Over the past 3yrs I’ve had the absolute pleasure of conducting nearly 30 personalised humanist ceremonies for various couples; from regal affairs of 150 people near Bolton Abbey, to hippie lovefest’s in tipi’s in Mobberly, as well as woodlands hidden deep in the wilds of Sheffield. Variety is something my job promises in abundance and each wedding ceremony has been completely different, but never have I married two of my oldest friends. This is really the stuff of dreams for me and hopefully won’t be the last!
I’ve known Kat and Mark (now Mr & Mrs Baron!) since my early Uni days, and have seen them grow and flourish as a couple since they met. We’ve been out partying together as rowdy students, woke up in muddy festival tents many a time, had lots of adventures in Manchester and hiked up Mordor like slopes in the Peaks. When they asked me to be their wedding planner and celebrant I couldn’t have jumped at the chance quicker, and rallied round helping plan their flowers, dressing the venue (a posh hotel in York) and making sure their script was something they were never ever going to forget.
As usual, I spent a good couple of hours chatting with them over Skype, getting them to tell me the story of how they got together and how their relationship has evolved thus far, making sure I had everything I need to tell their story with poise and pizzazz! Of course, in this instance, I already knew most of the answers, but as is usually the way, no matter how well you think you know people, there’s are always more gems to discover.
On the day, I drove over early from Manchester to York so I could dress the venue and wedding arch with foliage and flowers. The day before I had prepped all the pin-holes and larger bouquets in a colours that matched Kat and Mark’s “just keep it bright and unusual” specifications. The fact that they trusted me to source and arrange all their flowers with very little input (they are super busy people) was hugely flattering and I was determined to do them proud!
As well as allowing me to tell the story of their lives so far, in a fittingly epic and entertaining way, Kat and Mark also choose to include a hand-fasting in their ceremony, a beautiful and timeless gesture that symbolises the tying of their hands together and their separate life paths merging into one. I usually include the hand-fasting after the vows and exchanging rings, and then tie the ring hands together with a length of ribbon or rope whilst giving a final blessing. This is done in such a way that when the Bride and Groom pull their hands apart the hand-fasting tie naturally slips into an infinity loop – a gorgeous little magic trick that makes the audience cheers and creates a beautiful reminder of the big day.
This wedding really was a family affair, with our good friend Dennis taking all the official photographs and other bestie Marie leading the readings. Kat’s brother Andrew gave a fabulously edited and updated reading of Bon Jovi’s ‘Always’ and a lot of fun was had.
Kat, Mark, you know how much I love you both and it was such an honour to be able to help you shape your big day. You both looked incredible, Mark had a stunning deep purple velvet jacket and Kat looked like a 1920’s starlet, walked straight off a movie set. Huge congratulations all round! xxx
Photography by Den Glanzig