Michelle and Lee // A summer solstice wedding and Wiccan blessing in Herefordshire

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I met Michelle and Lee through my husband Richard – Lee and him played in the same band together for a while. Then we found out they were getting married and having a relaxed wedding which included a blessing by a lamp post in Hereford’s Castle Green, ending with a party in the back garden of Michelle’s parents, together with their family and closest friends. I didn’t need to hear anything more and I knew I wanted to photograph it!

I soon met them and instantly felt so privileged to be allowed to photograph their day. For them, the honesty of the moment was what mattered the most; they wanted this day to represent them and follow what they believed in. They told me how they had planned this wedding for about 4 years waiting for the summer solstice to fall on a Saturday – this is the day they bound. They also wanted to include a Wiccan Rede blessing by lamp post number 2405 at Castle Green (Hereford) as this is where they first kissed. The Wiccan is a modern pagan religion created in England during the first half of the 20th century and the basis of its morality is the statement called the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do what ye will.” Lovely “rule” to go by, ins’t it?

Michelle’s dad was going to write the reading for the Wiccan blessing and he would also hold the ceremony in the park. Everything had been carefully planned:

– the bridal and bridesmaids bouquets had been made by Michelle a year in advance and they included dark blue beads that would symbolize the sky and stars

– both Lee and Michelle had tattoos done of their “infinite heart”, symbol of love that never ends. Lee designed it by using one continuous line, a line that does not break or stop

– Michelle’s mum had made her wedding dress and together they were going to make the cakes

– Michelle took care of all the other details and proved that you do not necessarily need to spend a lot of money to personalise your wedding day with little details that will make a difference

– Lee drew their heart logo on a canvas that was used to capture all their guests’ wishes

After meting them, I left their house with a huge smile on my face for the joy I had seen in their eyes about the marriage they were preparing. As they were preparing a marriage, not just a wedding. The joy I had seen in their eyes while they were showing me all they’d prepared was the clear proof of all this.

I now leave you with the photos, that were all done on 35 mm film in the beautiful natural light of the summer solstice of 21st June 2014. Several photographers appeared from the press (seeing the unusual lamp post story) and heard my film camera click and recognised it as being film. They could not believe somebody would have the courage to photograph a wedding on film nowadays.

I love the grainy look of black and white film inside the Town Hall – very different to what digital photography could deliver! And their wedding day was as relaxed as the bride and groom show it in these photos.

 

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Film and equipment used for this wedding: Nikon F100, Delta Ilford 3200, lford HP5 400, Fuji 400H Pro.

 

Credits:

Ceremony part 1: Town Hall, Hereford
Ceremony part 1 (Wiccan): Castle Green, by Bride’s dad
Wedding dress: Bride’s mum and Bride, using the mannequin given to Michelle for her birthday by Lee’s mum. She was a seamstress and would have been involved fully hadn’t she have passed away not long before the wedding. She was there in spirit definitely.
Hair: cousin Sophie
Jewellery and accessories: the Bride
Bouquets & Button Holes: the Bride 
Catering: Bride’s dad, Harry and uncle Kimmy, with love
Cakes: the Bride, auntie Margaret and sister Aggie
Music: a player in the back corner of the garden
Decorations: the Bride and many charity shops

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