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The most beautiful civil partnership and handfasting celebration

photo credit CT Images (40)
I’ve always thought I’d love a handfasting for my own wedding – and when I saw Cat and Jocelyn’s handfasting celebration I loved everything they’d done to create a truly beautiful day. Their civil partnership was at Leighton Moss nature reserve in Lancashire, and images are by Cat and Suz at C. T. Images Photography in Bolton.

The atmosphere on the day must have been wonderful: an outdoor ceremony, the air filled with live music from friends and a traditional handfasting before friends and family. Cat and Jocelyn have written all about their day to share on English Wedding blog – so I’ll hand over the reins to them to tell you all about it.

If you have a wedding or civil partnership to share on English Wedding blog I’d love to hear from you. All the info you need is here: English Wedding submissions

photo credit CT Images (51)
photo credit CT Images (52)

Who proposed, and how?

Jocelyn proposed over a pint of stout in my favourite pub ‘Callnans’ in Cork, Ireland on a very wet night in September 2008

Wedding venue:

Leighton Moss Nature Reserve, Silverdale and the Longlands Hotel, Carnforth.

Wedding photographer:

CT Images, Cope Taylor Photography. We were overwhelmed by the photos we got from Cat and Suz. They captured the day so accurately and beautifully. We hardly noticed they were there yet they managed to portray every moment and in exactly the way we wanted.

How would you describe your wedding style?

Natural, colourful, fun, informal, music filled!
photo credit CT Images (49)
photo credit CT Images (50)
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photo credit CT Images (48)
photo credit CT Images (45)
photo credit CT Images (46)
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photo credit CT Images (44)
photo credit CT Images (41)
photo credit CT Images (42)

The ceremony:

Civil Partnership & Handfasting ceremony

Which readings did you choose?

2 Sonnets by Naruda read by Cat’s brother Denis O’Hora, a surprise reading written and read by Amelia Jones with Bjork song quotations & an Apache Blessing read by Jossy’s Mum, Maggy Lightfoot
photo credit CT Images (39)

photo credit CT Images (37)
photo credit CT Images (38)
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photo credit CT Images (34)
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photo credit CT Images (32)
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photo credit CT Images (30)
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photo credit CT Images (27)
photo credit CT Images (28)

What did you both wear?

We both wore beautiful, white, organic & vegan, bespoke wedding dresses handmade by TAMMAM in London. As we had celebrations over two days we decided to go all out and get two party dresses made by TAMMAM also so we could dance the night away in style! All of the dresses were so beautifully made. Lucy summed up our personalities and subtly linked our dresses in the most stunning way. Thank you Lucy!!

Memorable moments:

So many!!!! I (Cat) adored the procession through the woods led by our gorgeous nephew Freddie (21months) wheeling our rings in a wheelbarrow and our adorable flower princess Ella Gaynor (2 and a half years) throwing ivy leaves from a basket along the pathway, the ceremony was so special and the handfasting divine. I also treasured seeing my friends perform songs they had prepared for us in the open mic. Incredible days!

I (Jossy) second all of those things! A very special moment for me was during the handfasting, whilst tied to my new wife my dad spread some of my Grandad’s ashes, who unfortunately died in November into the lake we were standing on. It was wonderful he could still be a part of welcoming Cat to our family.

We also organised a guided walk up Warton Crag over the places I (Jossy) lived and loved growing up. Beautiful! It was great seeing all our friends and family in walking gear before they glammed up for the evening festivities!!
photo credit CT Images (24)
photo credit CT Images (25)
photo credit CT Images (22)
photo credit CT Images (23)
photo credit CT Images (20)

The reception:

What were your highlights?

The story teller, the open mic, the morris dancing, the chaotic ceilidh, the surge of energy and excitement when our final 9 piece band hit the first note of their set!

The incredible wedding cake made by Jossy’s sister Bridget and her partner John Hutchinson: Fruit cake with homemade marzipan and icing surrounded by shed loads of amazing tasty fresh fruit. Yum!! And of course Lancashire cheese to top it off!

For our favours we commissioned felt flowers for all the guests made by wonderful local artist Maggy Lightfoot (Jossy’s Mum)! They doubled as our place names with silver handwritten names on leaves from the garden (thanks to Cat’s sis Nell for her beautiful Librarian handwriting!)

Venue styling and details:

Informal seating, party/festival feel, colourful flowers, potted hyacinths (that we grew from seed), lots of candles and hearts on the tables

Music and entertainment:

As we’re both musicians it was really important to have a big festival type celebration!

Fergal O’Connor sang ‘Sea of Love’ & ‘All I Want is You’ from the soundtrack of the film ‘Juno’ with guitar during our ceremony in the bird hide, Marja Gaynor played Bach on baroque violin during our handfasting out on the pond, Tony Finn told two wonderful stories before desert in the Nature Reserve, a string quartet of our friends Ilse de Ziah, Una Palliser, Amelia Jones, Marja Gaynor and the bride Cat joined in too during the reception, Horns Aloud Horn Quartet staring the other bride Jossy played during the reception, An open mic with performances by many of our friends and family, a ceilidh band led by fab fiddle player Emma Sweeney, a Morris dance performance by Crook Morris & last but not least the brilliant ‘Bad Ass Brass’ (shortlisted for the London Jazz Award www.badassbrass.co.uk) raised the roof!
photo credit CT Images (21)
photo credit CT Images (18)
photo credit CT Images (19)
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photo credit CT Images (17)
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photo credit CT Images (15)
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photo credit CT Images (13)
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photo credit CT Images (9)
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photo credit CT Images (7)
photo credit CT Images (4)
photo credit CT Images (5)

Wedding day advice:

We made colourful schedules for our wedding party. This worked brilliantly as everyone knew what they needed to do and so could enjoy the rest of the time celebrating and kept away any potential ‘bridezilla’ moments!!!!

A steam iron was very handy for the dresses.

Cat is from Ireland and a lot of her family had not met Jossy’s yet so we decided to have an informal gathering the night before the wedding so all could meet. This made us much more relaxed for the ceremony day.

Jossy’s sister Rowena made baby and kiddie favours that consisted of a lovely little bag of age related treats. The babies and kiddies were a big part of our celebrations and their enjoyment was essential too. They loved the treats and their parents agreed that this was a great idea. No tears!

It’s also a good idea to brush up on your parents’ middle names to avoid any last minute panics!
photo credit CT Images (2)

Recommended wedding suppliers:

www.ctimages.co.uk – wonderful photography

www.tammam.co.uk – divine bespoke wedding dresses

www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/l/leightonmoss/ – dreamland wedding venue

www.justind.co.uk/ – bespoke wedding rings, recycled & beautifully made

www.weddingtonboots.com/ – brilliant wedding wellies

www.toms.co.uk/– perfect as wedding slippers & a good cause too

www.amoremusic.co.uk – our own string quartet, available for weddings and civil partnerships! Comes highly recommended!
photo credit CT Images (3)
photo credit CT Images (1)
Real wedding blog features and submissions

If you have a wedding you’d like to share on my blog I’d love to hear from you. Email me with a couple of your favourite images from the day first of all. As a wedding blogger I’m looking for great quality photography and a story: something a little different, heartwarming, creative or beautiful. info@english-wedding.com

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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6 COMMENTS
  • Angharad
    7 years ago

    It’s gorgeous! I love the setting and the ribbons. Looks like a really special day.

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Isn’t it just, Angharad. I love how happy Cat and Jocelyn look – I only wish I could hear the day too – because it sounds so amazing as well.
      Have a great weekend xxx

  • These two are adorable! I love it 🙂

  • Michelle
    7 years ago

    This looks fantastic – any ideas who performed the ceremony?

    • Claire
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Michelle,
      I’m not sure, but I’ve asked Cat & Suz at CT Images if they can help! Thanks for your comment – I’ll let you know if I find anything out.
      Claire x

  • bryan
    7 years ago

    a beautiful couple photographed in lovely light, congratulations Cat and Jocelyn’s x x

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