Meghan and Robin’s Forevering Festival in a Field

Meghan and Robin festival wedding kiss celebrant Claire Bradford SussexAt our very first meeting, Robin and Meghan mentioned three things that got me super excited about performing their ceremony (I know, I know – I live in a permanent state of excitement about weddings anyway – turn the dial up a notch to 11 for these ideas they hit me with but don’t forget to turn it down again or I might just explode).

First off, they didn’t want a wedding, per-se. They wanted a ‘Forevering’ – a declaration of their love and commitment to stay together forever, without the associated baggage of peoples expectations of a wedding. And they were having it in a field, festival style with camping. Oh yes.

Secondly, instead of Meghan changing her name, they were both going to change their surname to one they had chosen together. Awesome.

And thirdly (at which point I could have kissed them) they told me they were big fans of the poet John Hegley and would like to have one of his poems read at their ceremony. Bring. It. On.

The preparation

Robin and Meghan wanted their day to be uber informal and very chilled, but they did want their ceremony to be a centrepiece – something that everyone gathered for and took seriously, even though the tone wouldn’t be very serious. They wanted me to create for them a sacred space and sense of occasion for their forevering, but one that was still very laid-back and happy and that reflected them and their feelings for each other.

Meghan and Robin festival wedding hooray celebrant Claire Bradford SussexShortly after that first meeting, they sent me their questionnaire answers back (I give each couple a set of questions to answer together, which gives me more of their story) and they had given me so much wonderful material to work with. Here were two gorgeous people who really loved each other, and who examined their feelings closely as well as enjoying them to the max.

I knew from our first meeting and from the questionnaire just how much Meghan and Robin liked to play games and, when I set about writing the first draft of their ceremony, I wanted to use the theme of games to weave together all the stories they’d told me about their love. I used the ideas of skill, luck, fun and commitment that are involved in games and illustrated these with examples from their relationship.

Its always rather nerve-wracking to read the first draft of the ceremony to a couple, as there’s the risk that they’re not going to like it (I always work on it with my couples until they’re ecstatically happy, of course, but that first reading is a biggy).
I needn’t have worried with Robin and Meghan though – there were happy tears all the way through as I read it to them. Yay!

The rehearsal

A couple of days before the big day, I went to meet Meghan and Robin for the rehearsal. It had been very wet the week before and we stood in a rather boggy but beautiful field as Robin’s dad helped to put up the marquee tent and Robin’s mum plied us with delicious home-made pizza.

We discussed microphones and whether to risk having the ceremony in the open air, as well as going through the ceremony together (but not the vows – Meghan and Robin had written their own vows separately and wanted to keep them secret until they made them). I drove off, leaving them all busy with making the final touches to a really beautiful setting.

Meghan and Robin festival wedding reading celebrant Claire Bradford SussexThe big day

Two days later, I arrived for the forevering and marvelled at how amazing everything looked.

Robin’s mum is an artist and she had made the marquee look spectacular with her creations hanging from the ceiling and the walls. It was a colourful, beautiful, happy space, ready for a colourful, beautiful, happy couple to commit to each other in.
As the weather had been unpredictable, they had set up hay bales covered in vibrant patterned material in the marquee, leaving the back open for an inside/outside feel, which worked perfectly.

When Meghan and her party arrived, I went to meet them as we’d arranged. As Robin and his friends ushered people into the ceremony area, I met the Meghan, her mum and her friends in Robins parents vegetable patch just down the road! There, I led them in a short, grounding meditation as Meghan had wanted and when they were ready, the show was on!

The forevering ceremony

Just as I’d helped to ground Meghan with a short meditation, I did the same with everyone sitting waiting for the ceremony. This was something that both Meghan and Robin were keen on – they wanted to create the right space for their big moment, but without it being too ‘woo-woo’, so we created a visualisation together which ticked all the right boxes.

Once that was done, Meghan walked down the aisle with her mum, Gel, beside her. Once Gel had given her blessing to the couple, their friend Jamie kicked the ceremony off with the John Hegley poem, I Need You  – no mean feat, I can tell you – it’s a tricky one to read well!

Before I told their story, we had a moment of reflection, where I asked Robin and Meghan’s loved ones to spend a few moments getting close to one another and to the couple of the moment, and think about all the happy memories and good wishes they had for them. This was followed by Meghan’s close friend Susan reading an extract from Louis de Bernieres – Captain Correlli’s Mandolin.

The love story went down very well, with a good reaction combo of laughter and tears, and then it was time for Meghan and Robin to exchange their vows and rings. Meghan had been convinced she wouldn’t be able to get through saying her vows without sobbing uncontrollably, so we had lots and lots of tissues and time to hand, but she managed to say them without anything like the snot-fest she’d predicted.

Robin and Meghan wedding celebrant Claire Bradford SussexRobin and Meghan had wanted to sign a certificate, so I made one for them with their vows on it. Because it wasn’t a formal setting, a table seemed out of place, so they took it in turns to sign using each others backs to lean on! I explained about the process that they had been through to decide on a new surname for themselves and was delighted to introduce their friends to Robin and Meghan Mysa, before they had a big kiss and walked out through a tunnel of their friends showering them in confetti to Madonna’s ‘Lucky Star’.

Happy forevering, Meghan and Robin!


What they said:
“From the start, Claire committed totally to listening to our story and helping us create our own unique ceremony.
She had endless enthusiasm for every idea that we were throwing around, as well as proffering plenty of her own, and her creativity, knowledge and inspiration were amazing.

She was incredibly patient when we kept changing things and delivered the perfect, and perfectly-tailored ceremony on the day. Our guests are still talking about how great she was!”