Two weeks ago Gwyn and Jess were married in the prosaic surroundings of Cardiff register office; today they tied the knot* in a hop-hung, petal-strewn bower in the Forest of Dean. The ceremony was orchestrated by Ash Perrin, clown prince of The Flying Seagull Project, and his partner Kate who performed some pagan ritual involving earth fire and water with humour, panache and solemnity. The bride's girl gang acted as stunning maids of honour, the groom's uncle sang a sentimental song, fathers made speeches, brothers wore amazing hats, and guests came from far and wide. There were dogs and babies and a grandmother of 95. There were cohorts of friends from primary and secondary school, college, university and after; boys and girls last seen as schoolmates now parents themselves.There were flowers grown from seed in local gardens expressly for the wedding, tea lights in hand-painted jars, music and dancing, a hog-roast, cous-cous and hummus, tiramisu and Eton mess made with fresh-picked blackberries. The weather was perfect - the last day of summer - and the revels continued long into the night. By next morning the rain had come although while we collected up the scattered glasses and soggy decorations a few diehards were still talking, drinking and strumming beside the glowing ashes in the fire pit. The bride and groom had long retired to their tent overwhelmed, as were we, by the outpouring of warmth, affection and adulation that surrounded them.
It was as if it were not just the newly-wedded couple that had been united but two entire families and sets of friends had come together and been touched by the magic of this unique occasion. Which is as it should be.
*The expression is said to come from the symbolic binding-together of the couple as enacted in the hand-fasting ceremony.
There's a bunch of additional pictures for anyone curious to see more.
- Canon PowerShot SX700 HS