t want to go back to corporate working. Having toyed with the idea of being a Registrar I found information on being a Civil Celebrant on the same Google page and never looked back!
I’ve always been fascinated by people, having studied Psychology as my degree - How fantastic I thought, to do a job where I can meet lots of people, travel to places I’d never been and help people on some of the most significant days of their lives. I did a couple of qualifications in Celebrancy which are recognised by the industries I work in - not only do I create wedding ceremonies, I also devise and write baby naming ceremonies and help families to say goodbye to their loved ones with funerals and help others to mark the key milestones in their lives - significant birthdays and Renewal of Vow Ceremonies, which are a great way to get everyone together for a party!
I’ve been a Celebrant for about 4 years now and every day is different, which suits me down to the ground, I don’t much like routine. I do love the positive hope and happiness vibe that you get at every wedding, it’s really contagious and is good for my soul so I can’t see myself doing anything else now.
In three words how would you describe your brand/business?
Bridget: Warm, personal, professional.
Who or what inspires the creativity in your work?
Bridget: So many things - but talking to couples mostly and trying to turn the visions of their special day into a reality - like so many professionals in the wedding industry. I also turn to Pinterest and social media to keep up to date with the fashions, colours and flavours of modern weddings.
I’m constantly on the prowl for good poems and readings, and ways to include pets, children and best friends in the ceremonies. The more personal the better as far as I’m concerned - that’s what makes a couples’ day so special. Also if someone has an interesting job or hobby that we can build into a ‘symbolic element’ (aka ‘doing something’ brilliant during the ceremony - it could be something as simple as lighting a candle or a hand fasting, but it could be a first argument box or singing a specially written song together.
In short, people are the inspiration and we’re all different thankfully!
What trends are you currently seeing and how do you predict the future looks for wedding ceremonies here in the UK?
Bridget: Definitely for outdoor weddings and I love that! Even if the weather is not too friendly on the day, it can certainly make it a memorable occasion. As a photographer you know you can get some fabulous ‘rainy’ shots, and if you approach everything on your day as something good, then you can’t help but have a great celebration. It’s the people that matter not the weather.
Also, I’m finding an increase in weddings in venues that are not so traditional - with a Celebrant you can even have them in unlicensed places, so a favourite pub or restaurant or someone with a fabulous garden. This can also makes things so much more economic because you’re not paying huge costs for the use of a big hotel or country house - which are beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but smaller, personal and more intimate can be good too, with a venue that possibly means something more to the couple.
DIY weddings, where the couple do a lot of the work themselves, have been popular for a few years now, but I can only see this trend growing. There’s so many styles and so much help out there for couples to create something with their stamp on it and for me that can only be a good thing.
How far in advance do you suggest couples come talk to you about their wedding?
Bridget: As a rule of thumb, as soon as you have booked your date and venue, have decided whether you want a church wedding, a registrar or a Celebrant - that’s the time to get in touch. No matter if it’s 18 months ahead - get your Celebrant on board, most can be secured with a small deposit and then they are there with you on that journey. Personally, I don’t write the script until the month before the wedding so that it doesn’t go stale and you can adapt to any changes that have happened along the way - sometimes couples have a baby in-between times! But it’s easy to keep in touch and offer guidance or advice when asked for if you’re there from the start.
I do have couples that have been let down or when the Registrar couldn’t give them a good time for the ceremony on the date they’d booked at a venue, and really I only need a couple of weeks notice if I’ve got the date available - I quite like the spontaneity! But it is risky because the date may not be available.
So often couples still aren’t aware of the Celebrant option. I can say that if you do choose a Celebrant to conduct your wedding, it will be a much more relaxed, personal and fun way to celebrate your big day, with so much more flexibility than more traditional options.
Which wedding blogs, magazines or other resources do you recommend that couples check out, in order to gain inspiration?
Bridget: To be honest I don’t read too many magazines, I usually trawl around online if I’m looking. I have my favourite blogs of local suppliers that can offer good targeted local advice: obviously yours Ross and then The Wedding Planners, Get Wed Podcast and the Suffolk Wedding Shed. For visuals and ideas you can’t beat Pinterest and there’s always many suppliers that will post regularly on Facebook with ideas you’ve never even thought about. There’s almost too much to take in so it helps if you have an inkling of what you’re looking for.
What advice would you give couples when choosing their wedding celebrant?
Bridget: Choose someone that you like and that you think can see and understand your vision for your special day. We can all help with suggestions about the ceremony and how to put plans into action, but you need someone who can put your vision into words. The writing of a ceremony is so important, so you don’t want one that someone else had used a million times - it should be all about you and your life together. The ceremony is not just something to get through so that you can get on with the party, it can be so very personal and touching and should stay with you and your guests for a long time. Personal vows and pledges to each other is why everyone is there and your ceremony should show who you are. Ask your Celebrant to send you some sample scripts, meet them for a coffee - most will do that for no charge and if they don’t, try someone else.
Costs can very hugely, but the price of a Celebrant, by comparison with other wedding services, is such a small part of the wedding budget, it’s worth spending as much as you can to get the right person for you. Most Celebrants range from around £300-£500 and can include different elements, so make sure you check what’s included in the price.
Finally, what's the best thing about being a wedding celebrant?
Bridget: People, families, children, laughter and love - I see it every day and it never fails to inspire me. No matter what the occasion, whether it’s a joyful wedding or a sad goodbye, it’s that power of the love inside a family, inside a couple for each other, that makes me so happy to do the job that I do. It’s one of the basic human functions and I love that I’m allowed to help people to celebrate it, put it into loving words for a ceremony and symbolic actions to emphasise it, for one of the most memorable days of a couples’ lives.
My sincere thanks to Bridget for her time. If you would like to speak to Bridget about your forthcoming wedding, please check out her website.