The hubby and I got married “way” back in 2003. It wasn’t a first marriage for either of us and we decided a quiet affair was best for us. With just my parents in attendance we married after lunch at the local registry office and headed off the York for a mid-week honeymoon. That was it done and dusted! It was always going to be more about the marriage than the wedding day so keeping every thing on the low down suited us both a treat. However looking back at the day years later I did start to feel I had cheated us out of a fun day with all our family and friends celebrating something wonderful.
So in 2010 we decided that to celebrate being together 10 years (2001-2011) we would have a handfasting. We would then as well as being legally married would be married in my new (as it was then) religious path.
The planning started early on in 2010 with the August bank holiday Saturday set as our handfasting date.
We chose to hold the ceremony and reception in a private woodland owned by some friends. Back in 2011 I was a member of a Gardnerian coven and bless them all, everyone and their families were there helping to set up and make the woods look like a magickal wonderland. Arriving early at the woods we set up tents, gazebos and decorated the trees with red, gold and black themed decorations. Setting candle jars along the footpaths and hanging lanterns in the trees and the most beautiful woodland altar everything was just perfect and how I had imagined it would look. Even though it rained briefly just before everyone started to arrive that didn’t put a “damper” on the day it just seemed to wash the dust of summer away.
We walked up the woodland path hand in hand there was no need for anyone to “give me away” as I was already this wonderful mans partner in every part of my life. Waiting to be smudged before entering the stone circle. I love the picture taken of my Mr from behind in his kilt.
Tears, laughter and kisses as we read out our vows to each other, received the element blessings and the HPS performed the handfasting.
My Broom was made as a gift from my father who was unfortunately not well enough to travel down to the island for the weekend. The sweeping branches were cut from a tree in my parents garden that was planted in memory of my childhood dog. My father chose to make the broom stick from two lengths of Hazel to represent the strength of two. He added a handcarved black cat and the black and red ribbons (before I had told him my colour scheme). I added the corn and flowers to match my headdress. My broom hangs in the entrance way of our home. After we jumped the Broom together we invited our guests to follow us in this tradition.
Our photographer made the most of the amazing setting and took some really wonderful photos that have helped keep the memories of this day part of our everyday life.
We had a red velvet sponge cake with the most beautiful handcrafted sugar poppies which I had planned to try and keep but one of the little fairies though they looked too tasty, so she ate them! As with any good family day there has to be a little bit of drama or excitement and ours this day came in the form of my mum setting herself on fire when she leaned over a candle to move the cake ready for us to cut it. Thankfully she was wearing a thick fleecy type jacket so after a good patting down all was ok and there was no harm done. But it was rather scary and entertaining all at the same time!!
Having the girls with us on our big day was a just wonderful. I only wish we had been able to have Diggory and Maggie there as well but three well behaved dogs was more than enough for me to focus on without having the two naughty ones as well 😉
Ritual completed and photos taken it was time to get down to the business of relaxing….well once the dogs had been walked!
We had the brilliant Beachcomber come and play for us, as we enjoyed a few beers around a roaring open fire.
The celebrations didn’t end when the sun went down. Many of us (mostly coven family) camped overnight and enjoyed a lazy morning around the still warm embers of the fire and while eating freshly BBQ’d sausages for breakfast. Before returning the woods to their former more natural state I did however leave offerings of fresh flowers and fruit before we left.
Being surrounded by so many of our friends and family for the weekend was just amazing. It was such a fun relaxed environment with fairies and dogs running about between the trees, live music, of BBQ food and plenty of liquid refreshment. It was absolutely everything we could have ever wanted.
I hope you enjoyed the journey through our handfasting photos as much as we enjoyed our day.