What a crazy rollercoaster ride of year 2020 has been?! Like everybody in the wedding and entertainment industry I’ve been on an enforced hiatus since March and I must say, wedding withdrawal is very a real syndrome…So what better way to beat the ‘Season-That-Time-Forgot’ Blues than to look back on one of my favorites of all time – Stefan and Alex’s ceremony and reception at Hope Mill Theatre (and my last wedding before lockdown!)
As some of you know, I began as a behind-the-scenes planner and sometimes, on very special occasions, I’ll don both my wedding planner and humanist celebrant hat on the same weekend. This was the case for Stefan and Alex, two staunch vegan activists and self-proclaimed weirdos, who put so much thought, attention and creativity into their big day that it really gave me the opportunity to play! There are zero cliches when I say they really did things ‘their way’ (and a triple rhyme!) making their wedding one of the most memorable, hilarious and genuinely fun celebrations I’ve ever been part of!
A year earlier, at our very first meeting, they told me they planned to walk down to aisle to a track by Winterfylleth (a death metal band who also dabble in hauntingly beautiful medieval-style canticles!) and that they wanted the space to look like ‘a magical autumnal forest in the daytime and a UV rave paradise by night’. This was when I realised I was in for a treat.
Alex’s best friend Spooks was the ‘Flower Girl’; a dashing 6ft punk with dreadlocks down to his bum, and the humanist ceremony I scripted and planned from scratch with them told Alex and Stefan’s story in all it’s authentic and idiosyncratic glory beneath a canopy of over 1000 red, yellow, orange and green origami leaves. Yes indeed, the bride and groom had spent an entire winter diligently folding these little beauties so I could hang them everywhere from the theatre’s lighting rig – but it was worth it, because under the stage lights it took the wedding look to a whole other level.
Real tree branches (foraged from the woods for free!) were hung from the rafters, bedecked with said leaves (half of which were sprayed with UV paint), and 140 of their closest friends and family gathered to watch them walk (or more accurately stomp) their way triumphantly down the aisle.
This and That served an incredible vegan Indian buffet from their infamous menu, whilst Sweet Somethings from Prestwich supplied the most beautiful vegan and gluten free cakes I’ve ever seen (they tasted heavenly too – just look at the handiwork on the flower and mandala sugar icing! Mind-blowingly intricate!) Post-ceremony entertainment was provided by the Bride’s Dad and his merry band of folksters The Gally Canters, allowing guests to indulge in a giddy sing-a-long to really work up an appetite.
After the buffet a quiz was held, orchestrated by the QuizMaster Groom himself, and then when night fell and things started to get a *little* more raucous, the indoor forest was uplit by UV canons, fairy lights and even a smoke machine, transforming the venue into a trippy raver’s paradise fit for a King and Faerie Queen!
It was such a pleasure to work with a couple with strong ideas of what they did and didn’t want – people actively seeking creative (and cost-effective!) solutions to getting hitched. I was so, so honoured to be a part of this wedding and in all honestly, I’d do it again tomorrow if I could. From this glowing review from Groom Stefan – left on Stef’s Google webpage – it sounds like they would too!
“Stef was the humanist celebrant and coordinator for our wedding and she did an outstanding job. We built up a plan over a few meetings and she took our thoughts on board from day one. We always felt like we were in control of the way things were going – Stef never pressured us to do one thing or another, despite us having a fairly atypical wedding. We always looked forwards to the meetings because we’d be brimming with ideas and Stef would find a way to make them a reality. The day before our wedding, Stef and her team (mad props to them) decorated the venue and it looked a-ma-zing, and on the day she was the perfect host, delivering a sweet, funny ceremony that summed us up perfectly. We couldn’t be happier. A++ would wedding again. If that was a thing.”
Stefan Burke – Google Review – 07 / 04 / 2020