Making it real

A marriage begins with a dream. At first it is a dream that is a secret between just two people, two souls who have found each other.

Gradually, other people get to know about the dream and to hear about the wedding. But, for a long time, it’s a concept: something real and yet still unreal. A vague intention made up of a range of possible dates, a mish-mash of what-ifs and maybes as plans take place, swirl around, disappear and finally take shape.

To let the dream take breath requires a lot of this conjecturising, conceptualising, thinking and planning. For us, we’ve already spent more than a year thinking about what we want our wedding to look, taste and feel like.

Finally, after walking a long path that sometimes took us into cul-de-sacs and alleyways, we knew the date and venue we wanted. From that choice, we knew how many people we could invite to the ceremony and who they would be. And we knew what we would wear and eat.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been making these dreams and plans become real.

Suits and dresses have been bought for both our soul wedding and the legal registry office ceremony that takes place the day before. Our venue – The White Horse Inn in our home town of Moretonhampstead – has been booked and the menu agreed. We’ve talked to our celebrant, the humanist Alison Orchard, about the shape and words that should be used in our ceremony and are now making the final few amends. We have booked a choir – Sine Nomine (part of Counterpoint) – to perform madrigals and sacred music. And we have chosen the music that the choir will sing during the ceremony and that will be on our iPod for the reception and party that  follows. We’ve asked Katy Marchant of the Daughters of Elvin to provide some early music for our party and to accompany our labyrinth walk.

Did we mention our labyrinth walk? A labyrinth is not a maze. It is a spiral pattern that has just one pathway leading through it. So, as you follow the path, your mind is freed to imagine, to meditate and to soar. Our labyrinth will be formed from white stones donated by The Birmingham Bead Shop and built in the garden of Ann Casson, Deacon of St. Andrews, the 15th Century church that sits at the top of our street. As part of our wedding celebrations, we’ll be leading our guests through the labyrinth before our afternoon party begins.

Now, with less than six weeks to go, all the thoughts, plans and dreams of the past year and more are being made increasingly real with each passing day – especially as the responses to our invitation arrive through the post each morning.

The hours of thought, fine-tuning, changing this tone or that picture that went into the invitation have all been worthwhile. After all, for each person who received one , their invitation represented the first part of our wedding ceremony. They are already part of the day that is coming – but our invitation was the first step on the journey that they will travel with us on our way to our wedding.

Our invitation - wrapped in ribbon.

We talked to our printer – Formatrix – very carefully about the type of material on which the invitation would be printed. We wanted people to take it from the envelope and feel love beneath their fingers.

Making it easy for our guests to make choices

We created a whole range of inserts – from a simple announcement of the details of the ceremony to a card that enabled our guests to indicate their choice of menu.

An invitation to the labyrinth...

This week, we booked our honeymoon villa – set into a cliff on the Amalfi Coast in Italy – and booked our flights.

There’ll be more to do over the coming weeks, of course, but now the dream – at last –  is tangible and taking solid form. And it is beautiful to behold.


When we were designing our wedding invitation, we chose photographs that were – in part – milestones on the way to the wedding.

We’ve already talked about some of those milestones on this blog. The front cover is Cleaved, which sparked our first open declarations of love. Another photograph shows us smiling into each other’s eyes – part of a studio-based photography session with our wedding photographer Emma Solley.

Our rings

One of the photographs shows our rings – both our wedding rings and Melinda’s engagement ring, complete with four diamonds and a stone called tourmaline, the colour (apparently) of my eyes.

And one more photograph shows my engagement band.

It’s a cuff that I wear around my wrist. I wear it because when we discussed what sort of rings we wanted it occurred to me that, while it is the custom for women to wear and proudly display an engagement ring, there is no equivalent for men. And I wanted to wear something that would announce and celebrate our intention to marry.

We found Penzance-based Emily Nixon at a crafts fair in Devon. She had bangles that looked precisely like what I wanted – the impression of raindrops spattering on water. They looked fluid and flowing. Just like the river in our River Song.

When we commissioned Emily, she was intrigued by making a cuff instead of a bangle. We commissioned her to create one made from silver, with large – but very subtle – splashes of gold.

My engagement cuff

The result is beautiful and I wear it all day, every day, taking it off only to show people who want to look more closely at what love looks like when a man wears it on his cuff.

While there is an accepted form for admiring Melinda’s engagement jewellery, an easy delight that comes from the expectation that the prospective bride will have a ring to display, people have to find their own way to react to my cuff. There is no formula and so the reaction varies from unbridled appreciation of its beauty to mild bewilderment mixed with an attempt to say the polite thing about how….what? Beautiful, manly, unusual, lovely, well-crafted it is?

I don’t mind what the reaction is, to be honest. I’m just pleased that this particular piece of engagement jewellery makes people think about what it means to wear it: that I am engaged fully and completely with the woman whom I love and whom I will marry; that I am engaged with a spirit and a soul with whom I want to share my being; that I am engaged with the deepest emotions that can be found in any human being.

All that in a piece of silver and gold, melded to the shape of my wrist.

All that, too, in the white gold, diamonds and tourmaline that sit so gracefully on Melinda’s hand.

Engaged, together

Our Invitation

This weekend, Steve and I designed our wedding invitaitons using my photograph of ‘Cleaved’, some of our engagement photos taken by  Emma Solley and a favourite quote by Rainer Maria Rilke.  In addition to choosing the structure and layout of the invitations, we also made decisions about the reception menu, the post wedding party and a labyrinth walking experience that we will incorporate into our wedding celebration.  There were some loose ends to tie up!

Steve and I are both Creatives and each have strong ideas about how our visions will manifest.   I think the only times that we have ever felt irritated with one another is when we are working on a DIY project, eg installing shelving or designing wedding invites.  We each know the best way to go about it and can’t quite understand how the other can have a different idea!  We can recognise this and laugh about it.  Take a break from the process if we need to.  Set aside our egos and listen to one another and find out that maybe their is a good alternative way to do something.

We both feel that we came up with a great invitation.  They will be tri-fold with photos and the quote on front and back.  We’ll have inserts for the wedding and party details, our wedding list, a response card and information on the labyrinth.  We printed out a sample to make sure of the size and feel of it.  When all of the final details are settled, we’ll have them professionally printed and plan to post them in the very beginning of March.


quote and us

fully open