Taking place on the Isle of Wight for the past 7 years, Bestival music festival has fast become sinimomous with crazy antics, fancy dress…oh and a big dollop of awesome music thrown in for good measure! Each year it also plays host to the Big Love Inflatable Church, where couples can go to tie the knot. This year wedding photographer Chris Cowley was there to catch all the action!
He explains, “A grand total of 48 weddings took place over the 3 day festival, Reverend’s ‘Nickerless’ and ‘Randy Johnson’ preformed ceremonies with the help of dishevelled bridesmaids, a mother in-law and a maid of dishonour.”
“Those wanting to get married booked up early on Friday to prepare themselves and their partner or partners, for a wedding they would never forget! Before the ceremony the bridesmaids dressed the groom and groomsmen in a variety of wedding dresses and suits of their choice. They then dressed the brides, who got to fulfil their fantasy of a semi traditional white wedding. When the groom, best man and any wedding crashers not in the bridal party were ready – they were taken to meet the Vicar who would be performing the ceremony.”
“In the meantime the “Pamper Posse” looked after hair, makeup, face painting and offered calming massages to the bridal party. Each bride was pampered and made to look stunning for their special moment as they were given away down the aisle of the Big Love Inflatable Church.”
“At this point, this is where the similarity to a traditional white English wedding ends and the uniqueness of a Big Love Inflatable Church begin! The ceremonies themselves were far from conventional! The Reverend’s took it in turns to conduct each service where anyone and everyone was welcome. The congregation packed tightly into the church with the bridesmaids kneeling below the Vicar. At the end of each very risqué service music played and the congregation danced in celebration whilst the bridesmaids encouraged everyone to create an archway for the couple to exit through under their arms.The wedding certificate was then signed outside the church, whilst the bridesmaids gathered the congregation together for one big wedding photo as the group shouted ‘BIG LOVE!’.”
“A wide variety of ceremonies took place over the weekend including numerous blessings, vow renewals (one only a week after the couple were legally married), civil partnerships and a stand-in wedding for a couple who couldn’t afford the one they initially planned.”
“Whilst every wedding was memorable for its own unique reason, a few in particular services stood out for me, including an Island group who have gotten married every year at the Big Love Inflatable Church for the last 7 years. A pirate wedding who were getting married for their 3rd time in a row (this time in the presence of their new-born daughter), another wedding who were led down the aisle by Edinburgh brass band ‘Horndog’ and the grand finale which was a special wedding for the Inflatable Church company director Tristram (a former Inflatable Church vicar) and his partner Sophie.”
Photography Credit: Chris Cowley