“May you always remember the promises you have made, the ties that bind you and the hearts of all the people who bring such colour, texture and beauty into your lives.”
The first thing I remember about Vic and John’s outdoor, Peak District wedding ceremony is the view.
Arriving on site to discover the incredible backdrop this outdoorsy couple had chosen for their wedding ceremony gave me actual, honest-to-goodness, tingles.
The bowl of the Edale valley lay before us, promising to uphold everything that took place on the little promontory in Barber Booth. The guests were gathering by the marquee, set up in a neighbouring field, and drinks and merriment were flowing. A short pilgrimage across a stream and up a steep incline promised to challenge those who had braved high-heels, but it was so very worth it when the spread of the Land and the waiting ceremony space revealed itself.
This was a ceremony of many parts.
Vic and John are a very hands on and practical couple and wanted to include a number of visual rituals to accompany their vows and promises. We began by laying stones on the earth in recognition of their past as a foundation for all to come. We also lit a candle in memory of treasured family members and friends who were no longer with us. Then, before speaking their vows together, Vic and John planted a young Oak tree right on the edge of the promontory, proving that this was a couple unafraid to get their hands dirty!
With the practicalities complete we turned to the words; the part that both Vic and John were slightly nervous about, though you wouldn’t have known it. Together they moved through heartfelt vows and promises that they had played a significant part in writing. Having spent time and energy choosing and confirming these spoken elements, they each had the confidence to speak clearly and from the heart; able to trust that what they were promising was true to them and something that they could stand for.
To seal their words for all to see, we finished with a Handfasting. Four cords were made by chosen groups of family and friends. Each cord was hand-made or hand-picked, deeply personal and unique. One was a belt that had resonance for John and his past, another had been hand-knitted especially for this purpose; all were filled with the love, care and attention of those who had brought them and seeing this couple’s hands surrounded by their loved ones’ hard work and support was a sight to behold for guests and couple and Celebrant!
This outdoor ceremony was full to the brim with love, laughter and community. There was music, singing, readings and we even had a fly-by courtesy of a local buzzard (which, you will discover, is to become a trend at my ceremonies!).
Every element of their DIY wedding day was hand-picked and hand-made by Vic, John and their team of endlessly supportive family and friends. From the signs that guided guests to and from the ceremony, to the tree by the marquee hung with embroidery hoops that contained hand-sewn heart-filled quotes and lyrics, to the music that would serenade guests into the evening.
Their ceremony was no different and it was a real pleasure to get to know this couple, to be their Celebrant, and to unearth their deep connections to one another and to the natural World; allowing all of this to inspire and infuse every moment, every action and every word.
I am now lucky enough to call this couple my friends and will soon be starting work on a Naming Ceremony for their son’s Naming Day.
Vic and John remind me how powerful, joyful and simple it can be to take ownership of your wedding day, to create something that truly feels like you. And how, with the right people involved, and just the right amount of confidence and inspiration, you can create an experience that more than matches the stunning landscape surrounding it.
Chris Seddon Photography took all the amazing photos you see here!