I often meet with couples who, although they have chosen a Humanist ceremony because they do not want to feel constrained by protocol or custom, are cautious about what I call ‘breaking out’.

Last time I met Wil and Angie it was in a bar near Liverpool Street in February.  Since then we have emailed regularly and their ideas have become more concrete.  Today at the magnificent venue which is the magnificent Arts and Crafts Voewood House near Holt, we walked through a number of choices and had the time and space to actually check out what it felt like.  I could see their imagination was firing and they really began to believe that

This is why meetings with couples, phone calls and Skype are so important during the pre-ceremony period.  They have the opportunity to get to the nub of what they really want. Not what they have seen before. Or what they think their parents want or their friends expect. Not feeling compelled to conform to a stereotype, nor stay with what feels comfortable because it is familiar.

We walked in the garden, through the roses, round the fountain, in the music room. We sat on the terrace, looked at the stairs and the trip hazards, the light and the space. We talked about music, and readings, and including all the people who are most important to them.  We imagined distance, closeness and perspective.

All the time I wanted them to know that their ceremony would be theirs, not mine, or a pastiche of someone else’s; that I would write a personal and authentic ceremony so that people recognised them in it; that we would create an expansive embrace for everyone, but also an intimate and personal space within, for them as a couple.

This is what happens when we plan a ceremony together.