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.
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.
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.
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.