Chateau de Redon
1st September 2018
Millie and Chris celebrated their wedding with impeccable style at this incredibly elegant Chateau in the Dordogne.
From our very first contact Millie declared, ‘I am a feminist!’ and it was therefore absolutely essential for both of them that their wedding ceremony reflected these very strong values and beliefs.
The challenge was to choose suitable language with which to tell their love story, and to talk about what marriage meant to this couple in a way that was a true representation of their relationship. All the words and actions within the ceremony had to reflect that Chris and Millie view themselves as true equals, and so they couldn’t be treated or referred to differently in any way because of gender, or for any other reason for that matter….
Firstly, I met Millie and Chris at the Chateau earlier in the year, which is when I started to get a real understanding of what their values were and how this should be represented within their wedding ceremony.
Millie was escorted down the aisle by both parents and of course, there was absolutely no mention of her being ‘given away’.
I wrote some ‘mindful’ words to set the scene and also left space for some private prayer. We included a hand blessing which was extended to include words to ref lect Millie’s love of yoga. And a few guests joined in with the greeting of ‘Namaste’.
We retained a lot of traditional elements but did away with much of the inherent sexism; for example by Millie saying her traditional vows first (ever noticed that it’s always the man who goes first?). They then both delivered some very heartfelt, emotional and humorous vows, which they’d written themselves.
The ceremony was made even more personal by the inclusion of contributions from a few of their good friends, who talked about the couple and gave readings.
A few words from the Bride…
”As a feminist (I mean who isn’t? It’s 2018), I struggled a little with what marriage was for my partner and I.
We settled on its public decree of love. Lisa was so dedicated to curating a ceremony that echoed this for us. She spent a huge amount of time carefully considering us, going backward and forward about what she’d written specifically for us and for this we have immense gratitude! We had a yogic hand holding ceremony, three readings and a whole lotta love.
It was simply perfect and I’ve had so so many people comment to me that it was a perfect representation of Chris and I.
We will always cherish that it was Lisa that supported us on this journey! I couldn’t recommend her enough.”
What the Groom had to say…
”Thank you so much for our wedding. The ceremony was lovely and exactly what we wanted. Lots of people also came up to us to say how special they thought it was.
We also really appreciate you working with our friends to make it extra special!”
A reflection on sexism within wedding ceremonies…
Traditional wedding ceremonies are, in fact, littered with old fashioned, sterotypical and sexist content.
Giving the bride away… the man making his vows first… and exchanging rings first… the groom being given permission to ‘now kiss your bride’… all the talk of belonging… all these elements and more, are so engrained in what we accept to be a traditional ceremony, that most of us don’t notice how sexist some of these traditions really are.
I will always be grateful to Millie for helping me to really think about and recognise this and I now routinely challenge these practices that we so naturally associate with being a normal part of a wedding ceremony.
This is a conversation I’m happy to have with all brides to ensure that absolutely everything that is said and done within their ceremony is in line with their values and not simply included because that’s what is expected. This is just another way in which a celebrant-led wedding can help couples have a truly meaningful celebration which reflects their individual beliefs and values.
All photos courtesy of:
The fabulous people at Zephyr-et-luna.com
The ceremony was also filmed by the immensely talented team at Moviart
Millie and Chris kindly shared their entire gallery with me; the gallery below is a very small selection.
Click on any of the photos to see the full sized image.