Personalising your wedding day can be so much fun! Having a celebrant led wedding means you can let your creative juices flow and your imagination run wild so that you and your guests will be talking about that day for years to come.
I spoke to real life couple Kerry and Ben about their gorgeous, unconventional wedding weekend, why they said no to tradition and yes to a whole load of fun whilst still keeping it meaningful and special.
Where were your wedding venues and why did you chose them?
We got married at Huntstile Organic Farm in Goathurst, Somerset. We had looked at a few places online and then I stumbled on the farm by chance. We fell in love immediately. We were so warmly welcomed by Lizzie and John and felt completely safe in their hands. Our whole bridal party stayed the night before the wedding and we were lucky to share an incredible breakfast before decorating the marquee. We never felt stressed or rushed. The food at the wedding was beautiful, rustic and all home-made. The stone circle where we had the ceremony is on a public foot path which means we can go back. We visit every year to walk back up that hill, and now with our two sons, it’s so special to share it with them. The team at Huntstile are incredible.
Our civil ceremony was on the Glass Boat in Bristol. We initially chose it because it is close to Bristol registry office and thought we would walk there for lunch after but ended up doing everything there instead. It was a great venue, intimate and relaxed. They served some seriously excellent food and the staff were attentive and friendly.
What was your reason for having two weddings?
At the time of our wedding our venue was not licensed so we legally got married the day before our “main” ceremony. It was one of my favourite parts of the weekend. We wanted to keep it intimate and so just had our parents, siblings, our bridesmaids, Best Men, Ushers and their partners. Although our venue now does have a license I’m actually thrilled we did it this way. With friends and family heading up the night before we were all together for 4 days.
Can you describe the more quirkier elements to your wedding and why you decided to have these over a traditional wedding?
I didn’t want to distract from special memories we would be creating at our main wedding so I chose to walk myself down the aisle for our Civil Ceremony. I knew I would be nervous so chose to walk to the theme tune from Jurassic Park. Anyone that knows me knows how much I LOVE Jurassic Park. It sounds a bit ridiculous but it was one of the more tranquil sections of the score and nothing too “chompy”. It instantly relaxed me, especially seeing the congregation smile and my best friend start laughing.
Our main ceremony was on a working farm and we chose to get married at a stone circle halfway up a fairly steep hill. What better way to travel than a Tractor! Our guests were told we’d be getting married up there come rain or shine and to dress appropriately. The trailer took them all up, all sat on hay bales and then came back for me, my Dad and my gorgeous bridesmaids. It was really fun. Our congregation made a human aisle for us to walk through and we just about made it through the mud. Instead of a classic tiered cake we had a novelty one baked by a friend depicting us camping with our dog. We’re not too serious or traditional in our day to day lives and so we wanted a relaxed atmosphere on the day. We finished everything up with a bonfire and fireworks display.
Did you include any symbolic elements and if so, why?
All of our tables were named after our Grandparents, it was important for us to acknowledge them and have the memory of them with us on the day.
We chose to have a hand fasting ceremony. This wasn’t something we had considered until we met our celebrant. My husband and I have no religious beliefs and found the beautiful words of the hand fasting ceremony to be exactly what we wanted to say. We adapted the texts we found to make it more personal and removed some of the more extreme directions. One of our Best Men bound our hands and the piece of silk we used belonged to Ben’s Mum.
Looking back, would you of done anything differently?
When we look back, yes there are definitely things we would change but they were such small things in the grand scheme of the day. We decided at the beginning of the planning process not to spend money on things that we probably wouldn’t remember like the flowers, the table plan and invites for example. If money had been no object we would have loved to have filmed the weekend as moving pictures are so emotive and capture a lot more of the atmosphere especially when placed to music. I guess I could have paid more attention to the smaller details but I’m glad that energy went into our guests experience on the day rather than the colour scheme of ribbons for example. We had the best weekend. When we think back it was full of joyful laughter and love and a decent amount of West Country cider.