DIY handfasting ceremony

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Tomorrow marks three amazing years since I married my beautiful soulmate in a beautiful forest. An outdoor non-religious wedding with many friends and relatives, where we wrote our own vows and conducted our own ceremony, was just right for us and I look back on it with so much happiness. What makes me happier still is the number of guests – including those we wouldn’t have expected to – who have since told us that they loved and were inspired by our day because they found it so personal and heartfelt. People say that they will remember our wedding because it was different. I can understand that, for some people, tradition is important. However, it seems that more people are becoming interested in eco-weddings and DIY weddings, so here’s how we did ours:

  • We had faith that it would be sunny, and we were lucky!
  • The day before, we got legally married at the Registry Office with just close family and friends. Rob was in jeans, we didn’t exchange rings; it wasn’t the important part for us. We then headed off to the woodland we’d hired (not far from where we live, so somewhere we had enjoyed walks before, have done since and will do in future!). 
  • Rather than bridesmaids and ushers, we had a “Band of Helpful Pixies”; close family and friends who each had a helpful role to perform. Most of these camped with us in the woods the night before the wedding and helped us set up the decorations, bar etc in the morning. The woodland was full of beautiful bluebells and wild garlic so provided in-situ floral decoration and my mum had brought some  ivy and lily-of-the-valley to decorate the tables and other areas.
  • Our ceremony started early afternoon. We had chosen a spot a short walk down into the woodland that wasn’t far off the main path so that a car could bring down older relatives. There was space for them to sit, too. A friend played guitar and sang songs as everyone assembled. Two magically-minded friends had blessed the space for us before the guests started to arrive.
  • We both entered the ceremony space (me a little later)! Rob was accompanied by his best friend, me by my brother.
  • Rob thanked everyone for coming and explained the order of the day. I read a quote I’d adapted which likens the relationship to a great tree, “becoming bigger, more rooted and stronger which each turn of the wheel of the year”. I went on to say a few soppy things about how I feel about Rob, then promised “to love and look after you; to live with you; to enjoy and celebrate life’s good times with you; to communicate with and support you;  to be supported by you when times aren’t so sparkly; and to work as best I can at the difficulties we may come across along life’s twisty, turny path. I’ll walk hand-in-hand with you through our journey and the adventures we’ll have along the way. I hope to share with you my dreams and help you to fulfil yours, and always to carry the gratitude that I feel here today for the magic that we have together”. We had all this stuff written down in a pretty notebook that we were reading from.
  • Rob then said soppy things about me and made his promises. We then asked each other (and each responded yes!): “As the sun and moon bring light to the earth, do you vow to bring the light of love and joy to our union?”. Rob’s sister then lit a candle, with Rob saying that it represented a light that cannot be divided.
  • I asked Rob to “wear this ring today so that every day, in every way, you will be carrying part of me and my love with you” (I got that from a wedding vows inspiration book). I put Rob’s ring on him, then he repeated the words and put mine on me. We then introduced our handfasting cloth as a “symbol of the life we have chosed to lead together, woven to symbolise the intertwining of our lives” (again, from a book) and our mothers wound it around our hands.
  • We then exchanged a vow to each other that is the chorus of a song we both love, and kissed of course! Then we headed to the top of the forest for a toast and speeches, then time for people to mingle and explore the woods before dinner.
  • We had an honesty bar that we sourced the drinks for so that we could have ale and cider from a local brewery, fair trade spirits and organic wine and mixers/soft drinks. There was also a tea bar of herbal and caffeinated hot drinks. Guests were welcome to bring their own drinks as long as they used the recycling facilities provided.
  • We had hired three stunning yurts from Hooe’s Yurts for the evening dining, dancing and sitting to take place in (and our back-up ceremony space if it had rained). We used a local caterer who concocted her delicious creations with organic, local ingredients and Rob’s cousin made us a divine cake which we had for pudding. We’d made playlists and had a DJ friend do a set which saw us through until the time that noise had to be minimal by out of respect to local farms.
  • Many of our guests camped with us that night and shared breakfast there with us the next day.

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We truly had a lot of fun creating this celebration of out love and commitment to each other and sharing it with those who mean a lot to us – and with nature and the forest spirits. I also got a lot of inspiration from:

www.greenunion.co.uk, 

www.thenaturalweddingcompany.co.uk/

www.ethicalweddings.com

♥  ♥  ♥

 

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