May 16, 2023
elopement ceremony

It’s about a year since I performed my first elopement ceremony.

Up until then, I had images of sudden, unplanned flight to marry without parental consent. All very hush-hush and immediate.

This one didn’t fall neatly into that category, however.

This couple (who we will call Anita and Bruce) were totally against razzamatazz. They didn’t want showy stuff, preferring sincere, even emotional, content. It’s true that relations between their families were not particularly cordial. It’s also true that they wanted to mark the occasion with a few days in London (they were American).

They would hold a couple of small receptions (one for each family) after their return, and they had already married legally, but this ceremony – attended only by a photographer – was what really had meaning for them.

The ceremony would be part-religious (mainly spiritual), so a celebrant like me could work with them to put together a very special service.

The setting was special too. We chose a lovely day among the ruins of St. Dunstans-in-the-East, near Tower Bridge.

The Service

I introduced the occasion and read a poem “Why Marriage?”. Then I spoke to the couple briefly about the importance of marriage. (No lecturing!)

Next came the exchange of vows, both traditional and newly-written. As for their own compositions, neither knew what the other one was going to say, which made the readings unique and really quite emotional. The couple were clearly in love and it came through from the way they spoke, as well as from what they said.

Next came Kellie Spehn’s poem “The Meaning” before I introduced and carried out a handfasting. The pair were bound together for a minute or so in an infinity knot.

This was followed by an exchange of rings and finally the Blessings of Divine Qualities and the kiss. This latter was the most drawn-out that I had ever witnessed! This was evidently appreciated by the onlookers, as it won a round of applause.

Maybe it wasn’t exactly what I had anticipated when Anita and Bruce first raised the prospect of an elopement ceremony, but it was absolutely what they wanted and a delight and memorable event for me.