This intimate, handfasting wedding ceremony in the woods just fills my heart with joy!
Back in April last year Corrine, Gareth and their nearest and dearest gathered in Ecclestone woods. Picnic blankets were spread, camping chairs pinged to life and umbrellas opened to protect against the British drizzle. Jay Mountford Photography was on hand to capture all the beauty and joy of their day.
Their handfasting ceremony took place under a rustic arch of branches decorated with feathers and ferns where Corrine's step father conducted the ceremony. After the ceremony guests enjoyed a picnic lunch featuring brown paper packages tied up with string (home-made sandwiches), rosy red apples in wicker baskets, and scrumptous fairy cakes.
There were ribbon wands for the children to play with and Gareth hand carved 30 wooden spoons as favours. Amazing right?!
What is handfasting?
It's an ancient ritual dating back to the Middle Ages that signifies the marriage between two people by the binding of the hands. Hence the colourful ribbons you'll see woven around Corrine and Gareth's hands!
(By the way, The Blessing Of The Hands is a non-religious and oh so beautiful reading that's just perfect for a handfasting ceremony. Or any wedding ceremony actually.)
Into The Woods
We chose a woodland wedding because we love the woods, we met on a Forest School training course (all about working with children in the woods to build self esteem and confidence) so the woods felt like the right place. The woods we chose is near to where we met and now where we live and we walk there regularly with our children.
We chose a handfasting because we are big hippies really and wanted something symbolic to represent our union, something more than just vows. We loved the idea of a traditional and ancient ceremony, it seemed fitting for such an ancient woodland. My step-father performed the ceremony for us, he's never done it before but we wanted to keep it personal.
My eldest son was ring bearer for us and the little ones were just there (we had 3 boys at the time, we now have 4!), I think they felt a little over whelmed at first so came and stood with us so the first bit of the ceremony we were holding on to them until their big brother took them further away during the handfasting.
Many thanks to Corrine and Gareth for sharing their special day and to Jay Mountford Photography for these emotive images. They serve as a wonderful reminder that weddings don't have to be big or expensive or filled with elaborate details to be beautiful. Don't you think?
Are any of you planning an outdoorsy wedding? Any brides to be who are also mums to be?
As always I'd love to hear from you in the comments!