Wonderings on a Handfasting

Early on when C and I got engaged we knew that we wanted to get married outside, preferably in a woodland.  Now here in the UK you cannot legally marry outdoors, unless it is in a spot that has been licensed for civil ceremonies (these tend to be gazebos in gardens etc) so we opted for a quick registry office wedding on the Friday (which turned out to be super quick, about 15 minutes and you're married!) and then a handfasting on the Saturday, which could be done outdoors and this was where we would exchange vows, rings etc.

The place that we pretty much had our hearts set on from the beginning was Elvaston Castle.

Specifically our favourite part of Elvaston, the Moorish temple which was supposedly created by the 4th Earl of Harrington as a tribute to his love for his wife.  It's a secluded little spot that we love to have picnics at and knew would be perfect for our ceremony.

The lovely thing about having a handfasting was that we could personalise and add in our own bits and pieces so that it was non-religious but still spiritual and romantic. Cat (who is a Druid Priest and has her own blog The Catbox) and Jim who held the rite for us, were wonderful, right from when we first enquired about holding a handfasting, to the ceremony and beyond.

It was wonderful to arrive in a fun, giggling wedding party and see everybody in a circle with C waiting for me by the mini-altar, looking wonderfully handsome. :-)

The altar consisted of a rock to represent the foundation our marriage is built on, a candle which remains unlit until the wedding night, the handfasting cords and bread and juice so that we could share our first meal as a wedded couple.

Oh and did you notice the guitar....


The guitar was so that C could sing his wedding vows to me, a wonderfully potty romantic surprise!  Which turned out brilliant.  There I had been waffling on in my vows about Doctor Who and Sherlock Homes all the while Chris had a whole song to sing.  Bonkers! (but sooooooo brilliant).

Anyhow, the ceremony was beyond anything I could ever expected it to be and luckily the weather was perfect and stayed dry until much later that night and it's been raining ever since, so we were really really lucky!

Well that's it for today but I'll also be sharing a few photos of our garden party reception and our mini honeymoon exploring the castles of Wales.

R xxx


Rhissanna said…
This is really wonderful What a lovely spot you'd chosen! Yes please, more photos! and yes, registry office weddings are fast! In the USA, I found, you can get married anywhere. Hubby and I were married in the back office of a second hand car dealers, between the faded safety posters and a grubby coffee machine. I thought it was glorious and giggled through the whole thing. But your choice is better!
What a beautiful handfasting. So interesting to see the photos. That castle look really interesting; I love places with novelties such as a moorish temple! And Elvaston is s beautiful name
Jennifer said…
Ohhhh I have always thought handfasting was such a cool thing! I can't believe you've actually had one! That's so beautiful! I can't believe you can't get married outdoors in the U.K. That boggles me. What a lovely ceremony :) I think if I were to ever "marry" as in bind myself to another human being either legally or ceremonially, this would be the path I'd choose. Thank you so much for sharing this! It's incredible.
Victoria said…
Truly beautiful..you have touched my heart..gorgeous photos and a deeply beautiful post! Shine on and wishing you both much magic and bliss and love!
RowanDeVoe said…
Wow-how wonderful, what a beautiful and meaningful ceremonly in such a gorgeous place! Gorgeous photos as well! Wishing you all the best!
Hi! I have to comment on this again. I find it so inspiring, It makes me think that if I ever would get married I would like a handfasting ceremony too. I would love to see photos from your garden party and your visit to Wales
Dear Rachel,
What an absolutely lovely wedding and reception you had!!! We were married five years ago, but I am still just crazy about weddings!! And ours was also an outdoor wedding (with a tea), so they hold a special soft place in my heart!! I am also surprised at the laws governing where you may be married! I was surprised to find out that you needed no witnesses to be married in Washington, DC (where we lived)! So, I told my Mr. V that if things got really crazy, it could just be he and I, our darling best man James and Reverend Dennis under a tree somewhere!!! Also, my boss and her husband were married in the back garden of the oldest stone house in Georgetown and all that was required of them was to get a permit from The National Parks Department (who owns all the park space in Washington)!!) I told you...weddings...just crazy about 'em!

What delightful pictures of your beautiful day!!


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