Áine, why did you decide to become a celebrant?
I initially became interested in becoming a Celebrant when I began the arduous task of planning my own wedding 2 years ago. I found that there was a lack of options at the time. I wanted a very personal ceremony with elements of a traditional wedding coupled with my own vision of what rituals best reflects me and my partner. I came across the Irish Institute of Celebrants and I really haven’t looked back since!
Why did you choose the name “Celebrate Love”?
Celebrating love in all of it’s forms is what I aim to achieve. The name just made sense – it has no agenda. As the famous quote goes “Love knows no reason, no boundaries, no distance. It has a sole intention of bringing people together to a time called forever”
― H.H. Fowler, Love Knows No Bounds
What kinds of ceremonies can you perform?
Anything – whether it be Non-Religious, Semi-Religious, Mixed Faith & Spiritual. The possibilities are boundless. There are also various enhancements that I can perform such as Celtic handfasting, candle rituals, salt and sand rituals to name a few.
As a Celebrant I enjoy testing the limits of people’s imaginations when it comes to the ceremony – each as unique as they are.
You offer traditional Celtic Ceremonies, how are they different?
Celtic wedding traditions we have in Ireland were considered legally binding in the days of Brehon law. Handfasting was a formal marriage agreement which is where we get the term ‘tying the knot from’.
We have seen a huge surge in popularity due to events such as royal weddings with both Will & Kate and now Harry & Meghan opting for handfasting. There are other fabulous Celtic ceremonies such as the salt ceremony, jumping the broom and even incorporating our beautiful Claddagh rings in the exchange of vows. As well as having an opportunity to write lovely pieces around these ceremonies the photo opportunities are also fantastic.
How do you work with clients to make their day unique?
A huge element of the ceremonies I perform and write is the ‘love story’ which is integral to the ceremony and is the key to how I personalise my service. I work with my couples to gather their wonderful journey together. It very much feels like ‘them’ and the reaction from guests is very emotional – sometimes there are laughs, tears and mostly smiles all around.
Of course, I listen to what a couple envisions for their special day and I try to realise their aspirations. I take my role very seriously and understand that a couple’s day is special and needs only the very best of attention.
What areas do you perform ceremonies in?
As I am an independent celebrant I have the freedom to perform a ceremony anywhere from beside a lake, on a cliff, in a back garden to a hotel / castle. The possibilities are limitless. I also make myself available throughout Ireland. We are blessed with such beauty on this little island, there is no shortage of ruins, castles and even alternative barns to publicly proclaim ones love in.
How far in advance should couples talk to you about booking?
Couples should try and lock down their celebrant from between 12 months to 18 months before their ceremony. Having said that as there is a huge volume of people getting married, I already have bookings for 2020. Pay particular attention to summer months as there tends to be higher demand.
What is your top tip for writing vows?
Make sure to agree on length with your fiancé, when one says a crafty one liner and the other recites an A4 page of sentiments the exchange can be a bit skewed. Also, on this note try to keep it within two minutes.
If you are struggling with wording, have a look online – there are thousands of examples of vows; this is a good jumping off point to get your format correct. I have a library of vows which I give couples access to and offer assistance to each individual separately.
Ultimately, your partner knows you and just wants to hear all those magical things that made you want to make the journey to the alter.
How can a couple personalise their ceremony?
As mentioned previously the service I offer is completely tailored so really, we can do anything to personalise the event. If there is a wish to do The Meringue after the vows or burst in to song during the vows, then why not! A couple should celebrate their union in their own unique way. I am here to write, perform, facilitate and coordinate the event and make the whole process that more enjoyable, creating lasting memories of your special day.
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