Mike ‘n’ Larry traditional but quirky personal wedding ceremony

We loved this personal wedding ceremony for our expat couple Mike and Claire  or rather ” Mike ‘n’ Larry” as they are known; Larry being a nickname for Claire that stuck!!

Living in Australia meant that all our ceremony planning and consultations were done over Skype so it made it extras special to actually meet them the day before the wedding at our rehearsal. Their legal ceremony took place in Australia the month before with their two witness and their two dogs Chip and Emmy but coming “home” to the UK to have their personal wedding ceremony was “the real thing”.

For Claire and Mike their day was as much about a celebration of the family and friendships in their lives as much as it was about them. It was about travelling across time zones to unite their family and friends in the UK with their home in Bendigo, Australia.

It was about  red, white and blue and Yorkshire Roses.

It was about symbolising bygone eras and their love of vintage, their family heritage and love of the people who mean the world to them.

It was about the stories and experiences they have shared and the love they have found in each other.

Our brief from Claire and Mike for their personal wedding ceremony was “traditional but quirky and personal”. Some of you may be wondering if this is actually possible, can something be traditional and quirky at the same time??  Yes it can!

Their wedding ceremony venue and location was the Bedern Hall in the centre of York just behind York Minster which made it a very fitting choice for a  traditional style ceremony.

TRADITIONAL to them meant being able to have a wedding ceremony that included the marriage traditions that were important and meaningful to them.

Like walking down the aisle, her father giving away his daughter, both sets of parents giving their consent to their marriage, making traditional vows and declarations, exchanging rings, signing a certificate with their witnesses and being able to include religious readings and content.


Unlike a ceremony with a Registrar or a Humanist, as an Independent Celebrant there are no restrictions on including religious, spiritual or secular content.

For Mike and Claire this allowed them to include reading an extract from the Corinthians, a blessing and a very special and meaningful reading “A little prayer for you” by Douglas Pagels which had been sent to Claire by her dear Grandma just before she passed away.

QUIRKY to them meant bringing out the  fun, laughter and adventure in their relationship and capturing the cheekiness of their personalities in the words.

PERSONAL to them meant bringing out their values of trust, love and loyalty, telling their story and tales of marriages and people they admire, reflecting their personalities to create a ceremony that made them feel “this is us”.

It wouldn’t have been the same without their bottom-waggingly, jelly-beaningly excitement as they read out personal declarations to each other. You can hear their beautiful words on their video by Clockwork Pictures

PERSONAL meant not only telling their story but showing it and guests enjoyed a video of Mike’s surprise proposal.

They had booked an overnight cruise on Milford Sound and had an amazing kayaking tour around some of the world’s most amazing scenery, taking in waterfalls, rare wildlife and great company. Claire had heard that there was a chance to swim in the Fjord, which to Mike’s horror, she was seriously considering.

They then proceeded, like mad Poms, to plunge five metres into ridiculously cold water. As they ran up the steps to collect a towel each and dry off, Claire’s dad Chris, slipped the ring to Mike who quickly hugged Claire and whispered “I want to do things like this with you for the rest of our lives”.

It was wonderful to meet such a cute and fun couple who are just made for each other. They are a couple with big hearts, lots of love to give and lucky enough to be surrounded by love and it shows.

If you should ever need any convincing whether it’s worth having a video this fabulous video by Clockwork Pictures will do the job! It captures the spirit of their whole day, and beautifully shows how it’s the personal things and the words in the ceremony that make it so unique and so very Mike ‘n’ Larry.

Many thanks to Claire and Mike for inviting us to create their personal wedding ceremony, to their families and friends and to photographer Laura Calderwood and Tom & Heather at Clockwork Pictures for allowing us to share their celebration. CONGRATULATIONS!

Get in touch

Email ceremonies@janshillito.co.uk, call 07745 385 981 or use the form below. Say hello! and join our line up of awesome couples.

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