the Start from our Journey
Our Stone Circle Elopement & Pagan Wedding in Cornwall. Patrick was over guiding a workshop in Cornwall from Germany. We met on the Cornish cliffs on a couple shoot in rather wild conditions, hit it off instantly even though we could barely understand each other and well a few months later we were travelling Europe together and by the end of the year he had moved to the UK to live with me and Keynvor the wild child! We combined our photography businesses, set up a new elopement business and the rest is history....
How We would describe our Stone Circle Elopement?
Nature and the elements, simple, pagan, spontaneous, symbolic, personalised, unique and everything we love individually, together and as a family. Our love of nature, outdoors & ancient history - uniting our little family in a symbolic and meaningful way was our main priority. We did not want to buy things just for the sake of a wedding or follow a theme or a trend, we just wanted it to be as low key as possible but still meaningful. Sometimes I feel people get too caught up in pleasing others and the commercial aspect of it. Also couples put too much pressure on themselves for it to be the best day of their lives. We didn’t want any of that pressure or for anything to feel forced.
Our Stress Free & unique, alternative Planning
Probably the most unusual part which we have not seen anyone else do before is not have a date planned. We wanted the freedom to be able to decide very spontaneously and when it felt right for us. I messaged Keynvor’s school on the morning that he would be taking the day off as ‘We had decided to get married that day’ Im sure the school thought that was pretty odd. We hated the idea of setting a deadline or certain date, we loved the freedom that came with being able to do it as and when. We knew we wanted to do it over the winter though before wedding season kicked off for us. Our everyday lives are very spontaneous and we love taking risks so this was no exception. We got our rings back the night before the wedding, there was mist forecast for the following morning so we decided letsdo it, also there happened to be a full moon called the Storm Moon which seemed very appropriate as there was a storm going on with 30-40 mile winds. We loved the energy of the storm, and the atmosphere and it all just felt perfect and wild. We also wanted to take our own pictures. As we are both wedding photographers already we knew we didn’t want or need hundreds of pictures, we were happy with a few ones that summed up our day. So many people get caught up with quantity over quality in our eyes. Also as we didn’t have a date we couldn’t really have suppliers involved.
challenges we faced when planning our Pagan wedding?
The weather. We did not want a bright sunny day, we ideally wanted mist and mood and ideally not heavy rain as we were taking our own pictures so that would have made it tricker to leave a camera running. We did however not mind a storm so we got married in 30-40mile an hour winds, had mist, had birds and had all the energy the gods could give us during a very stormy week.
about our ceremony Location & Full Moon Handfasting
We eloped to our favourite Stone Circle in West Cornwall at sunrise to avoid being disturbed and also we loved the idea to start a new day together and then spend the whole day together delirious and sleep deprived. Like the other stone circles in West Penwith, this was a place for ceremony and ritual. It is known that quartz was seen as a sacred stone to the megalithic builders, so the quartz stone in the circle may have had some significance relating to healing and perhaps the moon. The fact that the circle, like others in West Penwith, had 19 stones may also relate to the 18.64 year cycle of the moon, or the 19 year metonic cycle of the moon and sun. Also, the centre stone (menhir) faces in the direction of the midsummer solstice sunrise, towards an outlying standing stone, and the rising sun at midsummer illuminates a carving of two axe-heads that lie towards the base of the stone.
Jackie & Mike from Wild Blessing Ceremonies wrote us such a detailed and personal ceremony, including such wonderful and meaningful elements that we loved. We loved how all the elements combined. Fire, Earth, Air and Water were the foundations and building blocks. I walked in to Wardruna and we had lots of pagan and folk music on low during the full moon handfasting ceremony, so not to take away from the wind and the birds and the ceremony itself. We had warm cornish mead before the ceremony started and time to listen to the music whilst Keynvor burnt some sage and nearly set himself alight. We collected items from all our favourite places we like to go as a family. Like little pebbles from the bottom of our favourite sea pools we swim in as a family, sand from our favourite beaches etc and left them as offerings on each stone around the circle before entering. We used recycled Sari ribbons for the hand fasting, costing around 75p per meter. I know most couples like one cord or one ribbon but we wanted lots to symbolise different things. Each colour represented a different element, and we love how they all got tangled in the strong winds wrapping around each other. We also left a small ribbon hanging on the tree in the stone circle with our wishes and buried a small rune stone with our family symbol in the circle. We really liked this poem about the elements that Jacki weaved into the ceremony at various points to welcome the South, North, East and West:
The Elements of Love
May your Love be like the earth
Rich, natural, and deeply rooted
Strong as rock yet soft as sand
Always growing and always patient
May your love be like fire
Passionate, intense and energetic
A flame that never dies
As radiant as the morning sun
And as warm as an evening embrace
May your love be like water
Moving, constantly changing
Never still, never stagnant
As vast as the ocean
And as fresh as a spring's rain
May your love be like air
The sharing of dreams, thoughts and emotions
Always fragrant, always carefree
Found in the breeze of a whisper
Or in the breath of a kiss
May your love be like all four elements
Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually
intertwined To create the perfect balance.
We decided to do our vows alone at sunrise on our Honeymoon the month later. We re-read part of our ceremony and some readings Jacki had done for us for Scotland, this one she had altered to fit into our own personal vow reading on the beach at sunrise:
She came from the ocean
This wild girl from the sea Her hair flowing southward She walked towards me.
A west to east smile, with eyes steely gray,
like a storm in the distance, rolling in from the bay.
We kissed with the sunrise, made love when it set.
A promise by moonlight, We'd never forget
We left for the ocean, two souls from the land,
Our spirit soaring northward, Our footprints in the sand.
Like mentioned before we loved the idea of a two part ceremony. The vows with just the two of us a month or so later was a nice reminder and concrete to the final part of our elopement journey. We had the most incredible sunrise we had ever seen, completely alone on this huge sandy beach with birds saying our vows to one another. We had a little fire to keep warm and as the sun came up we toasted with a whiskey and ran into the sea for a skinny dip and left our own little rune stone in the dunes as a thank you!
Handmade Items & Gifts
The wedding certificates we made ourselves. On our certificate we used a little sketch that Keynvor had drawn of the three of us, a bind-rune hand drawn by Patrick and a sketch of the stone circle we got married in various other symbolic elements like the tree of life. We also gave Keynvor his own rock pool (technically not his we know) but we wanted to give him something personal and symbolic. He loves cliff jumping and rock pools so we hunted out one we found on Google earth that we have not seen anyone swim in before. It does involve a cliff climb, a scramble and a near death decent! We named it Blue Raven Pool as it was a blue sunny day when we found it and there was a big raven sitting on the rock over looking it. Patrick made us all handmade wooden necklaces from driftwood he found on the local beach. He engraved each one with a personalised bind-rune. Patrick also made me a wooden ring from the roots of a fallen tree he collected from his hometown in Germany. This particular woodland was meaningful for him as he played there as a child. The roots also a symbolic meaning for us. It is the same piece of wood we used in Patrick’s sand cast wedding ring. They put a small dot on the inside of the ring for him. My wooden ring he gave to me on our sunrise vow reading on the Outer Hebrides. It was sort of an engagement ring too. We also used some of the wood to create a little family offering gift to leave behind at the stone circle in Cornwall, another one at the Callanish stone circle in Scotland and we left another one at the Artic Henge in Iceland recently.
My Wedding dress was a bridesmaids sale dress from Asos for about £100. The jumper was from Zara for about £50. Patrick's jumper was £20 I think and he wore old chino trousers that still looked ok and Keynvor my son's jumper was about £20 from Zara and he wore his normal trousers and hiking shoes. Total for the three of us was about £200. We still wear all of the clothing now and I plan to cut up and use the dress to use for ribbons. Ideally I would have preferred to use a 2nd hand dress but given the short notice I could not find anything in my size or style I liked. My dress was too long so the night before the elopement I had to get my mum to cut it with some scissors, it was so wonky and looked ridiculous but I actually loved how random and funny it looked. I felt free and liberated at the wonky cut as over the years I have seen brides get so angry over alterations that are not perfect and are so precious over a dress worn once. Summed up my life perfectly and my son’s past home made hair cuts haha.
Flowers from Mellangoose Farm Flowers. I have known Gemma for many years and when visiting her farm a couple weeks before the elopement I saw a dead flower I liked in her garden. Gemma kindly made the dead bush look actually very nice and turn it into a simple dried bouquet with some foliage. It withstood the strong gale force winds perfectly and it is a great idea to have dried flowers when you don’t have a set date planned. She does also make lovely seasonal bouquets for elopements that are not just dead bushes.
Rings - Justin Duance Contemporary Jewellery. This part (after the ceremony) was quite important for us. We are quite simple and symbolic souls so this for us was a lasting reminder afterwards of our commitment to one another. We loved the idea of sand cast rings from a local jeweller in Cornwall. We collected sand from all of our favourite beaches, tidal pools and from the back of a sea cave under the cliffs where we first met and blended them together in the rings. However, on the first visit to Justin I laid eyes on a ring that had already been sand cast with a gem from Greenland that had been discovered exactly 100 years before I was born and it fitted perfectly and the gem looks like all of the sea pools we swim in, the way it catches the light is so pretty....so I had two rings...Patrick’s ring had wood placed in the back from the roots of a tree from woodland where he played as a child in Germany. His ring was rough and also inspired by the Cornish coastline. We love that each one is imperfectly perfect and rough around the edges like us.
White Radish Catering made us a Persian Sex Cake and a little vegetarian hamper at very very short notice, like 24 hours notice. They happened to be doing a vegetarian wedding tasting meal the day before for another couple so had lots of left overs and also surprised us with a huge cake! We have worked with Amy and Charlie over the years and they are the best caterers in Cornwall and so much fun!