Behind the scenes at a riverside wedding

Lyndsey and Jonathan found me via the Humanist UK website using the find a celebrant feature and map.

When I first met Lyndsey and Jonathan, they had been renting out their home in Cookham after years of working and living abroad. They, themselves were renting someone else’s house in Kent but couldn’t wait to return to Cookham in Berkshire to start their married lives together.

Coming home

The one thing that Lyndsey and Jonathan were certain of was that they wanted their riverside Cookham home to be at the heart of their wedding day. The beauty of marrying in their own home also meant that if the weather was bad, the proceedings could revert indoors…

Raindrops on roses

The wedding was due to take place at 3pm on a June summer’s day when lo and behold the heavens opened! In the comfort of their home, we waited for the rain to pass and half an hour later proceeded to take our places outside on the deck by the river.

Roses. Photo: Charis

During the ceremony a few raindrops were still being blown from the trees above my head onto my folder which created a little unexpected magic.

Wellwishers’ blessing

It is the unexpected that can add to any wedding day and one special moment which we all loved and will remember was when a small boat pulled up at the riverbank. The crew of four listened in for 10 minutes before shouting ‘congratulations’ and motoring off again.

Photo: Charis

Readings and music

I really enjoyed getting to know Lyndsey and Jonathan and finding out what books and films they liked. Between us we chose some readings with suggestions from me such as a passage from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy as well as a quote from the poet and songwriter Beau Taplin.

The couple didn’t want any singing in the ceremony but were so delighted with my suggestion of getting a family friend to play the guitar for them as they made their way to the decking for the ceremony and then again at the end to conclude.

Tying the knot

We discussed a number of options in relation to Humanist symbolic gestures including sand or pebble mixing, flower exchange and candle lighting.

Lyndsey and Jonathan chose the ancient (probably Celtic) symbolic gesture of ‘hand-fasting’ (or ‘hand-binding’ as Lyndsey preferred to refer to it) to take place while they exchanged their vows. This is where the term ‘Tying The Knot’ comes from. It is where the couple hold hands whilst their hands are loosely tied by the celebrant with beautiful ribbons as a symbol of their lasting commitment to each other. It looks stunning!

The beauty of simplicity

Lyndsey and Jonathan’s riverside home wedding was deeply personal and happy. Everyone was incredibly relaxed wearing casual summer garden clothes. At the end, there were a few moving tears from some of the guests including Lyndsey’s Dad.

Thank you

Thank you so much to Lyndsey and Jonathan for choosing me to guide your wedding ceremony. For me, the wedding was an incredible experience. I felt very honoured to be trusted with crafting and conducting the ceremony and was really touched by the positive response I received. I couldn’t wait to do my next wedding after that!

If you would like to chat about your wedding ideas, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Rachel Head, Oxfordshire based Humanist wedding celebrant

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