{review} Celebrate Love & Life Weddings

Celebrate Love & Life Weddings

For this local wedding officiant, your wedding day celebrates love and life

Request more pricing, details and info from this vendor!Whether you’ll be exchanging vows in a hot air balloon or having an inter-faith ceremony that incorporates your children, Christina Brighton wants to be the one to celebrate your day with you. Chaplain of Celebrate Love & Life Weddings, Christina believes that love is eternal, that it can carry you through both the opportunities and challenges that life can deliver. She makes sure that each couple she meets knows how important their wedding day and their future is to her. “A wedding is not one day to me or to my bride and groom. It has meaning. It is one of the few days that will last forever. It’s a celebration of love and life itself.”

Personally speaking…

Christina Brighton is licensed through Unity Church, Toronto. She now spends her time performing wedding ceremonies of all kinds and is a guest speaker at various churches in the area. “I’m a high-energy person… I get ‘a high’ when I’m speaking on a Sunday and when I’m performing a wedding.” But it’s the weddings Christina has performed in recent years that seem to have mapped out the direction she sees her future taking.

In the past eleven years, Christina has married more than 400 couples and enjoys every minute of it, “There’s nothing more beautiful than the meaning in and behind a wedding day,” says Christina. She knows that love is eternal and it’s this sentiment that Christina wants to offer to her couples.

Celebrating love on your wedding day

While Christina likes to have at least some mention of ‘the spirit of God’ in each ceremony, the one thing that always remains the same is that the day is about the bride and the groom. “I’ll honour their day and do what they’d like me to. Ultimately, it’s their day and I’ll respect that. I’m there to bless the wedding day.” This not only includes incorporating your spirituality and wants, but a ceremony completely tailored to you as a couple. “With Celebrate Love & Life, you get me and you get a completely customized service. That’s what is most important to my couples and to me.”

Brides love how open and receptive Christina is to different ideas. And while she can do whatever you have in mind, she can also offer great suggestions based on her experiences.

Gary Rempel and Cara Dowhaniuk were married by Christina in June 2009 and say that she was “a genuine, caring, down to earth person….” They also told us that Christina listened to them and personalized their wedding to exactly what they wanted. “We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted from our ceremony but didn’t know about all of the legal stuff and how to make it flow,” the couple says. “She gave us a starting point with examples, which we were able to cut and paste and insert our own elements. She worked with us on the final draft to smooth things out until we had what some said was the best ceremony they’d ever been to.”

Your service/ceremony is open for you to add readings, guest speakers, your own vows and more at Celebrate Love & Life. Christina told us that she has even had people do readings in different languages to acknowledge their different cultures. “There are lots of ways to make your wedding as special and unique as you are,” she adds.

For example, Christina has performed several weddings of combined faith, such as a recent Islam and Christian ceremony. She also performs many same sex weddings each year.

If nerves start to build up before the ceremony on the wedding day, Christina says that she helps the couple draw a breath and take a moment to relax and take their time. “Brides are the centre of attention on their wedding day. Sometimes they need reassurance that it will all be beautiful, that she’ll be beautiful… I encourage them not to worry and to just enjoy the day.” Describing herself as easy-going, Christina uses her experience as well as her assuring attitude to keep nerves under control on the big day.

Heather Graham and Keith Carter found Christina to be very easy to work with when they hired her to officiate their May 2009 wedding ceremony. “Christina was very flexible and really allowed us to make the ceremony ours,” they told us. “Her warmth and friendliness made her so easy to work with.”

From your backyard to anywhere in Ontario

With Christina, your wedding day can be in a traditional church setting, or your Kitchener area backyard, to name just a few ideas. Christina has performed ceremonies at Grey Silo, Bingemans’ Pavilion, chapels and a variety of outdoor locations including backyards of homes. Recently, she was even flown out to British Columbia by a couple for three days, just so that they could have her marry them, though travel outside of Ontario requires special arrangements and Christina typically stays closer to home for her local couples. Most of her weddings to date have come from referrals by those who know her or who have attended one of her weddings.

Her specialty is traveling anywhere in Ontario you need her to go for a ceremony that’s tied to a special location. And wherever Christina’s ceremonies take her, she takes her personal touch along with her. “I offer flexibility in the service, the location, and the words… And I offer me as a person. I guess I try to put a unique, personal touch on services.”

Since destination weddings have become so popular, Christina suggests you consider taking care of the legal end of the marriage before you go. For example, if you get married in Mexico, you have to have your license translated. Call Christina for help when you get home. Or better yet, get married here before you go or after your DW to avoid unnecessary headaches.”Avoid the complications and legal details while on your weddingmoon,” she says. “No one ever needs to know. You can still have your symbolic/spiritual ceremony while you’re away. In fact most couples that do this only celebrate the DW ceremony date as their anniversary”

But wherever you end up tying the knot, Christina says her favourite weddings are the one where everything just comes together – “a great church or location, a wonderful couple and the feelings of the day.”

“Christina was great handling our large, informal crowd and really made us feel special,” say Heather and Keith. They add that Christina’s enthusiasm for her work as an officiant was the main reason that they hired her for their wedding.

She also likes to incorporate your unique ideas, like a recent wedding she performed where someone showed a brief video before and during the ceremony. If you want to do this, Christina says to be sure you factor the time into the length of the ceremony and let her know.

Themes are also welcome at Celebrate Love & Life and Christina says that Halloween is always a popular one. Her focus is on openness and flexibility, saying, “You’ve thought about this day forever. You can have what you want.”

Offering options…

There are lots of options for you when you choose Celebrate Love & Life Weddings.

Christina offers a ‘Marry the Children’ service for those couples who have children coming into the marriage. This unique and often emotional service offers absolutely beautiful wording that includes your children in the day. This reading is called ‘Promises’ where the father or mother of the child states that they, “Promise to walk with you through all things.” In this ceremony, the siblings may make commitments to each other as well. For example, you may want to have the flower girl answer if she accepts the ring bearer as her brother.

One unique ceremony includes a ‘Traditional Wedding Blessing’ at the end that describes the couple as two people with one life before them. “Now you are two persons, but there is one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your togetherness… and may your lives together be blessed with love… and may your days be good and long upon the earth.”

Another option is to incorporate a ‘White Rose Service’ into your ceremony, with the white rose as the first gift the bride and groom give each other as husband and wife. This white rose can then later be used to symbolize or remind the couple of their wedding day, when they come across difficult times.

A fabulous option to keep in mind before your wedding? Christina also offers relationship counseling which many couples find very useful before starting their lives together.

Christina also offers a very touching way to celebrate your mother on your wedding day. Christina explains, “Some couples now wish to honour their mothers, by presenting them with flowers at the very beginning or immediately after the welcome, in their ceremony. Just as the flowers have their own unique qualities, it is suggested that these qualities are also represented in the bride and groom, received through their parents, and are to be blended together in this marriage.”

Walking you through your ceremony

When you first contact Christina, you’ll set up a meeting to get together at a mutually favourite location. That means that Christina will come to your home or meet you to chat over coffee – whatever makes you and your fiancé most comfortable. “We most-often meet over coffee,” she says.

In a recent meeting with Christina, she told us that she’s very busy, but that she always has room for more weddings and is happy to accommodate last minute bookings if she’s available.

The first meeting is often one to one-and-a-half hours and is a general get-to-know-you meeting where she outlines her services and your options. It’s also at this meeting where Christina likes to find out more about you as a couple. “I like to know how they met, what made them fall in love,” she says. “I love listening to their love stories. Then I take parts of that and incorporate it into their ceremony.”

Gary and Cara hired Christina for their ceremony because they felt that she filled their need to find someone to perform their spiritual ceremony. “We felt that her beliefs were in line with our own.” They add that they would definitely recommend Christina to others, especially if someone was looking for “something personal and special from a spiritual perspective more than your typical religious, predictable ceremony.” Gary told us that he thinks what Christina offers most is her “willingness to offer as little or as much guidance as you want to fulfill your needs.”

If you choose to have Celebrate Love & Life officiate your ceremony, you’ll be in contact by email and phone in the months leading up to your wedding. There is no limit to the number of questions you can ask or changes you can make, even up to the night before the wedding day. “Ask me anything!” says Christina. “I’ll reply within twenty-four hours. I can help with everything from wedding etiquette to vows to incorporating children.”

Pricing it out

Wedding ceremonies by Celebrate Love & Life are done for a fee of $300. This covers all meetings, consultations, and services within Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. If you need Christina to travel further outside of the K-W and Cambridge area, she is happy to do so for a small, additional fee.

Rehearsals are an additional fee, which varies depending on the location, and can be done if time permits. A deposit of $150 will allow Christina to hold your date for you and get the design of your ceremony started.

Heather and Keith loved working with Christina so much that they would highly recommend her to anyone looking for an officiant, saying, “If you want to deal with an officiant that is dedicated to helping you make your wedding the most special and personal ceremony possible, then Christina is the woman for the job.”

According to Christina and her experience with being a part of tons of weddings over the year, outdoor weddings, home weddings, farm weddings and non-church weddings in general are very popular among brides and grooms. “People want to get married in places that are special to them,” says Christina. She also adds that the Unity Candle, now referred to as the Marriage Candle, is coming back into popularity.

Details, details, details

• Christina comes to you for your first consultation.
• Celebrate Love & Life can perform ceremonies in a wide variety of locations.
• They offer flexible ceremonies.
• Christina will wear a skirt and blazer in black and white (or a robe upon request).
• Ceremonies most often range from 15 to 20 minutes.
• Christina allows couples to write their own vows or use a customized service.
• She will do rehearsals and wedding days, depending on your needs and budget.
• Some 2014 dates are still available. Contact Christina for more information on availability.

In other words…

“Christina, Thank you so much for performing our wedding ceremony – it was beautiful. It was a very special day for us and you helped to make it that way!” – Megan & Mike

“Our ceremony was very special and very us. Thank you for all of your hard work and openness at all of the ideas. The White Rose ceremony was so beautiful and will be an important element in our marriage. Everyone told us that we had a very unique and special ceremony. Thank you!” – Fiona & Anton

“Thank you so much for making our ceremony a spiritual and enriching memory. You really took what we wanted and made it come into fruition. Many of our guests commented on how much they loved it. You’re a fabulous person to work with and we will recommend you to others.” – Cara & Gary (June 6, 2009)

“Thank you very much for performing our ceremony and helping us come up with the details that made it perfect for us and our families.” – Sarah & Zac

“Thank you so much for being our officiant at our wedding ceremony at Grey Silo on July 10, 2009. Your gentle ways got Shaun through his vows. Your cheery personality certainly shines through. You’re a great person and Shawn and I are so happy to have met you.” – Brenda & Shaun

“Thank you for making our day unique and memorable. You have done an amazing job. Thank you for taking the time to customize our service. You are so lovely.” Greg & Monica

“Christina, Thank you for putting together such a beautiful service for us. We really appreciate how personal the service was and how we were able to include a portion for our daughters. Thanks again for everything.” Judie & Eric

“Paul and I would like to thank you so much for all your time and effort in our ceremony,  it was everything we wanted and more. hope life continue wonderfully for you! Thank you again” – Paul and Ashley

For More…

To contact Christina Brighton, Chaplain at Celebrate Love & Life Weddings, you can reach her directly by email using the form below 🙂 Christina is happy to give you more information, answer questions, check her availability for your wedding date, and help you get started planning your personalized ceremony. For more, visit www.celebrateloveandlife.com

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