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The Offbeat Bride: Lisa, palliative care nurse

Her offbeat partner: Will, actor

Date and location of wedding: Holton Lee, Poole, Dorset, England — August 17, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Will and I met through a friend of a friend following the Glastonbury Festival, and I have many beautiful memories of that summer and the simplicity of campfire, music, good friends, and alcohol. This was the vibe I wanted more than anything.

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After attending several weddings, I knew what I wanted: no rules, no curfew, no strangers telling us what to do, and no overpriced accommodation. Our venue had camping facilities as well as cottages to rent, and two big barns for people to stay in which we booked for three nights. This meant that we could stretch the festivities over three days and people with little money had the option to have cheap accommodation. We camped ourselves on the night after the wedding.

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We rented the marquee (tent) onsite for our wedding meal, but also erected our own marquee which we enjoyed filling with Will's House of Dead arcade machine and vintage pinball machine and my mum and dad's sofa!

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We had a bouncy castle in the morning before the wedding to keep the kids amused, Morris dancers, a maypole just after the ceremony, a photo booth after dinner, and a local band and silent disco later on.

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stone circle pre ceremony

Tell us about the ceremony:
Will and I are free-spirited sorts with no formal religion, but we do have spiritual beliefs. We feel that marriage and nature are sacred. I knew from the outset that I wanted the ceremony to be outside, which is often not legal in England! This led to me looking at pagan handfastings.

dead tree rach holding trsinWe found an amazing couple who were High Priest and Priestess of the local coven who were so generous and kind and lovely that it still makes me feel emotional. They did not want any money and all the coven members made us a basket with our ceremony wording in calligraphy bound with ribbons, crystals, cookies, and charms to encourage fertility.

This was not legally-binded so we got legally wed much earlier in the year at a registry office in London. We chose the same wedding day as my parents' and my sister's birthday so that the date will have extra meaning.

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Our biggest challenge:
Crafting hundreds of rainbow gradient pom-poms was a challenge! Inspired by this tutorial, I sent packages of tissue paper and asked friends and family to help, but I underestimated the time it would take to unfurl those babies and string them up! I also decided to print and assemble 200 teepee and circus big top boxes which also took a staggeringly long time.

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Pulling off such a big production without any employed staff apart from the caterer and a bar was also interesting. We had many willing helpers, though. My dad's side of the family and I went round with prosecco for the toast, which was actually a lovely way to mingle.

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My favorite moment:
The roar and cheers of everybody close to me as I arrived at the ceremony was amazing. We were singing and dancing to every rain-related song we knew due to the rainy English weather.

My mum did so much for me. She arranged all the flowers, and baked my incredible rainbow and red velvet cake. Sadly the bottom layer got damaged, but it was still delicious.

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My mum and dad also bred me some butterflies to release after the ceremony. They were a bit nervous to come out because of the bad weather, but lingered on guest's hands for some amazing photos.

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My sister made me a bright “flum flum” tree, and painted me a tree picture and a great big “nice day for a bright wedding” sign.

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My funniest moment:
The wind was so bad that our second marquee lifted off the ground! It was funny to see Will running out with his DJ robot in his arms, but we were actually lucky nobody was hurt.

One of my favourite moments was my sister leading a flash mob dance to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars. Everyone wore masks of Will and I, which was amazing and also a little creepy.

My friend also dressed as Elvis and serenaded me!

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Comments on Lisa & Will’s rainy rainbow festival wedding

    • Thank you so much – I came up with most of the ideas myself (after extensive wedding porn gorges) but my little sister crafted lots of the items. 2 wonderful friends did most of the bunting as my attempts left a lot to be desired! My husband is much more talented in that department and made the robot and the led heart and letters spelling out love. The favour boxes took a ridiculous time to make – make them by all means but start 2 months before the date!!!

  1. That photo with the stone circle and gorgeous old tree is moving. It seems like you’re in touch with your cultural roots, something I sometimes feel I lack being American and with diffused cultural heritage. That, to me, looks like a wedding ceremony. Lovely. <3

    • Thank you so much! My dad is irish and i got really inspired by celtic goddesses and the idea of pagan handfasting really appealed. We planned to play sinead occonnor’s version of women of ireland as i arrived but the weather was truly biblical and the track couldn’t be heard over the lashing rain and wind! It was funny as one of the photographers asked me what my wet weather contingency was and I replied ‘umbrellas?’ I didn’t expect it to be quite so rainy and was amazed when moments after the ceremony all 200+ guests vanished to dry themselves! I say don’t worry too much about heritage though, just dream big about what you want and call and email the people you think could make it a reality. Xx

  2. Absolutely lovely wedding, gorgeous bride, and wonderful colorful and fun details. I love the handfasting festival theme.

    • My mum bought it for me at this massive end of line sale in the ballroom of the Hilton hotel on edge ware rd. it was a bit traumatic as the queue for the dressing room was enormous so we decided to join several of the women baring their buttocks and boobies openly. My mum had advised me to wear my best underwear but predictably i hadn’t and just had standard issue Bridget jones pants and a tired old bra. I am a curvy (ahem) girl and I was next to some size 0 supermodel types so felt a little uncomfortable. There were no mirrors and for some reason my mum is incapable of taking a photo on a phone so it was tense to say the least. After queuing up I loved the fiftieness of the front and the train at the back and the vintage glittery quality to it. It was the 2nd one I tried on so I was lucky xx

  3. This is Lisa the bride here! I am just back from a family holiday to jordan hence the delay in writing anything. I am so happy and humbled to have my wedding on here! I love everything about offbeat bride and having this published really does feel like a dream come true. All the lovely comments have made me blush – isn’t it nice when women are so kind and loving to each other instead of nasty or bitchy?
    just wanted to heap even more praise on my simply incredible family and friends. Oh and my husband! You were all so kind it makes me feel emotional! I didnt mention all the vendors either!

    My life affirming wonderful school friend Laura designed my lovely invitations (I forgot to put a pic of these up!) sorry Laura – I was so pleased with them – you should be able to see them here. She lives in the USA

    The funky dreaded band – beautiful, talented and £200

    The extremely entertaining Morris dancers

    Any other questions please feel free to ask me

    • I noticed a sword, a dagger, and a broom in your pictures, and I was wondering if you actually incorporated any of them into your ceremony. If so, what did you do and what did it mean for the two of you?

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