name is Graham Wilson, and I'm an ordained interfaith minister. I
would love to create and conduct a
wedding with meaning, just for you!
This is the most important day in your
life! Why compromise?
Lots of couples say they feel uncomfortable
with traditional approaches to marriage - especially in Britain.
Registry Office weddings are
tightly controlled for time, allow very little freedom of expression,
and forbid any mention of anything religious or spiritual.
Church weddings follow a quite
rigid pattern, usually only allowing their own religion to be mentioned,
and many priests are reluctant to marry anyone other than regular
Less than 1% of the population attend
church, and yet more than 2/3rds of people in Britain say they believe in
some kind of 'higher' power or Spirit. Could you be one of that vast
majority? If so, and you'd like to celebrate your wedding in a
meaningful way, and not be constrained by convention....
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
YOU PREPARED TO TRAVEL?
Yes, I am happy to travel
almost anywhere to help you. So far, I have performed blessings in a
French chateau, a beach in Portugal, a Scottish hillside, a Cornish
hotel, and a villa in Marrakech. Most ceremonies though were dotted throughout England in
hotels, fields, and gardens.
HOW FAR AHEAD DO WE NEED TO BOOK YOU?
contact me as soon as you can. I usually have confirmed bookings as
much as eighteen months ahead. I am happy to
hold a date on receipt of a booking form and deposit but prefer to meet
beforehand. Obviously summer and autumn are more popular than spring
and winter (except early January).
IS THE LEGAL STATUS OF A WEDDING BLESSING?
read the detail on my site below - there's plenty of information there.
Lots of people in the UK find the idea of a separate Civil Registration
and Spiritual Blessing confusing. Throughout Europe the two have
always been separate. There is nothing particularly unusual about
this - even Prince Charles had a separate civil registration and spiritual
blessing. The legally binding part is the civil registration.
The spiritual blessing can take almost any form, be held almost anywhere,
and can be created uniquely for you.
CAN YOU REALLY PERFORM A BLESSING OUTDOORS?
It is only the Civil Registration that has to take place within a licensed
premises. The spiritual blessing can take place anywhere, though
different Faith groups have their own rules for members of their
congregation. Most of the couples that I support have a simple civil
registration and follow this, either on the same day or later, with the
spiritual blessing that we create together.
WHAT ABOUT THE RINGS?
Registration does NOT have to include an exchange of rings. Most
couples choose to exchange rings in the blessing instead and to use them
as symbols of the spiritual bond that exists between them, rather than the
What kind of people can I help?
The majority are people who have never
really engaged with an established Faith, for any one of many reasons,
yet who have a sense of the spiritual and want to reflect this in their
There are people who want far more
control over the content, format, and style of their wedding, but also
to retain a sense of the 'Holy'.
Some people would like to draw on more
than one Faith in their celebration:
Maybe their personal sense of the
spiritual is of a universal God that transcends the boundaries of
Perhaps they come from different
backgrounds and are excluded from their own faith by their choice of
partner but want to honour both in their celebration
Perhaps they have travelled widely and
feel an affinity with other cultures as well as their own
Some have been divorced and others can't
marry in a church because they are gay or lesbian.
In essence, most of the people who draw on
an InterFaith approach do so because their own beliefs don't fit with an
established Faith, but they still want to seek some support from a higher
Force for their relationship.
"We knew we wanted something meaningful and
different, but we didn't know where to start. Graham's understanding
of our situation, together with his warmth, sincerity and gentle
guidance helped us to create a ceremony that was memorable, special
and perfect for us."
historical problem and a modern answer...
In the UK, as a
result of the divorce needs of Henry VIII, the state and the church became
intimately linked. Our Head of State is also the Head of the State Church
and takes the title 'Defender of the Faith'.
exception of the Vatican state, nowhere else in the world does this
situation exist. However, in the UK, the only
people who can perform a state-recognised WEDDING are Home Office
appointed Registrars and Anglican Priests.
ministers actually perform a WEDDING BLESSING,
though most will still be constrained by the traditions of their particular
church or Faith.
Throughout Europe, however,
where the state does not regulate the Church,
two stage approach,
registration and then blessing.
And you can do the same.
Sadly, lots of couples don't realise
this, and you'll often hear them say later, "It was over so quickly, one
minute we were all waiting nervously, the next we were on the steps outside,
with more people queuing. Sure we had a reception, but it just felt a
bit flat. A real anti-climax."
Well, there's no need to join them.
two-stage, European, approach,
the couple attend a Registry Office, complete the
formal procedure and then have a wedding blessing of their choice either
on the same day or
By choosing an interfaith blessing,
you have complete freedom in the design of your ceremony.
"We wanted a ceremony that was personal to us, our relationship and our
family. Graham seemed to understand from the start exactly what we
were looking for and helped us to consolidate our ideas. On the day
he presided over a service more beautiful than we could have imagined.
He was wonderful."
Claire, Michael and Daisy
What does an InterFaith wedding blessing contain?
probably no two blessings that will be
In almost every case, we
will craft something together
that precisely reflects the
The significant difference about an Interfaith blessing is that it
accommodates differences (in Faith, lifestyle choice, and previous
circumstances) and still recognizes and draws on the Divine in the
relationship. This is not something that most Faiths can offer.
We can include favourite verses,
appropriate songs and chants, words that mean something to you, and NOT ones
that upset you. We may have a small intimate gathering or a massive
public event. We can exchange rings, other tokens, or nothing at all.
We may make vows (and if we do, then the couple has complete freedom over
the words), or we may not. If the couple want to involve other people,
then they can do so in many creative ways.
The ceremony doesn't have to happen
in neat rows of chairs, nor does it have to be 'in the round', people can be
standing, sitting, formal or informal. There are no constraints on
dress style either.
If all these choices frighten you,
don't panic. I've lots of ideas, and a good feel for what works and
what doesn't, we'll talk things through and craft a ceremony that suits you
(and the people around you).
"Graham's thoughtful advice before
the big day, his calm and caring aura on the day plus his heartfelt
words of wisdom gave what was a very special event for us even
greater meaning and depth."
Rob and Clerio
Where do blessings take place?
you can persuade me
to conduct one!*
Some couples have a special place that they wish to use.
examples would include a home, hospital or hospice (so that a close relative
can be present), particularly beautiful places (ranging from a woodland
glade to a mountain top), hotels, castles,
National Trust properties,
on board boats (at sea, on a
river or perhaps aboard a canal narrow-boat), in public places (parks and
gardens are popular), or family-friendly and economical centres
when they have a particularly large group to accommodate
For those who want a traditional 'English', church wedding-style ceremony
there are many private chapels that are available for hire.
* Although I am reasonably adventurous, I
have my own spiritual values, and there are probably a few circumstances
where I would question whether the choice was because the place had
meaning or was simply for effect, but each situation is different so we'd
need to talk it through.
ideas as to what we didn't want our wedding to be, but crystallising
what we did want was far more difficult until Graham's involvement.
Graham helped us to develop an idea of what the day should look
like. We especially wanted to personalise our promises to each
other, and to involve our friends and family so that they all became
a special part of the day. Thanks to Graham this was achieved
in a wonderful way."
Kaye and Nick
we decide we like this idea, what will we need to do?
To begin with, just give me a call (07785
222380) or email me
If you already have a date in mind, let me know, and if I can't make that
date, I can always refer you to one of the other 100+ interfaith ministers
in the UK who might be able to help.
It's vital that you feel comfortable
working with me, so the first step is for us to meet and learn a bit about
each other. I'll try to find out a bit about your expectations and
needs. I'll also be trying to understand your thoughts and feelings
about Faith and spirit so that I can make sure that the ceremony will be
right for you. Unless it involves extensive travelling, THIS MEETING
IS FREE AND WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION EITHER WAY.
(If distances are too great, I will suggest
that we have a conversation on the phone first, for you to decide if you
are happy to proceed.)
We will then have two more meetings.
At these we will do three things:
We will talk through all the wonderfully
creative aspects of the ceremony, and a shape will evolve that I'm sure
will be right for you.
We will identify the others involved, and
the detail of their contributions.
I will present you with a draft of the
ceremony, to give you a proper feel for the detailed flow, for us to
iron out any aspects you aren't comfortable with, and for you to explore
any words that I might have used so that you are happy there too.
During the meetings, I will also ask you to
explore your relationship a little too. We all want the ceremony to
be the next step in a long and fruitful time together, but sadly one in
three marriages these days ends in divorce. We can at least try to
spot any possible tough spots and explore how you'll handle them.
There is a lot of evidence that a few simple open and honest conversations
at this stage can significantly help cement the relationship in the
future. One couple summed up the discussion later:
"It was amazing how much we had assumed
about each other, how much we had our own ideas about the future that
hadn't been explored together. In just a couple of hours it was as
if we had got a whole new level to our relationship."
(If we find there's a bit more to explore
in the relationship than we'd thought, don't worry. We can always
arrange an additional couple counselling session separately to avoid it
getting in the way of planning the wedding. Some couples need it,
some don't and some just think it's an interesting idea. Whichever,
the choice is up to you.)
guidance, patience and open mind was invaluable in helping us create
a blessing that was unique to us - that truly reflected our
relationship, values and aspirations for marriage. He was a
pleasure to work with - an inspiration both on the day and leading
up to it.""
Karen and Nick
Usually, two meetings are all that are
needed to plan the day. You'll find I am very laid-back about
'performing' and some of that will hopefully rub-off if necessary.
For most ceremonies, we will have a short practice beforehand on the day,
and that will be plenty. Of course, a more elaborate event might
warrant a dress rehearsal and if so we can arrange that too.
On the day then, we'll meet at the
pre-arranged time, explore the venue a little together, and have a run
through. You'll have some time for quiet together, and I will have a
little time to prepare myself, guests will arrive, and a
will unfold around us.
"Suffice to say the day went spectacularly well, in fact it was brilliant,
better than we'd ever hoped, not least because of your input both in the
build-up and the ceremony!"
Paula and Dave
More information, please?
The easiest thing to do is pick up a phone
and give me a call (07785 222380). I can probably answer most doubts
or questions on the spot. But you can also give the rest of this
site a browse. You'll find all sorts of other information here.
A lot of people find it reassuring to know
a little more about me. Click here to see a
If you'd like to know a bit more about interfaith generally, click here to
A wedding with meaning needn't be expensive. For details of my current rates, click