Yemaya Bridal: Introducing Lisa
With the launch of our new Yemaya Bridal packages, I caught up with the lovely Lisa from Celebrant In Cornwall who is a key part of many weddings in Cornwall. Read on to find out a little more about what she is up to and what the role of a celebrant involves:
Hey Lisa, it’s great to chat to you, so tell me a little bit about yourself?
Hey Amelia, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog! So I am Lisa, I live in the heart of the county near Bodmin, with my husband and four ninja rescue kitties. My background is in the arts, events and marketing – and after many years of working in the corporate world, we decamped to our favourite place and set up home in Cornwall.
I love nothing more than mooching around on the coast and in the countryside, rain or shine, camera in hand, head in the clouds. Like many people, I have recently discovered the highs (and lows) of creating a veggie patch, and spend a ridiculous amount of time in negotiation with the pigeons (who are currently obsessed with my broccoli) and the butterflies (who have decided that the greenhouse is a far better option than another rainy day outside).
When not bargaining with the local wildlife, you’re quite likely to find me enjoying a good book, with or without a glass of sauvignon, in the sunshine.
So how did you get into the wedding industry?
I was a Ceremony Officer and Deputy Registrar with the Registration Service, which meant I was legally marrying couples every weekend, sometimes three, four or five couples a day. It took me a short time to realise that while I totally loved being part of a couple’s special day, I really didn’t like the conveyor belt of legal weddings. I also witnessed many restrictions and limitations imposed by a legal ceremony, resulting in couples needing to compromise or change their plans at the last minute – which was awful.
I remember thinking all too frequently that a couple’s most special day should be so much more than standing quietly and subserviently in front of an official they’d never met before, repeating the statutory wording and signing the legal paperwork. And so it got me thinking...
So that was the inspiration behind your business Celebrant in Cornwall?
Yes, very much so. I remember quite clearly returning home from a wedding and telling my husband about it. It had been a wedding in a register office and the couple had decided to write and read the most beautiful personal vows for one another. Now in a celebrant-ceremony, this is very much the norm, but for the registration service it is less common. And as I listened to these heartfelt words, which were wonderful, I also felt they were awkward and almost foreign among the stilted legal words and script of the register office ceremony. I found this quite sad and the very words I said later that day to my husband were, couples deserve more – they deserve ceremonies from the heart. So it seemed appropriate this phrase would go on to become my signature strap line!
What is your favourite part about being a celebrant?
What is NOT to like about being a celebrant?? Only this morning I was talking to a couple about their wedding – and hearing their genuine excitement and enthusiasm about designing a completely bespoke ceremony – it’s a truly wonderful thing to be a part of! I actually love the entire journey I go on with a couple, but there are probably two moments I enjoy the most: the first is when we arrive at the first draft of a ceremony and I send it to the couple to read. Hearing their initial reaction is brilliant, as it’s usually the moment it all becomes very real! And then I love delivering the ceremony on the day – meeting all their family and friends, standing with the couple as they speak those meaningful words that will bind them together for life, witnessing all those happy moments – it’s a truly unique position to find yourself in.
You play a huge part in many people’s very special day, how do you prepare with the couple to make sure it’s perfect?
Well, firstly the couple has hand-picked me, so hopefully all the foundations are there to be a perfect fit! We get to know each other over quite a long period – through video calls, meetings, phone call and emails – and I find out the couple’s history, the significant points in their relationship, their funny stories, quirks and nuances, highs and lows. Then around 3 to 4 months before the wedding, I will start to prepare their ceremony. That obviously involves a lot of writing, but at the same time I might be liaising with friends and family to plan some special surprises during the ceremony, or creating a beautiful symbolic ritual to make the ceremony even more personal. Popular rituals recently have included hand fasting, or hand binding, and a sand or wine ceremony – which are great for including and involving others, as well as adding to the personalisation of the whole ceremony.
I always say to my couples, by the time of their ceremony, we will feel like old friends, and that is always the case!
I have to ask….have you ever had a blooper or said the wrong thing?
Like in Friends, when Ross accidentally says Rachel's name instead of Emily's during their wedding vows?! Haha, no I don’t think I’ve ever had a blooper or said the wrong thing (yet) but names do make me rather anxious! While I have a very good memory, names can often elude me at the most inconvenient moments! I do tend to be really organised but also very relaxed about things, which seems to create the right atmosphere for a ceremony.
However - lots of things would go wrong when I worked for the registration service - so many things, I could write a book about it! So you might have to wait until I get round to writing it!
What are your favourite types of ceremony to be at? Do you have any favourite wedding venues in Cornwall?
Outdoor ceremonies are easily my favourite, as they tend to be more natural, informal and relaxed, which is very much my style. I am quite often booked for eco/environmentally conscious weddings, and I do love any one of the eco retreats here in Cornwall! I also have a soft spot for small and intimate weddings, so elopements and smaller celebrations are another passion of mine. I love it when couples choose to have their ceremonies at home, and I have been lucky enough to be attend many ceremonies in gardens overlooking the sea. If I had to name just one venue – it would be a ceremony on the beach at Gwithian – my favourite place of all time.
Where is the most unusual place you have ever held a ceremony?
I’ve just had a request for a pirate-themed wedding on a boat while it’s at sea during the Brixham Festival! Although sadly I think I am already booked! Probably the most unusual space was when I was a registrar, and it was a shed. It was a funky, hipster, fashionable shed, but at the end of the day, it was just a shed.
So with a slightly crazy situation for the world at the moment and many weddings postponed until next year, what do the next 12 months look like for you?
They look a bit mental! All of my 2020 ceremonies have moved into 2021, and I am still juggling dates with some of those couples who have been unable to finalise their plans. With new bookings coming in alongside, I have decided to work with an associate celebrant so we can offer greater availability – and crazily, we are both getting booked out for the same dates already. So, in a nutshell, it will be busy, but after this year, I absolutely cannot wait!
To find out more about Lisa and more importantly how to book her for your special day, check out her website: