Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

flowers in her hair. a relaxed wedding at Lumley Castle – kate & mike

October 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (27)

Today’s real wedding is something special.  A little bit wild, a teeny bit untamed, but altogether natural and entirely beautiful.

I’m completely in love with Kate and Mike’s happy go lucky approach to planning their gorgeous big day and the oh so pretty result.

Blooming lovely!

With images by Chris Parkinson Photography.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (1)

Kate says: We got engaged on a bench at Kew Gardens on October 18th. We were living in London at the time and it was raining on the day, so I was pretty sceptical about a picnic at Kew – especially as Newcastle United were on TV. But Mike convinced me the rain didn’t matter so we headed out with a rucksack. Mid afternoon we picked a bench for our picnic and Mike knelt down in the wet grass with a beautiful ring – 2 rings intertwined with 22 diamonds, I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers! I’m sure he never doubted that I’d say yes.

We got married on 8th August 2014 at St Philip and St James Church in Witton-le-wear. I have lived there since I was a little girl, so it was really important to me that we were married at that church. The morning we got married the village green was lined with people waving and wishing us well!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (10)

Because we got married in the village church the ceremony was filled with special touches, a poem my mum wrote and a reading from Mike’s father, and my next door neighbour rang the church bells. Olive and John opened the Dun Cow, our local pub, for all our friends to gather before the service.

The reception was at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. We booked the venue without ever having seen it, as we were living in London at the time. We sent our Mums along to check it out and trusted their judgement completely. It was great seeing the castle for the first time knowing that was where we would be having our reception, as we got to experience it through the eyes of our guests.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (8)

We never planned on having a theme and were just picking stuff we liked. Then at the church the vicar gave a sermon and commented upon the proposal at Kew Gardens, the wild flowers, hand dried confetti and floral illustrations on the order of service, and at that point we realised that maybe there had been a theme without us realising. The whole day had a bit of a pagan feel to it, from the flowers and dress to the centrepieces and castle.

There was a lot of green and pink in our colour scheme with the combinations of wild and botanical flowers, but that happened by accident.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (11)a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (15)

Mu dress was from Happily Ever After in Darlington. It was the third one I tried on. I just felt really comfortable in it and I wanted something that didn’t cover my tattoo. I’ve always loved flowers and wear them in my hair all summer, so the floral detail at the waist band was what attracted me to the dress.

My bouquet was from Eliza Blooms in Darlington. She was just fantastic and really understood the natural, unstructured look I wanted. Daisies and pink peonies were the main flowers, with lots of greenery.

Mike wore a traditional suit from Moss Bros, with a sage green pocket scarf and cravat. He looked hot!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (16)

The bridesmaid’s also wore dresses from Happily Ever After. The girls loved the mesh detail at the neckline and the flared layers. The groomsmen also wore suits from Moss Bros, but they ditched the cravat and waistcoat for the evening!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (18)

We travelled in a vintage Rolls Royce, which was hired from Elite Cars in Etherley. The driver was actually my dad’s mechanic and he was great! He had a constant stream of polos and jokes to keep up relaxed.

We arranged a vintage bus to take our guests from the church to Lumley castle, which we booked by making a donation to the North East Bus Preservation Trust. It was a beautiful bus and we bought a crate of mini prosecco for our guests to drink on the journey!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (19)

Chris Parkinson was our photographer. He lives in the village and was recommended by a friend. I love his photographs, they are really different and very artistic. I am quite creative so it was great to meet someone who I knew would do something original. The photographs are so lovely and so unique, it really feels like he captured the essence of the day.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (21)

My mum and I picked the flowers for the church the morning before in a wild meadow near our village. It’s a memory I will never forget: of me and my mum amongst a field of wild flowers, grasses and hundreds of butterflies. My mum’s friends brought flowers from their gardens to decorate the church. The pew ends were made of poppies, corn flowers and ferns and then the arrangements consisted of daisies, cow parsley and dried grasses.

Mike and I made the woodland centerpieces ourselves. We went to the beach with Mike’s father and his wife to collect driftwood, then arranged these amongst ferns, succulents, birds nests, orchids and moss. We wanted the centrepieces to look like they had just been lifted from the forest floor.

My mum and dad made all of the confetti. It was lovingly hand dried petal by petal. It was stunning when everyone threw the confetti – 20 seconds that had taken 9 months of preparation!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (23)

We didn’t have favours – we bought everyone an extra glass of wine!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (29)

The cake was from Marks & Spencer – a beautiful surprise from my mum!

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (31)

We would definitely recommend Lumley Castle. It was so well organised and that’s exactly what we wanted planning a wedding from London. Our wedding coordinators were lovely and really understood what elements of the day were important to us.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (35)a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (36)

We loved the ceremony, it was just so special to have it in the village church. We both thought we’d be such a mess and wouldn’t be able to stop crying, but we just smiled and laughed our way through.

The first dance was also pretty special. We chose ‘She Bangs The Drums’ by the Stone Roses. About a minute into the song we realised we couldn’t get away with swaying along to the music so all our friends joined in. After seeing the Stone Roses live with our friends a couple of years ago it felt extra special to relive the moment.

a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (37)a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (42)a boho wedding at Lumley Castle (c) Chris Parkinson Photography  (43)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to smile and don’t get hung up on the small stuff, it really doesn’t matter. Spend as much time together as possible on the day and if it doesn’t go as according to plan laugh if off!

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May Day Merriment. Cymbeline & A Flower Crown For A Handfasting Outdoor Wedding in the Peak District – Keli & Pete

July 7th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

I’m all for making a wedding your own and that’s exactly what Keli and Pete did when they tied the knot (and their hands) at Windy Harbour Farm Hotel in the beautiful Peak District. The couple not only made their reception individual, but the ceremony itself too by having a secular service that reflected their journey to marriage as well as a handfasting with an elemental blessing.

The stunning outdoor setting gave way to carefree fun with the newlyweds and their guests enjoying garden games, afternoon tea and personalised beverages before burning up the dance floor in the evening.

One particular individual element that I adore about this wedding is that Pete had two best women! Breaking down yet another traditional wedding barrier, I think it’s fabulous that Pete asked those closest to him to fulfil the honourable role, regardless of their gender.

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

Keli said: We got engaged in the summer of 2011, the same summer we’d left our lives in London and gone travelling around England in a tent for three months. Pete and I had finally made it home, to my parents, where we would start to look for a new house and start building our new life up north.

We decided to take advantage of the last sunny day in September and go for a final walk in Castleton that included Mam Tor. Unfortunately our map reading skills were a little exhausted from the travelling all summer and we couldn’t seem to find the main path leading to the summit. So – fearful of never getting there – we turned off the beaten path and started up the side. Turns out we picked one of the steepest slopes to climb; we were exhausted and almost gave up halfway but Pete was persistent. When we got up there is was rather windy and rather crowded with people – which was not part of Pete’s plan – so we moved over the crest of the hill to sit out of the wind looking out over the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. After some lazy minutes Pete asked me to close my eyes, gave me a kiss and then produced the ring. I think my first response was “Are you sure?” And then lots of crying and laughing followed, and of course my answer, Yes!

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

Windy Harbour Farm Hotel was the first venue we visited and only because it was just up the road from our new home in Glossop, Derbyshire. However as soon as we walked in both of us were struck by how friendly and how right it felt. The size was perfect for the 50 to 80 guests we planned to invite and the garden area was beautifully kept, which was essential as we knew we wanted an outdoor ceremony with our mixture of pagan and secular traditions. Our country fair theme would need to include things like hay bales and garden games so we were lucky to find owners who were not only happy for us to do all this, but also happy to source things like the hay bales for us.

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

We both wanted a ceremony that was unique and individual to us, more so than a church or civil ceremony can be. Added to that, I’m a Pagan and was determined to get married outside, surrounded by the natural world. We found Kate Gee, a Humanist celebrant who was happy to incorporate elements of Pagan ritual into a secular service that reflected our lives and the journey that had led us to the moment of marriage. We still exchanged rings and used vows similar to those in the Common Book of Prayer. We also had a handfasting with an elemental blessing, undertaken by one of our maids of honour. Everyone commented on how poignant and moving the ceremony was and we couldn’t have been happier with the way we were able to seal our marriage.

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

As soon as we picked the date in May we knew we’d have a May Day themed wedding. We both love the May Day holiday and spent many years travelling to Hastings and various other places to celebrate it. So we knew we wanted lots of ribbons, greenery, games and folk music; as you would find at a May Day festival. We didn’t have a particular colour theme but we did end up using dark ivy green as the main contrasting colour. We also used a simple bright blue, yellow and red combination to accent it all – these mostly popped up as ribbons.

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

I wore ‘Fadella’ by Cymbeline which I found at The White Room in Sheffield. It was nothing like the dress I’d imagined myself wearing to be wed but it was the one dress that made me feel like a bride. Being light and not too bulky it made perfect sense for the venue and the outdoors, informal nature of the whole day. In the end the lace matched Pete’s country suit perfectly and the small train meant it was great to dance in.

Pete wanted something that was quite ‘countryside’ and immediately thought of a tweed jacket which he ended up getting from Next. He wore it with a grey waistcoat and brown trousers from Debenhams. His tie was also from Next. The two fathers wore the same jacket and tie as Pete but created their own combos so they didn’t all look the same.

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

Although untraditional Pete had best women – Zoe and Lyvia, two of our closest friends from university. The two of them and Pete were a very close trio throughout our time there and they both coached him through a lot of good times, bad times and rather mad times. They wore navy blue dresses from Next with matching taupe shoes.

I knew from the start that I didn’t want lots of bridesmaids as choosing from all my friends and family would mean all the female guests would have ended up in the wedding party. Instead I asked two of my closest friends to be maids of honour on the agreement they would be available to help out with all the wedding planning and stop me from succumbing to the dreaded Bridezilla too often in the run up to the wedding. Their dresses proved very difficult to find, especially as they both live quite far away and work a lot and we had to take into account the two best men, who were also wearing dresses. In the end we found two light summer dresses in Dorothy Perkins and they were the perfect complement to my lace dress and the best womens’ navy blue dresses.

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

A Cymbeline gown, flower crown and handfasting for a Wedding in the Peak District - (c) Jon Rouston

Having good photos was vital to our day and we were keen to find a photographer who would fit in with the whole event and not feel like an outsider. We wanted mostly informal shots and pictures that took in the beautiful landscapes around us. Jon Rouston provided all that and more, giving us relaxed shots of our guests enjoying themselves as well as glimpses of the day we never would have seen otherwise. He also created some gorgeous portraits of us using a variety of local landscapes.

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Real Wedding Recap 2011: Something In The Air, A Real (Double)Pagan Wedding – Pam & Stuart and Vicky & Tony

December 29th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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This Real Wedding which featured on the wedding blog back in June is so unlike any other that I have featured in terms of religious beliefs, location, dress and the fact that it’s a double celebration, that it had to take it’s place in my recap of favourites from 2011.  Broomsticks at the ready!  

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Featured Supplier Andy of Peacock Pix sent Brides Up North this amazing Real Wedding.  When this landed in the Brides Up North inbox I really sat up and took notice.  This (double) wedding is quirky and different, yes, but very very very special too. 

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Peacock Pix tells us more: On 30 April 2011, on the eve of the Pagan festival of Beltane we were privileged to shoot a double handfasting within the circle of Stonehenge. The couples Pam & Stuart and Vicky & Tony were already legally wed but as practising Pagans they felt that the ancient ritual of handfasting where knots are tied and broomsticks jumped and more importantly vows made that are not formulaic and seek to bind the relationship with the forces of nature, earth & the universe just had to be done.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix.

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The logistics had been quite protracted for the Lancashire quartet & obviously the arrangements made via phone & internet, including finding their celebrants Cat Treadwell & her partner James Begley, both priests of the Druid faith and myself as photographer and my wife Sally as second camera.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Despite the necessity of these arrangements we met up on Saturday afternoon and immediately felt the warmth & sincerity of purpose embodied by all involved. At Stonehenge itself the wedding party attracted a lot of attention & curiosity from the last tourists of the day; the couples, their witnesses, family & friends remained focused in anticipation as the site was cleared.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Finally we were escorted to the monument by Stonehenge security staff, the wedding parties congregated outside the circle to remove their shoes & make final preparations while the celebrants prepared their altar and artifacts within. As venues go it was quite literally an awe inspiring location: the sun was shining and the wind blew quite fiercely as the ceremonial circle was made & the spirits of the ancestors invoked to witness. Our plan as ever was to not intrude but to record the ceremony from all perspectives and to create a wedding portfolio that captured the atmosphere of the day. As the sun began to set the ceremony began & even the wind seemed to abate a little. My wife & I moved around the outer circle to exploit light & shadow and capture all aspects of the ceremony.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix 

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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All wedding days are very special days for those getting married and we aspire to rise to the challenge of capturing the atmosphere  and occasion for all involved sometimes the venue has a little extra wow factor but in the end we hope our photographs capture the essence of what the day meant to the happy couple.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog:  Peacock Pix

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Just wow.  It’s rare that this wedding blogger is left speechless.  But there you go.

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Brides and Photographers – fancy seeing your Real Wedding photographs featured on the Brides Up North wedding blogContact me 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © Peacock Pix

Peacock Pix is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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At One: Pagan Handfasting – Supplier Showcase: Cat Treadwell

October 8th, 2011 | Julia Braime

UK Wedding Blog – Brides Up North – Wedding Supplier Showcase – Cat Treadwell, Druid Priest

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As a , I think its my job to inform my readers about as many types of wedding as possible.  Just as not everyone wants to go down the DIY, funky shoes, retro hair and bright underskirts route, equally others can’t imagine anything worse than a traditional “Princess” wedding.  {Side note:  I think both rock!}

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The most important thing to consider when starting your wedding planning is who you are as a couple and what the day should mean to you.  Not your mum, friends, dog, Auntie Hilda and certainly not the online community – but the two of you.  That’s what its all about! 

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Variety is the spice of life – and that’s why you wont find any entry requirements at the door of this wedding blog.  You don’t need to act cool, spend your parent’s retirement fund, have everyone (including your cat) in perfectly matching duck egg blue outfits, drape yourself in bunting, source your favours from the moon or wear your grandma’s nightgown hand sewn with vintage lace by a thousand tiny elves up the aisle (although, on second thoughts, I would love to blog that wedding!).  All you need to do is celebrate love, our differences… oh, and being proud to be Northern helps a bit (although we are kind to our Southern sisters too)! 

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With that message in mind, today I chat to the lovely Cat Treadwell, a Druid Priest, about the Pagan ritual of handfasting.  I have to admit that this was a ceremony I knew diddly squat about prior to meeting Cat, so was really interested to learn more.  And there was lots to learn… 

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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What is your background?  How did you become a Druid Priest?

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Like most modern Pagans, I think I can honestly say that I’ve always felt this ‘calling’ – I just didn’t know how to define it! As a child, I can remember happily pottering around for hours in the woods and hedgerows; then in my 20s I was given some books on Paganism and things grew from there.

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I’ve been a practising Pagan for over 10 years now, but formally began Druid training in around 2005. When my partner and I were ordained as Awenydd (priests) of the Anglesey Druid Order, we made a promise that with this knowledge comes responsibility: it was time to be out in the community acting as Priests for those who need us. And so here I am!

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   Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting   Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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Can you explain a little about the Pagan religion?

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Paganism is ultimately about the connection that we as humans have as part of nature, seeing the sacred in the world around. It is the overarching term for a variety of practises, including Druidry, Witchcraft, Wicca, Heathenry and many others, all with different ways of seeing the universe; ultimately, our spirituality stems from our relationship with the world in which we live.

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As humans, we aren’t disconnected from the Earth, or somehow raised above it to use it as an infinite resource (especially in these days of increased awareness of ecological responsibility). Everything we do both fed by and back to other living things. We are nourished by the world, and so we return that by honouring it in our lives.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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What is a handfasting ceremony?

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A handfasting is a traditional wedding ceremony in which a couple declare their vows of union to each other. This can be personal, between couple and priest, or in the sight of family, friends and loved ones.

Couples generally say to me that they are looking to marry in a way that is important and meaningful, but not necessarily in a traditional ‘church’ ceremony. The spirituality of nature allows them to say their words to each other in the sight of their witnesses, the land of their birth and the wider world. As those who’ve done it will tell you, it’s a truly joyful and moving experience.

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Is a handfasting ceremony a legal marriage?

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Sadly not at this time. The Pagan Federation is looking into the legalisation of handfasting ceremonies in the UK, but until then, couples must have their union witnessed by a Registrar in order for it to be confirmed under law.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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Where can a handfasting ceremony take place?

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Anywhere! We do recommend outdoors, but ultimately the location is entirely up to the couple. I’ve performed handfastings in hotels, in museum and gallery grounds, on a cliff top, on a golf course… and even within Stonehenge itself.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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How can a couple personalise a handfasting ceremony?

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Each ceremony starts from a template structure, but from that moment, every single part of the rite is personalised. The focus is the couple, their preferences, beliefs and requirements, so until the moment of the ceremony itself, anything can be ‘tweaked’ to their needs!

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We suggest couples include the names of loved family members or friends to thank in the rite, their parents or children; parents can still ‘give away’ the bride, and both can have handmaidens or a Best Man. It is the meaning behind this that we look into – those individuals become part of the ceremony, with their specific role and duty. The other guests all act as witnesses and participants, so absolutely everybody is included.

Every single ceremony is unique in that I do not memorise a set ritual text. Inspiration comes from the couple, the surroundings, those present (in body and in spirit). And of course, each set of vows is entirely personal to those two individuals.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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Do I need to be a practising Pagan to marry in a handfasting ceremony?

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Not at all. The majority of those I’ve married have been generally secular – just wanting something ‘meaningful’ in a more natural manner. Everybody feels a kinship to the natural world on some level, so it’s reaching into that for a spiritual ceremony based around the couple’s own particular beliefs… primary of which is their love for each other.

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On the other hand, one couple married in an Iron-Age roundhouse, calling on gods of fertility to help them start a family! So there are certainly more Pagan couples out there looking for rituals tailored to their needs.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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Any really memorable ceremonies that you have carried out?

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Honestly, every single ceremony is memorable in its own way, with its own challenges and wonders.

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Stonehenge was obviously a true privilege and an unforgettable experience. But perhaps the first handfasting that I ever performed will naturally stand out – in Verulamium Park, St Albans, under a beautiful tree by the Roman walls, first thing on a bright, fresh spring morning.

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What is the fee for a handfasting ceremony?

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I’m very aware that many couples cannot afford large amounts in monetary terms these days, but I obviously need to cover costs as well, so it’s finding a balance. I generally start from £100 plus expenses (specifically petrol, sometimes accommodation), with more for weekdays as I have to take time off work!

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For that you will receive a full Priest service from the time of agreement until the day itself – and, I’m proud to say, usually beyond, as I stay in touch with most of those I’ve had the privilege of handfasting.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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Where are you based and are you prepared to travel?

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I’m based near Derby, but have travelled the length and breadth of England when called upon to do so. I was even asked recently to perform a ceremony in France!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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What can Brides Up North who book you expect from their ceremony/ the whole process?

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Initially, I will provide a template to give an idea of the ceremony… and then ask the couple to go through and change it! We organise to meet, to ensure that everyone is happy, with a small rehearsal if possible nearer to the date itself. The rite will be finalised over time, with discussion to ensure that the couple are prepared. My partner is also fully available to chat, in case the groom needs a man’s point of view!

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I can also provide hard copies of the rite as Orders of the Day for guests – very few are familiar with the handfasting ceremony, so it does provide a little peace of mind, as well as a nice keepsake. I also hand-make the handfasting bread for the couple’s first ‘feast’, and can provide mead (or juice) in a ceremonial cup.

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It’s a constant process, but I do promise a full Priest service from start to finish. I’m available via phone or email (or in person if possible) if called upon – from dress difficulties to worry over vows.

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Is there anything else that Brides Up North should know?

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I’m happy to be contacted to discuss any aspect of the handfasting ceremony, or Paganism and Druidry generally, as needed. For more details on what I’m up to, my website is www.druidcat.wordpress.com

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And while the focus of the wedding day is specifically two people coming together, I’m glad to help with any of the other aspects of a very busy day if I can!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Cat Treadwell Druid Priest/ Pagan Handfasting

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Why do you read Brides Up North?

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I was introduced to Brides Up North by Andy at Peacock Pix, after the beautiful article on the Stonehenge handfasting – and was amazed by the eclectic nature of the website! I’m often asked for help with suppliers, and the sheer variety of (relatively) local people bringing their skills together to make a day so special is absolutely fantastic.

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Every wedding day is unique. Brides Up North really does show the imagination and effort that goes into these declarations of love and unity

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To speak to Cat about your handfasting ceremony click here to visit her website

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  – Images © 2011 Cat Treadwell/ Peacock Pix/  

Cat Treadwell is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Birds Of A Feather, A Real Wedding – Andy & Sally

July 26th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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As I said just this Saturday on the wedding blog, I am all for featuring all different kinds of weddings in these pages and refuse to be shoe-horned into one genre.  Today’s Real Wedding is Brides Up North Featured Supplier Andy Pickard Peacock Pix’s own, and would probably fall into the “offbeat” category.  However, when I came to blog this Andy’s wedding I realised that there was nothing offbeat about it.  In fact, it was so “onbeat” with Andy’s fun and kooky personality, it was untrue. 

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This wedding is quirky, it’s fun and it’s beautiful.  There’s a whole lot of peacock feathers, a whole load of inflatable guitars and a whole lorra love in these two amazing settings!  Fandabydosy!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography 

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Over to the groom: What  does a wedding photographer do when it’s comes to the point of realisation that they can’t shoot their own wedding?  Sally and I spent many hours searching the internet looking for that special person, someone who had the flair and romantic style to capture our unique peacock inspired wedding.  Andrew Billington Photography stood head and shoulders above all contenders with his fabulous eye and unmistakable style. Andy managed to capture every emotion filled moment with the decadent grandeur we envisioned when planning our once in a lifetime celebration.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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We had planned a truly spectacular day from the pink Cadillac to the live rock band (Wild Turkey – Halifax’s premier party band)  and 100 inflatable guitars for all the budding air guitarists at our evening hog roast reception.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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Sally designed her dress, made the bridesmaids’ jewellery, cake bands, table centres, hand fasting tie and also hand-embellished the invitations as well as sourcing many one of a kind hand crafted details such as her tiara, her bouquet of leather roses & peacock feathers, the Lego couple for the wedding cake and my wedding coat.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography 

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The two part ceremony – civil plus Pagan hand fasting – took place at Newstead Abbey, ancestral home of poet and playboy Lord Byron resplendent with with gothic architecture, sweeping grounds, lakes and (of course!) peacocks.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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The venue also inspired our choice of wedding attire with velvet frock coat and frills for myself and Sally’s bespoke silk corseted dress featuring over 100 peacock feathers.

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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Forever Green Restaurant in Sherwood Forest supplied a magical secluded woodland setting for the hog roast reception and the party rocked on well into the night!

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography 

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Brides Up North Wedding Blog: Andrew Billington Photography .

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Fancy sharing your Real Wedding memories on the wedding blogGet in touch! 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2011 Andrew Billington Photography

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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