Magic and Music at Stonehenge

Mary Hannah Harte

May 7, 2024

When musician Candi Carpenter and Alden first stepped foot upon the grounds of Stonehenge, they felt an undeniable spark. As Nashville-based musicians, the duo vowed to return to this hallowed ground to mark their commitment with a traditional Celtic handfasting ceremony.

Their wedding combined ancient magic with their modern love. “We wanted a ceremony that was true to us,” Candi shared. “The Celtic handfasting, the lilies I carried, and the full moon rising – it all felt magical. One of my favourite things about Stonehenge is that no one knows why it was built. It feels analogous to life. We don’t really know why we’re here, but love is as good of a reason as any. Our ceremony was a celebration of life and death, every magical moment in between, and beyond. We dressed in black, and I carried a bouquet of funeral lilies to honor the brevity and fragility of the time we have together. All the poetic stuff aside, we wanted to do something badass.”

The festivities kicked off in Salisbury, where Candi and Alden enjoyed drinks at a local pub. Together with their guests, they then ventured to Stonehenge for their druid-led ceremony. They entered the stone circle together, accompanied by a violinist playing the theme from Jurassic Park, “This is also the song I asked a violinist to play when I proposed to Candi on top of the Glasgow Necropolis in 2021”, Alden said. Amidst the ancient stones, their hands were then fastened, vows exchanged and mead shared, all under a rising full moon as the sun set.

The ceremony was led by Teri Stout and Eva May; The Wisewoman of Wiltshire. “They are the owners and operators of Stonehenge Weddings and we called them our fairy godmothers”, Candi continued. “They made planning a wedding overseas as painless as possible.”

The couple both wore striking black suits crafted by Eric Adler, a Nashville based designer. Wearing a suit was something Candi always knew they wanted when they married. “I wanted to create a wedding look that felt true to myself as a non-binary person”, they explained. “Eric and I decided to combine the powerful energy of a suit with the drama of a gown, and a cape felt like the perfect solution. He worked with me to design a black two-piece suit with subtle pinstriping, and a cape with deep, black-green fabric that complimented Alden’s suit. It can be difficult to find suits that fit my body type off the rack, but Eric’s suit felt like a second skin. I felt like the fully evolved Pokémon version of myself. I love that we chose outfits we can continue to wear and enjoy beyond our wedding day.”

After the ceremony, the celebration continued at The Chapter House, a charming bed and breakfast where guests were staying. The evening concluded with toasts and celebratory drinks, followed by a visit to a local club for the final festivities. Instead of wedding cake they served Candi’s favourite: sticky toffee pudding. “The toasts were impressive, my sister showed up to win”, Alden explained. “She was equipped with a suitcase full of props, including humiliating childhood photos, wigs and hats. Our friends also performed a rousing version of “The Day That Robert Palins Murdered Me from Tim Robinson’s I Think You Should Leave.”

Their advice for future couples? “Remember, a wedding is just a fancy party. Our wedding was an excuse to go someplace magical, drink pints and play dress-up,” Alden said. Candi added, “My best advice for any special day is to make sure you have several trusted people on hand to capture photos and videos. It’s hard to stay present and grounded during such a big life experience, but investing in the right photographer allowed us to relax and stay in the moment.”