What a wonderful opportunity - to be invited to a Steampunk wedding and all the more interesting, a handfasting one at that. I feel a bit embarrassed to admit that I had actually never heard of handfasting and when Mike told me about this ceremony, I had to find out more.
There are various tales on its origins but mostly it seems to stem from a Celtic / Pagan tradition popular in Scotland and Ireland and indeed Wales. One of a traditional betrothal for a year and a day after which the couple can either stay together or part without recrimination. The length of commitment these days is a matter of choice and are often for life. The ceremonies are unique to the couple and also include familiar themes such as the exchange of vows and rings or a token of choice.
The act of handfasting always involves the tying of hands – or “tying the knot”, (I had no idea!) in a figure of eight and later unbinding. Tying the hands together symbolises the couple have come together and remain together of their own free will.
Mike & Mel’s combination of this traditional Celtic / Pagan custom mixed with their love of all things Steampunk came together beautifully under the guidance of Independent Celebrant extraordinaire Jane Grayer who took the guests, family and friends on a journey of love, compassion and commitment so we could get to know Mike & Mel's story - added into the mix a cheeky sense of humour which had me chuckling while working out lighting, F stops and shutter speeds to capture those precious moments on film, well, actually pixels, (would love to shoot a wedding using a film camera….. I digress….)
Added into all of this, the amazing backdrop of the forge at Blist Hill – but why the stage and what’s with the pole with the loop at the top? Surly maypoles are just a pole with ribbons? Well, I’ll let the images explain the rest. After the ceremony our Celebrant invite the guests, family and friends to pop outside and enjoy Blist Hill fairground, a wonderful addition included into a perfectly scheduled day of activities provided by Mike & Mel, then afterwards, good food, speeches and dancing with live music provided by the amazing Alice Strange. Alice really got the crowd up on the dance floor, even 'yours truly' was invited (read 'forced') to dance by one of the guests :D
Alice Strange first dance song, for Mike & Mel was beautifully presented with love and compassion - clearly dedicated to Mike & Mel.
What an amazing day, beautiful costumes, beautiful location, beautiful people and an amazing Ceremony.