I don’t really get that excited by celebrity weddings, but when wedding photographer Woz of Howelljones Photography emailed me and told me he’d shot the secret wedding of Nicolas Cage’s son on an organic farm in Somerset, I was intrigued to say the least! The whole wedding was very low key, super intimate and shrouded in secrecy to avoid the press.
DanielleDawn and Weston had a pagan ceremony followed by a English pub reception. “I got a call from Nic’s agent saying that there will be a wedding on Monday morning in Huntstile Organic Farm, Bridgwater and I need to be there for 10am”, Woz told me. “I didn’t know who it was I photographing until I got there as they didn’t want the press to get hold of it.”
“We all had breakfast in the barn then boarded a tractor and it took us to a stone circle high on a hill near Bridgwater. The pagan ceremony lasted an hour, everybody had to drink from the cup and jump over the sacred sticks.”
Lauren and JP’s Glasgow wedding was based on their mutual love of Scotland and literature. “Our inspiration was really just stuff we like”, Lauren wrote. “Medieval mixed with Scottish mixed with books mixed with 50s mixed with tattoos mixed with pumpkins! It was lucky that our mish-mash just worked in the space together! There’s nothing like that moment when you see your vision for the day come together so well.”
“If I had to describe the theme to someone I would say ‘fantasy and fiction’ as books really ended up as our main theme. We had the tables named after our favourite authors, bookmark favours and many other little nods to authors like the card box in the shape of the luggage from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book series.”
“The cake was made by my brother and was decorated with spines of books we have read and loved. It was a chocolate and whisky sponge and looked amazing! The cake was my big surprise on the day as he kept his plans a secret. My brother is a pastry chef and has worked in some pretty prestigious places so a lot was expected of him, and he certainly delivered! After the wedding he tweeted pictures of his cake to some of the authors featured on it and they responded!”
Charlie and Barney wanted a fun and laid back wedding that was all about being themselves. Their dress code was ‘come as you are’ and their invitations made it clear that it was going to be a party wedding! “We got everyone drunk by 3pm because of the Jagerbombs”, Barney wrote. “By the time the DJ started in the evening, it felt like a giant house party, which is what we always wanted.”
“Almost everything was unusual”, he explained “and the most important thing for us was to make it a true reflection of our personalities (we are somewhat known amongst our friends for throwing parties, for always being the last ones standing on a night out, and for enjoying a Jagerbomb or five). We were also determined that no one should be bored. Charlie wanted it to be a handfasting ceremony, which started to shape the day because it meant we would have two ceremonies. The first was a small, very intimate and very secret civil ceremony in the morning, attended by a handful of immediate family, just sat around the library of Oxon Hoath, casually perching on the sofas. It was meant to be as relaxed as possible, and despite Charlie turning up half an hour late, it was surprisingly stress free!”
Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, had always fascinated Shawna and Kevin. They flew over from the US to marry there. “It is nearly impossible to describe how it felt to walk among stones that have stood there for millennia”, Shawna wrote. “They have seen empires collapse, civilizations come and go, and yet, there they stand. And while they are not as perfectly placed as they once were thousands of years ago, they are still there and will be for a long time to come. We were, and are, in awe.”
Their setting really defined this whole wedding and the ceremony was conducted by Druid priests. “Other than our attire, there was nothing normal about the wedding”, she continued. “We did everything out of order. First, we flew to the UK to get married at Stonehenge on September 16th inviting only the druids and our photographer to take part. After the ceremony, we honeymooned through Scotland for over a week. When we returned to the US, we invited our family and friends to celebrate our marriage on October 5th at an authentic North Carolina BBQ joint called The Pit – it was here that we made our marriage legal.”
Bex and Scott had a two day wedding, on 16th and 17th September 2013. They wanted a long celebration so they could get married twice! The first day was the legal ceremony followed by a low-key after party. On day two they went all out with a handfasting ceremony, a tractor ride for the guests and a facepainter!
“We hired Huntstile Farm from Sunday to Wednesday so it turned into a mini break event”, began Bex. “The first wedding day was a small and intimate wedding party (the legal bit!) at Bridgewater Registry office then a causal meal with BYO drinks back at the farm. This allowed us to have the exact wedding we wanted on our second wedding day, which was the big party fun day with all family and friends and Missy Dog (our lemon beagle!)”
“We had a trailer tractor ride, handfasting at the stone circle on the edge of a woodland, rain, mud, wellies and brollies galore. There were rainbows, cream teas, Pimms, face painting and fresh organic home grown food. Many guests stayed on site in rooms or camping, and the kids got to collect the eggs from the chickens ready for breakfast the next morning. The facepainter had so many adults queuing to be painted, even Scott’s gran! Scott being Spiderman and doing his speech was fairly surreal!”
Lucienne and Peter wanted a wedding day that perfectly reflected their own personal style. It was held on Fairoaks Farm in West Sussex and was a laid back day full of fun details. “We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, so that shaped how the whole day felt and how we planned it”, began the bride. “We wanted it to be fun, colourful, relaxed, rustic, in tune with nature and handmade!”
“We had a Pagan handfasting ritual ceremony which was very much in line with our surroundings and with the place itself. We wanted it to be more inclusive and welcoming than a regular church wedding so the ceremony itself involved our friends and they had parts to play within it. The four bridesmaids called the elemental corners and the groom’s sister carried incense to cleanse the sacred space. It was very much a new but welcoming experience for our guests. We also jumped a besom (broom) at the close of the ceremony, this is a tradition that signifies the couple leaping into their new life together. The photos from this part are breathtaking!”